Monday, February 13, 2023

A New Project - Story Eggs - An Interactive Story App for Kids


After taking a few years off from writing books to focus on starting and raising a family and still teaching third graders as my day job, I've got a new project going on.

Story Eggs. 

These are stories written for children, with the hope of introducing children to a new way of reading. I used to love Choose Your Own Adventure books when I was growing up. I would stick my fingers in the pages where I had made choices - in case the choice I made wasn't the best - and after 10 minutes or so, I would have 7 fingers stuck in various pages. Awesome stories. Fun experience!

And so now...with three children of my own...I was looking for a story app in the summer of 2021 when we were locked down with Covid. After working our way through quite a few of them, and attempting to read the stories aloud in a way to make them interesting, I realized that I could write better stories than anything out there for kids right now.....and I already had.

In 2012, when I was living and working in South Korea, I wrote a choose your own adventure story for my nieces back home in the USA - the Rainbow Stone. My mom would read it to them, and she said they loved it. It was fun for me to write it, and so I wrote a second story for them - The Froggy, the Witch, and the Hero. This one was more complicated, and I still think it's one of the best one's I've written. It's 3 stories with 3 different main characters, whose stories overlap no matter who you chose. I have no idea how I wrote it as it seems super complicated to have planned out....but, I must have had a lot more free time 10 years ago as a single test-prep teacher, than I do now with a full-time job and a family to fill my days.

I tried in 2014 or so to turn those stories into an app, but my kickstarter failed and I pretty much just gave up on the idea...until 2021 when I realized it might be possible.

So....after 2 years of heartbreaking development, the app is live on the App Store, and will soon be released on the Google Play Store. It's also been translated into 8 other languages, which will be released as soon as possible.

To everyone who has read Boys for Sale and its sequel over the last ten years...thank you. I never made much money off of those books, but I did receive A LOT of emails from people thanking me for writing them, and that meant a lot to me. 

Hopefully, if you have any kids at home, you'll be willing to try Story Eggs as well, and you'll find these stories even more rewarding. :) 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Supposedly it's easy to re-design a blog to make it look cool and interesting.....mmmm...whatever. I'm going for the vintage look here. That'll just make it worth a million dollars in a few years.

If you're ever gonna upload a book as an ebook, here are some things that you should do when you're finished..I hate trying to always find the information each time I do it, so here it is, all written down.

1) Get rid of excess spaces/paragraph returns, etc.

     - In Microsoft Word, go to Editing/Replace, and search for the following -
                -  '^p^p   and replace this with  '^p'   (extra paragraph returns are no-no's)
                - '^t'     and replace it with nothing. (no tabbing allowed).
                - click the spacebar twice, and replace it with one click of the space bar
                - search for '.(space)(space)' and replace it with '.(space)'.  In this day and age, you should only have one space after any period.
                - Search for  ',(space)(space)' and replace it with ',(space)' . Same thing with commas.

2) Change your font. Click the little arrow in the bottom right corner under Paragraph and a dropdown menu appears..

This seems to work well for me.

3) How to make a clickable table of contents -

And then you make the title page, dedication page, etc., and this is what many companies are charging over $100 for..........

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

It's always nerve-wracking trying to choose a cover for a new book. You need to pick an artist who you like, has good prices, and then somehow convey what you want it to show with only a few words. I usually have no idea........

I've used Damonza for my books so far. I like his work, and he responds quickly. I like both of the photos his company sent to me this time, and even though my 11 year old students like the one with the silhouette in the foreground, to me, it looks a bit too much like Assassin's Creed, and so I think I'm going with the second one.....But, still, you always wonder - Is this good enough? Will people like it? Could I have done a better job of asking for something?

Oh - if you haven't read Blood Song by Anthony Ryan, I whole-heartedly recommend it. Awesome book. I'd review now, but I am le tired.

Monday, August 11, 2014

One year later..

It's been over a year, and I just found out that I had over 3000 views on my blog....

It's a strange feeling to be responsible for so many people being disappointed when they go to check out a blog...

Anyway, some people kept asking if Boys for Sale 3 is coming out....and the answer is 'no'. There's not really much more to say. It's a terrible situation, and it's not something that I'm necessarily trying to make much money on. I really do appreciate the fact that some people enjoy my writing, but I think it's time to branch out to something new...

The Clipper of Kings...soon to be released...will be a semi-fantasy novel that wonders what happens if the hero refuses to do what he's supposed to according to the prophecy?

Lately, whenever I read fantasy books, I generally wind up having two issues -

1) Why does the main character become the strongest/smartest/most amazing character?

2) Who makes these prophecies? Who are these gods that guarantee that something will happen? In general, as soon as there is a prophecy, we already know how the story will end. The only person who really did this well was David Eddings, who showed how there were two sets of prophecies, one for each side....but even for that, who made them, and does a prophecy mean that the world's future is set no matter what?

That's what I'm going to try do with Tiberion. A poor nobody who isn't too good at anything...except for stealing, but even there, he's not the best. For some reason, he's the prophesized savior, but he refuses to do what's expected of him...

But then...supposedly all of the prophecies were just created by man, written in a book to appease the masses long ago, and so, who's to say that it's anything more than coincidence in the first place?

I'm actually quite excited about the world-building and creating new characters (without elves, goblins, orcs, trolls, and every other common race that exists in fantasy novels), while also trying to tell a story that progresses and isn't too predictable.

We'll see how it works. I think it'll be much harder to have people find and read my book, lost amidst the thousands of fantasy books that are released each day, as opposed to a book about human trafficking, which does sort of stand out, especially when it becomes front-page newsworthy.......Even though, to be honest, it should always be front-page newsworthy.

So....I'll guess that the release date will be the beginning of September. My brother's birthday is 9/9, maybe i'll do it that day as a birthday gift to him, forever immortalizing that day in 'history'.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Getting nice reviews make me feel I actually wrote a 'real' book..

"When I read the description of the book I knew it was destined to make me uncomfortable, but I was looking for something "different." It was difficult to read because it was well written and created a clear picture in my head- and, oh! My heart hurt as I read it. The five stars are not for the topic but for the way it was written and how I couldn't stop reading."

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