I'm a writer. There, I've admitted it. I wonder if there's a 12-Step program for folks like me...

Most of this blog will be about writing for a living. Or maybe about trying to earn a living as a writer. Or maybe about trying to have a life while you write.

And maybe I'll be able to avoid the driving temptation to write about politics. But I'm not very good around temptation, so all I can promise is that I'll try to avoid writing about politics.

But I will write about the software I use, and the software I try out, and what I think about it. I actually spent lots of years in software testing - as a tester and as a manager of testing departments. I actually started work in software development in 1971, so I have a bit of experience with computers to back up what I have to say on this subject.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Busy ain’t in it. And tired


We have spent the last few days moving into our new home from a very small apartment. What I find so very interesting is that we have somehow managed to pack this large home full with stuff from that very small apartment. There is no room to move. Of course, once I repair the back on the bookshelves and the book are up off the floor things may improve. At least until we empty the storage locker of everything we couldn’t fit into that very small apartment.

This move may well cost me whatever small grasp I still have on my sanity.

Coincidental with the move was the herculean task of getting my third novel, “Twisted Key”, off to the publisher. Below is the final cover art for the paperback version:




I moved over to the new place about ten days ago – we’d gotten some of my tools and furniture over; it seemed wise to move myself, as well. So I was to-ing and fro-ing between places, checking emails, making phone calls and hauling boxes. Then yesterday we got the help of a couple of young linebacker types to do the heavy lifting, rented a 17’ UHaul truck and moved 2 loads of furniture and boxes. The which are now scattered throughout the new home in no necessary order. No rhyme and no real reason anyone can understand. But it’s here. Of course, there is still more to move – we just ran out of steam about the same time we ran out of time on the truck.

Along with that, I had to build a new office desk. In the old place I was working on a drop-leaf table my dad built during the early 1960’s while we were living in the Panama Canal Zone. The joints are drying out, so the table has to be un-built, the joints cleaned and reglued. Or something very unwelcome will happen to that lovely table. So while the computer stuff was still at the old apartment I made a quick trip to Lowe’s (and a few to Ace Hardware and one or two to Wal-Mart – I’m an equal opportunity shopper) and picked up some 2 x 4 and 2 x 6 pine, glue, polyurethane, sandpaper, screws, brushes a 30” x 80” solid core entry door, etc and built myself a very nearly indestructible office desk. Big, roomy and solid.

At the same time I built myself a workbench. First a few 36 string lever harps and then an 18’ yawl rigged sail boat. I miss sailing, I really, really do. And building stuff is just plain fun.

“Lonesome Cove” is back in the works. Getting “Twisted Key” off to the publisher took a lot of my mind, and the few reader’s comments I’ve gotten from folks who read TK via Kindle and Nook have been very encouraging. More than enough to push me back into the writing zone. Thanks, folks, and keep those comments coming, please.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Very Brief Update


We are a bout half-way through our moving into a new (to us, anyway) home. It’s a 3-bedroom, 2-bath single story home with a  large screened in porch, kinda-sorta sunken living room and a two-car garage that I will be using as a workshop. The move is not going quick, but it is moving along.

I spend about half my day in the workshop – I built a nice office desk to replace the table I’ve been using in the apartment. It needs rebuilding, very badly. My dad built it during the 1960’s while we were living in the Panama Canal Zone out of Luann mahogany, and the joints have since dried out. So I bought a load of 2 X 4’s and 2 X 6’s and a solid core 30” door. Then I bought even more 2 X 4’s and 2 X 6’s to build a work bench. So the office desk is complete and set up in the  office (the third bedroom) along with my book cases and I am now finishing up a temporary top for my work bench. I’ll take some digital photos later today or tomorrow and publish them on my next post.

The big news for this very busy period is that “Twisted Key” is now in the hands of the publisher. I’ve received proofs for the paperback and hardback covers and made a few comments. As soon as I get the final proofs, I’ll post them here. All I can say right now is that they are truly gorgeous!

I’ve got the landlord coming by later this morning to finish up some work in the new place so I can’t hang around here.

Lots to do, and all too little time to get it all done. The weeks just fly by, don’t they? Where are we all rushing too, I wonder?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Updates on “Twisted Key” and “Lonesome Cove”, moving, and Upcoming Events


“Twisted Key” should be available in paperback some time in September. I will be sending the text and cover art to the publisher near the end of this month. “Lonesome Cove” has proven to be somewhat troublesome, through no fault of my characters. I have identified most of the errors in plotting and will be starting on my rewrites some time next week, if our upcoming move does not get in the way.

Yes, we are moving. Again. This time we are moving into nice, roomy ranch-style house with a two-car garage that will probably never see a car in it. But it will see a workshop. I have every intention of building myself another 36-string harp with Truitt levers. And then one of John Welsford’s perky 17 foot yawl-rigged Pathfinders, probably the cuddy cabin version. These handy little boats are relatively easy to build, real pretty in and out of the water, and make great camp cruisers. They are also zippy sailors and comfortable, stable and reasonably dry when the wind and waves pick up. http://www.jwboatdesigns.co.nz/index.html

I quit chasing women a long time ago, when I realized they can all run a lot faster than me. So now I write, or read. That can become boring, so I’m going to put together a workshop and build some fun guy stuff.

But first, we have to move, and get settled in. Then I’ll build a workbench, purchase some floor machinery – table saw, band saw, planer/joiner and a nice drill press. And clamps. Lots of clamps. But hunting down that stuff at a price I’m willing to pay is fun, too. Take a look at the Photo Gallery on my web site for examples of what I have built and restored over the years: (www.garyshowalter.com/PhotoGallery.aspx).

There are some events in July and August I want to tell you about.

Giovanni Gelati is a fellow blogger, but he takes things a bit further than most. Giovanni also hosts a blog talk (live) radio show. Here’s the link: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/gelatisscoop. I will be his guest on the 22nd of July, at 3:15 in the afternoon. If you can’t catch the live show he does maintain an archive. I’ll post the link for the archive after the show.

Charlene Wilson hosts guest authors on her blog: http://cawilson.blogspot.com/. She will be posting a print interview with me on August 8.

On 16 August, the Women’s Club of Palatka, Fl, is presenting a meet the authors evening as a part of the "One Book, One Putnam" project to promote reading in Putnam County. The venue is 605 South 13th Street (on the corner of Crill Ave. and 13th St.), Palatka, FL 32178. The evening will run from 5:30 - 7:30 PM. At last count, seven (and probably more) local authors will be present to display and sell their work. These events are always very interesting, for the authors as well as for attendees.

On the 24th of September I will again be participating in the “Florida Heritage Book Festival” (http://fhbookfest.com/) in St. Augustine, Fl. The address is #50 Sevilla Street, Flagler College Ringhaver Student Bldg, 2nd Floor, St. Augustine, Fl. I will be there from 9:00 - 5:00. Again, there will be a veritable clatter of authors and if it is anything like last year there will be a great crowd of visitors. Among the featured writers this year will be Randy Wayne White and Peter Matthiessen.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Kindle vs Nook vs Sony vs etc. There’s a real battle going on


Sooner or later the real winner will be the consumer. We’ve seen this before; the first time I recall was VHS vs. Betamax tapes. Even the CD and DVD weren’t immune, and don’t get me started on digital movie formats.

The retail giants have a vested interest in tying their customers to their coattails, but the consumer is always the looser. Their eBook readers as so designed that the reader gives up a bit of independence in exchange for a set of functionalities on the eBook reader of his choice.

That is never a good plan. In the end the giants will come to realize that locking the consumer to their reader denies them the readers who patronize the ‘other’ digital libraries. In the end every book reader will be able to download and display eBooks from every digital book retailer.

I promise.

About three weeks ago, I set up a fund-raising project at Kickstarter: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/344026567/publication-of-my-third-novel-twisted-key

I’ve had a rough few years with health issues – I’ve lead an interesting if somewhat wearing life, and now I’m paying the price. That aside, I have my third novel selling in both Kindle and Nook format but lack the funds to cover the cost of producing the paperback version. So Kickstarter’s crowdfunding makes sense. What you do is to pay for a signed and numbered copy of “Twisted Key” in advance of publication. And when I get the copies delivered to me I mail them out. Click on the link above, visit the project page and read what I’m offering in exchange for your hard-earned money.

My first novel, “The Big Bend”, had a few editorial issues. It still does, in the paperback version, but one of the many advantages of digital publishing is that I have made many corrections to the novel and in minutes had it back up online, re-published in both formats.

I really like digital publishing. But I really love books, too.

Take a few minutes and look over the project proposal, will you, please?

Have a great 4th of July, and stay safe.