Friday, June 28, 2013

A love hate relationship with #Google

I admit it. I have a love/hate relationship with Google. I was an early adopter, quickly changing to Google as my search engine after years of poor search results from Yahoo!, AltaVista, Lycos, DogPile and more. When I got a chance to be a beta tester for Gmail, I jumped in with both feet. Then came the calendar, how wonderful! When I entered the blogging world, Blogger showed me the way. Of course then I needed Google Reader to read all my friends' blogs. Google Docs came next...I think you see the pattern.

Well, as Google brought out more new products that I loved and used, a little fear niggled at the back of my mind. "Are they going to become the next Microsoft? Am I becoming too dependent on them?" But I continued on, blinders firmly in place.

My first shock was the announcement that iGoogle was going away in November 2013. While I still used my personal MyWay.com page (which I transitioned to when Yahoo! ads drove me nuts), I had also grown to love my personalized iGoogle page. There was a frenzy of checking out alternatives, all put on the back burner because, well, November was a year away.

Then they announced that Google Reader was going away. Initially this wasn't an issue because I was using the standalone program, RSSOwl. But when I added an ultra notebook to my stable, it quickly became my primary laptop and since it had limited memory and hard drive space, I was back to reading blogs on my iGoogle page. Like others, I checked out the alternative all of whom were overloaded with people migrating their reader lists. I chose The Old Reader and migrated things over. BUT, it was still easier to read things on my iGoogle page so I continued to use it daily.

This morning I was in the middle of reading new blogs on iGoogle and suddenly I got an error message. The gadget no longer was valid. Sigh... Time to find a reasonable replacement for iGoogle. I ended up going back to NetVibes which I had tried initially but it seems to be much more fleshed out now. While my page isn't as clean looking as my old iGoogle page, it has all the basic information that I want and need.

So, have you replaced either Google Reader or iGoogle with an alternative? If so, what is it, how do you like it and how's it working for you?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Where have I been?

Oh here, there, everywhere, nowhere....just busy writing. And putzing around. And dieting. And putsing around. See the trend here? Hubby is off on a three week motorcycle trip and I'm supposed to be writing book two in my Klondike Mystery series, "Barely a Spark".

I got a good start, up to chapter five and going strong. But since this is my first series, I needed some input on how I'd started. Well, turns out I was giving away WAY too much about book one. So now it's time to start a rewrite of those first chapters.

I also got some good input from Anne R. Allen, about combining some of my blogs so I am less fragmented. Well, I took her advice and I am moving my Write 4 Ten blog to here. That means that starting July 1st, there will be a Write 4 Ten prompt every Monday and Thursday at midnight (ET).

Oh, and I plan to write some of my own flash fiction for Write 4 Ten as well as my other favorite flash sites (now listed on my Writing Friends page).

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Enough is Enough [3 minutes]

Enough is Enough [3 minute flash fiction]

She hated that smell. Why did he insist on smoking those damned cigars? No matter how many times she told him they gave her a headache, he just wouldn't stop. She swore he did it on purpose. Taking a deep breath, she opened the sewing basket sitting beside her rocker. Pulling out what she needed, she deftly threaded the sharp needle with black thread. Picking up the cloth in her lap, she stabbed the needle into the black fabric - over and over again, rapidly pulling the thread through. She ignored the slam of the back door and his shout that he was going to work in the basement. Over and over she punched holes in the cloth, sewing as though her life depended on it. Finishing with a sigh, she stuck the needle into her pin cushion and shook out the cloth. "That ought to fit," she muttered as she stood and held the large bag against her body. "Good thing he's short," she snorted. She laid it over the arm of the rocker and walked purposely into the kitchen. "Now where did I put that arsenic."

Thanks to Dan Mader, Unemployed Imagination, for the prompt/push.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

HOME [five sentence fiction]

HOME [five sentence fiction]

Memories assailed her senses as she surveyed what had once been her home, a home for generations of her family. Words and pictures flooded her mind: love, family, laughter, tears, sanctuary, nana and poppa, mom and dad, babies, siblings, water fights, pillow fights, board games, and the never-ending bumps, bruises and broken bones of an active childhood.

She started to walk away, knowing she would never return, when something on the ground glittered as the sunlight peeked through the clouds. She squatted and started digging out the object, quickly recognizing it as her mama's locket.

Tears fell to her hands as she pulled it out of the mud, her heart filling with warmth as she realized the house wasn't what was important; the floods may have taken the building but her family was what made a house a home.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

I can't read....


 Well, I can but when I am writing I find that I don't want to read. I'm not sure why. Maybe I'm afraid I'll end up putting someone else's ideas in my story? Maybe I don't want to take time away from writing? I suspect it mostly because when I read, I can't stop till the book is done. (Well, unless it's one of those rare few that I end up deleting before I finish...)

Of course then we have to toss in family time, friend time, errand time, housekeeping time, leisure time and of course we can't forget social media time.

What about you? Do you find yourself struggling to share time between hobbies? If you're a writer, do you still read while working on a project?

Friday, June 7, 2013

Arrrgh!!!

I just can't seem to get organized lately. I have so many little things that need to be done and I'm working on that group, I'm struggling to get back  involved with my social media accounts (well, except Facebook since I'm on there WAY too much), and I still haven't started back fiction writing.

I had all these great intentions of doing an #IWSG post, um, yesterday? No, two days ago. LOL! Yup, missed it but I promise to do it in June. Honest!

I did one productive thing today. Some other authors mentioned that Facebook has an author app. How cool is that? I added it to both my pages, My Write Spot and Klondike Mysteries.

Another project that I've been pursuing is an illustrator for a children's bedtime rhyming book I wrote about 15 years ago. I plan to publish it and donate all the proceeds to two children's charities in Ecuador (50/50 split). The illustrator is Kara Jaynes. You can see her work as both an illustrator and author with her children's book, Peach and Plum Blossom.

On a personal note, we bought our tickets for our move to Cuenca, Ecuador today. Our date moved by one day for the best rate...we fly out on December 12th after returning from our 7 day cruise to the Western Caribbean.

Okay...back to work!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Kindle Fire $20 off for Father's Day

Today's Amazon pages show a discount of $20 off any Kindle Fire HD tablet through June 8, 2013 when using a special promotional code.


The Promo Code DADSFIRE, used at checkout, will get you the $20 off any of these HD models.

Although it mentions that this discount with code is good through June 8, they add "Offer good while supplies last," which is wording commonly seen in any of these time-limited offers.

That means:
  • The 16 GB Kindle Fire HD 7-inch tablet would start at $179 for this time period, when using the promo code.
  • The 32 GB Kindle Fire HD 7-inch tablet would start at $209 (the 32 GB one is my recommendation, due to the large size of multimedia files.
  • The models with 'Special Offers' shown on the opening lock screen are always priced $15 lower than the ones without the special offers.

Monday, June 3, 2013

"Not a Whisper" needs two more reviews!

If you have bought, read and enjoyed my mystery novel, "Not a Whisper", but haven't posted a review on Amazon yet - PLEASE consider taking a few minutes to do so.

Never written a review on Amazon? Here are some step-by-step instructions with pictures to walk you through it.

No idea what to write? Pretend you're telling your best friend about the book and what you enjoyed. Also, take time to read the other reviews.

Why do I need two more reviews? Well, there is a new advertising opportunity for authors but a book must have 4.2 stars (DONE) and a minimum of 25 reviews. I have 23. :-(

Besides, all authors like to hear why you liked their book! So, TIA (thanks in advance).

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Whirlwind Month and Updates

Sorry for not posting more, we've been swamped with family visits, my grandson's HS graduation in Kansas, moving the RV from spot to spot (still don't have the repairs done, that has now been moved to Chattanooga sometime in July) and recovering my blog.

I'm hoping that those who followed it in the past can still find it. I have moved back to Blogger from Wordpress due to a major database snafu issue. I never recovered all my pages so will rebuild the missing ones (for each individual book) over the next few weeks.

We had an amazing time in Ecuador, check it out at our blog, Ecuador Bound. The big news is that in December of this year we are going to MOVE to Ecuador! Yup, you read that right...we'll be packing up and heading south of the equator (just barely). I'll still be writing, believe it or not we found better Internet access there than we had all winter in Florida. LOL!

I'm going to try to resurrect this blog a bit - reading back over last year's posts as I recovered them, I saw comments from so many friends. Friends that I miss chatting with - it's that fine line of where you spend your time. Writing, editing, publishing, and marketing - all in the middle of living life on a day to day basis.

Tomorrow we move our RV (home) from Delaware to our property in Tennessee. Hubby is getting ready for a three+ week motorcycle trip with friends. Me? I plan to spend the time getting the first draft of Barely a Spark, book two in the Klondike Mystery Series, written. I know I can do it if I really work on it - think NaNoWriMo. ;-)

Sales of Not a Whisper, the first in the Klondike Mystery Series, are still going well. You can purchase it at Amazon in both e-book and print format as well as from Smashwords. I am currently working on getting an audio version from Audible but don't expect it will be available for a couple of months.

So what are YOUR summer plans?

PS> Please tell your friends about my new site. You can subscribe to new blog posts on the right hand side of the blog. You can also bookmark: dbmcnicol.com for the website or dbmcnicol.com/blog/ for the blog. Thank you!!