Friday, May 29, 2020

A Lovely Day at the Beach

It's FINALLY happened. The Eagle and the Sparrow is out! 

There's still more to do, like update (on today's agenda) and reviews will come in and...WHEW!

This is the Amazon (US) paperback link.

This is the link that leads to all the other stores, for e-formats and paperbacks.

With most of that out of the way, with Please Stay Home morphing into Please Go Out Slowly and Safely, I wanted to do something FUN!

My initial plan was to go to the National Museum, where I wanted to go to the Archeology museum and several more in that giant Ueno complex for research (I am almost obsessive about accurate and very deep research) and just for fun, since it's been a while since I've been there.

But it's not open until June 2.  So...I went to Jonanshima, a large beachfront park on the Pacific at the eastern edge of Ota-ku. I've never been there before. I plan to go back.

First you go to Omori station on the uncrowded, masked and socially distanced train (1 stop) . Check. Then you get on the uncrowded, masked and socially distanced 32 bus. This fairly long route goes out to Jonanshima and back. It passes through the Ota Market, which is, I understand the biggest wholesale market in Tokyo. It's so big it has FOUR bus stops in it.  The flower building, the fruit and vegetable building and the fish building are all clearly marked with giant sculptures. I understand it's possible to visit it and it's interesting for sure -- even from the loading docks, which the bus circles on its path around this vast complex.  The bus goes past another large park -- there are several large parks out here at the edge of the country --  but the end of the line is Jonanshima.

There's camping at Jonanshima. Genuine camping within the 23 Wards of Tokyo!  I didn't find out the details, but there were people camping, and plenty of people with tent-shelters and coolers and kids set up for the day.

The park's right across from Haneda Airport, and people who like to photograph airplanes were in evidence. Delta and ANA were flying occasionally. I couldn't tell if they were cargo or passenger planes from the bottom.

There's a fair amount of ship traffic. This ship had a rickty sewing machine engine that could be heard coming and going at quite a distance. Here it is passing Haneda's control towers.

The boardwalk is 400 meters along the east side. More would be on the south side, but there's storm damage so it's closed. Along the north side, there's a path that skirts a big signal station and follows the camping area on that side. There's a wide path for walking and biking and fishing -- a number of people were fishing. 

From the north side I could see both Skytree (there it is) and Tokyo Tower, but I couldn't get both in a size one could actually see in a photo.

You can walk the beach, play in the sand, gather shellfish, and fish from the rocks as well as the path, but for some reason, you can't swim.

After a fairly long and pleasant walk in the breeze, I found any number of places to sit with a large bottle of tea from one of the many ubiquitous vending machines among all the other people safely socially distanced and watch all the wonderful sights of a bustling commercial port.

It made me realize how much I have missed being able to get out and enjoy this fantastic city I now call home.

And it was a perfectly lovely day at the beach!

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Sucks to be me, but maybe not to be us.

I despair for the United States.

I have some hope for Asia, Canada, and maybe Europe, where people at least seem sane. I don't hear much about Africa. I hope they're all right. Latin America is getting hit. I hope it can recover.

E-books are supposedly out on a variety of platforms, but I can't find that out because the internet's broken, or at least all the websites are. I can't seem to get the paperbacks out because the US is insane right now, maybe never to return. It looks like the only hope of stopping that decline won't come until November. It will be a long, hard climb back to anything like civilization there.

Still, it feels great to have Please Stay Home lifting. I was able to get my hair cut Monday. The stylists at the salon I go to were practically wearing hazmat gear, but they are open. Things are opening up, but cautiously and slowly. Some restaurants had in-house food service, but tables are marked off to preserve distancing, sanitizer is required and so are masks, if you're not eating. There are clear barriers everywhere. But it's better. We are adjusting People are smiling under their masks. The atmosphere is more relaxed, even as people work to keep that distance. Maybe the light at the end of the tunnel isn't an oncoming train, at least here.

I saw few differences yesterday. Trains were still quite empty, stations very deserted. More was open, but not much. Today, I saw day-care kids in the little carts the staff use to wheel them all to the park or around the neighborhood, and another slightly older group walking, staff masked, with hand sanitizer holstered, waist bags of wipes, and masks on the older kids. I haven't seen the kids out in ages. I saw a couple of kayakers on the river. There were some golfers on the course, but I don't know if it ever closed. The driving range never did shut down, but people are at alternate stations still. People still wear masks. Of course. We continue to take precautions. Museums are supposed to open. A zoo did, with masks and sanitizer and limited attendance. People seem to feel more relaxed, but the safeguards are there, and I don't see them going away soon. We are not yet supposed to travel between prefectures.

People long for a return to a life without the fear that's been gripping us for so long.

I hope it happens.

And I hope that all the things I have had to pay for and postpone (but no refunds, of course) I will be able to pay for again and reschedule again and they might just happen. Maybe I can eventually get my new book out in dribs and drabs and dribbles, and perhaps even find out when and where. Whatever happened to a Book Launch? A Publication Date?

But I sincerely hope we do NOT go back to "normal." Not like it was. Not when we have a chance to stop driving so much, polluting so much, commuting so much. Not when we can garden, and walk and bike. We have an opportunity here. Maybe we can use it.

I hope.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

All the Myriad Ways (Where to Find My Books)

I didn't spend all those years as a lawyer for nothing.  After some...uh...interesting exchanges in which I used words that would make other lawyers quail to hear them, things are mostly fixed, I think. These are the places that ALL SEVEN volumes of The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy series can be found, all over the world.  I'm putting them here so they'll be easy to look up. 

What's said about US retailers is true elsewhere. If you don't see them, ask. They are easily and conveniently ordered through THE INGRAM BOOK GROUP, everywhere in the world.

These should all be live by May 26, 2020.  And the Internet still isn't fixed. 

PRINT BOOK                                                                                           DISTRIBUTION

United States & Canada
Ingram Book Group titles are automatically made available to tens of thousands of:
  • Retailers -- These books are easily available to retailers. If not in stock, just ask.
  • Libraries -- you can ask your library to order them, and they WILL!
  • Schools -- school libraries will usually order them, if asked.
  • E-commerce companies -- you can ask your favorite retailer to order and they WILL!
  • Amazon -- Yes, here, too, for retail sales. Generally, there are no delivery delays. 
  • Barnes & Noble -- You know about them, right?
  • Independent bookstores -- If they aren't in stock, ask them to order. 
  • -- Yes, they'll show up here.
  • -- Here, too. 
  • Chapters / Indigo (Canada)
and other well-known book retailers and wholesalers across North America.

United Kingdom & Europe
  • Adlibris
  • Agapea
  • Aphrohead
  • Bertrams
  • Blackwell
  • Book Depository Ltd
  • Books Express
  • Coutts Information Services Ltd
  • Designarta Books
  • Eden Interactive Ltd
  • Foyles
  • Gardners
  • Trust Media Distribution (formerly STL)
  • Mallory International
  • Paperback Shop Ltd
  • Superbookdeals
  • The Book Community Ltd
  • Waterstones
  • Wrap Distribution

Australia & New Zealand -- Just ask.
  • Amazon AU
  • Booktopia
  • Fishpond
  • The Nile
  • James Bennett
  • ALS
  • Peter Pal

E-book distribution

  • Amazon*
  • Apple**
  • Barnes & Noble Nook
  • Bookmate
  • Booktopia
  • De Marque Retail
  • Hummingbird DM
  • ITSI Education UK
  • Kobo
  • Libreka
  • Libri
  • LitRes eBook
  • LIX
  • RedShelf (Virdocs)
  • SpoonRead
  • VitalSource
  • Wook

Monday, May 18, 2020

The Internet and I...

The Internet and I are having problems.

Things aren't working properly out there in cyberspace. Strange things are happening -- vanishing transactions, things that were not just OK but confirmed yesterday are somehow not OK today, things that I fixed last week have become unfixed. I can't get things done.

It's not just me -- for some reason, everybody I know always decides it must be my fault and I must prove them wrong before they'll accept that I might just be right and something is actually broken.  But I belong to several writing groups and all I hear about, over and over, is how on-line services and retailers are simply NOT WORKING. They might not work at all. They might take three times as long. They might say one thing in one place and another thing elsewhere. They might mysteriously cancel things or mush up information and require several entries before they work -- or don't.

Someday, I suppose, and I think it might be in this lifetime, The Eagle and The Sparrow will actually publish and be available in all the places it's supposed to be.

This, of course, has an adverse effect on my business as a writer. I can't proceed with any number of things that need to be done at this time (advertising, reviews, publicity and the like), and I have to cancel things that have already been arranged in reliance on certain services saying things have been done when they have not actually been, or have been mysteriously erased or reversed or something.

Like many people and businesses, I depend on the Internet for many things. But my experience and the experience of many others is that things just aren't working the way they used to just a couple of months ago, and they're only getting worse.

I won't go so far as to say civilization as we know it is collapsing, but if this keeps on, I think it just might.  Do we really want to go back to those thrilling days of yesteryear when snail mail was our only option? When print catalogs were where we shopped for anything not carried in the little General Store just a few miles down the dirt road? And you might get what you ordered in six months or a year?

How imperiled is human society? Are our castles really made of sand?

They might be.

"Opening up" isn't the answer. We won't be able to go back. We have to do better than that. We have to look forward and come up with new and efficient ways of communicating, of making commerce accessible and possible, of working, of creating, of consuming.

I don't know the answers. Do you?