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05 July 2016 @ 06:47 pm
Many thanks all!
Finally, in disgust and frustration (after looking a LOT on Google when I should have been writing) I e-mailed my Computer Guy, and his wife eventually had to write a macro to turn the damn Autofill or Autocomplete or whatever they are calling it now - because Word changes what they call that annoying little feature, so I don't know what toggle to turn off. And in fact, she couldn't find the turn-on/turn-off feature for it, either.
But, problem taken care of. Thank you all!
05 July 2016 @ 11:19 am
A question for the group mind:

I have just gotten a new computer, and of course I need to tweak Word so it is less irritating to use.
When I start to type a name which is also a month (as in, January, or March) Word helpfully pops up an annoying box asking, do I want to click the box for the whole word to appear? How do I make it stop doing this? Any help would be much appreciated. I don't know what these things are called (are these Smart Tags?) so cannot un-check them in the "Options" box. Hunting on the Internet for "What is a Smart Tag?" doesn't yield conclusive information.

Many thanks,
05 July 2016 @ 08:20 am
Apologies for a long gap between posts.

My father is very ill - I've been trying to a) have a new computer installed and b) finish Pale Guardian, (Asher/Ysidro #7, the World War One Zombie Apocalypse) in between staying with my mother and writing bulletins for the family. Dad's condition has temporarily stabilized, and I need to get the next Ben January book started because Fall Semester is going to be a horror, and I HAVE to get as much done as I can before it starts (which will be the day after my birthday at the end of August). God bless my brother and sister for taking the heavy part of the burden. It's a difficult time.

4th of July here last night: a constant, rolling thunder of ground-fire, like the descriptions of the Western Front I've been reading, broken now and then by fireworks above the level of the houses to the east. Now and then a whistling rocket would spook the cats. Made me glad I'd come home from the family early, and wasn't on the roads.

Gray morning here, and looking forward to a quiet day of work.
15 June 2016 @ 10:15 pm
Any advice about Facebook would be appreciated here.

FB has taken it upon themselves not to recognize my password. Every time I try to re-set, the only "Security Question" they'll accept is a scan of either my passport or my driver's license, something I am totally not willing to send out. (When I signed up I put in several actual Security Questions). Does anybody know how to change the setting so they'll accept one of my security questions, instead of a government document (helpfully scanned into a Photoshoppable jpg that could go pretty much anywhere)?

Has anyone else had a similar problem? Any suggestions or solutions?

Any alternative system or site to use instead of Facebook?
20 April 2016 @ 07:09 pm
At last, I have finished - and had formatted, and put up on line - two new Further Adventures!

"Castle of Horror" is the cast of Bride of the Rat-God, filming in Reno where Christine's latest boyfriend (film-star Tor Westlake) is getting a divorce. The castle, on the outskirts of town, was built by an eccentric gold-miner millionaire and is supposed to be haunted, so of course Tor Westlake wants to hold a seance there to find out who's going to win the Belmont Stakes, much to the annoyance of the film-crew from the OTHER film company that's shooting there, a black film company from Chicago. (They're filming on the same sets by night, something that was commonly done). (THEIR female star is ALSO in Reno getting a divorce). Norah doesn't think holding a seance in a haunted castle is such a good idea, and the behavior of Christine's three magical Pekingese is causing her to suspect that something is very wrong with the whole setup.

"Death on the Moon" (and I screwed up the "What is this story about?" section on Amazon, so I have to go back in and repair that) is Rose Janvier sleuthing again, assisted by Hannibal because Ben is off helping a friend of theirs with a difficult pregnancy out of town. Professor Tixall has come to New Orleans with a telescope so powerful that it can see life on the Moon (exactly as, at the same time, Sir John Herschel was supposed to have discovered it). Rose is pretty sure this is a hoax, but a harmless one. When her housekeeper's daughter sneaks in after hours and looks through the telescope, the girl sees one of the "Moon people" kill another. Rose knows murder has been done, but how to prove it when it's supposed to have taken place on another planet?

These are both on both Amazon (for $4.99) and Smashwords (for $5.00) (about the cost of a fancy latte at Starbucks, I'm told...).

In addition I put up a collection of George Alec Effinger's haiku, written (as far as I can tell) back when he was living in the East Village in the '70s. The collection is called "Bliss-Bestowing Hands," and I'm still wrangling around with Smashwords, whose automatic algorithims have choked on the concept of Barbara Hambly putting up a book by George Alec Effinger. (They told me to take out an account as a pseudonym, but when I asked them, "Isn't it going to give me trouble about there being other George Alec Effinger books out on line?" they hemmed and hawed and haven't yet gotten back to me.) I will keep everyone posted.

The poems are sweet and funny and sad and very typical of George, and I'd be happy to see them out there, finally. I'm a bit vexed because Amazon won't let me charge LESS than $2.99, and I'd put them up on Smashwords for $1.99... and now of course Smashwords is giving me problems) (completely aside from the fact that Smashwords will publish in a whole bunch of different formats).

AND my condensed-format class is over, so I'm only teaching Monday nights and can FINALLY concentrate on Ashers/Ysidro #7 - on which I'm WAY behind.
19 March 2016 @ 07:26 pm
Friends assure me that Mercury is in retrograde. I - and many of my friends - have been experiencing random adversity lately: getting their car crashed into (they were unhurt, miraculously), or me having a large piece of stucco fall off my house, or two friends getting "Tidy Up Or Else" notices from their respective dwelling-places. School today involved the Media Center not having equipment I needed, and when I phoned them they said, Oh, yes, it's in the room next to your office (only we forgot to inform you of this...) - and when I went all the way across campus and checked, there it wasn't. Evidently they'd forgotten to inform anyone else that that's why it was there, so someone took it away and locked it up again... and other small, vexing things. I was very glad to get home unhurt.

The condensed, accelerated PACE program class is finishing up, so I'll have more time to work - thank goodness, since I am now behind schedule on Asher/Ysidro # 7, and there are a couple of short stories and a fantasy novel that I ALSO want to work on. And, I've been counting the hours since last Monday until I can take off an afternoon and paint. I was tickled to death that Big Finish Productions - the people who do the Dr. Who audio adventures - did audio downloads of the Carnaki the Ghost-Finder stories by William Hope Hodgson, stories that I thought I was the only person in the world who knew about them or liked them. (When I paint and listen to stories, they have to be stories that I'm already familiar with... or else Dr. Who audio adventures, which I find very soothing. I have about a dozen of my favorite Sherlock Holmes, and six H.P. Lovecraft faves, as well as the Carnaki stories and The Canterville Ghost - a pattern of supernatural Ripping Yarns.)

I generally find I write better, after I've done an afternoon of painting.
08 March 2016 @ 07:34 am
Many thanks to everybody for the input! I have a number of regular Further Adventures in the queue, but I'm having such a good time writing the gang at Colossus Films again that I'm seriously considering doing a serial, and of course I've been toying with the idea of an Antryg serial for quite some time.

When I do them (and it does look like When and not If) I will of course publish them in Smashwords as well as Amazon (like all the Further Adventures tales), so they'll be available in a plethora of formats. I'll probably charge $2.99 per segment (making it about $15 for the whole novel), and I will CLEARLY mark them, THIS IS AN EPISODE IN A SERIAL. (Although, God knows, many people totally don't pay attention to that sort of thing... as I've found out teaching Community College.) ("What do you mean, we can't just cut and paste our research papers off Wikipedia?")

At the moment I'm sort of buried in other projects, but will keep everybody posted.

Thank you all!
07 March 2016 @ 12:28 pm
Chilly morning - TREMENDOUS thunderstorm in the early hours, which knocked out electrical power until nearly noon: lovely silence and peace, and fortunately the water in the water-heater retained heat enough to take a shower. The freaked-out cats have just emerged from hiding, and will presumably forget all about it within the next 30 minutes. Of course, a power outage also means no micro-wave and no heater (which has an electronic thermostat) (thank God for smart-phone e-mails), and thank God, also, that I don't have an electronic garage-door opener.

Heavy teaching schedule (for me): M & W nights, and most Saturdays in February (except the one where I went to Gallifrey). (Did I post a picture of myself in my Time Lord robes?) I'm well up (so far) on Asher/Ysidro #7, so am taking a little time off to write more Further Adventures, including the Further Adventures of the cast of Bride of the Rat-God.

If I were to start doing essentially serialized novels through Amazon, would people buy them? I've long wanted to do the sequel to Rat-God, and I realize I can break it into 4 or 5 novelette-length segments... IF people would buy them as they come out, and not wait for all 4 or 5 to appear. I'd also like to do an Antryg & Joanna serialized novel in this fashion: 4 or 5 segments, written between my other committments. Would this work? (I promise I'd finish them, but it does take time...)
31 January 2016 @ 07:58 am
Classes begin next week.

I've accomplished pretty much all I set out to accomplish over the winter break, despite being sick for much of it: the relapse of the chronic bronchitis was light, and the sinus infection that triggered it responded well to antibiotics. I finished the last page-proofs of Drinking Gourd - Ben January #16, with which I am extremely pleased - and have made a good start on the next vampire book; I sent off outlines for the next two books in both series (fingers crossed!) and have made good progress on the fantasy I've been working on (on spec - publishers seldom take books on outline anymore unless you're a best-seller, I'm told) and have put together outlines for the next two Further Adventures shorts. I've put together paintings to show - and prints to sell - at the Gallifrey One Dr. Who convention early next month, and will spend this week fluffing and buffing material for my upcoming classes.

I've slept a lot.

I'll be at the Gallifrey One Dr. Who convention, Feb. 12-14 at the LAX Marriott, doing signings Friday and Sunday and a "kaffeeklatsch" Friday evening; April 3 I'll be signing at the Paperback Book Show at the Glendale Civic Auditorium.
25 January 2016 @ 01:25 pm
Sadness here, with the death of another close friend. Robin was a talented costumer, a prolific writer of fanfic (until on-line flaming forced her to retreat - shame on them!), an enthusiastic birder, a faithful friend, a lover of her family and a loving bird-mommie to her pets; I will miss her deeply.

A day of working on school-prep, mechanical and painstaking, a good distraction in sadness.