Category Archives: Links

Links roundup: Promotion, ebooks, and more

Tomorrow’s C-U Writers Group meeting is about promotion, so that’s what starts off this set of links:

Writing Excuses podcast: Basic marketing, branding, and websites (3 separate episodes)

YA author Saundra Mitchell on Marketing Timelines (thanks to Kelly Swails for the links): Part 1 and Part 2

Things to do with your galleys

Creating covers

Other stuff: Continue reading

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Links roundup: QueryTest, JAKonrath's giant ebook, tiny 24-room apartment, and more

Since I’m collecting writing links for my local group, I thought I’d share them here as well.

May 5’s meeting is on pitching a novel, so let’s start with…


New query testing site (post your query, see how many up/down votes you get, and comment on other queries – it’s kinda fun to vote on the queries): (and the FAQ)
Continue reading

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  • Lolcat-style science — My favorites are Michelson (I lived in a dorm named for him, my senior year) and the minerals.
  • limyaael on science fiction and fantasy hybrids — Some good points. I learned last year that dealing with reader expectations in a setting that mixes the two is really hard (and that’s why the theater book is on hold).
  • Owls of North America — Because you want to know what a great horned owl sounds like. One of the kids playing nocturnal animal sound bingo last night thought the screech owl was a horse. Barred owl’s a lot easier.

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Food, Harry Potter, and Links

Adventures in food labelling

Found at the grocery store:

Ready-to-Eat peaches — First, they still have to be washed, so technically they aren’t ready to eat. Second, what would constitute non-ready-to-eat peaches? Green ones? Blossoms? A potted peach tree (just add water)?

Canned tuna — After the ingredients list (tuna, broth, water), it helpfully warns, “Contains: Fish.” Yes. I should hope so. Perhaps they want to emphasize that it’s dolphin-safe.

Garden status

We ate our grape tomato this week. It was very tasty. If we’re lucky, the green tomatoes will ripen sometime this year (then we’ll have ready-to-eat tomatoes). We also had a couple very small heads of romaine (~ 5 leaves each), which actually looks like lettuce now. Our herbs and hot peppers have not yet achieved ready-to-eat status, though the basil is ok if we only want a couple leaves at a time.

I built a thread trellis for my morning glories, as the fence boards are too wide for them to climb. I should have bought flowers that bloom at night, though. I’m unlikely to see the morning glories very often.

Harry Potter

Reread the first 6 Harry Potter books. I timed it badly and left myself with two weeks to anticipate book 7.

Book 5 has really improved since the last time I read it, or maybe remembering that I didn’t like it lowered my expectations enough that it seemed better. Or maybe it was because I’d just finished 4, which is still my least favorite because of the gaping plot hole.

We saw the movie Order of the Phoenix yesterday — it was not good. Umbridge was spot on, but so many other characters did things that were out of character (or at least not supported by anything in the movie) that it was rather frustrating, sort of like watching shorthand. At times the dialogue-heavy scenes were boring.

Orson Scott Card has an interesting essay on Snape. He has some good points, although many of his arguments depend on figuring out what Rowling was thinking as she wrote the books, which I think requires too many assumptions about how she works and how skilled an author she has been at different times.

(I’m still fence-sitting on whether Snape’s good or evil. After reading book 6 the first time, I leaned towards good; after rereading all the books, I’m leaning towards evil. From a storytelling perspective, redemption might work better. If it were me, I’d think that’s too obvious.)

Random question: Where do British wizards go to school before they’re 11? It seems they must all be home-schooled: they don’t know enough about Muggles to have gone to Muggle schools, and unless there are a lot of wizard kids who don’t go to Hogwarts, there aren’t any wizard elementary schools.


I finally got a library card, only 10 months after moving here. I’ve been spoiled — this is the first place I’ve lived as an adult where I have to drive to the library because it’s too far to walk.

Yesterday I went shopping and got my early birthday present from my boyfriend: a slipcover for the couch. It looks much nicer than the lack-of-cover we had before. Very thoughtful of him to get that for me. 🙂


GalaxyZoo seeks people to categorize photos of spiral and elliptical galaxies because “the human brain is far better than a computer at recognising the patterns that divide ellipticals from spirals.” After you sign up, do a tutorial, and take a test, you look at photos and determine what they are. [Links to articles about it.]

PSA: Do not listen to your MP3 player outside during a storm.

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Weekly Summary July 1

Yesterday I did my first volunteer stint at the park, which mostly consisted of more detailed training. Watered the butterfly garden, made hummingbird food and filled feeders, fed the fish and turtles and frogs, sent visitors with questions to the naturalist because I know nothing yet…. 🙂

One of my tomatoes is very orange, and my lettuce seems to have stopped dying. Soon I can have a very tiny homegrown salad. Quite exciting.


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Park Volunteering, Revising

Elizabeth Bear remarks: It’s harder to revise old text to anything like not sucking than just to write new less sucky text from scratch. It’s like the suck gets ossified in.

Thursday I had my volunteer interview at the park and learned about all the very cool things I can do. Saturday I have my first volunteer stint at the nature center (on a weekend, yikes); I also have a butterfly survey to sign up for. They’re also going to put me in touch with the people who monitor which wildflowers are blooming, which is very different than what I did before (counting populations of rare species), and will require me to actually learn my plants.

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Video Gambling


  • Some people in Ohio have been trying to get a video gambling game approved by claiming it’s a game of skill. (Tried to link to an article, but the newspaper’s search results page won’t let me “see more” because a rollover ad covers that button. So, no linkage for them.) Anyway, my boyfriend wrote a program to test whether a game that depends on an 83-millisecond reaction time can really be considered a game of skill. They printed his letter, but left out the link to the game:
  • CNN or BBC headlines cat macro style. Creepy in many cases: you get headlines about war and murder along with photos of cute cats.

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Links: Book Deals and GMaps Pedometer


  • My Book Deal Ruined My Life in The New York Observer:

    And even before the potential post-publication humiliation, there’s deadline pressure; crippling self-doubt; diets of Entenmann’s pastries and black coffee; self-made cubicles structured with piles of books, papers and unpaid bills; night-owl tendencies; failed relationships; unanswered phone calls; weight gain; poverty; and, of course, exhaustion.

    So forget the American dream! Getting a book deal seems more like a nightmare.

    Or maybe people should have more reasonable expectations. Still, an amusing article. And what’s wrong with night-owl tendencies?

  • Google Maps pedometer – Very cool: Map out a route and it tells you how long it is. It’s 1.86 miles to the bike trail from my apartment, which is just a bit too far. It would only be 1.5 miles on the more-direct route, but there’s no sidewalk and no shoulder. I’m surprised the difference in length is so small, actually.

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Lettuce and Links

My lettuce has sprouted; a few seeds of something else have also started coming up. Or maybe two something elses. (No, I didn’t label my herb container. They’ll become identifiable eventually.)


  • Sci-fi writers join war on terrorThe Homeland Security Department is calling on the group to help with the government’s latest top mission of combating terrorism. Weird.
  • Selling Out? Says Who?
    Selling out? Please. Find something else to hate your fellow artists for. Or, if you truly want to get over it, be as happy for your fellow artists’ success as you are for your own. Every time an artist hits it big, it kicks the starving-artist syndrome square in the nuts. If we were happy about that instead of jealous, we might stand a chance at changing the way our culture looks at art. Eventually. I hate the glorification-of-starving-artist thing.

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Crochet, Dvorak, and Links

Today I redesigned the afghan I’m crocheting to account for the impending shortage of yarn. I decided to try adding to more colors to it: it’s off-white and navy and dark green, so some lighter shades of blue and green should work.

Went to two stores (the third was closed) and they didn’t have a large selection. I may try the third store tomorrow, or go to a real yarn store (although the real yarn store does not sell the brand I want, according to their website). I don’t want to buy online because I need to compare the colors. I have plenty of time to find yarn, since I still have 48 green and white squares to make.

Had more success at Lowe’s: we now have tomato, hot pepper, and basil plants, along with some lettuce, parsley, mint, and morning glory seeds. But I have to go back and get more dirt.

Meant to go to the park today for more flower photos, but everything took forever.


  • Dvorak driver for the Palm Universal Wireless Keyboard! — Hacked together by some random guy. The []{} aren’t there (instead there are two sets of -_=+), but I can live with that. This makes me very happy, as I like to take my Palm to the bookstore to write, and I can’t type in qwerty very well anymore.
  • A review of the three tutorials I used to learn Dvorak — I don’t think I linked to that before. I need to go back and practice some more to increase my speed.
  • Read It and Lacrimate — Tired of reading jargon-filled press releases, Gene Weingarten of the Washington Post decided to ask the PR folks some similarly worded questions to see if they understood them:

    Me: Vis-a-vis the implementation of SAP technology, what is the source-related derivation of the acronymically based identifier of the service entity, and how does it operate so as to enhance production and profitability or, alternatively, improve the business model of the shelf-stable protein supplier of which Clarkston is now a client?

    He was surprised at the results.

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