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Archive for December, 2011

Last minute gifts

Hey, it’s almost Christmas, and Hanukkah is is well underway.  I was out and about today, picking up a few last minute gifts (and laundry detergent) when I got to thinking.  In this hurly-burly world of e-things and internet shopping, shipping fees and delivery dates there is one item that stands out as a great last minute gift.  Of course, I’m talking about books.

And the great thing about books is while you can order them online for delivery sometime in the new year, or download them on your personal reading device, there is one great way to insure you get them in time to give to your loved ones.  We still have these amazing establishments called book stores.  You can go into on in your area and speak with wonderful people who know a lot about what’s popular, and what’s good.  They know all the best books, from funny to poignant, action adventure to biographies.  They even have cook books, coloring books, picture books and every genre you can dream of.

Head to a bookstore today or tomorrow and reacquaint yourself with a truly magical place.  If you happen to see Black Blade Blues or Honeyed words, I’m sure your loved ones would be thrilled to explore the world of Blacksmith Sarah Beauhall and her adventures with Norse gods, dragons, trolls and magic of all sorts.

Or, you know — what ever book strikes your fancy.  You can’t go wrong with a good book.

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Holidays, new books, laptops and other frivolity

As happens every year, we get to the middle of December and I have no idea where the year has gone. It’s crazy. My day job continues to be excellent, but brain-eating most days.

I’ve still got shopping to do for the big gift giving event later this month, and I’m struggling to find the actual band-width to perform such actions. I really only have a few items left to buy.

My laptop recently decided to stop providing video support. It works fine when you first boot the machine, or if I put it in stand by mode and bring it back up. Each time for twenty seconds or so, then it flickers a bit, and fades, almost as if I had turned the brightness down to almost black. If I look at the screen at an angle I can see icons and such, but only as very vague outlines. Luckily, my laptop is connected to my home network, so I’ve been able to rescue all my writing and music so far. Some things I don’t have access to, as I’ve not shared those folders. The next step will be to hook up an external monitor and see if that works. If so, I’ll have an easy enough time recovering my other files. Or, I’ll have to stage things in 20 second intervals when I can see the screen between stand-by events. Awkward, but doable.

Really proves two things. One, 4+ years is a long time on a laptop, not just technology wise. Two, my back up to the thumb-drive thing just isn’t adequate enough. With that in mind, I purchased a 2TB external hard drive that is wireless. I can now use it from any of the machines in the house and backup on a regular basis with little or not hassle. In a few months I’ll purchase a second one, so I can swap them out. I’ll send one off-site with friends, and keep one here. Swap them out every 3-6 months should be adequate for the amount of things I do.

My writing I will do differently. I’ll keep that backed up on a second local machine, and perhaps somewhere else as well. The published stuff is recoverable in hard copies, etc. but I like being able to go back to those final drafts and search for terms, people, places… Despite my best intentions and efforts, I cannot remember every detail of all the novels when I’m writing the next one.

I’ve customized a new laptop and have it sitting in my shopping cart on the Dell website. I’m quite fond of Dell machines. I’ve used them on my day job for years. I’m writing this on the first desktop I’ve purchased over-the-counter. All the others I’ve built myself. Laptops are a different ballgame, though. The machine that just decided it had done enough, was the third laptop I’ve owned since 1993. Like cars, I tend to use them until they are no longer viable as tools.

Laptops are for marketing, social media, email, music and writing in my world. No games, nothing that cannot be directly tied to my writing. It’s where I work. My desktop, on the other hand is for everything. It’s where I go to wind-down, clear the brain, play a game for a bit, that type of thing. It’s where my daughter does her homework, where we research recipes or movies. I am on my fifth desktop since 1983 as well. There was a period of time where I had no computer in the house. Hard to believe, as much as I’m on one today. But there were some lean times between the Commodore 64 days, and my first desktop after I got married.

So, today I made the last payment on this machine (12 months same as cash) and I’ll push “buy” on that laptop. They said it would ship Monday or Tuesday, which is very cool.

Meanwhile I am writing on the desktop. The outline for Hearth and Home is nearing completion. I have two areas to smooth over and then I need to go back and add in the next layer of story. I’m so close to finishing this thing that I keep thinking it will be today, or you know, any day now. Then I discover the next twist in my brain, the next magical tie-back to a prior scene that makes things that much clearer and then I’m back to shuffling things again.

All in all, it’s a great thing. I’m really hoping this fourth in the Sarah Beauhall series takes the story to the next level.

That’s the scoop on my life currently. What’s up in yours? How are you faring as the winter solstice draws near?

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Uruz

The wild ox; strength and power.

Ansuz

Creativity; words, music, and art.

Othala

The troll cross; wealth and prosperity.

Sowilo

The sun; energy, honor, guidance.

Fehu

Personally earned or lucky wealth and prosperity.

Jera

The harvest; patience and promise.

Raidho

The chariot; journey and travel.

Note: This is not the real book cover.