Monday, October 26, 2009

Liquid Story Binder: Going on sale November 1!

My favorite Novel writing software, Liquid Story Binder, is going on sale on November 1st for NaNoWriMo! If you've been around long, you know I love this software. It's unbelievably powerful, and includes so many features that it's dizzying... the best thing is, there's no one way to use it. You can use as much, or as little, as you like! I highly recommend this software. I've used it for the past two years running, and love it so much that even though I have a legitimate free copy given through giveawayoftheday a couple years ago, I'm planning on purchasing a full license this month through this sale. I love the program *that much* - this is not my recommendation as a NaNoWriMo staffer, but as a writer who has searched for a program that does what I want it.

I haven't learned to use all of it, but it's shareware, so you can use it free for 30 non-consecutive days, with ALL features intact, before you have to purchase a license to keep it working. The developer of the software really *listens* to his users, through his discussion group, and makes changes based on the feedback he receives, and is single-handedly the most responsive tech guy I've ever seen.

Excellent customer service, unique, matchless product... and a discount. What's not to love?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Chinese Whisperings - an Anthology in which a friend is published

Everyone, I'd like to take a moment to plug something for a friend. Chinese Whisperings is an eclectic anthology of short stories that... well, it's awesome. You need to check out the site to see what's different. It's totally awesome!

It's really cool is that if you comment on the blog, you are entered in a drawing to win a free e-book copy of Red Book Reversed.

A dear friend of mine, NaNoWriMo's own LousyWriter13 (known to his family as Rob Diaz) is this week's featured author. You can check out the first installment of his story (an intriguing teaser, indeed) by moseying on over to the Chinese Whisperings blog. Rob's slaved hard over this tale, enduring last-minute rewrites, waiting on pins and needles for his turn! Check it out! (I'd appreciate it... and I promise, you won't be disappointed!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The gentle sound of smack talk and crying babies

I think one of the important tools a writer needs is a place to write. This is something I unfortunately lack, completely. I chill in the living room, surrounded by children's toys with my feet propped up , and usually with the television on (sometimes, I can turn it off and listen to some music, but once my husband gets home, back on it comes.) It's usually cartoons, too.

right now, I've managed to get the TV turned off, but it'll be just a matter of a few minutes before he wants to come in and break the silence.

What I'm listening to right this moment is the crying of my 1 1/2 year old who is not interested in taking a nap, the twinkling bells and tinkling voices of a Barbie fairy movie in the 3 year old's room, and the non-stop cursing, smack-talk and endless explosions of Warhammer Online as my husband takes on the minions of chaos. Or something.

The best I can get, usually, is through my blessed MP3 player. It's a coby, not your most popular brand, but oh, how I love it. Plug in the ear buds, turn up the volume, and the cacophany that is my home fades into the distance, and I am allowed to write.

One of the things I want to do is get my dining room clear,and turned into a writing nook, a place for me to get away from the family. It's an enormous mess, though, so hard to get through. But I need to. I need to get out of this living room. It's a terrible place to try and write. I can't even retreat to my bedroom, since it's just as cluttered, and the baby's crib is in there, so if she's trying to take a nap, I can't get in there. I ache for the write-ins of NaNo... even a crowded coffeehouse is a fabulous place to write when you're surrounded by fellow writers, friends and nanoers. It's inspiring.

So tell me, what sort of writing environments do you have? Surely you're all not as nook-starved as I am?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

So, social media websites

I'll admit it. I've started using them. Facebook, sure. Twitter... well, let's just say I've got a lot of tweets. I'm discovering the power of these tools, and can definitely see the potential. For example, someone on the nano forums posted about twibbon, a way to add a cause ribbon to your twitter avatar... and within a few minutes of me posting and tweeting about it, several people had re-tweeted it.

That's what I call viral.

And that's just small stuff, compared to those who have huge followings. I've got less than a hundred. (Wanna follow me? Come on, you know you wanna.)

I also see how dangerous they are. Post some small detail, and instantly you could find it sent around the world.

Facebook doubly so; I have some of my husband's inlaws on there, and frankly, that's a little scary.

I'm contemplating creating a more public Facebook persona for my writing-related stuff. I prefer to keep my facebook to real-life friends and family... not real keen on adding a bunch of random people I don't know. I keep it as private as possible.

So what does this have to do with writing? Well, one thing I've learned in the past couple of years is that the publishing industry is changing... rapidly. The dynamics are changing. Viral marketing using social media like twitter, Facebook, even blogs like this one, are absolutely essential to success. Published author J.A. Konrath writes his blog about this very thing, and is trying tons of experiments to see just what he can do. A lot of his success comes from his own blood, sweat, and tears (and gas miles.) It's up to us, as wannabes, to be aware of these things, and start laying the groundwork now. And by not sabotaging ourselves before we even behind. Remember that as ephemeral as the Web may seem, with it's 140-character rambling thoughts, those memes, and facebook apps that suck away our time (I can say with pride that I have never used a facebook app, and I've blocked every one anyone I know has sent me), these things are NOT ephemeral. With the power of google, something can stay cached long after you've tried to delete it.

And any writing you've posted? You lose control of it. I know, it's protected by copyright, but that doesn't mean everyone will to respect it. And there's some debate about whether or not posting your work counts as publication; You can be certain any potential publishers will google your work and see what comes up. That's why you'll never find any of the work I intend to publish online; I want complete control over it until it's published. If I post something here? It's likely because I don't ever intend to DO anything with it, or have offered it as "free" fiction for your pleasure. If I get rich and famous and they want to make a book out of my blog... well, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it. You know, sometime around the time pigs fly.

So the point is, be aware of what you do online, on social media websites,etc. You never know when it might bite you in the ass.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Reasons I love Firefox

I sat down and thought, "I wonder if there's an add-on that will let me open multiple links at once without having to hit the CTRL button each time."

So I looked. And lo and behold... there was. 20 seconds, and I'm drawing boxes around massive numbers of links in the nano forums and opening them in new tabs. WITHOUT having to click each individually.

That is awesome. you think it up...someone probably has, and made an add-on for it for Firefox. That's the power of open-source. Stable, powerful, and flexible. I refuse to use Microsoft products if I have any choice. Heck, if I didn't have the programs I do for Microsoft OSes only, I'd switch to Linux completely, too.

That's what I love about Firefox... it's SO much more than just a web browser. In fact... I'm posting this blog entry from within the browser itself, using ScribeFire.

100k or bust! (I promise. For REAL this time. Honest.)

I have been wanting to double my wordcount goal this year. I said I was going to last year, but ended up damn near failing for procrastinating to the last minute.

So I made myself a nice motivational calendar.

I used an image from Moodflow - this website also has some lovely mood/ethereal music, if you're looking.

I created the calendar itself from scratch in photoshop. Overall, I'm really pleased with the results.

I think I'm going to use some of his other images to do some more. I'll probably do 50k calendars as I have the time.

Low-rez thumbnail: (Click for 1280 x 1024, 265.43 KB high-res version)

1280 x 1024, 265.43 KB

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Oooh, a plot bunny - Want it?

I had this idea on the way to the grocery store a few minutes ago, and it would be so fun... but I just don't think I can do it justice.

Someone discovers they have the ability to see digital data... as in, if someone sends a text message, they can see the contents, and watch it as it fires off through the air towards the nearest cell phone tower. They can see the broadcasts as they pass a radio tower.

It shouldn't take you much effort to see the danger of something like this to someone in today's digital age. The character is effectively blind, or housebound, since digital everything is well... everywhere. They certainly can't drive, and might very well live out in the middle of no where in an old farmhouse with no electricity just to get relief.

But we know you can't have a protagonist without conflict. ;) The digital age comes to them. Or someone wants them - probably the government, for the powerful ability to see and interpret the data. Imagine a spy who can break codes without any equipment, or who can eavesdrop on an official's cell phone conversations just by standing nearby.

This character would find themselves in the middle of a lot of unwanted attention. Now, where you want to go from there is up to you. Maybe they're running, trying to find a place to hide. Maybe they're looking for the ihghest bidder. Maybe they're loyal to their country, and are willing to do anything to help. Maybe they're just trying to learn to control their ability, or develop technology that allows them to filter it.

Friday, October 09, 2009

So the sites are down...

I always feel a little bereft with that happens. Like I don't know what to do or something.

So I'll talk about this year's novel!

The title this year is Pride of the Hunt - It's the second novel of the series, possibly a trilogy. The first is Spirit of the Hunt, and follows the adventures of a shapeshifter nomad and a vampire. Don't worry, vampirism isn't a big deal, and dammit, I started this thing over a decade ago, so it wasn't cliche then. Anyway.

This story follows their children, twins Sara and Larath. Those of you who have roleplayed with me in Pern clubs may recognize his name. I borrowed it from this story. ;) Originally, they were albinos. In my old age, I am recognizing that this is ridiculously unoriginal, and the reason I did it in the firstplace was because it was cool... now there's no need for me to do stuff likethat because it's cool, since I'm so awesome as a writer. I'll probably cut that. I may have one of them albino, but if I do, it will come with all the attendant health issues. I'm leaning towards not, though.

Anyway, this follows them as they return to their mother's clan to learn more about their heritage. This will probably involve some kind of magical rite to give them access to the kind of powers she has or something along those lines.

On their way back, however, they encounter problems... one of their parents old enemies, bent on vengeance for the death of his son at their hands. Their father specializes in rogue vampires, you see... those who have started killing for pleasure, or who have otherwise violated the covenant the species has with humanity that allows for a peaceful coexistence.

Beyond that, I don't want to spoil you, but suffice it to say this will not be an easy struggle, and there will be Deaths.

Also appearing will be L'varen (you may recognize that name, too - same thing. he was my bronzerider at Azov, and transferred him to Cibryen for a time for a plot. Larath was the name of his dragon. Both names come from this story, originally) a shapeshifter of a different clan, whose magic is limited to only single animal forms, as opposed to their mother's clan, who have access to more. He'll be Sara's love interest, but I'm not focusing on their relationship as much as the familial relationships.

I'm actually looking forward to this. Now, I just need to push through and finish the FIRST book so I can work on this one. I do know how it ends, already, but I'd like to have it finished first before starting on the second.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

NaNo Question of the Day

Join me on Twitter ( to ask the NaNo Question of the Day... ask me a question about NaNoWriMo, and I'll answer it. Just add #NaNoQoTD to your tweet to help me find it!

Ask anything about NaNo... rules, history, popular topics... whatever you've always wanted to know! If I don't know the answer, I'll find one (or make it up!)

And the season begins!

Launch went off beautifully. Our new cloud-computing systems have really held up very well, and in fact have made for a smoother launch than ever! bugs have been around, but nothing that drastically affects anyone's ability to surf the site! I'm absolutely thrilled.

I still don't know what I'm going to write yet.

At the moment, i'm working on a point-and-click development of a Live CD SUSE linux CD - for NaNoWriMo! I think it would be fun to have my own NaNo OS, you know? If it turns out really well, I'll offer it on the forums, too (Man, I love Linux.)

I've got more site-related stuff to juggle, so I'd better get back to it, but I'll post a longer, more detailed blog later. Until then, I leave you with this: