Fiction Friday Short Short – Eraser

clip art of a pink eraserThe Department of Defense has perfected a new weapon, code named Eraser.

Much like Facbook’s Block Option, the US Government can find and make individual people disappear. Going beyond the limits of Facebook’s Block, this weapon makes the person vanish from everywhere. Poof. Without a trace. No records.

What are you writing about?

I’ll Do It, I’ll Do It

I have been so busy I’ve neglected my blog.

I inherited The Writer’s Chatroom.  When Audrey was at the end of her rope with work, family with health issues and life in general she mentioned closing the Chatroom Site.

Of course, as a true addict to the regular chats, my hand shot up, like Horshack on Welcome Back, Kotter.

I’ll Do It, I’ll Do It

clipart hands in the air

During the past, several weeks I built a new site and moved some information from the original site over.  I added a variety of bells and whistles.

Then a group of people suggested a Forum.  Now, I’ve had courses in CSS, HTML and JavaScript but a Forum runs on PHP.  A forum also requires commenters to have membership on the site.

man and his broken website

Two things came together on Thursday evening leading to the destruction of more than a month of work.  I could not build a Forum.  The Forum I was building had changed twice and both applications were owning my pale white butt.  Then I began to worry about all the people coming into the site and randomly registering and gaining privileges to make changes to my site.  I am very security conscious and this wasn’t sitting well with me.

I opened an offsite forum for people to use to solve my issues with registered users and potential site wide hacks.  After doing this I went to the user restriction area and made a change. During this change, I broke the site.

I tried to fix it for many hours of mind sweating drama.  What began as a 500 Error became a 404 Error on all pages.  I couldn’t even look at them.  Only the main page showed and I couldn’t post or make changes.  I couldn’t add pages.  I couldn’t do anything. Of course, by now it was TOO LATE to backup and start over with what caused the demise.

In the meantime, I had assigned the Forum work to one of our Moderators.  CB and her committee got the forum up and running while I spent Friday and Saturday rebuilding the website from memory.

Today, I am tending things I let slip away.

I need to write another article for the Cleveland Chronicles.  I need to get back to the novel I set on the back burner, again. I need to chill.

Thank you CB and company for the great work you have done on the Forum. I never could have regained my sanity without you.

As you go about your day, don’t touch anything sharp!

 

Welcome Back To Writerly Wednesday

Welcome to Writerly Wednesday

Cup of Pens ClipArtIt has been awhile since my last Writerly Wednesday post. Welcome back. If you haven’t been here before, I post Writerly things here. I sometimes spotlight people in the Writing Arena, Authors, Editors, Publishers, Agents and people with mad marketing skills. I have guest guidelines here on the site if you are interested.

What I really want to share is news about The Writer’s Chatroom.

The Writer’s Chatroom has been open to guests since the olden days of the internet and it has gone through at least two major incarnations. Now it is going through another change.

Our head moderator, Audrey Shaffer has been running the place for twelve years and felt it was time to close up shop or pass the torch.

I’ve been hanging out in the chatroom for about eight years and it has become a habit. We have a mix of visitors and regulars pulling up virtual chairs every Wednesday and Sunday evening. I couldn’t envision my weeks without this chatroom so I volunteered to take up the torch and run with it.

The Chatroom is moving to my subdomain. I am keeping much of the content from the main site but bringing the core of the chatroom up to modern standards and expectations. The look and feel will be different but I am one of the few people in the world who things change is good. Change is growth. Change is good for our minds.

I want to invite you over to the new digs.

The Wednesday and Sunday Chats still happen at the regular site. This will eventually resolve at the new site. Join us at http://writerschatroom.com/Enter on Wednesdays at 6PM MDT and Sundays at 5PM MDT.

Audrey Shaffer is not completely disappearing, she is still running a lot of the background magic. We are thankful for the things she used to do and the things she continues doing.

Introducing Cleveland II a Canine Companion for Independence

Image of Cleveland II

Monday marked the two year anniversary of Havan’s crossing.  It also marked the first Monday as Team Sally and Cleveland II.

On the 16th we landed in Santa Rosa.  We began Team Training the next day on the Canine Companions for Independence North West Training Center.  I was one of five awesome people chosen for what is referred to as a ‘side’ placement.  We were there for a Successor Service Dog.  Between us we had retired 11 companions.  For four of us, this was our third dog.

Graduating Class - April 2017
Graduating Class – April 2017 (Graduates, Dogs and Family Members)

April 21st  we Graduated as Teams and met our Puppy Raisers.

Cleveland, received most of his training in a Prison Program right here in Montana.  He spent three months before advanced training in California with The Bradshaw Family where he was further socialized before going into advanced training.

I will be forever grateful for the Prison Program and his second family.  There are breeders, caretakers, trainers, volunteers, veterinarians, office personnel and donors to be thankful to as well.

To everyone involved, you did one heck of a great job and we intend to honor you by working hard at independence. 

After a ridiculous flight home on Saturday we arrived in the graveyard hours of Sunday morning and began our lives together.

I’ve been posting photos for nearly two weeks on Facebook.  I’ll be blogging about our adventures.  I’ll keep posting even the most mundane things.  You’ll see.

On Monday, Cleveland II was a new breath of life beside me and I think Havan is very pleased.  I can almost hear her tail thumping.

Introducing Cleveland II a Canine Companion for Independence

Image of Cleveland II
Cleveland II

Cleveland II is a two year old yellow lab who weighs in at 78 pounds.

If you’d like more information about Service Dogs and the Canine Companions for Independence program visit http://cci.org

Sally & Cleveland II CCI NW ’17
Havan CCI NW ’07 – ’15
Lincoln III CCI NW ’98 – ’07

 

 

And the Survey Says – Part 1 of 3

clipart of the word surveyI’ve been moderating over at The Writer’s Chatroom for around seven years.  Wow, have I been there that long?  I recently composed a series of Surveys and posted the links to them on Facebook and Twitter.  And The Survey Says..

Thank you all for participating.  If you haven’t gone over to answer the questions, the surveys are still open.  I’ll add the links at the end of this post.

First Survey Observations.

The first survey was short. It was a general getting to know you type of thing. I will attempt to tell you the results without resorting to statistics whenever possible.

And the Survey Says – Part 1 of 3

Q1 What do you write?

The choices were Fiction, Non-fiction, Blogs and of course I do not Write.

About two thirds of people claimed to be fiction writers followed by non-fiction not even a close second. I was surprised to see that only one in four writers had a blog.

Q2 Have you Visited The Writer’s Chatroom?

An equal number of people indicated that they were regulars at the chatroom, they simply don’t do chats and they keep forgetting the time of our chats.

Just over a third of the writers indicated that they come to chat when they can but life gets in the way.

Q3 What is your gender?

Three quarters of the writers were female.

Q4 What is your age?

On this one I discovered very few writers aged 44 or below. It could be those writers don’t know they are writers, they might be raising the first wave of their family or heavily employed. They certainly don’t seem to participate in surveys if they are lurking out there.

The bulk of writers are between 45 and 65.

If we wanted to attract more young writers and more men we probably need to find out where they hang out online and get their attention there.

In a walnut shell —

The average respondent is a woman between 45 and 65 who writes fiction and non-fiction and either has a full plate on Sundays and Wednesdays or simply forgets we are here.

I want to thank everyone who participated in the survey. You all rock.

Survey 1

Survey 1

Survey 3

Legwarmer Weather in SouthWest Montana

Legwarmer Season
Legwarmer Season

 

It is Legwarmer Weather here in SouthWest Montana.  Nature has new artwork displayed between the panes of glass on my front window.  It is 5 degrees and the snow is tiny and drifting lazily down like dandelion seeds floating on the wind on a warm spring day.

I have been working on my tablecloth.  I spent last night weaving in tails.  91 of 660 motifs are done.

Yes, I have my WIP open and once in awhile  I click on the window and revise a few words.

Mostly, I am working on coding a page for this website from scratch.  I’m using micro-syntax to make my book page as SEO and text reader friendly as possible.  My only real worry is breaking the Internet.

I’ve brought Writerly Wednesday back but I don’t plan on making it a weekly feature this time out.  Submission Guidelines are available on this site.

It is Legwarmer Weather here in SouthWest Montana.

Until next time, don’t touch anything sharp!

Image of Crochet Project

God Laughs When I Make A Plan (2017)

Another year is ending.

Goodbye 2016 – Hello 2017

Remember when we were kids and it took four years for a new year to come around?  Remember when we couldn’t wait to get back to school so we could write the new year at the top of our papers?  Remember when our lives were nothing but untapped potential?

The second two of those are still true for me.  I like change and I like to write the new year on my various posts, cards and WIPs.  Each year is still full of potential.  However, the years now pass by at four times the speed of my youth.

I don’t make specific New Year’s resolutions.  I think they make God Laugh.  But I do hang on, cling, hold tight to the idea of meeting people and accepting them wherever they may be on their own path instead of expecting them to meet me on my turf.  It takes less work each year.

In 2017 I will continue to do the same things, remember, God Laughs when I make a plan.

 

Image of Crochet ProjectI will continue watercolor painting, landscape painting in acrylic, various crochet projects and I am determined to finish a long simmering WIP.  Wedged in between these projects I intend to get my SpoonRiver of Houses and Milk Carton People back up at Amazon.

During 2017, enjoy your time.  Savor it.  Let it wash over you and embrace change.  If things get to be too much for you, share your load with a friend.  We are always glad to be needed, validated and worthy of helping our fellow human.

Always remember, don’t touch anything sharp.

I Am Redecorating My Site

Image of Emma the Cat

Image of Emma the CatI am doing a bit of renovation.

I would say, “Forgive the clutter.”  Instead I’ll come right up front and say, “I hope I haven’t broken this site beyond fixing.”

The last time I attempted a major change I deleted months and months of blog posts.

While I work on the site I’m leaving Emma to entertain you.  Emma lives on forever in my novel, If I Should Die.

 

 

After NaNoWriMo

After NaNoWriMo

It’s Been a Long Time

NaNoWriMo Crest Image
NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo

I participated in NaNoWriMo again this year.

The first time I NaNo’d was in November 2007.  That project went through revisions and edits and came to life during NaNoWriMo 2010.

If I Should Die has gone through an Author’s Revised Edition and appears with a new cover and editor in Kindle format at Amazon.

This year’s NaNo Project will collect dust on my hard drive but I intend to keep my character files for potential casting in another, more viable, non-NaNo project. Not every project is meant to be seen by human eyes.

Keeping Busy

Around the middle of the month, to combat my worries about the outcome of the US Presidential Election, I began two more projects.

Crochet Tablecloth photo
Crochet Tablecloth

Crochet Project

This project will probably take me through the worries associated with the first year of the President Elect’s first term.

I have about 50 of the 660 motifs called for in the pattern.

 

Learning Code image of a laptop
Learning Code

HTML CSS & JavaScript

To keep myself further distracted I am trying to learn a marketable skill.  I am continuing coursework over at Lynda.com.

I have taken various CSS, HTML & JavaScript courses along with a Website Development course.

You can check out my Certificates on my LinkedIn site.

Thanks for visiting my site and Don’t Touch Anything Sharp!

Writerly Round-Up (26 May – 1 June)

Welcome back to another Writerly Round-Up.  Each week I gather interesting Writerly news, blog posts and other things.  Writerly Round-Up (26 May – 1 June) is bound to have something helpful or newsworthy for writers, publishers and editors.

Writerly Round-Up (26 May – 1 June)

 

Advance Review Copies: Why They’re Used and How to Create Them 

by Jane Friedman at IngramSpark

ARCs get used for many purposes, but mainly:

  • To gather professional, industry reviews, from sources such as Publishers Weekly
  • To solicit endorsements that will be printed in or on the book
  • To share with influencers who need to see the book before deciding on potential coverage
  • To send to important connections who might be in a position to write an influential, early review or offer some other form of help

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Cup of Pens ClipArtWhen Does Your Inner Critic Appear?  Three Scenarios of Self-Sabotage and How to Renegotiate Your Contract

 

Mary Carroll Moore

The inner critic is our internal gatekeeper.  Its job is to protect us.  It has a very loooong memory, way back to our first creative efforts in childhood.  Unless we had an exceptionally supportive environment for our creativity, both at home and at school, we probably logged some embarrassing moments about “showing off” or “being unoriginal” or “did you really make that or did you copy it” or any number of other creativity slams.  When we edge up to this again, as adults trying to write a book, the IC goes on amber alert.

Writerly Round-Up (26 May – 1 June)

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The Art of Distraction: Using Red Herrings

A Writer’s Digest Tutorial with Jane K. Cleland

Writers use red herrings the way magicians use sleight of hand—to distract their readers from seeing what’s really there. In this video tutorial, award-winning author Jane K. Cleland explains how to use red herrings to build page-turning suspense.In this 24-minute video tutorial, you’ll discover:

  • How to use red herrings to control reader perception
  • The difference between structural and visual red herrings
  • Three tried-and-true techniques to add red herrings to your writing

No matter the genre, red herrings add engaging complexity to plots and characterization.

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Author uses novel tactic to promote book

Build Book Buzz

I did a double take when I got out of my car in the parking lot of the Penfield, N.Y. Wegmans supermarket.

A car two spots from mine had a magnetic sign on the driver’s door that said, “AUTHOR ON BOARD.”

What a clever idea!” I thought. It’s such a novel tactic. (Pun intended.)

The author wasn’t literally on board at that moment, so I took a couple of pictures and decided I’d contact her later  to see if she’d answer a few questions for a blog post.

I did, and she did.

(I did this myself in my Tarot Reading days.  My car wore the sign throughout a trip through Yellowstone National Park.  Several people inquired about how to get a tarot reading.)

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Well, this wraps up another week of Writerly News.  If you have a post or a suggestion to include in Writerly Round-Up shoot me an email.

Don’t touch anything sharp!