Monday, December 31, 2012

How to buy my books internationally.

My books are available through numerous online stores.  They are also available internationally.  Here are the countries you can purchase my books in each store


1. You can purchase from Smashwords from anywhere in the world as long as you have internet and a credit card. 
2. When you buy a book, you can download multiple formats for whatever you read on.

And those are the reasons why I will always advise you to purchase from Smashwords over any other store.  (There are actually many more reasons, but those are the big ones.)


Apple is the second biggest international store.  There are more iDevices (iPad, iPhone, etc) than any other type of reader out there.

Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United States, United Kingdom, and Venezuela.

Kobo - A Canadian company that was recently bought out by Rakatan, a Japanese company.

Honestly, if you're living in any of these countries, I'd recommend the Kobo reader over Amazon's Kindle.  Kobo gives every evidence of being a better company internationally than Amazon.  This list states that it's as of May 2012, but they distribute to Japan now too.

As of May 2012, our list of established territories includes:

Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Singapore, Hong Kong


Amazon is working hard to become the world's biggest online retailer.  They are very likely to succeed.  However, they tend to be combative and are actively trying to avoid taxes wherever possible.  This makes their entry into the international market difficult as they are pissing off governments from what I can see.  That said, they will succeed.  These are the countries where they have stores that are reported to me.

It is my understanding that they distribute to many more countries, but they add a $2.00 surcharge to each book.  Also, I don't receive the normal 70% royalty in these countries.  Amazon only pays 35%.  They are the only company that cuts royalties from other countries.  Amazon claims that they make books available in Canada and more than 175 countries worldwide.

Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Great Britain, Guernsey, Germany, Italy, India, Isle of Man, Japan, Jersey, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, San Marino, Switzerland, Spain, United States, Vatican City

Like I said, they claim to distribute to 175 countries worldwide, but if I understand correctly (and I may be mistaken) people have to log onto one of the other Amazon stores and they pay a surcharge for the books.

Barnes and Noble

It used to be that Barnes and Noble was only available in the U.S., but they have now expanded to the U.K. and are partnering with brick and mortar bookstores to sell their ereader.  After an infusion of cash from Microsoft, they are working on establishing a presence in new countries as well.

For three others, I contacted Smashwords and this is the information I received.


Has the US and Canada, though I hear they may be expanding into
other markets.


Doesn't consistently provide location figures, but has included
Australia, New Zealand, India, the UK, Canada, Mexico and several
African nations.


Predominantly has US sales, but also UK, Canada, Mexico and New

Monday, December 24, 2012

Attack of the Sugar Plum Fairies

Attack of the Sugar Plum Fairies

Just in time for Christmas, I wrote "Attack of the Sugar Plum Fairies, A Story for Demented Children", the fifth installment of the Stories for Demented Children.  It's a humorous adventure story featuring three pretty little sugar plum fairies and their quest for equal rights . . .

Stories for Demented Children

My first story for Demented Children, "The Emo Bunny that Should" has been wildly popular.  I then wrote Zachary Zombie and the Lost Boy, which is rated and reviewed higher than any other story I've written.  The series is becoming popular and probably creates the best chance of getting me noticed.

When I write these stories, I try to think of something or someone that wouldn't normally be a hero.  A common term is anti-hero.  Emo bunnies, rainbows, cows and zombies are definitely not the standard hero.  Then I put them in an odd situation and try to figure out what they would do.  Throw in a dash of humor and there you have it.

The snowflakes were added to the cover using a brushes pack for GIMP

The story

I decided a few months earlier that I wanted to do a Christmas story.  Various ideas came to mind, but some of them had been done and others just didn't really catch my imagination.  I honestly don't remember how I came up with this one, but it started with the title, "Attack of the Sugar Plum Fairies".

Next was figuring out the plot.  I had to have attacking Sugar Plum Fairies.  Why were they attacking?  How many of them?  It's not always easy to come up with something odd.  One of the biggest issues was that I had to limit how many characters I actually showcased.  In a short story, there is very little time to develop characters or a plot.  The key is to keep the characters to a minimum and the timeline of the plot to a single event.

I remembered in "The Emo Bunny that Should", I wrote about labor issues with the Easter Bunny and woodland creatures.  In it, I commented that elves had organized a labor union.  I decided to latch onto that idea and have it so that the Sugar Plum Fairies weren't treated fairly in the original contracts.  Then I came up with the concept that they always had to wear skimpy outfits and were being exploited.

At this point, I'd like to remind you that they are stories for "Demented Children", not normal children.  I gear them towards older kids too.  Plus, I think I have more adults reading these things than kids, so . . .

When I went to write it, I made up the three fairies that were the main characters.  Araedae is the leader of the group. She's brave and smart as any leader should be.  Sydae is the wise-cracking fairy and Zannae is an MIT graduate . . . because I needed a computer hacker . . . Remember, the title says "A Story for Demented Children".

I generally have little favorite parts of a story.  A lot of people may not notice them, or think they're all that great, but I find them enjoyable and fascinating to write.  In this book it was the descriptions of the fairies and how each had their own color.

An excerpt:   Her brilliant violet eyes sparkled in the light from the nearby streetlamp.  Every Sugar Plum Fairy in the world had different color eyes with wings and hair to match.

The tutorial I used to make the candy cane text.  It isn't the best tutorial, so I spent a lot of extra hours trying to get it right.


The Sugar Plum Fairies are tired of dancing for nothing. To make matters worse, the North Pole is freezing, they have to wear skimpy outfits and their poor little legs get worn out quickly. When the Elvin Labor Union was formed, the poor little fairies were left out of any sort of fair bargaining agreement.

The time has come for all of that to change.

Everyone knows Christmas Eve is the best time to attack the North Pole. Santa’s getting ready to deliver toys, the elves are partying and the reindeer have finished playing their reindeer games. Can the legendary North Pole withstand yet another attack? Will Christmas come to a screeching halt?

Join three stealthy fairies: Sydae, Araedae and Zannae, as they try to make life easier for all Sugar Plum Fairies. Will they be able to succeed in their mission? What’s happened to Santa? Will the elves stop the fairies from their task? And what secret is Mrs. Claus hiding from the world?

This is a short story approximately 4600 words long.


"Attack of the Sugar Plum Fairies" is also included in "A Collection of Stories for Demented Children", a compilation of all five of the Demented Children stories.  Each story can be had individually for free and I encourage you to download them.  I charge a token price of $2.99 for the collection in hopes of increasing my chances of becoming a self-supporting writer.  :)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Baby raising advice for Duchess Kate

Why I'm giving advice.

I figure since Snooki can offer parenting advice, so can I.  To let you know my qualifications, I've successfully raised one child and kicked her out . . . ummm . . . sent her off to college.  I also have two others pending.  One is 15 and the other is 9.  They'll probably make it until I can kick . . . send them off to college too.

So here goes.

1.  Don't drop the baby.

You won't find this step in most child raising books.  Which is silly because it's a rather important step.

2. Tell them you love them every day

Seriously. It makes at least a little bit of difference. I usually do it at least 2 or 3 times a day.

3.  Don't use duct tape for anything baby-related.

My wife made this very clear to me.  While duct tape is extremely useful for just about everything, that rule doesn't apply to babies.

4.  Same for WD-40.

See #3 above.

5. Give them hugs. Lots and lots of hugs.

Positive physical contact means the world. It might just benefit you too.

Elisabeth Louise Vigée-Lebrun, Madame Vigée-Lebrun et sa fille 
(pretty sure that's French for hugs. I may be wrong though)

6.  Don't pay attention to them when they're playing.

You'll give yourself a heart attack if you watch the insane things your children are going to try to do.  Let them learn social skills and how to deal with success and failure.  Be advised that hospital bills may occur as a result of following this advice.

7.  Let them have a pet.

Worms are the easiest to take care of.  I'm pretty sure they just eat dirt, which is probably what your child will eat at some point too.

8.  Guess.

If you don't know what to do next, then guess.  It's what most of us do.  Just don't tell your children that it's a guess.  Make them think you have it all under control.

9.  As an alternative to #8, ask for advice.

Just be aware that the person giving you advice is probably guessing too.  Either that, or they read a book, but the person writing the book was just guessing too.

10.  Survive the bad and cherish the good.

Your child will give you grey hair and make you cry. 
But then they'll smile and tell you they love you.  You'll be amazed at how wonderful that feels.

Well, Duchess Kate, I hope that helps you raise your baby successfully.  All my best and cheerio.

John H. Carroll