Friday, June 23, 2017

Confessions of a crummy website designer

     Got a confession.  I've been using Angelfire for nearly twenty years now.

That's right.   That Angelfire.  The MySpace of webpage designers.   It's lasted longer than GeoCities, and is incredible still being maintained (barely) by parent company Lycos.   In all it's blinky, flashy, clunky HTML glory.

The site I've been using has changed purposes, domain names and directions a few times in those twenty years, but it's always been hosted at the same basic engine.

When it started in 1999, it was the official website for THE ASYLUM.   That was a sketch comedy television series I produced for public access television in Peoria.  It only lasted four episodes, so don't go looking for a prestige DVD release just yet.

In 2001, the site was transformed into the official website for SCREAMING MONKEY COMICS; the finest comic book store Crown Point, Indiana has ever known!   It kept my customers informed about new products, activities and upcoming releases.  

When we closed the store in 2008, I re-directed the site to promote comic books and graphic novels that I was writing and illustrating.   

By 2011, it was re-branded as WWW.YEONIVERSE.COM as my official author's website, and that's what it's been doing since.  Even by then, most of the world had abandoned Angelfire for more modern website designers.   But the business of raising a little one, working a full time job and writing new books had me continuously shoving the work of finding a new website to the back burners. 

But for those of you following me, I'm happy to announce that WWW.YEONIVERSE.COM now has an official home the WIX website program.

* It's a lot slicker looking, without any dancing banana .GIFs.
* The PAYPAL buttons to let you purchase a book are actually working!
* It works on mobile devices as well, something the old one never actually did.
* It has it's own BLOG manager, so I won't be using this site anymore for blogs.  All future blogs can be seen directly on my new website.
*  It's super easy to send me e-mails and messages now.

I'm embarrassed that I hadn't gone to this new website sooner, because it's super easy...and the site just looks a lot prettier to boot.    But I just wanted to explain why I haven't been blogging lately.
I've been focused on getting this new website off the ground, as well as promoting the upcoming release of INFINITE LEAGUE. 

So please, bookmark WWW.YEONIVERSE.COM, visit me often, ask me questions, and thanks for all of your support!

Friday, June 9, 2017

The first time my daughter made me laugh

     I'm back.  For the ten or twelve of you who follow my blog, I'm sorry I've been so quiet during May, but it was a ridiculously busy month.  Christina and I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary, we had a birthday party to throw for Cameron, I had to drive to the old hometown to stand in my brother's wedding, and my work schedule changed yet again.  The month of May just don't play around.
      Today, I wanted to take a moment to talk about someone very important to me, someone I don't speak about often but remains one of the defining persons of my life. 

       Micayla Amber Yeo.

     My oldest daughter (by two minutes), twin sister to Cameron, the little angel I'll never forget about.  Born May 26, 2010.  The Mighty Micayla fought along her sister, Kick-Ass Cammy, for two weeks.  Today will always be a day of melancholy around my house, but it also reminds me of a great memory with Cameron.  As a matter of fact, it's my first great memory with Cameron.
     The kid makes me laugh a lot. She’s a funny little person with a sneaky sense of humor and the heart of a prankster. She gets it from her mother, who also has a knack for mischief and playfulness.
      But I’ll never forget the very first time she made me laugh. And I’m gonna try to keep this short, because it was at a sad time, and I don’t want to bum you out. But it’s a memory that I love.
      When the girls were developing, Cameron and Micayla had both developed heart defects, and an entire team was on the scene to take emergency steps if necessary when they were born. Cameron was the lucky one, but Micayla had an extremely debilitating seizure as soon as she took her first breath. She lingered for two weeks before it was determined that while her heart fighting hard, everything else was shutting down and she would probably remain in a vegetative state indefinitely. It’s no way for a human being to live, and Christina and I both tearfully made the decision to let her go.
      (By the way, while I'm thinking about it, please donate to the Ronald McDonald House when you have a chance. They gave us a comfortable room close to the hospital for two weeks as we waited, and they were so kind to us.  I can’t thank them enough.)
      At no time since then have we really regretted our decision, although not a day goes by that we don’t wonder what the two of them would have been like playing together. Anyway, when we made the decision to say good-bye to Micayla, we spent an entire day together as a family in the NICU. We made little footprints and handprint cards for both of them, took a bunch of photos, read and sang to them, and just enjoyed the one and only day that the four of us would all be together in the same room.
      Afterwards, Christina, Cameron and I retired to a private family room as the doctors took Micayla off the machines. She was gone in just a few moments, and we were assured that it was peaceful and gentle. And then, just like that, it was just the three of us. A mourning mother, an emotionally broken father, and a confused little infant daughter looking at both of us with wondering eyes. I tried to be strong, but it was the most crying I had done in my life.
      After twenty minutes of emotional upheaval and miserable tears, I started experiencing a mixture of regret and anger. I was going to be heartbroken for the rest of my life, I feared, and it just wasn’t fair to our other daughter. She didn’t deserve to have such broken parents, it wasn’t her fault. But me, the man who laughs too much, was never going to laugh again. I was sure of it.
     “I’m never going to laugh again,” I cried out to my wife and daughter.
     And Cameron looked me in the eyes, make a little sad face, reached up with both hands, and pulled her stocking cap down over her eyes in response. And no more than two seconds after I had said what I had said, I exploded into a round of tearful laughs. And I picked my baby girl up, and kissed her cheeks, and I knew that our family would go on. And it did.
      What a good little girl.

      That's the moment I really fell in love with Cameron, and it's just been an adventure ever since. So I suppose the point is that you should never forget the people you’ve lost, but don’t forget the people who are still with you.  And I will never forget our Micayla.  To this day, I'm comforted to imagine that she remains Cammy's guardian angel, forever trying to keep her safe.  Or encouraging her to perform mischief on behalf of both of them, I haven't decided yet.   Could be both. 

     Have a great weekend.  I'll try to have to something more upbeat next time we chat.  Now, go hug someone you love!

John Yeo Jr. is the author of THE KING'S TOURNAMENT and MAMA SAUVETERRE'S CURIOSITY SHOPPE.   Both books are currently available on AMAZON.    His next novel, THE INFINITE LEAGUE, is coming out in September!  You can find out more by visiting his website at     

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Rules of Attraction

   There’s a certain subject I’d like to talk about today. I don’t want to get too preachy about this, I’m just sharing my opinion about something.  I hope most of you feel the same, but no judgment if you don’t.  This is just my opinion, and it’s my blog, so this seems like the place to shout about it.
     I was in the checkout line at the grocery store yesterday, trying to dwell on what the subject of my next blog was going to be.  As I waited for the lady in front of me to decide which one of the eighty-seven items she wasn’t going to purchase after all because she was a dollar short, I started checking out the magazine covers. Usually, I expect to see any number of overexposed celebrities, such as Kim Kardashian or Justin Bieber or Kylie Jenner. 
     Instead, this is what I saw.

      My celebrity crush Amy Schumer on the cover of In Style.  Musician Meghan Trainor on the cover of Cosmopolitan. It sort of made me happy. Not happy enough to buy the magazines, of course, ‘cause I’m a dude. But still. It made me happy.
      It immediately reminded me of a significant memory from college.
      When I was younger, there was a girl in college I was absolutely in love with. For reasons too numerous to explain here without going too far off topic, it just wasn’t to be. But I’m happy to say that we remain very close friends to this day.
      But there was a day I recall sharing my feelings about this girl with a group of friends. And even more clearly, I remember the thoughtless comment that one of them had made.
       “Oh, John likes her? Oh yeah, that makes sense, since he’s into fat chicks.”
       I kind of stopped inviting him to parties after that. This girl didn’t have a thin waistline, but calling her fat was simply mean and dismissive. Not to mention totally off the mark. She was a healthy weight, not to mention curvy and beautiful. Still is. I’ve never thought of her as overweight.
       But for years after that incident, the remark was stuck in my head. At some point, especially after my first wife divorced me, I started questioning my tastes in women. Was I naturally more attracted to heavier girls?
        During the two years following my divorce, this question almost because a little crisis that I had to resolve. So, mostly out of boredom, I made a physical comparison of all the women I had either dated, found attractive, or taken home with me from a bar. Out of scientific curiosity, you understand.
       I made my list, cataloging all the traits. Not an insane, obsessive, conspiracy-theory episode with yarn and threads and post-its covering an entire wall sort of epiosde. Just a few pages of notebook paper and a bottle of beer. I wanted to satisfy my curiosity.
       I discovered that when examining all the girls I had developed some sort of connection with, I was having trouble finding some sort of common denominator. There were just as many skinny women as there were heavy gals in my list. Some of them were very serious about make-up and clothes, others sported a natural look and were more comfortable in jeans and pullover sweaters. Some of them were painfully shy, others were outspoken and brassy. Some preferred books, others preferred movies. Some of them were highly educated and successful, others struggled in school. What was the common attraction? I had proven to myself what I already know----I wasn’t just attracted to big girls. But there have been something.
       Then it hit me. And guys (and ladies), here’s the advice I hope you take from this.
       With a few notable drunken exceptions, nearly every woman on the list was someone that I actually wanted to spend time with. I mean, even if it didn’t mean seeing them naked at the end of the night. They were girls that I actually liked being around.
       Maybe I was one of the lucky one who had known the secret all along, but I just wasn’t able to quantify it in words back then. But there was the secret. It seems so simple.
       In the end, I don’t care if you’re a few pounds overweight. (Obviously, if you’re so heavy that it affects your health, you should consider making different life choices.)  I don’t care if you have a slender, unblemished body. I don’t care if you have tattoos or not.  I don’t care if you have breasts that are barely visible, or if they could be classified as dangerous weapons. I don’t care if you shave, or if you proudly display armpit hair and an untamed jungle south of the equator. I don’t care if you’re smarter or more successful than me.
      What I realized that I care about are the important things. Do you make me laugh? Do you like me for who I am? Do you like yourself for who you are? Are you as kind to yourself, as well as kind to others? Do you like to laugh? Are you willing to give me as much attention as I’ll give you?
       The world obsesses about physical beauty. Physical beauty is important, but when I see magazine covers put impossibly (and often airbrushed) depictions of beauty on their covers every single month, there’s an effect it has on people. It crushes the spirits and the self-esteem of wonderful girls who don’t necessarily live up to those standards. These are the women that get ignored by men who are only looking for real-life examples of what they see on the magazine covers. These are the men who are denying themselves the romance of their lifetime by looking for something that isn’t there without the assistance of a highly trained make-up team and Photoshop artist. (And going back to my original inspiration for this article, it’s why seeing non-traditional beauties like Amy and Meghan on the magazine covers this week made me smile.)
       I’ve been married to my wife for over fifteen years now. To this day, she can make me laugh out loud in public by saying something I wasn’t expecting. To this day, she’s the one I want to share my free time with. Because I fucking like her, as well as deeply love her.
       I think most men my age have already figured that out for themselves. I just hope that other guys without as much mileage as yours truly learn these facts sooner. So my point is, it’s not that I’m only attracted to big girls.
       The point is, I’m only attracted to girls that I’d want to be friends with.
       Even more to the point, you never know who your match is going to be. If you’re the type of person who only goes for a certain body type, please consider knocking it off. Keep your eyes open to everyone and try not to obsess over the physical details. The love of your life might be a blonde runway model, and she might be a curvy, purple-haired nerd girl.
        You never know.


John Yeo Jr. is the author of THE KING'S TOURNAMENT and MAMA SAUVETERRE'S CURIOSITY SHOPPE.  Both of these fine fantasy novels are available on AMAZON.   His next novel, THE INFINITE LEAGUE will be coming out in September.  You can get updates by v visiting him at

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Like my books? Need more junk mail? Subscribe to my newsletter!

      They say to be a successful author, you have to build your brand.  I'm vaguely aware of what that trendy marketing set of buzzwords means, but I know that I need an easy and not-too-annoying way to keep readers informed about the books I'm working on.

     So beginning in May, I'll be releasing a newsletter via e-mail.  I have several projects in the pipeline right now, and I'll never quit my day job if no one even knows what books I've written!
     For example, THE INFINITE LEAGUE will be coming out in September.  And also this year, I have a graphic novel project (fully colored) is coming out in December in conjunction with Kickstarter.  In 2018, I have a new novel called THE BARREN DAGGER, as well as a book of humorous true-life stories and anecdotes that's absolutely perfect for reading on the crapper.
      Beyond that, I'm kicking around an idea for a Choose Your Own Adventure book for grown-up children who liked those sort of things back in the day, a different comic project if the upcoming Kickstarter campaign works out, and a fifth novel that I'm starting to put together.

     The point is, I'm aiming to have a new book out every six months.  As much as I generally hate being assaulted with e-mails like anyone else, it really remains one of the best ways to keep my readers informed.  So if you'd like to sign up for my newsletter, here's what you get:

#1.    Only two newsletters a month.   I promise.    I hate tons of junk mail, and I don't want to unnecessarily add to yours!

#2.     One newsletter will be an update about upcoming projects, cover reveals, sample chapters, and a chance to answer any questions.    The other will be news about a monthly contest to win free copies of one of the books in my library.  In fact, I'm giving away a copy of THE KING'S TOURNAMENT to one random friendly face who signs up for my newsletter before the end of the month!  Be sure to fill out all the questions, your information helps me a lot!

#3.     If you are a subscriber, you will receive 20% off pre-orders for all future releases.  So if you don't want to pay the full $15 for THE INFINITE LEAGUE when it comes out in September? Bam! Problem solved.  Just $12 for you. 

Okay, so thanks for bearing with me while I use my blog to pimp my wares.  I promise next installment I'll have more funny stuff to share.   In the meantime, just click right HERE to fill out the newsletter sign-up, and keep an eye on your e-mail box for stuff that I'm writing, developing and selling.  And thanks so much!!

John Yeo Jr. is the author of THE KING'S TOURNAMENT and MAMA SAUVETERRE'S CURIOSITY SHOPPE.  His next novel, THE INFINITE LEAGUE is coming in September.
You can check out his novels, graphic novels and artwork by visiting


Monday, April 17, 2017

Red Easter

      Salutations, my friends!  Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend.  Now that I work on the weekends, my family time is a bit more limited on Sunday.  But Cameron did get her Easter basket, and we spent an hour outside blowing bubbles and running through the grass, so it was a pretty good day. Much better than the Easter the following children had, anyway.     

       Now, I’m almost certain that what I'm about to tell you is a true story. I wasn’t present for the drama that’s about to unfold here, but I know someone told me about this and I’m pretty sure it was my sister Michelle. I swear my sister told me this years and years ago, but when I brought it up a few years ago while researching this book, she swears that she doesn’t ever remember about this happening. But someone told me, and I’m going to attribute this to my sister and nephew anyway. Maybe it did happen to her and she’s just repressed the memory since then. But I don’t think I could make up something like on my own, someone must have told me about Red Easter. But whether it’s true or not, it’s a fascinating tale and I’m going to lay it out for you as I heard it.
      This would have been fifteen years ago, when my sister was still a young mother, and my nephew Zack was five. They’re a very religious household, and I’ve always respected them for that. And on the occasion of this fine Easter morning, the family’s church decided to hold an Easter Egg hunt for the children of the congregation.
      It was a very pleasant sunny morning, the perfect day for an Easter Egg hunt. It was a small church located by an old country road, with a huge yard of tall grass for the kids to run through. Easter eggs were hidden, along with hundreds of little plastic eggs containing candy and trinkets. Plenty of volunteers were on hand as well, to keep order and to prevent any of the youngsters from wandering too close to the road.
      Among those volunteers was a guy named Bob. Bob was a man-child of guy, the sort of guy that kids love because he’s fun. He was also the sort of guy that parents didn’t want to leave with their children unsupervised, because that fun often included activities that involved slingshots, fireworks or testing the upper stress limits of merry-go-rounds. Bob wasn’t a family member, or ever a particularly close friend of the family. Nor was he, for that matter, a particularly clever human being. But he meant well, he was a nice guy, and he could lift heavy things. And he really loved kids, and kids loved him, so he was a great volunteer for these type of things.
       So the kids were running around the tall grass of the church yard, looking for easter eggs, candy and other hidden treasures. Everything was running pretty smoothly, until a tiny pair of fuzzy brown ears poked up in the grass a few feet away from Bob.
       If he hadn’t have noticed it, the story would have a more happier ending. If he had just had the foresight to have anticipate what was likely to happen, none of the sad details of this tragedy would have ended up being written about in a blog. But when that small rabbit made it’s presence known, a burning little light bulb illuminated within Bob’s head. He shouted out to everyone, commanding the attention of adult and child alike.
        “Hey look! It’s the Easter Bunny!”
        No matter where in yard these children were, they abandoned their quest and suddenly ran screaming towards this small rodent like a pack of hungry dogs. The field was suddenly awash in the combined sounds of childish giggles and parental reminders to stay away from the road. With Bob’s one innocent remark, the activity had turned into the sort of chaos only made possible with a few dozen toddlers on the hunt to meet one of their idols. What any of them planned to do with the rabbit once they caught him, I couldn’t tell you. I don’t think they were thinking that far ahead.
       Bob was stupidly beaming with pride. In his point of view, he was the absolute hero of the Easter Egg hunt for spotting this bunny for the kids. For the children, this was the most magical day of their young little lives.
       For the rodent, it was fucking Armageddon.
       So the bunny ran, and it ran like an animal that didn’t want to be cornered. Every direction it went, another child was there ready to cut him off, pick him up and squeeze all of the candy, easter eggs and gold out of him. Do Easter Bunnies deliver gold?  Who knows what these kids were expecting.
       To make a long story short, these kids had no chance of catching this fast critter. But the animal knew that it would be better off being in a different area. So it ran for the road, hoping to flee the church yard and never come back. Thankfully, all the grown-ups were successful in preventing any of the children from going anywhere close to the road.
         If only someone had been protecting the bunny. Or at least been able to warn the small truck that just....well, there's no other way to put it. The truck straight up smashed it in front of all the kids.
         Every child stopped, staring at the truck as it vanished over the hill, taking their childhood with it. Then, in unison, each of them turned around, looked at their parents, and erupted into a unified tidal wave of tears and despair.
         Bob just stood there, looking for all the world like he had just filmed a Southwest Airlines "Wanna Get Away" commercial.  Every parent ran out to comfort their child with flimsy stories about how that particular bunny was just the real Easter Bunny's helper, and he's with Jesus now, or something like that. The rest of them just bore holes into Bob's head with their eyes. Those volunteers who didn't have children (or souls) tried not to laugh in front of the others.
        It resulted in a combined cost of hundreds of dollars in therapy bills, several heartfelt official apologies from the church, and a polite but firm request that Bob not participate in any more youth functions. 
        Well, at any rate, hope you had a safe and happy Easter everyone. Thanks for reading!


John Yeo Jr. is the author of The King's Tournament and Mama Sauveterre's Curiosity Shoppe.  His next book, The Infinite League, comes out in September.   Hey, want to know about John's upcoming projects and perhaps earn some free stuff?  Sign up for John's newsletter by going here!