Sunday, December 30, 2012

Ever have one of those days?  Or two of them maybe?

Yesterday, I completed the creative revisions on my upcoming novel, The Beat of a Different Drummer.  Now I'm ready to start formatting it for publication.

I do all my work directly on a flash drive, and make periodic copies to my hard drive as a backup.  I have been very busy with the final revision and realized it had been a while since my last backup, so I copied the book folder to the hard drive.  (Note: that wasn't a full backup of the flash drive.)

With that done, I took a break and decided to reprogram my fancy schmancy remote control to work with my new bluray player (thank you wife.)  I connected it to the USB port and the computer didn't recognize it, which is odd.  So, being safe, I ejected the flash drive the correct way, and waited for Windows to say it was safe to remove.

It turned out to be a bad USB cord, but when I was done with the remote and inserted the flash drive to work some more, Windows spent a LONG time checking the flash drive, and then reported that all 16gb were empty.


I checked my backups and found a full backup from 12/1, which along with my morning book backup, would be pretty up-to-date.  So I started a recovery by copying the saved contents back to the flash drive. It failed and told me the flash drive was disconnected.

More horror.

I rebooted the computer and was pleasantly relieved to see the flash drive was actually intact.

Full BACKUP followed immediately.

DAY 2.
I started formatting today.  Setting the fonts, the chapters, and most importantly the page headings with page numbers.

The fonts I used for the cover were not available to Word (I sometimes use MS publisher or Adobe Photoshop to provide cover fonts), so I chose to grab images from the cover and insert them in the front page.  So far so good, until Photoshop froze the whole computer.

I had to think back, did I save my work?  NO.

A hard reboot with crossed fingers.  May I now say THANK YOU BILL GATES AND COMPANY!

Word opened with the OLD version sans formatting, but after a few moments, it offered up some backups it had made which I could choose to recover.

I'm taking a break for a while.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


It's been almost two years since my last post.  I had given up on gaining any traction in the blogosphere at that time.  A lot of things have changed since then.  I have NOT returned to nanowrimo, and I do not support their efforts.  It was an experiment and I have concluded that we already have too many authors in the world, why dilute the pool any further?

I have collected many more rejections over the span of the last two years.  Most of them were mechanical automated responses which all insisted "please forgive the automated nature of this..."  Bull crap.  I have also received a few genuine rejections who offered their thoughts on this or that, but no thanks anyway.

My first novel was too long at 160,000 words.  Apparently, my second was also a bit long at 115,000 words.

My wife, tired of seeing me receive the rejections, talked me into self publishing.  It seemed a futile activity, and one that may spell the death of my hopes of ever picking up a sponsor, but I explored the option anyway and discovered three avenues of little financial risk: Kindle, Nook and CreateSpace.

I suppose I could just say ebook, for there are a great many more than just the two, but they are the major players, and I have concentrated on them.

First up was The Lost Art of Magic.  I formatted it for Kindle and found that I wasn't quite done, and went through several more revisions to refine my spelling and grammar.  I consider myself fortunate that all three formats allowed the author two choices: You can format it yourself using one of many formatting tools; You can format it in Word and submit a .doc file.

So I formatted in Word.  I actually was using Open Office, and immediately started finding spelling errors that I had missed before.  I also found that Open Office had some problems reading RTF files (produced by my primary writing tool) so I upgraded to Libre Office.  Since I planned to format a paperback as well, I added headings with the book title and page number.  Of course, the page number had to be on alternating left/right sides of the page.  I also wanted to suppress the heading on chapter headings.  Libre Office broke my document when I got too fancy with the headings.  It actually mangled my text by losing carriage returns which stuck paragraphs together.  I broke down and got the real Word which allowed me to have all the fancy headings I wanted.

So now I have a Kindle version on Amazon.  I since added The Mother of All Viruses and created Kindle, Nook and Paperback versions of both.

I am now represented on Amazon, and on Barnes and Noble and my facebook page has been gaining traction too.

The paperbacks of The Lost Art of Magic and The Mother of All Viruses each have their own websites.