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Messages - Brevoort

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Writers' Cafe / Re: The Canadian Authors Support Thread
« on: December 08, 2017, 08:55:52 am »

The five day forecast for Calgary shows 10 degrees Celsius and higher for each day. I can't help but fear that we will pay a fearful price for this freakish weather in the coming weeks. What goes way up in Alberta has a nasty habit of crashing far down within hours.

Writers' Cafe / Re: ?'s about Author's Central & search availability
« on: November 21, 2017, 02:54:55 pm »
Thanks so much Anma. Very helpful

Writers' Cafe / ?'s about Author's Central & search availability
« on: November 21, 2017, 10:11:37 am »
I uploaded my book to .COM yesterday and it went Live within hours. It has just appeared on CO.UK but not yet on .CA

And I right in thinking that this is just a propagation issue and it will appear on the other Amazon pages in its own good time?

Does the same thing apply to the Search function? For example: when I search on .COM for Cobra Flight, nothing relevangt appears, but if I search on Cobra Flight Rick Grant, there it is. On the U.K. site, just the title is sufficient in Books.

Now as for Author's Central. I built my personal internal Amazon site on .COM but it did not propagate to the U.K. site. Am I right in thinking that I will have to fill out one of these things on each of the Amazon sites?

I've tried searching on all this but quite frankly my thinking processes have been slowed by the launch complexities so I would appreciate some advice.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Poll: What gets you past writer's block without fail?
« on: October 14, 2017, 02:27:20 pm »

A long time ago I was chatting with Lawrence Block (if you don't know him, he is a writer's writer) and he highly recommended Jerry Mundis' "Beat Writer's Block Now"

At the time, early 90's, I was doing script doctor work for a Saturday morning type kid's animation show that had a pretty fair stable of writers. In asking around I discovered that they almost all had used the book, in some cases to overcome very severe Writer's Block attacks.

It is a remarkably clear and effective book. I just checked and it is available as an ebook.

Of course, the very best way of avoiding the problem in the first place is to hire out as a journalist in a serious goat-feeding newsroom staffed by specially bred fire breathing editors

I learned (sadly) that this type of plagiarism is surprisingly common in poetry. Plagiarists blame some kind of technique they use to get into the zone that lets them reflect existing material. I have no idea how it works (. . .)

The practice is called "intertextuality" and a dismaying number of poets seem to think that it is a legitimate form of creative endeavour.

To explain it crudely, imagine taking a novel, changing the names of the characters, changing the names of cities, changing whatever else you feel like but keeping the same plot and structure, and then calling it your own. Pretty scummy, but as I said it is a somewhat common technique and there are many who vigorously defend the practice in print. Inevitably these apologists point to Shakespeare as validation because he got his plots from other works.

There is a good explanation in The Guardian about this particular case that goes into the whole intertextuality thing in good detail.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Temporarily writing on my phone - suggestions?
« on: August 15, 2017, 10:26:30 am »

Does anyone, who has written on their phone, have any suggestions on pitfalls to avoid while I am writing on my Android?

Use a folding bluetooth keyboard and either a credit card sized folding stand for the phone or a suction cup type wall hanger. (Stick the hanger to the phone and arrange things so the hook of the hanger becomes the angled support for the phone on the table)

If you have some carrying room in a bag or some such you can go for either a full sized BT keyboard or something a little more compact. The Logitech K380 Multi-Device has an excellent keyboard feel and will connect to Android/Mac/IOS/Windows and etc at the touch of one of three buttons. It is just 11" wide.

You can certainly use Word if you want but GDocs, Evernote, and an endless number of writing apps are fine.

Set the phone in either orientation, it really doesn't matter. Depending on your eyesight it is possible that you might have to increase the size of the screen font but it is amazing how quickly we can adapt to writing on a small screen. Forget editing. It can be done, but that small screen makes it tedious beyond belief.

My personal setup, which I use several times a day in all out of the office situations, is a Samsung S7 (any phone will do really), a credit card sized folding phone stand, and a Stowaway Igo folding keyboard with its built in stand removed. The Stowaway has not been made for about 10 years but lots and lots of people consider it the best BT keyboard ever made, which accounts for the very high prices on eBay for them.

But there are a lot of folding keyboards out there. Just read the reviews carefully because some of them have quite crippling design flaws such as large gaps between the two keyboard halves, no lock to keep them open when typing on your lap, and poor battery life.

The ultimate writing and editing set up for mobile is of course Scrivener for IOS. There is no Android version coming as far as I know. It bought a used three year old Apple Mini just so I could use Scrivener on it but it doesn't get daily use.

The ultimate mobile writing instrument, apart from paper, is in my opinion the AlphaSmart Neo. There are very large threads about it on this board so I won't go further other than to say that if you want something which has no built in distractions, cannot connect to the internet, that will allow you to blast out straight draft wordage at incredible speeds and which can be treated as carelessly and as tough as you like in car trunks, bags, and on bike racks then have a look at the Neo. They are only available used -- at about 25 - 40$

Writers' Cafe / Re: A dictation hack worth mentioning
« on: July 21, 2017, 09:33:10 am »
Has anyone had any luck using a dictation product on an android phone? I'd like to try dictating while walking the dog, but I don't own an iphone.

Nuance makes a Dragon recording app for Android called Dragon Anywhere. For my taste it is pricey and is not available world-wide.

If you have a version of Dragon on the desktop that supports Transcription then that is a good way to go. (Note: not all versions support transcription and certainly none of the "Dragon Home" editions.)

Just use any number of excellent voice recorder programs available in Android to capture your thoughts. A voice recorder app that will email your file or put it into the cloud automatically is very convenient. Then just use Dragon to import the file as a Transcription. Most Dragon voice commands are supported. The same setup works very well using a portable hand-held recorder, but without the cloud/email feature.

If you are at all shy about walking around in public babbling into the sky then a phone app is perfect because to anyone else it just looks like you are having a phone conversation, at which point you become invisible. The same thing happens with a hand held recorder if you just hold it as though it were a phone -- social invisibility.

Dragon's transcription abilities have improved greatly and the latest version (Ver. 15 Professional Individual) gave me virtually flawless text right out of the box. It also works well in noisy environments such as a car at highway speeds, and when walking and hiking.

Writers' Cafe / Re: If you have an Alphasmart Neo....
« on: July 10, 2017, 09:59:22 am »

Here is a picture of mine It is just a self tapping metal/plastic 3/8" long Phillips round head screw. You won't have any trouble finding it in a hardware store but you may have to buy a whole package of them. Anything that would fit the diameter of the hole and is not longer than 3/8" and screws down flush with the holder would  work since you are only going into soft plastic.

Writers' Cafe / Re: What makes a 100k author?
« on: June 11, 2017, 09:46:38 am »
It's a favorite and famous fighter-pilot boast. (The balls, in this case, are at the top of the throttle lever.)

Correct. It is an expression from sometime in the Korean War to mean, full-out, maximum effort, Warp Factor Whatever.

It has to do with the design of the throttle and propeller control quadrants in fighter aircraft. In order to go at maximum speed suddenly, one shoves the throttle and prop control levers full forward in the direction of the firewall and engine. "Going all out."

The levers were, and to some extent still are, topped by large balls. In single engine jet fighters there will only be one lever to shove forward, no prop.

There is no anatomical association.

For me, the $100 to upgrade to Vellum Print was a no-brainer, one that makes sense for my business. If it isn't the case for yours, surely it's easy enough not to buy it.

Well said.

When I bought Vellum about two and a half years ago, for what I think was a special price of 50% off for the unlimited version, I really thought that I had made out like a bandit because the program was so slick and efficient at what it did. I was also, and still am, blown away by the clarity and thoroughness of the online support documentation. Add to that the exemplary level of support the company provides directly to users.

As far as I am concerned Vellum 2.0 is a real jump in capability and efficiency. I am quite happy to hand over the $100.

And, I need to point out, that this is a business expense and therefore deductible.

I simply do not have a single thing to complain about in the current structure and I hope they use some of my money for a well deserved celebratory fancy cocktail.

Writers' Cafe / Re: ACX now open to Canada and Ireland
« on: June 01, 2017, 08:38:49 am »
Nice. Thanks for the note

Writers' Cafe / Re: Vellum for Print gets a release date!
« on: May 18, 2017, 03:24:12 pm »

I'd like to add myself to the chorus clamoring to send money for V 2.0

I have never had software before that was so clear and simple in operation, so intuitive, and backed by a company that really takes customer service to heart. And that extends to the superb documentation and explainers on their website.

Now I have some questions based on an assumption if I may.

Am I correct in that once I have my epub/mobi file formatted I can just ingest that file directly into Vellum's print version section and kick out a file that will work directly in CreateSpace? Would it include the spine and backcover stuff, assuming I have the graphics for those?

Does this mean that I will not have to import my raw copy into Word, apply styles etc, and then export as PDF --that I can free myself of Word altogether?

[/size](If the new version doesn't work that way then that's okay because I will still upgrade)

Writers' Cafe / Re: MacBook Pro: Best screen size for a writer?
« on: May 03, 2017, 09:47:34 am »

Any other important considerations from a writer's point of view?

There is a lot of personal preference to be gone through in answering this question but here are some of the things that I've come to think are important about screen size and MacBooks, although they also pertain to other types of laptops.

In any writing setup I personally consider the touch, feel, and quality of the keyboard as paramount. I currently use a MBPro 13" (mid 2014) which has a lovely keyboard. I've since tried some of the later MB's but none of the keyboards suit me.

Size: The screen size for composition or drafting can be radically different from what is needed for editing, layout, and graphics work.

I can write clean draft copy on what would be considered very small screens. I have, and do on a regular basis, write on a Samsung S7 Edge phone with a Bluetooth keyboard. I also use Scrivener on an iPad Mini with a BT keyboard. Almost every day I use an AlphaSmart Neo with a 4 line display.

And we are not talking about short and trivial emails. I generate a lot of non-fiction in the shape of analytic reports and briefing documents for my consulting clients in addition to my own private writing.

Such small screens work extremely well for drafting because one really does not have to look at what has been written in order to continue, as long as there is a clear focus to the writing process. The ancient and battle tested precept from hard journalism that nothing will improve your writing and your writing speed as much as being able to state your story in one sentence before you begin, is way more important than what computer you use.

If you are a touch typist who is able to rattle along on a portable keyboard tied to a minuscule screen then you can spend just as much time looking around at the trees and birds and passing traffic as you do staring at the screen. This is because the act of composition is very similar to how one goes about dictating a story, or actually telling a story to someone. You don't need to stare at the screen when your write. I might argue that seeing the screen at all can interfere greatly with the creative process.

But, to effectively use something like Scrivener, or for any kind of serious editing software, and certainly for print layout and graphic work, the bigger the screen the better.

So what is the in-between?

Your question implies a need for a mobile machine. If you are moving about using a vehicle then larger sizes really don't matter. But, for work in the proverbial coffee shop (beats me how people can work in them but . . .) or at a park picnic table then the limitation probably can be found in the size of the hand or shoulder bag you are willing to lug around, and that is very personal.

I have found, and again this is only about my personal preferences and not anyone else's, that a 13" machine will fit in just about any spare camera or shoulder bag I have. The extra inches on a 15" machine really seem to swell the size of bag needed. It's not just another two inches but rather a spatial expansion that somehow becomes just too much for easy portability.

I find a 13" MBPro screen to suit me just fine for Word and Scrivener editing, Adobe Lightroom photo editing, and anything along the lines or a sprawling MindMap diagram that requires serious real estate.

If you don't need the easy portability of a smallish and light bag thrown over the shoulder or strapped to the back of a bike then by all means go for a larger machine.

Regardless of the size or make of laptop, be it a MBPro, Windows, or Chromebook, the keyboard will determine how much enjoyable work you will get out of it, so make sure you give anything that you are looking at a serious typing test.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Review: This was not believable lol
« on: April 04, 2017, 09:27:58 am »

The burden of believably is on you, the author. You have to make me believe that the aliens are real, the vampires, whatever. You have to make me believe in the story, make me think the world you created is existing. In the context of the story and characters, it has to be believable. It has nothing to do with what exists in "real" life or not. You have to make it come alive. Make it alive, make it believable. This goes for the fantastical and for the close to life stories.

While I am reading I want to be there. Be it a small town in England today, be it in 1812 regency time, be it in 2050 New York City with flying cars. To be there, things have to make sense in the context of where they exist. Our imagination is vast, but it still has to be believable.

You know, this is possibly one of the best descriptions of how and why a writer must create a "Willing Suspension of Disbelief" in the reader. It belongs on one of those "Best Advice to Writers" quotation lists.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Offsite Backup and natural disasters
« on: March 08, 2017, 08:59:02 am »
You don't need to use new tech even. Email your wip to yourself at the end of the day :) I did that for years before the "cloud" was even thought of.

Now that, is a brilliant idea. One copy to gMail and a c.c. to another account. Always available, unless things go all Z Nation of course.

Writers' Cafe / Re: sudden sales spike I can't explain [resolved]
« on: March 03, 2017, 09:31:18 am »
I used ACX and hired a narrator through the normal audition process.

Steve Carlson was an excellent choice as narrator. I found his voice acting just perfect for the tone and cadence of the girl's point of view. It truly is a terrific book Gene and I was sorry when I came to the end of it. But, I understand that there might be a sequel in the works?

I am ashamed that I will let a sore throat or the sniffles ruin my day. For her to be able to write through migraine headaches and more is just downright amazing and courageous.

First off Sean, I want to say that there is a freshness and a boldness to your designs and I wonder why I never paid attention to your posts before.

I see that the way to go under your current special pricing for Kboards is the custom cover route. Originally I was interested in a pre-made but the custom version is a better deal.

That said, there is a pre-made design that looks good for a future project. Do you have a mechanism or policy that allows me to purchase and warehouse a cover until I have a title, blurb etc, or do you need it all at the same time as purchase?

And, what about audio book covers?

Writers' Cafe / Re: Describing guns in a story?
« on: February 12, 2017, 06:08:56 pm »
If you don't get things EXACTLY right with the guns, the reviewers will chew you a new one.

That is a very important point.

I have a long background in military and civil aviation and like those who know a lot about weapons my reading comes to an utter and complete halt when the writer messes up a point of aviation technology. Television is worse, in fact I am pretty sure that I have never watched a television drama featuring aircraft that didn't simply, and completely, mess it all up.

My social circle contains three doctors, none of whom will watch even a second of a television medical drama. It is all Fake News to them and really makes them angry.

I would say that if you don't know the difference between an assault rifle and an assault weapon, or which way the safety goes on a particular weapon, or even if it has one, then drag in a gun aficionado as a consultant.

But, put me down as someone who likes details in general when they illustrate plot or character. It's like the weather; if it doesn't matter to the story then don't put it in.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Need help with my Alphasmart!
« on: February 02, 2017, 10:16:47 pm »
Erm, I mentioned it upthread but you might have me on ignore, which if so, carry on. :)

Sorry Jim,

I simply did not see it and not only do I not have you on ignore, I pay attention to the many insightful  posts you put up.

Sorry again

Writers' Cafe / Re: Need help with my Alphasmart!
« on: February 02, 2017, 12:19:34 pm »
Do you mean a USB flash drive? That would be very handy option as well.

I never thought of using a USB drive but I have just tried it out and indeed you can send TXT files from the Neo, through the Neo Manager Program, to a USB or SD drive. I didn't try it the other way because I can't think of any reason why I would want a TXT file sent to the Neo, but I suppose it would work.

The advantage of sending files directly from Neo to computer is a vastly increased speed, and no need to leave the PC idle as you transmit into a word processor, and then having do a Save.

The transmission rate on a character by character basis is quite low, I am guessing about 300 baud. A direct file transfer looks to be at USB port speeds. You can also send all of your files at once instead of one by one.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Need help with my Alphasmart!
« on: February 02, 2017, 09:50:16 am »
One thing that hasn't been mentioned in this thread is that the Alphasmart can send your work as text files using the Alphasmart Neo Manager software on the PC. I believe there is a link to the software elsewhere in this thread.

Sending files by USB is much much faster than having the Neo offload your work into a wordprocessing program one at a time and doesn't tie up the PC in the process.

There is a huge thread elsewhere in this forum that is worth having a look through. The Neo was a brilliant bit of tech that really lets you just get on with the writing.

Writers' Cafe / "Amazon, a Venegeful Simplistic God" - Adam Dreece
« on: January 17, 2017, 01:55:06 pm »
I don't see this anywhere on the board but apologies if it has already been posted.

Canadian author Adam Dreece is getting a fair bit of media attention for his web postings about how Amazon carpet bombed his whole KDP account and won't say why.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Smashwords to start paying monthly
« on: December 31, 2016, 08:57:07 pm »
do yourself a favor and go direct with Kobo. It was very easy to set up.

I agree. I have my virtual Border Collies at work lining up the ducks for a publish early in the year and have reserved Kobo, Apple, and Google for myself. Was going to set up D2D but these changes in Smashwords, especially the tax info procedure, now make Mark Coker's operation the preferred route for other channels.

I especially wanted to keep Kobo for myself because it appears to do very well indeed with Canadian readers whereas not so much.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Smashwords to start paying monthly
« on: December 31, 2016, 08:23:59 pm »
The bit that jumped out at me was that Smashwords has implemented an on-line tax treaty code system like Amazon and others that does not require the manual filing of US government forms to get an IRS EIN and mailing stuff back and forth.

"In what was probably our biggest development project of the year, we redesigned our payment settings page.  It enables improved tax compliance for the large number of Smashwords authors and publishers who reside outside the United States.  These authors and publishers no longer need to endure the US IRSí convoluted process for obtaining IRS-issued tax identification numbers in order to obtain the tax treaty benefits of reduced tax withholdings."

On the web site the FAQ in question is not as clear but it does appear that I can use my Canadian S.I.N. , answer some online tax questions, and be done with it.

If so then Smashwords will be getting some of my business.

It is also nice to see that they are still turning a profit and hold no debt.

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