Author - Web Developer - Educator
Found 8 results for tag "blade"
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FIRE SALE!

What we have left!
If you haven't heard the news yet, Keat and I are moving to Japan. Therefore, we need to downsize our belongings. Some of these belongings include extra copies of our books, so we've decided to host a Fire Sale of our remaining inventory!

In order to move what we have left, all books are $5 flat! That's right, we'll cover the cost of shipping to anywhere in the US, because we need to move these things.

Spread the word, tell your friends, and help us get rid of our inventory, because we can't take it with us when we leave the country!

You can only get this deal on our Square store - not Amazon, not at a local book store, not anywhere else!

And once our inventory runs out, that's it (for this sale). Click on the titles below to purchase:


The Night Blade series is actually going to go through a minor revision, and will be re-released with new covers, and that should happen early 2017.


Tags:#nightblade #thekingsrose #lunarproductions #firesale #japan

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Free Book and Radio Spot

Great News! After much research and a countless attempts, I have finally made Night Blade: Dawn of Discovery FREE (the digital version, anyway)! I made the price reduction on other websites, such as Google Play Books, Smashwords, Kobo, Barnes & Noble/Nook, and Leanpub, and by doing so, I price-matched them for Amazon, and got Amazon to reduce the price to $0.00 - finally!
Night Blade on Kindle is Free

It took a while, but Amazon finally brought the price down. I've submitted the free marketing to various Author networked sites I'm on, including The Independent Author Network. I submitted it to the Self Publishers Showcase, but as the moderator is in the UK, and Amazon UK is different from Amazon US, they haven't reduced the price yet, but I'm working on it.

Additionally, I've also been talking with the ArtistFirst Radio Show about getting a guest spot on the show - and it's confirmed! October 27th at 8PM! Listen here on that date to hear me, or to hear other artists and authors before or after.

Speaking of which, they allowed me to do a <20 second radio identification spot, so I did. Listen here:

I had a bit of trouble recording it, as I don't have the recording equipment setup properly yet, but I think it's a pretty good start! So, with that said, I'm working on some Audiobook projects for the Night Blade series. I don't have the equipment setup yet, but now I have a better idea of how to work Audacity and work with background noise. I've done some research around here and Recording Studios start at $65/hr - I don't have that kind of money to record a 6+ hour book reading along with the mixing! (Maybe later, but not right now).


Tags:#radio #book #free #nightblade #selfpublishersshowcase #independentauthornetwork #audiobook

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Night Blade: Dusk of Demise Writing Results

Night Blade 3 Cover Okay, enough with the moping of my terrifying day last week. I thought it would be better to write a post about my latest book, Night Blade: Dusk of Demise and its progress (see Volume 1 Review and Volume 2 Results).

So, without further ado, here's the report for Volume 3!

As of September 17th, I finished the manuscript for Night Blade: Dusk of Demise! 80,000 words and roughly 300 pages in, and I'm beginning the (less interesting) editing process.

The good news is that I wrote Book 3 in a total of 50 days (well, 50 consecutive days over the course of roughly 6 months (April 24 - Sept 17). 80,000 words in 50 days - it's 20k more than Book 1, and just about twice as long. But keep in mind that the latter half of the book was written while I currently hold down 2 part time jobs: teaching computer courses at AB Tech and Table Games Dealer at Harrah's Cherokee. The Dealing job has been good for the pay, and the teaching job has been satisfactory for my own expansion of knowledge.

Regardless, while writing Book 3 in my spare time around a 24-32 hour (per week) job at night, then a 4-8 hour (per week) job during the day, I've been spending a lot of my free time sleeping, because I can't fit it in otherwise.

Word Count

Some of those writing days only got about a few hundred words in, while other days unloaded a few thousand words. It was certainly challenging trying to finish the book, as the original script was only through about 2/3 of the content. Trying to find out where the other 1/3 of the content would come from was interesting, since I really didn't know, which makes writing all of Book 4 a large challenge, especially as I've already set up the high word goal of 80k+. I've been told that I'm taking the "J. K. Rowling approach" in making every subsequential book longer. Maybe I am, maybe I'm not.
Word Total
Book Word GoalWord TotalDifference
Dawn of Discovery50,00059,993+19.98%
Day of Reckoning60,00082,220+37%
Dusk of Demise70,00086,844+24.1%
Dark of the Night80,000100,000+20%

I'm hoping that Book 4 does work out well, since I have an idea about how to take the story, but don't have the pre-written script as before. My expectation is that it will take roughly 90 consecutive days of writing, probably over the span of 6 months, which should make it roughly April 2015 for its release. I wish I could get it done by November, so I could complete the series in a year and have the book signing during the celebration, but I don't think that's going to happen. Well, we'll see what happens.


Tags:#nightblade #harrahs #abtech #wordcount

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Transistion, Business Shutdown, and Overall Updates

xkcd

Here's, the deal: the past few months have really been chaotic for me.

The first thing: As of March 4th, Shadow Dev is no more. On March 4th, I cut the 800 number, ended the insurance, and pretty much cut all ties. There's even a "goodbye" message at shadowdev.com that goes into a little more detail and the why of why it happened. Honestly, it was a good 8 years, but it was time to change directions.

Since I didn't want to say that I have been "unemployed" for the past few months (because self-employment doesn't supply unemployment insurance), I have created a sole-proprietorship freelance web development company called Q5 Industries. Don't ask about the name; Q5 was an available domain and good for a short domain (q5i.co), which really helps with short links.

So anyway, I've also finished Day of Reckoning - well, writing it, of course. It is currently going through the Editing process, which is taking a bit longer than expected, but hey - it's free. After that is finished, I will move on to Book 3: Dusk of Demise and almost be done with the series. My mother, although I'm sure it's 50% support and 50% real, likes my books, so finding how the series ends will be a surprise to us all.

I've also move some more personal "blog items" to a personal blog - kind of a "personal log". I gave it a LCARS look with more of a quick bootstrap view, and only available behind some security (I'm sure my reasons don't have to be explained).

Also, due to some role-playing gaming research, I would like to do a few things:
1) With a raspberry pi, I would like to do some hardware tinkering. I feel like I can do some testing and developing with basic LED research with a few helpful resources that I found on the internet using Python GPIO.

2) I would also like to tinker with raspberry pi and Jasper - a voice-command based system with a "dead-simple API". I thought I 'd give it a shot.

3) I've also been experimenting with some UI Framework, including UIKit, Bootstrap, Foundation (my favorite, thus far), Pure, HTML5 Boilerplate, and Skeleton. In reference, this may help with my job search with Frontend UI Design experience. (Speaking of which, I've updated my blog design to a slimmer, more responsive design, which looks pretty good)

I'm also going to be writing (and releasing) some tutorials on some HTML5, CSS3, and PHP on this blog - maybe to increase more traffic, maybe to show off some of the new techniques that I had learned (such as CSS3's vw property, which I thought was pretty cool)

Meanwhile, Java has taken a bit of a backseat while I get the rest of this chaos under control.


Tags:#nightblade #python #ui #raspberrypi #frameworks

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Night Blade Progress and Birthday Results

Night Blade 2 Cover This may be a little late in posting, but I just got back from my family vacation over the weekend. The night before I left for it, I finished "Night Blade: Day of Reckoning". 300 pages, 82200 words later, it is finished.

My original goal was 10k more than book #1, and I believe I passed that by 37%. Not bad for my 2nd book, but now I expect that book #3 will have 100k, and book #4 will have 120k, if the pattern continues. Anyway, the manuscript has been submitted for editing and I'm expecting the book to publish in the next few weeks.

Although my progress was a bit shaky, I'm proud that I was able to finish half of the Night Blade series. Let's just say that this is the "bird's eye view" of book #2:
Chisai is captured, Niko and Kitsune fight to get her back, all three of them fight Omego and the people they met at the matsuri, Tsuyoki re-enters the scene, Tsuyoki tasks 3 people with challenges, all of the main characters go to Niko's parent's house, Kitsune's parents visit, give the main characters new clothes, they all go to Chisai's school's festivals and get into a major fight, one of Chisai's friends gets majorly hurt, Niko's friend gets hurt (emotionally), and they start to chase down another thief.

That's it for Book #2. Book #3 will have a major fight in it, more progress with Niko's blade, Tsuyoki's plan progress, the secret processing in the background, and starting one of the biggest fights the characters will have to go through, along with going deeper into a relationship. We'll just see what happens.
Words vs Goal

Words per day


On to the family retreat: I left friday for Murphy to meet up with my parents, my sisters, brother-in-law, and nieces and nephew. Although I expected it to be something like last year, I must say that it wasn't too bad. My parents and I (and Keat) went to a new restaruant in Murphy and got some pizza, then the rest of the family arrived. We all went on a trip to Georgia (Amicalola Falls) on Saturday, had a picnic, watched a bird show (really great), walked down the waterfall and got some great photos, and got back. Then, we talked, celebrated my (and Jarrod's) birthday(s) with a brownie cook-off, got some great presents, and played "Cardinal Mexican Train", which is extremely confusing and requires a few rounds to understand it. We then left on Sunday and toured Leatherwood Falls, which I'm glad that the GPS got us there instead of "Let's go this way" kind of trip. Afterwards, we all departed our own ways.

Overall, it was a great family vacation, I got Book #2 done, and I'm spending the next week exploring my new gifts.

Here's an overview of what I got: my dad's old work laptop (it's a Dell, but I can work with it), an android tablet (which needs some work, but for an inexpensive Taiwainese-knock-off, it isn't too bad), and some Star Trek comics (which I didn't even know existed).


Tags:#startrek #murphy #nightblade #georgia #falls #brownie

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Pre Xmas Status

It's been a busy end-of-November, and the holiday chaos is just beginning.

The good news: I finally got to work on the Pi some. After reconnecting my Pi and finding out that it had been dormant for about 7 months, I decided to kick things back into gear. First, the server setup:
Server Setup

With the Pi set up in the window, I set up the Cron system to automatically delete all files older than 20 minutes and automatically RSYNC over to the main server for remote management. Having all of the images on the Pi over the course of a day creates over 90,000 files and fills up the tiny 8GB device within hours. So I had to find another method. Luckily, I already knew how to automatically back up files over RSYNC with Password-less SSH sessions. Yay.

Cron commands:
*/2 * * * * root find /var/www/motion/* -mmin +30 -exec rm -f {} \;
 
*/5 * * * * pi /home/pi/rsync.sh
See my rsync script at my other post

Other good news: Night Blade has been published! Yes, we are out of the Proofing stage and officially selling copies!

Luckily, I got my Proof copy right before we left for Thanksgiving, and I spent the majority of Thanksgiving break proofing the edition (all of 6 days). After I got home, I made the modifications to the manuscript, reformatted it, and re-uploaded it to CreateSpace, Smashwords, and Leanpub. Personally, I'm proud of the fact that I wrote a book. Now on to #2: Day of Reckoning!

Back to Thanksgiving for a bit. Keat and I did the turkey, which turned out well, as expected. A little drama happened over the break that I really am glad that I wasn't a part of, although I wish I was in order to defend Keat a bit. As expected, as usual, we went on a hike. This time to Stone Mountain.
Keat on Stone Mountain

Overall, it was "fun" with the expectation of someone questioning your every decision. Ah, the holidays.

Also, since Shadow Dev is going through a bit of a revamp (and I spent some time writing instead of coding), I've been looking for some jobs with very little success. My requirements are as follows: non-sales job and non-fast food. Aside from that, I'm pretty much open to anything, but 90% of the jobs are "Part Time Sales", if you know what I mean.
Our Generation on Jobs
(I did not say this - it is a screenshot from Failbook)

I mean, I don't mean to be picky, and I have very good reasons to why I said what I did. As per my previous experience (and what many others have told me), I suck at selling. I'll say it again: I suck at selling. I'll admit it. Anyone who hires me to sell will never get their ROI back. They'll pay me to stand there and do many other things (stock, checkout, manage, etc), but not to sell. I'm a "people pleaser", and if I know of something that you can do to save you money and not hand it over in an "upsell" tactic, I will let you know. Although I'm thinking I need to move away from the "people pleaser" state as it seems to be doing more harm than good for me.

Anyway, here's what has been happening so far:
- Haywood Community College: I applied for the Small Business Director position. Personally, I thought I was a great fit. I met all of their qualifications (including a Degree in Entrepreneurship, which I have), so I thought I was a shoe-in. I sent in my application, my research paper, and my transcript copy to them in September as the due date for the application was October 30th. After a month, I didn't hear back, but it was still before the due date, so I sent in a message via USPS contacting them about the status of my application.

A few days before the due date, I was contacted by the HR Department saying "We received your letter, but not your application." Confused about the situation, I hand delivered in the other copy of the application, my research paper, and another transcript request copy to them an hour afterwards.

Not hearing anything back, I emailed the HR person about a followup. They said that they never received my transcript, and I had to go on a wild goose chase to find out where it went. Western said that they sent out both requests that I sent in, with the matching dates and addresses as well, so the problem was with HCC. Apparently, the problem was that my transcripts (and probably my first application) went to Student Services, not HR. I called Student Services and asked them to deliver my transcript to HR (across the hall).

Afterwards, I contacted the HR person again and asked for a status update. She said that the committee was making their decisions and that interviews were to be held on December 5th and 6th. Well, here it is, December 9th, and no callback. Which means, I didn't even get considered.

- Thinking that the HCC job was a deadend (and looking for backups), I applied to Target on December 3rd for "Backroom Stock" (not Sales and not Fast Food - perfect!). The application process wasn't that hard, but I have yet to hear back.

- I also applied to Biltmore a while back (October), but was turned down for 3 different positions: IT Staff, Security Guard, and Dishwasher. Yes, Dishwasher. I was passed up for a Dishwasher. Their message:
Thank you for your recent application for our Dishwasher position 
 
with The Biltmore Company.  We regret to inform you that we have filled this 
 
position. After considering each application carefully, our hiring team felt 
 
that there were other candidates that more closely matched the specific needs
 
 of the position.
Seriously? WTF?

- Looking elsewhere, I also applied to Regal Grand Theaters hoping to get some low-line cleanup crew position (hey, it's money). After visiting the theater with Keat at the Catching Fire premiere, the whole building said that they were hiring. So, I applied on December 3rd and have yet to hear back (I was hoping my LMP experience would mean something. I guess not)

If "overqualification" is a thing (it was when I applied to Best Buy back in 2004), then maybe I should do this:
Overqualification solved


Onto a different topic, I visited the NCCAT center last night to celebrate the "Hour of Code" (an initiative program to increase programming skills in schools) and talked to Dr. Wade with the NCCAT. After briefly meeting with him, I think that we may be on our way to start our own CoderDojo in the WNC area (the closest one is in Missouri). I also got an "Hour of Java" which was interesting. I contacted Dr. Andrew Scott for more information. Although, this has resparked my love for programming.

Meanwhile, Keat is working with a few "clients" on a Consulting business. Knowing that, we had a discussion and may be opening a "Web Technologies Consulting Business". Since "Web Design" is such a flooded market, and there aren't really any upsides to DIY Websites (and people want the moon, but only want to pay $1), we explored WordPress (yes, I know - stop badgering me) as a viable option. I installed a test environment and it does seem quite easy to use, so we may be able to offer that as a "Small Website Option" and make the clients manage it themselves. Self-managed websites with client decisions and actions, without being yelled at for things out of our control or expectations that we can never meet? I think it's definitely a considerable option, but not just for the "Web Design" factor - a consultant should be referenced.

And just because my week had been going like a wild rollercoaster, I saw/heard this, and it really helped me along:

And a reference:
Tso - get it?

And with that, I probably won't post again until after Christmas, as the holiday chaos is catching up and my sleep pattern is completely messed up.


Tags:#thanksgiving #nightblade #rsync #cron #stonemountain #jobs #consulting #target #haywood #regal #bc #nccat #coderdojo #hourofcode #picard #startrek #tng

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I wrote my first book!

What are Sales?

It's official. I have officially finished writing my first book. The first book of the Night Blade series has been finished as of 7:40pm today.

Over 60,000 words, 220 pages, and 9 chapters later, I have converted (and revised) Volumes 1-5 of "Neko Sentou" into "Night Blade". I must say, I'm proud of myself for doing such a large feat.

I must give a lot of credit to NaNoWriMo for giving me the "kick in the butt" I needed to start something like this. On November 2, when I first learned about it, I thought that the "50,000 goal" was way out of the way. I would have to incorporate all of my scripts into one novel, and then add some more to make the goal. Instead, using the first 5 volumes as a basis, and a 1,666 word/day quota, I not only met the 50,000 word goal, I surpassed it by 21.06%!

Yes, my official word count is 60,530. And that's just the first 5 volumes. I'm expecting to make Volumes 6-10 into Book 2: Day of Reckoning. Let me first get through the publishing process before I begin that book.

It was definitely a challenge to take visual aspects and put them into descriptive terms. However, through many late nights between Nov 2 and now, I can say the novel has been completed!

My stats for this novel:
Words per day track Words vs Goal

...and here's my sleep pattern for the past month, just to show how late I was up during some intense-writing mornings:
Sleep Duration



Tags:#nekosentou #nightblade #novel #writing #book #nanowrimo #charts #sleepbot #pearlsbeforeswine

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Busy Monday

Zits


Whoa, it's Monday already. What a busy day/week/month so far.

Here's the rundown:
Today:

  • I received 2 calls 15 minutes before my alarm this morning from 2 clients. Way for a Monday to start.

  • Stopped by Post Office to pick up package that wouldn't fit in the mailbox on Saturday

  • I got to the office and got ready to make some calls that I was supposed to make. Had the first client come in. Nice lady, but seemed like she just wanted to vent. No biggie - but did find out that her husband has some Pro Photography experience and could take pro photos of us on Wednesday for the Ad

  • Tom came in as I was finishing up with the 1st client. I finished things up and went to him. He and I started talking about some personal stuff.

  • 5 minutes into that meeting, client #2 walks in, talks for 5 minutes, leaves. I go back to Tom and discuss options for him

  • Spend an hour or so deciphering odd Paypal code. Tom makes packets.

  • I did some budget analyzing and found out that it costs us (figuratively) $13 to make an info packet. Whoa.

  • Tom left; I called/contacted most of the people on my list today

  • Responded to some emails, cleared up confusion in a contract, and graded an email

  • Ordered more ink for the business - $50 for each other, 2 standard blacks, and 1 XL black - not bad.

  • updated and re-printed a sign for the office (with hours and updated QR code)


All in all, it doesn't seem like a lot, but I've been going non-stop since I got here at 10:15.

And not to bore you with the finer details, here's the quick-and-dirty summary from last week:

  • My old phone was sick. I got a new one! YAY!

  • Kat, Keat and I played WhiteWolf on Saturday and Sunday

  • Had meeting with Shadow Dev staff on Monday, hired Kat on

  • Planned Developer Training for Shadow Dev

  • Working out the finer details of our Movie Night

  • Had to deal with the Copier missing the Scanning function - had a meeting with Allan and going to figure it out

  • Fixed a client's login/check issue - that took a while

  • Finally got ST:TNG Season 1 and 7 back on Netflix - now I can finish Season 1

  • My 2nd oldest sister and Dad stopped by on Friday - she is now in TN

  • Met wit 2 potential clients. Wish I was more professional

  • Finally got a response back from the Fox Carolina guys about the relationship. I was told to call another person. Here we go again

  • Had a major server outage on Friday for about an hour. I can honestly say IT WASN'T MY FAULT! Apparently, the server company had an issue with their main operations server and had to force a shutdown/restart. All details are at the Shadow Dev Blog

  • Fixed some issues with another client's site. Should be getting the final check soon

  • Watched the 4th Bleach Movie. It was really good.

  • Created a Site Reporter using Google's API. Now, I get daily reports telling me where Shadow Dev is in non-biased Google Rankings for our area

  • And of course, the 10th Anniversary of 9/11. Still can't believe I was a freshmen in High School when that happened. My support goes to those in need.


That wraps up last week. And now for something completely different (but TOTALLY worth it):
Blade!



Tags:#blade #twilight #foxcarolina #server #outage #google #sttng #training #developer #shadowdev #phone #ink #sign #calls #postoffice #zits