Tag Archives: widgets

A few random musings

I’m not completely ready to let go of Halloween. A few days ago I updated my wallpaper with a mad science motif. No apologies. I did my backgrounds by whatever month it was for a year. I’m going to go with things I like for now.

I gave the blog a bit of a facelift. I reduced the size of my book links. I may have taken them too far down. I thought they were starting to overwhelm the page. Let me know what you think. I may take them back up a notch.

I also added the link to the free Kindle apps. People don’t need to own a Kindle to read ebooks. They probably already own a suitable device. I encourage every independent author out there to do this. Let’s make it easy for our consumers to read our books.

I’m still toying with the idea of a new theme. I’d like to find one that would accommodate my linked book covers with a slider or rotating gallery. I found one called itheme, but the image orientation is horizontal, and I need vertical. I’m open to suggestions if you have any. (This is a free WordPress blog, and I’d like to keep it that way.)

Here’s the random musing part of this post. Why hasn’t anyone created computers, phones, iPads, Kindles, and Nooks that we can focus? See, the thing is that I wear glasses. When I’m using my iPad, like now, nobody else is using it, just me. Why can’t some creative soul allow me to focus the screen so I can take these Damned glasses off for an hour or two?

Chime in on my modifications or if you know of a theme I should check out.


Filed under Blogging

The work part of self publishing

Sound the trumpets! The Cock of the South is officially available on the Amazon store. The cover on my sidebar is a link if you’re interested. They make great Christmas gifts, yada, yada.

This is an epic fantasy set in a Greco Roman environment. It includes dwarves, centaurs, cyclops, fairies, a nymph, and more. TCOS is my first fantasy, and I’m pretty darned excited about it.

Now the work continues. As soon as Amazon emailed me the link I modified my “About Me” page. I added a link to my Gravitar, and used the image widget to make sure the book was findable from my blog.

Amazon doesn’t add new books to my author page automatically. I just went there and told it to add TCOS. It should show up in 24 hours.

I added links to all my previous books. Who knows, if someone liked one of them they might like TCOS.

If anyone finds something that doesn’t work correctly, I’d appreciate a heads up.

I got up early today and intended to write. I learned the hard way that all battery chargers are not created equal. When I flew home, I packed my chargers in my suitcase. The huge layover caused me to use my battery up, so I bought a charger in Phoenix.

My daughter needed a charger so I gave it to her when I got home. I just plugged my regular stuff in and didn’t worry about it.

Last night I plugged my iPad in whilst reading. The power continued to drop. I figured a full night would remedy everything, and left it to charge when I went to bed.

This morning, my battery was croaked. I went to my shaving kit and retrieved my old ghetto style charger. The iPad is taking on juice like a Marvel superhero now. It seems like an iPhone charger is not the same as an iPad charger. I had no idea.

So I didn’t get to add new words to my current story. Maybe tomorrow? I think I’m all set up for people to find The Cock of the South. Go get ’em you fantasy fanatics, and let me know what you think. It’s free to Amazon Unlimited members and through the Kindle lending library.


Filed under Writing

Meanwhile, back at the writing cabin

I tried to sleep in this morning, but I was pretty uptight about the formatting on Arson. I fed the old pit bull, made the coffee and logged in. The book looks awesome. The promo pages in back don’t look like what I uploaded. They’re serviceable, but not how I wanted.

I started on a task list when Old What’s Her Face* said, “Oh no you don’t. We’re going to the farmer’s market today. I want to find some fresh green beans”

I didn’t panic, I always enjoyed the farmer’s market. I may have to chock it up to a fond memory though. See, some of the vendors stared fighting with the establishment, and with other vendors. They branched off and opened a different farmer’s market. This is about the third time this has happened.

The old farmer’s market just isn’t as good as it used to be. I don’t care to spend forty bucks driving all over the valley to check out all the other options. I’m willing to visit one good location in hundred degree heat, and that’s it. One of the others might even be better now, but I like everything in one place. We never found any green beans either. No problem, the Boise Co-Op had plenty. Sorry farmers.

I didn’t get to the cabin until about 11:30 today. Lisa** and Lindsay*** were outside having tea on the porch. They both wore billowy summer dresses and huge straw hats. The tiny insects were reflected the sunlight across the meadow like a scene from a beautiful old movie. Awesome background for the tea party.

“What are you two doing?” I asked.

“We stayed up all night gabbing,” Lindsay said. “I never realized Lisa is a robot. The fact that she can drink tea is amazing. All the robots in my world a just data servers or vacuumes.”

“She was set up to pass for human. The tea goes–

“Stop.” Lindsay held up her hand. “I don’t want to know. She’s cool, and that’s enough for me.”

“And Lindsay hasn’t tried to burn down the cabin, or to burn anything really,” Lisa said.

I went inside and brought back a coffee mug. “Hit me with a snort of that, then I’ve got to get to work.”

Lisa poured the rest of their tea in my cup. Lindsay’s face sank.

“It’s okay, I’ll make us a fresh pot,” Lisa said.

“Maybe later. I still want to go for a ride in your motorcycle,” Lindsay said.

I left them to their fun and got down to business. There are plenty of things to address after a new book publishes.

I spent an hour trying to remember how I loaded a cover image on my blog that allows folks to download the book. It’s all set up and works now. Go ahead, you know you want to try it. Maybe I screwed up, you’ll never know if you don’t click on the cover image. (Subliminal message, click on the cover art. It will make you happy. It will make me happy)

I updated my Gravatar, but I’m not real happy with it. I added links to the bio section and posted cover images as art only. You still can’t shove a rectangular image in a square hole. I’m not too happy with the results, but I’m thinking about what to try to improve it. I’m open to suggestions.

The Harley rumbled down the road and I went to work on my “about me” page. I changed the fact that Arson was coming soon to “available now”.

Then I checked my Amazon author page and made sure Arson was listed. That went well, but it can take up to five days to display my author link on the Arson book page. I don’t understand such things and deserve instant gratification at all times. Guess I’ll have to be patient.

I also sent an update to the Rave Reviews Book Club. I’m allowed three books in their catalog, but only two with cover art. Seems odd, but Them’s the rules. I told them to strip the cover off Wild Concept, leave Panama alone, and add Arson in all it’s glory. (Don’t tell Lisa, she’s stronger than I am.)

I didn’t get everything finished. Now that I have an Amazon link, I need to add a page to the back of Panama and Wild Concept to tell future readers about Arson. I’ll work on it, but I think I’m done for today.

I filled up the old kettle and put it on to boil. The girls would appreciate more tea when they returned. I sat outside with my iPad and watched them wander across the meadow. They made floral decorations for their hats. It really was a soothing and beautiful scene. Good clean fun, not a fire in sight.

* Not my wife’s actual name.

** Lisa is the main character in Wild Concept. She’s a robot and helps me at the cabin these days.

***  Lindsay Pennington is a supporting character in Arson, available via that awesome cover art on the right. There is more to her than meets the eye.

I’m thinking of deleting some of the widgets in my sidebar. I’d like some comments from my blog friends. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a regular to offer an opinion. Does anyone think the monthly posting roster adds anything? Does anyone think the most popular posts is worth keeping? I’ll leave them if they’re uber awesome for some reason. I suspect new people may click on the most popular posts.

In my mind, the categories have to stay. Most of you like the Muse category, but some people are more interested in finding morels or cooking with sourdough. This lets them find what they prefer in a hurry.

I’m thinking about a bit of a redesign and would like to hear from you. I’ll give myself a day to bask in the glory of my accomplishment, then I have to start on my epic fantasy, The Cock of the South.


Filed under Blogging, Muse, Writing

Updates All Around

Last night I combined cover art and manuscript and headed for Amazon.com. I added a promotion page for Wild Concept at the back of my Panama manuscript. I made a similar page for the back of Wild Concept at the same time, but needed an URL. I uploaded Panama and went to bed. It takes about a dozen hours before the URL is available.

Today, Panama is live on the Kindle store. You can download it here: Panama.


I headed for the writing cabin to finish my upgrading. The first part involved adding the promotional page to Wild Concept so folks might easily find Panama. It wasn’t terribly hard, and it’s in review once more. I used a page break for the promotional pages, but the preview doesn’t display like it should. I’m interested in any feedback readers have on the end pages.

Bento* poached a couple eggs and made me some coffee. “So that’s it? The book is for sale?”

“Yeah, not too glamorous. Just a bunch of computer work,” I said. “Now I have to update the blog with an image link so people can find your story easily.”

I used the WordPress Image widget and set it up. “Link to the Amazon page, check. Minor word copy, check. Load the image — What the hell?”

I opened my image library, copied the URL, and it refused to load.

The rumble of a Harley Davidson sounded down the valley. We stepped outside and saw Lisa** winding toward the cabin along the gravel road.

“She will know what to do,” Bento said. He took out his Bull Durham and rolled a smoke.

“I hope so.”

Lisa rolled to a stop out front. When she stepped off her bike her hair was brunette. She lifted Bunny’s flight kennel from the sidecar and untied her suitcase from the rack on back of the sidecar. “Hi guys; miss me?”

“Welcome home,” Bento said.

“What have you done with your hair?” I asked.

“I had to make some changes in Las Vegas. I’m kind of known at the casinos there. I really cleaned up though. You boys grab my stuff while I park. I’ll meet you inside.”

We carried Bunny and the suitcase into the living room/lobby. Lisa pulled around the hill and parked in the basement. When she walked in the cabin, she had her boots slung over her shoulder. She knew Bento’s rules about shoes inside.

After she settled in, I told her about my predicament with the WordPress widget.

She found the enchanted beer horns and filled them up. “It’s actual Romulan Ale. The Romulans showed up at one of the comic conventions and I thought of you.” She set the horns on the counter and they ran to Bento and I.

“You need to know when to celebrate. Getting Panama online is a big deal. All the other stuff can wait.”

I took a swig of my beer and said, “It’s just so damned frustrating. I know what I want, and it won’t accept the link.”

“Do you want me to do it for you? It won’t take a sec–

“No. I want to know how to do it myself. I did it for your story, and should be able to do it this time too.”

She padded across the kitchen on bare feet and stopped at the refrigerator. She bent down and opened the freezer drawer.

“What are you doing?” Bento asked. “I’ve already sat out steak to thaw.”

“It isn’t dinner,” she said. “Craig’s going to need his left brain.” She sat a frozen bundle on the counter. It was covered in butcher paper and looked a little freezer burnt.

She set the microwave to ‘thaw’ and turned back around with a flip of her hair. I hadn’t noticed before, but her eyes were brown again. She removed her eye units and changed out the brown caps for her normal green ones. “The hair will wash out in a few days to a week.”

Coughing and sputtering came from the microwave. “Somebody get me out of here.”

Lisa opened the door and my left brain stumbled against the side of the oven. “That rotisserie setting makes a guy dizzy,” he said.

“This is the most screwed up place I’ve ever been,” Bento said. “You’ve been working all this time with half a brain?”

“Some people don’t give me credit for even that much.” I grabbed the left brain and carried him to my office.

After I explained the problem, Lefty had me try a complete reboot of my system. It didn’t work.

“Try this,” Lefty said. “Open the cover image in a new window. Copy the link over there and paste it in.”

I did what he said, but it didn’t work. “You’d think there would just be a button or a browse for image thingie.”

“Thingie? Is that how you talk without me?” Lefty asked. “I think I prefer the deep freeze.”

Lisa polished her nails against her blouse and raised and eyebrow.

“I get it. You’re a robot. It’s probably nothing to you, but I have to learn this stuff.”

Lefty took a swig of my ale and said. “The URL under the Wild Concept image looks different than the one you’re trying to get for Panama. We need to find out where that URL came from and use that one.”

We clicked around for several more hours. Finally, Lefty said, “Look at this. When I edit the image there are actually two links. One above the image, and a different one near the save button. It runs off the edge, but it looks the same as the Wild Concept link.”

I copied that link and pasted it in. It had references to Helvetia font, all kinds of braces, slashes and brackets. I uploaded it anyway. It failed.

“Here’s the deal,” Lefty said. “I still think it looks right. Paste the link into a document so I can see the whole thing.”

I did as told, using my Notes app. It took up a quarter page.

Lefty leaned forward and squinted. “The part you want is in there. I want you to delete every thing that’s either side of http and jpg. Just keep that part.”

Again, I followed orders.

“Now copy all that’s left and paste it into your widget,” Lefty said.

Copy – Paste – submit. “It didn’t fail. Better reload my blog page and see how it displays,” I said.

“Yay,” Lisa said while clapping.

“Perhaps you should click on it to make sure it goes to the Amazon page,” Bento said.

I clicked the image, it went to Amazon, all is well.

“That was kind of a cowboy fix, but it worked,” Lisa said.

“Sometimes you just have to think logically,” Lefty said. He pointed to his half of the cerebral cortex. “I think you need me more than you know.”

“Sorry Bub,” I said. “It’s back to the freezer for you. I remember all those fights you and righty got into. You have your moments, but writing isn’t your strong suit.

He wrapped a skinny arm, that looked more like an artery around my beer horn. “One for the road?”

“Why not,” I said. Lisa topped off our beer.

* Bento is a supporting character in Panama. He’d appreciate a reader or two.

** Lisa is the main character in Wild Concept. She’d appreciate a reader just as much.


Filed under Blogging, Muse

Blogging fun

Entertaining Stories has been around for a little over a month now. My goal has always been to produce entertaining stories, that aren’t going to change the world. This blog documents my journey toward self publishing, and improving my own writing.

Since I started, I’ve gained 40 followers. I’ve been told this is an impressive number for the time frame. Thanks to everyone who followed, and those to come.

I’ve noticed some international views and follows. This really turns me on, because some of my stories are set outside the USA. Panama is pretty obvious, but The Cock of the South is set in an alternate Roman world, and encompasses parts of Europe. I even have one called Arson that is mostly outside our solar system, any readers from other planets are welcome too.

When I finally get them ready for Amazon, I’ll be sure to let everyone know.

There is a learning curve, but it isn’t too hard. The WordPress app makes it easier to put up something new. The online version just isn’t very iPad friendly. I prefer to write with the app, then edit online.

I’ve learned how to change my background, and put up a new header image. I’ll probably change the background every month to reflect something about that month or season.

I learned about Gravitars, and some of you might see my inkwell on your blogs.

I like the ability to add images to my posts, and it isn’t real difficult. Adding links is pretty cool too. This allows me to share stuff with the world, even if I’m inviting you to leave my corner of cyberspace. I’m not selfish, check them out.

The WordPress programming is pretty cool. I added a few widgets, and am pretty impressed at how easy it all is. My most popular posts are noted, and I finally broke them all into categories. It looks like Lorelei is going to stick around, so I even made a Muse category for her input.

I added a list of writing blogs to one widget. These are places I’ve found that are incredibly helpful. Any writers out there should visit them all.

Comments are coming sporadically. Most of them are from my mother, thanks Mom. It’s my understanding comments usually don’t increase until the blog gets more popular. I’m patient, but I’d love to hear from you.

All in all, blogging is a blast. WordPress is a win, and I intend to keep going.


Filed under Blogging, Uncategorized