iOS H8te

Yeah, I wrote the title that way on purpose. It’s supposed to be clever.

Today’s post is intended to provide a place for iOS users to commiserate about the new operating system, and possibly offer some hints if you have any. Let’s hear them, God knows we need them.

I spent most of two nights ago watching my iPad and iPhone fail at getting the latest operating system. I wound up checking the internet for a solution. I had to hook up to the Mac (which also needed an update) and go through the iTunes store.

I finally got everything up and running, but my initial opinion is this iSucks. My photos are scattered from Hell to breakfast now, with no obvious way to change things around. They are organized by date, or location. Then there’s an option of seeing them pinned onto a map based on where the photo was taken or downloaded. That’s about as handy as a chapped ass. What if I want to organize by topic; cover art, sourdough photos, etc.?

Someone online suggested making folders and organizing things the way I like them. Great idea.

I grab artwork off the internet. Some of it gets pinned to my outlines, some of it becomes wallpaper on my phone that I change every day, then I delete it never to be used again. It varies from science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal, to quite a few pinups. (the painted kind, not the photo kind.) I made an artwork folder on my iPad and dragged everything into it. Everything is duplicated not moved. Delete one = delete both.

The sales pitch was that iCloud syncs everything up really well now. This morning I tried to change my phone background. No artwork folder, it’s only on the iPad. Looks like iCloud isn’t delivering on its promise.

I went to my RSS reader, Feeddler Pro. Every page I open crashes the app. I finally read a couple archaeology articles and two comics by telling it to open the pages in my Safari browser. I decided to look for an update to Feeddler. This was app of the year or something last year. The app store says it no longer exists – at all.

The app store found a little used app and said it has an upgrade available. What the iHell? I told it to upgrade. It said we can no longer find this app in the iTunes store. This is the same system that told me to upgrade the stupid thing. I tried it a day later and it upgraded. Color me iConfused.

The new iOS says I can send an audio text now. All I have to do is hold down the microphone icon and speak. I tried it out on my wife. I entered her contact information, and the microphone icon disappeared. Not an option. (We both have iPhones and upgraded software.) I tried the microphone icon on the keyboard. It produced a wonderful speech to text, but no audio text.

Worst of all is WordPress in the Safari Browser. I use the Reader to read all of your blogs. Keep in mind that I am frequently away from my computer, and I sleep sometimes too. When I wake up, I may have eight to ten hours of blogs to catch up on. Bedtime for me could be breakfast time for some of the blogs I read. (Ali in Ireland, Jo in South Africa, etc.) We aren’t all on Mountain Daylight time here.

When I open a post it always does so in a new page, and I like that. When I close that page now, my WordPress Reader is a sheet of grey. I have to hit refresh to get it back. That means I start at the top and read southward all over again. I have a temporary work around, in that if I’m really quick, I can open a post and immediately return to reader. I can’t read the post until later, so I open a few dozen posts and finish with Reader. I can read each post after that and close the page when I’m finished. Then I only have to croak and restart Reader once.

This gives me an idea. Sorry for the aside. Reader ought to have a filtering option. I could scroll through it and tag all the posts I want to read. Filter everything down and let me read the entire post in filtered view. Sorry, back to my tantrum…

I use Blogpad Pro for my posts. I really like it, but they posted two days ago that it has glitches with iOS 8. They expected an upgrade soon. I give them credit for warning me, and am certain they’ll do just what they said.

Apple always has an update out relatively soon after release. I really hope they address some of these issues. It sounds like the app store has some problems going on too.

On the plus side, if I connect my phone to power, I can say “Hey Siri” and ask her some useless question. Might be cool in the car, but it has to be connected to power. Yay, that works just as advertised. (worthless, but it works.)

How about you guys? Are any of you Apple users having any problems? Call them out in the comments, and offer solutions if you have any.

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A lazy day off

I slept in until 5:30 this morning. It’s an hour and a half later than my everyday alarm goes off. D. S. Nelson invited me to write something for her blog and today was the day we agreed it would be posted. I searched my WordPress Reader and never found it. I went through my email, but there was no notice from WordPress that my address was posted by anyone else. WordPress is doing some strange things lately, and I hope I haven’t failed to respond to anyone’s comments.

I went directly to her website and found my post. I re blogged it and made a quick comment. I encourage everyone to go visit her and support her. She’s been very kind to me and invited me over several times. Read today’s post here. Consider following her sites too. She has one for writing, and another for the pending birth of her child. She’s an interesting person and reads tea leaves on occasion too.

I fiddled around with some other projects for most of the morning; sending a couple of chapters to my cover artist, and getting my critique submission sent off. Then I read through my current work in progress.

I made a few changes, and managed to add a few hundred new words. I have to explain the situation to my heroine, and am trying to weave all this in without making it a huge info dump. It has to get in there, but I’m trying to minimize it. She has to know what she’s up against. I also gave her and one supporting character a tiny bit more personality.

Not a real productive day, but that’s how it goes sometimes. Old What’s Her Face* is taking me to Old Chicago tonight to finish up another beer tour. I get a football sweatshirt for this one.

I hope your day was more productive, but I needed this one.

* Not my wife’s actual name.


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Where Inspiration Lies: Guest post from Sci-Fi Author, Craig Boyack.


Hey gang, I’m over at D. S. Nelson’s place today. The topic is where inspiration lies. She wanted to hear from someone who writes a bit of science fiction and generously invited me. Please go visit and consider following her blog.

Originally posted on D S Nelson :

Please welcome, sci-fi writer and fellow lover of the tea leaves, Craig Boyack to the blog in this week’s ‘Where Inspiration Lies’.

Writer of the blog, Entertaining Stories, Craig writes as C S Boyack. His publications include, Wild Concept, Panama and his latest novel, Arson. You can find his books on Kindle,in the UK, here and in the US, here.

Craig is hoping to release his first fantasy by the end of the month. So, without further ado, lets see what inspires Craig’s writing.

D. S. invited me to talk about where I get inspiration for my writing. She gave me a great lead in via her newsletter and said she wants to hear from a science fiction author. (Sign up for her newsletter here

The pressure’s on, here we go…

I write science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal stories. I’m not opposed to mixing them up either. I’m not a sci-fi…

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We Pause for Station Identification

I started this blog to promote my novels. I’ve never made any suggestions otherwise. I try not to inundate everyone with constant whining about buying my books. Blogging became something more than an advertising platform, and I’d keep blogging today without a story to market.

Still, every once in a while, I reserve the right to market my novels. And today is that day. I got a really good review for Arson. Arson is the most recent story, and hasn’t gotten a ton of action so far. Today I got a wonderful four star review. Hopefully, it’s the first of many. (Thanks Lorraine.)

Rather than quote from the review, you can read about it here. I’m doing this, because after you read this wonderful review you might want to buy your own copy. Right after the review went up, someone borrowed it. I can’t tell whether it’s from the lending library or the Kindle Unlimited program. This is my cue to remind you that you can read the book for free on these programs.

We now return to your regularly scheduled blog.

My goal for 2014 was to get four of my older novels published. If I can get The Cock of the South published, this goal will be complete. That gets me to thinking about what’s next.

Will ‘O the Wisp will be the first newer story. I really like this one, and it should get some kind of push effort.

I’ve never done much promotion on my novels. As my next group of stories come out, I may have to grow up a little bit as an author. I may have to explore these blog tours I see everyone partaking in. I should probably arrange some advance reviews. I may need to look into some of the paid promotional services too.

I’m also thinking about revamping this blog. I would like to find a theme that allows me to post cover images and links without the huge sidebar. As much as I love the Pilcrow theme, maybe there’s something better available. Maybe I need a separate book page, but I have my doubts whether anyone would look at it.

These are internal thoughts for right now. The first project is to get The Cock of the South live on Amazon. After that I’ll probably experiment with a few things. I reserve the right to ask my regulars for their opinions too, of course anyone can chime in when I’m ready.

I suppose my idea for tonight is that it’s time for a writerly metamorphosis. As one goal is met, it’s time for a new one.


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The weekend update

I took two days off so I could write earlier this week. I managed somewhere around ten thousand words and feel pretty good about it. It needs some pretty serious work, but I had company all weekend.

My parents arrived mid day Friday, and wanted me to meet them at Sportsman’s Warehouse. They know where that is, but didn’t know where the auto detailing shop was. Dad scratched his new truck when he was antelope hunting and hired this guy to get the scratches out.

It was my job to lead them there, and take them to my house when he dropped his truck off. I needed two things at Sportsman’s so I got there early. They didn’t have everything I wanted. Mom called and said they were in the parking lot. When she found out I was inside she came running. It’s hard for Mom to pass up a store.

When we finished, I walked to my truck. Dad  moved his truck to park beside me. This is where the fun begins. He hit my truck while parking his. He left an 18 inch gouge in my fender flare, and knocked two small chunks off of it. His truck was unhurt. Apparently, metal trumps plastic. I need a new fender flare. This set the tone for my weekend.

Hawk Detailing, in Garden City did an outstanding job on his truck. If you’re in Idaho’s Treasure Valley and need this kind of service, I was impressed. Now Dad’s truck looks factory new, but mine doesn’t.

Today is Old What’s Her Face’s* birthday. Mom and Dad came up for that as much as anything. Mom took my wife shopping, and I had to entertain Dad. I decided to take him grouse hunting. My first idea was that “two go out, one comes back.” To tell you the truth, we had a great time. Our success was mostly limited to wild apples and pears, but it was a beautiful sunny day. Dad got a bit muddy, and scraped it all off INSIDE my truck on the way home.

Lorelei** whispered to me while we were driving around. “Your story is on the page, but your characters suck.”

“I’m usually pretty solid on my characters; what’s wrong?”

“It’s your heroine, Gina. You did a good job on her wound, and what makes her tick, but she’s just a dishrag after that. She’s a speaker of words with no personality. You could contrast her with those around her and make them all more believable. They can’t all be the same.”

“That’s a great idea, but it can’t do anything about it until my company leaves.”

“Of course it’s a good idea. Now watch the road and drive carefully.” Just like that, she was gone again.

Mom and Dad took us to dinner for my wife’s birthday, and it was really good. They just left about an hour ago.

We need to pick up my present to her, and then I have Dr. Who recorded to watch. I may not get back to my story until next week.

Sorry to leave you guys hanging, but that’s how it goes sometimes.

* Not my wife’s actual name.

** Lorelei is my Muse. She keeps me on track, and helps me see where I can improve.


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The Entertaining Stories Primer


I’ve had a house full of company this weekend. There hasn’t been a convenient time to update my blog and I feel like I owe you guys something. New followers keep arriving, and this post is designed to help them play along at the writing cabin. I haven’t re blogged it for some time, and just wanted to let everyone know I’m still alive. I’ll try to get something new posted tonight.

Originally posted on Entertaining Stories:

I was going to save this post for my one year blog anniversary. I’ve gotten quite a few new followers lately, so I decided to do it today.

Writers need to do something different to stand out from the crowd. I’m not a big believer in posting random chapters of my work. I want this blog to be a friendly and fun place to come. So what’s a writer to do? I could write original bits of small fiction, but others are doing that too.

Here’s what I came up with. I’ll post about my successes, new discoveries, and general writing tips, and I’ll do it as short bits of new fiction. I created the Writing Cabin; a place I go to work on my stories and promotions. I populated it with characters from my stories. The only problem is it’s similar to a long running comic book series, or…

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Okay, so it isn’t Friday

I usually skip Thursdays, and post all through the weekend. I’m about to have company this weekend and may not be available for the next several days. I’ve been working on my manuscript, The Playground, and decided to post about it today.

I’m still working on edits for The Cock of the South, and that will come this afternoon. Those aren’t nearly as interesting as first draft material, and I don’t need to post about them. They fall less under creativity and more under work.

I got up at 5:00 AM again today. Keep in mind that it’s sleeping in for an hour under my normal work schedule…

I trudged upstairs into the writing cabin and grabbed coffee. Lisa* read yesterday’s work and had on a perfect little black dress with matching pumps, just like my heroine. She also had on a Confederate grey greatcoat and kepi style cap.

“That’s the spirit,” I said. “Are you ready to go to work?”

“Yes, sir.” She saluted. “This outfit is quite the mixture. Maybe you should have me verify whether it works or not.”

I headed down the hall to my office, and fired up my iPad. “It doesn’t need to. Gina needed a coat and that’s all that was available. It should be plenty warm.”

“Wool preserves the heat quite well. She should be very comfortable. It should also create a very comfortable environment for the parasites you inflicted upon her.”

“Well, we authors are supposed to torture our characters.”

“Tell me about it. You killed people I love in my story.”

“Yeah yeah, whatever. I need you to find that old crown glass in the basement. Bring me the pane where the blower’s pipe attached. It’s magical and I want to test it out today.”

“Cool, I like it when we play with magic.” She tore off downstairs and I went to work.

I managed to kill a couple more people. One was a gang banger and it happened on camera. The other was a little kid, and it happened off camera.

I added in a dog licking his butt, the angel of death, and gave her a henchman who’s based loosely around the shrunken head in my tiki bar and the rum bottle I brought back from vacation. It’s starting to look like a story.

Lisa returned with the small window pane. “When can we play with this?”

“Right now.” I walked down the hall to the paranormal office and used the skeleton key to unlock it. I threw the heavy Frankenstein light switch and the bone chandelier sprang to life. The enchanted window showed a scene of a scarecrow walking through a wheat field with a scythe. I opened it up and looked outside.

The air was crisp and cold. I pulled on my lab coat while Lisa looked outside. “Nothing out there, right?” I asked.

“There are some deer headed back into the trees, but nothing weird.”

I held the bulls eye shaped glass to my eye and scanned the meadow again. An apparition appeared off to our left. It was blurry and seemed to wander with no purpose. “Yeah, got one just past the end of the runway.”

“Can I see?”

I handed her the window pane and stepped back.

“I can’t see it, are you sure?”

“Um, yeah. I’m sure. They can’t be photographed, and your eyes are really cameras. Sorry.”

“Sometimes your imagination really sucks. I want to play too.”

“I let you play all the time. Remember when I suffocated you with the foil roaster a few weeks ago?”

“Yeah, that was fun. I still want to see the ghost though.”

I looked once more and said, “It looks like an old draftsman. He’s been replaced by high tech.” It didn’t really, but I told her a story where tech came out on top. I write fiction, I’m allowed to make something up.

I took up my iPad and wrote the rest from my paranormal office. My battery died at 19,669 words. That’s 5036 for the day. I may be writing this in the main office for the science fiction part, and the paranormal office for the rest. Still, I managed to relate the evil to my heroine’s cancer, and a dog licking his butt is always fun.

* Lisa is the main character from my first published story, Wild Concept. She’s a robot and lives at the writing cabin these days.



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