Sunday, November 25, 2012

CRAY CRAY CYBER MONDAY

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For Cyber Monday I have slashed the price of Conversations with S. Teri O'Type to 9.84 dollars, 6.18 pounds or 7.67 euros. That's almost 5 dollars off the book. That's crazy, I know. It's cyber madness!! But wait! I have decided to keep the price low for the entire month of December so that you have a chance to get the book at the reduced price for Christmas. That's a ho-ho-ho lot of savings! And they say I'm not a salesman. pshaw.

BUY IT HERE . . . please.

But wait again (you might as well pull up a chair and take off your shoes)! There are other ways to get a copy. If you are on Goodreads, you can enter to win a free copy. The giveaway ends on December 11. Click HERE, scroll down to "Enter to win" and follow the instructions.

If you live in Europe, I have four signed copies left. If you are interested and you use PayPal, send me a private message to challen@gmx.de and I'll send you a signed copy for 14 euros.







I must be off,
Christopher


Saturday, November 17, 2012

How thankful am I?

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Over the last few months, I've been depressed. No, no, no. Don't feel sorry for me. I'm still as adorable as ever . . . just with a pouty face and a blank stare into the mid-distance. Did it start with my shoulder injury? Earlier? The attack in Nice, which even now assaults my thoughts just when I think I'm over it?

Before I moved to Germany, I was often depressed. I was the "moody guy". If you look back over my posts on this blog, though, you'll see that I've become the "happy guy," the guy who claims that Life is an Adventure, the guy who's up for the adventure. These days I've been down. I'm the guy who really doesn't want to get out of bed. I'm the disappointed guy. When someone disappoints me, I feel injured. I probably need therapy for this. Or maybe I should simply stop letting myself be disappointed by people? Hoping people will stop disappointing me certainly doesn't seem to be working for me.

Or. Maybe I should be more thankful? A friend of mine told me (a few times) to think of three things a day I'm thankful for--and I never have trouble coming up with them. I am grateful for so much in my life. I have a loving partner, and we have never been more in love than we are now--after 15 years. I have parents who love and support me and a sweet family.

I have a job.

And although I haven't been writing much in the last year, I have published a few things here and there. And I've even earned money on a couple of these stories. Ironically, one of the stories I made money on--$200!--is called "How to Do Fine," published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: the Power of Positive. Perfect irony: published in a year when I feel so miserable. Life has a way of laughing with you.

I'm thankful that other editors and writing compadres out there in the ether encourage me as much as they do. Nicolette Wong, Michelle Elvy, Gay Degani, Nancy Stebbins, Dorothee Lang, Jessie Carty, Jany Graef, Paola Fornari Hanna, Tania Hershman, Berit Ellingsen, Marcus Speh, Robert Vaughan and Matt Potter have all made at least one day brighter for me this year.

And of course I'm thankful to all the people who took part in my blog tour for Conversations with S. Teri O'Type. Taking the time to read my book and ask great questions: priceless. Thank you to Kate Brown, Kim Menozzi, Dorothee Lang, Dan Powell, M.J. Nicholls, Martha Williams, Hart Johnson, Gill Hoffs, Michelle Elvy, Jessie Carty and of course Jennifer Noel Bower, the cover illustrator of the book. I'm grateful to Susan Tepper, Julie Innis, Lori Fischer and Jincy Willett for having taken time to give me blurbs for my book. All of these people took the time to help me. Thank you.

I'm especially thankful for the reviews the book has received so far. This one is from a reviewer who did not know me before she wrote the review, blew me away--so a massive thank you to Cindi at On Top Down Under Book Reviews.

I should be more thankful. And then there is the part of me that is still down. For now, I will call this balance: the understanding and acceptance that life demands equal amounts of laughter and staring into the mid-distance wondering what the hell it's all about.

What are you thankful for? What are you down about?

I must be off (to give my family hugs),
Christopher

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Christopher Allen is the author of the absurdist satire Conversations with S. Teri O'Type, available from Amazon HERE.



Thursday, November 8, 2012

Paris on my iPhone

La Tour Eiffel
I have just come back from Paris. Well, I haven't just come back, but I have just uploaded the pictures from my iPhone. My Sony digital camera would have taken up too much space in my backpack, so I left it at home. I wish I'd left my cold at home.

I was already ill when I boarded the plane from Munich to Paris. By the time I got to my hotel and checked in (the queue at the hotel reception took longer than the flight from Munich to Paris), I wanted nothing more than to sleep--which I did. For five hours. I would have slept longer, but Ian the Posh English Investment Broker woke me up with the proposal that I should come to dinner with him and his entourage. I slapped his proposal with my counter-proposal to go back to sleep. Which I did.

I woke up two hours later with a raging hankering--if hankerings can rage--for Indian food. One of the benefits of being an obsessed traveler is a well-developed knowledge of cheap Indian restaurants around the corner from the cheap hotel you always stay in. I headed out for my lamb vindaloo, which I was sure would make me feel much better.

La Tour Eiffel from the Trocadero
A funny flashback story: The last time I was at this Indian restaurant I ordered the onion baji as an appetizer and the lamb vindaloo as the main course. Strangely enough "onion baji"--or the way I pronounced it--sounds very much like the French for lamb vindaloo--or at least the way I pronounced it. My French is not very good. Actually my French sucks. Long funny flashback story short: I got two lamb vindaloos and no onion baji. The waiter was as confused as I was. The lamb vindaloo was excellent . . . twice.

Back to the present (trip): I sat alone, eating my curry curds and whey when along came a young couple--a German guy and his French girlfriend. They mostly spoke English with each other, and the German guy mostly tried to impress her with everything he knew about, well, everything. She must have been bored out of her mind. I was. When he started explaining English idioms to her (incorrectly), I almost broke the fourth wall and heckled him. But I didn't. I reminded myself that I wasn't feeling well and that I should shut my mouth when I'm not feeling well. And most other times.

This is literally a Moulin Rouge

The vindaloo was a bit tough, but it did lift my spirits. In fact, it spread like a wildfire through my intestines and killed whatever was making me melancholic. The next day I was fit to tramp around Paris with my friends and family. How many times have you done the Hop On, Hop Off bus tour of Paris? It is the best way to get an overview of the city. I've gotten an overview of the city four times. And yes: I've memorized the stops and can speak along with the tour guide in the headphones. An aside: If the Louvre would install a Hop On, Hop Off bus tour in the museum, I'd like the Louvre.

Sucky picture of a beautiful moment
I should have made space for the digital camera. My iPhone takes terrible pictures at night, which wouldn't matter much except for the fact that on Saturday night Notre Dame became a sort of Stonehenge Parisien. The moon was visible between the two chunky bell towers. Did you know the bells of Notre Dame all have names? The biggest bell is named Emmanuel (if you're ever on Jeopardy).

The four bells in the north tower are being melted down to make eight bells. In 2013 Emmanuel is going to get a girlfriend, Marie, in the south tower. Now that's romantic. It's Paris. Something else romantic? The Love wall where you can find "I love you" in oodles of languages. Lovers come here to point at their language and kiss . . . because they're silly.

"The times I've fallen in love with The City of Love are when I've been alone with her."
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(Visiting Paris as a tourist isn't the best way to take in the city. You have to have another mentality. You have to be open for anything. You have to get lost in Paris to really appreciate it. If you don't get lost, you run the risk of making a bee-line from Notre Dame to the Louvre to D'Orsay to the Opera. You should forget all this and just go walking. You should eat what looks good. You should try to speak French even if people laugh at you.  You should drink lots of wine. You should stay away from the tourist restaurants that serve everything with French fries, but most of all you should just get lost. Discover your own Paris. For this you'll need at least a week or more. The times I've fallen in love with The City of Love are when I've been alone with her.)

Here are a few pictures from my iPhone Paris:


 

On one of the evenings, we headed to the city hall for an event that was supposed to be a 3D history of the city of Paris (as I understood it). Problem was, 50,000 other people did the same. If you're not familiar with my fear of crowds, please familiarize yourself: I'm batshit afeared of crowds. Just as the rather impressive presentation was starting (in French, so I couldn't understand anything anyway), I found myself pressed up against a motorcycle--and no one who tried to push past me in the crowd noticed that I was pinned against a very heavy object that could have fallen on me. So I did what I had to do: I left. And you know what? Five minutes later I was watching the event from a table at an Irish pub, drinking a cider. And my view was better. Go, team fear!

The Event, The Crowd

I must be off,
Christopher

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Christopher Allen is the author of the absurdist satire Conversations with S. Teri O'Type.