Instalment #3 in our Check It Out! series of book recommendations: Lee Strauss’ You Can’t Catch Me, the third part of The Gingerbread Man book, hot off the press today! It wraps up the story of Marlow, Sage and Teagan, but not before throwing yet another interesting twist in your way! If you haven’t read the beginning of the story yet, Part 1 is still free on Amazon and other ebook sites.
Monthly Archives: January 2015
No, I’m not talking about the micro-blogging site (although you can find me on there now, too – follow me here). I’m talking about the racket the birds are making at the bird feeder. They are incredibly noisy. The sound of birds chirping isn’t exactly the auditory connection you make with the middle of winter, is it? Birds go with spring, 5:30 AM, sunrise, unable to sleep. Well, this morning (it’s a Saturday, so I got to sleep in) the sparrows, juncos and finches at the bird feeder were doing their best to get me up at about 8:00, not long after it got light.
Actually, no, they had no idea that this great lump of humanity who fills up the seeds in their buffet was trying to sleep just around the corner from Chez Birdy (Chez Oiseau?). They were just bickering over the food. It probably goes something like this: “Hey, move over! Hey, that was my seed! Hey, hey, you got three black sunflower seeds last time, hey, let me at it, it’s my turn now! Hey, out of the way! Hey, you got to mate with that pretty chick last season, at least you could let me at the millet! Hey, quit picking on me! Hey, I want those! Eeeep cheep cheep, movement at the window!” [Everyone flutters away.] “Hey, all clear now! Hey, let me have those! Hey, I saw that seed first! Hey…”
Here’s the bird feeder progression over the last month. From no snow and bitter cold, to a little snow, to a massive dump on Monday, to a thaw the last couple of days. As soon as there is any access to the feeder, the little chirpers are back again, and bickering. “Hey, that’s my seed! Hey, let me have that! Hey…”
Life, the Universe, and Bird Feeder Bickering. The original Twitter.
Okay, this is going to be something new. In the self-publishing world, one of the things writers do for each other is to advertise each others’ books, sometimes in things called Book Blitzes or such-like. So far, I’ve not done that for a number of reasons – the biggest one being that I do not want to advertise something I haven’t read, let alone endorse.
However, there are books out there I want to advertise, books written by friends of mine, or just plain good books. New books, at that, but sometimes older ones or even classics. So, because I’m a writer, a book lover, and a librarian for whom recommending books is sort of a knee-jerk reaction, I’m going to start a series of posts where I’ll periodically let you know about stuff that’s out there for purchase that I think is worth your while (in time and/or money) to check out.
And here is the first one of these: RUN RUN RUN by Lee Strauss!
BRAND NEW AND HOT OFF THE PRESS! FREE TODAY! SECOND PART COMING TOMORROW, THIRD PART NEXT WEEK! (There, have I done enough shouting? I’ll stop now, but I mean, really, do check it out!)
(Fancy graphics and fonts and what-not by Lee – I haven’t figured out how to do that myself yet. Another thing on the to-do list.)
FRINGE meets CASTLE in this New Adult Sci-fi Mystery Suspense.
Episode release dates:
1) Run Run Run – December 31
Okay, okay, I was never an early adopter – the only reason we got a computer when we did (1996, refurbished machine with Windows 3.1. I know, right?) was that I happen to be married to a nerd who figured it would be useful for business purposes sometime down the line (it was). And then we got on the Internet in 1997 because we signed up to an online homeschooling program that loaned us a fully-loaded computer complete with dial-up net connection. I can still hear that crreeech-bip-bip-bop-beep-bip sound of the modem when it was dialling. The password was an eight-letter string of gobbledigook which we memorised because we had to type it in every time we went online, for anything.
Other than that, the earliest adoption of new technology was my Kobo ebook reader – I got that in the fall of 2010, when ebook readers were the new & hot thing. And the only reason I got it then was that I wanted something other than a computer screen to read pdf’s on for school (I was still in undergrad at that time). Turned out the Kobo is lousy for pdf’s, but great for reading actual books – so I got sucked into using new technology sort of by a side road.
That’s what happened with the smartphone, too. I’ve had a cell phone for a year or two longer than the ebook reader, but it’s always been just a little flip phone – you know, a cellular telephone. It made phone calls. Ever heard of those? You talk into this hand-held device. With words, in your voice. Audio. That’s about all that phone did; you couldn’t get Google Maps on it or anything. Oh, it did have an alarm clock. And you could do texting on it, for a given value of “texting” (t-de-wx-t-ghi-mn-g, like that). Actually, it’s the texting that made me want to get a new phone; I just wanted some method of doing that more easily, as there are some friends who are most readily reached that way.
So with some birthday-gift money I had, I got myself the next-to-cheapest not-flip-phone my provider was offering, and well, it’s a smartphone. With, you know, Android and stuff. I didn’t even really know what that meant, and had no idea that those not-flip-phones come with (ooh, aah!) wi-fi, so you can do all that smart stuff even if you aren’t paying through the nose for a data plan. That’s right – I can do smartphoney things, even though I have no phone data plan, just some pre-loaded minutes on the phone that allow me to call home to find out if we need milk, or if we already own a copy of Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows. I can use my cheap phone minutes for dumbphone activities while I’m out, and do all those browsery smartphone things at home or wherever there’s free wi-fi.
So there I was, all of yesterday, learning smartphoney skills. The first apps I downloaded, of course, were e-book reader software (Kindle and Overdrive). Maybe I’ll finally get around to reading A Tale of Two Cities, in waiting rooms and what-not, if I have it in my pocket on the phone – that book has been on my to-read list for several years now. I should see if I can download it to the phone – or is that upload, if it’s coming from my computer? See, I don’t even have the terminology straight…
Once again I’ve been pulled through the back door into adopting new technology. I got a device for one purpose, and found it could do cool other stuff I hadn’t really looked for. And once you get used to the cool new technology, you don’t want to be without it. Well, mostly. Fancy cable TV, we’ve adopted and then un-adopted several times so far; it was just not worth it. The smartphone, though, I have a sneaking suspicion will be a keeper, even if it does mean I can no longer look down my long luddite nose and feel superior because I can make do with a flip phone. But you have to make sacrifices somewhere.
Life, the Universe, and My New Smartphone. Welcome to the Twenty-Teens.
I recently lost a whole bunch of comments off this blog. For the last month, WordPress wasn’t sending me any notifications about comments, like they were supposed to have done. Oh, they still sent me notifications of “likes” and “follows” – but that’s what really threw me off, because I didn’t notice that it was just the comment notifications that weren’t happening.
Well, needless to say I was miffed. Darn WordPress, making me miss such gems as Linda’s comment on the gingerbread (you should check it out; she’s got a really great story about her family’s English traditions. Dressed-up gingerbread men, who’d have thunk?). I was not impressed with this (the missing comment notifications, I mean); comments are important to me – it means people are actually reading my ramblings, and paying attention to them.
So after I made sure all the right buttons in my Blog Settings were checked, and turning them off and on again just to make sure they really were checked properly and not just pretending to, I went on a Google hunt (that’s hunting with Google, not hunting the wild and elusive Google – sort of like bow hunting as opposed to fox hunting) to try to figure out why WordPress was withholding information from me. And I found all sorts of old threads on help forums by people who had the same problem with vanishing comment notifications. Unfortunately, none of them had any real solutions – apparently sometimes these things just happen in the Land of Pressed Words. Sigh. Now what?
And then, when I was just about ready to give up in disgust and settle myself to a future devoid of comment notification emails (I know, it sounds bleak, doesn’t it?), I tried one more thing: I took a close look at my email program (Thunderbird, in case you’re wondering). I had already looked at the junk folder, which was entirely empty, so I thought that particular solution had already been tested and found wanting. But there was a little folder called “Gmail”, with one of those triangles beside it that denote further content. And I clicked on that, and inside it were all those sub-folders, including one called “Spam”. And it said in bold, fat, black letters that it had twenty-five messages in it.
You guessed it: that’s where all my lost comment notifications had gone. Along with new-post notifications for several blogs I follow. There they all were, fat, bold, and unread. D’uh…
So, I had to beg WordPress’ pardon for maligning it so loudly to my friends and family. And feel slightly sheepish for not having looked more closely at those folders. And learned another lesson: in case of doubt, click on the triangle. In fact, keep clicking on triangles wherever you find them; eventually you will get to the solution.
Life, the Universe, and Lost Comment Notifications. Seek, and you shall find. Happy New Year!