Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Autonomously Yours, is FREE for a limited time! Perfect 4th of July reading!


http://www.amazon.com/Autonomously-Yours-Compandroid-K-Parker-ebook/dp/B00SFLL55U/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=

Hello everyone. It's been a while. I've been busy making some changes in my life, most of which some people would call foolish. I hope they aren't in retrospect, but only time will tell if they are or not, but it's all exciting none the less. In any case, here's hoping it leads to more writing at the very least.

Speaking of which, the digital version of my second story, Autonomously Yours: The Life of a Compandroid, is available for FREE this week, starting today until the 5th, on Amazon.com, a special promotion I'm running for the 4th of July weekend. There is no better way to celebrate the birth of America than to read Science Fiction about androids. Hyperbolic, perhaps, but tell me that statement won't be true in 20 years time when androids will be preparing the baby back ribs you'll be grilling on the 4th. Wishful thinking, I know.

With the recent popularity of TV shows and films like "Humans" and "Ex Machina," there has been an upswing of android-based science fiction and my story feels a tad timely. I wish I had planned it that way, but it was just a happy coincidence.

Please pick yourself up a copy. It's also free normally if you're a member of Kindle Unlimited. Happy 4th!


Auotnomously Yours: The Life of a Compandroid - Amazon Link


Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Flood of Inspiration



 I think it was either Mel Brooks or Carl Reiner who I heard recount a story about how Sid Caeser used to stand under a shower and metaphorically wash away the stress of life. He said as much himself, so that takes away a little of the suspense of whom it was I heard that from. 

I do the same, except I like to sit in my shower to wind down and gain inspiration for stories. It works every time. 

I invariably do it with less screaming than the above person. Okay, if I were honest, I’d say with only about 10% less screaming. 

What does everyone else do for inspiration?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I Think a Lot About Death, Part 2: The Earnest Edition

"It’s ironic that sad eyes are usually depicted in drawings as tiny smiles over eyes."

As I walked home from work after a particularly long, physically and mentally strenuous workday, I couldn’t avert my stare from the ground. It was as if the weight of the world, of life, pressed down on my head and would not, could not allow me to raise my head and look forward. It’s happened to me before, very recently and very often. I am also often purposely over dramatic.

And before I start on my privileged-first-world-life rant, I know that I don’t have it as bad as many other people, but I don’t think despair discriminates.

I've written about death before, and that time a friend accused it of being a glorified advertisement for my book about, well, death, but this post will be a tad more earnest. Not that my last post about death wasn’t earnest, but I did try to stay positive for positivity's sake, just in case a potential reader of mine would stumble upon that post and think, “I’m not going to read anything by someone this morbid and disturbed.” Of course, when I thought that I didn’t take into account what the subject matter of my first story was. It would then, in fact, be appropriate for me to be a little morbid and disturbed. But now I doubt how many other people, besides the odd (literally) friend here and there, actually read my blog, so I feel a little freer to keep it more forthcoming this time around.

But I do think about death a lot, mostly about ways to reach it. I’m not in any rush, per say, but I do have feelings of general hopelessness that I feel can only be wiped away by offing myself. But, there are reasons why I haven’t done so yet. Let’s go down the list of a couple of the most common ways to do it, shall we:

Death by Hanging: I live in a box, a metaphorical one as well, but I mean it literally. My room does resemble a box and I don’t have many fixtures where I could comfortably hang a noose. I do have a ceiling fan but I don’t think it would support my weight. Not that I’m especially fat, but it doesn’t look like a structurally strong fixture. I’d just end up with a broken ankle at best. Besides, I’m half black and it just seems disrespectful to my ancestors and a tad bit too ironic to take myself out in that manner.

Death by Wrist Cutting and Pill Popping: I don’t know, that just seems like a too juvenile and teenaged way of courting attention. I think the 35-year-old equivalent of pubescent attention seeking is to write a blog post about suicide…

Death by Jumping from High Structures: I’m deathly (PUN!) afraid of heights, so there goes that idea.

Death by Stepping out into Traffic: It just seems a little messy. And if it goes wrong it could leave me paralyzed, unable to try other ways, which would just prove to be counter productive if that was the case.

Death by Auto-erotic Asphyxiation: Let’s just say my mother is lucky that restricting the flow of air to my brain fails to sexually arouse me. I never thought I’d ever write a sentence like that.

Death by Shooting Oneself: I consider myself a pretty liberal guy, and as such I, for the most part, abhor firearms in cases of uses other than filmed fiction. There also seems to be a lengthy background checking process that just seems tiresome. Arguably it would be the last process I would have to go through, but I’m still too lazy to go through all that trouble.

So, the real reason I don’t remove myself from all this perhaps misperceived misery is just simple, good old-fashioned human fear mixed with general human laziness. That, and there’s a new Star Wars on the horizon and there’s now way I can miss that.
But, I jest.

The real reason I don’t do anything brash, as I alluded to previously, is that I believe that my self-induced passing would cause family members and several friends considerable premature emotional distress. Which, I guess, is both weirdly narcissistic, as it suggests that I think everybody cannot bear to be without me because I’m so awesome, and, strangely self-less, as I don’t want to cause anyone emotional pain because of my selfishness, just in case anyone does hold affinity for me.

People have told me I need professional help to ease me through all the mental anguish, and today as I suppressed an urge to irrationally throw a large amount of boiled eggs on the wall in public, I am now forced to believe them. On the other hand, maybe I just spend too much time by myself.

But, as I said, there’s new Star Wars to be seen so, at the very least, I’m fairly confident I‘ll make it to the end of 2015.

And I apologize if this just seemed like cheap ploy for attention––it may very well be––but it is truly what I’m feeling at the moment.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Why my first draft is my final draft

I've read in the past, and a bit in the present, about how the proper way for writers to write is to first throw all of your ideas from your brain onto paper (in 2015, onto a screen) and then figure it all out later on your second, third, fourth, etc., drafts. And while I think that’s fine for people who like to write like a blender, I prefer to analogize my writing style to a puzzle.

Do people do a puzzle by throwing all of the pieces onto a table and start putting random pieces together, hoping that they resemble the end product, then going back and repeating that process three, or four more times until the desired product materializes? No. People tend to start by putting together full parts, a full sky first (the main plot), a full car second (a subplot, perhaps), a full puppy third (characters), etc., then putting the full parts together to create the whole picture.

In the far past, when typewriters and quill pens were the preferred (and only) tools to write with, second and third drafts were the only way to go. You had to toss away drafts at will, and use white-out sparingly to correct mistakes. Remember white-out? The mother of a member of the Monkees made that. Incredible! Hey, remember the Monkees?

Leaving the world of digression…

But in the day of Microsoft Word and Google Doc, we're now able to fix and correct as we write along, the end product often resembling what it is we first had in our minds.

And I when I talk of drafts, I don't mean fixing spelling errors, cleaning up grammar, adding details you might have missed, etc., all things you should totally do at the end, things I don't consider part of a second or third draft. To stick with the puzzle analogy, that’s comparable to when you adhere straggling parts where they fit at the end, corners, a car’s bumper, a puppy’s paw and such.

This isn't advice of any kind––I'm not fit to give any––just how I perceive my writing style. I’d love to hear about all kinds of writing styles. I doubt many of us write the same way. Hell, maybe people do puzzles differently than how I think they do in my mind. I haven't done a physical puzzle in a long while.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

I want to be a writer. SOMEBODY HELP ME!

"I'm doing exactly what I want to do. How many guys can say they're doing that?"
   -- A lot of people *

I want to be a writer. That much I know. And I don't mean some kind of “writer” where I write a blog post here and there, write a bunch a novels that sit around not being read while I work at the post office for the rest of my days, dying, perhaps happily, as 1) a postal worker, and 2) some person who writes on their off time. And that kind of life can be, and probably has been, more than satisfactory for some people, so I don't want to take that away from them. It’s just not for me.

But what I mean is, I want my writing to provide me with a life that makes me happy. I want it to allow me to sit back and just write stories of characters I make up in my mind that, hopefully, other people will read (or watch depending on what kind of writing it is) and derive some kind of enjoyment from. In a way, that has already actually happened. My first work, The Death of Death, has garnered some very positive (and a couple negative) reviews that expressed feelings of joy and sorrow, and seems to have pulled some very real emotions from people. So, I believe that creatively I have already made it. Professionally though, I have quite a ways to go.

I’d like to have a writer’s life. A life where I get to hang out in coffee shops and beaches and meet interesting people and use them as fodder for my upcoming story. Or, is what writers do more strenuous than that, involving meetings with unsavory publishers, and having blowhards come up to them in coffee shops (hey, I'd still get to be in a coffee shop) telling them what they really think of their writing? I really don't know what writers do. And that’s what’s troubling me.

Half the things I want to do I don't know how to go about doing them. I’m just a person lost on a big rock out in space, one of billions. I'm also not the first to write or say that out loud, but it does bear repeating as a human being on this earth where life is hard for lots of us.

One of the hardest things about being an indie author, I think, is marketing. I've just released a new book called Autonomously Yours, my second, and I still have no idea how to go about promoting it. For indie authors internet marketing seems to be the best (and only?) way to go about it. It consists of Facebooking, tweeting, and blogging about your product. The problem for me though is that I’m not good at doing any of that. I do it, of course, because that’s what I've read I should be doing. But I've no idea how to get any of it out to people. Am I doing it correctly? People sell potato salad for thousands of dollars online. I just want to sell one book for $2.99. And, in order to get the message out to people, should I do it more often? And how much is often? Once a day? Five times a day? Forty times a month? And if I do market it that much will I get eyeballs on it? Or will it fall on deaf ears (Or is the phrase “fall on blind eyes” since this is something I've written?)?

But perhaps I’m going about that all wrong as well. Friends have told me to seek out a big publisher, as if it’s that easy to just find one, and have them sign me with the snap of my fingers. Eisler and Konrath would certainly disagree with them on a great many points. But, maybe I do just search for an editor, a manager, and a publisher just like that. But those are all things I've heard described as a long, arduous process that sometimes, quite frequently, yields zero results.

But, maybe, perhaps, and whatever adverb means the same as those, it is that easy and I’m just stubbornly unwilling to do just that. Maybe it is as easy as blindingly sending my stuff to a publisher or a manager of some kind. But at that point, what happens to my story? Does someone or a committee take a look at it and change things around willy nilly, adding and subtracting characters of mine at will? Perhaps what they have me change will absolutely make my story better, or, possibly make it that much worse. I guess what’s holding me back is the unwillingness to take that chance. It’s a bit too 50/50 for me. But, maybe there is just no other way to do it but to do it, cliché-ishly.

I've gone through the whole poor and broke phase, admittedly, not as long as some; I say as if there is some kind of planetary agreed upon time frame for the shitty life, before one finally gets their, illusionary dues. As much as I push against things like the gambler’s fallacy, I too, am guilty of comfortably indulging in it from time to time.

I've worked some very undesirable jobs. Not prostitution if that’s what you're thinking, although I hear it’s a great and very respectable line of work for those who chose it, and perhaps, if I had the courage and mental fortitude to try such things I would. Unfortunately, I do not.

I haven’t lived in my car Jewel or Chris Pratt * style yet, (I don't have car so I have an excuse). I've never been dependent on hard drugs, or alcohol. Although, I do drink alone sometimes as I think and write. Hey, that’s a writer-y thing to do, right? Perhaps I have finally made it.

I have many questions because there's a lot I don't know. But one thing I absolutely do know is that I have never been as excited, happy, or had as much fun as when I created my most recent book. The writing of it, the creation of its cover, the asking of friends for their feedback, and then subsequently waiting for said feedback. All of it created a thrilling feeling that I wish to have again and again until the end of my existence­­––the drug I crave in lieu of pills and liquids.

As I conclude this whiny, first-world-problem diatribe, I guess what I'm trying to say is I’d like to be a writer very much, and I need someone, anyone, a group of people maybe, to help me.

* #1 –– If this sounds like a low rent, introspective Marc Maron-type of call for help it’s because I have been watching a lot of his show on Netflix and I got this particular utterance of this familiar line from someone on his show.

* #2 –– As I did a little research into Chris Pratt to see if what I thought I heard once about him was true, I ran across this quote attributed to him:
"I figured, I'll find a way to make money and if that means I’m playing character roles, that’s terrific. People work. I just don't want it to be at a fucking restaurant."
My feelings exactly.

My second story, Autonomously Yours, is now on sale!

Good morning, afternoon and evening, depending on where you are in the world. And, it’s a little late, but also, Happy New Year to everyone!

It’s a new year and therefore, it’s time for a new book. I am happy to be releasing my second work, a novella called, Autonomously Yours: The Life of a Compandroid. It’s my first time writing––and completing––anything that’s longer than a short story or a slightly longer short story, so I'm pretty proud of this thing. I’ve no idea of the quality of the story or the writing; that is up to anyone reading it to decide, of course. But I will say that I've had loads of fun creating the characters and the situations and the relationships that make it up, and at the very least I hope that is properly conveyed in some small way.

Give the description a read and if it suits your sensibilities and fancies your flight, please consider giving it a go. It's available as a digital download or in paperback. Thank you. 

"From the author of The Death of Death comes a more mature, technological tale. 

In the future, robots are part of our daily lives. They serve and protect us, they watch our families and keep them safe, they treat us when we're hurt, and they take our orders when we're hungry. There is, though, one untapped market…


Meet Sally. A fully-functioning-female-human-imitation-android, created as a companion for the lonely men of the world, the first of its kind. But, there are problems for her creator.


Robotics engineer Dr. Harold Okamura is finally given an opportunity by Mr. Jerrald Axell, the CEO of a company with dubious intentions, to realize a lifelong ambition: to create a robot that is indistinguishable from a human being. The problem is doing so breaks the first law of modern robotics, an offense punishable by imprisonment. Good thing for Harold, then, Mr. Axell is powerful enough to skirt such laws. But that’s not the only problem on the horizon. In fact, it’s the least of Dr. Okamura’s troubles. 


Before Sally can be brought to market, she has to go through a trial period. Dr. Okamura and his faithful android servant, Cran, monitor Sally as she is tested by three clients––all men of very questionable motives.


Autonomously Yours is a story of relationships, emotions and tragedy, as told, literally, through the eyes of the world’s first Compandroid."


 

Amazon Kindle Link: Autonomously Yours
Amazon Paperback Link: Autonomously Yours





Thursday, August 21, 2014

An Excerpt From An Untitled Android Novel

This is an excerpt from an as-of-yet untitled android novel I plan on releasing fairly soon.

Thematically it's very different from my previous novelette, The death of Death. It's more adult in tone and subject matter. Aside from a couple of changes in wording here and there this resembles the final product.

So far I'm loving the characters and I'm having loads of fun writing it. I especially like the dynamic my main protagonist has with his android assistant. I hope you find it enjoyable as well.

“You’ve had sexual relations before, correct Mr. Okamura?”

I felt insulted that a grown man would ask another grown man that kind of question, but as I still looked like a stereotypical nerd––unkempt hair, slightly dumpy appearance, and glasses, the mark of a true dork, and the fact that I’m Asian-–it wasn’t out of the ordinary. It was the year twenty-one sixteen, one hundred and sixty some odd years after the first usage of the word ‘nerd’ and it still carries with it the stigma of a sexless human male.

But more importantly, what was he getting at? I didn’t want to answer but I did anyway.

“Yes.”

“Then I assume you must be familiar with the concept of delayed sexual gratification as well?”

I was feeling more than a little uncomfortable at this point. I quickly answered,  “Yes,” hoping that this conversation would reach its conclusion sooner rather than later.

He made the long trek back to his desk at the end of his office. As I understood it, I was the first one to visit since the completion of its renovation. It was unnecessarily large and hugely artificial, just like this man’s personality. It wouldn’t surprise me if he were compensating for a lack of something larger elsewhere in his life––physically or mentally.

He made it back to his desk and poured himself a drink. He lifted his glass in an attempt to offer me one, the glint from his glass as the morning sunlight hit it for a moment blinded me as he did. It wouldn’t have surprised me if he had done that on purpose. I knew that he knew it was difficult for me to see him perform this gesture due to the distance between us and the amount of back light provided by the sun shining through the ridiculously large window behind him that drowned out his image. I declined, to his delight no doubt. He wouldn’t have to waste his valuable alcohol on me.

After he took a swig of whatever type of libation filled his glass, he continued.

“You must be wondering––if I’m so eager to see your creation––why then am I waiting so long to have you show it to me.”

“A bit, yes.” I answered shortly.

“Well, I liken this to delayed sexual gratification.”

I really, really wanted him to reach his point.

“I so want to see your creation very badly, Mr. Okamura. But, as I see the silhouette of it just behind my door, I don't know how much longer I can wait. If you’ll allow me to continue with the metaphor…”

––I didn’t see what other choice I had––

“…all these days, weeks, and months of waiting have been like the physical act of copulation itself, and I see this morning as the culmination of said act. The point of….”

He paused for a second. I don’t have the proof, but I felt as if he wanted to say the word “ejaculation”, but he did not.

“…Euphoria,” was what he spoke instead.

He might as well have said “ejaculation.”

“So, I’m going to walk to my chair and sit and finish my drink. And when I do I’m going to sit this glass on this table. And when I do that it will make the sound of glass hitting wood.”

I knew he was speaking in that manner for effect, but it felt like he was describing it to an infant. His tone was unmistakably condescending. I don’t think he had experience speaking to scientists, or to humans for that matter. That, or he just didn’t give a fuck how he spoke to adults.

“And when you hear that sound, that will be your signal to open that door and bring her in to meet me. Do you understand the sequence, Mr. Okamura?”

Again, I know he spoke that way for effect, but I still wanted to drive my fist into his creepy face for it.

I nodded to show that I understood him and he started his sequence.

I watched him as he walked to his chair and took a seat. He put his feet up on his desk as he took his first sip of insipid alcohol.

He drew the cup from his lips and stared strangely at me. It was a look that made me feel like a young girl being leered at from the other end of a compartment on a public train by a lecherous old pervert. I didn’t know how I should have reacted so I sheepishly looked down at my shoes. He then made a grunting noise that signaled that he wanted me to continue looking at him, and so I looked back up and tried to remain as expressionless as possible. It would have been difficult to see, but I didn’t want him to accidentally see the disgusted look on my face if I had made one.

I watched as he took more sips from his glass. All in all it took three gulps for him to finish the contents of that cup––and as he finished he purposely slammed down the cup on he top of his desk with force to make sure I would hear it.

I then took my cue and placed my hand on the security plate. The door slid open to reveal a large nondescript metal container, a slender android standing next to it. I signaled to my android helper and he slid the container in to the room. I looked at Mr. Axell who was now sitting forward in his chair with his eyes wide open, a very hungry expression appearing on his face. My assistant, Cran, started to bring the container forward but Mr. Axell stopped him.

“No. Right there is fine,” he said.

Cran looked at me and I looked back. He seemed just as confused as I was.

“Open it. Slowly if you can,” said Mr. Axell.

I am afraid this lid only has one speed, Mr. Axell, a speed that I cannot control,” Cran answered back, very matter-of-factly. I could feel Mr. Axell’s disdainful stare burning a hole right through Cran’s metallic head. We shrugged it off, and I signaled Cran to listen to Mr. Axell’s instruction. He entered the button combination on the face of the container and it opened with a long and piercing hiss. The lid slid upwards revealing the silhouette of a human-like figure, packed in a memory foam block.