Five things make a post


1) My wife just finished making an animation station for my son, and she’s currently working on a tall, narrow “standing desk” for me to use at home. She rocks.

2) If I owe you an email, please be patient. I’m having issues with it for the moment.

3) There’s fantastic news going on that I can’t really talk about. Not until some things are finalized. ::crosses fingers::

4) There’s some other news I can’t quite talk about yet that is only partially good. Again, I need to clarify some stuff before I’m ready to share, but share I will. Watch this space.

5) As of 2006 in the U.S.A. less than two percent of households earned above $250,000. That’s less than two percent of all households, not individuals. If your home brings in a quarter million dollars a year, you qualify as upper class. You’re wealthy. Embrace this truth.

Quote of the day


“Apple is best understood as the Singapore of technological ecosystems—smart, forward-looking, and every so often you get caned for chewing gum. ”

— Patrick Nielsen Hayden

(posted after I realized that the Mac OS disables “Grab”–the screen capture utility–while “DVD Player” is running, because God forbid anyone want to post an image from a movie or TV show they’re writing critically about)

Five Things Make a Friday Post


And today it’s all about me me me!

* As of last Monday, I am officially six months overdue on delivering Man Bites World. My agent has given me firm instructions: Do not panic. The deadline for production is August, but I’m going to be turning it in that late. I’m just about finished with a round of revisions for my agent (she had a couple little notes) and once she reads and approves them, I’ll turn the book in.

Looking back, I can see it was damn smart of my editor to hold off the publication of Child of Fire for as long as she did. And I’m sorry that Game of Cages was switched from May of this year to August. Hopefully, the path in the future will be more smooth.

* In MS Word for Mac (I know. You don’t have to say it), the word count appears at the bottom of the window… unless the count goes into six figures, at which point it disappears. I hate that. I like maps, clocks, WYSIWYG, and word counts. I like to know where I am. That’s why I feel a certain joyful satisfaction when I trim a manuscript below the 100,000 word mark and the total count suddenly appears onscreen.

Yesterday, I was tempted to stop revising ten minutes early so I could write “I’m at 99,999 words now!” in this post, but I resisted. See point one.

* Am I going to Norwescon? I don’t know! I received an invitation around Christmastime, filled it out and sent it in, but I haven’t heard back. It’s less than a month away and my name isn’t on the long list of “panel participants.” Now, I’ve never been to a convention before, so maybe it’s commonplace for a confirmation to arrive less than a month before the event. Maybe it’s common for an invitation to be rescinded (which would be understandable, since I can only go one day) without notifying the attendee. I dunno, but I’ve sent an email to registration to inquire.

I’m half-hoping they’ll tell me I’ve been struck from the list. Saturdays are supposed to be family time for me, but revisions have been eating all my time, and then there’d be a convention, and the following week…

* I’m going to have a signing at the Tukwila Barnes & Noble on April 10th at 1 pm. It won’t be a reading (Ixnay on the Eadingray!), just a signing and talk with four authors: Gayle Ann Williams (Tsunami Blue), Jessa Slade (Seducing the Shadows), Mark Henry (Battle of the Network Zombies), and little ole me. If you live in the Puget Sound area, swing on by.

* You know what amazes me? I can revise a book three times and, on the fourth runthrough, discover an incredible number of word echoes, clumsy sentence constructions, responses to sensory input before the sensory input, and dialog that would register as “eyeroll” on a Turing test. It still astonishes me that my own errors can be so difficult to see.

* Only two entries so far in the Child of Fire giveaway contest (Here’s the LiveJournal version). Just sayin’. This is the last giveaway I’m going to do for a while. I have a small stack of books I’m going to save for late summer, in case CoF isn’t available in stores when Game of Cages comes out.

Things that are annoying


Let’s add something to the long list:

When I scan a document I have to lay it in portrait mode, even though the page is printed landscape. I scan it, rotate it appropriately and save it.

Sounds sensible, right?

Except this morning, after 80-some pages, I discovered that rotating it to landscape mode was cutting off the margins of the page. You know, where all my hand-written corrections were.

Dear software designers: wtf?

I’m supposed to be working


So of course I’m typing this instead. Here’s my life in convenient bullet-list form, which is how I experience it myself.

* I uploaded a larger jpg of the Game of Cages cover, so anyone who missed it the first time or thought it was too dark or small can really see it now. It’s practically actual size.

* I just put the signed contracts for Russian language editions of CoF and GoC in the mail. Yay! Last night I took a deep breath and sat down to read through them, only to discover they were a civilized two pages long, with one column in Russian and one in English. Easy-peazy.

* As evidence that I am still not caught up on my sleep, I just used the phrase “easy-peazy” for the first time in my life. No, I have not been transformed into an adorable urchin in a 1950’s sitcom. I’m just feeling odd and out of sorts.

* Yesterday I got back on the “read faster” bandwagon with my current library book. As I mentioned before, I read more slowly than any novelist I’ve ever heard of, and at this point it’s a real hindrance on my productivity. The polish of Man Bites World I’ve been working would have been finished long ago if I were someone else; as it is, I’m on page 115 of 381. After I finish this post and one or two other online duties, I’ll post how far I’ve gotten at the end of my work day. Shame is a great motivator.

* If anyone is curious about the book I’m reading, it’s Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, And Why by Laurence Gonzales. It’s a bit of a narrative wander, but the subject is fascinating. So far, I recommend it highly, especially if you’re interested in why people seem to do exactly the wrong thing in stressful situations.

* Someone on Justine Larbaletier’s blog recommended Mac Freedom, a free software download that turns off a Mac’s wireless for any length of time the user wants. My eyes bugged out of my head, because this was the thing I’d always wanted without knowing it. I headed to to read their review of it first, and was startled to see the review say it was a silly program because a Mac’s wireless capability was trivially easy to turn off already.

It took me a moment to realize they meant clicking the little fan in the upper toolbar. Yeah, it’s trivially easy to turn off, but it’s also easy to turn back on when I’m stuck or frustrated. Do they expect me to have some sort of self-control? I’m not made of stone, people!

Okay. More coffee, then on to page 116.

Online backup


I downgraded my Dropbox to a free account and signed on with Dropbox is a great service for backing up and syncing my writing between two computers, but for backing up my family photos and videos online it just doesn’t work. There’s no way to back up files without also putting them on both computers, and my laptop doesn’t have space for all those files. With the free 2GB version, though, I back up my writing and everything is good. offers unlimited backup from one computer for five bucks a month. That works out perfectly: I save the file on my laptop, dropbox copies it to the desktop (as well as keeping an online copy) and then Mozy backs it up again. I also have a 2 TB Time Capsule drive running Time Machine at its regular pace.

I hope that covers it.

Only downside is the initial backup to Mozy. I started it yesterday afternoon, and the download window says it still has three days, thirteen hours to finish.

Here’s the deal


I met Charles Stross briefly a few months ago, and he recommended Dropbox for online backups. I like it, because it’s a little different from most services.

How it works: You install the program on your computers (assuming you have more than one, if you don’t, skip the rest of this post) and it places a folder called “Dropbox” in your system. Any file you move into this folder is automatically backed up to their online server when you next have an internet connection.

It also automatically downloads to the folder in your other computer. This way, your files stay synced on both machines.

I write on my laptop, copy the day’s work to the folder and let it upload. I know it’ll be on my desktop at home in seconds, and that Time Machine will back it up within the next hour. Plus, there’s the online copy.

It’s also useful, I’m told, for collaborating. I don’t need that so I haven’t put much thought into it. All I know is that there’s a way to create a public folder online where you can share files with other.

Why I’m telling you this: If you sign up (you can get a free 2GB account, which is more than enough for my writing) through a referral from me, we both get extra storage space above and beyond that two gigs.

I’ve been pretty happy with the service, although I haven’t had it for all that long and I haven’t needed it to restore lost work. If anyone wants a referral, drop a comment here, please.