Apache OpenOffice

I don’t how many folks out there use Microsoft Word to write with or Apple’s word processing software. I use a free office program suite called Apache OpenOffice. It is an open source format, I believe that is what they call it. The nice thing about OpenOffice is all the nice options in Microsoft Word without all the flashy stuff. It reminds of Microsoft Works, which was a freebie version of Office except they wouldn’t talk to each other. I liked Works better than Office, but OpenOffice is a nice suite offering word processing, spreadsheets, database, and two other programs called drawing and math.

So if you happen to find yourself needing writing software and wanna try something new. Give Apache OpenOffice a try. Cheers, james

Writing Break to Knitting

I have a tiny little confession to make: I haven’t been writing this month on my works in process. I’ve been knitting and reading, lots of reading. I can’t seem to pull my stories out of a blue funk. Owl is stuck, actually I am stuck on how to move the story forward. I need two of my characters to get out of their sickbeds but I need them to be there to train the youngest member. I have sent one team member out and he is running but I haven’t a clue as to what he is running from or running to. Emilsa is battling my skittishness on writing about certain topics i.e. rape, sexual slavery, nasty, nasty stuff. That is where the story is taking me. I just don’t know if I have the stomach to write it.

So to let matters rest and meld, I have picked up my knitting needles. Currently I am working on a small for lack of a better term worry rag. It will be as big I need it to be. It started out life as a ball of yarn for nephew’s blanket. However lovely aunt that I am, I didn’t buy enough yarn and they don’t sell that color anymore. I am slowly learning when you buy yarn and you think you have enough, buy extra cause you’ll need it.  And should you find yourself with excess then it might come in handy  for another project. And you could trade it for other yarn or stuff if you find a willing partner.

However I did find my nook needles and my nook keyboard two wholly different nooks there. One is a knitting crochet hook with a string attachment. The other is my Barnes and Noble Nook e-reader keyboard. Love this little keyboard, perfect size and works with both my Nook HD+ (Thank you Mom) and the Toshiba Encore Mini ( Thank You Hubby). Tonight I am writing on the Toshiba to see if they would play nice together. The answer is mostly, there seems to be a short delay between my typing and the words appearing on the screen. Sokay, it doesn’t seem to bother my typing. I must say it sure beats typing on my phone. Boy, have I rambled on tonight, not exactly the post I was thinking I would write but an accurate mindset for me right now. Cheers on this raining Friday night, james

Writing Apps: The good, the bad, and the confusing

Several blogs either posts or comments have mentioned writing apps. Evernote and a few others keep coming up, but I can’t seem to figure out what is so special about them. Also I get emails from microsoft promoting onenote or onedrive, whatever they call it, and google doc emails. I consider myself pretty techy but I can’t seem to find clear purposes or function of these programs.

Anybody out there use any of this stuff? Drop me a comment if you do, because I must be missing something. Cheers on a Thursday night, james

Remembering Tumbleweed

Side note this isn’t about writing. It is about looking at a now defunct world with a beloved companion.

Background: Tumbleweed found me on the backside of nowhere that just happened to be where my best friend calls home. She showed me this poor, malnurished, hide throwed over a chairback puppy. Eat up with fleas, ticks and the vet only knows what. She has two beautiful sweetheart shelties that she shares with her husband. So another dog was out of the question. But she couldn’t bear the thought of this pup being put down. I was coming home the next weekend so my future husband and I washed and doctored best we could before taking her to the vet. Before the bath, the little pup was a brown color after the bath she was red clay red. She sat in my lap, on the backporch as I dried her trembling body and a bond was forged. From that moment until she died, Tumbleweed would seek comfort in my lap. A puppy is one thing, a sixty five pound hound mix some how still managed to fit. I took her to my dad’s because he had plenty of room for her. They never did quite manage to connect but they seemed okay with it.

Tumbleweed was fearless, people, horses, a goat (long story), wild dog packs, mushrats (nutria, nasty large rat/beaverish looking critter), vehicles, nothing bothered her. Most interesting thing she ever brought home was dead wild piglet about twenty thirty pounds worth. I don’t know how she managed it but it was there in yard when I came home from work. The sweetest thing she brought me was a tiny baby rabbit, again I don’t know how she did it. I was in the yard talking with my husband and she comes prancing out of the woods and dropped something in my hand when I reached to pet her. Unfortuntly the bunny didn’t make it. The fault rested on my inability to care for it.

One night about dusk dark I was home with the dogs, and I kept hearing things. I took my .22 and me and Tumby walked the property. She stayed by my side the whole time, I never did find anything wrong. We did take a potshot at dad’s old trash barrel, figuring it might scare off whatever it was. Tumbleweed never moved as I pulled the triger and I had never handled a gun around her before so I didn’t know how she’d react. A cool cumber that mutt, although she would let strangers know that “yeah you’re here and I know you’re here but I got my eye on you”, she never attempted to bite, growl or anything other bad yard dog behaviors that get them a bad rep. In her defense, no one during her lifetime ever tried to see if she was bluffing or not.

She was a beloved companion and her daughter sleeps at my feet each night. So the mighty Tumby lives on.

Cheers, james

Writing time: where do you go?

Where does my writing time go? I have it set aside, my area is good to go and before you know it, The Real World is banging on the door.

During the holidays I had several days off from work. “Oh boy, I can get some serious writing time.” Yep old man Murphy saw me coming and put quite a few road blocks, thumb tacks, lil children toys in my path. Needless to say I managed to accomplish little to no writing. If I hadn’t written the two or three posts before the holidays then I would have missed that too. It was the first time I have scheduled a post before, pretty neat except I kept wanting it to be time for it to post.

I have a chance Monday to try and get some writing done and put 2014 to rest. Thank you Dr. King, I believe you would understand my celebrating your day by writing and using those gifts the Good Lord Above gave me.

So where does your writing time go?  Or do you have the reverse going on? Writing or worse staring at a blank page/screen and you hear the tenths of seconds bonging like hour chimes.

Best of luck to everyone’s 2015 and beyond endeavors. Cheers, james

Not Another Creative Writing Blog!

A brand new blog, a new member of the writing blog gang. There is some great writing and plenty of humor. Let’s show some love.

Your Writing Mentor

I’m writing this blog because there are no blogs out there about creative writing. No place for the writer to turn to help with writing blocks, snags, crunch points.

Yeah, sure. Pop “creative writing” in your browser and stand back for the deluge. So why read mine instead of or even in addition to all the others out there?

I’m writing it because no one else has my unique insights into the craft of fiction.

Closer to the truth, if arrogant. Because who blogs with the view that they’re going to regurgitate stuff that’s already out there? Who doesn’t believe they have a unique perspective that the rest of the world is dying to access? Why am I going to be any different? I have something to say and the blog is a convenient, current way to say it.

So, yes, come along for this ride and you will be…

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Postcard writing prompts

My mom was telling me over the holidays she wants to start creative writing. I suggested she start a journal and check out the wordpress writing blogs gang. (You folks know who you are) She mentioned taking a couple of writing classes and I asked her why. She said she didn’t think she was creative enough. I told her she had creativity, because she had written the start of a story. A murder mystery using a red leather stilletoe high heel shoe. Anybody that would see that as a weapon has creativity and sees out of the box. I think of high heels as torture devices. So ……

On my way home yesterday, I thought what if she received a postcard with a message. I wondered if it would fuel her creativity and her curiousity. Then I started thinking what if a group of writers from the world over took turns writing prompts and story bits on postcards and mailing them to another writer. Fun, right? I decieded to research if anyone had set up something similar and I found a website called “postcrossing”. You sign up and request a randomly assigned address and you mail them a postcard. Then you receive a postcard from someone and you get another address and so forth. I thought it was a neat idea. So now I am wondering if writing prompt postcards would be a neat thing to try or if old fashioned pen writing has died.

So dear readers what do you think?

The Hour of the Dragon

The Hour of the Dragon is a novella written by Robert E. Howard about Conan the Barbarian. It was published in serial form in Weird Tales Magazine during the mid 1930s. This is an unusal tale because in it Conan sits the throne of Aqualonia. Also this was one of Howard’s last stories before he committed sucide. I could regale you with a summary of the story or hit the main points of it. I chose to inspire you to read it or listen to it as I did.

Today’s writers have many distractions stealing our writing time, so quality sometimes gets lost in the search for quanity. If a writer has so much distracting them, then what chance does the reader have? Internet, television, the ipad, laptop, xbox, playstation, work, family, friends are all clamoring for our attention.

Back when Mr. Howard was writing, there were also distractions, but stories didn’t have to compete with televisions or even movies. Work, a lack of books and education were the distractions. A lot of the classic authors started by writing for magazines and dime novels. Jack London, Ernest Heminway, and many more, went on to become masters of the pen. Overcoming the distractions of their day with intense, tight, clean writing, we have been given great gifts if we are willing to reach for them. It seems most writers today have overlooked these gems from the past. How much can we as modern day writers learn from these writers, I think it is time we pay the homage they so richly deserve. Without their writings and stories, we wouldn’t be here, the stories we grew up listening to or reading wouldn’t exist. I also believe that we should stay in touch with modern authors because in the far future they will become classic authors that those distant writers in the future will look too.

Listening to Mr. Howard’s stories have given me a new appreciation for these authors. I am looking foward to discovering new thoughts, ideas, and a better grasp of writing by studying the old masters, while staying in touch with modern authors. Hopefully I have inspired you to look beyond current writers to new old writers. Cheers, james