Sunday, February 22, 2015

Goodreads author

They've approved me, and I'm now an official Goodreads author:

My author page

I'll have to read up on what that actually means at some point.  In the meantime, though, it's pretty cool.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Joined Goodreads

I know, I know... It's probably something I should have done a long time ago.  Better late than never, I suppose.

I also applied for the author account.  I'm supposed to receive confirmation within a few days.  Once that happens, we'll see what kinds of stuff the site offers.  I know I can do free giveaways, but that's the only thing I know of off the top of my head.  Anyway, I look forward to browsing the site.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Ice storm, power outage

It's back up now, fortunately.

When the power goes out for any length of time, all of the distractions of life grow silent.  Except, of course, things with power sources of their own, like cell phones.  But what if those things went out, too?  Many books have been written about EMP events that leave communities struggling to survive in 19th-century-style environments.  The main struggle in those stories is usually the day-to-day hardship coupled with some external threat.  For example, the townsfolk have to re-learn how to wash clothes in the creek while also protecting the town from the biker gang that wants to steal all their stuff.

But what if we strayed from the formula a little?  Let's suppose cell phone use is addictive.  I mean seriously addictive, as if our bodies have adapted to (and are now dependent on) some hitherto-unknown form of radiation emitted by the devices.  Or it could be a known form of radiation, but one with undocumented side effects.  Then, in the sudden absence of that radiation, we experience withdrawal in the form of some kind of toxic shock, and our immune systems react in a wildly unpredictable manner.  The end result is a mental transformation that makes us ultra-violent, provides us with super strength, and tosses things like conscience and remorse and doubt out the window. 

Basically, it's like the "bath salts" scare, but it doesn't just affect a small number of drug users.  It affects everyone who uses a cell phone on a regular basis.  Pretty scary, right?

Could that be the start of a cool story?  I don't know.

Anyway, it doesn't really matter anymore.  The power's back on.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Found the problem

I was correct to suspect a Windows update was the source of my font issues.  A little googling led me to this thread and helped me pinpoint the culprit:

I uninstalled "Security Update for Windows Vista (KB3013455)" which impacted TrueType fonts (MS15-010) and my issue is resolved.
Fonts are readable, once again.

I did as the folks in that thread did and uninstalled that particular security update.  My fonts are back to normal now.

Good thing, too.  It wasn't just Times New Roman in OpenOffice that was messed up.  Other fonts suffered, too, including the text in one of my computer games.  And that's just intolerable.  You can't mess with a man's games.

Anyway, all's well that ends status quo ante.  Back to writin'...

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

My TNR got screwed up

My computer downloaded some updates from Microsoft, including a service pack and a bunch of updates for Microsoft Office, and now my Times New Roman font in OpenOffice Writer is screwed up.  Coincidence?  Here's what a paragraph looks like in TNR (click the image to make it bigger):

Look at the lower-case "e."  It's straight-line part is gone, making it look like a "c."  The "s" is broken, too, along with other curves at the top or bottom of letters.

There's no reason this should have happened.  I don't use Microsoft Office except when necessary.  I downloaded the latest version of OpenOffice Writer, hoping that would fix the issue, but it didn't help.  TNR is still messed up.

So, for now, I'm going to use Cambria instead.  Here's a sample:

I have no idea what I'll publish in when the time comes. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Buddy 2

I'd been toying with the idea of a sequel for a while.  I started it tonight.  I've already outlined it and crunched out over 2000 words.

I don't know how long it'll be.  Probably between 10k and 20k, but I'm not limiting myself to any particular range.  The story will be as long as it needs to be, and no longer.

I'd previously been on the fence about doing this.  I didn't want to waste my time writing a sequel to a story that no one wanted to read more of, you know?  Since making Buddy perma-free, I've been getting a steady number of downloads, but no feedback.  No reviews.  No fan emails.  Nada.  I have no idea if those people liked the story or not.  I know this is typical--only two or three out of every hundred readers end up leaving reviews, on average--but it's still a little frustrating.  My goal is to give the readers what they want, but it's not easy to do that when they don't tell you anything.

Then, a couple of days ago, I noticed there was a new review.  The reviewer liked the story and wanted more.  So I'm giving him what he wants.

There will probably be at least a third part, too.  In for a penny, in for a pound, right?  Anyway, that's what I'm working on at the moment.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

How accessible is your work?

A post on Kboards included a link to this site.  Apparently, successful authors tend to write at a 4th-9th grade level. 

Want to know where your own work falls?  Here you go.  Just copy your text and paste it in the box.

I put in a selection from Buddy and scored at about a 7th grade level.  I input a different selection and scored at about a 4th grade level.  Obviously, my work varies a little from paragraph to paragraph.  So, to get the most accurate score, I figured I'd run the entire 10,000-word story.

Here's what I got:

I'm pretty satisfied with that.  And, believe it or not, I make a conscious effort to "streamline" my prose during revision.  My sentences tend to be shorter and simpler after editing.  It's nice to know that my efforts are paying off in the form of a high readability score.