Tag Archives: Wordpress

Where have all the bloggers gone?

This post is going to ramble here and there. You’ve been warned.

A few years ago, WordPress became the simple way for small businesses to creat a web presence. I get it, they have templates, you can make multiple pages and widgets will help too.

I’m still gathering followers, but they are all small businesses now. I’ve gotten plumbers, clock makers, and lots of travel companies. Some of these folks might be interesting, and they might honestly be interested in my fiction. However, I think they are simply trying to gather followers using the Twitter method. How this helps an Etsy store or travel agency is beyond me.

Where are all the next generation authors? I used to glean a couple of those per week. I’m not really into poetry, but I used to get a few of those per week too. It’s much more likely that I would have something in common with those folks. It could be fiction, or even the self promotion blues, but something.

Is anyone else seeing this happen on your sites?

I also have some who drop off the face of the Earth every year. We’re good friends, everything is cool, and they just disappear. There has been a bit of an increase in that this year. Two of my friends crawled out of the woodwork this week after long absences. Maybe they’ll stay, maybe they won’t, but I wish them all well either way.

In other news, I skipped Lisa Burton Radio this week. Last week was on purpose because of the holidays. I have a half dozen interviews circulating in cyberspace right now, but nobody delivered in time. Oddly enough, I heard from two of them this evening. I’m pretty sure there will be something up next week.

If you are interested in taking part in Lisa Burton Radio, she is about due for more guests. To make this work, there are usually a half dozen in process at any time. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out, like today.

Lisa’s show remains pretty popular, so if you have a pending release or a promotion in the works you might consider making this one of your stops. They usually take a couple of weeks, but can be done in a weekend. Other folks are long term planners and take months.

I also attract a lot of beauty bloggers. This has to be because of Lisa. Honestly, some of them give me ideas for the next piece of Lisa artwork.

Just look at that face. Don’t you want your character on her show?

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Filed under Blogging, Writing

A Doubt filled weekend

Doubt

Yesterday involved a bunch of problems, sponsored by WordPress and Apple.

Apple’s iOS had a bug that hit some users, but not others. It forces a symbol replacement for a capital I when you type. I googled how to fix it, and they suggested a kind of macro that tells the computer when you type “I” what you really mean for it to do is type friggin “I”. It didn’t work.

A different website promised a repair was coming soon from Apple, so I checked. The update was already available, and fixed everything.

The second issue came from WordPress. It seems they’ve driven away all the decent blogging apps, and I’ve been using the actual WordPress app. One of the good things about it was the way it handled pictures. That all changed.

I used to be able to size, move, and tag photos. Today that’s all limited. For instance, if I tell it to move the raven to the left, that’s no problem. However; now it will no longer allow me to type beside it. The image insists upon taking up the entire area. That’s why the photo is centered above on today’s post.

I used to have two options for tagging images, but today I only have one. I can schedule the post, then edit it inside WordPress, but it worked well two days ago.

The other thing it’s doing now is randomly changing the pitch of my type. All is well if I just keep going, but if I go back to make a correction, all the future words want to be in some kind of micro-text. I have to delete my last good letter, then retype from there to get it right.

None of the WordPress issues are major, but it worked fine a couple of days ago. They need to address this, and while they’re at it,would it be too much to ask if I wanted to actually center some text, and change the pitch of my letters inside the app? As an example, I will add a section break below this paragraph. I will have to left justify it, post it, then edit it inside the WordPress Admin function to make it look right.

***

I went to the writing cabin around nine o’clock this morning. I spent yesterday working through The Hat and some suggestions I received. It really is looking good right now.

I plucked the hat from my desk and dropped him on my head. He was configured as a grey fedora, his preferred look. I opened the window, and gestured outside to Doubt, the raven. “I don’t think we need you for this one.”

It was an odd feeling. I have doubts about all my stories, but this time I feel great about one.

The hat said, “Go catch mice or something. Craig and I got this covered.”

Doubt glared at us like we brought his daughter home late.

“Go on, buddy. We don’t need you. In fact, Craig and I are ready to publish,” the hat said.

“Well, not exactly. Lisa is still with Sean Harrington, and we need her promotional posters. We may not have those until the end of the year.”

“So, what are we supposed to work on today?”

“I received feedback on The Yak Guy Project from a dear friend. I thought we might work our way through that.”

“What’s that got to do with the old hat?”

“Nothing really. I thought you might like to read over my shoulder. Lisa isn’t here, and maybe you have some suggestions.”

“You’re probably smart to come to me. Besides, I wasn’t doin’ anything anyway.”

I turned on my computer, and sat up an iPad beside it for the redline copy of my book.

“So, that Internet has the corrections, and the other Internet has the actual book? Is that the deal?” The hat asked.

“They’re two different devices, but they work on the Internet.”

“That’s what I said.”

“It’s, well it’s like… Yeah, we can check the suggestions on one, and make any changes on the other one.”

“Sounds like a good plan.”

I scrolled down the redline to the first suggestion.

“Slow down. Still reading here,” the hat said.

“Sorry.” I pondered the first suggestion and looked across the room.

Doubt lowered his head into what I call his classic vulture pose. “Kaaaaw, ha, ha, ha.”

“Oh, shit! Why couldn’t you just leave while I felt good about The Hat”

“Kaaw.”

“Hey, Yak Guy is kind of a dork. I gotta tell you, Lizzie has her shit together a lot more than this guy,” the hat said.

“Yeah, they’re different stories. In The Hat, Lizzie is supposed to be a go-getter who needs a bit of direction–”

“Your’s truly.”

“Exactly. Yak Guy needs a major overhaul in his life. Where you are more of Lizzie’s partner, Yak Guy needs a mentor.”

“Man I feel sorry for that guy.”

“He’s a yak.”

“How can a yak be a mentor?”

“How can a hat be a partner?”

“Touché. I’ll just go with it.”

“Thank you.”

***

Between the evil glances and croaking of Doubt, and trying to explain everything to the hat, it was a long day. The book, The Hat, is nearly ready to go. I’m expecting to hear from one more reader, and need some artwork.

The Yak Guy Project keeps waffling from deleting it entirely, making it into a trunk novel, self publishing it, or submitting it to an actual publisher. I kind of need to narrow the distance between those bookends somehow. This weekend is in the books, so I don’t have to decide anything today. I need to get on with it though.

How about some covers. Everyone loves covers, right?

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Filed under Muse

WordPress Gremlins at work again

It looks like WordPress is hard at work making unnecessary improvements again. I noticed this happening this afternoon.

First the icon on my site changed to the stupid bell thing. It lights up whenever something happens, but no longer lets me know if it’s a comment, like, ping, or follow. It isn’t terribly hard to click and find out, it just seems like a de-improvment over what they had. The bell has been standard on Reader for a long time, but what used to be on my site was superior.

Second, my handy stats link is gone from the toolbar. I now have to back into it through the “My Sites” link. Not terribly hard to use, just more clicks to get the data I want.

I noticed that I cannot switch between Entertaining Stories and Story Empire easily any longer either. I used to have an option in the My Sites area. One click and I’m there. Now I have to open the link, tell it to switch sites, and then it opens a godawful half-page thing instead of going where I want. It looks like the best option now is to include a link in my bookmarks and avoid the whole “improvement.”

While there, I nearly freaked out. The dashboard seems to be missing entirely. This is the only editor I use for anything. I upload photos, occasionally write posts there, and make all my changes there. Don’t worry, it’s still around, but it’s been moved to the bottom of that abomination they are trying to force upon us. I’m sure it’s short lived, because it’s better than what they are trying to shove down my throat.

When it comes to actual blogging I still use a third party app. It isn’t being updated any longer, but still works better than WordPress does.

I don’t know why they can’t leave well enough alone. The original versions I started with were the best and most simple to use. Every thing they improve makes WordPress harder to use. How hard would it be to give me a toolbar with simple links? Change sites, stats, new action on a post, even a log in from my page would be really handy.

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Agony and Ecstasy

I'll start off with the bad stuff first. I like to close on a good note.

I haven't been around as much lately, and this is because of a WordPress/Apple problem. I'm blaming Apple, but who really knows. I'm posting this in hopes that one of the WordPress gurus will read it and offer some clarity.

I read blogs using the WordPress Reader and the Safari browser. I have options, and thank God for that. My preferred gadget is my iPad Pro. I also kept my old iPad, and it works normally. Yesterday, most of WordPress stopped working for iPads.

I can still log in, and read my own blog. I still get comments, and interaction. The link to look at stats produces a white screen, and the link to Reader does the same. This could be an iOS problem.

When I try my iPhone I don't have any problems. This also works on iOS. What the hell does that mean? I cleared the caches on both iPads and rebooted them – no help.

I tried the WordPress app (which I hate) and can read posts and comment from there. This is also an iOS product.

I tried the Mac, and everything is perfect there.

Using an iPad, I can still get to my WP Admin and upload images. Somewhere in this post I'll see if that works or not. I write my posts with an app called Blogsy, because it's easier. It seems to work, but I have something pre-scheduled tomorrow and am nervous about it loading now. Hell, I'm nervous about this post loading too.

These things drive me crazy, and surfing for answers doesn't help. I get top choices from questions asked six years ago. This is a today thing Google!!! Moving on…

I pulled on my editing jacket and managed to work through two short stories today. This is only the first pass, and I have several others to make.

I'm tempted to leave the jacket on as I fight with iOS and WordPress.

My number one goal was to finish reading Wings of Mayhem, by Sue Coletta. This I accomplished, but it worked kind of like this.

Open my Kindle app. Let Otto, the puppy outside.

Make coffee, let Otto inside.

Read a chapter, rescue the dirty laundry from Otto.

Microwave my cold coffee, let Otto outside.

Read a chapter, let Otto inside.

Read a chapter, rescue my foot from Otto's jaws.

Read a chapter, find Otto in my closet eating my shoes.

Read a chapter, walk the dog, repeat until the end.

I really enjoyed Sue's first book, Marred, but Wings of Mayhem is the best book I've read this year (so far). I gave her a five star review, and wished there was an extra star to award.

This never has been a book review blog so I'll stop here. Check out Wings of Mayhem yourselves.

I also sent off a list of desires for the cover of The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack II. I paid in advance and ordered four more pinup pieces. Some are for book promotion, and some are for other purposes. Fans of Lisa can watch this space, or host me when I'm ready to tour the new Notebook around and you can share the artwork on your own blogs. These will be pieces loosely related to one of the stories in the book.

I'm still toying with the idea of paying someone else to format this one. I could do it, but it seems like a reasonable thing to farm out. I scoped out Jo Robinson's services and they seem pretty reasonable. I have to finish editing and get some beta feedback before I decide. It should be finished before I send it out.

So ending on a high note; I did a small amount of editing, I have new cover art on the way, and I finished reading a great book.

Now that I have a few minutes to pay attention, Otto is sound asleep. I posted a video to the Facebook page of him in his new wading pool if you are interested.

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Filed under Writing

Date night, plus more Otto

This is a strange weekend for us. Old What’s Her Face* has to work on Sunday. Tomorrow we’re going to get the camper ready by draining all the antifreeze and whatnot. That means date night was tonight.

We had the prime rib special at Kahoots. I had a couple of nice beers too. The Huckleberry ale I had was pretty good; golden and scented like ripe berries. It tasted a bit like a Belgian style beer, which I really like. I finished my evening with a thick dark beer I really like called Irish Death. It’s kind of a staple at Kahoots.

I passed on the bread pudding, because my stomach said so. I get acid reflux if I have sweets too late in the day. They have the best bread pudding in town though.

After dinner, we went to a PetSmart down the road. We wound up spending more than we did on dinner. Otto is getting more active every day, and this includes chewing. He likes feet, chairs, hands, the lawn, rocks, pretty much everything he can fit in his mouth. My goals were something he can chew like a Kong toy, or a rawhide bone.

I’ve learned my lesson about bully breeds and rawhide, so I picked one out that was too big for him to swallow. Once he makes it mungy, it goes in the trash. I got a Kong toy too. Then I picked out a little squeaky ball for bath training. My wife is going through the the toys one at a time. Why wait is her motto.

He went insane over the little squeaky ball. I took an iPhone video, but WordPress doesn’t like it. I’ll try it on Facebook after I finish this update.

Here are a couple of Otto images for everyone.

In this first one, he likes the laundry room.

I picked out these shorts for you

Here’s one with his new ball, and I wish I could get the video to load.

Busy day tomorrow with the camper. Then I have to do two things associated with Lisa Burton Radio. Sometime this weekend I have to work up critique submissions for my group. I’d like to write some, but it may wind up being micro-fiction if I do any at all.

*Entertaining Stories: Protecting my wife’s identity since 2013.

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A little bit of work, a little goofing off

I managed a bunch of work on future Lisa Burton Radio posts. I have things in the works from the first questionnaire being sent out, to a final version that will go live Thursday. There are multiple exchanges between those bookends, and Lisa has some great guests coming up.

I wrote and sent off a requested guest post. This is more for me than my host. I get to promote the 99¢ sale for The Playground. I only noticed today that the dates I chose are from the 7th to the 11th. After that it goes back to its regular price. Seven and eleven, no superstition going on around here. No siree.

I wrote a fun Lisa Burton post, complete with new artwork that will go live tomorrow morning. WordPress is pissing me off with this one. This seems to be a random thing, but if I include a picture in a post, everything south of the picture doesn't format correctly.

I want a paragraph, followed by a space. Seems pretty simple doesn't it? WordPress insists that I don't really want my white space in the post. I've run it through both editors, multiple times, and it looks worse now than when I started. Now it looks like there isn't any spacing above the picture either.

The funny thing is that it looks perfect in the editor. It looks incorrect in the preview. Tune in tomorrow to see what fun surprises WordPress has in store for me. If I get up early enough, it may accept some edits after it posts live.

Funny, after writing this far, I see it's doing something similar for everything south of the link to my book sale. I wind up with a strange arrowhead and a tiny little tab after the link. I'll fix it, but I must check to see if it works correctly.

Karen posted my three quotes on her blog today. I have a hard time talking about myself. Ask me about my books, plot, characters, and I'm golden. Ask me to be myself, and I freeze. I'm glad she gave me a few days to come up with something reasonably intelligent.

We went to the new Captain America movie this afternoon. It's almost pure action, but there are some decent character moments in there too. Scarlet Johannsen changed her hair color on me, but I'll get over it. Also someone please get that Winter Soldier/Bucky guy a bottle of shampoo and a haircut. Oh, and Stan Lee stole the show. Cheers for him.

In other news, John Snow is alive, his sister fights with sticks, everyone else is posturing for what comes next. One little Stark brother is learning about the past so we get all the back story. One Stark sister is missing in action. The remaining Stark is in big assed trouble along with that Tonks chick from Harry Potter.

I also received a wonderful five star review for Wild Concept. It looks like the 99¢ sale for it delivered something. Maybe the occasional sale is a good thing. I have the same hope for The Playground. A few reviews might really nudge it along.

Hope you all had a great weekend. Back to the grind tomorrow.

 

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Filed under Writing

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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Filed under Writing