Tag Archives: blogging

New project

While trudging away on the ‘A Falling of Angels’ manuscript, Angie and I took a little time out. We’ve been working every day of the week solidly for the last two years and are trying to reclaim our weekends. As part of this process we were out discovering some of the more interesting places in Victoria on foot and I had a little flash of inspiration which has turned into a minor project overnight.

With the working title ‘The Great Book of Everything’, I came up with the framework for a comic novel about a boy, his sarcastic pet Hamster and the Quantum nature of everything. And Squirrels. As soon as I get the web pages organised, I’ll post what I write online. This site needs reorganisation.

New profile picture

Martyn K Jones new profile After so long hiding behind work cap and shades on my profile picture, I’ve elected to change my profile avatar for something more realistic.

This picture was taken with Angies new iPad while she was getting fixed up with new contact lenses this afternoon. Cameras and sound on those things are surprisingly good. If I didn’t have other pressures on my finances, I’d buy one like a shot. With a wireless keyboard of course, but the screens are that good there’s little of the eyestrain associated with less advanced kinds of LCD monitors. Don’t even get me started on the various ‘aps’. Saw one yesterday which gave live weather data and sea states. Stunning quality. Awesome. And I don’t use that term lightly.

Now Angie’s told me to step away from the keyboard and take some time out. Our subscription issue of Psychology Today just arrived and I need to do a little reading up on addictive personality types for ‘A falling of Angels’.

So many profiles, so little time

Being a one man band has its downside. In short, self promotion. In between day job, looking for better job, writing, looking for new places to live, navigation and R/T courses, cooking and trying to do some research, I have to fit in updating all the profiles I’ve begun. There’s Authors Den (Hi guys), Goodreads (Profile needs completing) to mention but two of my multiple memberships. Never mind LinkedIn, and I can’t remember the last time I logged on to FaceBook properly.

Yesterday I spent three and a half working hours alone on my Authors Den profile (Including blog post) before four hours travelling to and talking to boat brokers and walking around various marinas looking at everything from an oversized dinghy to a minor gin palace as a live aboard, although the cost of satellite Internet is rather off-putting. Putting in over two hours editing the rough draft of ‘A Falling of Angels’ while cooking ribs to have cold for supper at work then working the graveyard shift at day job. Today I hope to get a few more hours at the keyboard before disappearing from just after four until after midnight.

That makes yesterdays total; five hours sleep; three and a half hours on Authors Den; just under nine hours including commute to and from day (more like night) job for paid work; an hour and three quarters in the kitchen; two hours writing; three and a half hours looking at boats; about an hour talking about boats and travel with Angie; half an hour reading one of my favourite books; an hour answering email, and I think I actually managed what our cousins down south call a couple of ‘comfort breaks’ during the day. I also managed a few minutes studying for an exam, but I’m not sure where I managed to fit that in. The bookmark has moved forward a chapter, so I must have done. What is that big expensive screen thing in the living room we never switch on?

Angie has noticed how tired I look, so I’m driving her down to Sidney and Victoria on Friday to visit yet another bunch of Marinas. More boats. More houses. More research. More job hunting.

I’d really like to be more active on these profiles, upping my visibility as an Independent; but then there wouldn’t be time for day job, looking for better job, writing, looking for new places to live, navigation and R/T courses, cooking, making time for my wife and trying to do some research.

Update: I forgot my dog. He needs me too. Walkies, food, time to sit at his master’s feet. There’s another hour a day.

Whoops! Facebook strikes again

Still jetlagged, but now in my home town (ish) of Stratford upon Avon, UK.  Have not been logging on to my Facebook account for the simple reason that I’ve had no secure connection.  Now I’m locked out of my ‘professional’ and public Facebook because it ‘doesn’t recognise’ my laptop.  I’m on the move for the next eighteen days, and silly me, forgotten the answer to my security question, which is currently on a piece of paper at home, in a locked file several thousands of miles away in Nanaimo BC.  Still, there’s always my personal Facebook, which I’ve managed to keep up and running.  Although I won’t be making that ‘public’.  Too much family and personal stuff.  Ergo it will have to wait until I get home.

This raises two problems; firstly I was going to let a couple of old mates know that I’m in Stratford this weekend because there’s a beer festival going on.  I was rather looking forward to catching up and either hiding from the rain under canvas, or enjoying the sunshine with a good English pint in hand, having a damn good chew over old and new times.  Still, I’m not beaten yet, and ways and means will be found to make contact.

Blog customisation

While editing and proofing the last few days output, I took a break to clear out the blogs Askimet comments spam box, and in among the attempted SEO spamming, Ads for Chinese prostitutes (Go figure), incomprehensible malware links, and one string of obscenities (Why? What was the point of that? Apart from a classic demonstration of the posters sub literacy.) I found one sensible comment about the look of the blog so I approved it. ‘Space it out better’ I think was the request. It’s here, go look for yourself.

Now I’ve looked at changing the blogs appearance before, and quite frankly this is one of those “Could you be a bit more specific” moments. This blog isn’t perfect, because when all’s said and done it is what it is. I could spend thousands of dollars and it would still be imperfect in the eyes of any given beholder. Why? Because we’re all different and hear what we want to hear and see what we want to see.

It’s all part of the human experience. Still wouldn’t get me any more traffic, because while the end result of any given story may well be dramatic, sexy, violent and all that jazz, the process of writing is only exciting to the actual writer. A person with their head down, emptying the contents of their head into a word processor isn’t dramatic to watch, is very unsexy, and about as non-violent a pursuit as it comes. Dull, dullness without anything to relieve the watchers’ tedium. Short of giving away every story development, quirk of character or plot twist. Just dust the cobwebs off me as you pass. The lights are palpably on, someone’s definitely home, but you can bang as hard as you like on the door because we’re not taking visitors today. Ignore the dog barking. Just make an appointment for next week please. I’m having far too much fun writing about refugee camp cannibal gangs, blackmailers and genetic manipulation. Not forgetting the DarkNet (The Internet’s ‘evil’ twin) and similarly linked themes.

Anyway, the blog isn’t a priority. What with various narratives and shift work, it tends to take a back seat. I just don’t have time (or the graphic talent) to fuss with it. For the moment I’m going with the cheap ‘n cheerful free WordPress template I’ve selected. Unless anyone else has a sensible suggestion. Otherwise I’ll be back here on Wednesday evening, maybe even Friday. TTFN.

Publishing, formatting and metadata headaches

Head of the Beast, the Manuscript of the first of the Paul Calvin novels, is almost about as ready as I can make it. Nothing from Harper Vector since acknowledgement of receipt 2nd October 2012, so I’m assuming they don’t want to know. Had they been interested I’d have expected them to be in touch long before now. Quite frankly that nails the lid on mainstream publishers as far as I’m concerned. They’re too rude or ignorant to send out a polite or timely emailed notice of (dis)interest, so I’m no longer interested in them. I will submit no more work to mainstream publishers and agents. Three months per submission? I don’t think so. Are they expecting prospective authors to die of old age before they even look at their work? Not playing that game. I’ve played it for too long with very little to show. No more slush pile. No more hanging around, wasting my hope and effort. Back to the self publishing grindstone. At least I only have myself to blame if my business model falls flat or royalties don’t arrive on time.

There are two remaining major manuscript headaches, formatting and metadata. The formatting, because when an error occurs, I can’t strip out all the unwanted codes, which in turn screw up the formatting; I can’t seem to reformat the page to the correct paper size for publishing, and I’ve read the goddamned Openoffice help file and manual back to front, searching for an answer. Chapter headings won’t stay put. OpenOffice 3.3 is just as bad as Microsoft Word in all its appalling iterations. I may have to cut and paste the raw text into a fresh template and go through the tedious business of inserting new headings, italics, paragraph formats. It’s all so Byzantine and unnecessary. A 70,500 word document is a lot of work to reformat. All over one unassailable code error.

I used to be a confirmed WordPerfect fan for one reason; Reveal Codes. That Alt-F3 hotkey was an absolute lifesaver on long, complicated technical documents when one specific piece of code buried in the text was mucking up the format of a manual or report. Especially when other people had been making their own untracked revisions. These untouchable codes can completely screw up your day and important, time sensitive documentation. Specifically when you’re racing deadlines and need stuff ready for meetings. WordPerfect used to make my working life so simple. Search and replace used to be so easy. When formatting is critical, particularly in OpenOffice 3.3 and Microsoft Word (All versions) one hidden code can ruin a weeks work of crucical revisions. As for Macs, I’ve heard the same things about them, too. That and I’m like most relatively unknown writers – broke. So no money for new software. I’d love a copy, but I don’t have the three hundred dollars after my day job pays the bills.

Have finally cracked the metadata issue, so there is going to be a proper eBook release via Barnes and Noble, iTunes etc. with decent heading and document structure to make navigation an absolute snip for the reader. Also I won’t end up tearing my remaining hair out over multiple distribution rejections. So long as I follow the instructions properly. There’s even a handy dandy little video explaining Metadata.

Update: Have had to reformat a whole new document. All twenty five chapter headings are now firmly ensconced in the headers and footers. Just the italicisation to do tomorrow. Late shift on day job tonight, so I’m going to pack in now, grab a snack and see what tomorrow brings.