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I recently overhauled my website -- same as before, but now with a new background, new link buttos, some rearranging, and more links. And there's more where that came from (time pending). See it at:

http://www.animeexpressway.com/
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I've been online with "The Mundane Circus" and "The Pretty Gladiator" for about 3.5 years. This is what I got to show for it in Google:

Google results for "The Mundane Circus"

Google results for "The Pretty Gladiator"

Also, I got no "fan mail" or even hate mail regarding this matter.

What am I doing wrong?
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Previously, I have mentioned a person who gave me a name of someone who would help me find an agent for my book. That person responded today -- not only does she NOT know that person, she is unwilling to give me her agent, nor is she willing to help until January 2009 at the earliest.

While I still have the addresses of the three editors, the progress on my book practically stops here until I find an agent -- I am unwilling to publish it myself (where chances are I would only see peanuts in return, if at all), and I'm unwilling to go at it alone, as it would likely end up in "slush pile hell".

If anyone has any ideas on how to find a good agent, or knows one that would be willing to take me on, please let me know.

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Recently, my therapist sent my latest "Pretty Gladiator" manuscript to a friend of hers, who works in the publishing business. She loved it, but, to get a second opinion, she sent my manuscript to a friend of HERS, who helps take care of LGBT works. And that editors' suggestion -- send it out at once. She gave me a list of three editors of major publishing companies (all LGBT-related publishers), as well as the name of someone who would give me a best agent of someone who would shop my book around. And those who arent self-publishers know that having a good agent is very important in sending out your manuscript (so I heard).

Here's hoping.

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This is my first actual Live Journal post since forever. And this time around, it's for a good cause.

The next time you're at your favorite comic shop, book store or comic convention, and you see an art book titled "Colorful Illustrations 93°C", pick up the book, hand it to the dealer...

...and tell him to take it off the shelves, sooner than immediately.

The reason being is that book features illustrations and interviews that were illegally lifted from various websites, without knowledge or authorisation of the illustrators, or even the copyright owners that the illustrators worked for. In addition, all these illustrations were available on an accompanying CD-Rom, which may lead the buyer into thinking that the images can be reproducted.

The book, which retails for US$100, was published by a publisher in "Hong Kong" under an assumed name; the phone numbers, addresses, even the ISBN numbers are also false.  I have placed "Hong Kong" in quotes, as the book may very well have been published in China, where copyright violations are of epidemic proportions (otakus who bought the notorious "HK DVDs" of anime will understand).

For more details, see:

http://apefluff.com/colorful-illustrations-93c-please-do-not-buy-this-book/
http://thelittlechimpsociety.com/theape/colorful-illustrations-93c-part-two/#more-6848

...and pass it on to everyone you know.

(Special thanks to Donna Barr, a colleague of mine.)

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I apologise for the delay since my last post, as I was away in Orlando and Jacksonville, and after I got back, I was under the weather with a cold. Here's what happened since then:

1. First and foremost, my grandmother died last Thursday, 9/6. She died in her sleep, painlessly. She was 87. I found out about her death after calling my folks during my Jacksonville trip. My dad told me to keep on my vacation schedule as usual. We already knew that grandma's funeral would be immediate family, and we opted not to go, as we already saw her one last time, merely four days prior to her death.  As for how I felt when I got the news? Personally, I didn't feel sad or engrieved -- but it had me wondering about Grandma for much of the remainder of the trip. I also hoped that it didn't develop into a moment like Florida's reaction to James Evans' death on "Good Times". (Which didn't.) Anyhow -- my grandma's in a better place now; chances are she's making friends with Adele and Rosie in Heaven. She loved angels, like I did. Now, she's an angel herself.

2. Apart from the Orlando leg from the trip (which was for training for my company), my trip to Jacksonville was enjoyable, but uneventful. Jacksonville's a nice place, but it doesn't stand out much, in comparison with the Tampa Bay area. It did have some nice bridges downtown, such as FEC's railroad bridge (adjacent to the Acosta Bridge) and the Main Street lift bridge. I got to see both of them in action when I was downtown that Saturday. (Remind me to go on a weekday if I ever go to downtown Jax again -- apart from the riverwalk, it's dead on weekends.) Jacksonville is also home of "Chamblin's Bookmine", one of the most-extensive bookstores that I've ever seen. They literally have hundreds -- even thousands -- of books in every category. I picked up a few books when I was up there. Could've bought more, though, but I don't want to end up donating some of them to my local library's bookstore (which I already did, twice, to lighten the load for the coming move to Austin, which I have a feeling it probably won't happen until closer to Christmas).

3. As for the rest of my trip -- meh.

In Orlando, I bought some books at the local library. I also stayed at a local hotel on International Drive -- it looked a little too run down, the AC kept me awake all night, the bathroom sink leaked underneath, and my room had no wastebasket.

Mount Dora's always nice -- I went there again to get a couple more Suzy Toronto prints at a gift shop there (a store in Ybor City used to have them, but dropped them the last couple of months).

Fernandina Beach was also rather nice, with a historic downtown -- Rafi and Theo especially loved it.

St.Mary's, Georgia -- don't ask.

Palatka -- Quite dead on Sundays, though I did visit a local antique store there. The local Burger King is where I experienced "sticker shock" -- their sandwiches are a buck more than back at home -- or at an oasis on the Florida Turnpike -- or Jacksonville-- or Orlando. Yes, it's that expensive.

Micanopy -- a nice, quaint town, bustling with antique shops downtown, plus a Smiley's antique mall on I-75. This trip, I've been into town, but not Smiley's, but I've been to Smiley's on two occasion's before -- and it's huge.

That's all for this trip. Hopefully, my next trip will be to Austin, for an indeterminable amount of time (hint, hint). But chances are, I may end up going somewhere else first.
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Doctors now say that Grandma is likely to die from lung cancer (found in the liver) within 7 to 10 days.

In my opinion, if she makes it to the end of the month, that alone will be a miracle.

(P.S. -- On business in Orlando tomorrow (9/5) and on vacation in Jacksonville through 9/9. See you Sunday.)
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Today (9/2), we had a long trip home back to Florida, leaving Bay City at 12 Noon and arriving at Bishop Airport in Flint at about 1PM. We had a bite to eat, then went through security. We left Flint for Atlanta, shortly after 3PM, arriving in Atlanta around 5PM. We continued to Tampa about 6PM, after a brief layover.

For the flight to Atlanta, I got an aisle seat. For the flight to Tampa, I got a window seat. However, it was in row 30 (out of 31 rows), and was right next to the jet engine, meaning that I didn't get much of a view on the way home.

Also, I had XM radio to keep myself entertained -- in fact, I had my CD player in my checked luggage for the flight home, as I would spend all my listening time listening to XM. With a wealth of listening pleasure with no commercials, no wonder traditional radio stations are quaking in their boots, as satellite radio has given local stations competition that they cannot possibly match. (But that's another topic.)

It was shortly after 8PM when we left Tampa Airport back for home. When I returned home, I unpacked and caught up on my internet business. I also watched the first couple of hours or so of Jerry Lewis' annual MDA telethon, an annual Labor Day tradition. (I wonder what the telethon will be like once they find a cure, or if Jerry dies, whichever comes first. Hopefully the former.)

It's been a nice trip to Michigan -- too bad it's for grim circumstances.

I won't be home for long, though -- I'm going to Orlando on company business on Wed. 9/5, then Jacksonville to "get away from it all" the following weekend, in what could be the final fling before the move to Austin -- which is now sometime before Thanksgiving.
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I am now once again in Florida, after a long plane ride home. Before the trip, we said our final goodbyes to grandma. I gave her my final kisses, told her that I love her very much, and shedded a few tears. Everyone in our family had similar reactions.

Her condition today was the same as the past few days.

My dad has given her a couple of more weeks before she dies.

Personally, in her present state, it will be a miracle to have her make it to October alive.

September is generally a cruel month for all of us, as bad things generally happen that month -- in fact, 26 years ago today, 9/3/1981, my first gramdma, my mom's mother, died of breast cancer. I was only three days into sixth grade, and middle school, when she died.
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In more happier news:

Yesterday (8/29), the flight from Tampa to Atlanta, and Atlanta to Flint were largely uneventful -- it was a smooth flight all the way. Also, the airline I was on, Airtran, had free XM radio -- which is what radio should be. (Sirius is another great choice, but it has what XM doesn't have -- CBC and Radio-Canada.) 

Because of space considerations, I left Nathalie and Adele at home, and took Rafi and Theonie with me. Rafi was in checked luggage; Theonie was in a carry-on bag, under the seat. 

I would've uploaded the pictures right now, but unfortunately, the cellular internet device (I am using my parents' laptop) is blocking the other vacant USB port. I'll show them to you later.

It was a 45 mile drive from Bishop Airport in Flint to Bay City. After a stop at my aunt's to see grandma (see below), we went to a hotel. My aunt paid for my parents' room at a special hospital rate; I paid for my own at the same rate.

We didn't do much Wednesday, other than to visit, eat out and get supplies.

Today (8/30), we didn't do much else, other than ride around in the country and visit. I was hoping to take some pictures of the "girls" and visit some shops, but that will have to wait until tomorrow (8/31).

Though I did go to Meijer's (a great retail chain) to but some boxers -- which will have to double as swim trunks (the only ones I found were on clearance -- and XXL) and some cute kids' shirts for Rafi and Nathalie (also on clearance).

That's all -- for now.

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