Monday Musings: Garden Bounty, and Scriptito Woes

I’ve been canning (or “putting up,” as the quaint term goes) a lot these days. I’ve done several jars of refrigerator pickles, some dill and garlic dill, sweet pickle chips, pickled jalapenos, and two types of tomatoes. I’ve been trying to keep the San Marzano Roma type separate from the mixed garden varieties of tomatoes to see if there is a noticable difference when we use them this year. It’s a bit of work, yes, especially since I’ve been doing maybe half a dozen jars a day, but it will pay off this winter when we are using all that good stuff!

The nights are getting colder. If it wasn’t noticable because I’ve had to pull the down comforter up on a few, I would know by the look of the basil plants on the porch. Basil does not like cool weather, and it is starting to look a bit pale. Some of the tomato plants are beginning to look a bit worse for wear, as well. We are slowly winding down to the end of the gardening season, I am afraid.

I will need to do some different planning this winter for the garden. If we continue with the CSA we bought this year, I will need to adjust some of what I plant. It was a very good CSA, with things we use and we were very happy. I just want to avoid planting things we got a lot of from that, and concentrate more on the things we don’t. Always tomatoes, of course. Not only is it nice to pick a fresh, ripe tomato for eating right out there in the yard, but I can always use the extras for canning. And peppers, since we do like a variety of hot peppers. I’m going to turn one whole section of the raised beds to asparagus. It is only half now. So we will see how the plan works out over the winter.

On a completely different front, I had been trying out the Chrome app Scriptito for writing. It was a nice little app, at first. I liked the way it worked. I used it for the expansion of my novelette to novel length. It let me add all the chapter outlines in one place, and they were readily available for review. And it was pretty much out of the way when I was actually writing. So, what happened? Well, last week, on Thursday, I believe, I tried to log in to my account, and got an error page. That had happened once before, and waiting a bit was all that was needed. As of this morning, I still cannot get into my account. That just annoys me. I did decide about a week or so ago that I should copy the chapters I had written to files and save them in another location, just in case. Precognition? Perhaps. Of course, the night before the thing disappeared, I did not copy out that day’s work. So I lost about a chapter and a half. Better than ten, but a disappointment. I did email their support address, twice, and have gotten no response so far. It seems it will still allow you to create an account, but I would advise against it. Oh, well, at least I had the foresight to back up most of the work. Remember- back up all your work! Often!

And a reminder- you have till the end of the month to enter to win a copy of my book of short stories! Enter here:

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/105732-six-of-one-a-collection-of-short-fantasy

OR comment on this blog post:

http://makropp.wordpress.com/2014/09/01/monday-mania-psst-want-a-copy-of-my-book/

======================================================

Six of One

Six of One: A Collection of Short Fantasy by M.A. Kropp is a set of short fantasy stories. Meet wizards, imps, gangster angels, and frogs in this group of varied tales of magic and mischief. Escape from the everyday into worlds of fantasy with Six of One: A Collection of Short Fantasy.

 

Download a free sample or purchase in your favorite ebook format at:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/354855

Also available at:

Amazon: (Now also in paperback)

http://amzn.to/1brIXLN

 Apple iTunes Bookstore

 Barnes and Noble:

http://bit.ly/17DmCXz

Kobo:

http://bit.ly/16ZWZXf

 

Wednesday Wanderings: Yes, Fall In Love with a Reader, Cables Crowding Streets, A Very Cat Friendly House, and Intricate Papercut Art

Why you should fall in love with a reader (as if we didn’t already know we are the best):

http://elitedaily.com/life/culture/date-reader-readers-best-people-fall-love-scientifically-proven/662017/

These photos from the days when thousands of cables crowded the streets are kind of weird and kind of cool at the same time:

http://io9.com/photos-from-the-days-when-thousands-of-cables-crowded-t-1629961917

What this man did in his house for his cats is truly amazing! Mine would love this:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/tasmaiuppin/house-of-cats#1mm3c6z

The artistry in these papercut designs is breathtaking:

http://www.viralnova.com/papercut-art/?mb=pd

And a reminder- you have till the end of the month to enter to win a copy of my book of short stories! Enter here:

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/105732-six-of-one-a-collection-of-short-fantasy

OR comment on this blog post:

http://makropp.wordpress.com/2014/09/01/monday-mania-psst-want-a-copy-of-my-book/

======================================================

Six of One

Six of One: A Collection of Short Fantasy by M.A. Kropp is a set of short fantasy stories. Meet wizards, imps, gangster angels, and frogs in this group of varied tales of magic and mischief. Escape from the everyday into worlds of fantasy with Six of One: A Collection of Short Fantasy.

 

Download a free sample or purchase in your favorite ebook format at:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/354855

Also available at:

Amazon: (Now also in paperback)

http://amzn.to/1brIXLN

 Apple iTunes Bookstore

 Barnes and Noble:

http://bit.ly/17DmCXz

Kobo:

http://bit.ly/16ZWZXf

Monday Musings: Catching Up, and a Reminder on How to Get a Free Book

We were out of town again this weekend. We were running the judging area at a chili cook off in Connecticut. First time at this location, which was a park along a river bank. It was a day long festival with six or seven bands for entertainment, a whole line of food trucks, and the chili cook off. It was a good cook off, but the day could have been better. It was hot, humid, and sticky most of the day. Not exactly comfortable for the cooks or spectators. We were under a pavilion near the water, so we were shaded from the direct sun, and there was some breeze all day, but it was still not very pleasant. And, just as we were finishing up the red scoring, the skies opened up, and it POURED! That, of course, chased a lot of the public away. The cook off was pretty much wrapped up by then, but the festival was still going on until evening. The organizers were a bit disappointed, but certainly understood that you run into these things at outdoor events. We had a great time with all our chili friends, and look forward to the event next year.

About the bands- some good, some not so much, some just what the heck? The first band was supposedly an 80’s band, but their choice of music was, umm, odd. At one point, the lead singer was telling the crowd there would be bands playing all day and that “we are the worst band you will hear today.” Unfortunately, he wasn’t kidding! They launched into “The Time of My Life” from Flashdance, and neither one of the singers had the range to sing it, and the duet part was- well, lacking in the harmony parts is being kind. And then they tried ABBA! Yikes! The second band was pretty good- soul and blues, mostly. The next couple were ok, but nothing spectacular. Then came the really weird. These guys started out with The Beastie Boys, ran through a few other weird things, into Elvis, and then Vanilla Ice! What a mix of stuff! We didn’t stay much past that band, so I don’t know what was on later.

When we got home on Sunday, we did a bit of dinner prep, and then we took Lambeau for a long walk on the Derry rail trail. He’d been cooped up in his crate a lot over the weekend. Steph stayed at the house to take care of him, but she does have to work everyday, so he had to spend a lot of time in his crate. We figured he could use the time outside and active. He was better than I was afraid he’d be, and not as good as I want him to be. But we did know that we need to get him out to more places like that, so he gets used to more people, dogs, and other distractions. We are going to try to make the effort to do just that before we go into a level 3 obedience class. He just needs to learn a little bit of control and calmness, and that he can’t play with every dog he sees. It will take some time and effort, but I am confident we’ll get there.

On a completely different note:

We are heading into the second week of my book giveaway. If you missed last week’s post, I am giving away paperback copies of my short story collection, Six of One: A Collection of Short Fantasy.  You can enter on Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/105732-six-of-one-a-collection-of-short-fantasy

The other way to win is to add a comment to the original post here:

http://makropp.wordpress.com/2014/09/01/monday-mania-psst-want-a-copy-of-my-book/

And say you want to win a copy. If you tweet or post on Facebook the link to the that blog post, and use the hashtag #6of1giveaway, you will get an extra entry for each of those, as well.

Both contests will run until the end of the month, at which time I will send out the books.

 

======================================================
Six of One

Six of One: A Collection of Short Fantasy by M.A. Kropp is a set of short fantasy stories. Meet wizards, imps, gangster angels, and frogs in this group of varied tales of magic and mischief. Escape from the everyday into worlds of fantasy with Six of One: A Collection of Short Fantasy.

Download a free sample or purchase in your favorite ebook format at:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/354855

Also available at:

Amazon: (Now also in paperback)

http://amzn.to/1brIXLN

 Apple iTunes Bookstore

 Barnes and Noble:

http://bit.ly/17DmCXz

Kobo:

http://bit.ly/16ZWZXf

Monday Mania: Psst! Want A Copy of My Book?

I have made my short story collection, Six of One: A Collection of Short Fantasy, available as a print-on-demand paperback. I am also hosting a couple of giveaways to coincide with this new venture.

First, I am giving away ten copies of the book on Goodreads. If you are a Goodreads member, just go to

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/105732-six-of-one-a-collection-of-short-fantasy

and enter to win one. If you are not a Goodreads member, you can sign up for free.

Second, I am also giving away five copies of the book here on this blog. To enter here, just post a comment saying that you would like to win. If you want additional entries, tweet the link to this blog post with the hashtag #6of1giveaway. You can also post the link to Facebook,with the same hashtag. If you don’t use the hashtag, I may not see your entry. You’ll get an extra entry for each tagged post.

Both giveaways run till the end of the month, at which time I will randomly pick five winners from the blog comments and tagged posts, and Goodreads will notify me of the winners there. I’ll get your books to you asap after September 30.

All I’m asking in return is that you review the book after you’ve read it. If you are a Goodreads winner, you can post your review there, and if you would be kind enough to copy/paste it to Amazon, B&N, or wherever you get your e-books from, that would be lovely. For those who win on the blog, wherever you would like to post your reviews is more than appreciated.

Oh, and for those who may prefer a digital copy, I will be making the e-book available for free for the first week of September on Smashwords.  You can get a Kindle format copy at Smashwords. Amazon won’t let me list it as free, so I’ll drop it to 99 cents there, as that is the lowest price they allow.  Links are below. Again, all I ask is that you post a review after you’ve read it.

Thank you, and Good Luck!

 

======================================================
Six of One

Six of One: A Collection of Short Fantasy by M.A. Kropp is a set of short fantasy stories. Meet wizards, imps, gangster angels, and frogs in this group of varied tales of magic and mischief. Escape from the everyday into worlds of fantasy with Six of One: A Collection of Short Fantasy.

Download a free sample or purchase in your favorite ebook format at:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/354855

Also available at:

Amazon: (Now also in paperback)

http://amzn.to/1brIXLN

 Apple iTunes Bookstore

 Barnes and Noble:

http://bit.ly/17DmCXz

Kobo:

http://bit.ly/16ZWZXf

CreateSpace: (paperback)

https://www.createspace.com/4916076

Wednesday Wanderings: Crystal Cave, WInd and Ocean Currents, Carousels, and Creative Inventions

Mexico’s Naica mine:

http://www.discoverychannel.com.au/images/the-cave-of-crystals/

Neat look at wind and ocean currents across the globe. Click on the word “earth” for the menu:

http://earth.nullschool.net/

If you know me, you know I love carousels. Here are ten really nice ones:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/tjane/top-10-carousels-in-america-to-check-out-5r4h

For those who have everything, or so you thought:

http://www.boredpanda.com/useful-creative-inventions/

 

 

======================================================
Six of One

Six of One: A Collection of Short Fantasy by M.A. Kropp is a set of short fantasy stories. Meet wizards, imps, gangster angels, and frogs in this group of varied tales of magic and mischief. Escape from the everyday into worlds of fantasy with Six of One: A Collection of Short Fantasy.

Download a free sample or purchase in your favorite ebook format at:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/354855

Also available at:

Amazon: (Now also in paperback)

http://amzn.to/1brIXLN

 Apple iTunes Bookstore

 Barnes and Noble:

http://bit.ly/17DmCXz

Kobo:

http://bit.ly/16ZWZXf

CreateSpace: (paperback)

https://www.createspace.com/4916076

Tuesday Thoughts

There was no Monday Musings post yesterday. We were away for the weekend at a chili cook off, and I needed yesterday for a recovery day. Funny thing is, I didn’t really feel as tired as I usually do right after the cook off on Saturday, but by the time we stopped for lunch on the way home Sunday, I was wiped. And I still felt it yesterday, so I decided to put this post off until today.

The cook off was great. We like Maine State. It’s a well-run, fun cook off. We and a group of cooks stay at the same hotel, and we have a potluck dinner after the cook off on Saturday evening. We started that a few years ago, when we realized that we all would come back to the hotel, jump in the pool or hot tub for a bit, sit around and talk and laugh, and then everyone left to go to different places for dinner. Now, we can enjoy the company and food all evening. It’s a nice cook off, and a very enjoyable weekend.

The paperback copies of my book should be here today. I am excited to see how it looks actually printed for real. I’m planning a few fun things for September, so stay tuned for that. Meanwhile, it’s available as an ebook at all the usual places, and on CreateSpace and Amazon as print on demand. Links are below this post.

With the rest of the writing, I am still working on the expansion of the novelette to full novel status. It is going pretty well, and I did get my goal words in yesterday. I have given myself a deadline to get this draft done, and I figure if I give in every time I don’t really feel like writing, I will never get it done on time. That’s one of the advantages, to me, of being an outliner. If I don’t feel the energy to write, I don’t have to worry about figuring out where to go next. I can look at the chapter outline, and I have a place to start. That is usually all I need- a start. Once I get going, I can almost always keep moving forward.

I can’t believe Lambeau will be a year old in a couple months. It seems we just got him from the Animal Rescue League such a short time ago. He’s grown so much from the little puppy I could carry in my arms! He’s doing pretty well with his training. He’s very good for me here, most of the time. He still gets a bit too overexcited at class with the other dogs, but he is starting to settle out and work with me a bit faster.

That’s what’s been going on. A day late, but better late than never, right?

 

======================================================
Six of One

Six of One: A Collection of Short Fantasy by M.A. Kropp is a set of short fantasy stories. Meet wizards, imps, gangster angels, and frogs in this group of varied tales of magic and mischief. Escape from the everyday into worlds of fantasy with Six of One: A Collection of Short Fantasy.

Download a free sample or purchase in your favorite ebook format at:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/354855

Also available at:

Amazon: (Now also in paperback)

http://amzn.to/1brIXLN

 Apple iTunes Bookstore

 Barnes and Noble:

http://bit.ly/17DmCXz

Kobo:

http://bit.ly/16ZWZXf

CreateSpace: (paperback)

https://www.createspace.com/4916076

Wednesday Wanderings: If Disney Posters Were Honest, He-Man Facts, School Dance Picture Fails, and Nature’s Light Shows

Some are a bit simplified, and most put the movies in an unfavorable light, but if you were brutally honest, these redone Disney movie posters tell the truth:

http://bit.ly/1ssaatr

Sticking with the animation theme, here are 12 things you may not know about He-Man and the Masters of the Universe:

http://bit.ly/1rYOfWJ

Photo Fails- school dance pictures that make you go “Hmmmm”. What were they thinking?:

http://guff.com/these-school-dance-photos-will-make-you-cringe/

And out of the snarky into the beauty that is nature, here are some spectacular photos of natural places that glow, flash, and put on dazzling light shows:

http://news.distractify.com/travel/you-look-so-pretty-in-the-dark/?v=1

Monday Musings: Iced

I was challenged to the ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) ice bucket challenge. For anyone (is there anyone?) who hasn’t heard about it, you are challenged by a friend, relative, or maybe enemy to either donate $10 to ALS and dump a bucket of ice water over your head, or skip the ice bath and donate $100. You are to video yourself dumping the ice, and post it online as proof. And you get to challenge others to do the same.

I haven’t checked lately, but I believe that last figures I saw were around $11 million in donations. I have to say, it was a clever idea, and whoever thought of it was inspired. It’s a relatively easy thing to do. My video was under two minutes, and I’d guess the entire thing, including changing out of the wet clothes, took about 15 minutes. It’s not a huge time commitment like a carnival, or a race or walk. You don’t need special equipment, nor do you have to travel to do it. $10 is an reasonable donation for most people. The charity is certainly a deserving one. It’s simple, entertaining, and really, brilliant.

It’s gone viral, of course. There are videos everywhere of people dousing themselves with ice water. I guess there are some who find it annoying, but I’ve been amused with the reactions. Let me tell you, that water is COLD! LOL And it has attracted the attention of the famous, as well as you and I. I have seen videos from Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, George Takei, and John Barrowman.

Oh, I suppose there are those who are challenged who will just ignore it, for any number of reasons. Some, I am sure, are valid. Some, I am also sure, will be more rationalizations than real reasons, but that’s the way it is with everything. A lot of people are embracing it, and having some fun while supporting research that may, some day, find a cure for ALS.

So, if YOU haven’t done the challenge yet- consider this your call out! 24 hours to either donate $10 and dump a bucket of ice water over your head (with video proof) or a $100 donation to ALS. Go!

http://www.alsa.org/

Wednesday Wanderings: Pink Sky Wisteria, Creative Recycling, Amusing Signs, and Gorgeous Wooden Cabinet

An incredibly beautiful wisteria in Japan:

http://themetapicture.com/this-144-year-old-wisteria-in-japan-looks-like-a-pink-sky/

Creative ways to reuse 2 liter plastic bottles:

http://themetapicture.com/some-people-just-throw-plastic-bottles-away-others-make-this/

Some rather funny signs (yes, you should step back and read it after you put those letters up):

http://bit.ly/1syRNmt

This cabinet is just amazingly beautiful (even if it is a beetle):

http://themetapicture.com/very-few-things-are-as-unique-as-this-beetle-cabinet/

======================================================
Six of One

Six of One: A Collection of Short Fantasy by M.A. Kropp is a set of short fantasy stories. Meet wizards, imps, gangster angels, and frogs in this group of varied tales of magic and mischief. Escape from the everyday into worlds of fantasy with Six of One: A Collection of Short Fantasy.

Download a free sample or purchase in your favorite ebook format at:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/354855

Also available at:

Amazon: (Now also in paperback)

http://amzn.to/1brIXLN

 Apple iTunes Bookstore

 Barnes and Noble:

http://bit.ly/17DmCXz

Kobo:

http://bit.ly/16ZWZXf

Monday Musings: Amazon v. Hachette v. Authors v. Everyone

By now, I think most have heard about the pricing war being waged by Amazon and the publishing house, Hachette. The short version of the now ridiculously drawn out battle is that Amazon wants to be able to cap the price on e-books sold through Amazon regardless of what the publisher or author may want. Hachette does not want Amazon to tell them how to price their books. 

Everyone in the writing world seems to have an opinion on this clash of the titans. As a reader, would I like to have e-books priced low? Sure, I would. I would also like my food prices lower, and clothing, and cars, and just about everything else, too. As an author, with a book for sale through KDP, Amazon’s Kindle publishing arm, I’m not sure how I feel about Amazon saying “You can charge up to this much for your book, and no more. Ever. (Well, unless we decide to change the terms at some point in the future, which we might, and then you have to deal with those.)”  

Of course, both sides are spinning the conflict to put themselves in the right, and the other guy in the wrong. Amazon claims that e-books should be cheap because there is less overhead. In some areas, yes; in others; no. Editing, artwork, proofing, it all costs money, and for some, that can add up. And all of that comes out of the “profit” the book earns, no matter who publishes it. Amazon also claims that lowering the cost of a book means more sales and more profit, and if a book is too pricey, then readers will buy something else. It sounds good, in theory, and probably works for some titles. But-

Readers are not solely driven by price. Have you ever bought a book by your favorite author on the release date, at the hardcover price, even though you know the cheaper paperback will be out in a matter of months? Of course you have. So have I. We’ve also looked at an e-book we really want to read, thought “Geez, that seems a lot for an e-book,” but clicked the Buy button anyway. John Scalzi talks about the pricing issues quite well here: Amazon’s Latest Volley 

He also refers to the email Amazon sent out to all of its KDP authors. I got it, and I have to say, I agree with most of the opinions being voiced. Cheap tactic, not very professional, and trying to get us (those selling books on Amazon) to do exactly what Amazon is accusing Hachette of doing: putting the authors in the middle of the fight. You can read it here: Readers United 

On the other side, is this New York Times article, which is tilted in the other direction. Both are biased, and certainly don’t give the whole story.

Another comment on that Amazon letter, this time from Chuck Wendig: In Which Amazon Calls You To Defend the Realm 

For the record, I’m not selling a ton on Amazon. I’m probably ranked about 90 bajillion there. I’m not 100% happy with some of the things Amazon does. I have not personally dealt with traditional publishing, but I know enough people and read enough that I am aware that things are not always kittens and unicorns in that world, either. I have no stake in the fight, and, really, no author does. This is a fight between two large (or in Amazon’s case, behemoth) companies over money. Because that is the real issue here. Neither one of the two is doing any of this out of the pure, golden goodness of their heart. They are doing it because they feel the other way will hurt their business. That is the bottom line: business. 

So, c’mon, Amazon, call it like it is. You, too, Hachette. Stop the NYT ads. Stop the emails, and the sponsored posts, and all the other crap. Trust me, I am not emailing anyone on the behalf of Amazon or Hachette. It’s disrespectful, and a low tactic to ask me to. It’s time to stop the name-calling and other bullshit, and work this thing out. Meanwhile, I’m going to go write another chapter or two. 

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