Tag Archives: Apple Pencil

Working a different direction

I took an actual vacation day today. I've done this for writing purposes before, but not this time. This time, I wanted to fulfil some reading commitments. I've been reading one book for far to long, and wanted to finish. I also promised a friend a beta read by March. I always try to meet my deadlines, and needed to clear my slate so I could start on the new book.

I got that much done today. I have a clear deck now, but did not start the new reading. I also have 2.5 Lisa Burton Radio spots to get started on, and will probably address those tomorrow. This is the life of a modern day author.

I also worked on some blog art for my next Story Empire post. With the new group members, I'm not up again until late February, but it's still something I needed to accomplish. My Apple Pencil needed charging, so I goofed on social media while I waited.

I need to think up something for my February banner, but nothing is clicking there. I have time, and something will probably come to me. February is just a boring month. Maybe I'll make something that has nothing to do with February.

Writing takes a back seat, but reading is good exercise for a writer. In that spirit, it wasn't unproductive at all. Promotion must be done, and I'm tricking myself into thinking the radio spots are branding for me, even though the posts are about the guest authors.

I'll probably pick up my critiques and work on those to fill in the corners. Maybe I'll change my pinned tweet again. It's been a couple weeks since I changed it, and it's time.

Tonight we're going for pizza and beer. A guy can only do so much of this stuff in one stretch. Maybe the elixir of creativity will give me an idea for my next banner art.

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Projects for today

I announced my new book, The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack II, first thing this morning. Presales hit hard for a little while. This doesn't surprise me anymore. Blog posts seem to have about an eight hour lifespan.

Amazon kind of changed my plan for the day though. I had the hours available, but couldn't dedicate them to my side project. Here's a list of what I worked on today instead:

  • Modify my sidebar to include the two newest titles as linked images. This is always tough, because getting the image link out of WordPress is a pain. It doesn't like to highlight correctly to copy and paste. This took about 45 minutes to get right.
  • Modifying my slideshow to include the new title was much easier.
  • I wrote a post to ask my street team for some help. This will go live on Wednesday. That should give me plenty of time to get requests and custom write material for a friendly tour in September.
  • Found a friendly librarian at Goodreads to add my new book. Any new adds are much appreciated and very helpful.
  • Worked on plans for some October promotions I want to do. This only involved sending a few emails.
  • Sent a request to the Rave Reviews Book Club to add my new title to their catalog. They have a couple of promotional features I'd like to start using, but I haven't seen the book show up yet.
  • Spent a lot of time socializing on blogs, Facebook, and Twitter. There were a lot of well wishers to interact with.
  • Made a new pinned tweet to keep the book in the public eye. So far eleven people have tweeted it out.
  • I managed to re-read my Macabre Macaroni stories. Another one might come to me, but if not I'll go with these. One of them I really like. These are a little more Goosebumps than horror, and I'm okay with that.
  • Used my Apple Pencil to cobble together a new banner image for the blog. I'll probably change it out on Wednesday when the street team post goes up.
  • I still managed to add about 500 words to my side project.
  • Otto and I played every day. Today it was all about tug of war.

Where I went wrong. The downloads came quickly this morning. I didn't check the book status until about 6:30 PM. It is in the low fifties on the short stories and anthologies list. If I had checked it sooner it might have been much higher. Either way, it hit one of the lists. A few more early purchases might help it stay there. (Hint hint.)

 

If it gets down to single digits, I'll try to get a screen shot and share it with you.

 

Back to the paycheck job tomorrow. All in all it was an extremely productive weekend. I feel good about it, and know that they won't all be like this. We've decided to go camping next weekend, and maybe I need that now. Talk to you all on Wednesday about the street team idea.

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Feels like old times again #amwriting

I raced through social media early this morning. I wanted to force myself to take up the keyboard once more.

This led to +/- 2000 new words on The Yak Guy project. Ted, the yak guy, finally gets to be with the girl of his dreams. I have a hard time writing these scenes, but I think it came out okay. (I’m one of those males who never got a lot of female attention. Therefore, I’ll just make it up.) The story is from Ted’s point of view, so it might not be as romantic as if it were from the woman’s viewpoint.

Next on the list, Ted has to second guess the whole thing, and wonder what it all means. Then he gets to meet her dad and get the crap beat out of him. By modern standards, I ought to have him getting beat up pretty fast. I kind of want to have him question everything though. This is a conundrum for me. My plan is to write it my way, and see if it needs to be eliminated later on.

I got two requests for a review copy of The Playground, and sent both of them out. (Booyah) I hope the reviewers enjoy it. It’s a little more gritty than my usual fare. Maybe the contrast between The Playground and yak guy’s love scene is causing a short in my brain.

I got asked why I didn’t set up the 99¢ sale for Wild Concept in the UK store. It’s because I didn’t know I had to. I thought it happened everywhere. Turns out those are the only markets available to hold a sale. If you’re completely out of those markets, let me know and I’ll find a way to fix you up. Does this mean I need to start using these things £ or €? Look, it’s a man in a top hat with a big mustache =):€

The sale starts in the UK sometime on the 28th. Then I returned to WhatsApp and let them know. There isn’t much point if I don’t say something about it. Thus, the mention here too.

I sent out another Lisa Burton Radio kit, and finalized another post for one of those spots. I have several partial posts out in cyber space, tomorrow’s is pre-scheduled, and another one nearly final. I’m feeling pretty good about this spot today. We have some fun characters coming up.

Then I got a cool request to write a guest post about how I started writing short stories. This one made me think, because it just kind of happened. I love it when someone asks a question that makes me assess something. I wrote about 800-900 words of blog post and sent it out too.

Finally, I picked up my art app and messed around with my banner some more. I’m really not an artist, but I can cut out and paste things. If it looks cheesy, I’m okay with that. I’m all about the cheese here at Entertaining Stories.

I love it when I have a productive day, and wish there were more like this one.

I should probably return to social media and promote the Wild Concept Sale, and The Playground. I feel like such a book whore, but I don’t see any other way to get the word out. I’ll probably address some of that this afternoon. I found a new place to do paid promotion, but I have to make my own artwork. It’s also kind of complicated to set up. I’ve been whining about it for weeks, and would probably do better to cobble something together and quit crying about it. Getting closer on this front.

Finally, today is my daughter’s birthday. She went to Sun Valley to party with friends, but is due home today. We have plans to go to dinner somewhere tonight. That will be fun too.

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Because I’m easily amused

I have these fun new toys now, and I need to play with them. They involve the program Procreate, and my Apple Pencil.

Once upon a time, I wrote a story involving a snail. He's in The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack. I had Sean Harrington paint him into this bit of Lisa art to promote the book with.

I cut out the snail from this image, and placed it into my header image. Just to amuse myself, I'm going to make him move at a snail's pace across the image, and up onto my sunglasses.

He'll move slowly, and I don't know if I'll take him any farther than that. It involves loading a new banner every couple of days.

If you want to know more about the snail. You can check him out in The Experimental Notebook for the princely sum of 99¢.

 

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Easter Eggs and the saga of Wednesday

I really wanted to do a facelift on my blog. My regulars will remember me asking if I should go even deeper down the wormhole I've created using Lisa Burton as my spokesmodel. Popular consensus was not to do that, and keep a piece of it for myself.

One of the things I really wanted to do from my very first blog post was to include Easter eggs here somewhere. Not the kind you get at Easter, but the kind that show up in video games and such. Fun little things that will change from time to time.

My thought process went like this. Easter eggs, Easter, Easter Island… How do I keep a bit of myself in this and make it about me?

Dear Sean Harrington, I need a new banner. Here's what I have in mind… It involves leaving an open area where I can place whatever I like.

I got my new banner yesterday and assumed I'd be working on it today. That was before the disaster of italicized words showed up.

I woke up at 7:00 this morning. That's sleeping in for three hours by my work schedule. I ran out and checked my email first thing. Nothing from Amazon, lots of blog comments. Then I heated up some coffee and got some breakfast. This should give you an idea of my mindset over the italics fiasco.

Sat down with my coffee, and responded to blog comments. All combined, an idea was starting to form in my brain. Mae Clair was the one who pushed it over the top. Something had to be wrong with the way my word processor was closing the HTML command to close the italics out.

Apple Pages won't let me look at the HTML code. If it does, I haven't been able to figure it out.

Checked email. Nothing from Amazon.

Decided to get all artsy while waiting for Amazon. (Patiently, because that's how I am.) Used my Apple Pencil to modify my groovy new banner and include the Easter Egg. Right now it's Clovis' car and the dog from The Playground. This also comes with a bit of a learning curve, and some trial and error. It involves using something called masques, then layers, then making the background of the Easter Egg opaque. Turns out there is a vocabulary to this stuff too.

I'm 55 years old, I shouldn't have to learn new things. Why do I have to learn new things?

Check email. Nothing from Amazon. Look at that, Apple released a standard sized iPad Pro, and it has its own keyboard available and supports the Apple Pencil. Should I be mad? Am I mad? No, I like the larger amount of real estate, and the larger keyboard.

Delve deep into the inner workings of WordPress to change my banner. Stop, check email, nothing from Amazon.

Load my groovy new banner. Admire my handiwork.

Check email, nothing from Amazon. (I am so proud of how patient I'm being.)

Decide to change my Gravitar. Delve back into the inner workings of WordPress. Make appropriate changes. Like one of my own posts. It didn't work. Unlike that post.

Check email, nothing from Amazon.

Click on unchanged Gravitar, and attempt modifications through that system. Test by liking one of my own posts. It works.

Check email, nothing from Amazon.

We're burning daylight here people. I have Wednesday off, but I don't have Thursday off. I have to get up at 4:00 tomorrow.

Decided that it had to be something with the HTML code. Maybe if I typed and changed the font to italics when I typed, then changed back, the coding would be correct. The important part is manually changing it back.

Checked email, nothing from Amazon.

Made changes to a future Lisa Burton Radio episode. Emailed the author back. Check email… You know the drill by now.

Worked up the initial shtick for an even more future episode of Lisa Burton Radio, forwarded it to the author. Check email etc.

Open up The Playground in Apple Pages. Modify the italics sections line by line. As an example, if I write, “But you are stupid,” I deleted 'you' 'are' and 'stupid.' Then I retyped those words using “Courier – Courier italics – Courier.”

Checked email, etc. Fill in the blank.

Checked Facebook, accepted a friend request.

Checked email, (all together now) still nothing from Amazon.

Created an ePub version of The Playground.

Maybe I should check email one more time. Nothing.

Upload the new and improved version of The Playground to Amazon and wait for the document to process.

While I'm waiting, I can check email using my phone. Nothing.

Check The Playground using Amazon's previewer Kindle thingie. Everything looks great now. Am I good at this? I could be good at this.

Tap fingers, tug at beard.

Upload a new version of The Playground. Begin waiting 24 hours to see it go live. Then I can grab a review copy and check it line by line. (Looks like someone is going to be up past bedtime tomorrow.)

What the heck, check email. Amazon has answered. The guy was a total professional, and asked for more information including screen captures. I thanked him for his efforts, told him what I'm trying, and promised to get back with him either way.

Checked other forms of social media. John Howell left me an awesome 5 star review on Goodreads. I liked that puppy to get it into my timeline for my friends to see. Ran to Amazon and saw it was there too. Feel like a million bucks now. Probably ought to figure out how to share that on Facebook. New things, I swear I shouldn't have to learn new things.

I'm still uptight about things not working like they should, but I feel much better about it now.

If this all works, I have a dozen short stories to go through using the same process, and then there's the 35000 or so words in The Yak Guy Project. My attempt at an epistolary style short story is going to be a mother with the italics issue. Will that stop me? Noooo, but it may require some complaining.

Here are the takeaways. I have a cool new banner, and the ability to include Easter eggs. I have a new Gravitar image coming soon to a blog near you.

If you already bought The Playground, there may be a decent repair job available tomorrow for you to get. If you haven't, what are you waiting for. Read John's review and let him convince you.

I confess that I didn't get to read all the blogs today. I usually browse the 1000 or so that I follow and read the ones when something catches my eye. I finally made a list of must read blogs and put everyone who interacts with me in there. Today, I managed my list but that's about all. (Bonus takeaway: Those who interact are more likely to get read.)

I have a full growler of Old Chub Scotch Ale by Oskar Brewing, in Colorado. This is one of my favorite beers. I may start early today. I missed my nap, but beer is its own reward.

I hope it all works now. I won't have another chance to pull my beard and work in panic mode until Saturday.

By the way, Lisa Burton Radio is going to be fun tomorrow.

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This and That

I need to update this blog, and I skipped Wednesday. I can testify as to what happens to your stats if you dare to skip a regular day.

Last night was my critique group meeting. I fared fairly well, but have a couple of things to work on. That's why we go, right?

I've been waiting for the rest of my birthday gift to arrive, and it was delivered yesterday. My work day starts at 4:00 AM, then I had my meeting. I managed to scarf down a microwave burrito and opened the boxes. I had to go to bed so I could function today, but now it's the weekend.

My brown table doesn't show everything off well, but I'm pretty excited about it all. I only had a few seconds to mess with everything. I'm writing this post on my slick new keyboard, and I like it. I'll probably mess with it a bit more tonight after this goes live.

I'm kind of jazzed about trying out the new Apple Pencil. I may not share my stick drawings, but that doesn't mean I'm not enjoying myself.

I also took Tuesday night to wake up my sourdough starter. Tituba is ready to bake something this weekend.

I've been procrastinating about starting my next novel. I need to finish editing The Playground at the same time, buuut, now that I have my keyboard my last excuse disappeared.

I'm looking forward to some baking, a bit of reading I want to finish, repairs to my manuscript based upon critiques, and maybe a first chapter of my next project.

Sorry I changed up the schedule this week. Lisa enjoyed her fashion show, and things are back to normal at the writing cabin. (As normal as they ever get, that is.)

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It’s here! Kind of

I'm writing this on Veteran's day, but scheduling it for Thursday. I still have a fairly active post about my promotional efforts and want to leave it on top over night.

My parents promised me an iPad Pro for my birthday. My birthday didn't exactly coincide with Apple's release plans, but they finally came through.

I watched the rumor mill for weeks. Apple vaguely said, “November.” The first rumor was for November 3rd, followed by the 6th. A fresh rumor said the 11th, then the 13th. Then it could be ordered on the 11th, but delivered on the 13th.

These posts were followed by a rash of comments that embarrassed all of humanity. All the commenters bashed iPad Pro as if they'd already used one. Everyone said it was a Microsoft Surface clone, or a Surface for posers. Some asked how Microsoft dared to call it a Pro, because it wouldn't run programs designed for a PC.

A few brave souls suggested that Pro might include other occupations than the narrow scope of the first commenter.

This thing has peripherals that include a keyboard case. This keyboard links directly to the Pro, and doesn't require Bluetooth. Bluetooth is a huge battery sucker, and I like the idea. It also has an optional Pencil device. This is a stylus that looks absolutely wonderful. It comes with a bunch of options like Highlighter and various other tools. It works inside various apps.

As far as the Pro designation goes, I can see a football coach drawing Xs and Os for plays right on the sidelines. I can also see the value to an author. Maybe it isn't suitable for AutoCad, but there are some folks who are really going to enjoy it.

I may never produce my own cover art, but I like to play around. Maybe I could send a rough sketch to a real cover artist to illustrate what I want. I can see an electronic Highlighter being handy too. It might even be useful for critiques. I'm sure more apps will be along soon with Pencil support.

I marched my butt down to the Apple Store today to place my order. I wanted to pick it up from them and have them transfer all my data.

To my surprise, it wasn't available for pre-order, it was available right now. I checked out the colors, and chose one in Space Grey. They got me out the door in about one hour. My novels took a lot of time to download.

Sadly, the peripherals aren't there today. I downloaded the Apple Store app and ordered them when I got home. I don't need anyone to help set up the peripherals. I've been fiddling with it ever since I got home.

I like the updated internal keyboard. It's nice to have numbers available without having to shift. I can see using the physical keyboard more, but today it's nice. I'm writing this post with it.

The visuals and audio are awesome. This bugger is fast too. It is surprisingly light being nearly twice as big as my other iPad. It's a bit slippery without a cover, but that will change soon.

I like the split screen option too. I can write in one window, and Google in another. I could make notes in a different app while writing. (Even by hand when the Pencil arrives.) The split is either 50/50 or something like 70/30. I like the 70/30 option. When I drag it completely away, I can drag it right back without losing my place.

I wrote about a bit of micro-fiction that came to me recently. This one involved magpies. I created this screenshot to show you what I'm talking about.

The writing window is on the left, and Bing is on the right.

I'd love to have the Pencil right now. Maybe I'd mark up some of those telling sentences and update the draft.

Im pretty excited about my new tool. Thanks Mom & Dad!

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