Wednesday, October 19, 2011

It's that time of year again!

Once again, I'll be participating in National Novel Writing Month, the 50,000-word novel challenge. It got me my first finished novel manuscript, which led to my first novel being published.

This year, I'm starting to flip back and forth between two ideas. One is a sequel to 2009's, which is even more interesting because I never finished it. Either way, both are ideas I've been kicking around for a while (2009's was a prequel for an unproduced screenplay I'd written on a whim. I learned two things from that experience: how a screenplay is formatted and I should stick to writing novels) so we'll see what happens.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Seen this evening

The Aspen Mountain Press web site is temporarily suspending operations.

Over the past five years we've demanded high standards in all areas of the company from authors to editors to administrators. Due to the current health of the owner these standards have not been met.

We'd like to thank you for your support and patronage over this past half decade and apologize for any inconveniences this decision causes.

We'll see what comes of this, if anything.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Awgone! Bye-bye!

If you happen across All Romance eBooks's site with a hankering for some rommanical ebooks, chances are you'll notice something's missing.

Anything published by Aspen Mountain Press.

Through the diligence of a group of srsly pissed-off people, the entire catalog has been removed. I'm currently at work getting my listing removed from Amazon, so we'll see what comes of that.

It's depressing it's come to this, but I have no other choice. I have to protect my work and exercise my rights. It was actually rather cool to see my book on two prominent sites in the business, but I have to be prepared for what may or may not happen next. I can only wait and anybody who knows me knows patience is a virtue I lack.

Friday, October 7, 2011

RIP Steve Jobs, 1955-2011

I've been an Apple whore since high school. We got to use Apple ]['s during an intro to data processing class I took, and I guess it's sort of like your first Bond is your favorite (not really. My first one was Roger Moore's turn in Live & Let Die, and I thought he was probably the most dorktastic one of the bunch). It was the first computer I got to use on any level, and the IBM PC's I encountered later were just too clunky for me to deal with.

I was working at a library when the Macintosh was released, and we received three for public consumption as part of an outreach program Apple sponsored. They were coin-operated, and it was $1 for 1 hour. You had a wide range of software to choose from: MacWrite or MacPaint, the two programs included out of the box. They got a fair amount of use during the time I was there.

The first guy I lived with had an Apple ][+ souped up to a ][e, including an 80-column card. Now. This was important way back when because an 80-column card meant you could get more text on the monitor. Granted, it was half the size of a standard 40-column view, but hey. IT WAS 80-COLUMN, DUDE. Two writing programs I used were Magic Window, a word processor that was horrible in execution -- the cursor remained stationary as the screen view moved back and forth as you typed -- and Newsroom, a precursor to desktop publishing. My friend Scot and I once spent a fevered night coming up with the first issue of our newspaper parody, and I spent more time formatting the thing in Newsroom than we did actually writing the thing. Each page was formatted with either six panels (three in two columns) or four panels and a banner headline, and each panel was formatted separately. When a panel was full, you had to move to the next and remember the format settings you used last time. So, yeah, if you were using Courier, you had to set each panel to Courier. There are at least three or more panels where I'd forgotten to change the settings and it switches to Helvetica or whatever the default was.

Later, I moved in with Peter and he had a Mac IIcx. I used it some for writing, but I later acquired a used Quadra 660AV (a.k.a. a Centris 660AV) from my uncle. I was also lucky enough to gain a modem in the package and was introduced to the wonderful world of America OnLine. (This was 1996, and I've graduated to DSL from the phone service since.) I began writing more during this time, especially when I was able to get a used PowerBook 5300cs. I remember carting that thing around and popping out the little feet in the back every time I opened it up and started it. Floppy disks, kids.

Scot later sold me his used Performa 6300, I think, which I'd still probably have used if I could have moved beyond Mac OS 9.2.2 until that crapped out. I still have it and as far as I know, it still works.

I moved up later to a G3 from a neighbor, which had been souped up (there's that word again...) because of his work at a game designer. I continued to use the PowerBook, even getting a reconditioned one after my first one crapped out because of age and use. I had to give up on that second one when it developed problems with the monitor that I couldn't fix, and I'd moved on to my Alphasmart Neo by then.

Along the way, Peter picked up a mini and about two years after that, I got one of my own. This was the first computer of my very own that I actually bought, as opposed to getting one used or reconditioned. It's served me well, and this year I also got my MacBook; imagine my surprise when not less than two months later the model was discontinued. Oh, well. Such is the shelf life of technology.

Yeah, a lot of people disparage Apple's products on a variety of levels, but I've always preferred them. You don't like Apple products? Don't buy them. And give me your iPhone and iPod and kwitcherbitchen.

Like many, I was saddened at the news of Steve Jobs' death this week. He put a lot of effort and grit into the company, and has worked to ensure a strong legacy. I'll probably be a fan of the products for a long time coming, and it's great his vision will continue.