2018-03-25

JavaScript

Collision Course is currently being proofed by my wife. Her 27 years of newspaper experience makes her the perfect person to edit my books. She is not a big fan of science fiction and that actually is a plus for her being my proof-reader. Because she does not enjoy reading science fiction, she does not have the tendency to switch from editing mode to story-reading mode. She's committed to proofing at least one chapter a day so I should have a proofed copy in a little over a month.

In the meantime, I've started playing around with my website. It's been too long since I last played around with website development and the memory of how it all works was beginning to fade. It took some time this morning to get back up to speed but now I'm making progress. I'm using a local web server called XAMPP to locally host the test site.

I'm building my site totally manually without using any sort of web building software. This way, I'll be actually learning how to do the programming and how everything ties together. If I were to use a site builder, it would generate the code for me and I would not be doing any learning. That's also why I took the path of learning JavaScript before learning JQuery. I want to know how it works.

XAMPP is a free program and it has all the features of a full-fledged web server. It runs Apache with support for JavaScript, Perl, MySQL, and everything else you need to run a full-blown website. Installation was a snap and it consumes few resources. If you need to build a WordPress or Joomla site, there are installers to put those platforms on XAMPP. If you're serious about developing websites, then this is the route to go.

The editor I'm using is Atom. I tried a few others but Atom is the one with the best documentation and is highly configurable. Brackets is another good choice but finding good documentation on how to use it is virtually impossible. What good is a program that does not have good documentation?

As a self-published author, it's up to me to build my own website. I have a good background in computer programming and learning to build a website is just an extension of my current skill-set. Many self-published authors have taken the time to learn how to build a website because having one is pretty much mandatory these days and paying someone else to build it can get expensive. If you don't want to take the time to learn JavaScript, HTML, CSS, and a host of other acronyms, then give WordPress or one of the other popular content manager platforms a shot. For myself, the best way to learn is to play.

Time to get back to playing!

2018-03-18

Ready for Proofing

As of a few moments ago, Collision Course is complete and ready to be proofed. Based on the feedback I received from my content editor Lee Dilkie, I've made a few changes in how the story unfolded. I also added a new final chapter that neatly wraps things up. Additional text was added to explain a few things that were left unexplained in the original draft. All-in-all, I am pleased with the book.

I have also selected the artwork that will be used for the cover. I will begin adding the text and making a few minor changes to the artwork to make it look more like all my other books. I would like to thank Lee for his insight and Heather Zak for her hard work in creating the new cover. Now, the book goes to my wife Cheryl so she can work her grammatical magic. I expect that process to take about a month. So what will I be doing next?

My website is presentable but it is missing many features that should be on a professional website. I will be applying my recently acquired knowledge of JaveScript and JQuery to rebuild the website and finally finish it into something any web developer would be proud of. This will be the focus of my attention for the next few months. My intention is to continue to learn JavaScript, JQuery, HTML, CSS, and even PHP to build my knowledge of website development.

I spent all of last weekend in Aurora Ohio attending the Cleveland Concoction Convention. I decided to go for two reasons: 1) Geoffrey Landis, an author and NASA engineer with hardware on Mars, whom I'd met at my first Launch Pad workshop in 2012 and his wife (also an author) would be attending. 2) The convention has an author's showroom where they sell books.

It was very good to see Geoff and his wife Mary Turzillo again. We had dinner together and caught up on things. The book sales are another story. I am positive I did not sell enough to cover the cost of the room. I had decided to stay in the hotel instead of driving back and forth and that decision made the convention unprofitable. But, I had a good time, got to see old acquaintances, and managed to get a ton of editing done. In the end, I think it was a worthwhile investment.

As far as writing is concerned, I'm not sure what I will be working on next. I might just decide to take a long break from writing, focus on learning new programming languages and environments and take some time to see how non-writers live. Writing means sacrificing a lot of things like going out to movies, watching television, surfing the net, reading other's books, and just taking time to do nothing. Time to take a break.

2018-03-04

Weather

Editing and revisions to Collision Course are slowly proceeding. I did not get much done this weekend due to our not having any power from 7:15 PM Thursday until 8:30 PM Saturday. I do have a generator but I only set it up to power up the refrigerator and a few items. We have an all-electric home and the power outage was partial, giving us about 50 volts coming into the house. This was enough juice to allow the baseboard heaters to get warm enough to keep the inside of the house comfortable. I do have a rig I can use to power the entire house but the generator does not have a high enough rating to run everything. For example, the generator is rated at 5,200 watts and my hot water tank will draw 4,500. That leaves very little room for anything else.

I should be able to get some serious editing done next weekend since I will be at the Cleveland Concoction. When I'm not sitting on panels on Friday, I will be in the bar or lounge editing. If you're in at the convention, stop by and say hi. I will be spending Friday night in the hotel but driving home Saturday. I will return on Sunday morning to retrieve any unsold books; hopefully, that will be none! Because of the busy schedule next weekend, I don't plan on putting out a blog post.

Time to get back to editing--if my cats will let me. They seem to be especially clingy this morning and insist on getting in my lap no matter where I sit.