Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Yes! Yes ! Yes * does a little dance* Nailed it! The revisions to Chapter 17 I mean. This has been bugging me for over a week. And now I'm done. Oh not with the whole revision thing, not yet. My crit partner keeps coming up with things for me to fix, but the whole Chapter 17 thing was killing me. How did I break out of it?

Holly Lisle's How to Beat Writers Block course!

Lemme tell you the whole story.
I treat myself to a bonus whenever any of my projects goes live successfully. Nothing huge, I just award myself $100 to spend any way I please. Anyway, my part of the project at my favorite client is winding down, sad to say. And although, strictly speaking, the project hasn't ended yet, yesterday Holly had an amazing offer on her website. All four of her Clinics, the How to Beat Writers Block Course, How to Find Your Writing Discipline, 21 ways to Write When Life Your Life has Just Exploded, and copies of the first draft and revision of Hawkspar, which is due to be released in June, for $97! I wanted the Hawkspar stuff. Oh boy! Did I want the Hawkspar stuff? I'd have gladly paid $97 just for that. (I already have the four clinics and they are excellent, by the way). So I bought the package.
Well, last night, back at the hotel I was beating my head against the wall, getting nowhere with the infamous Chapter 17, and I thought "Well. You have the Writers Block thing. Give it a whirl. It can't do any harm." Worked through the first four sections and then went to bed. This morning... BINGO!! There it was! The answers to the questions that I've been struggling with. Amazing! Incredible! Thank you Holly! You saved me!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Books and...

Check out the soon-to-be-opened bookstore Books and... at ( I ought to embed the link but time is against me) Doesn't that sound just great? I'm going to be keeping an eye on Robert's progess with his new venture. I've already promised to go to the store's opening. It a shame that Eden is about 130 miles from me, or I'd be dropping in there to browse on a regular basis. Way to go Robert! I wish you all the luck in the world with this.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Eclipse That.

Did you see it? The lunar eclipse last night. Our weather man said that there'd be rain -- wrong! It was a beautiful night. The eclipse was awsome, I love watching them. This is the fourth one I've seen I think. It just sets the creative juices flowing. I don't think I want to include it in ASF, that would need another re-write, but I'm definately going to use the observations I made last night in my next project.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A request

Please, for me, check out Ray Rhamey's Flogging the Quill post And if you agree with him, send him your email address so he can send you a copy of his book. Will it make a difference? I have no idea, but he seems to be a good person and very sincere in his views. Why am I asking you to do this? He flogged my first page a few months ago, and I was very encouraged by his comments. I'm trying to return the favor in a small way.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Limping along.

You know, it's just dawned on me that I haven't been keeping you up to date with my progress on A Shadowed Flame. And as this blog is *supposed* to be a writing journal, that's a bit remiss of me, isn't it? I'm currently doing yet another round of revision, this one driven by the comments of my critique partner -- for which I am very grateful. It's really hard to do a good critique and she's pulling out a lot of things that I knew needed work, but hoped that no one else would notice. And of course, an agent or an editor would have spotted them and I'd end up at best having to make the changes anyway. Or have my work rejected before it even had a chance to live. So I'm biting the bullet and editing. And on top of that, my reader had some interesting comments about the last chapter. He wanted the story to continue because he loves the characters which is good; but he poked holes in the first two scenes of the chapter that you could drive a bus through. Sigh. So I'm fixing that too. The query that I'm putting together is progressing at glacial speed. At this rate I'll be 90 before I'm ready to look for representation!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Tour de force

I spent yesterday at my favorite client's site. They happen to be the world's largest wholesale book distributor, and strangely enough that isn't why they're my favorite … but it helps! Every time I've been on-site they've promised me a tour of the Distribution Center, and every time I've had to cry off because work has to come first. They are paying for my time after all. But yesterday I took the tour. And I was, not to put it too delicately, gob-smacked. Imaging this: a 420,000 square foot facility (and this is the SECOND largest distribution facility of the four that they have. The largest is 650,000 square feet!). At this facility they carry at any one time 7 MILLION books , representing 1.2 million titles. They receive on average 150,000 to 200,000 books PER DAY, from virtually all publishers and from their own Print-on-Demand company (and that deserves a post all of its own). They ship an average of 800,000 units per week, which represents 85,000 orders. Those orders go to most of the major book stores, to indies and to warehouse stores. Seen a new book at your local library? Oh yes, it's probably been through here, and received its mylar jacket and various stickers and barcodes before it was sent out. Ever bought a book on-line? Then it was probably shipped to you from here. If you order a book on before midday Central they will ship it that day. Incredible! The technology used to do all this is just amazing, and soooo cool. And what's more, real people are involved at every step of the way. I could go on and on but I'd probably bore you senseless. Suffice to say, I was impressed. And now I'm more determined than ever to get published.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Techie stuff -- LSB

I've been remiss. Theadra asked for more information on Liquid Story Binder ages ago and I haven't responded. Well, that's just like me, I'm afraid. But now I'll set the record straight.

What is Liquid Story Binder? It's a terrific piece of software that runs on PCs and Linux ( but not on the Mac as far as I know) that combines a word processor with a herd of other useful, dare I say essential? tools for a writer. With it you can plan, track and manage your writing projects from conception to query. And it keeps backups for you, which is huge if you're like me. If that's not enough for you, it can be installed on a USB drive, so is totally portable. Take it to work with you and use it during lunchtime, going to babysit for a friend? You can work on your project while the kidlets snooze ( always supposing their parents have a PC you can use.)

And now for a few of the features.

Like to keep detailed notes about your characters? Dossiers accomplishes that and, what's more, you can use dossiers for world-building too. Have an image of your MC in mind? Does that photo of the Scottish Highlands remind you of the setting for your story? Pop it into the dossier and it will be there ready to display whenever you open it up, along with as much or as little detail as you wish to enter. It's incredible flexible, and you can keep multiple dossiers open while you write too.

I don't like to listen to music when I write, but I know a lot of people do. LSB can manage a playlist for you so you can have music while you work effortlessly.

Timelines your thing? You can keep track of your characters and timelines with ease, and color coding them makes it simple to see who's where and when. A related but different tool is the Storyboard. You can use them like you would an index card, and you can move them around until you get the story straight. I color code them the same way as the timeline so I can tell at a glance which scene is in which character's POV.

Need to track your goals and the time you spend writing? It does that. Tell at a glance how many words you wrote in this session, how many you still have to go to meet your goal, are you ahead or behind your schedule?

These are only a few of the great features that LSB has. You will have to put in a bit of time getting up to speed with it, the learning curve is fairly steep, but it's very worthwhile, and there are tutorials on how to use the major features, plus a very active community of users who'll help you find your way around the software, and the most responsive developer of ALL time. Jesse Wall answers questions about the product and requests for enhancements like no one else! AND… you can try it free for 30 days. Download it from Black Obelisk Software

If you don't love it don't buy it, but I think you will.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Ooooh, the power.

Funny thing, electricity. You don't ... ahem... I don't give it a second thought when it's there, but take it away for a while and suddenly life becomes interesting in the all the wrong ways. You already know that when I'm not on the road I work from home. It's a wonderful arrangement as far as I'm concerned. So this morning I was tapping away doing database administration-ly stuff, happy as squirrel in a nut tree, when the laptop screen goes dim and a half-second later POW! I hear an explosion ( well okay it was more like a bang) in the neighborhood. Hmmm. That's not so good. But never mind, my cable modem is protected by UPS (not the parcel service, Uninterruptable Power Supply) so I'm fine. They'll fix the problem in no time, won't they? Won't they? No. They won't. Even with everything else that was running on the UPS switched off, it ran out of juice, leaving me high and dry. Can't work, so I'll surf the inter.... wait! No cable modem so no internet. All right then. I'll continue working on the crit I'm doing, that's a really good use of my time right now. (Plus I love doing it). And all was well until the laptop battery went the way of all flesh. Argh!!! Well, okay. We'll have lunch then. Soup I think. Nope. It needs to be warmed up. As does every other darn thing in the fridge, with the exception of lettuce. I like lettuce so I'm fine but the spouse? Not so much. Ah well, everything is back now. Thank you Duke Power. I promise to appreciate what you do for us in future

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

DeerCam Debuts!

DeerCam is up and running! I should explain a bit. Basically, we live in a thousand acre wood ( shades of Winnie the Pooh and all that, but it happens to be true.) Wait! I hasten to add here that while we live in the wood, we don't own it all, we only own an acre and a half. Anyway, back to my point; a herd of white-tailed deer inhabits this area, and, as it's just within the city limits of Charlotte NC, hunting is not allowed. As a result, our deer are pretty much a protected species, and they know it. So they munch their way through whatever vegetation they choose, which accounts for why, after a couple of years, we gave up trying to grow flowers and started feeding them deer corn. It's a lot cheaper than bedding plants, I can tell you. And now we ( the spouse and I) are sharing our enjoyment of the deer with the world at large.

All the technical side of thing is his doing and it's his website. He's been experimenting with lights and cameras and I think he's got it about right now. Of course, as soon as the newest doohickey comes out he'll want to get one in case it make things better. Oh well! Pop on over to and see if the does are at the trough. The best time to catch them is dusk and dawn but they're around all day long. You'll see the bucks mostly during the night. Enjoy!