Month: December 2013

A Christmas Thank You

Every year, writers write these things, like a bulk Christmas card, and fans go yeah, yeah, yeah. Get back to writing books already. And you’re right. The Thank You letters are overdone, but this one is different, I promise. Thanks to the fans: I do love you guys, and in those moments when I want to wipe the hard drive, go sell lattes at the local coffee shack, or sign up to greet shoppers at Walmart and attempt to ignore the fact I am a writer, you guys and your comments, letters, and reviews keep me from doing that. My wife, children, and the shoppers I would victimize at Walmart all send along their warmest wishes. Thanks to the critics: This post is mostly for you. Those who criticize my work, whether constructively or otherwise, and those who doubt my ability, and even those who fail to acknowledge that writing is a legitimate occupation, I want to say thanks. There is no such thing as negative feedback. Feedback is feedback, and usually I can tell if you just don’t like something I have written because of the subject or because some portion of it offends you. Maybe you don’t like my writing style. Maybe, though, you have a legitimate point. I received some negative feedback on Temptation, and the end of the year, after writing two more novels, saw me...

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The Write Software: Top Ten of 2013

Oh boy! Another top ten list! I know you are excited, but if you don’t have the gift yet for that writer friend of yours, here is a list of must have software you can buy them on line at the last minute. I promise they won’t be disappointed. 10. TextAloud. This is a text to speech software, invaluable in editing. Mistakes missed by conventional means can’t be mistaken when your computer reads your work aloud to you. The link takes you to the free trial version, but for this holiday, why not upgrade the writer in your life to Pro? For under $30 they get premium voices and other tools. 9. Natural Reader. This is another text to speech option. There is a free version, but the personal version includes two natural sounding voices and the ability to convert files to .mp3 for play on personal music devices, transfer to CD’s, etc. For under $70 this is a bargain, and something they will be sure to use. 8. Calibre eBook Management. Another useful tool, this allows the user to convert various file types to eBook formats, from .mobi to ePub to Amazon’s new format, AZW3. Your friend can transfer their manuscript from Word .doc format to any file needed to read on their tablet or e-reader. They can easily keep track of their entire library...

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The Flashback

Thirteen years ago. October 13, 2000. I rounded a corner. A Toyota pickup turned left in front of me, and I hit it at 45 mph. I ruined my bike, a CB750 I was lovingly restoring, and the freshly painted gas tank I’d just picked up and installed. Broke the front forks and the triple-trees. Bent the front rim. Shattered my right thumb, dislocated my shoulder, and got a nice piece of road rash on my right shin that would bother me for years. Still does from time to time. No one is sure why. I was asleep October...

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The Write Software: What can Scrivener Do for You?

Now that NaNo is over and you may be planning your path for the next year, which I hope involves massive word count goals and tons of writing, its time for the first step in talking about my favorite software in this series, Scrivener. The first step is determining what Scrivener is, and what it is not. Scrivener does not replace your word processing program. Like WriteWay and CharacterWriter discussed earlier in this series, Scrivener is not a replacement for your primary word processor, whether you have chosen Microsoft Word or the popular open source OpenOffice. (See the comparison here). Scrivener is a writing tool, but for advanced editing and document creation you will need one of these other programs. You can export great documents with Scrivener (see below), and with every update it improves, but it does not have the money backing and developers MS Office does. If you are not using advanced features in Word you will likely not even miss them, but if you use comments and track changes (see here) you will still need to hang on to Word a bit longer. Scrivener helps organize your writing and ideas. There are at least three ways to do this, and even more variations if you use your creativity. Whether you are an outliner, a corkboard user, or a punster who just writes scenes out of order...

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Writing to Music

Do you write to music? I do, often a variety depending on my mood. Today a few friends and I talked about it over on Red River Radio. You can stream the show here: Below are my answers, with appropriate video links. The links can all be found in my rather schizophrenic YouTube playlist here. Were any of your books inspired by a song? If so, which? Not specifically. A story in Broken Bones titled Amnesia was inspired (and includes lyrics from) the song Amnesia by Blue October. Wish I could wake up with amnesia Try to forget the things that I’ve done. I wish I knew how to keep the promises that I have made you. But life I guess it goes on. . .   Do you find yourself including music within your books? Yes. There are several scenes in Temptation with music where it is used for both hypnosis and celebration. One of the final scenes involves a Mustang, Credence, and a car crash. Do you use music for mood, pacing, etc in your novels? The music I listen to? Yes. I listen to quite a variety depending on what kind of scene I am writing. Have you taken a song title for a book title? Nope. Never will I want the reader to use their imagination. I might include part of the song, or...

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