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Monday, July 29, 2013

The Well of Forgotten Books...My Kindle

I downloaded  The Examin Prayer by Father Timothy Gallagher to Kindle last night. I prefer to hold a paper book in my hands, but with the limited selection at bookstores, and even the library, I'm being swept along into the world of electronic downloads and "highlight by finger".  And, yes, sometimes I'm that impatient.

Back in the old days, I would drop everything half hour before the book store closed and run out to buy a desperately needed (wanted) item. With Kindle, I now spare the public the vision of me running through the aisles in a shirt that I threw on backwards and uncombed hair. There are advantages.

It's so easy to download and then set my iPad aside for other distractions that I sometimes forget what I've purchased.

Last night I found, untouched:

The Cozy Chicks Kitchen (and I found a recipe for Easy Crispy potatoes that's going on the menu tonight!)
The Social Media Gospel
Kristen Lamb's:
Are You There Blog?
We Are Not Alone
Rise of the Machines
Pamela Samuels Young's Attorney-Client Privilege 
Behind the Screen
M.M. Gornell's Counsel of Ravens (thought I just bought that and hadn't really forgotten about it...yet)

About thirty books that I've gotten 18% of the way through. (That seems to be my attention span in one sitting.)

A dozen SAMPLE books that I downloaded to peek at and order later.

With a paperback, I've got it in front of my face and can't forget about it, but with Kindle....

Has Kindle turned into a black hole of good intentions for you? Or am I just approaching it wrong?

Monday, July 22, 2013

Will I Be Allowed to Cling to My Simple Life???

We live in the land of too-many-choices, and it's giving me a headache. I like things simple--hand written letters, bills paid by check, handmade gifts, and food made from scratch.

Sometimes, it feels as if there's a hand on my back trying to hurry me out the door...or push me under the bus. Where I'm hurrying to isn't quite clear. 

Every time I boot up my computer, I'm accosted by something called Genius. Or maybe it's called Sync Up. They seem to be in with the same gang.

My Outlook appearance changed last week; this week it's Gmail. Always something to catch up on.

I'm not sure how to log into my LinkedIn account, what to do with Twitter, and my Face Book friends have long ago accepted that I'm a techno-dweeb. I'm lucky if my links come out right.

And then, there's my web page. Gads!  I'm inundated by offers to experience deep humiliation add videos as a personal touch. The wonderful people at iPage keep telling me how simple they'll make my life, but I can't even make it through the various offers without screaming.

I understand writing is a profession. I remember how my dad would sit out on the porch at night and read through insurance journals, keeping up on industry trends. But really! This morning, I received no less than fifteen articles--all of them reputable--that ranged from writing nuts and bolts to marketing know-how. And it's only noon.

I go through my house on a regular basis, pulling items I haven't used to give them to charity. I simplify. Is there a way to simplify my writing life?  To keep me from following the man with the lollipops down the dark alley?  He keeps promising that this one trick will make my writing life easier.

From Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Warfield Productions

How about you? Anyone else running into writer info overload? Have any tips to keep the rest of us sane?

Friday, July 19, 2013

13 Writing Goals for 2013 - Better Late Than Never

I was fascinated by a young woman who made a 30 before 30 bucket list. She came up with thirty projects, tasks and dreams she wanted to accomplish before she turned thirty. How motivational! How cool! How unattainable!

I mean, really. At my age, the closest round number is 50, and I don't think I have enough time to complete fifty accomplishments unless they include Eat dessert for breakfast and sleep in.

My husband and I came up with 13 for 2013 instead, and though we each have our own list, we cheated a little. There are a few joint projects that went on both our lists.

Naturally, I thought I should have a  13 for 2013 for my writing. Is it too late to get them done? It's already July.

1. Blog more often than I dust the tops of the bookshelves. At least some semblance of regularity. Enough that those who follow me don't start scanning the obituaries.

2. Finish three novels.  It's not as intimidating as it sounds. They're all in different stages, so it's not as if I'm starting them all from scratch. And I put the pressure on this goal. I contacted my editor and scheduled the first edits of two of the books for the first quarter of 2013. Then I hung up and passed out.

3. Get my e-books on CreateSpace. I have several novels and even more short stories, but I figure that once I get the process down, it will be a cinch. Right?  Right???

4. Quarantine my FB. Right now, it's writing notes, friend notes, and spiritual sharing. That's right. It's a mess. I like to keep up with certain folks, and I'm shy about unfriending all but the few I actually read. Maybe variety is good, but I'm not so sure.

5. Unsubscribe to every newsletter and update except for the few I read. Right now, my inbox has over 1500 3,000 items in it...and I had it under 1,000 the other day.  This means putting on my angry face and following up on the unsubscribes that continue to show up weeks later.

6. Figure out my iPage website. It has a lot of cool features, I'm certain, if I could only figure them out. I don't want to become a web designer.  I just want my page at a level where teenagers who stumble across it refrain from sneering.

7. Take a few business classes, because writing is a business. And it will give me confidence if I ever get audited.

9. Get all the straggler short stories, compilations etc. finished and off my plate. That way I'll have room for new, fun projects.

10.  Do a better job each and every time, whether copywriting or outlining the latest novel.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Case of the Never Ending Typos

Image from John Carpenter's "The Fog"
After a professional edit and several proofreads by people I'm not related to--plus my own read- through--any fear of typos in my book should recede into the mist like the evil pirates in The Fog, right?

Cue scary music.  They never leave. They're just waiting under your bed until you fall asleep.

I was looking at my e-book manuscript, Barking Mad At Murder, with the intention of turning it into a Nook edition, when I found a hideous typo.  Something so sloppy that it makes me cringe just the think about it.  Something so embarrassing that it makes that dream where your standing in front of the class in your underwear sound like a good time.  (Isn't it odd that, even in our dreams, we subconsciously retain enough modesty and good taste to keep on our underwear?)

A complete scan brought up a few additional mistakes that never should have made it past my grammar-paranoid eyes.  Had I not let the manuscript set long enough between readings and "filled in" what I thought it should say instead of reading what was on the page?  Were my eyes simply tired from reading the manuscript so many times?  Was I suffering from a rare form of mental stuttering that would allow me to think that "She took a a thingamabob--"  sounded perfectly natural?

Hundreds of people had already bought this book. Did they think I was an idiot? If so, they were kind enough not to say so on Amazon.  My mother suggested that, since so many people hadn't caught the mistakes in the first place, maybe the readers didn't notice them either. Thanks Mom, but that's not the point.

After I let loose a cry of anguish and shook my fist at the sky, I did another grammar check, fixed the errors, and uploaded the new manuscript.  Then I changed my address and telephone number and started thinking of a good pen name for future books.

Is there ever a point where a writer can feel safe about typos?  Do YOU ever feel safe about typos?