Monday, July 28, 2014

This Is Where I Work

Ever seen Lifehacker's How I Work series? Or their Featured Workspaces like this one or this one? They've inspired me to share my office space.  So here's where I work:

The master command chair: I bought this at Staples.  It's supposed to be rated for an 8-hour day.  But after awhile, that seat wasn't so comfortable anymore.

So I had to find something that would make those editing hours easier to deal with. So I found this soft but firm seat cushion, the Wonder Gel Seat Cushion:

But what about that editing? It's easy with this three-screen setup: the laptop plus two external monitors:

 A different view of the monitors and the keyboard:

The Fellowes Tilt N Slide Keyboard Manager was the answer to my desk dilemma: how to get a keyboard  that didn't need to be screwed into my desk but would be able to tilt for ease of use. This adjusts at three different levels, and has a sliding pad for the mouse. It's so much better for my wrist and arms.  Bonus: very Star Trekky.

 And best of all, it just screws onto the desk shelf.

What I'd really like someday is a multi-screen setup like this: 

 or this:
or this:

But those are just dreams for now...

Friday, July 11, 2014

Can You Trust Your Ears?

When I was  kid (eons and eons ago), I sang along to the radio.  Of course, most of the time I had no idea what any of those words actually meant.  I still cringe when I think of my parents listening to me belt out (off-key and way out of tune) lyrics that no six-year-old should be singing ("Ruby, don't take your love to town" and "Lay you down and softly whisper pretty love words in your ear, Lay you down and tell you all the things a woman loves to hear." Bonus points if you know the song/artist.  I'll give you a hint: my parents liked country songs.)

My favorite one was from when I was a bit older and started listening to my brothers' rock and roll stuff.  Bruce Springsteen's "Blinded by the Light" was just chock full of stuff I didn't understand, but what got me (and apparently a whole bunch of people) was the line "cut loose like a deuce," which I (and countless others) heard as "wrapped up like a douche."  And of course, I had no idea what that meant.  So I can only imagine the pleasure everyone who heard me sing got from that one.  My only consolation now is that I clearly wasn't the only one.

(And just for some more fun, run down this rabbit hole: Am I Right - Misheard Song Lyrics)

So it shouldn't be any surprise to me when I come across those auditory errors when I proof manuscripts.  Some common ones include:

for intensive purposes  - should be for all intents and purposes
phase - should be faze
hone in - should be home in
you've got another thing coming - should be you've got another think coming **

**Part of the confusion on this one rests on the shoulders of Judas Priest (as if they didn't get enough grief in 1989 when they were named defendants in a lawsuit over subliminal messages in their albums that caused two young men to commit suicide).  The song "You've Got Another Thing Coming" was a big hit in 1982 and from then on, we can blame them for the auditory error and the misuse of the phrase as it was intended.

But I ran across this really cool video that describes how what you see can affect what you hear, and what you hear can change your perceived vision.  Check it out:

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

We're All Nerds

I am sure that you are a nerd.  I don't know what kind of nerd (math, chemistry, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Marvel, anime, Star Trek, Star Wars...the list is endless) you are, but I'm sure there's something you are nerdy about.

If you've never seen Wil Wheaton's response to a young girl who was having trouble at school because she was a nerd, here it is.  And it is awesome.

But that is not why I am posting today.  I am posting today to share this gem - Talk Nerdy to Me.  I was a little shocked at how many of these nerds I recognized (even if I don't share in the love of that particular thing.  I admit I have never seen Dr. Who, in any of the incarnations, although I've been thinking that I should.)

Enjoy! And celebrate your inner (or outer!) nerd!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Author Interview: Kelly Ilebode

Let's welcome this month's author, Kelly Ilebode. Her titles include In Search of Grace; the Manor at Echo Lake Trilogy - Dragan's RedemptionAaron's Revenge, and The Legacy; Kelly and the Angel; and most recently, The Turning Point.

So, Kelly, let's get to those questions:

1)   What were your favorite books growing up?

I struggled with reading in my early years.  So much so, I was under the misguided impression that I hated books.  My fourth grade teacher told me that it was not the fact that I hated books; I just hadn’t read or felt for characters in the books I was choosing.  He handed me The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander—I was hooked.  From that moment on, I devoured books.   I think I read almost every Nancy Drew book and I became (still am) a huge J.R.R. Tolkien fan having read The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings so many times.   Terry Brooks’s Sword of Shannara Series is another favorite.  My foster mother, having very little money, had a hard time keeping up with my appetite for new books.  One summer she found an old library that was closing and bought over 100 Harlequin romance books for 10 cents each, which I then read over and over again. 
2)    Now that you have, let’s say—some life experience, what would you tell your younger self?
I would tell her to relax.  I look back at my younger self now and realize she was a very uptight, insecure person.  I would tell her that it all works out in the end whether she worries or not.  Life is too short to wait for anything.
3)      Describe your typical day.
My days start early and are long.  I am up between 5:30 and 6:00 a.m.  It starts first and foremost with the coffee—then the pets (they know that until they small coffee, Mom won’t talk to them.)  Coffee in hand, I answer emails and check the social media sites—then I write.  My laptop is always on and open, so that I literally find pockets in my day to put fingers to keyboard.  Not the most productive but with three extremely active kids and a household to run, that is how I work.  I would love to go to bed by 9:00 but usually it is around 11:00.
4)      Who is your favorite character in your books? 
Aaron Reynell in Dragan’s Redemption/Aaron’s Revenge/The Legacy.  He is the most confused character, yet he has the courage to be open enough to “find himself.” 
5)      What do you do when writer’s block shows up, settles in, and makes itself comfortable?
Knock on wood, it has never happened.   My issue has been finding the time to get the voices out of my head and onto paper.
      6)      Do you find yourself pulling details from “real life” or does your imagination rule the roost?
I am so into my writing and some of the characters have a bit of the world around me, but not always with the intent of being there.  I am not sure if an author can separate themselves completely, can they?  It is the life experiences that we live and breathe that breathe the life onto those blank pages.
     7)      What was the first manuscript you wrote (even if it never saw the light of day)?
The Messenger (the first book in a trilogy) that I started to write for my children.  It is officially done but I consider it still in the works, and now my oldest daughter is helping me fine tune it.
      8)      Have you ever pursued traditional publishing? Or did you go straight for indie publishing?
Ah, the wide, wonderful dream of traditional publishing.   After more than one hundred query letters (the majority with no response), I chose to go the self-publishing route as Indie publishing was my Plan B.  It was nerve wracking in the beginning but now, no regrets what so ever.
9)      What Works In Progress are brewing?  Any target dates for publication?
Kelly and the Angel – The Flight of the Sparrow; October 2014
10)   How can fans reach you? 
Facebook:   Kelly Ilebode, Author
Twitter:  @Kellyandangel