2017-08-27

Eclipse 2017

My original plans called for me and my wife to leave Ohio on Saturday 8-19, stay overnight in Wytheville, and then continue to my dad's house in South Carolina the next day. News reports of huge traffic jams caused my wife to become concerned about getting stuck in traffic for hours on end which would not be a good thing considering she has leg problems. The plans were changed Thursday night. I left Friday morning by myself and drove the entire way without stopping. I did hit some traffic, but nothing like the media was predicting. In fact, the traffic jams failed to materialize until after the eclipse.

I watched the eclipse from the comfort of my dad's back porch. What a show! During totality, the crickets, cicadas, and tree frogs started singing. A large spider on the deck downstairs came out and began dismantling her web. Venus became visible and the corona was the only thing providing light. And then, as quickly as it had become dark, the sun reappeared and the show was over. 2 minutes and 30 seconds of memory that will remain with me for a long time to come.

If you missed the 2017 eclipse, you will have another chance in 2024. This one just happens to pass over my area and I will not have to travel anywhere to see it.

I did manage to get some writing done while on vacation. Collision Course now stands at 32,342 words putting it over 1/3 of the way to completion. I have a fuzzy idea as to how the story is going to end and I have a few scenes in my head that I know must get into the manuscript. Other than that, this story has been unfolding as I write it. So far, so good.

I've also begun the process of moving my website over to a new host. The initial site that viewers will see is complete and waiting to be viewed. All I'm waiting for now is the actual transfer to take place. Moving a website from one host to another is not as easy as one might think. The entire process will most likely take about 10 days as the current host wants to wait for the longest time possible before releasing the domain for transfer. Luckily, the people at X10Hosting have experience in doing this and all I had to do was to put in a help desk ticket with them and then contact my current host. They're handling the rest. I will let you know when the new site is available.

A couple days before I came back home, the bottom fell out of my daughter's car--literally. This triggered a series of actions my wife and I had discussed concerning the fate of her current car about a month or so ago. We weren't expecting to implement this plan for a few years. I arrived home on Friday at 11:30 AM. By 1:30 PM, we were at the car dealer looking at cars. At 5:15 PM, we were the owners of a new Hyundai Ioniq. My daughter picked up my wife's old car on Saturday.

2017-08-06

Some updates

Collision Course (my current work in progress now stands at 25,154 words. I am moving into a part of the novel that should move along very rapidly as long as I have the time to just sit and write. It's starting to turn out better than I had originally hoped. The ending, however, is still going to be a problem. Luckily, I'm not there yet.

I haven't written a blog in a few weeks and nobody seems to have noticed. That could be a good thing in that perhaps writing a weekly post was too much. These days, people don't have a lot of time to read everyone's posts. Attention spans are also becoming shorter because there is simply so much more out there for people to look at and enjoy. A shorter attention span though could also mean that I should write more as it keeps people's interest focused on coming back to my blog.

Here's how I figure it: If you are reading this because you're interested in hearing about the progress I'm making on my next novel, are interested in learning a bit about the self-publishing process, and have an interest in what I am up to in my life, then you would set your browser to subscribe to the RSS feed of this blog and then read up on what I have to say when I say it. Trying to remember to go to my blog every week is most likely not what is typically done. I would assume that most people out there have automated things and use the RSS feed.

Now that I've typed all that, I certainly home Blogger.com provides an RSS feed and that most people know how to use it! I'm not going to worry about it though.

I've been doing some learning on how to build websites. I've already read a few books on the subject and I've started to apply my new found knowledge on a new author website. The new site is nearly ready for me to cut the cord on the current host. Before I jump into learning JavaScript, I intend to learn as much as I can about HTML and CSS. To bolster my knowledge, I've ordered 3 more books: HTML: The Missing Manual, CSS: The Missing Manual, and How to Build a Website: The Missing Manual. As you can see, I have a high opinion of the Missing Manual books. If you want to learn something, go to one of these first if available.

I want to mention a touchy subject and I apologize to those authors out there who might disagree with my opinion on this matter. Authors must promote their books, that is a given. But over-promotion can be worse. I no longer use the native Twitter app because it is filled with advertisements. If I visit a website and the first thing that happens is a full-page ad pops up, I'm out and I doubt I will ever return. If I'm following someone on Twitter and the only tweets that person writes are promotional in nature--then I'm most likely going to unfollow that person.

There is a fine line between 'correct' promotions and overdoing it. Sure, your readers are interested in that fact that you've published a new book. They might be interested in knowing it's out in a different language. They might have missed the first or even the second tweet. But send out a promotional tweet too often and I start to wonder why you're on Twitter to begin with.

The same goes for Facebook, Google+, and the other social media sites. I do promote my books on social media, but I do so sparingly. I've never been an "in your face" sort of author. I prefer to see my books promoted by other means, like word of mouth. It's just my opinion. Blasting your book out there over every social media platform you can every day for weeks on end might give you a good sales boost. For me, I subscribe to social media because I want to know what the people I'm following are doing. I don't like to be blasted by promotional ads. If I want that I'll watch live television--something I haven't done in years.

Time to get back to writing.