Category Archives: Writing

Scribbling things, or at least trying to.

[The Wharf] available for free download!

[The Wharf] is available for FREE DOWNLOAD for 24 hours starting now! Get your copy here!



How to push products on Google AdWords

This was my first experience using Google AdWords. It’s a powerful, flexible ad platform, but it’s a bit more complex and perhaps less self-explanatory than Facebook Ads, the other platform which I have prior experience with. Some of the great features both Google AdWords and Facebook Ads share are a low price of entry ($50?), extreme targetability, super-detailed analytics tools, a reassuring spending cap, and relative ease of use. And of course, they’re both free, aside from the click-thru price, which will usually run between 80 cents to a dollar per click. This is a basic run through, with images to help explain the process and highlight a few issues I ran into.

Your first campaign! Yay!

Obviously you’ll need a Google account. Go to, set your time zone (note, this cannot be changed once registered, so double-check!), verify and you’re ready to go. Are you nervous? Don’t be!

Which countries will be so lucky?

You’ll be asked to name your campaign and then run through some basic settings. The default country setting pretty much covers the globe, but since [The Wharf] is a novel primarily written in English with smatterings of Japanese, I made things more specific.

How much can you spend, and whom, if anyone, will you exclude?

Here’s where things get juicy. I left the bidding options automatic, as suggested, and dropped the budget from $10 to $5 a day. Why? Because I’m cheap. You’ll be prompted to take a tour for ad extensions–just wait. We’ll get to that later, and when I clicked that link the first time it opened a new page in the same browser window and I lost my progress. Really, Google? Under demographics I excluded anyone over the age of thirty-four, since [The Wharf]‘s ideal readership is pretty much pasty reclusive nerds who stay indoors and watch anime and get off on how many monitors they can hook up to their computers, i.e. mostly otaku guys/gals in their late teens to early thirties.

Make sure to choose a really clever group name

Now it’s time to get that ad up! First creat a group. Google AdWords will suggest a number, assuming you’ll likely be creating more ads later when the first one you make doesn’t generate shit in the way of hits.

Don’t be dismayed if your ads don’t turn out as awesome as mine.

Once your group’s set it’s time to create the ads themselves! The ad generator is sufficiently intuitive and I didn’t encounter any snags. I created one text ad and one image ad, opting for the 250×250 square image size. Photo size is limited to 50k, though note the resolution in the previewer doesn’t reflect the quality you’ll enjoy when you click “View full size image ad”. My text ad was approved almost instantly, while my image ad took about an hour to process. I assume Google doesn’t permit pornography or otherwise explicit material in ads… Buncha party poopers.

Quantity over quality?

Aaahhhh keywords. You are the apple of my eye and the bane of my existence. I’ve had to hash these things out so many times by now that I pretty much winged it. Google seems to suggest more specific search combinations, and will give you some ratings/suggestions on your keywords, not to mention advice. I couldn’t manage higher than a score of “5/10”, which registered for “Jesse Bull” (my co-author), while my name, ironically, only returned a “4/10” (what are you insinuating, Google? Do you think he’s better looking?).  I went pretty heavy on the keywords (23 to be exact), most of which ended up “Eligible”, though the bulk of what you see here turned up “Rarely show due to low quality score”, whatever than means. You can change keywords at any time, so don’t sweat it too much.

Because I use Google+ so often…

You’re almost there! Ad extensions offer additional features for your ad that can potentially prove quite powerful depending on what you’re selling. The only one I ended up tacking on was Google+ integration, since I have a Synthetitree/Wharf page on that social network, and it’s beautiful.


Just in case you’re unclear on your financial commitment, once things have processed you can always go back and check your budget cap under Billing > Settings > How you pay. The default cap is $50, so I went with that. It’s not because I’m broke or anything.

This fucker kept popping up.

You may see this annoying red window periodically while you’re working. At first I was alarmed but I started ignoring it. I never lost any data during the process aside from that stupid “Take the tour” snafu, so don’t be alarmed if you see this.

There you have it! Hopefully your new ad/s will grab as much attention for your product as you’d hoped for, and for a decent price! Just be careful what you wish for.

I’m sure David’s not the only guy

that can fill that hole… In fact, it doesn’t need to be a guy, per se… Theoretically you could stick just about anything up there that’s not too big.

While He Was Away by Karen Schreck

A sample of the “burgeoning genre of literature about the Iraq war”.

Image borrowed from [Early Nerd Special].

[The Wharf] now available on Amazon Kindle Store for Mac, PC, Android, iPad, iPhone, etc.!

My first completed work of fiction, which I penned with best friend and partner-in-crime Jesse Bull, is now for sale on

Here’s a brief product description:

“Tokyo, 2034 A.D. Japan has finally relaxed her borders to allow an overdue influx of immigration, and with it subsequent street crime and true multilingual diversity. The world’s first transition to an entirely cashless banking system has created a society completely reliant on the Personal Life Assistant™, or PLA, a mobile device that acts as phone, wallet, keys, identification and more. Over the course of roughly one week a story of technological security, financial terrorism and socioeconomic upheaval unfolds around a small cast of characters, including J., an American banker, Sana, a female television personality, and Shade, an underground tech kingpin shrouded in mystery. The Wharf is a subversive, parodical black comedy and also a classic crime novel penned by two Americans with a combined twelve years’ experience working, studying and living in Japan.”

[The Wharf] is available for purchase for $2.99 for your PC, tablet, smart phone, etc. here.

Thank you for reading and for your continual support!


Chapter 18 [The Wharf]

Evan was in his room now, hurriedly unloading the cardboard boxes he’d hauled up earlier as Laurent now managed to gather himself and join him upstairs opposite. Pabst knelt hard into the concrete floor as he threw open in clockwise succession and emptied the contents of Kita’s bespoke IDW-skirting beer consoles onto the general floor area behind the defensive wall of LC sofas he had fashioned 30s previous. Everything went dark. From over on the open wall-panel side of the compound came a brash Far East Asian whooooouuuooooooouh!!!!!!, and now from up above a clear keeeel zem allllll!!!! was audible. There was silence save the whooping of the dogs that had now swelled to Cerberian proportions. The boys waited.

Chapter 8 [The Wharf]

The surfaces his fingers deciphered were wet and alien. As he felt along the curious terrain, a few fingers slipped into a strange cavity and hit something warm and squishy. It was his tongue. He withdrew his hand and held it up, and it was painted red and globules of red matter glazed his fingers here and there. The Chihuahua barked and splashed in the pooling blood before bounding up his chest, covering the man in miniature red paw prints. He confusedly reached to brush it away with the gun, still held weakly in his right hand, but it danced playfully and growled and buried its head down into a place to the left of his blurry vision.

Why spell check doesn’t always work…

Due to the amount of Japanese and poetic license we use in The Wharf, a final spell check on the latest edit exposed my word processor’s built-in spellcheck tool as all but useless for this novel.

If you’re writing in another language, being inventive with English, or doing both, you’re going to have to do this manually. Clicking “Ignore Once” or “Ignore All” three or four times per sentence gets old real fast. Sometimes it’s faster to just follow the red. 

Chapter 11 [The Wharf]

The grotto’s influx of frothy golden mugs and output of emptied translucent ones was supernatural.

Chapter 4 [The Wharf]

“Otsukare sama de——ssss.” Sana recited routinely and half-bowed in the general direction of the remaining crew members trickling out of the studio, formal closing salutations already completed. The night air was crisp in Odaiba and a strong breeze assailed her with the scent of salt water. The moon reflected in a stretched, distorted pattern across the convex curve of the massive Fuji globe that hung high overhead. Sana’s personal manager approached, face tired as usual at the end of a long work day (he’d been awake for at least twenty hours already) and reminded her of where and at what time she needed to be tomorrow.

Chapter 16 [The Wharf]

Manabe turned to face him. Behind him a smaller garden displayed a lonely, exquisite EverpinkTM Sakura tree, fallen petals sprinkling the hushed moss greens of the garden’s floor, already near the end of a preprogrammed shedding cycle (the fifth or sixth Manabe had enjoyed this year). This was the first time Shade’d seen an EverpinkTM with his own eyes, having only read, or more accurately skimmed, about the trees’ R&D in one of the biotech printed periodicals he still received via post a while back.

“Nice tree.”

“Thanks, have a seat.” Manabe had now risen to his full height and crossed his arms and tilted his head back, looking Shade over as if he hadn’t seen him in some time.

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