It’s quite simple. These are my notes about the stories posted here, as well as other work related issues that do not belong in an index. It is a kind of a blog except that I do not allow comments from others here. So if you want to interact with me click here and fill out the form.

11 January 2022
Child marriage now illegal

Well, it always was for you and me if you weren't an indigenous tribal member of the Philippines or a Muslim in the Philippines, but up to now there were exceptions. This past week we have a new law that makes it illegal for all. See the law here.

Here's the news article of Duterte signing the act into law.

And here is an article about Muslims complaining that this law needs to be repealed as it goes against their religion.

25 December 2021

For those who are concerned about me, due to the news regarding the recent typhoon [International name: Rai / Philippine name: Odette], we are OK.

It was a devastating event and many remain without power and water. We have a generator and a deep well, so we have both power and water. Some well built homes had their roofs blow off. Ours is still firmly attached. Less substantial buildings were blown away. But that is the nature of unsubstantial construction.

As to the timing for the next novel, I have nothing to offer. It is maybe one third to half written but I haven't touched if for a good two months. The why of it, is complex and not particularly interesting.

19 October 2021
The value of money.

The value of your money is of course, in one way, defined by the exchange rate between the currencies. It is also defined by the relative power it represents within a society. So here is something to chew on.

05 September 2021
When are simple answers simply wrong

Many of you may be aware the age of consent for sexual congress in the Philippines is age twelve. However, as I have pointed out in a number of stories, it isn't that simple. Lately there are those who think the age here has changed and the age of consent has been raised. It hasn't. Here, in the words of a CNN journalist, is where we are now:

Some lawmakers argue there is no need to change the age of consent because the country already has laws against child abuse.

An anti-child abuse law passed in 1992 criminalized sex with children under 18 "for money, profit, or any other consideration or due to the coercion or influence of any adult, syndicate or group." Another anti-trafficking law, enacted in 2003 and expanded in 2012, prohibited the sexual exploitation and prostitution of children, as well as the creation of images depicting child sexual abuse.

So, she may consent but there are other laws.

20 August 2021
The Ark and COVID related stuff.

I took a break from my current novel and reread The Ark. (One reason for rereading it was the possibility that a previous wife might read it. [Long story not worth relating.]) As usual I found some errors, not too many but a few. I also found a textual formatting problem in the ebooks and resolved that. The fixed versions have been uploaded here.

This pandemic doesn't seem to be going away soon, so even though the Chronicles are coming to you without great speed, they are still relevant and the duration of the current situation allows me to put more meat on the bone. I hope to have the next one out in a couple of months.

28 July 2021
Worth a watch

I find that my Filipina readers do not see the "porn" but rather see my works as love stories. Surely many Filipinas would find these storoes offensive, but consider this YouTuber who has no connection to me and is a Filipina with a college education. Check out her post on "ARE HUMAN BEINGS MONOGAMOUS?". Women in the first world, just don't see things this way. Give her a post if you wish and you can tell her I sent you. :-)

27 July 2021
Related to the recent weather events in the Philippines

We are fine. The weather hit north of us and we really were not affected in any meaningful way.

30 May 2021
A reader's suggestions: Quarantine Chronicles: Jon

Every once in a while someone emails me with a bogus return address. I hope I am not being snarky when I say, it's OK to do that when simply saying thank you, but when suggesting textual changes, it's a bit irritating.

First I should note that while I am more than happy to fix real errors, I am loath to consider style changes. Never the less, when a reader takes the time to send me a message, I do look at the text to see what the perceived problem is.

I got one such email this evening. The reader makes two suggestions. First he has a problem with the text "Whether...and who I choose" and says it would read better as "Whether...or who I choose"

But that isn't what was written in the first place and he suggestion misses the point of Jon's statement. Here's the actual text.

Whether that’s what and when I drink, who I hang out with, and who I choose to fuck.

In this case, it isn't if Jon is going to drink. He is clearly saying he will. It isn't if he is going to hang out with folks. The only question is who he will hang out with. And so we are not left wondering if he will fuck someone... the only question is who it will be. The sentence is clearly correct as it stands. So I am left scratching my head about why the reader had a problem with the sentence.

The next issue the reader brings to me is that he would prefer if I remove a comma. Now in all honesty, I have often had problems with placements of commas, so I, in all seriousness, took a look at the issue. This is the total amount of text the reader refers to: pure nonsense, of it all which he would prefer to see as pure nonsense of it all.

However, this is a part of a long and difficult sentence. He might have been right if I had written a very different sentence. But the commas here are also separating a list and the last comma follows the list. To remove the comma breaks the sentence:

This place is turning into a Shakespearean farce, with all the elements of intrigue, the clueless fools, the misdirection, the sexual confusion, and the pure nonsense, of it all played out against a backdrop of unlikely spectators.

Since I can't email him directly, what would have gone into the letter is this, as this explains the comma placement.

This place is turning into a Shakespearean farce, with all the elements of intrigue,

of it all played out against a backdrop of unlikely spectators.

Yes, I make typos. Clearly, I do. But I spend a lot of time crafting my sentence structure. Still, though the comma was correct, the word placement was wrong. It will now read, once I get the change uploaded as:

This place is turning into a Shakespearean farce, with all the elements of intrigue, the clueless fools, the misdirection, the sexual confusion, and the pure nonsense, all of it played out against a backdrop of unlikely spectators.

Please, if you are going to engage me in textual issues, give me a valid email address so that I can do this in private!

15 May 2021
Quarantine Chronicles: Jon

As is pretty normal, others, and I, have caught a number of errors in the original release of Quarantine Chronicles: Jon. The last update was uploaded, in all formats, yesterday.

If you find errors, please send me a note related to the error. I don't want to have any errors in anything I post.

29 April 2021
The Process

I write in Microsoft Word. Why? Well, with all due respect to LibreOffice and all those other word processors, they simply aren't as good. And when converting to PDFs and ebooks, nothing comes close to being as reliable. So, the PDF format of each work is as true to the original as it gets. The ebooks are stripped down versions of an MS DOC file I create by removing things that won't display in an ebook and just add unnecessary kilobytes to the ebook. So once again, the text is the original, as I wrote it.

The HTML is a different matter entirely. I copy sections of the MS DOC file to OpenOffice and save the result in an HTML format. The result is not directly usable. Besides, manually removing and rebuilding the header and footer, all the links and graphic elements have to be rebuilt, and that can't be done by OpenOffice. So a third application, an old style text editor is used. In all these steps, there are times when a portion of text simply disappears. Normally I keep the chapters in my works to about three thousand words, which makes the multi-step process less likely to create a mess. However, in this new work, and in one earlier piece, I was unable to keep the sections short. As such, if you come to a place in the HTML that doesn't seem to flow, check out the PDF or ebook and let me know if some paragraphs went AWOL.

28 April 2021
Quarantine Chronicles: Jon

I am pleased to note that Quarantine Chronicles: Jon is now available here in all formats.

28 April 2021
eBook download issue fixed

All eBook versions can now be downloaded.

25 April 2021
eBook download problems

I just became aware that my new website is not properly sending eBooks via the download facilities.

  1. I am working on it.
  2. If I can't make it work, I have tested out the downloading of ZIP files, and that works, so I would zip all the eBooks.

That's a pain and I will try to avoid that option, if I can!

Until I resolve this in some way, you should not try to grab the eBook of the new work, when I release it! The PDF options do download correctly. So if you don't want HTML, that's the only other format for now.

25 April 2021
Quarantine Chronicles: Jon

The first of the Quarantine stories will most likely be posted during the first week of May. It is with my primary editor, CN. It may receive a second proofreading before being posted.

19 April 2021
Some good news, I guess.

I have finished the first draft of something that falls in between a Novel and a Novella at a little over 44,400 words. (Typically a Novel is at least 50,000 words and a Novella is between 17,000 to 40,000 words.) But heck, a work is done when it is done, not when I have X number of words on the page. I will correct it with two proofs and then send it off to my primary editor for more proofing. So maybe in a few weeks.

10 April 2021
Contributions to the site.

I am appreciative of those four who have contributed. I can tell you that we are stable for at least two more years. I have placed the money in the account I have with the web hosting company. They tell me that they will debit that account each time a payment is due. So the more I get, the longer the site will endure. It is that simple.

08 April 2021
PDFs fixed and uploaded..

Because of the generosity of a reader (thanks David), I was able to convert all the corrected source documents into compressed PDF format amd upload them to this new site.

08 April 2021
More Housekeeping.

As far as I know, I have swatted all the bugs down on the new site. All the comment forms are working, icons appear correctly, ebooks have been uploaded with correct hyperlinks. The only thing remaining is the rebuilding of the PDFs with the correct links. Thanks to two of you for contributing. I am sad that more have not contributed. I would very much like to put this new site on firm ground. It is my intent to remove all my content from ASSTR and just provide a redirect to the new site. Let us hope I get enough contributions to keep the new site going. I am honestly tired of worrying about ASSTR.

05 April 2021
Housekeeping and BitCoin stuff.

I have spent the day working on getting the comment forms working on all the associated pages. And with the exception of the one for The InBox, which I just can't seem to get to work, that task is completed.

In the process I also cleaned up a few other problems I didn't even know existed and have been there for a long time, evidently. :-(

I am shy one more contribution to secure a year's service. I really want to nail down far more than that, but if I can nail down a year that will mean the site will not go dark in fourteen days.

The next task is to rework all the PDF's and ebooks with references to source material in ASSTR.

Some of you are feeling challenged with the BitCoin issue. I'm not sure how much help I can be, but I will try.

04 April 2021
This new website is up for 15 days ONLY unless I get more donations.

It will only stay up longer if I get more Bitcoin donations. I have been told that the minimum BitCoin purchase amount is $20 plus fees. If I can get twenty $20 donations via bitcoin, that will probably be enough to keep the site up for five years! But if I don't get anything soon, (there is a free 15 day offer on the site) the site will go down. I only received enough in donations to register the domain name! The new website is up for 15 days ONLY unless I get more donations. The new website is up for 15 days ONLY unless I get more donations. Here's the address to send money from your BitCoin wallet:

03 April 2021
At the challenge of a fellow writer...

At the challenge of a fellow writer, I am asking you, my readers, to consider the following. It has been suggested that I could secure an 'off-shore' website provider to work with me anonymously via bitcoin.

However, as I don't make a cent posting my works, are you, my readers, willing and able to each contribute some to support such a site?

The cost per month to keep the site up is pretty minimal if the site is just for me, though there might be an issue with the securing of a domain name and an SSL cert. (I would have to see what I could do about that.) I could handle all the coding for the site, so I would not need to hire anyone. All could access the site anonymously. I would be the only one who needed to login. The site would look like my site on ASSTR, except the URLs would be different.

01 April 2021
What I am not

I am not a writer of procedurals. You know, change the name, change the city, and run the same script all over again.

I tell stories that, hopefully, have some meat on the bone. Something new to tell. Something worth pursuing; A question that needs to be answered; A problem that needs to be resolved; An itch that hasn't been scratched yet and what happens when it does. They are stories placed in a locale that many of my readers will never have visited and never will. They are stories seeped in a culture with values, and realities, so different from that of the reader's that digressions, explanations, and collateral information is needed for some, but not all. And so, not wanting to bog the stories down with the minutia, I use all the technologies available to me in telling the tales. They are not ascii text on paper experiences. They defy the use of cookie-cutter third-party formatting.

It took a while for me to find my voice, my way in this process of bringing you into my world. I found a home in the one place that allowed, without limit, for me to tell stories as I needed to tell them. It was not on SOL, but here on ASSTR.

Soon enough this place in the ether will be gone and with it most of my work will be gone, too. What will remain is my early work, before I fully found my voice.

As the problem of reaching ASSTR became so very real, many have reached out to me saying where will you post next? One wanted to know, essentially, if I would admit defeat and come back to SOL.

The simple fact is that SOL, as much as I respect it and what it offers, is not a place for me for any number of reasons. I suspect the webmaster at SOL, a great guy for whom I have only sincere respect, will agree with me, especially should he have reason to review my later work, the works that cannot be posted on his site.

Sadly, there is no place for me, once ASSTR is gone unless I opened up my own website and I can't do that. You might be safe, in the country where you live, if you did it, but I would not be safe at all. I, and those who live with me, would be at great risk. I love to write, but not to the extent that I am willing to open us up to danger. I tried to push through a replacement for ASSTR but that ended in failure. So, once ASSTR is gone – and it isn't yet – my new work as a writer will not be posted anywhere, and the other pieces will only exist in the earliest forms, if at all.

29 March 2021
Not Dead Yet

Congratulations, you are here even though most folks are sure ASSTR is dead. I have no idea how long ASSTR will stay up. Clearly, the domain name registrar has the domain name as lame. Initially I thought it was an error that would be corrected soon enough. The fact that it hasn't been argues that the act was intentional. And so, I suspect the site will die soon enough. When it does, I will no longer be posting stories. There is not one site that affords me a place to post unaltered PDF versions or ebook versions (which are not as nearly as well formatted) of my works. So, when ASSTR dies, I am done posting.

06 February 2021
Back in the saddle

I had started writing a new story nine months ago and then put it down for eight months. I have started back with it and while I have no idea how long this will take me, the project is to be a quartet of stories. As I finish each one, I will post it. For what it's worth, the first one will be the Quarantine Quartet: Jon.

I stopped initially because it was simply too soon and things were becoming very confusing as to how the COVID related issues would play out. We have been living with the issues now for eleven months now. And so I find myself better prepared to put the words down in a way that tells meaningful tales.

14 January 2021
The “Portfolio” option

The “Portfolio” option containing all the stories in PDF format is no longer available. My version of Acrobat X Pro depended on Adobe Flash, and that product has been killed off due to security problems. I would have to purchase a copy of Acrobat 20 (the current version @$295, I think) to create new portfolios. (The DC option requires a cloud service which is a security problem for me.) So for now, while there are updated PDFs of the stories, there is no up to date portfolio.

10 January 2021
I may not live long enough to see it but...

I made my permanent habitat the Philippines many years ago, and so I am looking at things in the USA from afar. I do read the formal online press: AP, Reuters, NY Times, Washington Post, NPR – all, in their own ways, papers or services 'of record.' I don't depend right wing or left wing news sites. And so, in my own way, I keep abreast of doings in my country of birth.

As those who read my work closely will know, I am a moderate in many things. I hold both the right and the left in low regard. I don't like demagogues. I hold religious types and the Women's Rights movement with contempt. The Master skewered demagogues. Gordon quoted Obama. Lawrence was more a Republican. Ron took aim at the Woman's Rights movement. But above all, I hate racism and racists. I don't take sides when it comes to which religion is the one to choose, if any are. Lewis and Jake were a Jews. Craig was a Catholic. Gordon, though probably an athiest, shows respect to the followers of Islam. The others I don't specify as it wasn't needed in the stories, (but as I wrote them, my back story on Noah had him as a Methodist, Roland as an Episcopalian, and Lawrence as a Lutheran). But I don't think I treat any with more disrespect than any other. Clearly the Master is pissed with all religions but specifically with Catholics because of what happened to his wife.

And so, it should come as no surprise that I am not a fan of President Trump. Still, as much as I disliked the man, the events, of the week just past, have produced a sense of foreboding.

What we saw was an abortive putsch. Though it started at the top and not a beer hall, it was likely just the first act.

For those who don't recognize the term, you would do well to read up on the Munich “Beer Hall” Putsch of 1923.

The Beer Hall Putsch has as its historical 'big lie' precursor the claim held among some in Germany, following the end of the First World War, that Germany didn't really lose, but rather they were sold out by some generals and powerful Jewish interests. The events that would come to pass in the coming decades was rooted in lies that became powerful and widely held beliefs among the German populace.

The current assortment of big lies are denser and more numerous than Germany had back then. The one about Trump really being the winner of the 2020 election could only take hold because of a now deeply held belief that all but Trump is involved in a deep and unrelenting conspiracy against all the 'good' American people. "Good" being those who accept Trump as the only speaker of truth.

The fact that to assume a conspiracy so vast is, beyond credible, but rather laughable, is ignored by millions of Americans now.

And so, this is not the end of a bad four years or racism, misogyny, and fascism; it is the precursor of a far more dangerous period. Trump may have been a flawed messenger, but he will make for an icon, martyred or not, upon which the movement will grow ever more resolute and dangerous.

People ask me, in emails, at times, if I am worried, living in the Philippines. I am beginning to wonder if those living in the USA aren't the ones who should be worried.

17 December 2020
COVID as we experience it here

I was asked, in a comment, to post information as to how we are doing with the 'COVID panic.' And so here is a copy of what I wrote back in response.

While COVID is certainly real and it impacts all, all over the world, there is no panic here. As opposed to cultures that place individual liberties ahead of collective needs, the Philippines, like many Asian nations have had far stricter rules regarding the virus from the start. Those rules have been, for the most part, followed. The result is that we experience far fewer cases statistically and therefore far fewer deaths.

It will take, probably, the better part of the next year before we see any vaccine here. (Welcome to the third world.) I have been under quarantine since March because of my advanced age. My gals run all the errands for me. Face masks and face shields are used in all outside activities. There is no entering many businesses. Vinyl Plastic shielded 'window' portals allow customers to do business from outside the businesses. If allowed inside, the number allowed in at any time is severely limited along with temperature checks and alcohol sanitizers. We have QR Code ID cards and cannot enter most places (or travel) without producing them - as they are scanned. Grocery shopping is frequently done via online portals with delivery to the home.

COVID has changed things here, but there is no panic.

24 September 2020
A matter of version number

In The Ark, I found a question mark where there should have been an exclamation mark. It existed in all formats. I made the single change and uploaded the newer files. I did not update the version number or release date. I don't figure one punctuation change should trigger that.

18 September 2020

When it rains it pours. Today's newspaper lead with an article about how the number of children below 15 years old who had gotten pregnant has doubled in 10 years. Here's the link to the PDF of the article. In it, a man is quoted as saying, "We have roughly ... 40 to 50 10-year-old children giving birth every year." I suspect that it is probably about right. Pregnancy generally doesn't occur until two years after the onset of menstruation. As I don't imagine too many girls start menstruating at age eight, that there are 40 to 50 know pregnancies is impressive.

17 September 2020

It is never good news when any foreigner gets kidnapped. But when that foreigner is living in an area he damned sure ought not to be in because it is the home of the Abu Sayyaf, upset gives way to incredulity. How clueless or stupid do you have to be to put yourself in such a place. In the linked story here from today's newspaper, we have a story of a 64-year-old American (and his 23-year-old wife) living in Zamboanga del Norte, a province along the Sulu archipelago. I am sure his wife loves him and wants only the best for him, but you have to wonder about her too. Where they were living is simply not safe for any foreigner, let alone an American. Yes, there are beautiful young women who will marry a man forty years her senior. Yes, these women will often be the most caring and loving individuals. But, though she might not want to live far from her family, there is simply no excuse for this level of ignorance.

16 September 2020
Was the letter legit?

Is the long letter I received and posted on 13 September real, or was in an attempt to draw me out, playing on my perceived ego and desire for celebrity and importance? I have no idea. This time of year my inbox typically has grown quiet as I don't post during the summer months. It's true that this summer, due to covid, many have been at their computers but habits are hard to break and I won't post any story for a few months. So maybe the letter is legit, and maybe it was a ploy. I don't know. I do know that once it became clear that I wasn't taking the bait, if that is what it is, this morning a crude email hit my inbox offering, what I can only assume, was an alleged photo of a female. I don't know as I deleted the mail without opening it. Am I being paranoid? Maybe, but I think there is fair reason to be extremely cautious. In any case, you can read the long letter and judge for yourself. It may well be genuine. I don't think I will every really know.

25 August 2020
COVID-19, Lockdowns and Bombs in the Philippines

In the last twenty-four hours there have been two bombings, killing at least fifteen, and injuring at least seventy-five more, in Jolo. Jolo is the main island in the Sulu archipelago. There has also been a murder by four gunmen in Cotabato Province, on the island on Mindanao, of a Manobo tribal woman.

The reason for the bombings are not specifically known, but there is no paucity of theories. Is it a terror campaign? Is it part of a drug deal between rival forces within Abu Sayyaf, the army and the police? Is there an ISIS Abu Sayyaf collaborator within the Army? Is it something else? No one really knows. The newspapers list them chock-a-block.

The Manobo woman was a campaigner against illegal logging on indigenous people’s land. She was shot first and then finished off with machetes, all in front of her daughter, who fled to a neighboring house and lives.

For a couple of months now the news media have been running stories opining on the rise of sex with minors now that we are all, for much of the time, in lockdown. There are stories of related sexual issues including a rise in underage pregnancies. Even the New York Times has picked up on this and yesterday printed a long story, but limited to individuals in and around Manila, about this on their online version. As I don’t get their physical paper, I can’t say what was included there. The larger issues are more pervasive in the provinces, not Manila, but the NY Times reporter, as do most foreign correspondents, never venture out of the big city and when they do, it’s to fly to another large city.

Most Filipinos have been under quarantine and lockdown for over five months now. Outside, artificial societal constructs breakdown at such times and life returns to the ancient rhythms. It’s no surprise and the worry in the media proceeded the examples in reality because in a very essential way, we all know what happens with the outside constructs fall away. It is not a breakdown. It’s a release. It’s the natural order of things.

13 August 2020
10 percent of Filipinas aged 15 to 19 years old have already given birth at least once

Here is the news article. Gotta love the Philippines. The pregnancy rate is going through the roof with the lockdowns and quarantines that have been in place since March.

21 June 2020
Father's Day / Idle thoughts

Father's Day

25 May 2020
My status

I received an email from a 'regular' reader asking if I am OK as I had not posted here following my post on the typhoon. Others might have noticed I uploaded a new version of Monkey Read ~ Monkey Do since then, as well as updating the index pages to all the HTML versions of the stories. However, in the chance that someone else is concerned... yes, we are all OK, healthy and still in quarantine due to COVID-19.

14 May 2020
Another Typhoon for the Ark

As of this moment a “Signal No. 3” Typhoon is headed for Samar, as described in this piece from the Philippines Daily Inquirer. In The Ark I write about the ephemeral nature of most structures. Here are pictures 1 and 2 of what is happening right now.

12 May 2020
It's complicated

Many who write to me and ask about coming to the Philippines have their eyes set firmly on the 'popular' places: Manila, Angeles City, Cebu, Baguio, Dumaguete, and Palawan. They are, with the exception of Cebu, places I never write about. Why? Because they are not settings that make sense for the stories I am telling.

Yes, fifty percent of all Filipinos live on Luzon, but that leaves the other half and it is the disadvantaged of that other half that interests me the most. I have spent a great deal of time writing stories that are set on Mindanao, and I do so for very good reasons.

Economically, it has the greatest challenges and has historically gotten the short end of the stick.

Socially, it is a land of oppressors and the oppressed, though the oppressors don't see themselves as that. However, the natives on the island, who represent a number of different tribes, customs, languages and traditions, are all lumped into the category of Lumad, which simply means natives. They were pushed off their lands by government settlment programs in the 1950s and 1980s. Among many on Mindanao, the Lumad are seen as untrustworthy, difficult, poorly educated, and lower class. The Muslims, (the Moro) on Mindanao are percentage-wise more populous on the island than they are on the other islands of the nation and they too see themselves as not fully first-class citizens in many ways.

Intracultural (clan) violence on the island sets it apart as well. This is exacerbated by the reality that the Moro have had a multi-decade armed conflict with the national government. That conflict was not a unified one but rather created splinter groups. Now, even though for many of those groups the conflict is over, they have been fighters and many retain their arms. As the conflict with the national government is seemingly resolved, they look to settle old scores between their clans which gives rise to the article I attach here.

And so, it is on Mindanao where the inequities, the sense of the insurmountable give rise to the realities that I write about. In the article I have linked, you can get a glimpse of an unstable population where things become possible that might not be otherwise.

25 April 2020
Conversion blues.

It seems like a never ending effort. Each time the ebook conversion software produces an update, something new goes wrong with the ebook conversions. This time it was the loss on all italics or the dialog in four works. Plus I found the loss of italics in the second chapter of the PDF of Retirement too!

All have been fixed and uploaded along with a typo that was reported today in Gang Aft Agley.

I have an updated Volume One of the collected works with the revision date on 25 April. Please note that the volume contains PDF's only. There isn't a way to create a portfolio of ebooks. The closest that can be done is to zip them all.

19 April 2020
What happens after ASSTR is no more?

I, and others, tried to put together a new ASSTR-like site, but that effort failed.

A number of you have asked me what my plan might be after ASSTR dies. I said that my best guess is that my work would no longer be available. However, it seems to me that there might be a way if only because I may have been selling some of you way too short.

I am already greatly benefiting from the largess of the purchase of a subscription to Zamzar where I can produce my PDF versions. One of you has paid for that and I am truly grateful for that financial gift.

I also note that on occasion people have asked me where they can donate. There is no way that I have found workable and so none exists. But maybe we can harvest these potentials to create something workable.

Here's an idea. Most will think it's a bad idea, but if some one or more than one is willing to take it on, it just might work.

    1. If someone(s) will register a domain-name, with service for a 'naked' website on a virtual server, whereby I can establish a new site for my work, that would be step number one. (i.e. not one where I must use their web creation tools but where I can upload my one code, that would work.)
    2. If the service used (the provider who has the actual equipment) would allow a 'notation page' that pay them for the ongoing service, then after the original payment, it might be self supporting from then on. (i.e. the money for the donations goes to the service provider, not me.)

I would be able to maintain the site and still be anonymous, and the service would exit long after ASSTR disappears. While ASSTR remains up, I would create forwarding HTML docs that would take anyone clicking on one of my ASSTR links directly to the new site.

Financially this might be a cooperative of a few of you, a sort of 'Friends of VWA.'

17 April 2020
Fourth Edition: The Joshua Tree

Out of simple desire to malinger rather than get back to work on the current project, I reread The Joshua Tree only to realize I, like a fool, had used Tagalog where I should have used Cebuano. In the process I caught a few other small errors and one significant consistency error which changed a entire section ... all until I got the last chapter where I found I had simply fucked up. There was a whole chapter's worth of material that had never been covered and what was there was horribly out of order. I have spent the last two days writing a whole new section and altering much of the rest of the last chapter. In the end, what you have is a new edition of the story, a good three thousand words longer (actually more). For those who have a complete set and want an update to volume one, drop me a note and I will send it off to you. But you might want to wait a day of to as I am sure I will get hit with a number of things that need correcting!

12 April 2020

A number of you have sent emails or messages asking if I am OK here regarding COVID-19. Yes, all are OK so far. I am not so sanguine as to think we are not in danger, everyone is. However, as I look out from my office window via the wonder of the Internet, I note that the spread of the disease in the Philippines is minimal as compared to other locales. I certainly wouldn't want to be in the USA, or China, or the UK or the EU, or Brazil right now.

Everyone here is, by law, sheltering in-place. There are no options for me as I am older than fifty-nine. But everyone else here is also sheltering in-place in this house and so the chances of infection are lower if for that reason alone.

I hope all of you are also staying safe and staying at home. Please keep in mind that Hope and Faith are not substitutes for care and caution.

11 April 2020

I have been engaged in writing a quartet of stories based on the quarantine, but have been sidetracked due to a comment about errors in Fifteen. It was clear that the reader had read the HTML version and so I reread that and found a number of problems with the HTML code that was unique to the HTML release and a few that were also in the PDF and ebook releases. As a result I have reposted Fifteen in all versions.

28 March 2020
New Collected Works: Both Volumes available via email

If you want the updated collected works with the fixed Bayan Na and the new The Ark included, give me your email address and each will be sent 24 hours separating Volume One and Volume Two so that those with limitations on their inboxes can clear the first out before receiving the second.

27 March 2020
Bayan Na & invalid email addresses.

Bayan Na has been re-released as a third edition. All the formating errors are resolved and new text has been added in a few section. It's not a lot of new text, but there are new paragraphs.

Just a reminder. If you send me a message and are looking for an answer, make sure your return address is valid. I got an email today seeking a response. I took the time and sent it off only to have the mail bounce back as the email address was invalid.

24 March 2020
Bayan Na.

I have put an interim release of the PDF and ebook versions of Bayan Na on ASSTR. Evidently the conversion from Times Roman to Garamond fonts I made a while back really screwed up the italics in the entire document. I did a crude but significant fix yesterday. That was posted as it is far better than what was there previously. I am now rereading the entire document and am fixing things as I work, slowly, page by page. Once done, I will: (1) post a message here; (2) repost the documents on ASSTR; (3) rebuild the completed works and release them with both the repaired Bayan Na and The Ark.

22 March 2020
Pandemics and Readers.

The pandemic has created a surge in those of you stuck at home and reading stories. How do I know this? By the surge in emails asking for new stories, that's how. For those who aren't aware, my newest novel, The Ark, was posted last month and can be found via my home page with links to all the formats.

While I have an itch to start writing again, I don't have a story in mind yet. Maybe it is too soon since the last novel.

Just like many of you, I am quarantined at home. The gals can venture out, one at a time, during the hours between the curfew restrictions, but are limited to how far then can travel even then. We have all the supplies we need, including over 150 kilos of rice. For you in the USA, that converts to 330lb of rice. We won't starve.

16 March 2020
The Ark seems stable.

The Ark appears to be stable in its current form. I have not gotten any corrections in over ten days. In celebration of that, I have removed the error counter from this page. If I don't get any more corrections in the next thirty days, I will include it in the 'Complete Works' volume 2.

At present there is no story underway, but I am feeling the itch to get back at it. It takes more than an itch to get going, but I the COVID-19 has me thinking about mortality, and that has gotten me thinking about what comes next.

06 March 2020
It's never error free.

As predicted, I have received, until yesterday, at least one report of errors in the text of The Ark every day. There have been none today so far, but that is far from an endorsement of an error free text! It isn't just one person making the reports. I suspect that while the volume of reports will reduce over the next couple weeks, it will not be until April before I can consider the text stable. At that time, I will remove the error counter from this page.

03 March 2020
Finding a balance

I truly welcome those who notify me of errors. And those that do will find that I fix the errors and repost the HTML immediately as well as correct the source documents for the PDF and ebooks. When the errors are in a story I have posted a long time ago, the PDF and ebooks will also be immediately reposted with the correction.

There then comes the matter of those who decide they don't like the text, not because of an error, but because they don't like the text. As I explained, I hope nicely, to such a request just yesterday:

I accept comments regarding errors. But you aren't welcome to offer rewrites. As an author once told me in 2001,

If you think you know how to write, then write. 'nuff said?'

And it was. I never offered such comments after that. My editor flags things he finds awkward, and I clean those things up. But there [are] typically reasons for wording that may not be apparent, while you are on the particular page, but will become important later.

And finally, there is the matter of punctuation. I freely admit I get it wrong sometimes, but there is also the reality that punctuation is not always encased in hard and fast rules. For instance, I like the oxford comma, but there are times it is extraneous. There are times when a semi-colon isn't what is 'technically' allowed and yet is appropriate for the sentence and the concept being advanced. I spend a vast amount of time with CN, my primary editor over such issues. That is not to say that if you feel punctuation is wrong that you should remain silent. It is to warn you that such comments may not result in a change in the text.

I hope this explanation will soothe any hurt feelings now and in the future.

27 February 2020
On why works like mine don't break out into a larger audience

Would I like my books to get reviewed in mainstream media, even if not lovingly? Sure.

Would I like word of mouth recommendations, and social media, to spread the word about each new release? Of course I would. Though I am well aware that it would probably mean being bombarded with hate mail I thankfully avoid now. So, on balance, it possibly would be a bad idea.

Look, I get fan mail each day following the release of a new work. But as much as those fans mean every word they put in the messages I receive, I am willing to bet that not a one of them will ever recommend my work to another person.

The reason why is pretty obvious. Do you talk about what you read here?

And so, no, I am essentially, hermetically sealed in this bubble of readers who do read my work but will never recommend the works to anyone else.

I am not complaining, as I would be in the same category and clearly demand anonymity under my pen name.

As the emails full of praise hit me, and they have for the past three days, I am grateful for the kind words, while mindful that my audience will always be small and circumscribed.

26 February 2020
The Ark: Second Edition

The lack of a preface (evidently needed) has been added, which creates a second edition.

23 February 2020
The Ark error count

Each time I get word of a new error, I will post the following: Under the Red F the total number of errors recognized so far. Under the Blue H will note a new file updated and uploaded in the HTML version. The Black P and E numbers will note the number of fixes in the source document for the PDF and the ebooks but not uploaded as a new revision. The Blue P and E will note uploaded revisions and with each new revision the counters for the Black P and E will be reset to zero.

22 February 2020
The Ark

The novel is now posted here.

22 February 2020
Later today or tomorrow.

When The Ark is published it will still have errors in it. I know that for the simple reason that I have never published anything that was error-free and there is no reason to believe this will be any different. If you find an error, please drop me a note with the format you were reading and the actual text of the error. By that I mean, tell me if you are reading it on the HTML, PDF or ebook format. The error may appear in only one format and not the others. With any luck the novel will be released on the 22nd or the 23rd.

19 February 2020
The Ark will be published within the week.

I expect to publish my new novel, The Ark, before the end of February. It will be published in all formats (PDF, ePub, mobi, azw3 and HTML) simultaneously. For the truest read of the novel as it was created, the PDF is the only answer. All the other formats are conversions, however it is worth noting that the HTML conversion may be the most useful, though none of the conversions are fully faithful to the original. The novel will not be included in my collected works for a few months until I am confident most of the errors have been excised from the text.

18 February 2020
A Public Service Announement here.

Want To Deny Reality?

9 January 2020
The Ark first draft is completed.

The initial first draft of The Ark is complete. That means only that I have gotten to a place where I could type The End. Now comes my first edit, and then my audio edit, where I listen to the story. From there it will be sent to my highly skilled and rigorous editor, CN. Between my edits and his, we will likely burn through a good two months if not more. The novel, then in its fourth draft, will be sent to no more than three proofreaders. I already have one on the list. If you offered to proof before but didn't get through the previous novel before dropping out, please don't raise your hand. This novel is over one hundred and sixty thousand words and fifty-two chapters. It will be a bear to proof. I don't expect to release it until the very end of March. It may take a bit longer.

7 January 2020
MultiMedia in PDFs

I need your feedback!

Up to now, I have used audio files on the ASSTR website to be called when needed in the PDF versions. As I assume that ASSTR will at some time in the near future disappear, I have been playing with embedding the actual files in the PDFs. But that significantly enlarges the size of the PDF. For instance SOUL.PDF is currently 748KB. By adding an even reduced quality/size mp3 audio that same file becomes 3,091KB. Plus, the PDF will require that Adobe Flash Player to be installed in your version of Adobe Reader DC to play it. Older versions of Reader will probably tell you that you are running software that is too old. You would have to both update the package and then convince your operating system to allow the Adobe Flash to be installed. I have uploaded a version of the PDF if you care to play with it before you render your verdict. It can be found here. The audio can be found on page 13 of the story. (Not 13 of the PDF, but rather look at the page numbering at the bottom of the pages.) What say you?

10 December 2019
Child Marriage in the Philippines

Here’s another real world example of how what I write about is not fantasy, but the truth. The stories are fiction; but they are based on the underlying reality of life on these islands. And so I give you today’s headline.

Fifteen percent of Filipino girls were married before their 18th birthday, and 2 percent of girls married before the age of 15. And for you math impaired, that's one out of every fifty is married at fourteen or younger.

All Saints Day 2019
Collected works PDF

Realized the collected works needs a cover page. The size of todays release is 17MB.

31 October 2019
Collected works PDF

I now have a new PDF version of my collected works. The size is about 15.5MB and all my published non-fiction works are included. As I don't think it is fair to post such a large and essentially repetitive piece on ASSTR, if anyone wants it, please drop me a note with an email address that will allow such a large attachment.

24 October 2019
Taking a break turns into a re-write

I found my way working through all of Fifteen. In it I found errors in the text; Dialog was improperly formatted; there where incomplete sentence structures where the meaning remained in my head rather than on the page. Most of it was in the final two sections of the book. For the html version I have removed the link to the reference to the names and ages of the girls until there have already be introduced in the text. The revised version has been released as the Third Edition.

21 October 2019
Taking a break

There are times I put a piece of work aside for a week or two. I am at that point now. With thirty-five chapters written, which amounts to over one hundred thousand words, I am still far from any hope of completion. Oh, I know where I am headed and will get there, but I just need a break from it for a bit.

My attention has been diverted into frivolous activity.

That currently is my OCD need to fix issues that bug my eyes when I look at my web pages. This time it relates to the issue of 'kerning' in HTML. I searched and searched until some coding gurus provided me a coding solution that was far from apparent to me. For the last three days I have worked through the stories and fixed a number of pages where kerning helps the text.

When will I return to the current novel? Probably in a day or two, but don't expect to see it until after the new year.

9 October 2019

When my stories reference wage issues and the related quality of life, it seems to me that there is in the mind of some in the first world the belief that I am only referencing the ill-prepared and uneducated. In the link here, I offer you a glimpse into current day realities in the Philippines. But in case you don't want to click on the link, here is an interesting little bit of the text:

When she decided to resign last year, Bea’s basic monthly pay was only about ₱18,000. It was well below the monthly budget of at least ₱42,000 that, according to the National Economic and Development Authority, a family of five needed to live above the poverty line in 2018.

As of this post the US$ to Philippine₱ is 1:51 so ₱18,000 is equivalent to ~$353. Yes, a highly skilled nurse earns about three hundred and fifty dollars a month. A single room apartment may cost between ₱8,000 and ₱15,000 depending on where in the Philippines you are living. Teachers are currently starting at about ₱20,000 per month and most no matter how many years they are teaching will never get above ₱38,000. Now if you are flipping burgers at Jollibee's you aren't getting ₱10,000/mo.

A BS graduate in business accounting, working twenty years as a chief bookkeeper in a major firm, may only be making ₱18,000.

So even the employed are looking a way out of their mess.

25 September 2019
It's slow going right now...

I am twenty-two chapters into my current effort with over sixty-seven thousand words down, but it's slow going. On good days I get maybe one thousand words down. On really bad days nothing gets written. There are three sections with a bridge between the first and the second. I am in that bridge right now and it is proving to be a little challenging to get it right. As this is likely going to be a very long piece, I can't forecast when it will be ready, but I am sure it will not see the light of day before the next calendar year. October is almost here, I have far more to write and then it needs to go through the rewrites and two or three edits. Still, so long as ASSTR stays up, it will eventually see the light of day.

22 September 2019
I owe one of my readers quite a lot

I have been given a gift of a paid subscription to the Zamzar file conversion website which has solved the problem I was having faithfully converting my MS Word documents to the PDF format while at the same time keeping the files of a small size. If I wasn't concerned with the need to protect his identity I would have been happy to name him. This was a remarkable gift of kindness.

I have uploaded newly saved PDFs of all my fiction to this website. Every one of them is of a smaller total size than they would have been if saved as a PDF from MS Word directly. Oddly, once I get them converted by Zamzar, I can then re-save them in Adobe Acrobat X Pro via the reduced size option and they get even smaller! The reduced size option does not work to reduce the file if the file was saved via MS Word.

17 September 2019
Cops and Drugs

Here's an article in today's Philippine Daily Inquirer that ought to give you pause and go further to reinforce the reality of some of the shit in Soul. Just saying... Just click here.

13 September 2019

The good news, from my standpoint at least, is that Zamzar is now converting the files with the proper fonts. There is an issue with blank pages occurring at chapter breaks because their conversion is not exactly mimicking some spacing/format rules I have in my Word doc. It's an annoyance but everything else is either good or great. I am still limited to two attempts per day, but one of you has offered to pay for the subscription which will free me of that hurdle.

For those of you who do download my PDF versions, it means that the files will be far smaller without compromising quality.

10 September 2019
Comment form updated & Zamzar

Until today, I have allowed comments without a name or email address to be processed. However, after a bit of head scratching on my part, I decided to make both mandatory. All should know by now that I do not expose your name or email addresses when you send in comments. I never have and I never will. And by doing this change, I know that I will see a few fake names, however, it may help a bit. I can only hope.

I did get an email from Zamzar. It came in just an hour after I retired for the night. They asked for a couple of the DOCX files to see what is going wrong. So maybe things will get fixed. If it does, as one of you has graciously offered to pay for the subscription to the service, I might yet be able to post PDFs going forward.

10 September 2019
PDFs and Zamzar

I was wrong. Zamzar is not the answer as it is not converting the fonts correctly. So while the size is good and the other issues that were plaguing all the other on-line services were not evident, it is still not acceptable.

I have sent an email to the Zamzar support email address, but in all honesty I don't expect anything useful back. When I noted a problem with WPS I sent an email and got nothing useful. Last year when I sent an email to Nitro about their conversion application nothing good came of it.

I may suspend the PDF format, even though it is the potentially truest to what I create.

08 September 2019
More on PDF files

A different (at least I think he's different) anonymous user suggests I try Foxit PhantomPDF software. The price is in the doable range and there is a 14 day free trial. I download and install it. I have tried seven conversion tools previously. Each has presented problems. Foxit is a disaster. I include here a snip of a test set of conversion attempts. So far Zamzar with its two per-day limit is the only one that actually works and then doing the Adobe compression after it creates a fantastic result. No other option comes close.

Here is the way to decipher what you are seeing. The DOCX is the original file from Word. The FX, FX2 and FX3 are the Foxit conversions including a reduced size save option and an optimized save option. The MS means I saved as a PDF from Word directly. Zamzar is the file as converted from the on-line Zamzar service. Zamzar-Adobe means I then opened the Zamzar PDF in Adobe Pro X and saved as a reduced size. I simply can't find anything that comes close to what I get when starting with Zamzar.

File sizes

08 September 2019
PDF files

The conversion of docx file to PDX has become harder.

(It is possible that if I had a more current version of Adobe Acrobat Pro, it might not be a problem, but I seem to have a bit of a issue as I am not in the USA. I bought the product in the USA. The USA site seems to allow me to download the replacement, but it (a) replaces the current product and (b) doesn't tell me how much the new product will cost! The Asia site doesn't even give me that option. And as I don't get ANY money from these stories, the cost of software upgrades is a real burden.)

For a brief period I was using WPS Office to create the PDF's but it is now having problems with some of the footer code. I could remove some of that code, but I really don't want to. These novels are so fucking long that the footer info is really something I want to keep.

The conversion of the 7MB DOCX Word 2013 file to a PDF file is creating a 40MB file when saving as a PDF in Word 2013. All the elements are preserved but the file is way too large.

Without the proper footer info, I have been able to save the PDF as ~3MB file! I am playing around with the online ZAMZAR conversion tool, but am limited to two conversions a day. If there is a debug issue, and there always is, the two file a day limit makes it a real hassle. Over three days of debugging, it did create a good PDF of 5.4MBs. I was able to then save as a reduced size using Acrobat Pro X and it saved the file as a 1.8MB PDF! If I could create an account on ZAMZAR and pay, it might be fine, but anonymity issues creates the problem as I am limited to the two per day. Using TOR, there is no real back-trace issue if I don't download the file and email it to my VWA email address.

So for the time being, while I will attempt to keep a current version of the PDF version on the ASSTR site, these uploads will lag behind all other format uploads. But at least as I upload them from now on they should be smaller files.

30 August 2019
Bat-shit crazy

First-world woman can be and often are bat-shit crazy about gender issues. As my example for the day, take Ms Arwa Mahdawi in her article in the Guardian today entitled Men now avoid women at work — another sign we're being punished for #MeToo.

The article is worth a read if only because Ms Mahdawi is a classic case of the problem with gender politics.

No one I have ever met is going to argue that unwanted sexual contact, or attempted sexual contact doesn't occurs in the world, be it at the workplace or elsewhere. It has been the case since any species divided itself into male and female types. It is simply reality. It is a reality that some, mostly women, but some men too, don't either want to acknowledge it or are bat-shit crazy to think it can be wished, or legislated away. It can't.

Further, it has been the case that most men, and some women, have at one or more times in their lives been accused of such a thing falsely: sometimes because sarcasm falls on clueless ears, sometimes because of misunderstandings, sometimes out of pure meanness or evil intent.

The relations between men and women will always be freighted with the sexual tensions that are part of our reason for living. This comes under the category of 'the world is not fair.' It isn't and nothing can be done to make it fair. Any suggested fix simply changes who is screwed and how many are screwed. That is unless your goal is to make everyone equally miserable. It won't fix anything, but I guess maybe in Ms Mahdawi's world, misery loves company, though in all honesty, that is not what she seems to want. What she wants is a fantasy.

No one I know wants to risk being accused of something such as what comes under the #MeToo banner for the simple reason that one is presumed and assessed guilty, a priori. There is no fix, no meaningful defense. Being accused is all it takes.

One of the understandable results of the #MeToo movement is exactly what Ms Mahdawi bewails. To all the Mahdawis in the world, all I can say is, you brought this on yourselves. Yes, the world is not fair. Yes, men can be and are at times rapacious. [Yes, I am aware of the crude double entendre.] Yes, you can push back as you did. But to then complain about the understandable result of that push-back, is dull-witted.

All actions have consequences. Winning a battle, is not the same as winning a war. In this case, you have changed the terms of where the injuries will be incurred and the nature of the injuries to be incurred. The #MeToo movement freed few and has created more far victims. Actions have consequences... just not always the ones you had cluelessly hoped for.

11 August 2019
Another dispatch from Mr. Anonymous.

Sir, if you refuse to provide a return address, I will treat you as a troll from now on and simply ignore your messages.

Mr. Anonymous claims there are lots of HTML5 errors on my main index page. Click here and you will see that there are NO issues. I don't give a rip what your read mode shows or doesn't show.

4 August 2019

I guess I want to say a word about my 'artsy' web pages. I grant you that they are different. I spent some of my younger years, and through to today, working in and around text layout, graphic design, from California job boxes of cold type, to Linotype, to the art fonts of Letraset, to IBM Selectric Composers, to Adobe Postscript fonts, True Type and Open Type . It never was a living, at least not for long, but it has been a lifelong interest of mine, one I have had reason to dabble in over the decades.

There is a 'but' here. I don't do it to play. My interest is to follow the rules I learned over the years.

Pages should be clean. Move the clutter out. Make what may be needed, by some, still available, but don't mess up the page by sticking things in that not everyone needs to see.

For that reason I have moved things to footnotes and popups.

Some fonts may be common, but are harder to read for prolonged periods of time. Avoid them! Times Roman is fine for newspaper length articles, but it is horrible for longer texts because the weight of the letters is simply too heavy. Sans-Serif is only good for brief messages, such as a SMS text, or a headline. It is death on longer text. Good book fonts should be lighter on the ink. Serifs don't need to be exaggerated to assist the eye.

For that reason I have chosen different fonts for my novels. It makes a longer read easier.

Books cannot do all the things the web can do, but there are things we have over the last century come to expect from books that most websites don't offer. I find that unacceptable. Books have cover art that communicates something the author wants you to see before you see the first word. Is it necessary? No, but I like the tradition.

My PDF versions of my offerings have these cover pages. The idea to incorporate them into the website allowed me to restore to the HTML something that was missing. The indexes are still in the works, but in truth they are a holdover from the chapterized, serialized nature of longer works when posted on the web. An HTML page containing one hundred and fifty thousand words doesn't work. Still, when you start on one of my works, it is only useful to get back to where you left off as physical bookmarks don't work on screens. But by minimizing the chapters in the index and making the title clickable, taking you to the cover page, which when clicked on, brings you into the printed word makes for a book. It sets the table.

Stories should have personalities. Chapter heading fonts are selected to impart that.

When you buy a book in a store, you get more than a nondescript font on an unformatted page. The publisher selects a font, selects the size of the page, assigns an artist to design the cover art, chooses small details you may not even notice. Was the first letter the same size font as the ones that follow? Was there a use of small caps? Are breaks in text and time noted somehow? Is there color anywhere? Is there a foreword or a preface? And you, when you lift that book up you are presented with far more than the words. You are presented with that accumulation of things designed to convey much more to you.

My office, where I write my stories, has walls of bookcases filled with these wonderful things, books.

To write, really write, not just whip out a stroke story, but write a novel that has substance to it, is an act of creation. The writer may be gifted, or a clod. But, it is still an act of intentional art. To then argue that a site is artsy is to deny that art is essential to the undertaking.

I am not lucky enough to have the assistance of graphic artists, layout design experts, or anyone in this effort. It is just me. Maybe I am a clod. Could be. But this website contains my best efforts. That I tinker with it as I do from time to time, only is because there are details I think need improving based on the ideas expressed here.

26 July 2019
Gang Aft Agley: Second Edition

After I received an email about this story last week, I decided to take another look at it. While the comment I received wasn't anything I needed to deal with, I did find that I had some significant structural problems with the story. And so, some items have simply been changed, some text removed and other text added, sequences adjusted, motivations clarified in once case, and a whole lot of other piddly shit. Anyway, so much has changed that it warrants being called a second edition.

23 July 2019
An answer to Mr. Anonymous and an example for the rest of us.

Mr. Anonymous, asserting that he dislikes my artsy webpages and prefers "read mode," says that he has no problems reading Soul.

For those who have not read Soul, my only truly 'mystical tale,' there is a character who can transmit and read thoughts as plain as spoken speech. The only clue to the reader than the characters are engaging in this 'silent conversation' is that the text in those moments is blue and not black.

(I have now tried 'Reader View' on Edge, Chrome and Firefox, on Linux, on Android, and on Windows. There is no Apple here. But in all tests the results are identical. And so I will assume that Mr. Anonymous sees the same thing.)

This is what the beginning of chapter 25 of Soul looks like.
Soul view 1

Here is what Mr. Anonymous is seeing.
Soul view 2

It is clear. As much as some folks want all literature to be only one way, that just isn't real life. I can't stop Mr. Anonymous from reading my work in the manner he is, but I can point out to all that anyone who does so has no clue what is on the page because that person is not to reading the page.

22 July 2019
Bayan Na, Second Edition

I have made enough textual changes in parts of the book that it warrants being called a Second Edition. It never fails that, when I take a look at a piece I wrote years ago, I see things that are simply wrong. And so it is this time. The story is the same, but elements are changed to make it better fit time-wise. At the same time, I found some lame links and repaired them. A few footnotes have been added. All formats have been uploaded.

22 July 2019
Read Mode

I knew about 'Read Mode' as it has been common in word processors for many years, I was totally ignorant of it in browsers until I recently noticed on my android phone. I didn't use it, but I knew it was there.

Recently, one of you contacted me regarding both a problem that read mode was picking up with my HTML code. I was able to fix the primary issue as it really was an error that browsers ignore, but wasn't HTML5 compliant. A second issue was mentioned, the lack of the forwarding link at the end of the HTML page to the next chapter. The individual reporting the problem was using an Apple product, Safari.

I wondered, can I see the problem in another platform as I don't use Safari nor Apple products in general?

I have Firefox and Chrome on my Debian Linux PC and neither displayed an icon for “read mode/ reader view.” A quick search on Firefox tells me that the icon only appears of the page is compatible with than mode. I am still looking at how that is coded.

I saw a note that reader view is available on Microsoft edge and fired that up on a Win 10 PC. Sure enough I was able to see my stories in reader view. And I was not only able to confirm that the problem noted, when using Safari on an Apple product, is reproduced by the MS Edge version, I discovered something far more important.

My HTML work should NEVER be read in reader view on ANY web browser! It messes up the story so badly in many cases that the story becomes impossible to understand correctly. Sure, not all, but enough that it is an abomination! It totally fucks up Soul and many of my other stories. If I could force browsers to not display my HTML pages in Reader View, I would make the fix today!

If you want a 'reader view' of my stories, use an ebook version. There are ebook readers for Apple, Windows, Android. At least then you will be reading what was written and not looking at it through a cheese grater!

21 July 2019

To the anonymous person who complained about 'cruft' in the code for Bayan Na: I checked the code with a site that validates HTML5 code and found that an errant ';' existed in almost every page. I removed the semicolon and all pages validate correctly. If your Safari browser is still complaining, it's time for another browser as the pages display fine in Firefox and Chrome. If Safari is now happy, then all I can say is that it was a good catch and thank you for the message. All this would have been private except for the fact that I didn't have an email address for you. There are places which can provide you with a private email address and which you can access via a tor browser and a VPN.

11 July 2019
The Rainy Season Fifth Edition and other stuff

I have just finished a long process of re-editing and re-issuing The Rainy Season. While the arc of the story remains as it was, there have been significant textual changes in a number of sections regarding matters of citizenship. I have also corrected time sequences that were just not right before. Other technical changes, hundreds of them were also made.

The first of the “other stuff” regards this website. For a few of months I was unable to post anything here as the site was reporting it was out of disc-space. Further, the author index no longer includes me. (Last month it mentioned others and not me. Today clicking on the 'v' it is essentially empty of all the authors.) So the ASSTR site is in its death throes. At present, if you have my site bookmarked or search for 'VeryWellAged ASSTR', you will be able to reach me. It is unclear how long that will continue.

I had totally given up writing for publication because of my inability to upload anything. However, as I can again upload files, I will try to get another story out this year.

As all this will disappear one day soon, I guess, for those who want to read my works in the future, downloading the PDFs or the ebook versions is the best bet.

The next of the other stuff regards life in the Philippines where the rules for foreigners and 'law' at times is total disregarded as you might read in this story referencing a fifteen-year-old fiancee or this story referencing rogue cops which tracks with what is written in Soul.

15 April 2019
Messages from forms and emails

FYI : With very few exceptions, I acknowledge with a reply, every message initially(*) sent to me. Yesterday there were four messages. (*If there are then back and forth emails, not every email sent following the initial email will get a reply.) Am I anxious to chat and build a long term friendship? No. But I do appreciate each of you who take the time to write. You deserve to know I have read your message and have considered what you have said. If clarification is needed, then I will follow up on those points. Some of you are regulars and I am happy to see your messages when they appear. As those of you who write know. I do not post every letter I get. Just like the four I got yesterday or the three the day before, none will appear on the letters page.

11 April 2019
Out of juice

As I am completely out of juice, so to speak, I decided to play around with the index pages on the ASSTR website.

It's a hobby, if you will, because, rather than use a fancy web design program, I do all my coding with a text editor. And the one I use isn't even a current one. Rather, it hasn't been updated in twenty years. If you check on Wikipedia (here's the link) you will see that I must not be the only one who uses it for programming. I know there are better programs, but this is the one I have been using for thirty years.

The benefit is that my code is written in a structured manner that allows me to find problems and fix them without creating an ungodly mess of code that cannot be deciphered. I can then run my results through an HTML5 compliance checker to see if there are any coding violations that exist in spite of the code actually working.

Anyway, that is what the current activity from me with uploads is all about. I had fun integrating the titles tightly into the format buttons.

I have no idea when I will start on what will be my twenty second piece of fiction. I haven't a clue what it will be about.

05 April 2019
Fifteeen: Second Edition

I have finished the post-publish re-edit on Fifteen. There were a number of errors in consistency, as well as typos, grammatical issues, unclear text that needed a bit of rework. All that has been completed and an Afterword has been added. The reason for the afterword relates to some questions and comments I have received in email regarding the characters.

One thing that doesn't get addressed in the new section is a comment I have received a few times now. For the record, this story is not a personal account of my life. I know some of you think it is. But it really isn't. Of course if you are a government official, you are welcome to assume as much. You might as well waste your time with this as much as with the other protagonists I have created!

31 March 2019

There is a sense of loss once a long piece, a novel, is posted. And yet while I am writing there is a sense of isolation, being unable to share, not knowing when I will be done. And then when done, knowing that I must revisit all of it over and over through the editing process. Just when I have been living with it for months, if not a year, I have to go back through it three, four, five times. I don’t want to see it at all and yet I must before I can post. And then it is posted, and what happens? More things that need fixing. For two weeks it is, fix this, now fix that! And then there is quiet. I am not reading it. I am not fixing. I am not engaged in a new project.

I feel empty. I know I need to get busy with a new piece, but there is nothing inside me that is ready to do so. There is no story to tell. There is that sense of loss.

Writing is an addiction. The only time it feels good is when I am in the middle of a piece of writing where I have the beginning, the middle and the end in mind and it can just spill out on the page. Even within a novel, there are pages that encapsulate that reality, only to come to a stop as I look at what has been written and think, yes, that is good, but how do I move on from here?

Those brief hours, interspersed by the hard work of getting the story down and into to the next set of pages that tumble out, is where most of the real joy comes from. There is joy in the posting of it, but that is followed by the urgent, almost panicky, fixing what was wrong and not caught before the posting.

The kind comments I receive, when I do, is gratifying. It is more than nice to know that my efforts are successful to at least some readers. But it is also a challenge. Not one contained within the letters but rather felt internally. What comes next? Why did this one resonate and others not as well? For instance, I got an incredibly flattering letter, which I have not posted, that said in part, Simply the best yet. Have enjoyed all of your other stories too, but Fifteen tops them all.

It is gratifying to read, but why is Fifteen better? In all honesty, I think other works of mine are tighter and in ways better than Fifteen, on a plot and story arc basis. I ask myself, what do I need to do to top this? Why is this seen as the best by some? The comment quoted was not the only one to evince that sentiment.

The keyboard sits below me, and there is nothing I have to give it. The screen sits waiting to be filled again with a new story that has yet to exist. I feel both drained and frustrated. There is nothing in the tank. When will it come? Will it be any good? How can I know if it is good? And there, at the core of it all is a sense of loss.

28 March 2019
Fifteen: Updates

I am working through Fifteen again, slowly, chapter by chapter, a day or two between each chapter. I am not looking for errors. I am looking for ways to improve the text, to make things clearer. Every once in while I find a tense error. These updates are posted in the HTML immediately and are accumulating in the primary text. As there have been no glaring errors yet I have seen no reason to set a new version number and update the PDF and ebook versions.

20 March 2019
Fifteen: Wow.

The emails keep on coming, yesterday, the 19th and today, yet again. There has also been an eight fold increase on folks on SOL reading my earlier works there, I did post on the blog there that my newest novel can be found here. And I supplied the URL to the site here… so why are folks reading my stuff there? All the stuff that is there is also here and in a cleaned up better format. It’s just weird.

18 March 2019
Fifteen: response

I woke this morning to six emails waiting for me, all related to Fifteen. In the past three days there have been fourteen emails. I admit to being amazed by the response. While I have gotten many emails in the past regarding my work, they normally come a week or more after the release. And then they just sort of dribble in, maybe two or three a week.

This level of response is something very new for me. I am happy to know Fifteen is being well received. It took a long time to write.

… And as opposed to more traditionally structured novels like Monkey Read ~ Monkey Do and Sideways, Fifteen didn’t have a ‘crisis’ to resolve and then a fast coda. I really didn’t know how it would be received because of that.

There is no reason to post the 'praise' in the Letters page. I appreciate your kind words, but they are for me, and not the world. Just know I read all of the messages.

16 March 2019
Fifteen: your feedback and errata

For all of you who have been emailing or using the form to tell me how much you have enjoyed the novel, all I can say is, thanks! I have not had such a quick and enthusiastic response from anything I have written before. The fact that those of you, who have done so, have clearly plowed through the novel so fast, all I can say is, wow. It is a long read. You honor me.

There have been errors found since the release and I am still working though everything once again, chapter by chapter posting the revisions. To those who have alerted me to some of these errors, thank you.

14 March 2019

Finally! Fifteen is released. Any and all errors you find are mine and mine alone. Though my dedicated editor, CN, did all he could to clean up the mess, it is my mess and all the errors are my doing. So when you find errors, please be so kind as to note them and sent me a message with the error included. I will clean it up for future readers.

12 March 2019
Getting close: Fifteen

As the final proofreading edits are coming in on the chapters, I have been able to format the HTML pages associated with the completed chapters within 24 to 48 hours following the finalizing of the chapters in PDF format. As such, I will try to release all formats within a 24 hour cycle, as soon as I can. There are two to three more days of editing yet to be completed. This being the twelfth of the month I hope to be able to release the novel on the fifteenth or sixteenth.

When the novel is released, I am sure some of you will find errors. It seems impossible to avoid this fate. Just use the form at the bottom of the page at the very end of the novel to send me the request for a correction.

7 March 2019
The editing process: Fifteen

My editor, CN, worked through the entire novel and countless errors were fixed. Then I used a text-to-speech application I have, and I listened to the novel, which both pushed up even more errors and identified places that simply needed a rewrite. In one area I had a time sequence problem that required surgery. I also added an errata section to the back on the novel, before sending it back to CN for a second edit. Following that my plan is to send the Novel out in PDF format to one or two readers for one more review before Fifteen is published. I still hope to have the novel out sometime in March.

27 February 2019

I didn't set out to write the longest piece in my body of work, but as the minutiae of completion worked its way I found I needed two extra chapters and I have, with total exhaustion, come to the end of it. The completed novel, Fifteen, is with my editor CN, who will, ruthlessly, point out that while I may be a journeyman story teller, I am hopeless when knowing when the comma comes before or after the 'and' or 'but'. He will point out the number of times I have written 'me' instead of 'my' and vice versa. He will point out that I really need to watch out for when I write 'back' instead or the needed bank. Oh, my failings go on and on. When I write, it just spews forth, and try as I might, I am truly hopeless. There is no question, I need to be edited.

Still, the story is told and complete. I have now completed the cover page artwork, and logo design. As to when you will see it... I hope I will be able to release the PDF and ebook versions in March. The HTML version will be trickier. There are 72 footnotes to be coded by hand. There are 16 images were the embedded code in the text that has to be removed and replaced with hyperlinks. There is the index page, a prologue page, an epilogue page, 56 other chapter pages plus about a dozen other link html documents that all need to be individually coded, and even though there is some boilerplate each page is a separate creation, All the fancy open and closed quotes have to be recoded as do the ellipses... and on and on... It's just not a fast process. I simply am not writing these stories in HTML format and the conversion is a bitch. I know that most of you prefer the HTML releases of my work and I will get it to you. But what I see as I write these stories including this novel is what the PDF shows. It is exactly what I see on my screen.

23 February 2019

I am coming to the end of the writing of Fifteen. There maybe one or two more chapters are waiting to be written, but I am in the middle of chapter fifty-two at the moment, and the end is very much in sight. So it is my intent to wrap the writing up in the next seven days.

The first forty-five chapters have been edited once but will require two more edits. The last chapters will need three. One of those next audits will be an aural edit. I will use a text-to-speech program and listen to the novel. That edit always produces changes in the text. Following that, my primary and highly skilled primary editor, CN, will read through again and I will probably enlist one or two others to do a read through, before I post the novel.

The first versions of Fifteen will be the PDF, and ebook releases. The HTML version requires a huge amount of work on my end to take what is a book and turn it into HTML files. Just with what is in the book right now, that will amount to over sixty files.

21 January 2019
Dark mode blues

I have noted the trend to using dark mode for webpages. In point of fact, I like the results in most cases. However, my pages do not display correctly in dark mode and though I played around a bit to see if I could make them work, I can't. So if you are using dark mode on web pages and not just the menu bar, please disable it when looking at my website.

20 January 2019

I have had a few emails asking when my next work will be posted. If I were to post Fifteen in serial format of one chapter a week, as many authors do, I already have enough for close to half a year of chapters and I am not even maybe one third done with the novel. For me, it would mean that I could still be posting HTML chapters for as much as a year after I was really done. It would give me the chance to write yet another story while still posting the serialization of this one.

So, why don't I do that? It's because there are too many characters in my story and too many sub-plots. Readers lose track of these things when I serialize my work. I have tried it twice and both did not work out well for that reason.

I know some of you are really wanting something to be posted. I have heard you. It just so happens that this novel is taking a long time to complete.

12 January 2019
Couldn't he just wait?

It would be nice if Duterte would wait on his comments until I could publish my current novel!

Here is a snippet of Chapter 14 (written 2 months ago!) and here is the current news from the Palace in Manila.

06 December 2018
The Enforcer

These are 'interesting times' here in the Philippines. It looks like the entire country will be put under martial law, though the reason for it, escapes me. The level of violence in the nation has not perceptibly increased except for Duterte's death squads and the PNP's Extra Judicial Killings. But last week he called to be established nationwide death squads of civilian vigilantes.

Now he has added more bodies to the pyre, calling for Catholic Bishops to be killed.

21 September 2018
Age of Consent

When thinking about when sex is legal, it is enlightening to know that the age of consent at the Vatican was twelve years of age until 2013 when it was changed to 18 for politcal reasons. Wrap your head around that.

03 September 2018

There has been a second bombing in the City of Isulan, in the Province of Sultan Kudarat. The province has a mix of Christian and Muslims. According to Wikipedia, it is 56% Roman Catholic, 23% Muslim, 14% Protestant, and 7% native religions. Here are the exact numbers from the Philippines National Statistics Office.

President Duterte signed an act into law providing for a plebiscite in specific areas to determine what parts of an already specific region will become part of the new semi-antonymous Islamic region and be administered under Sharia law.

Sultan Kudarat might become part of the new Bangsamoro (Muslim) region, but only if it chooses to join by the plebiscite. And so, it is no surprise that violence has occurred in a city that is majority Christian but is included in the vote. (A few years ago, the Christian mayor of Isulan was assassinated by some Muslim gunman. Tensions between Christians and Muslims in the region is well known.)

There are Muslims who want to scare the Christians with these bombing, at least that is a theory. And it might be right. Clearly, there has been history to back up such beliefs.

However, the Martial Law that Duterte has declared on the island of Mindanao, where this province exists, is set to end any day now as it was set for a year and that year is up. Word is the Duterte wants to extend it. Bombings give him an excuse to do so. He used a bombing in Davao as the reason to declare Martial Law. No group has declared responsibility for these two bombings in Isulan. It is entirely possible that Duterte's people are responsible.

We may never learn the truth.

01 September 2018
Societal disconnects

In my short story Trifecta, I wrote:

Well, anyway, as you read through this, understand that the few moneyed and entitled classes, and what functions as a middle class here, are very rigid, very conservative and very moralistic in their judgments and behavior. God willing you will not have anything to do with those folks.

The average Filipino has almost no money, no prospects and no time for sanctimonious bullshit. I have placed you with such a family.

That was not literary license as much as a fair description of this nation. It is a rare occasion which provides public newspaper evidence of the simple truth of such a comment. However, today I have just such proof.

President Duterte said, in Cebuano, which translates to, They said there are many rape cases in Davao. As long as there are many beautiful women, there will be rape cases.

The very conservative and moralistic middle and upper classes here took great umbrage of this and it made the AP wire as well as reports from newspaper correspondents for international news organizations. As evidence I give you what I read in the New York Times.

The President's spokesman is reported in the Philippine Daily Inquirer as dismissing the furor in part by saying, Some may not approve but I can tell you already. There's a difference between a sense of humor in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

He went on to say, that people in the south, particularly Cebu and the Visayas, don't really take things as serious as people in Luzon.

But there are some 'dog whistles' in that comment. It is useful to understand that the spokesman used Luzon as a substitute for those in Metro Manila who think they speak for the morals of the nation. His reference to the Visayas and Cebu, are meant to reference the poor average Juan, the poor Filipino, who has no problem with this whatsoever.

And I have to say, as much as Duterte's comments have caused a dustup internationally, it hasn't even been commented on in my home. It is simply the way people talk here. Duterte is a local hero and such comments are less than not important. If it is thought of at all, it is seen as Duterte bragging about the beauty of the Filipina.

23 August 2018
God, Sex, and Society

The ASSTR main pages are down and while my pages are up, it is unclear if anyone is reading them. Clearly, no one can know when I add to this page.

And yet, there are times I want to add something here. It is the only place I have to comment on the body of my work in the place where the work resides.

Yesterday, there was an article in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. It carried the tittle, 'If there is God, there is no poverty' — Duterte.

And in a way, I heard echoes of Bayan Na in it, as well as Soul.

This country, so infused with obsessive concern for Christ — this county, so burdened with poverty, begs the question of the existence of God more pervasively than most other locales in the world. In one form or another, the nature of God, and the existence of God, is central to understanding the contradictions of life in the Philippines.

It is woven through my works. While there some of my earlier works that do not have that as part of the theme, you will find it in one way or another in many of them and more so in my later efforts.

As the #metoo movement continues to roil otherwise previously seemingly placid waters — As the Catholic Church's sexual scandals seem to metastasize over the globe, mixing the religious with the sexual — As yesterday's accuser becomes today's accused — It seems to me that what started as a movement by politically minded and empowered first world women to 'equalize' their position in the world has become an inquisition, a mob driven vengeful denouement of all 'liberal' or first world societies. The social fabric has gone well past being frayed. It is broken.

And as it throws off the victims, it is the competing narratives of faith and sex that we see. We are told of evil... a religious term... to describe 'abhorrent' sexual behavior so pervasive that nowhere can one turn and not see lines of the accused. When there are so many of the accused, one might be tempted to ask, not are the acts not happening, but rather why are we so off put by the fact that the acts are so common? Why has what has always existed now become the epitome of evil?

What better place to consider how society falls apart when it can no longer sublimate and gloss over who and what we are, than to see if from the vantage point of the Philippines?

21 July 2018
Truth telling

I haven't mentioned this before. I guess, I felt it was too personal, but after my post of two days ago, I felt like I need to be more honest. When I said "My reality is probably different from your experience," it was more personal than what I wrote.

A few months ago a first cousin to one of my girls was killed. According to what we have been told, maybe second hand, the killing was done by the PNP, the Philippine National Police. Do I know for certain that it was the PNP? No. Was the cousin involved in the drug trade? That is the assumption around here, but my girl has not seen the guy for over a decade and she is, in all honesty, guessing.

There was anger here, but not necessarily directed toward the PNP. At least part of it was with the assumption that the guy was involved in the drug trade and therefore deserved it.

I have had a hard time with that conclusion. There was: no arrest, no trial, no way to defend one's self. Maybe that is why I am having a hard time getting back to work.

19 July 2018
My reality is probably different from your experience

The line between my fiction and life in the Philippines frequently is echoed in fascinating ways in the national Philippine press. This morning I awoke to this story in the press. It seems life no longer has any value nowadays.

The funny thing is that it has echoes in a myriad number of ways. Part of it resonates with my novel Soul.

The issue of all the killing simply echoes something that shows up in many of my stories.

I correspond with folks who think that the details of everyday life in my stories is accurate but think the more colorful parts are fanciful. Such as matter of the Catholic Church (as referenced in the story above), or young marriage (seen in this article), or pregnant children (something I noted in my 26 March 2018 note here).

Yes the stories are fiction. The tales the fiction are telling come from real life. That, I think, makes my work different from much you will read on the ASSTR website. It is why I don't just crank out stories. It is why though many of you have sent suggestions, I really don't use the suggestions. My stories, while fiction, are not spun out of make believe. And so, as the suggestions are make believe, I don't, no can't, use them.

I want these tales to tell truths through fiction, even the most fanciful seeming ones, such as Soul. I am aware that many had problems with Soul, but in truth, there is much in Soul that is very close to the bone about things. I have always been a little sad that many didn't get past the first couple of chapters but I have never been sorry I wrote it.

Telling these tales through fiction allows me to peel back the varnish and expose the wood in a way that telling a simple non-fictional piece would never let me do. Sometimes I am stuck, and can't get anything ready for publication, but when I can, it is because I wanted to say something new and something true.

For those who have written me these past few months imploring me for a new story, I hear you, I really do. I started a piece and got ten thousand words committed to a file, but I am not sure where the reality is going and I guess I need to wait and see if there is, in the end, something truly new in there to carry the work forward.

08 July 2018
Possible Jake rework

I am thinking about reworking (not re-writing) the first three HTML versions (ONLY) of the Jake journals so that there is ONLY ONE journal you open initially. It will be called Jake's Journal. When you get to the place where the Philippine Jakes split from the Close to Home Jake, you will be presented with two buttons for the different paths. Choosing one moves you to the Close to Home thread. The other thread will split again in a bit and you get to choose between Joy and Ganda.

I think that is makes the Threads more of what is intended. But I can't do the same for the ebooks. What do you think?

07 July 2018
Back from 26 May 2018 ASSTR outage

It has been a long outage and there are more problems to come on ASSTR. A bunch of us are working on an alternate site that will be named ASSLR, but it is NOT up yet.

Just now, I have uploaded some textual updates to existing files. Depending on how long ASSTR stays up at the moment, I will attempt to upload more corrections but I don't think there will be any new content here unless our ASSLR group gets control or and fixes ASSTR.

Time will tell. I am not sure.

01 April 2018
Easter Sunday evening

I guess it is to be expected. Most of the comments/emails I get come in while I am asleep, or within the first few hours of wakefulness.

It's really quite simple. Most comments I get are either from UE/UK/US folks. The EU/UK comments often come in just a bit after I am in bed. US comments come in just before I awake or while I am drinking my morning coffee. It's not a complaint. It's an observation.

The upshot is that I generally can ignore the email after morning passes. I get nothing in the afternoon unless another expat is emailing me.

And so from noon on I am without interruption centered on my life in the Philippines. Such is the case tonight.

I suspect that I have had a bit too much rhum as I was on the lania wth the other guys, relatives of my girls, singing with the assistance of our videoke system. The lechon baboy's skin is totally removed but much of the meat remains. I ate some of the lechon skin, tuna kinilaw, Filipino (Ilonggo) paella, San Miguel Pale Pilsen beer, and later too much Zabana Rhum. I have now retreated to my office, but there are no new messages from any of you. That will come when I awaken.

26 March 2018
Zamboanga phenomenon: 10-year-olds giving birth

That was the headline in the Philippines Daily Inquirer two days ago. Zamboanga is a city on the northern end of the Island of Mindanao. I have copied the entire article and saved it as a PDF for you to view here. So once again to all those who write me believing that the stuff about kids is all made up, what more can I say than please read this. Click here for the article. For what it is worth, the actual numbers are under-reported in the article.

When I say that my stories, while fiction, in truth reflect real life, I mean every word of that.

11 March 2018
Current status

I am being bugged by friends, readers, and my loves to start another story. I have made some feeble first starts, but it appears that I am just not ready.

In the meantime I have been reworking the 'index' pages and creating some new graphic elements for those pages. It's not mindless work, but each piece has less of a demand on my time. That seems to be required right now.

It's not that I am not seeing things around me. I am and some of them might make for interesting elements of a good story. What I don't have is a main tale to tell right now. There is one thing in progress that might become a story, but it probably has another year or two to play out before I know. I hope to find something that is closer to resolution so as to build a story. I tried to go back and add to What Happened, but it's too soon. Maybe in a few for months I can add a new piece to that tale.

I have fixed four link errors connecting to ebooks on the primary index page. So all ebook links to The Whale are fixed and the epub link to the Joshua Tree is fixed.

22 February 2018
HTML5 complaince upgrade complete

Getting some of the pages, such as this one and the master index fully compliant was a real pain and in the process created many failed attempts. But it is done and now compliant. While I haven't touched some of the 'recipe' files, everything else has been brought into standards. All future uploads will reflect only corrections to text, or new stories. CN tells me he is going to send in some correction notes to Monkey Read ~ Monkey Do. So future uploads may reflect those changes. However, because of textual changes in how I handled "SMS" messages in the HTML code, I am now going back into the ebook source and adjusting that formatting in a number of stories.

20 February 2018
Browsers, ASSTR and the future

Sometimes, something I should have known, hits me over the head way too late.

This morning I opened up Sideways using FireFox on an ASUS Android cellphone. What I discovered was that, with that combination, the proper fonts are not loaded. Yes, the stories are readable, but everything shows up in Arial/Helvetica and not Times Roman.

I checked the Chrome browser on the same phone and the fonts are displayed properly.

But maybe they were displayed OK before and it's because I just switched over to HTML5. Maybe on this phone, this version of FireFox, does not read the HTML CSS file correctly, which is where the fonts are set. In HTML4, I had set the fonts in the actual HTML that you see displayed on your screen.

Anyway, if you are reading my stories via HTML on your cellphone, I recommend Chrome. Of course, on cellphones, the best format is epub and for that, I have a preference these days of Pocketbook, which on the phone I am using displays the correct font and font colors where needed, as in Soul.

For what it is worth, all the HTML formats of my stories are now fully and 100% html5 compliant. (This page and the Homepage aren't yet.)

As a last item, the administrators of the ASSTR site are using HTTPS secure web access with SSL certificates that are only good for 90 days at a time. The site is working now, but this current cert will expire in April. ASSTR is fundamentally a mess. Author access is only partially running. The in-house form-mail doesn't work, which is why I am using a third party form for mail from this site.

I have no idea how long ASSTR will stay functional. There is nowhere else I have found where I can post these stories formatted as I have them.

If I wasn't worried about needing to stay anonymous I would post them on my own website. So, if ASSTR goes, I think I am done.

For those who are big fans of Stories-On-Line, all I can say is that,

I wondered about setting up a subscription service, whereby I would email out either ebooks or PDF versions. But that means a small readership that would over time shrink to vanishing.

15 February 2018
The Rainy Season and ASSTR's SSL Cert

It is unclear if anyone will ever read this. Though the ASSTR servers are live, the SSL certificate used to support the site has expired and no modern browser will allow access.

I can post to the servers as my FTP connection does not require the SSL cert.

And so, the notification that I am placing here may never noticed and, the uploaded, corrected, HTML version of The Rainy Season may never be read.

As I have been going through the process of getting my HTML versions of all my stories HTML5 compliant, I discovered that huge chunks of The Rainy Season were not being displayed due to code problems that had existed. I fixed the problems, and may for the first time in years, the story displays correctly. But now... who will read it?

09 February 2018
Jake's Journal: The Philippines ~ Joyfully and other uploads.

I have, with the rigorous proofreading of CN, reposted my early work, Jake's Journal: The Philippines ~ Joyfully. All formats have been uploaded. The HTML version is now fully html5 complaint.

I am also reposting the HTML versions of other stories as I get them html5 compliant.

07 February 2018

In past two days, after I had just posted a cleaned up version of Soul on 05 February, I ran into a bit of an issue with a piece of HTML code in the story and ended up reworking the whole story to make it HTML5 compliant. Nothing has changed in the last two days other than the underlying code. One down side is that if you are using an old browser you really need to update it as HTML5 isn't supported on the growing gray hair and mold antique browsers!

04 February 2018
Sideways re-release

I took the opportunity to read through the novel via the html version. In doing to I discovered a number of hyperlinks that no longer worked due to the change in the ASSTR server. I also found two broken footnote links. But worst of all, I found a serious continuity error in chapter 33. And so I rewrote a section of that chapter yesterday. The results have been posted. In the past the PDF and ebook versions contained a page that the html version did not. That is publication date and revision history of the story. For Sideways, I have now added this as a link off the undex page.

04 February 2018
Dialects Wars

On a number of occasions I have referenced that 'dialects' in the Philippines are a bone of contention between the Cebuano and Tagalog speakers. I have also mentioned that while we call these languages dialects, they are really distinct languages.

As proof of both the political nature of it and of how distinctly dissimilar these 'dialects' are from each other, as well as the fact that although English is an official language here, it is not widely used by many Filipinos, here is a snipped from a story in the online version of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

DAVAO CITY-President Duterte on Thursday said he wanted Cebuano used as the language during Cabinet meetings, suggesting that aides who don't speak in his native tongue better start learning it.

Using mainly that dialect during his speech at the Mindanao Indigenous Peoples Leaders' Summit here, Duterte joked about how some of his Cabinet members-past and present-would speak in English which, he said, he barely understood.

25 January 2018 | amplified on 29 January 2018
Sexual Politics | USA

Liberals and Democrats decry Conservatives and Republicans for allowing ideology to trump science and nature. They are indignant of the idiocy of those who insist that evolution is not more important than intelligent design or creationism. They go ballistic over the denial of climate change. They are self-righteous in their fervor.

But, it is they, those very same Liberals and Democrats, who ignore science and nature to push their own ideologies when it comes to men, women, sex, touching, intimacy, control, and power.

Here is Christine Amanpour, as quoted in this NY Times article. “…the patriarchy has dominated for thousands of years, and people see it as their God-given right. It’s not just sexual harassment or abuse or all the other sexual issues — it’s everything.

Ms Amanpour’s view is the prevalent view of the first world intelligentsia. She is not alone. This is the party line, so to speak.

So let’s unpack what she has said. “...the patriarchy has dominated for thousands of years[.]” Yes it has, and Ms Amanpour is right. It has existed for many thousands of years... basically, forever. But it is not for the reason Ms Amanpour suggests when she says, “…people see it as their God-given right.” It is true that some religions do encapsulate patriarchy into a creed, but to suggest that the religion gave rise to the behavior, is to suggest that air was invented because people had lungs. She and her ilk have missed the very nature of it.

But to see it, we need to look more broadly. The funny thing is that here I am suggesting that Ms Amanpour, and her fellow travelers, look more broadly at we humans as she would at other mammals. While her counterparts, the Conservatives and Republicans, would recoil at such a comparison. In other regards, Liberals and Democrats insist on it. Indeed it is only in this regard that they seem to refuse to do so!

Mammals are primarily heard/clan groups in nature. Mammals have alpha males who drive lesser males out or keep them subjugated. Mammals are not monogamous.

We recognize alpha male behavior in men. We see them accumulate power. We see sociopathic alpha males, engaging in violent, criminal behavior. None of this is new. None of this is at odds with humans as mammals. We see power and sexual conquests being normative in other mammals.

But when it comes to men, it has come to be labeled as non-normative, as deviant.

In what fucking universe, is it non-normative for a powerful, alpha male to not extend his control over women? Sure, I get it that it is subjugating women, but it is normative never-the-less. It cannot be bred out, and to ostracize and shun those men, is to deny society with the best and brightest of men. There is a very good reason why they rose up to become the alpha males. And conversely, by removing them, society allows the less competent to rise up to become lesser quality alpha males. And so the ‘problem’ is not fixed. The only result is a lessening of the pool of talent. If all potential alpha males are removed, what the species is left with are startling ineffective males, who by and large do not carry the best of male genes with them. It is in a way breeding for hemophilia or Parkinson’s disease.

Is the world unfair? Yes. Didn't our parents tell us that when we were growing up? It does seem to me that somewhere in the bowels of Democratic and Liberal ethos, the need to make 'things fair' has gotten so enshrined into the ideology that there isn't any notion that such a thing is not possible. Yes, sure, we can make food and pharmaceuticals safer. We can legislate age guidelines for employment. Such things are not attempts to change the basic nature of 'us.' However, when that making 'things fair' slides into the very nature of what it means to be human, well, it can't and won't work.

Prohibition didn't work. The war on drugs doesn't work. And those things are small potatoes compared to this. Today I read that the work of a famous artist, Chuck Close, will not be displayed at a gallery because of allegations. So what if there are allegations about De Vinci, or Rembrandt, or Ruebens? What if someone unearths accusations against the Wright brothers, or Edison? Do we reject planes and lightbulbs? Are we to shun all things associated with these men? And what if they were around now? Would their efforts have died because of shunning?

Women want to run things? Yes there are many capable women… this cycle. But as we weed out, shun, the best of the males, over time the gene pool is diminished across the board, as the lesser males are used for reproduction of the larger number of females.

And so we have a classic example of ideology trumping science and nature. The result being predictable.

I bet Ms Amanpour will never see this blog. If she did, rather than deal with the agruments contained within, she would attempt to come after the author, as if to fight an idea, you annihilate the speaker. At times when speech is dangerous, anonymity is required.

28 January 2018
Current re-editing of Joyfully

Early this month I started a rewrite of the second of my Jake threads, Joyfully. I completed my own re-edit on 15 January, and I invited one proofreader, by the handle, CN, to read through the piece.

CN is maybe the most professional proofreader I have ever had the opportunity to work with. And while he doesn't have the local savvy that a few of my other proofreaders have, he brings a level of diligence to the grammar and structure that I have found to be unique.

In saying this, I do want my other proofreaders to know how much I appreciate their efforts and will be asking for their assistance in my next new piece.

But in this case, Joyfully has been proofread maybe fifty times in the past. The offerings of previous good, hard working, and careful proofreaders have been very valuable, however, I have continued to find errors in every proofread.

And so I asked CN to take a look at this, one of my very first efforts. We are still only half way through it. In this fourteen chapter novel of over sixty thousand words, we are not yet past chapter seven. In the process, I have needed to make over two hundred textual and grammatical changes. At times, issues that have been pushed up to the surface have caused me to completely rewrite sections.

In the last two days I have added two new sections of text to an early chapters.

The result won't be posted until sometime in February. But the exercise, is for me, challenging, eye opening, enlightening, and somewhat humbling. I am quite sure that errors will remain once we are done. But am sure that what I will repost will be a far better story, easier to read.

I cannot begin to express how important proofreading is in this process. Even though the final decisions as to what you will read remains with me, the rigorous nature of working with a professional proofreader makes for far better prose.

16 December 2017
On how I write...

I am writing in Microsoft Word 2013. If you want to see the product as it comes from my desk in the original format, look at the PDF version. Here's why.

When the work is completed in Word, I "save as" a PDF. And so there is no import into another product. The PDF is essentially what I had on my screen as I created the story. The Table of Content's if one exists, was created in the original word document, as were the pagination, headers and footers. The font I chose for the book is here. It is how I saw the work.

From there, I import the Word docx via the Calibre ebook creation application into the three ebook formats I support. Here the headers, footers, pagination and font selection are lost as is necessary to support ebook requirements.

Lastly, I open the DOCX file with Apache Open Office and save the document as a HTML formatted document. All original formatting is lost, and links to images are reworked to support the HTML requirements. I strip off the header automatically generated by Open Office and insert my own html header customized for the ASSTR website. A new index page is created and the old ToC is lost. Also, because three separate applications are used to create the HTML formatted pages, MS Word, Open Office, and a text editor, errors can creep into the HTML version which do not occur in the other versions which essentially all spring from the original Word file.

I am going to try another text editor next time as the one I have been using for two decades is too limited on the amount of text it can buffer in an operation. It was the cause of the lost chunk of text from the HTML version this time.

I do want to offer my sincere thanks to the two proofreaders, CN and Brian, both of whom worked hard on What Happened, and who are far more responsible than I am for how clean the final text was. While I can edit the works of others, I am too close to my own work, to be a good editor of the final product. Without great proofreaders, you would not have the readable offering you have before you now. Any errors that remain are mine alone and not the fault of these two fine gentlemen.

15 December 2017
What Happened: reposted again!

Following the fiasco of a huge chunk of the HTML missing two days ago, I decided to give the doc a complete read through via the HTML posting. And in the process I found hyperlink errors in the HTML, and textual affecting all versions. And so I have reposted the story in all formats, minutes ago.

13 December 2017
What Happened: reposted

There was a significant chunk of text missing from the HTML version. I have added it back from the original text and reposted it just a bit ago. The ebook and PDF versions were correct and did not need to be reposted.

12 December 2017
What Happened

The Novella, What Happened, is now posted on the site.

04 December 2017
A new story: What Happened

I have completed a Novella, What Happened, which runs a little over 31,000 words. I will give it two initial edits before sending it off to proofreaders. As it is a shorter piece, I suspect it will be out to you all in a couple of weeks. An early little Christmas present. The structure of the piece allows for later additions, as it is episodic in structure. I have left it open ended on purpose.

02 December 2017
My formmail is now working on all referenced pages

I have replaced the formmail code with a third party version. A user had pointed out to me earlier today that the comment forms found at the bottom here and on many other places in my site did not work. This was because ASSTR is not fully functional yet. Now with the change in the code, I have the function running.

30 November 2017
Reflections on Sex, Correctness, and Society in the USA

I have been reading of all the media and political figures who have been recently fired, or forced to resign, or are still under pressure to resign.

As all who know me by these stories I have posted, I am not one who is particularly comfortable with rape. Yes I have had characters who did rape, as in Retirement in Chapter 18, or in The Rainy Season, with the sister-in-law, and Scotty's wife, but those were clearly framed as problems.

As such I am not making any argument that Bill Cosby is an innocent man. He clearly is a rapist. But from there on we get into an area that is exceedingly more gray, as in some of the sexual accusations against Trump, or Clinton, or Moore, or O'Reilly, or Rose, or Ailes, or Lauer, or Conyers, or Franken, or Keillor, or ...

Yeh, I am not picking political sides here. This is not a political thing. This is a male thing. It has to do with being male. Being male, truly male, means that we think with our nuts as well as our brains. It means that we are more human and less robotic than the female of the species in some cases would have us be.

It is insane to suggest that 'advancements in society' can remove the very nature of our bodies and brains. It is a fiction that we exist in a world where sexual need, desire, and actions can be simply turned off. It is patently nuts to suggest that men who find themselves in positions of power will not more readily express and act on those needs and desires. (A basic tenet within the stories I write.) It is part and parcel of being male. It is baked into the DNA. To argue otherwise is a farce. And that farce is well expressed in the old addage about masturbation that there are only two kinds of liars, those that say they never did and those that say the stopped.

Do I agree with Judge Moore's politics? Hell, no. I find them beyond unacceptable. Does that have anything to do with his desire for jailbait? Hell, no. He is human. And given the society he lives in, the accusation that he is a hypocrite is meaningless. He has no other options.

I dealt with the stupidity of sexual politics in the USA in Monkey Read ~ Monkey Do. This cascade of victims of the Sexual Correctness police and societal war on what it means to be a man has now reached an epidemic. It is not clear how it will end, but many will be forever damaged. This is our version of the Inquisition.

28 October 2017
Work in progress

I have gotten back to work, but the results are not posted here. It started as I decided to take another look at a story I wrote a while ago, Retirement. The result were a myriad of issues found that needed repair or change. The results are posted.

I am also working on a new piece but it will be a month or two before it is ready for the proof readers.

It has taken me a while to come to terms with the political and security issues here in the Philippines and the craziness in the USA. It distracted me, greatly. As to the USA, I am more than disheartened. While I am far from a 'good' person, I am pretty much colorblind on social matters. As an employer, as a lover, as a friend, I never gave a shit what your color, or race, or religion was. The reality that the USA seems to have become a bastion of racial hatred, neo-nazi, white nativism, supported by its own president, leaves me sick to my stomach.

I have lived with and loved a black woman. The 'best man' at my first wedding was a black man. I live with and love brown skinned Filipinas now. There was a time, in the 1970s, I was desperately in love with a Mexican-American lovely from San Antonio, TX. It was her mother, I gather, who put the kibosh to the romance. Work wise, some of the best guys I have rubbed elbows with were not white. If the USA was ever a shining city on a hill, now the smell of cruel intolerance emanates like the effluvia from a sewer. It is now a banana republic with kleptocrats in the seats of power.

Like I say, I am not a 'good' man, but my stomach turns at the intolerance I see coming from the seats of power in the nation of my birth. It has taken me some time to settle down, accept the reality I see around me and get back to 'work.'

18 October 2017

The new ASSTR website encodes the HTML files differently and I have needed to convert multiple characters to the HTML equivalents to make them readable. If you find a page that once refreshed still has a "A" in a black diamond, please send me the exact page link.

17 September 2017
Back from the void.

The ASSTR site is back up for those of you who are still even looking for it. I wonder if its absence has caused many folks to assume it was dead and gone.

I have nothing new to post. I started a piece and got a ways into it, but for now it is just sitting there. My best guess is that I will abandon it. Time will tell.

Anyway, it is nice to have the site back up.

25 August 2017
Tales of what can go wrong.

I have no idea when this will actually show up on the ASSTR site as I am writing this while the site is down and has been down for weeks.

I read a story in the on-line version of the Philippine Daily Inquirer which just got me shaking my head.

In a nutshell, a guy brought an underage Filipina to the USA by means of a close family adoption scheme. He brought her to the USA, not really to be her father, but rather her lover. She, by all accounts, is OK with the deal, but as is no surprise, authorities in the USA are not impressed at all.

Here’s the story.

In some ways, it is the exclamation point to the concerns that some of the characters in a few of my stories have had. And as I have mentioned many times, the stories I write are fiction but taken from the real world. These things happen. It is not pure fantasy.

02 August 2017
Able to log in today!

My access to this site has been down for over two weeks, but I was able to access it just now. I do not know how long I will have. But I will see what I can do to update a few things.

15 July 2017
ASSTR site on life support. UPDATE

An UPDATE from a Site Admin:

Right now my best estimate is that things will be down until around September 1st.

The issue is simply a lack of time combined with the amount of work required to get things up and running again. We still need to get our ISP to do some rewiring of our hardware so that we can regain the ability to remotely power cycle the server that died. After that, we need to incrementally backup that server during which time it will continue to crash. We'll repeat the process of power cycling and resuming the backup until we have a full copy.

Once we have a full backup, we'll need to reconfigure a working server to do all the functions of the dead server. Finally, we'll need to test everything out and fix and issues we find.

Certainly there are many things we could have done years ago to avert this situation, but the severe lack of time to maintain things is what got us here. The silver lining is that this incident has taught us that we need to try to get things up to 21st century standards, and so the thought is that by moving most of the site into cloud-based servers, we can reduce or even eliminate our own maintenance of server hardware.

We will continue to try to get things back up and running as quickly as we can.

- Rey del Sexo

10 July 2017
ASSTR site on life support.

Right now much of the ASSTR site is broken. The ebooks and PDF's are online, as is the email feedback system. For a week I have been unable to upload and this is working now but may not be stable even now.

03 July 2017
Older stories, life and future work.

I have been re-editing my stories, looking for errors, and tweaking them. At times I have changed a sentence, or changed a word, or restructured a paragraph. There have been changes in comma use to correct errors in that regard. I have fixed broken links. In one case, in the HTML version a link to music (in Soul), rather than take you to another website in a separate page, now plays within the page you are on. I am considering doing that in other stories in web format. Unfortunately I can’t do that in the PDF or eBook formats, and I am wary of copyright infringement issues in the great number musical pieces referenced story Sideways.

I know many writers never go back to their work once the work is posted. While I will never claim to be in the pantheon of great writers that Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) belongs to, I can only note that Clemens was never done with his works. He constantly went back and reworked things. I am only emulating my hero in that regard.

Life in the Philippines is bifurcated between peaceful existence and the threat of violence via the radical actors, be they communists, or religious fanatics, or the potential of State sponsored violence. The threats are there, but life continues in a far more mundane fashion, though my girls get far more worried than do I. They want me to stay sheltered at home and out of the public’s view. It is however taking a toll on my ability to settle into a place where I can get back into writing again.

05 June 2017
Ebook link to proper version fixed

There was an error index page that pointed to an older version of The Joshua Tree. That has been repaired.

04 June 2017
Footnotes, Hyperlinks and ebooks

I just now learned that in the ebook versions of my works, the embedded hyperlinks found inside footnotes may not work with many readers. These links are not broken and they work fine if you are using the PDF version. Both the ebooks and the PDF versions use exactly the same reference document. I do not make a separate draft for the ebooks, and so if they work in the PDF then the problem is in the epub readers. I have found that the actual link is inside the epub, it's just that some readers don't have the rule to pass on the link to the OS for a proper launch of the browser. Unfortunately there is nothing I can do about this now. I am researching the matter.

30 May 2017
The Rainy Season, fourth edition

While I was travelling, I had some idle time and I used it to review a couple of my earlier works. The first of these two was The Rainy Season. I found a host of errors. There was nothing I could do about it while traveling. I really didn't have the facilities to take proper notes. Now that I have returned, my first order of business was to re-edit that novel and correct the text as best as I could, once again. I have now posted those results. Changes have been made to make the story line far clearer in a handful of places. Text has been cleaned up. Broken links and punctuation fixed.

28 May 2017
Back home

OK, I am back and while my trip has been a good one, I am more than happy to be back home again.

It’s been a while since I was in Manila. It is not one of my favorite places. Taxis with hacked meters continue to be a problem, but Uber exists in Manila. The cost of a ride via Uber tends to be half what the rip off “jacked metered” cabs are charging, and up to five times less than the unmetered vans at the airport.

My time in China was as underwhelming, as it was the last time I was there. I suspect I will never go back.

I will probably never write a story with any connection to Singapore. We went there to visit one of my girl’s family members. It’s an interesting place, with great food, but there is no earthiness about it, and for me that’s enough to make it a place to see but not stay or care about.

Malaysia is a different story. The girls and I enjoyed ourselves while there immensely. That may well make it into a story down the road.

Anyway I am back and at my desk, still without a firm story idea to pursue. I do have the itch to get a new tale going, so with any luck, I will get to work soon.

I guess I should mention that Mindanao is now under Martial Law. That does not affect me, but considering what transpired in Marawi City, it seems like the only option open to President Duterte.

7 April 2017
Sideways | 07 April release

The final pdf revision has only two changes compared to the 06 April release, previosly on the site, The PDF will be posted in an hour or so, as the 07 April release. The HTML and e-books are already final and posted.

All "after the initial release" proofing is complete. If other changes need to be made, I hope they are truly minor, as I will not post any newer release until the end of May or first week of June.

My original proofreaders said they didn't need credit for their efforts, but I guess that just doesn't seem fair. So my thanks to Joyfullycreate, and Sourdough999. Secondary proofreaders Alfred, Jeff, and CN, were also invaluable in this effort. But it should be understood by all that any errors that remain are mine and no one else's. This is my text. On occasion I ignored the opinions of my proofreaders. What you have in front of you, should you read it, is my work, errors and all.

I will have access to my email while traveling, so I will see anything you send me. I just won't be at my desk to make any changes.

I do plan on writing more in the future, as it seems to have become an addiction. What I will write next is completely unknown.

30 March 2017
Sideways | 30 March release and future plans

I have posted a new release of the PDF and e-book verions which contain seven corrections in total. All corrections have been uploaded in HTML format as well.

I am about to start travelling for a couple of months to China, Singapore, and Malaysia. As such I will have limitted ability to post corrections to Sideways beyond a week from now. In all likelihood, I will not be posting anything, including corrections, from mid April to sometime in June. I will not begin any new work until sometime after my return.

29 March 2017

So far there have been a few reports of bad hyper links in the HTML version. All those reported have been fixed. There was a problen with a portion in a chapter that was in Italics, and should have not been. That was fixed. There was one word that needed to be changed by adding a 'd' at the end of it in all formats. The HTML has been updated but the other formats do not have the posted correction yet. Today, I noted some language in Chapter 4 that wasn't mispelled or a typo, as much as it needed to be reworked a bit. I have posted that in the HTML version. As it works OK on a technical level without these corrections, the other formats will be held off for a bit as I see what else might need changing.

27 March 2017
Sideways posted

I posted Sideways yesterday. I hope you enjoy it. If you find errors, please let me know, via email.

25 March 2017
Sideways & Proofreader with a STILL full mailbox :-)

Joyfullycreate, I sent you an email asking if you want to be credited in a Foreword for your proofreading efforts, but your mailbox is still full.

I am about to start the process of putting the draft of Sideways in final form to publish. Most of the work is in creating thirty-nine new HTML files. Once that is done, all the formats will be posted at the same time.

21 March 2017
Proofreaders / A Call for a secondary proofreader or two

If you want to take a stab at helping clean up the current draft, please drop me a line right now. The PDF is now 3.2MB in size. All elements are in place. I do need a fresh set of eyes to find remaining errors.

21 March 2017
Proofreader with a full mailbox AGAIN! :-)

Joyfullycreate please empty your mail box!

20 March 2017
Proofreader with a full mailbox!

Joyfullycreate please empty your mail box!

19 March 2017
Removal of Bitcoin solicitation from e-books and PDFs

I spent some time today and removed all the donation request portions from all the e-books and PDF's. The result is that I have to upload 18 titles four times each to accommodate all formats. Ugly but there really isn't a good way to do it.

19 March 2017
Sideways sent to my proofreaders

I completed the first two crude draft revisions. In these two, I catch some but not nearly all typo and spelling errors. I am as much, concerned with sentences that work, logic that flows, consistency, and the basic sense of the story. In fact, between the second and third drafts over one thousand words were added and over two thousand words throughout the novel changed in some manner. Paragraph order changed, sentences were rearranged and in general the novel was reworked.

And so the resulting third draft was sent off last night. I have already received some corrections for what will be a fourth draft. Following that I will do another read through in a different format, which I find has in the past helped me find yet more errors. And so, it is my hope that by the end of March or the first week of April, the novel will be posted here in all formats.

The sad fact is that when it is released, more errors will come to light, and so there will be revisions posted after the initial release. I have been posting "revision dates" as of late on the ebook and PDF versions to signify which version you might be reading. This is not done on the html version.

11 March 2017

I am pleased to state that the book is complete in draft format. It has not yet been through a simple crude proofread and that is my next task. First, The first edit is a complete read through. Then I will listen to it with a text to speech program which allows me to catch errors that a read through easily misses. Following that it goes out to my proofreaders. I have two of them lined up for this book, and so Mark and Steve, hang in there a bit longer as I have four hundred plus pages to work through twice.

As I have noted before a little here and more completely via email to a few of you, this book is far from a stroke fest. It is also not a action based story. It is an investigation of a man's heart that has been broken and broken hard. If this book it not for you, I get it. I do hope that some readers will like it. It is, as is all my works of life in the Philippines, based on realities.

24 February 2017
Bitcoin and Sideways

I am removing the Bitcoin “Donate” request from my stories. I have already removed them from the HTML and will be removing them from all the e-books in the coming days. The reasons are a little complex, but the bottom line is with the truly rare exception, no one was donating. I can’t kill off the account in bitcoin, but any money that goes into it now will be lost to all.

Work has renewed on Sideways and a significant of new works has been completed. I am still shooting for a release in March.

21 February 2017
Life in the field

I know each of us has our own crazy world in which we live. And I have seen a great deal of craziness in the world. Right now, right here, things are nuts. This morning the news was of an ex-cop who says he was a paid assassin for the President here, while Duterte was Mayor. If you read the link I provide, I think you will agree that little I have written is any more outrageous than this.

And then there is the push to reinstate the death penalty here. But not for heinous murders alone. No the list may include other things and be easily used for political crimes.

At the same time, the ex-attorney general for the nation was elected to the Philippines Senate and has been a harsh critic of the President. Now there is an arrest warrant for her on trumped up 'criminal' charges related to some nonsense of her being involved in drug syndicates while she was AG. Here's three links 1, 2, and 3 from today's news about that hoo-ha.

It's just nuts here. Check this out from today's news. So much so that US President's goofiness is lost on us.

20 February 2017

There are times, as I write, that I am not sure how I want an episode to proceed. I know what needs to happen and I know what will follow. I know how the story will end and the critical points going forward… but then there is this scene and I have all the parties present, but the action and the dialog are just not there… not yet.

And so I put the work aside for a day. I come back to it a day or two later. Nothing yet, so I pay attention to earlier works and try to catch errors that have so far still escaped notice. I spend a few days with that before going back to the story. I review how I got here to see if I can set the scene up better. Well, I can and I can’t. I do see a bunch I need to add to the preceding chapter. I change the direction going forward a bit to give me more room in which to work. That enlarges the previous chapter by about a page. I add about two more paragraphs to where I was stuck, and I am stuck again. It just isn’t ready yet. I put it aside again. I know it will come. It always does. I guess if my work was truly formulaic, this would not happen as often or at all. But it isn’t all that formulaic. There are similarities, surely, but there are big differences in each story. In the meantime, I will relax and pursue other matters.

11 February 2017
Sideways & site problems

Site issues first. For some reason ASSTR stopped announcing for at least one day. I only became aware of the problem because of an erstwhile proofreader of mine, who brought it to my attention. The was up... just not www1. Someone had screwed up on the ASSTR side. (I know because all of a sudden, my files were readable as www.asstr, which is normally not the case.) However we are back to normal now.

Sideways is now over 72K words in chapter 24 and I am not done. This is a story I will not post in pieces. I expect to be able to post it sometime in March. I will take a break probably in April and May as I already have commitments for those two months that will take me away from this.

26 January 2017

I guess it is time for an update. Sideways is moving along. I have eighteen chapters completed, and am over 57K words into the story. There is more to the story and I am not done, but am well on my way. I have been spending my time developing my characters. But some days now I work my way back into the earlier part of the story to make sure I keep the tenor consistent as I work my way through the tale.

As I have mentioned before, the events in the world around me have me wanting to hide my head. I heard a piece on NPR about superrich Silicon Valley types investing in survival housing. They feel jittery about the future of the USA now. Some are investing in bugout homes outside the USA. In a way, I have already bugged out. But where am I? Well it’s weird here too. So go figure. Here, people tend to talk about bug out plans from the Philippines. But going back to the States makes no sense. Anyway, like I said before, I can’t leave my family behind so I am not bugging out of the Philippines.

14 January 2017

I continue to work on the new work, Sideways. I am now on chapter 13 and about 40K words in to what will become another novel. My story board has sprung a few leaks as loose threads in the original needed to be filled in. But to get those goodies that some had hoped for, the stout of heart will have to stick with me though twelve chapters. I haven't gotten there yet, but I will soon.

As with any novel I have written, there are dry days where I can only put one thousand words down, and those are a struggle and other days when the words flow out as fast as I can type, and at times faster:-) , and which may produce over eight thousand words in day.

The news each day, of here in the Philippines, of the USA and Putin's poodle Trump, are enough to drive one mad, and that doesn't even add in the craziness in Europe, and China.

As protection, I cloister myself for most of the day and try as best as possible to work on the novel. But my frustration has bubbled over and I blew up at an expat, for stupidity on his part, but a lack of generosity on mine. I am not suffering fools lightly at the moment.

6 January 2017
A new novel in the works

I am seven chapters, and some twenty thousand words, deep into a new piece that I expect will end up being novel length, by the time I am done with it. It will be posted here when edited and complete. I don't expect that to be for a month or so. Right now I am averaging about four to five thousand words a day, but experience tells me that the average will fall off dramatically as I go along.

There is also the certainty that some of you will not like this piece. Last time some of you didn't like Soul. That story had magic in it and was pretty anti-organized religion. This story has none of that. But it is an examination of what happens to a man who loses faith in love, and in trust, after his wife leaves him.

There is sex in it, but you won't see any for the first ten thousand words. In the first twenty-five thousand, at a minimum, no one is younger than sixteen. I don't expect to see any younger girls in this piece at all, based on the storyboard I have for it. (Of course, sometimes a character takes me to a place I don't expect.)

This is a darker piece. I will post it on ASSTR, as it is my home. To those who want me to write more "Jake" stories, I get it. This is not one of them.

Right from the beginning of my writing, I have always centered my work on motivation rather than an impending event, or disconnected fantasy. Each protagonist has had a different motivation. Jake's was the need to not get tied down into another marriage as he just didn't do marriage well. Joshua dreamed of young girls. Howard mourns the death of his love. In each, the protagonist expresses a different motivation.

The motivation of the protagonist in the current piece is one that has him at a loss. He may, at times, think it's no big deal, but it is, and we see him struggle with it. We see him act erratically. Yes there is sex here, but as best I have the ability, this is another serious piece of writing. It may not be to your tastes. I accept that now, long before it is published. It is simply a story I need to tell. And as usual, it is based on things I have seen, and, at least on some levels is absolutely true, though it is most assuredly a work of fiction.

26 December 2016
Typhoon Nina / Nock-Ten

I have received queries about our situation regarding Nock-Ten. While the international press calls it Nock-Ten, we here in the Philippines call it Nina. And yes, Nina's eye is about to make landfall. We are fine. Our location and the way the house is constructed is such that we will weather the storm just fine.

20 December 2016
Exchange rates and Updates

It has been over eight years since I have seen rates like this.
How high will it go? If Trump had not won in the USA, and Duterte was solely responsible for the Peso slide, it might well go far higher. But what happenes after Trump takes office, leaves me to wonder if getting money over here shouldn't be done before January 20th.

I have updated two stories: The Joshua Tree, and From Nothing. As of now I have made a small texutal addition (nothing earth shattering) in Chapter 1 of the HTML version of The Package Deal but will not post the ebook and PDF release until I have had time to go through the entire tale.

16 December 2016

I guess I should be flattered. Someone has stolen my work, stripped off any attribution to me, and posted it on another website, in a bastardized version as her own. I had heard from another author that it has been happening to him, but I hadn't thought a bit more about it until I ran into it twelve hours ago. So maybe I should be flattered that someone thinks my work is good enough that they want to take credit for it, but for me, it just pisses me off. The site is called Someone named "Sexy" has posted it on there and put links to it on Facebook. This is just not cool. But I don't think there is much I can do about it. The other author has been removing his work from ASSTR in defense, but I fail to see how that helps. I want my work read, to be available. I just don't want it to be ripped off.

10 December 2016
Soul Revised

I have done a re-edit of the entire work. The HTML changes have been posted as I went through the work the last few days. The PDF and ebook versions were posted today. The greatest textual changes where made in today's rework. There were continuity problems that required text alterations, as well as simple typo matters.

07 December 2016
Writing and the Philippines

I think many of my readers think most of what I write is just fantasy. For instance, take the most outrageous of my writings, Soul. In it I relate violence related to and by police and involving drugs. But what I wrote is small potatoes compared with reality. For instance, consider what the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) states, as reported today in the news. The headline reads, “NBI says Leyte mayor victim of police rubout.” The text goes on:

"Defenseless victims of a police rubout."

That’s how the National Bureau of Investigation summed up on Tuesday the Nov. 5 killings of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. and another inmate in the Leyte subprovincial jail.

The NBI said it had recommended the filing of multiple murder charges against Supt. Marvin Marcos and 23 other personnel of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-Region 8 (CIDG-8) and Regional Maritime Unit operatives in connection with the slayings of Espinosa and Raul Yap.

“It’s rubout. Our findings show there was no shootout between Mayor Espinosa and the policemen,” NBI Deputy Director Ferdinand Lavin told reporters.

Why was the mayor killed? It is said that he could tie the top cop to the drugs syndicates. Another article tells of a high ranking cop, but not as high as Supt. Marco who was killed because he refused a bribe, from Marcos, of half a million pesos to kill the mayor.

In the same newspaper today there was a featured article about how shaving pubic hair reduces lice on the body.

Yes this is life in the Philippines. I could as easily fill this blog with news related to churches. Life here cannot be understood without the rule churches play in life, both privately and publicly.

Today I got a letter, sent from the form in the letters webpage here. I did not get specific permission but the return email address I suspect is a dead letter drop. I asked for permission and didn't get a reply at all. I will leave out identifying info and post it.

I guess I am posting this today because I have gotten, from some wonderful folks and dedicated readers of what I post, suggestions about plots from which I can write a story. While I really do appreciate the kindness with which those suggestions are made, I think it misses the point. I write about what I see and know, not what I fantasize about. Maybe the letter I post will provide a small bit of perspective.

I see much that is more mundane and will never make good reading. Some are not mundane but not something I can tell that would make a good story, although what I know would have you going for a stiff drink. In one case, yesterday, one of my girls related a story to me with the coda, 'if she in the Philipines the one girl will kill her.' Luckily the girl in question is, at the moment, in Australia, but the sentiment was not hyperbole. It is a thing I tried to capture in The InBox.

It is not the case that the Philippines is fulled with what I write about. It isn't. But what I write about does exist. So writing about an 'idea,' isn't how it works for me. Further, what I see needs to have enough meat on the bone to make a story, a real story.

02 December 2016
Soul is complete!

I have posted Chapter 25. There may be errors. The story is now complete. What comes next I have no idea! :-)

02 December 2016

Late last night I uploaded Chapter 24. There may be errors. The reality of the matter, that as this story is radically different from my other work, it has put one of my erstwhile proofreaders off the story. I certainly understand his sentiments. It does mean that you may well find more errors that remian posted for longer periods. Such is life. Anyway it turns out that I wrote over 11,000 words of this story in three days, thereby ending my dry spell.

01 December 2016

I have uploaded Chapter 23. There may be many errors. It is unclear. There have been no notes back to me for the last two chapters. I seem to work in spurts. Eight thousand words in the last three days.

30 November 2016

I have uploaded Chapter 22. There may well be many errors as I have been distracted as of late.

29 November 2016

I have finally uploaded Chapter 21. There may well be many errors as I have been distracted as of late.

21 November 2016

There are days when meals are nothing but gulay. There are days when not a sprig of gulay appears. But always, always, meals here defy the steady and unimaginative logic of a good American boy. This morning, as I entered the dirty kitchen to turn on the coffee maker, a girl was finalizing a wok of fried garlic rice. And so with my baraco coffee, grown not far from here, and harvested, roasted, ground fine, and sold by that self same farm family in the palengke, I ate some fried rice. It is not fried rice like you see in the USA. There are no separate long grains, these. No, it is charitable to call this medium grain rice. And while, not called sticky rice here-abouts, or glutinous rice by others, this rice is indeed starchy and sticky. A rice paddle removes it from the serving bowl in big clumps, where not one grain would dare consider dropping by the wayside on its passage to my plate.

And that was what I had for breakfast, or thought so. But as I was on my second mug of coffee, I was brought a bowl of kangkong from our garden. A thick red stalky variety with thin leaves. The kangkong had been chopped and sauteed in oil with salt, garlic, and onion. I had mentioned no more than thirty-six hours earlier that I missed the dish. I had thought of it as a dish for lunch or dinner. But here it was, as a second breakfast course. It was delicious.

Lunch was a carbohydrate triple play. One of the girls had made bihon. Added to my plate of bihon was a good cup of rice. Sure the bihon has a few pieces of cabbage, onion, and carrot in it, but it is mostly very thin mung bean starch noodles. That was going to be carbo enough, but another one of the girls arrived back, having stopped at a Jollibee's and placed a packet of french fries on my plate. Bihon, rice, fries. Lunch.

Supper was some lechon that was purchased at a palengke by one of the girls who got home about seven PM. And so it was lechon and the ubiquitous rice. A bottle of beer complementing the pork.

Rice for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A table surrounded tonight by only five women and me. Let the world spin in circles dealing with Trump, Duterte, Putin, and Xi Jinping. I sit here, surrounded by sweet faces, laughter,... and rice.

20 November 2016
Andriod ebook apps: Moon Reader Pro

I am frustrated to report that Moon Reader Pro does not display colored fonts except when there is a hypelink.This is the case on the three cellphones on which users tested the app.

14 November 2016
Andriod ebook apps

A reader informs me that Moon Reader Pro does it all. Would some of you like to try it out and report back if you concur?

13 November 2016
ebook readers / Andriod ebook apps suck.

On my PCs and Laptops, Linux and Windows, I use the ebook reader that comes with Calibre. It works great!

My books are all written with a Serif font, as the primary text. If a sans-serif appears, it is for emphasis only. I have sections of Soul where the dialog is in blue. If you know of a epub reader that works better that the ones I have tested, please let me know.

On my Android phone I have tried Adobe Digital Editions, FBReader, Alkido Book Reader, Alreader, Bookari, PocketBook - PDF EPUB Reader, and eBook Reader. Each fails in at least one way.

Adobe Digital Editions:


Alkido Book Reader:




eBook Reader:

3 November 2016
Joyfully and other matters

After the errors my erstwhile proofreader Steve and I found in Jake's Journal ~ Close to Home, I decided is was time to look once more at Jake's Journal: The Philippines ~ Joyfully.

I literally found over two hundred errors and reposted the HTML version, chapter by chapter, as I went through it yesterday.

This morning I awoke at 5AM to find Steve had subsequently reviewed my posts and found more errors in chapters 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, and 9! I fixed all and posted the corrected version in all formats this morning.

Most of what I had found were tense issues. This story was one I tried to bring from past tense to present starting in Chapter 2. I clearly had not caught them all way back then. (And that is why I am afraid of bringing the tense forward in Close to Home.) So many 'ed' and 'had' entries were changed in my efforts yesterday. Still I found, and fixed, a missing piece of dialog in the HTML that was in the ebooks and PDF versions.

Steve found other matters that just should simply have been caught long ago. Ouch.

While I was at it, I also updated the cover art on the PDF and ebook versions.

1 November 2016
Soul and other matters

I have taken a break from writing Soul though I have another half chapter already down.

There has been a formatting change in Soul based on an earlier request from a reader. At the time, I didn't think I would do it as some ebook readers don't do colors. But all other formats do and so I have reformatted some sections in color to distinguish certain dialog.

Another reader this week, pointed me back to my first story, Jake's Journal ~ Close to Home which I originally wrote a version of in 2007 and posted here in 2010. He found two errors in chapter 5. I corrected them and decided the piece needed another look, though it has seen three editors and more than three score of draft re-edits for errors previously. There were no hyperlinks in that story. I have already found one I needed to add for clarity's sake. Further, I found tense errors and a couple of textual defects that needed correction. I am still working on it having only gotten as far as the middle of chapter 7 at the moment. The story is written entirely in the past tense. I seem to, even today, if I am not careful, fall back to that, rather than writing in the present tense. I have considered a complete rewrite to bring the tense forward but will not as that will simply add more errors!

Life in the Philippines for me is calm. The killings here are a combination of a political purge masked by a headlong rubout of all connected to the methamphetamine drug called Shabu. If the cops and Duterte are to be believed, Mayors, Provincial Governors, Judges, individuals who serve in their House of Representatives, and famous actors are all involved in drug syndicates as dealers and in higher positions. There certainly are drugs here, but the problem is not noticably worse than in the USA or Europe. But as I have pointed out in my stories, the value of a life here is not seen the same way as those in the Canada, the USA and Europe see it. So while things are not 'normal' here, they are calm for me.

In the USA, Trump is now 'President elect' and all I can say is 'Holy Shit.' Between Brexit, Duterte, Trump, the rise in rightwing fascist and racist regimes in other parts of Europe, coupled with the hegemonic dreams of Putin, and the continuing instability in the middle east, all signs auger the end of the relative (comparative) calm in the world following WWII. It well may be time to invest in seed corn, seed potatoes, wheat seed, chickens, a plow, a plow critter (depending on where you live), a horse (or boat) for transportation, and candle making equipment. I am in hope that I am over-reacting. Only time will tell. I am not a fortune teller. I am primarily a chronicler of that which has already happened.

26 October 2016

I have uploaded Chapter 20 in all formats. The ususal cautions regarding notifying me of errors prevails.

7 October 2016

I have uploaded Chapter 19 in all formats. The ususal cautions regarding notifying me of errors prevails.

10 October 2016

Be careful what you wish for. Twenty emails in the inbox all telling me they like the story, some noting typos that need to be repaired. I have uploaded the fixed. Thanks to all!

Chapter 18 has been posted in all formats. Send me the typo info as usual!

9 October 2016

In has been an interesting forty hours. Normally when I release a chapter or two, a few of my stalwart readers post errors they find or make general comments. But there has been ‘radio silence.’  In the last seventy-two hours, I have received an email from a fellow who is a ‘sergeant’ in some organization, though I am not sure he wanted me to know that. And I have received email from a young woman who contacts me every once in a while and asks to join me. She is not going to join me. I have all I want.

Soul has been a huge departure from my normal story content. While I am having fun with it, it may simply be too different for my readership. As I am in this far into it, I will see the story through to completion. I am not sure if I will venture back into this realm again.

I have enjoyed treating the protagonist’s character like an onion, peeling away one layer of obfuscation after another slowly as the story unfolds.

8 October 2016

Posted Chapter 17 today. Please find the errors and notify me ASAP.

7 October 2016

Posted Chapter 16 today. Please find the errors and notify me ASAP.

3 October 2016

Posted Chapter 15 today. Please find the errors and notify me ASAP.

October 2016
Historically speaking

Things are beyond weird here at the moment. President Rodrigo Duterte has with no apparent jest suggested that he wants to be the Filipino Hitler and kill three million Filipinos. Who else he wants to kill is an issue that isn't seemingly even necessary to mention. He has accused eleven thousand police and army officers of being part of the drug trade and put them in the crosshairs of death squads. His anti-USA rhetoric is intense. He is kowtowing to China and whether it is for fear of China or love of the communist nation is unknowable. These are truly worrisome times.

I haven't seen a recent poll of how the nation is feeling. A few are surely feeling buyer's remorse, in electing him, but how many? Will the military follow him now that he may very well be labeled as an international war crimes criminal? Will they follow him as he shuts out the USA and cozies up to China?

I have taken a breather from my work on Soul, because I simply cannot concentrate on anything at the moment. I am not in the President's crosshairs. Drugs are not allowed in this house and neither are drug users. We have nothing to do with the police, or the army, or politics. Still that being said, who is really safe?

24 September 2016
Soul, Chapter 13

Posted Chapter 13 is now posted. It may contain lots of typos. Let me know.

24 September 2016
Comments about Soul

As is the norm, I don't typically post emails I get in my inbox, on to the letters page. So the Letters page is not a good barameter of what is coming into my email account.

I find it interesting that Soul is engendering a significant uptick in correspondence. A number have commented that this story is a huge departure from previous ones, but a welcome one.

To all of you who do not write but are happy to read my work, I thank you here as I can't do it in an email reply. Thank you for allowing me to tell you a story, to share something with you that at times needs to be said. Thank you for reading my work, which is far from the typical stroke stories found at ASSTR.

I have posted a revised version through Chapter 12, in all formats, earlier today which contains some technical fixes.

23 September 2016
Soul, Chapter 12

Posted Chapter 12 is now posted. It may contain lots of typos. Let me know.

20 September 2016
Soul, Chapter 11

Posted Chapter 11 is now posted. It may contain lots of typos. Let me know.

20 September 2016
Soul, Chapter 10

Posted Chapter 10 last night. It may contain lots of typos. Let me know.

9 September 2016
Why this story is straying into the realm of magical thinking. Why am I writing Soul?

As I have mentioned earlier, things here in the Philippines have turned a little pear shaped. If I hadn't over the last decade or so, sunk deep roots here, I might be asking, 'OK, where next?'

It is hard to see life here right now as a stable platform on which to tell essentially personal tales. Things are not stable, though some who live on these islands will tell you my concern is overwrought. However, the language coming from Duterte is aggressively anti-American. Today the news carried his statements that he is now targeting Philippine government as a main culprit in the illegal drug trade.

Do I doubt that some of this exists? No. Do I doubt that politics is a corrupt practice? No. Is it a unique problem to the Philippines? No.

Duterte is essentially at war with all the existing power centers of the nation. It is a way for him to centralize all power in one place. It allows him to accuse any who oppose him of being 'one of the corrupt.'

So, as Bette Davis said in All About Eve, "Fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy night." How this all plays out is completely unknowable. The need to feel safe, to feel stable, has brought forth in me a sense of magical thinking. It is not something I have ventured into before. When things went pear shaped in the past, I simply packed up and moved on. This time, it is simply much harder to do so.

But as I look around, and maybe this is hypocritical thinking, but I have no idea where I would go, where I would not feel as ill-at-ease.

I dare you to name a place where problems are not either in full vigor, or are not bubbling right under the surface. Add in that I need the freedom to be with my girls and it just becomes a zero sum. Even removing the girls from the equation, there is nowhere, where things are truly stable, with maybe the exception of Canada or New Zealand, and I am not really sure about Canada.

The USA? No, too much hate there. No, I am not accusing one side over the other when I say that. I do have a side, but even then, I see massive problems with the side I have chosen. Here is one of my axioms. Take it for what you will. Almost all politicians are corrupt and egotistical. If they aren't, beware, they are very dangerous. I will vote for a corrupt politician any day over one who is campaigning to throw all the politicians out. That second type, throughout all of history, always proves to be far more dangerous and evil. As of now, the USA is only a few steps from a dangerous path. The fact that it might well cause a ripple throughout the entire world, is scary beyond measure.

Europe? It has not been so unstable since say the 1910's. It is a powder keg. Europeans are in a massive state of denial. The Euro contains within it the very essence of economic crisis. The influx of those who are fleeing the mess in the middle-east has destabilized all of Europe.

Do I hate Islam? No. No more than I dislike any religion. Are there extremists in all faiths? Yes. But a minority of extremists in a faith that is the majority in a polity tends to not be as big of a problem. However if even one out of every one hundred is sympathetic to extreme beliefs and actions, and you are trying to absorb two hundred thousand asylum seekers, then you have two thousand dangerous potential terrorists. If the number is closer to one in ten, it could well be twenty thousand. Right now there are one million three hundred thousand individuals seeking asylum in Europe. So, tell me, even if you harbor no ill-will to the religion in general, do you not see the problem?

But worldwide, religion is just one of the problems. From the fascism of Putin's Russia, to the struggles between tribalism, Fascism, communism, and narco-politics in South America, Central America, the Balkans, Africa, and Asia … well, there is no safe place to hang out.

And so, my desire to find a safe place, has influenced my subconscious into magical thinking. The result is Soul.

6 September 2016

I have posted chapters 8 and 9 in all formats. I want to thank those who have liked it so far. I guess I am waiting for someone to say... now why did you have to go and ruin it?! :-)

3 September 2016

I have posted chapter 6 and update the ebooks to include the added material.

1 September 2016

I posted the Prologue and the first five chapters. It's a little more than 15,000 words and so for the time being it is Novella length. I expect it to get a lot longer. Time will tell. The structure as I mentioned before is more episodic and allows for an open ended approach.

8 September 2016
A series called Soul

There are times when due to change in circumstances the mind walks down a different pathway. At present, as I have mentioned, the turmoil in the Philippines has kept me distracted. It really has. But something happened twice to me at restaurants recently that caused my mind to wander down a curious lane. Added to that an email exchange I have had with a reader has added more fuel as we chatted about religious beliefs.

The link to it is here, but not on the index page, (for now). It will be the very first chapter of a story that isn't as tightly wound as a novel. If it works, it will be like a series of one or two chapter stories based on an underlying structure. Many other authors on ASSTR use this format, but it will be the very first for me. I will be able to add to it from time to time, while still allowing for new novels to be written in between chapters.

For the record, once again, nothing in this story is outside the bounds of what is real or eminently possible here in the Philippines. The first chapter has absolutely no sex in it.

3 September 2016
Another domino falls. Duterte delares "State of Lawlessness"

Palace claims: State of lawlessness in Philippines is constitutional. A government spokesman, Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismael "Mike" Sueno, has claimed that the Abu Sayyaf has taken responsibility for the bombing. Radio DZMM also reported that Abu Sayyaf spokesperson Abu Rami said that the group owns up to the deadly attack. So Duterte has been given the 'cover' to increase his grip.

The Abu Sayyaf on Saturday denied it was behind Friday night’s explosion. The explosion that killed 14 people and wounded 67 others (official figure as of 6 a.m. Saturday) at the night market on Roxas Ave. here. But Muammar Askali alias Abu Ramie, the self-styled spokesperson of the Al Harakatul Al Islamiya, the Abu Sayyaf’s official name, pointed to an ally as that behind the deadly explosion.

In a phone call to the Inquirer, Askali identified the group behind the blast as Daulat Ul Islamiya. “They are doing this to sympathize (with) our group and we are sending a message to President Rodrigo Duterte that all the Daulat throughout the country is not afraid of him,” Askali said.

31 August 2016
A time out from Novel writing.

Maybe, just maybe, I would not be engaged in another work yet. It is impossible to know.

I was able to dash off a short piece, The InBox, but that is all.

As probably all know, right now is a highly volatile time in the Philippines. Well over two thousand individuals have been killed. Most of those killed were probably involved in the sale and distribution of a type of methamphetamine called Shabu.

While the drug has become prevalent in the nation, it is not the basis for corruption. Its growth has been aided and abetted because of a society where corruption is endemic. And so the fight that is so broadly discussed, is only a fight against those who have been corrupt in one way.

It has however allowed the nation's President to use guilt by association to target his enemies. He uses matrices of connections, which in truth prove nothing, to name names, and call for murder to be done.

As I am not a politician, (and therefore not an actor on the stage blocking the President,) and I do not have conspicuous wealth that raises eyebrows, and am in no way involved with any drugs, I doubt that I and my family are in any personal danger.

Still the upheaval within the society is significant. The news each day is troubling. Violence in this time of vigilante justice is unpredictable and unsettling.

And so, I find it hard to loosen my mind from the day to day realities and wander the pathways I need to move within when writing a longer piece of writing.

A letter writer asked me about the violence here. Since it was my answer and not his letter that I really need to post I do it here as part of this note entry.

A very large majority of Filipinos in every strata of society are supportive of Duterte. In my own way I have touched on many of the threads that are woven together to produce this result.

1. Respect follows the person with power, not the office the person holds. (The concept of "Po".) If you meet Attorney Juan Delacruz in a social settings, you do not refer to him as Mr. Delacruz, or Juan, you address him as Atty. Delacruz.

2. The issue discussed in Monkey Read ~ Monkey Do... This is NOT a culture of the individual, but rather of the group. The individual will be sacrificed if need be for the 'greater good' of the society. I explained as as the group pulling together, but it can also be the group cutting out what it does not want.

3. The value of life. Gimme Shelter

4. Official corruption: Jake's Journal: The Philippines Joyfully / Gimme Shelter / Monkey Read ~ Monkey Do

The concept of the western value of a nation of law, is not part of the culture here. Here they want a strong leader primarily because Law is only a way to subsidize the corrupt. A strongman, can in their eyes reduce the corruption, no matter how many might need to die.

I am probably not in any danger. I am not a danger to anyone in the society that has a part to play in all this, other than the moralists and Duterte doesn't seem to give a shit about moralists. He is going after the drugs, the corrupt in the police, army and government, as well as going after his political rivals.

In a bizarre way, his actions might make my life easier. International investment into the Philippines from the EU and USA might well dry up. That will drive the peso down giving my US dollars a better exchange rate. It will kill off the growing and robust economy in some of the islands and create more desperately poor women who need a safe place to land. I certainly feel sorry for them, but as it is far more grist for my stories, I will have far more tales to tell. The Filipino does not understand that the booming economy was because the International community liked Aquino. They think the good times will last forever. They are about to be in for a rude shock.

27 August 2016
AZW3 and mobi downloading correctly now.

Two things to be aware of before you try these downloads. You may need to install a reader application for the format you intend to download, before you start the download. Both of these formats are being sent via an embedded FTP url. The FTP download is pretty slow compared with the HTTP url I use for the ePub and the PDF files. But I have no choice as ASSTR does not properly support those two file types.

26 August 2016
HTML text width

I had added code to limit the width of the text in the on-line HTML files. This ought to make reading the on-line stories more comfortable.

25 August 2016
mobi file download problems

Today, a user who wanted to grab some mobi files informed me (after how long since I first posted them?) that the links do not work as the files come as ascii streams. I found that to be very true. Further I have found the only way around that is to provide an FTP url instead of the http url. It works, but the first time you initiate a session it asks for username and password. The username is "anonymous" and the password is (or any password that works, though I suspect it has to have an @ in it). I am still looking for a work around. I may also have to do the same thing to the awz3, or just remove them if not one is using them.

25 August 2016
The InBox

I have posted the story in all formats. The story runs just over 12,750 words. So it is a short piece, compared to my other recent work. But in this case brevity was what was called for.

25 August 2016
Some thoughts on culture and an update on The InBox

In Monkey Read ~ Monkey Do, I provided some glimpses into corruption in government and in the nature of the concept of the group as opposed to individual rights. Since that time, much has happened here in the Philippines. And this news article from today's Philippine Daily Inquirer (here) speaks to how individual lives are weighed in the balance. Yes, it gives rise to many things those from the Western world believe to be ugly. I am in that "Western" camp. But my girls are not. Filipinos in large numbers are right there with my girls. As I have noted many times, the value of life here is different.

As to The InBox, at least one proofreader (Steve) has told me, "This story is well worth posting." And so when I get the final revisions, from Mark, I will post in all formats. This story has some sex, but it is minimal and from a distance. No individual in the story is under 16 and no sex occurs with anyone younger that 17. There is discussion of violence that occurred previously, but no 'graphic' violence. There is incest, but the story is not consumed by it. So I am not sure how I will code it.

23 August 2016
A new story: The InBox

I have written a new Novelette (around twelve thousand words). It is written as emails to and from one couple's mail program. I am not sure how well it works. If my proofreaders hate it, it may never see the light of day!

I will give it two initial edits and then see which of my stalwart proofreaders want to take this one on.

8 July 2016
Easter Eggs

In the HTML versions, for all but the five short stories, (and therefore without an true index of chapters,) I have added a new hyperlink on that index page. Clicking on the title name there will bring you to the cover page art of the ebook versions. From there if you click on the cover page you are in the story. Ebook and PDF downloaders see this as the front of the book. It doesn't add anything to the stories, but I figured, why not add it in.

7 July 2016
Your feedback

I want to express my gratitude to those of you who have encouraged me to not see this as a rut and have encouraged me to continue posting stories. At the moment, I am not quite ready to jump into a new novel. I am doing some re-editing of my existing work. However I suspect that in short order I will be back at it. That may mean another novel yet this year. We will see. Things here with our new President, and the UNCLOS decision regarding the South China Seas, have things a little unsettled. I will probably place my next tale prior to the current political situation for that reason.

I have uploaded corrected versions of The Joshua Tree and Monkey Read ~ Monkey Do. It was not anything major, but there were small problems in both.

1 July 2016
Ruts vs Reality

In a number of recent interactions other have mentioned that I always write about older guys and young women and girls. That I don't write about bdsm, or gay males, or young men. Yes that is all true. One person said my stories were a bit formulaic. It has had a somewhat more than small impact of my ability and willingness to write another story. If these are cookie cutter, maybe it is time to stop.

So, the question is, is this a rut? Am I a one trick pony? It didn't seem that way to me. My protagonists had different personalities, different motivations, different levels of comfort related to certain types of sexual contact. But it is true, I don't write about couples without others, because I guess, what's the point?

As to the matter of ages, it is true that my stories are all of the same vein, but here I will plead that as I said many times before, I write what I know. So allow me to talk about reality in the Philippines regarding the expats and such who come here in relation to what I know.

First let me be very clear, I do not feel comfortable writing about Filipino men and their women, because I don't know enough on a personal level to write an accurate and convincing tale. As to gay men and boys (Ladyboys) here, of which there is an active and rich culture here, I am not part of that either. It is frequently impossible to tell a ladyboy from a female, unless you see the Adams Apple of his throat, which is why they wear scarves around their necks frequently. I am sure someone else can do a great job with stories about these guys and maybe someone already is… it just can't be me. I don't know that world.

The guys who come from overseas are mostly older for the simple reason that they are not tied to an 8-to-5 job. If they are and they come, they are here for a week and leave. So maybe they find a girl and file paperwork to bring her home, but then you have a simple couple again and why bother? (Now there are exceptions where it is not the case, and I have stories that look at that. In fact I did write that sort of a tale that ends as a simple couple, in The Food Court, but it was a short story for that very reason. In The Package Deal and Jake's Journal: The Philippines with Ganda I do take another look at leaving the Philippines, but once again Jake had a job that didn't require the 8-to-5 stuff.

So the guys who do come to the Philippines for longer periods of time are almost always older, retirees. Could they find older women? Sure. Do they? No. The oldest gals might be in the 40's but even that is highly unusual. The gals are mostly in their 20's with some in the 30's. Some are 17, 18, or 19. But anyone under 18 is potential trouble, especially if you try to get on a plane with her.

So that is where I start. That is the world within which I find my stories. Sometimes it is a new relationship, sometimes it is a relationship that takes a left turn. In the case of From Nothing, it followed after the death of a wife.

I could tell you tales of a happy couple who build a nice house, and the wife's extended family all come and stay. Yes, that happens, all too often here, but would it make a good read? I guess, it might make for a light comedy on the Disney network, but I will pass on it.

So am I in a rut? Yes this is reality, but is it also a rut and time to stop?

7 June 2016
Real wages in the Philippines

Some of my readers may not understand the economic conditions in which my stories are based. Here is a piece of an article from Reuters today.

Dhondie Bayaban, inspector of the Philippine National Police (PNP), said the police had recently received a base pay rise to 14,000 pesos ($300) a month but welcomed Duterte's pledge of further salary increases.

"It’s not that low, but not enough either to sustain a family," the 41-year-old told Reuters.

Now that is what a trained beginning cop makes. A competent mason might between 9,000 to 10,000 pesos (= $218) a month. A sales clerk in a department store mith make 6,000 pesos ($121) a month. So a maid who gets room and board and 2,500 pesos a month is actually doing OK by these standards.

4 June 2016
Monkey Read ~ Monkey Do - revision

Reviewing my last effort I found that chapters 35 and 36 were messed up. The time sequences were scrambled and things were not in proper order. There was no easy fix and so both chapters were partially rewritten with added material in both chapters. Other errors were found as well and fixes to all have been uploaded in all formats.

06 May 2016
Website cleanup and new covers for ebooks.

I have come close to completing the cleanup tasks. Ebooks all got new covers. On the PDF's, pagination is improved plus I have added Chapter and title name to each page. Webpages have new icon tabs, so you no longer have to quit the tab if someone walks into the room.

29 April 2016
Retirement: epic errors

I was just going to refresh the HTML but decided to give the story a complete read through. There were so many errors that it required a rewrite of section after section. There was a section where text was simply missing from the PDF and ebook versions, though the HTML was correct. There were storyline errors that came about early on when I wrote two separate versions, one for SOL and one for ASSTR. There was a problem with consistency with the story, From Nothing. There were timeframe issues that required addressing. Mothers who had too many children of the wrong name... oh man, what a mess. I have reposted the story in all formats with all the corrections.

26 April 2016
Gimme Shelter revision and other postings

I found a few things that were not correct in the text of Gimme Shelter, and a few that needed either clarification or further exposition. In the process I tweaked a few format issues and tightened the HTML code for faster load time. All that may have been lost on an observer as I reissued all the PDF and ebooks due to formatting updates just a day or two prior. The formatting update has allowed me to use exactly the same source file for both the PDF and the ebooks. Up until now, with the exception of the latest novel, there have been separate texts that I have had to maintain. This formatting update makes for better consistencey across the platforms.

I also updated the index files for the website to freshen it up a bit.

There is no new book being worked at the moment. Over the last five years, I have posted one novel each year. The Joshua Tree in 2011, Retirement in 2012, The Rainy Season in 2013, Gimme Shelter in 2014, Bayan Na in 2015, and Monkey Read ~ Monkey Do this year. My last short story, From Nothing, in 2012, morphed into either a novelette or novella in 2015. I don't think I will return to the short story format and haven't decided on the next project.

I get suggestions from some of you, my readers, and while I know each and every one of the suggestions is made with the kindest of hearts, I write about what I see and how I can create a story from those things. So, suggestions really don't help.

I just want to make a comment about the choices some of my characters make. These are stories about people, not icons of PC behavior. If they do something you disagree with, I get it, but please don't think that every time a character does something, that I am advocating either for it or against it. I am simply allowing a character to be whom I understand that character to be.

22 April 2016
Monkey Read ~ Monkey Do: 22 April re-edit release

I have been uploading the corrected html chapters over the last three days as they were completed. The PDF and ebook versions have been released today. There were changes throughout due to all manner of things. Consistency, time/day issues, physical realities, relationship corrections, typos, tense, and needed additional exposition in a few places.

I had been using a dagger, '†', to indicate change in first person voice. One person complated about by use of a Christian cross. It wasn't a cross... oh but when I read the ebook version on my Cell phone, yes indeed, it displays as a cross. So I have changed all of them, to a 'double-dagger' ‡ which on my cell looks like a double cross and not the Christian symbol.

Each time I think I have caught everything only to find a bumper crop on the next reread. For those who care, one edit will come from a ebook read on a PC, the next from the HTML version off the public website. The next from an ebook downloaded to a cell phone and read on it. I find that by varying the medium and reviewing both the HTML which is now a separate text from that of the ebook, and a different platform PC vs Cell Phone, I am catching more and more errors. This is the tenth proof/edit. If you download the new one with the 22 April release date on the PDF or ebook vesions or read the HTML version now - and find errors, please let me know.

3 April 2016
Monkey Read ~ Monkey Do: releases of the ebooks

OK, I have completed the ninth full proof of the novel and re-released the PDF and ebook versions. All the HTML is updated. If you find errors, please let me know.

2 April 2016
Monkey Read ~ Monkey Do: more errors and Easter Eggs.

I am continuing to post more fixes to the HTML text. I am currently on chapter 10 once again. Once I get all the way to chapter 48, I will repost the ebooks.

During the proofing, one of my readers compained about, did not get, a reference I placed that was an Easter Egg. There are a number of these in this story. As I have a significant European readership which may not be familiar with American culture, I offer the explanation here to a few of possibly the most obscure ones:

  1. "So far this has been a no good very bad day, and I am damned close to Australia." is a reference to a children's book. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day in which Alexander is constantly thinking he will go to Australia.
  2. Great Pumpkin is a reference to the comic strip Charlie Brown and a TV special which first mentions the Great Pumpkin.
  3. "I am being railroaded I say! Railroaded!" is a reference to Forhorn Leghorn a cartoon send up of a radio show character of the 1940's "Senator Clagforn."
  4. "So I guess I need to brush up my Shakespeare. I should start quoting him now. Yes, I should brush up my Shakespeare if Arroyo I want to wow." is a reference to a song, written by Cole Porter for the musical and later the film, Kiss Me Kate, which is a send up of Shakespeare's, The Taming of the Shrew.

9 April 2016
Monkey Read ~ Monkey Do: more errors.

Thanks to one of my erstwhile proofreaders, more errors where identified today and I have no doubt that more are yet to be found. I have uploaded the revised versions today. I can only assume this will not be the last of these corrective uploads.

7 April 2016
Monkey Read ~ Monkey Do: redux.

Since the initial release I have made over 200 changes and corrections to the text. Most are truly minor but three of these correct text that were both misleading and wrong. In one case the error was introduced during an earlier proofing fix! This is the seventh proofing of the material and I hope against hope that all future errors will be minor in nature. The HTML corrections have been rolled out over the last three days. The Ebook versions were posted today.

3 April 2016
The morning after: Monkey Read ~ Monkey Do.

As a writer, once I sit down to write a story, and these days that story will be novel length, I first have to make sure that the tale has legs; is there enough there. That is normally resolved in the first sitting of writing, as I will write a large amount. Maybe ten thousand words will be completed in the first sitting. Then there is the task of working my way through the telling of the story. Some days it comes quickly, some days I sit and look at my keyboard, not quite sure how to proceed, only to realize a day or two later, what needs to happen next and off I go again. It takes weeks or months to write the blasted thing. And then it is done. The basic story is saved. But it is in the crudest form. Words are missing, or incorrect. Sentences and even paragraphs make no sense and have to be corrected or completely rewritten.

Finally it is ready for outside, third party, proofing and that happens, with me doing a reproof following the first round of proof readers. And then yet another round of proofing, before I put the thing out there.

At this point I very much want to share it with others. But as soon as I do, and it is out in the public, more errors are disclosed by my proof readers who now have the formal first edition early and by me as I read through parts of the first edition. How could we have all missed 'x'? And so replacing the original with corrected versions begins. I have done so three times already. There are still mistakes in the version on-line right now. But none are really embarrassing. So I will wait until I collect a few more before I repost another corrected version.

And then, there comes a time when as an author, you wait for feedback. Having lived with the damned thing for a month or two, the desire for feedback is strong. But the novel is over one hundred and fifty thousand words. Feedback won't be instantaneous!

From the routine of working every day on this thing, day after day, the sense of completion is accompanied with the sense of loss. Being done, means it is no longer mine to play with and grow. It means that my day has a hole in it, where nothing requires my attention.

It is the morning after.

2 April 2016
Monkey Read ~ Monkey Do.

The Novel is posted in all formats. When you find errors, please let me know so I can correct the text.

27 March 2016 / Easter Sunday
Monkey Read ~ Monkey Do.

OK, the novel is out to proofreaders and as soon as I get there corrections back I will start posting. The ebook versions and PDF will be posted first as getting the htlm massaged into proper format will take some more time. I urge those of you who get early reads and find errors in the ebook or PDF formats, to get back to me asasp, as I might be able to make the corrections before the html version gets posted.

25 March 2016 / Holy Week
Monkey Read ~ Monkey Do.

I am on the second proof/edit of my completed next novel Monkey Read ~ Monkey Do. Once the draft has seen two revisions, I will send a PDF of the working draft to two editors for more error correction, before I post it here. I believe I have at least one editor selected. I am open to selecting a second... but please understand, I do NOT want 'corrected drafts.' I want emails with (1) page number; (2) original text; and (3) suggestions or corrections. I expect the PDF will be ready to go out in two days. This is a novel with 48 chapters and over 130,000 words. It is not for the casual faint of heart.

25 December 2015 / Christmas Day
Gang Aft Agley.

I have made some stylistic changes to this story. I moved a paragraph around for better flow, changing a few words in the process. I corrected two little pieces of dialog which presumed that which was not evident. I corrected a missing italics for one sentence and corrected two spelling errors. Now that these things are fixed, I am going to give it another read through and see if I want to expand the story in any way. In the meantime, the fixes have been posted.

21 December 2015
Filipina Beauty.

When I write about Filipnas being some of the most beautiful women in the world, here are the some of the markers for that fact. No other country has these results.
Miss Universe.
Miss Universe

Miss Globe 2015 Ann Lorraine Maniego Colis(title stripped because of technicality).
Miss Earth 2015 - Angelia Ong.

5 December 2015
Form Mail.

Well I just discovered that the form-mail works for some systems. I have been using Windows 7 and none of the browers I have tested (Chrome, IE, or FireFox) allows me to see the new "I am not a robot" message. I received a message from someone today using the form. That was a surprise. So I tested again. It didn't work for me. I grabbed a friend' s Win 10 laptop. I'll be damed, when using Microsoft Edge as the browser, it worked. Well OK, so I thought, maybe it's Edge. He also has Chrome, so I tried that. Yes that worked too. I am not sure what is happening. I looks like it may be a permission issue. Win 10 is allowing something that isn't allowed in Win 7 anymore. I found that I could get IE to work on Win 7 by folloring the suggestions in This link. I got FireFox to work after playing around with the settings shown Here. However I am so far unable to crack the problem with Chrome. I will contunue to work on it.

2 December 2015
Just hacking around and still on hiatus.

There are no new stories in the works are present. I am busy with other things at the moment. When I say that, I am not saying there is no down time, but only not enough and not long enough stretches for me to write a new story. Still I am messing around with mobile devices as I am away from home much of the time. I was wondering if any of you think I should build a mobile friendly index page with a simple access to the epub, and other ebook format directories. I am not sure it is needed or if there would be a better way to deal with this.

29 November 2015
Bayan Na.

It's weird how reading a story in a different format allows me to find errors I did not see before. I have just completed re-reading Bayan Na in ebook format on my Android Cellphone and I found a bunch of problems. So corrections have been made and the revised versions posted.

25 November 2015
Footnotes, Ebook readers and Android Phones.

As some will know, my stories are available, in various ebook formats, on this website. Almost all of the stories contain footnotes. My PC based ebook reader… a portion of the Calibre software I use to convert the stories into ebooks, has no problem handling footnotes. I can click on the footnote and am either transported to the footnote and then allowed to return back to where from whence I came, or the footnote pops up as a little window over the text, which I can then close and continue reading. And so, I thought, cool, it works just fine.

Why didn't some of you tell me that on your Android phones, most readers can't handle footnotes or at least they don't handle them well at all. In fact, though I have not tried those that require you to log into their service to purchase books, I have yet to find any that work acceptably with footnotes on my new Android Cell Phone.

The best one so far is FBReader. Technically it works flawlessly, assuming your finger is 1 millimeter wide. With my fat fingers, it's pretty much a nonstarter.

I have tried over ten readers. It's a mess. I haven't tried a tablet yet. I guess I should. I am not sure if I should keep the ebooks on the site or remove them.

3 October 2015
Form mail function on ASSTR is STILL broken.

For those who want to contact me, my email address is available on the page immediately after the title page in the PDF and ebook versions.

4 September 2015
Form mail function on ASSTR is broken.

I have no idea when it will be fixed. This is out of my control. It fails on all browsers and for all authors who use the ASSTR perl script.

7 June 2015
Employment, economics and the real world.

OK, so for those of you who may think I exaggerate in my description of how females are treated here and the opportunities for them as they grow older, I give you this to chew on. I saw it outside a store recently. It is actually quite common, but after a letter I got recently, it occurred to me that some might think I am embellishing the matter.

06 June 2015
Correct working addresses in emails.

Once again I received a missive which requested a personal reply. And once again the return address is no good. So "Mark" if you read this, hushmail doesn't know who you are. My answer to you bounced. However two spelling errors you caught in The Rainy Season have been corrected on the webpages and will be fixed in the ebook and PDF versions later today.

01 June 2015
A new reworked edition of Jake's Journal: The Philipines - Joyfully.

After a comment about this story, caught me a little off guard, I decided to revisit it. Jake's Journal: The Philipines - Joyfully was an early effort. Might it need a little touch up? No, it needed a complete overhaul. There were bridging sections missing and so motivations were not clear. Everything was in the past tense, and I decided to change that. Paragraphs were too dense and needed to be unpacked. Of hell, I just decided to rework every paragraph in the story. It will be a little longer, though not by much. The story is still the story. The characters are still going to do what they did, mostly. But it should be smoother. It should make more sense. You should finally understand Jake's initial abivalence to Jun's actions. You should see why Jake stuggled with something he really had not wanted. That is, if I can pull it off. I am now only on Chapter 5 and it has been taking a few days to get this far. I am also using footnotes and pulling extraneous stuff out of the text. The recipes are going to be included. I guess it may take a week or more before it is ready for posting.

26 May 2015
Corrections to Gimme Shelter.

I have just gone back through Gimme Shelter and found that some of the outside links to the recipes were either no good or now chock full of popups. So I have now created recipe pages and the links are local in many cases. The recipes are also included in the PDF and eBook versions.

25 May 2015
Corrections to The Rainy Season.

I have just gone back through The Rainy Season and have found not just spelling errors, but logic errors, name errors, and paragraphs out of order. For the eBook and PDF versions, there is also reformatting of the document to make access to the photos better. And so I am posting a "Third Edition" of the story.

7 May 2015

Every once in a while. I go back and reread what I have written. I have just done just that, following my re-edit and new chapters to From Nothing. The result are small technical revisions in Trifecta, The Whale and Gang Aft Agley. On this last piece, I noted a file naming inconsistancy in the ebook and PDF versions, which have been fixed. I guess I will revisit some of the others before I launch into my next effort. At this moment, I have not decided on the next effort. There are loose ends from Gang Aft Agley that need to be dealt with at some point, maybe. I would really like to do something with the Jana and Cynthia love affair I only touched upon in Bayan Na. But I am not the best person to write that story.

3 May 2015
From Nothing

The number of folk, who have, over the last few years asked that I extend From Nothing outnumbers all other singular requests by double if not triple digits. Just a week or two ago, I again I handled one of those letters with a recap of things that happened later. However, I persisted in saying the story stands as complete. But once again I received yet another missive, asking for more. I sketched out all the things that needed to be in a 'more' and it would have taken a good ten more chapters added to the four short ones that are the story as written. I started and worked my way through three chapters before deciding that I didn't need to include everything. I could hint at the future in some cases without telling the tale. And so I have provided three chapters that allow me to put Nita into Howard's life, integrate the tale with Lawrence and Jake (tangentially) and hopefully satisfy a few readers. I have not posted it yet and it needs proofing first, but for those of you, who have been bugging me... OK, I give in.

0 May 2015

A number of folks have asked me about the process of buying and using bitcoins. The process is not hard. Use a search engine and type in 'buy bitcoins' and you will see places to purchase the coins. Use the browser to find where to download the app and it will install on your selected device. It does take quite a while to sync up completely to the Bitcoin network, so be patient. It may take up to two weeks of running the code in background before you can use it. But it does then work fine. I even found a link that allows me to exchange bitcoins and deposit it into my Philippine bank account directly. You will find similar links in your country!

04 May 2015
Bayan Na and Letters

First, this is not a clumsy attempt to get comments. Do not comment just because you read this... I am just a bit surprised. Most stories, once I post them get some comments. Good or bad, I generally get two or three a day for a couple of weeks. Not his time. No, this time I have gotten a total of two. I can't figure out if it was so bad that most folks just didn't want to waste the time, or if it was just OK… or, hell, I don't know. The two comments I got were positive, but there will always be two who like something. I did note that far fewer individuals have downloaded this story. Is it because people do not go onto ASSTR in the Spring? Is it because Bayan Na, the name, is not English? Maybe I should repost as Bayan Na, a Jake story.

On a second issue, I have added a page for letters I have received, where the comments evoked an answer that might be worth posting. I will only post letters if: the writer gives me specific permisison to post; informs me of the name to use for the poster; and if there is an answer to the post that has some value to others. The page can be found as a link from the home page.

30 April 2015
Threading a thin line

I have at the end of my stories and novels provided a request for donations. All the stories are free to access and the choice to not donate does not have a negative impact on the reader. However, as I read the ASSTR the language, it is vague enough that they might kick me off. If so, I guess I will be gone for good. Here's the language from their terms of service as referenced in the Author's user guide as: section 11, paragraph A, sentence 2. I don't think a request for a donation falls under this, but you never know!.

11. User Conduct.
A) User shall use ASSTR site for lawful purposes only. User shall not post or transmit through ASSTR site any material which violates or infringes in any way upon the rights of others as established by law, which is unlawful, threatening, abusive, defamatory, invasive of privacy or publicity rights, give rise to civil liability or otherwise violate any law, or which, without ASSTR's express prior written approval, contains advertising or any solicitation with respect to products or services. Any conduct by a User that in ASSTR's discretion restricts or inhibits any other User from using or enjoying ASSTR site will not be permitted. User shall not use ASSTR site to advertise or perform any commercial solicitation, including, but not limited to, the solicitation of users to become subscribers and/or users of on-line commercial erotic services.

29 April 2015
Current work: Bayan Na

I got no volunteers to do a final edit and so I have posted the entire story. If you find errors, please let me know.

27 April 2015
Current work: Bayan Na

The final draft is completed. I had two wonderful proofreaders who went through a preliminary draft and found many errors. I also have worked through the novel twice more. The second time, I corrected a myriad of continuity problems which meant rewriting sections. And rewriting sections also means that I have inadvertently introduced more errors. So, I am looking for one or two of my erstwhile readers to review a final draft in an ebook or PDF format before I post the rest of it here in a few days. Anyone interested? It's over 170,000 words.

25 April 2015
Current work: Bayan Na

OK the next ten chapters are posted. I will post the final twenty-one chapters in the next seven days. I am just doing a final edit and proof read.

20 April 2015
Current work: Bayan Na

I have come to the realization that there is no feasible way for me to 'sell' the balance of this novel and actually realize funds that will be useful to me in the near future. So here is what I will do. I am going to release the balance of the chapters free on April 25th. I have submitted the finaly thirty-one chapters to outsise editors. I am waiting for the list of errors they find. All of it will be available here on ASSTR in all the normal formats.

I do ask you to consider a 'donation' via bitcoin of 16 mBTC. That's 16 millibits, or around $4.00. However that will be up to you! If you want more from me, faster, the donations will be the encouragement and maybe at some time in the future, there will be a way I will be able to convert them to cash.

Payment information:
Image: Here.
URI: bitcoin:165SYgtMtQFCbUuqnRS7pAi8T7xSh2CnRL?amount=0.01600000&label=Bayan%20Na%3A%20The%20complete%20novel.
Address: 165SYgtMtQFCbUuqnRS7pAi8T7xSh2CnRL
Amount: 16.00000 mBTC
Label: Bayan Na: The complete novel.

4 April 2015
Current work: Bayan Na

I will publish the prologue and the first ten chapters of Bayan Na on Friday, the 17th. There are 31 chapters beyond those that I publishing now. Exactly how I will publish those I am not sure. I considered using bitcoin, but cannot reverse that into cash. So that's out. As far as cash payments go, I do not have a safe answer to protect my identity. It's sort of frustrating. I guess I am open to suggestions

9 April 2015
Current work: Bayan Na | Updaded

There is a possibility that only the first few chapters of this work will be published online. I am considering selling the complete novel as an ebook. It would be sold for fractional or MillyBits BitCoins. The asking price will average out to $4.00, at present, thats 16 mBits, but it will change depending on the exchange rate at the moment. I welcome comments. I am spending a vast amount of my time on these works, but I am not sure what the market would be like.

4 April 2015
Bounced email regarding reader's request.

Every once in a while I get an email making a request. I try to answer these emails, but a few times I have had my respose bounced because of problems with the user's return address. I normally to not publish these and I will not display the person's name or email address here. However, here is his request and my answer.

comments = Loved the story about Howard and Nene. Are there any plans to continue the story, the integration of Nita into their lives would, to me, be interesting. The hint in another story was tantalizing. Thanks for your stories.

And my answer.

I have no current plans to extend or do another piece on Howard and Nene. Nene is eighteen now and the wedding of Howard and Nene is next month. Nita will be the Maid of Honor. Nene wants rid of the IUD but Howard says, after the wedding please. Nita and Howard already have a child, now one year old, named Henry Allen who everyone calls Toto. Nene wants a daughter so that she can name the kid, Flor. Their life is stable and happy and there is nothing to write about. Some things just work out.

3 April 2015
Easter Greetings and Current work: Bayan Na

I wish all you Christians, you know who your are, a happy Easter. I hope you can reconnect with family and have a joyous time.

I have more that 160,000 words written in forty chapters, in the yet to be posted new tale, Bayan Na. As I said before, I am going to try and finish it before any of it is posted. As a caution, in this story, I only footnote and define a Tagalog or Visayan word once. If that happens in chapter 3, it will not get another footnote in chapter 40. Either keep a crib sheet if you need one or give me a suggestion about how to handle this differently.

28 February 2015
Current work: Bayan Na

I am a little more that 40,000 words and ten chapters in to a new tale, Bayan Na. I am going to try and finish it before any of it is posted, as to do otherwise just seems to drive a few of my good readers crazy. I am very busy these days on other matters and so I am not able to devote much time each day to this effort.

8 January 2015
The Joshua Tree gets reworked

The Joshua Tree is the latest to get a top to bottom rework. I have posted all formats today. As with the other ebook versions, the cover has been modified as well to make the new one clearly recognizable. This story stays in the past tense as the narrator is the omniscient third person telling a tale.

4 January 2015
Hubris abounds!

I simply am unable to create a manuscript without errors! Each time I read through one of my stories, I find problems. I think I have caught them all, only to go back later and find major defects. Retirement was the story I had posted just before The Rainy Season. So following the re-edit of that and Gimme Shelter, I went back for another read. Jeez! What a mess. There were small things like improper tenses, one of my big problems as I write, (I tend toward the passive past tense). There were goofy things, like the wrong name in places. There was bad math in the number of individuals. There were sentences that were badly constructed. There were words that were just missing from sentences. There were wrong words. There were places that were just confusing and needed a complete re-write. So that is done and reposted as a corrected revision with an updated copyright. I would like to believe that I caught it all this time. I am sure I have not.

1 January 2015
Hubris! Uploads today

I had the foolish impression that no further editing needed to be done. I was clearly in error. Here is a re-edited revision of Gimme Shelter. Text has been added. Errors corrected. Minor formating issues corrected. All supported formated have been uploaded.

03 January 2015
HTML Uploads today

The uploads today were to upgrade footnote HTML tags and correct a few screwed up footnotes. There was no change in any story.

02 January 2015
Re-Release: The Rainy Season

OK, I have posted the completed re-editied and revised The Rainy Season today in all formats. This is a far cleaner version, correcting myriad problems. If you have a copy of the older PDF, ePub, AWZ3 or mobi release, please delete it and download the newer one. At this point I think all the stories have been completely re-edited.

31 December 2014
Wishing you a Happy New Year

I have been spending my holiday, between the endless parties, re-editting The Rainy Season. I am not done yet, but hope to post it within the next couple of days. This is COMPLETE re-write on some sections to bring the 'tense' into the present from chapter 4 though chapter 17, were it was already in the present. I am also fixing a major formating problem regarding italics that had not cleared when they were supposed to return to regular text. I am adding language, both the occasional word and in some cases sentences for the sake of clarity. I have also found some continuity problems I am dealing with and in doing so the text must change on occasion. I am not posting any of these changes, even on the begining HTML chapters until everything is complete. Then all will get uploaded at the same time.

23 December 2014
Wishing you a joyful Christmas

The table tonight held fifteen on us, including the little ones. Tomorrow with some of the relations to those here, there will be around thirty for Christmas Eve dinner. Tuna Kinilaw, Humba, Lumpia, Sprimp in chili sauce, ham, bihoon, and much more will be piled on the table. San Miguel Pilsen and Brandy will flow like water. The Tree is relatively obscured by the presents. And so from my family to you and yours, we wish you all a very happy and joyous holiday.

5 December 2014
Valid Email addresses

If you send me an email and expect a response, please make sure you enter a valid return address for yourself on the form. Today I got email from a fellow with the return address But there is no such address and so a detailed response Rick would have gotten will go unsent.

30 November 2014
Retirement major re-edit

I have just completed a major re-edit of Retirement. This was not just some misspelled words, but a reworking of the text having to do with how I handle dialogue. I further cleared up some confusion in the text, in a few places, added text in others. The story remains the same, but it should read much smoother, with fewer places that will cause the eye to stop with loss of clarity. I also added improved footnoting in the html code format. All formats have been updated.

24 November 2014
Trifecta rework

I was alerted to an incorrect word in this story last week. I fixed that immediately, but noted that there were past/present tense problems in it as well. And so, tonight, I edited it for that, changed a few sentences while I was at it, and reposted in all formats. If you have an older version of this story, I urge you to replace it with the corrected version.

21 November 2014
The continuing hiatus

Things continue to be busy here. I have little time and expect this will not change for approximately four more months and maybe six. Further I am beginning to wonder if my Philippines series of stories should be ended. While there are, and will always be, more tales that can be told, maybe I have plowed this ground quite enough. For those of you who are burried under snow in parts of the USA, I suspect a new tale, would be to your liking right now. Maybe it would keep your mind off the worry that your roof will come caving in on you. Here, the weather remains warm pleasant. Our days are interspersed with birthdays, holidays, weddings, funerals, christenings, and the mundane duties of shopping and paying bills. The roadsides always have displays of bushes in bloom, coconut trees with clusters of the fruit ready for the taking, and with tricycles, motorcycles, jeepneys, oxen pulling carts, and pedestrians, all contending for use of the narrow roads, both paved and dirt, with cars, SUV's, pickups and trucks. There is in truth an adundance of some of the most lovely women in the world here. Their bloodlines, an admixture, of various asian (Filipino, Chinese, Japanese) and european heritages, more so than other asian communities in surronding nations. On any given day, I can, if I choose, smile at a young lovely girl and get an enthusiastic response along with a big smile. Life here is crazy and I am most certainly not the only guy here who knows this. As it is, at the moment, I am out the door by 7AM and back home exhausted for supper most days. All the crazy stuff continues to swirl around. I see it, but have no time to comment on it through a story. And then yesterday I began to wonder, have I told enough of all this?

27 October 2014
Adding AZW3 versions

I have added AZW3 versions for the collected works.

27 October 2014
Reposting ePub and mobi versions

The reposting yesterday was to fix language in the release info. Today I am reposting again, but this time it is only cosmetic to fix problems with blank pages that show up after conversion from the document.

8 October 2014
Current work: Gimme Shelter

The PDF, ePub and mobi releases of Gimme Shelter are now posted. This story is now complete. There were some final edits of all including the HTML version. To those intrepid souls who assisted in sending in proofing comments thoughout the creation of this story, I wish to thank you. You made this story better if for no other reason that errors, typos, homonyms and other gaffs were corrected due to your sharp eyes. There are very few things that distract a reader more than such things! All those who enjoy this story, do so far more because of your efforts.

7 October 2014
Current work: Gimme Shelter

Chapter 20, the final chapter, of Gimme Shelter is now posted as HTML. I will wait a day or so, make sure the gramatical and spelling errors have been corrected before posting the PDF, ePub and mobi versions.

5 October 2014
Current work: Gimme Shelter

Chapter 19 of Gimme Shelter is now posted.

3 October 2014
Current work: Gimme Shelter

Chapter 18 of Gimme Shelter is now posted.

2 October 2014
Current work: Gimme Shelter

Chapter 17 of Gimme Shelter is now posted. It doesn't seem quite right but we are over 55000 words in this story. It has sub-plots and chapters, so I gather it qualifies as a novel, though, so far, a short one. It will most likely end as a short novel. I am not sure exactly which story comes next. I have a number of them, back burnered. But things are busy here and I might take some time off.

06 October 2014
Current work: Gimme Shelter

Chapter 16 of Gimme Shelter is posted. This portion is a darker tale, and some of you will not like it for that reason. But this is where the story needs to go.

26 September 2014
Current work: Gimme Shelter

I posted Chapter 15 of Gimme Shelter yesterday. The next chapter is in progress. I hope to have it done in the next couple of days. We will see how that goes.

05 September 2014
Current work: Gimme Shelter

Chapter 14 of Gimme Shelter is posted. God help me, but I can't see that I will have time now for another before the fourth week of the month.

03 September 2014
Current work: Gimme Shelter

Chapter 13 of Gimme Shelter is posted. If I can post the next chapter by the 7th, it will be the last one before the fourth week of September. Otherwise, this is the last one until late September. I will be on a scouting trip for most of the month.

26 August 2014
Current work: Gimme Shelter

Chapter 12 of Gimme Shelter is posted. The next will come soon, but for a few days.

25 August 2014
Current work: Gimme Shelter

Chapter 11 of Gimme Shelter is posted.

24 August 2014
Current work: Gimme Shelter

OK, chapter 10 of Gimme Shelter is posted. The next will come soon, but not this weekend.

23 August 2014
Current work: Gimme Shelter

OK, chapter 9 of Gimme Shelter is posted.

7 August 2014
Current work: Gimme Shelter / Rework: Rainy Season, and other stories

I have this week posted another chapter of Gimme Shelter. I have also been cleaning up other stories. Today I found over 200 hundred grammar and spelling errors in The Rainy Season. The result is that I reposted all four formats of that today. All the short stories have been given that treatment and I am working through the rest as time permits. My time is fractured these days and I don't have many prolonged periods where I can sit down with Gimme Shelter, but the editting can be done in those shorter moments. At the present I have half of chapter 9 written, but am not sure I can get back to it for another week. We will see. I am sorry for the delays, but the only option to stringing out the chapters, is to not post any chapter until the story is finished. As it can take as much as a year, to write a long story, I have been encouraged by some of you to post these stories in serial fashion. If that is wrong, I am all ears.

25 July 2014
A newspaper headline worth noting!

I have had to take a break from writing Gimme Shelter, as things here are very busy, in a good way. But I am still here, and this morning, as I drank my native coffee, and enjoyed some local fruit, I ran across this headline in my newspaper. It was too good not to share it. So here is is!

3 July 2014
Current work: Gimme Shelter

I have posted chapter 7 of Gimme Shelter. As this is a work in process, errors may exist. Please report them via the comment section at the bottom of the last chapter posted.

09 July 2014
Current work: Gimme Shelter

I have posted chapter 6 of Gimme Shelter. As this is a work in process, errors may exist. Please report them via the comment section at the bottom of the last chapter posted.

09 July 2014
Current work: Gimme Shelter

I have posted chapter 5 of Gimme Shelter. As this is a work in process, errors may exist. Please report them via the comment section at the bottom of the last chapter posted.

08 July 2014
Current work: Gimme Shelter

I got busy and posted the first four chapters of Gimme Shelter.

05 July 2014
Current work: Gimme Shelter

As I mentioned before, I am shelving The Old Man from Powder River for a bit. I have just completed two chapters of a new story, titled Gimme Shelter. Once I get a few more chapters completed, I will start posting. However, this will be serialized as there is not way I want to work for six months or so before posting any work. So expect to see something next week or the week after. My dance card is busy for the next three days at a minimum so I am not sure about the exact timing.

01 July 2014
The Joshua Tree.

I found about a dozen errors in the text of The Joshua Tree, fixed them and reposted all formats of the story.

20 June 2014
PDF, ePub and mobi releases.

All stories are now in four formats, HTML, PDF, ePub and mobi. The links to the HTML have been moved to the HTML button below the name of the story. As far as I can tell all the links are good and working.

5 June 2014
PDF release of The Rainy Season:

I have created a PDF book of The Rainy Season. It has paganation, footnotes on the page of reference, photos referenced at the end of the chapter in question, and links to outside websites are preserved. Some errors in the orginal text of the story has been corrected here and on the website as well. The standard link is on the Index page, but since I know some of you are lazy, here it is.

3 June 2014
Reformatting and what's next:

I have just finished a PDF version of The Rainy Season as a complete book with hyperlinks preserved in most cases. Where the link was to a picture, it is now included at the end of the chapter. Footnotes are also preserved. The PDF size is 2.429Mb. The ZIP would save only a little bit at 2.27MB. I have not uploaded it to the site yet. Does anyone what it?

I have also re-editted my only non-fiction work, Meeting Johna as it was a mess that needed fixing to make it more readable. That is done and it as been re-posted. Please let me know it you are still having problems with it.

1 June 2014
Reformatting and what's next:

I have re-posted all my fiction stories, after modifying the left and right margins on them all, to move text away from the scroll bars a bit. I have also had a comment that the text was too small. However as a ctrl+ increases the font size on your browser, I see no reason to increase the basic font size. If you think that is a poor choice, you are welcome to make a comment related to that below.

I have The Old Man From Powder River set up to be the next... however, that story is still sort of working itelf out in the real world, so I am just not sure it is time for that. I have a few other stories sketched out in a synopsis form and think I may work on one of these next. I am just not sure yet. I will most likely not be posting anything new for a month.

0 June 2014
Current Work / Completed!: The Rainy Season

Here is Chapter 55, the final chapter of The Rainy Season. Please let me know of any errors you find.

0 June 2014
Current Work: The Rainy Season

Here is Chapter 54 of The Rainy Season. Please let me know of any errors you find.

09 June 2014
Current Work: The Rainy Season

Here is Chapter 53 of The Rainy Season. Please let me know of any errors you find.

08 June 2014
Current Work: The Rainy Season

Here is Chapter 52 of The Rainy Season. Please let me know of any errors you find.

08 June 2014
Current Work: The Rainy Season

Here is Chapter 51 of The Rainy Season. Please let me know of any errors you find.

07 June 2014
Pet Peeves

I asked for error catching and I do mean it as those of you who have sent me corrections know. And there are a few evidently in Chapter 50 of The Rainy Season. I am pleased to fix them! However, when someone asks a question AND then suggests a fix, but (1) the answer is 'no' and (2) so no fix is needed and (3) (here is the irritating part,) sends the comments annonymously, well no I can't fix what is already right and hey, no I didn't ignore 'you.' Or when the annonymous guy suggests I should set the chapter aside for a while before re-reading and posting, as if I didn't. Well anyway, it's just a pet peeve...

06 June 2014
Current Work: The Rainy Season

Here is Chapter 50 of The Rainy Season. Please let me know of any errors you find. I am trying to post these as soon as I can and the error checking is less robust that it ought to be.

04 June 2014
Current Work: The Rainy Season

I have looked back and note that I started work on The Rainy Season last year in the second week of July. At first it was going to be a quick, four chapter piece, but based on your requests for a longer format story, I reworked the first four chapters in September and starting to post chapters. The problem with this story was that, as a long format piece, the natual end was a very long way off from the start. I knew that, before I started the rework. And so you, who had asked for a long format piece may have gotten a far longer peice than you wanted. We are still a ways away from bringing the story to conclusion. Once again I am not giving anything away to note that at the moment, the story must resolve Analyn's need for resolution of, with whom, and where, she will land. We have a shorter term issue with Gerlyn. This one is sort of fun. We have to deal again with Iay and find the rightful place for her in the family. We are learning some new things about Joy2x and that will bring some more interesting times. We have many marriages to deal with, and finally, how many more kids will there be, and from which of the girls will they come? We are well over 150,000 words and so this, I guess qualifies, as my first full length novel.

I have posted Chapter 49 of The Rainy Season. As usual, please let me know of errors in these as they only got a few passes at the editing, which means I missed a lot!

02 June 2014
Current Work: The Rainy Season

I have posted Chapter 48 of The Rainy Season. I had particular fun with this chapter and hope you all like it. As usual, please let me know of errors in these as they only got a few passes at the editing, which means I missed a lot!

31 May 2014
Current Work: The Rainy Season

I have posted Chapter 47 of The Rainy Season. As usual, please let me know of errors in these as they only got a few passes at the editing, which means I missed a lot!

30 May 2014
Current Work: The Rainy Season

I found continuity problems in chatpers 40 and 45. These have been fixed. I found a logic problem in chapter 41 and that has been remedied. I have posted Chapter 46 of The Rainy Season. As usual, please let me know of errors in these as they only got a few passes at the editing, which means I missed a lot!

29 May 2014
Current Work: The Rainy Season

I have posted Chapter 45 of The Rainy Season. As usual, please let me know of errors in these as they only got a few passes at the editing, which means I missed a lot!

24 May 2014
Current Work: The Rainy Season

I have posted Chapter 44 of The Rainy Season. As usual, please let me know of errors in these as they only got a few passes at the editing, which means I missed a lot!

8 May 2014
Current Work: The Rainy Season

I have posted Chapter 43 of The Rainy Season. As usual, please let me know of errors in these as they only got a few passes at the editing, which means I missed a lot!

8 April 2014
Hiatus from Current Work: The Rainy Season

As you have probably already guessed, I have taken a brief hiatus from the current tale. Real life intrudes from time to time. But for those who don't understand the life of the average Filiupino in the provinces, I would like to share three pics. To preserve their anonymity, in one of the photo's (here), even though these girls are of legal age, and are fully clothed, I have blocked their faces. We invited them over as they are friends of one of my girls here, but here they are at another home doing their own cooking. I also include a couple of snaps (here and here) of one of their homes. Finally, for those of you who doubt my use of names in some of the stories, I took a snap of an article from The Philippine Daily Inquirer. I have neither defined Tanda (in this case meaning aged) nor Kuya (older brother or older male) before, but as you should know by now, Pogi is handsome. These three guys are Philippine Senators accused of great "plunder" or theft of public funds. The sums are the equivilent of hundred of millions of US dollars. And yes, BongBong is the son of the Dictator Marcos and yes he and his siblings are all elected members of the current government. Don't get me started on this! :-)

As to the living conditions you see in these photos, consider that if a guy from a first world country shows up and smiles at you and offers you an opportunity to escape that world, what would you do to permanently escape?

27 March 2014
Current Work: The Rainy Season

I have posted Chapter 42 of The Rainy Season. As usual, please let me know of errors in these as they only got a few passes at the editing, which means I missed a lot!

24 March 2014
Current Work: The Rainy Season

I have posted Chapter 41 of The Rainy Season. As usual, please let me know of errors in these as they only got a few passes at the editing, which means I missed a lot!

22 March 2014
Current Work: The Rainy Season

I have posted Chapter 40 of The Rainy Season. As usual, please let me know of errors in these as they only got a few passes at the editing, which means I missed a lot!

The difference between The Rainy Season and earlier work: When many of you said you wanted a longer piece, I gave it some real thought. My earlier 'long' pieces had not used many subplots. I didn't have characters who came and went and reappeared. They were pretty linear stories. I was investigating an issue, a preoccupation, a driving force and took the concept out for a spin. If something didn't advance the concern I had as the reason for the story, I either didn't use it, or discarded it. Side characters were therefore two dimensional, not fully formed, or even partially formed.

The Rainy Season, is a story of the butterfly effect. Everything matters. And so the story has given a new definition for what, for me, is a long story. From all, but one comment, you seem to be liking it. However, that may change! The story is far from completed. Each chapter runs between three thousand and thirty-five hundred words. I don't have an exact count, but we have crept up over 125,000 words. The story may be getting too damned long. I have a lot yet to cover. There are two active subplots at the moment, plus the tension between Lyla and Noime, plus Lyla's pregnancy... and that's just what is on the plate as we end chapter 40. I have also hinted at Laarni and that needs to be worked through. Like I say, there is a lot more story here. I hope you are all up for it.

21 March 2014
Current Work: The Rainy Season

I have posted Chapter 39 of The Rainy Season. As usual, please let me know of errors in these as they only got a few passes at the editing, which means I missed a lot!

20 March 2014
Current Work: The Rainy Season

I have posted Chapter 38 of The Rainy Season. As usual, please let me know of errors in these as they only got a few passes at the editing, which means I missed a lot!

8 March 2014
Current Work: The Rainy Season

I have posted Chapter 37 of The Rainy Season. As usual, please let me know of errors in these as they only got a few passes at the editing, which means I missed a lot!

7 March 2014
Current Work: The Rainy Season

I have posted Chapter 36 of The Rainy Season. As usual, please let me know of errors in these as they only got a few passes at the editing, which means I missed a lot!

6 March 2014
Current Work: The Rainy Season

I have posted Chapter 35 of The Rainy Season. As usual, please let me know of errors in these as they only got a few passes at the editing, which means I missed a lot!

5 March 2014
Current Work: The Rainy Season

I have posted Chapter 34 of The Rainy Season. As usual, please let me know of errors in these as they only got a few passes at the editing, which means I missed a lot!

3 March 2014
Current Work: The Rainy Season

I have posted Chapter 33 of The Rainy Season. As usual, please let me know of errors in these as they only got a few passes at the editing, which means I missed a lot!

At the request of a long time reader, I have added a left margin to all the chapters in this story. If enough of you think this is a significat improvement, I will consider adding it in to all the previous stories posted too.

12 March 2014
Current Work: The Rainy Season

I have posted Chapter 32 of The Rainy Season. As usual, please let me know of errors in these as they only got a few passes at the editing, which means I missed a lot!

11 March 2014
Current Work: The Rainy Season

I have posted Chapter 31 of The Rainy Season. As usual, please let me know of errors in these as they only got a few passes at the editing, which means I missed a lot!

10 March 2014
Current Work: The Rainy Season

I have posted Chapters 29 AND 30 of The Rainy Season. As usual, please let me know of errors in these as they only got a few passes at the editing, which means I missed a lot!

09 March 2014
Current Work: The Rainy Season

I have posted Chapter 28 of The Rainy Season. As usual, please let me know of errors in these as they only got a few passes at the editing, which means I missed a lot!

07 March 2014
Current Work: The Rainy Season

I have posted Chapters 26 AND 27 of The Rainy Season. As usual, please let me know of errors in these as they only got a few passes at the editing, which means I missed a lot!

This is the lingest story I have written and it has a ways to go. It is now well over 80,000 words. I little feed back on whether stories this long work for you, would be appreciated. This story has so many subplots that it is either already or will be soon in Novel length. (Depends on who's definition of length you use. The required presense of subplots is already well met.)

06 March 2014
Current Work: The Rainy Season

I have posted Chapter 25 of The Rainy Season. As usual, please let me know of errors in these as they only got a few passes at the editing, which means I missed a lot!

05 March 2014
Current Work: The Rainy Season

I had previously posted Chapter 23 and have now posted Chapter 24 of The Rainy Season. As usual, please let me know of errors in these as they only got a few passes at the editing, which means I missed a lot!

28 February 2014
Current Work: The Rainy Season

I have posted Chapter 22 of The Rainy Season. As usual, please let me know of errors in these as they only got a few passes at the editing, which means I missed a lot!

24 February 2014
Current Work: The Rainy Season

I have posted Chapter 21 of The Rainy Season. I have decided to rework the 'tense'. As it is less disruptive to readers to work from the back end in such a change, Chapters 20 and 21 are now in present tense. As I go forward, I will update Chapter 19 next and so forth. I also made a small change in Chapter 20, as I had Lewis and Manny drinking beer before lunch time. That was an error and so now they are drinking coffee. Most of the past month has been spent, reworking the text on older stories. I think I am done with that task now.

02 February 2014
Distractions and currect activity

I am in the proccess of taking a break from The Rainy Reason, for a bit. I promise I will finish it. In the mean time, my desire to clean up the HTML in the older stories has taken on a life of its own. Following an initial removal of tags, I then cleaned up the headers and other unnecessary formatting and text in the files. Following that, I have been re-reading and re-editing the two first Jake in the Philippines stories, changing language, fixing awkward sentences, adding numerous hyperlinks. I will probably work through more of the older stories before returning to The Rainy Reason. The Old Man from Powder River is still in the wings. As much continues to be happening with the real life "Old Man," I am going to hold my fire and see where his life eventually takes him. So far it's a hoot.

26 January 2014
Current work: These Notes

I discovered that a huge section of these notes had been lost along with the comment form at the bottom. The earlier notes are lost, but the comment form as been returned to the bottom.

24 January 2014
Current work: The Rainy Season

I have posted Chapter 20. As usual, please let me know of errors in these as they only got a few passes at the editing, which means I missed a lot!

20 January 2014
Current work: The Rainy Season

Now, almost a week after I posted Chapter 19, I have re-edited it after finding problems with some sentences. As usual, please let me know of errors in these as they only got a few passes at the editing, which means I missed a lot!

14 January 2014
Current work: The Rainy Season

Chapter 19 is posted. No more for a few days. As usual, please let me know of errors in these as they only got two passes at the editing, which means I missed a lot!

13 January 2014
Current work: The Rainy Season

Chapter 18 is posted. As usual, please let me know of errors in these as they only got two passes at the editing, which means I missed a lot!

My removal of HTML code produced some messes that I have been cleaning up as I find them. If you find erroneous code or sections of Italics where there should not be Italics. Please note the chapter and story in a note to me.

8 January 2014
Current work: The Rainy Season

Based on one of my dedicated reader's comments, the type face on Retirement and The Rainy Season is now set to Times Roman. I have also stripped out all the extraneous HTML code from Retirement. A word of warning about this last thing. Some of the coding there was a real mess. If you find a problem in Retirement, please let me know ASAP. I am about to remove excess code from all my stories. The font will be Times Roman for All except Jake - Close to Home.

7 January 2014
Current work: The Rainy Season

OK, chapter 17 is posted. As usual, please let me know of errors in these as they only got two passes at the editing, which means I missed a lot!

6 January 2014
Current work: The Rainy Season / Read response

I got the following from someone who refused to give a name or valid return email address. I rarely get negative comments, but this one is clearly negative. I produce it here because, I guess, it pisses me off. I get that the guy doesn't like Italics for dialog. To that all I can say is, too bad. I make sure that if the conversation is more than one on one, I identify the speaker. When it is one on one, the dialog goes back and forth within the context and the speakers are clearly identifiable IMHO. As to the use of commas, Sorry, but I do use them and No, not every rule must be followed every time. When the speaker is being emphatic, a comma between No and Uncle mat give the wrong impression to the reader. So the absence of those commas were actually intentional. A point I would have made directly to this person if he had the balls to leave a valid email address. And lastly, this guy thinks I have not imbued any human emotion into my characters. This is a complaint that has never surfaced before in any of my writing and leaves me dumbfounded. Am I fooling myself? Does anyone who has read The Rainy Season not understood the emotions of Ann, Joy2x, Noime, Lewis... et al? Look, I appreciate all comments including negative ones. I have never posted a note here like this before. But if a reader is going to leave such a note, be a man and put your name and email address on it, or just don't post.

comments = VeryWellAged,

If I may, I'd like to make some suggestions. Regardless of how you deal with dialogue (and I will admit I am not a fan of how you use italics), it would help the reader if you occasionally added some identification to who's talking (like, Carolyn said, . . .). This would help keep track of who's saying what in the long tracts of dialogue.

If you have an editor, you need to talk to him/her. You're missing commas everywhere. In dialogue (as in all prose) when you call someone by name, a comma precedes their name (as in, "I want to talk to you, Paul"). You skip the comma when referring to someone in the third person ("I want to talk to Paul"). I know you understand this as you practice propper grammar part of the time and miss it the rest. That's why either you you should spend just a bit more time proofing before posting or talk to your editor.

One final note. Have you considered adding human emotions to your stories? I ask because your style is "put stick A into slot B" and ignore how anyone is feeling. Orgams and sex are more than just physical actions. Same with conversations. When people. Inverse they communicae 80% of their thoughts by non-verbal means (she leaned forward before saying . . ., his eyes opened wide in surprise and spoke . . ., she crossed her arms and frowned before replying . . ., etc.). Your stories would benefit from feelings and emotions being added. It would immerse the reader more.

Just some pointers.

4 January 2014
Editing: HTML issues

I have spent most of the day on an experiment. I have stripped every non-essential HTML code out of current story I am writing. From Prologue to the current chapter, (16), all tags, and styles that were not necessary, but stuck in by my word processor as I wrote the damned thing, were removed with the help of a text editor. The results are files of half the size. They seem to load faster and the results on the screen are more uniform. That solved a problem I was having with display changes that were not intentional and I was flummoxed by. I have chosen to display the story in Helvetica. However if you all want it in Courier or Times Roman, I should be able to make the complete changes very quickly as I only have to change one tag per chapter.

4 January 2014
Current work: The Rainy Season

Chapter 16 is posted. As usual, please let me know of errors in these as they only got two passes at the editing, which means I missed a lot!

3 January 2014
Current work: The Rainy Season

Chapters 13, 14 and 15 are posted. As usual, please let me know of errors in these as they only got two passes at the editing, which means I missed a lot!

2 January 2014
Current work: The Rainy Season

Chapters 11 and 12 are posted. As usual, please let me know of errors in these as they only got two passes at the editing, which means I missed a lot!

26 December 2013
Current work: The Rainy Season / Delay

The writing has gotten sidelined. I have been busy and unable to return to the work. Hopefully this will change after the first of the new year. For all of you of the Christian faith, I hope you have all had a wonderful Christmas.

21 November 2013
Current work: The Rainy Season

Chapter 10 is posted. There may still be errors in it.

19 November 2013
Current work: The Rainy Season

Chapter 10 is written and currently being edited in rewrite/draft. Chapter 11 is started and should be completed soon if it continues to flow well, and if I don't get a lot of distractions. So I will have at least one chapter to post by the weekend and maybe two.

14 November 2013
Current work & and life in the Philippines:

First, for all of you who have sent messages of concern, we are fine. Thank you for your concern. The Typhoon, which by many accounts, was the worst on record, we are OK and safe. Though the news reports throughout the the world never mention it... The Philippines is a country of over 7000+ islands. Tacloban, (tac-LOW-ban) sitting in the middle and Samar, (sah-MAR), right next to it, got just about wiped off the map, but other areas were not as hard hit.

The earthquake centered in Bohol, (bo-HOL) and then the Typhoon, called Yolanda here, not Haiyan - a Japanese name, neither of which directly affected us, has never the less been a huge distraction. Chapter 10 sits unfinished, but mostly done. I have my dance card heavily subscribed, but hope to break some time out to finish.

On a separate matter I had the request of a Filipina, in Makati, (Manila,) to send her some of the stories in PDF format as her WiFi is crappy and she can't stay on line reliably enough to read them. Is there any reason for me to post the stories as PDF's? Comments?

31 October 2013: Halloween
Current work: The Rainy Season

Chapters 8 and 9 are posted. Chapter 10 is in progress. This is a story with a singular POV and that viewer, our narrator does not have a view of a huge amount of the action around him. He is reacting as we all do to the sliver of reality he sees. He frequently does not understand the motivations of others, or they are hidden or partially hidden from him. We see that more and more as the story progresses and he is less and less in control of the actions of others. You see only what he sees. Frustrating, isn't it?

28 October 2013
Current work: The Rainy Season

Chapter 8 is complete but not posted. I have decided to complete Chapter 9 and maybe Chapter 10 before I post any more. I won't go into the technical reasons I am doing this for now. But once you read Chapter 8, you will want Chapter immediately. That much I am pretty sure is accurate. You have been reading an expanded version of the short story I originally wrote. What is happening now is a transition/bridge to where the story needs to go in the long form. You have been introduced to all the 'change players.' Two (or three) only tangentially. All will take on tasks as we go forward and take us new places.

25 October 2013
Current work: The Rainy Season

Chapter 7 is posted but the next chapter has to wait until next week. I am posting with fewer re-edits due to some imploring from you folk, to not wait too long. So once again, please report all errors, be they spelling, contextual or continuity issues.

24 October 2013
Current work: The Rainy Season

Those of you who implored me to make The Rainy Season a long form piece had better have meant it. I am having to spend a lot of time on the dynamics of complex feelings and concerns. That is not sexy stuff but it is required on longer pieces. Chapter 7 is going to start out hot but cool off quickly as inherent problems must be brought forward and dealt with. How they get resolved is the matter of the chapter. I am working on it now but it is a difficult part to write. I am not sure when it will be ready.

22 October 2013
Current work: The Rainy Season

I have re-edited and re-posted the first five chapters upon finding numerous errors that required attention. I expect to post Chapter 6 by sometime this weekend. My thanks to those who sent in corrections!

Thanks to all those who sent in words of praise for this story. I can't say I have ever had a better first response to anything I have posted. To the fellow who wanted some action with a pregnant female, I can't promise that here, but there is some of that in Retirement and Jake - Joyfully. To the gentlemen who wanted to know what others were saying in their comments to me, I will exercise discretion and generally refrain from a roll call of requests and comments here.

20 October 2013
Current work: The Rainy Season

Chapter 5 is now posted. There are many more to come. I have had only one response to the first four chapters and no comment about any errors.I'm sure I will hear about those soon.

I am having problem with the jumps as the site is behaving weirdly. Sometimes putting a chapter file in "www." and sometimes in "www1." I have no clue if what I have done will hold. It is working now... hard to say what happens by tomorrow.

18 October 2013
Current work: The Rainy Season

OK, I have uploaded the Index, Prologue and Chapter's 1 through 4. They do contain errors. When you find them, send me a note please. I have the jumps working and have given the story so far three edits, but things are so hectic here that I keep on getting interrupted and losing my flow in the editing process.

12 October 2013
Current work: The Rainy Season

I have made very good progress on The Rainy Season. The first draft of the first five chapters are completely done. Chapter Six is well under way. I am considering turning back to the first four chapters and starting the editing and multiple draft process. After that posting one chapter at a time as each one goes through that process. I think it will take the first four chapters to establish the story.

10 October 2013
Current work: The Rainy Season

Based on unanimous requests The Rainy Season is now being worked into a long form story. I find that I needed to go back and add things in between language that already was "complete." So while, I think, the first two chapters are done, what was Chapter three will likely become Chapter four or five. A sub-plot I had slipped in as a minor piece before will now be fleshed out.

25 September 2013
Current work: The Rainy Season

I am finally back to work in a serious way on The Rainy Season. I am not sure if this should be a short story or a longer tale. It can go either way. If I wrap it up in under 10,000 words, I have most of the first draft done. If it is a 30K to 50K word piece... well I have the core material down necessary to take it all the way out there. I could probably start posting a longer piece in sections starting with the first three or four chapters in a couple of weeks. I am not sure. My sense is that there is a lot here if I want to work with it. Here's part of the deal. Short pieces typically (but not always) have more sex as a percentage of the total word count. The longer pieces have more plot and character development. There is still sex there, but so that it is not a wall to wall catalog of sex acts, there has to be more story. Which do you folks prefer based on my previous writings?

18 September 2013
Re-Edit/rework of Aft Gang Agley:

Reading through this story again, I decided the end section was abrupt, poorly written and while not truly out of logical timing, it seemed that was except on a very close read. So I added some paragraphs and made it work a little smoother. Not a major re-write, but more than a tweak.

Things continue to be too busy for me to complete the new stories, and in truth I am still awaiting events to write even the middle parts. Ugh. I think I was far too optimistic on the projects. On top of that there is too much material from which to draw. It's a bit distracting.

Question: What would a woman, with children, be willing to do, to get her family well and safely away from Zamboanga City. Away from the violence there between the MNLF and the armed forces of the Philippine government? What would her life be like in a city in flames? Her squatter's huts burnt to ciders? Rebels taking hundreds of hostages and using those hostages as human shields? Husband gone or dead, or maybe no husband, what would she do, to find salvation?

02 September 2013

I always enjoys your feedback. But that said, increasingly I have been getting emails from individuals who for honest or less than honest reasons seem to want to suss out who and where I am. As I have no interest in police interrogations in any country, and as these stories seem to be too close to the bone for some, I make it a strict policy to avoid any disclosure of my true identity or whereabouts. In the last three weeks I have had four 'individuals' who each in one way or another tried to draw me out. It isn't going to happen.

25 August 2013
Current Work

Things have been hectic here. I have only recently gotten back to the two stories I mentioned recently. Right now I am working on The Rainy Season. I don't think it will be ready for a second draft until the end of next month. I am finding it hard to bounce between two stories. So I think I will complete the The Rainy Season first before moving back to The Old Man from Powder River. The first of the two is more a sexual adventure and the second a true romance of an odd type. On another matter, I have recently had three offers from older duffers, like me, to act as editors. All three guys seem nice and genuine. My previous experience with guys of my age is that we tend to miss the same things. I have been having some success working without a net, so to speak, recently. So I think I might hold off for my dream editor, a female who likes cock and pussy. No I don't want to fuck my editor, but I do want an editor who might have eyes for things I am getting wrong in a way guys generally cannot. I have trolled for female editors before without luck and suspect I will not find any now, but what the heck. It's worth trying to find one, one more time.

18 August 2013
The Girls - Tong-its

A question that no one has ever asked is 'how do the women spend their time when they are not fucking, sucking, cleaning, eating, cooking, shopping, gossiping or conspiring?' The answer is a card game called Tong-its. It's a betting game and they play it for hours. Of course they love to gossip, shop and conspire, so the time is spread out between these activities. Plus, if for some reason they are alone - which is rare, these days they like to play Facebook games. There are plenty examples of their conspiring in my stories so I don't think that requires any further explanation. In fact there are times I feel like I live in a need to know environment in which no one thinks I need to know!

17 August 2013
Filipino pronunciation and language in the Philippines

I have covered much of this scattered around the stories, but I have not consolidated it anywhere. All Philippine languages and certainly the main one, Tagolog, also called Filipino, stress the second or third syllable, not the first. The 'G' sound is always hard. If they mean J they spell J. The Tagalog vowel sounds are soft as in 'ah, eh, ih, oh, ooh.' If you see an 'ay' at the end of a word, it is pronounced as a hard 'I' as in the English 'Die' or 'My'. Putting those rules together Boracay is pronounced as bo-RAH-kI. Putting the rules together also makes Ganda sound out as ghan-DAH. For what is worth ganda means beautiful or lovely in Tagalog. To tell your girl she is very beautiful, say, 'maganda ka!.' However given names, instead of nicknames, can and do break this rule at times. If you see a name with a 2X, it means repeat! Ging2X becomes ghing-ghing. English in Tagalog occurs and the result can be surprising. You can go to the Pulis station and you can watch Aksyon News. Your girlfriend may be seksi so a simple way to tell her she is sexy is to write 'seksi ka' in your IM. When in the Philippines, you might go to eat at the Chicken Hauz. You will get texts that start, Gud day, or end, Gud evening. Sentences that are mostly in Tagalog will be interspersed with true English. Many in the upper class speak English primarily and Tagalog only when talking with the help and trade people. Those who have to cope with an English only speaker often say they are getting a 'nose bleed.' Filipino's at times have problems with possessives. You might hear, 'The house of Jake,' instead of 'Jake's House.' There are other oddities such as 'I can't breath,' instead of 'I can't breathe;' Or 'whit bread' for 'wheat bread.' If you don't set the rules very early in your relationship with a girl, she will have a fit if she looks at your cell and finds you have a female 'chatmate.' Such discoveries can cause the end of a relationship.

17 August 2013
Stories reposted

I have been modifying the meta data in the HTML files. A small note was added to chapter 1 of Ganda. I may need to do a second meta data edit later. We will see.

30 July 2013
Current work - not yet posted

I am working on two stories that are currently both in the initial drafts and not nearly ready for posting. The first to post may be, The Old Man from Powder River. The other story has the working title The Rainy Season. I expect to be able to start posting by the end of August.

25 April 2013
Hiatus and a peeve about SOL

I am on a prolonged hiatus from my writing. I may tweak a story from time to time, if I think a word is wrong, or a sentence needs rework, but there will be no new tales for a few months now. I will continue to answer emails. I am watching the US Immigration law activity in the US Congress. It has the potential for making for some very different stories, because it carries the potential for a different reality. If unskilled / low skilled workers will be able to get work visa’s then importing multiple mistresses becomes possible.. under a guise of low wage employment.

Some of my stories continue to be posted on There, the site gives stories scores supposedly based on user voting… But it isn’t, because the scores are manipulated to satisfy other needs the site administrator needs to remedy. My criticism is that the manipulated scores get posted to the potential reader as the true scores for the work. In the past the site admin would allow the authors to see the raw scores before manipulation, but no more. Now we just get less helpful bar graphs, but even those shows how wrong the scores are that the reader sees. As the scores drive what people read on that site, I guess it irritates me. Better that there should be no score posted, than post a manipulated score. Here’s are three examples. In each the posted score is listed. Clearly, my readers think more of these stories than the score reflects. If my readers did not like my stories, it would be on my back. I either need to write better stories or accept that I can’t. But displaying manipulated scores is just wrong. Readers do not see the graphs. The graphs are for the authors ONLY.
Graph for Joyfully Graph for CloseToHome
Graph for FromNothing

April 2013
Current Work COMPLETED: Retirement

The final chapter of Retirement has been posted.

31 March 2013
Current Work : Retirement

I have completed the first draft of the final chapter of Retirement. It still needs to go through a rigorous editing and proofing. I have no new project in the works presently, though I have a few ideas I am toying with writing. We will see.

21 March 2013
Rework during Hiatus: Trifecta

I re-read Trifecta and decided it needed some changes. I added a few paragraphs, a few other sentences in other places, changed the tense in a couple of places. I added a footnote. However the arc of the story remains unchanged.

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