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Wednesday, 1 February 2017

THE ADVENTURE OF THE SEVENTH BOOKCASE: A REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE.


Six bookcases danced to my tune. The seventh pretended to caper, and stabbed me in the back. I booked myself into a corner. No paint required.
   In a futile attempt to gain more space, I decided that moving seven bookcases in a long slow swirl down the drain was just the thing. And so it proved. The thing. Often, I return to the thorny problem of space. And just as often, I tell myself…
   Well, this is it. I’ve reached saturation. When there’s no more room in halls, the books will walk the Earth. (Thank you, G. Romero.)
   This time, it all felt different. I wasn’t making space for more bookcases. No. I was simply making more space. Storage units ebbed and flowed. I’d removed the maze of (budget) metal frames long back, and placed larger, sturdier, more expensive monoliths in their stead.
   Quite right, too.
   Now I KNOW I’ve reached saturation, and there really isn’t room for more bookcases unless I do something INSANE. That way, madness lies. Obviously.


What could I do?
   If I moved this bookcase out, I could move an identical-sized bookcase in. Wait. What?
   I’d gained a bookcase that was almost the same size as another two monoliths. Bookhenge grew around me. The only problem with this late addition was a loose top shelf. And that lone problem was a major one.
   Solution. Replace it with an identically-sized bookcase that definitely fits in the vacated space.
   Bookcase one and case two went with little difficulty. In the case of a borderline case, always employ the scholarly approach: wing it. That case is too large to move, fully-laden. Okay. Lift a few books off, and stack them somewhere. Anywhere.
   Move nowhere near the place you are about to move the bookcase to. That way, lies congestion.
   You’ve moved a few books off shelves. Try swinging the bookcase about its own handy pivot – the bottom left or right corner. No joy? Sensing the boards warping, on the verge of a churning snap or three? Lift more books away.
   Yes, it is easiest of all to empty the bookcase entirely. But then you have no room. ANYWHERE. As a weapon of last resort, shift the offloaded books to another floor. This level of foolishness is known. Well-recorded. It’s not for you, so consider it merely as a non-option of an option. A noption. If you insist on being American, a nope-tion.

*

Of the first six bookshelves, I moved three fully-loaded and three partially-empty. I left the worst until last. This bookshelf was the largest. I had to empty it. Not a tome left. After I scoured the bookcase, I considered removing the adjustable shelves as well.
   No. I thought I’d just barely get away with moving this case intact.
   If you know anything about books and moving bookcases, you’ll know that you don’t even glance at the spine of a book unless you have a tape to hand. I measured everything. Everything. Yes, I’d relocate two framed pictures to accommodate the largest bookshelf. No other way.


Measure, measure, measure.
   And the corner of the bed? Well. I’d be forced to slide the bookcase up over the corner of that bed and…
   That’s where the faint-of-heart cease and desist. Yes, it’s HARDER to move the bed. EASIER to lift the bookcase up and slide it over, pivoting that last case in the process.
   The tape told me the bookcase would definitely slide in there with enough room to spare. Up over the corner of the bed. Around to the left. Forward into its last resting-place. That narrow avenue. We’d park on the left, away at the back. And the bed’s height wouldn’t be a problem. What? Remove the mattress first?
   No. I needed the softness of the mattress to see the deal through.
   Part one. I stood on the bed, and manoeuvred the book-free monolith into position. Sequel. Cautiously, I hefted the bookcase up onto the bed. No difficulty there. Part three. I slid myself around to the left and prepared to draw the shelf alongside me.
   This task belongs to me, and goes by with surprising ease.

*

The whole while, I’m thinking about the last time I bought a bookcase. The last bookcase. Yes, I’d really hit saturation.
   Now I had a problem. The bookcase swivelled around, and I stood ready to drive it home. But I couldn’t do that from the side or the rear. I could only tackle the job from the narrow alley I aimed for. Yes, I had to go ahead of the bookcase.
   Or watch the whole case tip over and head too far down to the ground to land safely.
   I rehearsed that, and struggled to save the case. Save it I did. Close. Then I went in advance of the monolith, and dropped myself into the narrow alley.
   Still not a problem. Two vast cases stacked up against me, held there by a wall. I dragged the third case further and further into the mire. The moment of truth proved to be a lie.


Everything hinged, or rolled, on a curious roller-top bookcase. I had to slide my hefty bookcase right next to it. No go. Wouldn’t budge. The roller-top article didn’t quite stand true. And that mild deviation from right turned the whole scheme wrong. I couldn’t escape the alley, to make the modest correction.
   Damn. I’d bookcased myself into a corner. This was the end. They’d be lucky to find a skeletal hand there, at the dark alley’s edge.
   Surely I hadn’t trapped myself.
   Oh.
   Wiggle room?
   For a worm, yes. Not for a human.

*

Shift the bookcase to the rear of the room. Bring it back a smidgeon. Squeeze. Turn. Squirm. Slump. The bookcase is a ladder leading out of my predicament, but only if I don’t put my weight on it.
   Now I’m in here, it’s impossible to tilt the bookcase so that it mounts the corner of the bed on a return to wide open spaces.
   Can I nudge the roller-top obstacle just long enough to drop this massive jigsaw piece in place?
   No.
   Then can I move the roller-top the other way, forcing it out altogether? Absolutely not.
   Now I juggled, slowly, with the various pieces.
   I felt the heat. There was no heat. I’d turned the heating off, knowing this would be hot work. But I felt the heat. There wasn’t room to remove a jumper.
   Dehydration takes me before hunger, right? Or madness, perhaps. An ill-advised attempt to move the bookcase jumped to the top of that list. DON’T PUNCH ME, bookcase! 



What of the plastic drawers beyond the roller-top? A fingertip struggle ensued. It was barely possible to shift the plastic drawers, in fits, in starts. Yes, I closed off my one avenue of escape by drawing the drawers further out into the alley. Best possible bad move.
   No matter. I was committed, by that stage.
   The plastic drawers slid free. Wiggle room. I pushed the roller-top into the space vacated by the plastic. And then I returned to shunting the bookshelf into its intended spot. Finally, I had space. I staggered from the narrow alley and put everything back.
   That plastic set of drawers went away without a murmur. And the roller-top bumped in, nestling against the seventh bookcase, with ease. What was so hard from one side was a flimsy nothing task from the other side. I survived the adventure of the seventh bookcase.
   What did I learn? In all that time of hefting bookcases, I’ve had narrow squeaks down the years. But this was the narrowest. A shade too slim for my svelte frame to negotiate, the squeak proved squeaky as squeaky could legally be.
   The bookcase went to its doom with a cosmic sense of finality.
   Truly, I have no more room for bookcases. And this means no more books. The old lie, trotted out one last time.
   With bookcases rearranged, I contemplated the ancient sport: clearing a shelf of books. And by that, I mean reading those two books on that shelf. Then that shelf is classed as done. Cleared.
   I gaze at the shelves to my left. On the nearest shelf, two books go unread. Ahead of me, three books, part of a set, sit lost and unloved. And so it goes. If I manage to read a book a week, I’ll be happy.

*

As this blog goes out, one month down, I’ve read two books a week.
   Inevitably, after writing this blog, before posting this blog, I bought one last last last last last LAST lastest of the last bookcase. A small one, that fits just in there. I measured, in advance.
   No more bookcases.


Sunday, 1 January 2017

THE OLD ARCHIVE GAME :A REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE.

It's the first day of a new year, and the archive is four hours from being updated on the cloud.
   That archive is already here on this computer. It's on that external hard drive. I may copy the archive over to yonder dusty laptop lurking behind the main computer.
   Earlier, smaller, archived years sit safe in a fire-resistant safe.
   My published works are all archived on Amazon, where they are for sale.

*

Yes, the best form of archiving for an author is still PUBLICATION.

*

Lessons learned in previous years allowed me to archive with ease this year. No mess, very little fuss, and hardly any blood on the carpet.
   The only problem is...the next archive. Starting afresh, and dropping all the new folders into another new folder. I prepared for that task long ago...
   It's a paste job.
   And yet...each year brings change. Old familiar folders for regular contacts just curl up and flake away in the wind when companies go out of business, say.
   Contacts ebb and flow. A few folders go up automatically. Those people will get to me sooner or later. Some contacts fall into the sketchier category, though.
   May turn up.
   No need to create a folder until that happens. Mentally, you replay a scene from Amélie. This is right at the start of the movie...
   There, in an apartment on the Avenue Trudaine, we see a sad man erase an address from his book of friends. Death creates gaps, of course. But other events take people out of the archives.

*

In ancient times, I'd spend the first day of the year archiving.
   Then things grew more complicated, and I'd check more thoroughly. Days passed. A week went by. I wondered if I'd have the previous year's archive in a fit state come the end of January.
   It isn't about losing data. No. The problem is accidental duplication of data. With slight variation following, to add to the fun. Luckily, I keep that to a minimum now.
   As far as I know.

*

Another year, and another archive put to bed. With large chunks of the archive transferred to the new year's fresh folder, the job is marked off.
   Save your files. And try to avoid mismanagement of those saved files. Write stories. Publish them. Data is robust. And data is fragile. Discuss all you like. But save the discussion in several different places.


Friday, 30 December 2016

TOXIC TEARS AND A VAMPIRE'S HALLOWE'EN: A REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE.

Amazon is always changing, and backstage that publishing bookshelf had a makeover or three. Some of the alterations look like change for the sake of change, and I'll leave my acidic commentary at that.
   On a related note, the Amazon widgets ceased being widgety and I'll have to work out an alternative plan involving string, glue, and wishful fucking thinking to tidy the blog.

*

This year kept me busy in all the wrong sorts of ways. I had a complex writing project on the go, until it fell at the last hurdle.
   By that, I mean the book vaulted that last hurdle, chinned itself on a passing bluebottle, and keeled over.
   I left entrails in the trails.
   Dust was bitten. Mightily.
   Then I had a new task. Reviving the lost project, and sewing the bits and missing pieces together. I'll get there.
   In the meantime...

As the model on this cover for A VAMPIRE'S HALLOWE'EN would say, every day is Hallowe'en.






I managed to scribble a quick vampire story, featuring TOXIC TEARS as the cover model yet again. If she's not careful, she'll start to build a reputation as a vampire, or Goth, or who knows what.
   Frankly, I'm as surprised as you are. It'll be The Sisters of Mercy at dawn, next. If there is a dawn.
   As I type this, dawn was well-delayed by the thickest cloud-cover I've seen in many a canty day. The day is far from canty now.
   It's sobering to see security lights guiding me down the path on my dusk-like trek to the bin.
   I expect sunset within the hour, with noon to follow not long after.

*

And so, I end the year on a rapid publishing stint. It wasn't my intention to publish this vampire story at Hallowe'en. Rather, I wanted to write it then, for atmosphere, and publish when I could.
   For reasons of the plot, it was important to note sunrise and sunset as Hallowe'en loomed. These events are vital to vampires, and their chroniclers.
   Things stand in your way, and it takes an age to scramble around them. But the effort is always worth it. I have to say that. No one else will.
   And that's the point of self-publishing. You clean the pots and pans and make the plots and plans all by yourself.
   My first plan was to write a vampire story at Hallowe'en, and my second plan was to publish by year's end. Job done.


Now, back to the matter of reviving and completing the book that fell apart through no fault of my own. Every year is busy. I see 2017 being that bit busier.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

NANOWRIMO: A REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE.

I see the internet awash with articles on how to handle the dreaded NaNoWriMo. One more piece can't hurt. Add this one to the pile.
   (World spins off axis.)


*

National Novel Writing Month.
   Once that spread to the internet, it became more of an awkward intergalactic affair.
   Argue over the length of a novel as much as you like. The event's official word-count is 50,000. We'll label a narrative of that size as a very long short story.
   Month? As months go, November is in a leaner calendar bracket.
   That leaves writing.
   So. You want to participate in International Very Long Short Story Writing Thirty-Day-Stint.
   InVeLoShStWrThDaSt.
   It's in the Highlands.


*

How should you prepare for the terror of writing 50,000 words in a month?
   Plot? Characterisation? Setting? Drama? Conflict? Genre? Perspective? And so on.
   I can't help you with those things. You write your story. Those plot choices are yours to make. That's a technical thing.
   But I can scribble about writing a set amount of words inside a time-limit with a starting-date and a finishing-date. So I will.


*

I cleared a few hurdles, and gave myself the task of writing a vampire story by Hallowe'en. The earliest date I could manage this was on the 26th of October.
   Six days and nights.
   The story was in my FICTION FACTORY lineup. When I write one of those tales, I stick to a formula.
   There's a teaser of around 1,000 words. Then I write three chapters of 10,000 words apiece. (I'll follow up later with 1,000 words or so, in a section of notes on creating the tale.)
   The bare minimum for the story side of things is 30,000 words. And I had six days to write this vampire tale. I wanted to stay true to the timing of the piece...
   So I paid attention to sunrise and sunset at this time of year. This is important to the vampires, after all.
   That's the background to the creation of the tale. How did I do?


*

With an eye on giving NaNoWriMo advice, I kept notes on the daily word-count.

October the 26th.

I began abysmally.
   Much of it stayed in my head on that first day. I worked out who the main characters were, how the setting played into the tale, and a few twists and turns I had in mind. The story existed. But the typing of it remained slow.
   I opened with the idea of a vampire having an adventure leading up to Hallowe'en.
   The story started with the vampire angry at her assistant for arranging a meeting to join a team of vampire hunters. Straight away, I had a character in trouble. She was forced to deal with this calamity.
   That first day, the goal was to write the teaser: at least 1,000 words. With that done, I'd start work on chapter one. I felt I'd barely made it, by day's end. But I exceeded the goal.
   Word-count: 1,877.

That felt grim. So slow. But I created a solid foundation for the rest of the story to stand on. There were six bullets in my revolver. I'd fired off day one, and hit the target.

October the 27th.

With the start set down, I moved into the minefield of the first chapter. This felt like another slow day, and I feared I'd not type enough each day to finish the story on Hallowe'en.
   I managed a bit of major scene-shifting, and kicked the story off the ground. The goal was to do a chapter in 10,000 words. Firing on all cylinders, I could do that in a day.
   The cylinders didn't fire. Anything under 5,000 words = a slow day. This was a slow day. I wrote a third of a chapter, and the story made its own supernatural kind of sense at the end of the session. At least I had that to go on.
   Word-count: 3,570.

October the 28th.

Crunch-time. I had to demolish chapter one, or I'd lose a lot of sleep extending my nights, burning the writing candle at three ends, living off coffee.
   Luckily, I demolished chapter one and carried a little bit of writing over into chapter two before I felt wrecked that day.
   Word-count: 8,011.

October the 29th.

With around 1,000 words of chapter two under my belt, I'd taken the sting off the challenge for this day. I wanted to write 10,000 words in a day, and kill off chapter two.
   The story still made its own crazy level of supernatural sense. I keeled over at the end of this day, finishing the chapter.
   Job done. I'd written just shy of 10,000 words. But, adding the 1,000 from the day before, I'd finished the chapter at the right length. Couldn't go any further.
   Word-count: 9,843.

October the 30th.

Just missing 10,000 the day before, bringing the writing to a definite conclusion with the last of chapter two, I was determined to write 10,000 words on this day.
   It was Sunday. Last Sunday in the month of October. According to the formula, the clocks went back an hour. Magically, I had an extra hour.
   Also, I woke far earlier than usual on a Sunday and just started writing away...
   The goal was to write 10,000 words and finish chapter three. End the story there. That night, I stopped writing just shy of the end. With one more scene to go, I was too tired to write it, and knew when to call a halt.
   Word-count: 10,656.

October the 31st.

I planned to write 1,000 words to lead through the finish. Maybe 2,000 words, at most. This felt like a slow day, as I just couldn't close in on the end of the story.
   It's not a jigsaw puzzle, at the very end, when you are close to the planned word-limit, with time against you. Puzzle pieces fall into place easily, when completing a jigsaw.
   This was surgery. Procedure after procedure, to get the job done AND keep the patient alive while doing all those final vital stitches.
   Word-count: 5,361.


*

Observations.
   Drawn as a daily graph, my word-count starts small, shoots up like a rocket, then tails off as I reach the final goal. The story was written by Hallowe'en, with a guaranteed minimum of 30,000 words. Success.
   If you add those numbers, you tally to 37,441. But the final story was 40,000 long. After I recorded the daily figures at night, I'd start each day with a refresher - going over the last thing I'd written.
   And, from notes, I'd remember a thing I had to throw in. So I'd bolt a paragraph or two on, in a scene. (Hence the discrepancy.)
   What's important here?
   That you write. Doesn't matter if the day felt slow and you didn't get much done. That small piece of writing could be the vital part that allows you to rattle ahead next day.
   Aside from a refresher next morning, I didn't look back in any great way. Word-count meets deadline. You'll have time to read it later LATER.
   Don't tangle yourself in story problems. Get typing. With the story fresh in my head each day, I remembered the big picture and plenty of minor details to see me through the new chapters.
   If I genuinely had to trudge back to a scene, really had no other choice, I recalled a word I'd used there. Then I searched the document for that word. Zap. There I was, taken back by the technology. A glance at the text, ideas bubbling, and I was instantly back at the blank page typing away again.
   Don't stop to read the whole thing.
   But do stop for coffee.


*

Prepare. You are at a cabin in the woods, and supplies are sitting handy. Household duties are clustered together for convenience. Avoid exhausting yourself at the typeface - take breaks.
   Make coffee and put the bins out in the street. Come indoors and drink the coffee. Never leave the computer without saving the file. But do leave the computer.
   For those of you faced with interruptions, interrupt the interruptions and tell the frivolous, the inconvenient, the distracting, well in advance, to fuck the fuck off and leave you to your writing.
   Deal with essential e-mails only. Do that by banning the concept of e-mails.
   When I returned to Twitter and answered ancient Tweets, one Tweep deduced that I'd either finished a writing project or gulped too much coffee.
   You can't drink too much coffee. Ancient Tweets are Tweets from more than three days ago.
   Yes. Prepare. I don't mean in a writerly way. Domestically. There are no other projects to deal with. If a shelf needs putting up, it can wait. There's space on the floor for the things on that shelf.


*

Don't obsess over the word-count. As long as I averaged 5,000 words a day, I'd make the deadline. I didn't fuss about that average, though. After two slow days, the pace picked up.
   I thought about chapter one making sense. It did make vampiric sense. And I thought the same about chapter two. With those two milestones doing okay, it was difficult to mess up chapter three.
   Yes, thinking about the word-count is part of the deal. Thinking about how the plot is going - that's important, too. But don't stop typing. Keep typing.
   You can stop for research. But not for long. I couldn't remember the name of a chemical. It had a specific purpose, and a very precise role in the story.
   I stopped to search the internet for a few terms, and looked for a video on the main subject. Within minutes, I'd found a video that named the chemical.
   The video showed the process. I sped through the video, found it informative, took what I needed from that, and moved the fuck on. Back to it.
   Always back to it. I left Twitter dangling over a cliff, cancelled meetings with people, earmarked documentaries for later viewing, rose earlier, stayed up later, and arranged meals in the least time possible.
   Ow. I ached from typing. That was with frequent mini-breaks. I'd rest, walk away, get back to it, stop for food, type some more, remember to leave the room to empty my bladder...
   At day's end, I'd decide when the day ended. Could I go on, and push a bit more? Yes. Or no. Know when to quit in the short-term. Sleep is important, so I hear.
   But in the long-term, no, don't quit. If you are watching your words, you must write 1,666 a day, every day, for the whole of November.
   Save yourself some grief. Write 2,000 a day. Allow yourself a sedate typing-speed of 30 words per minute, giving you time to think over what you are writing, and write for half an hour. Now you've done 900 words.
   Grab a coffee and write for another half an hour. You are up to 1,800 words. Go for another ten minutes and knock out 300 more. You've done your 2,000 that day, and you are a little bit over.
   What did you spend? You toiled for 90 minutes - including computer set-up time, coffee, a toilet-break, setting up the next meal, and putting the bins out in the street.
   Can't devote that amount of time each day? Wake earlier. Catch up on your TV shows another time.


*

Life gets in the way.
   Deal with emergencies first. I had a quiet old time of it when I wrote for six days. You might not be so lucky.
   If you don't make your 50,000 in November, finish what you started by scribbling more in December. I wrote 40,000 in six days. You can manage 50,000 in a month. And if you can't, you can manage 50,000 in a month and a little bit over.
   My FICTION FACTORY stories have a lower threshold of 30,000 and an upper barrier of 50,000. If I'd wanted to take that story from 40,000 to 50,000, I could have written like a maniac for another day and done the whole 50,000 in a week...
   That's encouragement, not discouragement.


*

Have I rambled? Yes. I had a deadline. Write at least 1,500 words for this blog, on the 1st of November. Job done. Editing is an entirely different job. It's not your job to do that entirely different job while you're writing like a maniac.
   If you found the time to read this in November, any November, you can make the time to type. Stop reading. Start typing.


*

I blogged 2,000 words today. What was your word-count?

Monday, 31 October 2016

HALLOWE'EN STORY BEFORE BEDTIME: A REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE.

Night rain, never light rain, crashes into the pavement and ricochets with applause. The raindrop roar sounds right for the time of year. That time smells of October, and October has all the best songs if we write them as fast as thought carries the words to us.
   The writing is slow.
   Even so…
   October has all the best songs if we write them as slow as the leaves turn and fall. All leaves fly in slow-motion. Typing up a storm of words, I feel those letters fly through the blankness and land, footprint by footprint, in the snow.
   The rain fell years ago, on the night I started this blog. I walked through Hallowe’en streets to the town library, and wrestled with Blogger. My deadline was close of business that night. I made it. For a long time, I blogged in advance, then dropped half a dozen posts into the library’s internet pipe.
   Then I upgraded everything. Computer. Desks. The wall. A hole went in through that wall, and brought the street’s internet pipe to my office.
   Here I am, still barely blogging, thinking back to the start of that experience. Over that time, five years, I took one too many knocks at the same time and, sadly, I had to cut back to monthly blogging. Those same knocks threw my writing plans all over the place.
   But I still make writing plans. I’ve gone off into wonderful (terrifying) new avenues, and the exploratory work is slow. Very slow. Thorough, though. No need to bet on that.

*

And here I am, on Hallowe’en itself, grateful that I typed the preceding section well in advance. I knew I’d be hard-pressed to write a story come Hallowe’en. But I tried my damnedest, over this past week.
   The goal was to spend no more than a week creating a story from nothingness.
   At the very least, that story had to run 30,000 words.
   Deadline: tonight.
   Before I turn into a pumpkin at midnight.
   So how did I do?
   Did I write a 30,000-word story in seven days?
   No.
   To write the tale by Hallowe’en, I only had six days. And I used them to write a tale that ran for 40,000 words.
   Time for a coffee, before I massacre people.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

KINDLE PRICING: A REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE.

In May, I wrote about Amazon's 70% royalty rate.
   To keep the 70% rate for my shortest and lowest-priced books, I was forced to increase the basic price from £2 to £2 and change.
   May feels like a million years ago. The pound strapped on concrete books and jumped off a cliff after that.

*

The problem comes from setting the £ price to the $ price, inside the Amazon bookshelf.
   Set the $ cost there, and the prices in all other territories are calculated automatically. In a few cases, showing the price before and after Vampire Added Tax.
   I may be spelling that wrong.
   Once the price is set, is that it? On the bookshelf, yes. Over time, markets drift, and Amazon takes account of this. Looking at my cheapest books online, I see two listings...
   Inside the bookshelf, I spy the $ cost that grants me a 70% royalty rate. The price is fixed in chalk unless I take a damp cloth to it.
   Outside the bookshelf, on Amazon, the $ cost fluctuates. Once it drops below the $2.99 threshold, a book no longer operates at the 70% level. Fiddly.
   The solution is to take that punch to the jaw...or pass the cost onto the customers. I delay price increases as long as I can, of course.

*

Pricing, pricing, pricing.
   A short work used to cost half the price of a long work. The short works kept hovering around the low borderline figure. In May, I had to muck around with the polarity, alter the coffee quotient, and belay mutiny.
   The easy solution is to take the cheaper works and boost the cost well above the irksome borderline, so that I don't keep seeing books slipping in and out of the changing royalty threshold.
   Upshot. I increased the cost of my books in May. And now I've done that again in October.
   Short works cost £3 after VAT, for those who pay VAT. Longer books cost £6...back to the exact doubled price of a short work, finally, and no fiddly spare change to worry over on this side of the Atlantic.
   I increased my omnibus collection from £5 to £7.50. If you buy all five stories separately, you are spending £15 - and the omnibus should always come in at half the total cost of the stories.
   No fiddly spare change to worry over, though, as transactions are electronic. ;)
   That leaves an unpublished project that's going out at a fiver. On top of that, there's the gerbil porn. I always charge maximum for the gerbil porn. It shot up £1. I was aghast.

Friday, 14 October 2016

BLOGQUAKE: A REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE.

Surviving the vortex of blog alteration, I embarked on an epic journey back through every blog post I made.
   Why?
   To see if any of the photo layouts were screwed up by the vortex. Just shifting sidebars from right to left caused me major hassle.

*

And then I discovered a blogquake. In truth, I'd known about this for ages. Blogger updated the blah-de-blah and tweaked the thingummy and altered the terms of conditions for the heart of the sun.
   Along those lines.
   Deep in the archives, I found a photo layout roundly slapped by the vortex of blog alteration.
   I fixed that.
   Blogger wouldn't let me fix that. The red warning signs flashed on and told me everything lay broken. Broken. Damn. What to do? Security measures may be compromised...
   When people tell you that, walk off and buy a pizza.
   Well, what could I do? There was a button to fix this. Genuinely. Couldn't believe that. I tried to disbelieve that, but no.
   Fuck it.
   I thumped the button to fix EVERYTHING, and everything became, er, well, y'know...fixed.
   Wow.
   I pressed on further back into the archive. The deeper I went into the stacks, the fewer images appeared on blogs. A couple of items cried out for updating. I updated.
   The major consequence of all this bloggery is that I still can't feature snow on my blog. Everything else looks okay. I revised a few links - not many. Obvious ones.
   There is no inclination to check every single link on the blog. I do that when I work on Amazon Kindle books. Periodically, I go back in and ensure that all links function. But for the blog...you have to let a lot of that material settle in the dust...
   If you can't find a place after clicking a blog link, go and use an engine and search hard. I've had it with blog maintenance, for now. Oh, I'll return to it when there's another blogquake, I'm sure.

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Upshot? I reacquainted myself with every person featured on the blog. There they all were...mostly. I had to update one guy's book cover for technical reasons.
   Read Tuesday is no more. But those people are still out there, writing, in the dark.
   Today I wondered at the relevance of the blog, staring at old posts. I laughed a lot at #badwritingtips. Technical changes mean that bits and pieces of writing advice are no longer as shiny as they were when scribbled. I can live with that.
   And now, to disappear into the ether. There, I'll investigate why two of my books don't show up on an Amazon widget. I republished both of those overnight, to see if that might make a difference.
   For this, I'll need coffee. Coffee is the one piece of writing advice that never grows old.


Thursday, 13 October 2016

THE VORTEX OF BLOG ALTERATION: A REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE.

Bloggeration.
   Foolishly, I decided to flip the layout around so that everything on the left went to the right and everything on the right vanished in a digital puff of cybersmoke.
   Well. Damn.

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There were at least two options open to me, and I mean barely ajar when I say open.
   The third option...ah, but I have no goats to sacrifice, not-so-gentle druid. Off with ye.

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One option was to summon code from the internet and use wallpaper paste to fix it in place.
   I didn't care for that messy option. You'd only know it worked or shirked once the paste set...
   The other, painless, option was...
   Well, if you are bludgeoned enough, you'll be desensitised to the pain.
   The other option was to click a different layout. Just hit that button and flip the switch. So easy to flip back again. I flipped the switch.

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What fresh hell is this?!
   Much juggling, and some coding, later, I pretty much had the blog under control. If you think it looks a little different, you think rightly.
   Sadly, the capacity to generate snow is much-diminished. The snow is gone from my blog, quite possibly for eternity. Aslan chomped the White Witch in two, and spring returned to Narnia.
   Something like that.

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I've also lost two of my titles from the slideshow. Amazon isn't recognising those. Either I fix the glitch or complain vigorously to someone else who can fix the glitch.
   Alternatively, I may reinstate the old carousel. Shaking the blog out, the odd dead moth falls to the carpet. And what an odd moth that dead moth is.

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Upshot? I'm forced to include a new image on the blog banner, with the title mocking me as I look on. A Vampire's Hallowe'en sits unwritten as I type.
   Though, as I type more, that will change.