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.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Difference between Literature and Life…


…is that literature has to make sense. We want endings to the tales we read that wrap up the story neatly. We want to understand how all of the details the author presented to us in the story conspired to bring about the ending.

We, as readers, have to come to expect literature to explain our lives to us. I find that rather humorous, since Life almost never makes sense, endings are rarely happy and the good guys almost never win (though we always seem to muddle through somehow).

But we expect the stories we read to make sense. Perhaps because that gives us some hope that we can organize our lives in the same way that authors lay out their novels. You know, create an outline for our lives and then just stick to it the way a really good author sticks to his (or her) outline.

And if we can do that, why, of course our lives will come out just the way we expect them to.

Yeah, right. Sure, it will.

Not bloody likely, Mate.

I stopped writing like that way back in the tenth grade. Right about the same time I realized my life was not what I wanted, at all. Right about the same time I began to read biographies and histories (and not the ones our teachers made us read for class, either).

Life, just in case you haven't looked out a window recently, is chaos. And here’s a real  shocker for you - it always has been. The old saw about how “The only constant in life is change” is all too true.

Write about Life, and about how your characters react to the changes in their lives. Good or bad, write about how the decisions they make affect their lives. Write about how decisions made a thousand miles away affect their lives. Write about how a hurricane in the Caribbean and a transportation strike in Cleveland, Ohio, affects the life of a Frenchman in Berlin. Life is chaos. Really.

Write about how your characters deal with harsh reality and still manage to find love, still manage to keep their friendships strong, still manage to smile at the birth of a grandchild, still manage to hope that tomorrow will be better for their children and grandchildren.

Even though they know their children and grandchildren will face the same pressures they do, will have to make the same decisions they did, and make the same mistakes they did, and smile the same smiles and hope for the same things for their children and grandchildren.

That’s jut the way things are.

There is a place for fantasy in our lives, and in the books we read (but do remember that Grimm’s Fairy Tales – in the original versions, anyway – were truly grim and very, very scary). That is ‘escapist literature’, and I really do enjoy it from time to time. And if you do write fantasy, keep it real. Fantasy? Reality? Keep it real? Who said that?

I did. Even in fantasy stories you are dealing with people and how they react to their environment. Keep it real.

Every action has a reaction. And every decision has its unintended consequences.

Pandora’s Box was opened a long time ago, boys and girls. But there’s till hope in this world.

Write about Life, as it is. And about people, and how they cope. Dashiell Hammett was right. People want to read about people.

I will, please God, be in Green Cove Springs, Florida, on Saturday, 3 March, for their “Railroad and History Festival”. It will be held at the Clay County Historical Triangle, 915 Walnut Street, at Hwy 16 (Ferris St) between 10 am to 4 pm.

I hope to see you there.

Monday, February 27, 2012

This is Not a Rant


It’s more of an explanation and an expression of concern for the future of eBooks. Amazon is pushing its Kindle format for eBooks just as hard as it can. One of the ways the management of the eBook division has come up with to do that is to allow authors to promote their Kindle books for free for up to five days out of every 90 that they keep their work in the Kindle Prime Program (www.kdp.amazon.com).

What this does is to allow readers to dive into an author’s published works for no money. And that is absolutely fine with me. My second novel, “Hog Valley”, was promoted this way for 3 days and the follow-on sales are very encouraging.

So, what’s the down side to this? Well, you see, it’s all of those other author’s who are taking advantage of that promotion program.  Readers can download their books for free, too. So why should anyone ever buy another book for their Kindle when they can get so many new releases (reasonably new, anyway) for free?

One of the inevitable results of this will be that ‘successful’ authors are going to be forced to lower their prices (really lower their prices) to attract any readers at all.

Amazon is the 900 lb. gorilla in the room, boys and girls, and they have earned the right to chum the water any way they want to. I am very much in favor of free (sic) enterprise, and I do support Amazon (and, unfortunately Microsoft) with my hard-earned money. I buy their books and their software and use them quite happily, I must say.

But just how low does Amazon expect authors to go with their prices? My novels are priced at $3.00 for the Kindle versions, and I have no intention of lowering them any more. ‘Successful’ authors, such as John Grisham and Bernard Cornwell and many, many others, keep the prices for their Kindle versions very nearly on a par with the paper versions of their works. And they seem to be doing okay with at. For now, at least.

But I don’t think it’s going to last for them.

Every author worth his or her salt puts a lot of time and effort into producing a quality product (more or less; I’ve seen some truly embarrassing punctuation and spelling errors lately in some of the ‘new’ novels I’ve read on my Kindle). We as authors want (need, really) to attract new readers. That’s how we make a living.

But such ‘free’ promotions aren’t really a good thing in the long run. It’s hard enough attracting new readers when you’re working on a level playing field. It’s damn near impossible when there are so many new releases you can get for no money at all.

And in the interest of full disclosure I must admit that I grab every ‘free’ Kindle eBook I can (well, as long as it’s in a genre I like to read and it sounds interesting). I must admit, too, that many of them are not competing directly with my novels, and most of them are riddled with grammatical, spelling and punctuation errors so they would never make it on a bookstore shelf.

But as long as a readers eyes are on one of those books there is little opportunity for that reader to look for something better.

I think – well, hope, actually, that all of this ‘free’ promotion furor will die down to a background rumble some time soon. It will probably never go away entirely – it just has too many attractive aspects to it for new authors and for readers looking for new authors’ material.

If you have a new novel – or whatever – and want to promote the digital version (and if your do have a new work you’re an idiot if you don’t have a digital version), give the Kindle Prime promotion program a shot. If you have several works already in digital format set one up as ‘free’ and use it to attract new readers to your other works.

It does pay off. Really, it does. There are about a gazillion books out there, and every author in the world has to compete with each and every one of those books. Every dollar someone spends on one of those other books is a dollar that will never find its way into YOUR pocket (or mine, for that matter).

So promote yourself, and promote your work any way you can. Nobody is going to do it for you. It’s you and me against every other author in the world, kiddo.

Well, really, it’s me against you and every other author in the world. But I wish you the very best of luck anyway.

Monday, February 20, 2012

It’s early Monday morning


And I’m already tired of the day. I’ve got a bit of running around to do this morning, a few phone calls to make, laundry to fold (no, I don’t have a housekeeper) and once that is all out of the way I will be working on “A Silent Star” for the rest of the week. Barring, of course any interruptions life in all its wondrous forms will throw at me and my perfectly arranged schedule.

“A Silent Star” refers to the memorial wall of black stars in the main entrance of the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. Each star represents a CIA officer who died in the service of his country. One of those stars is for one of the members of a CIA team sent into Yemen immediately after the attack on the USS Cole to seize Osama Bin Laden, who was located in a small village in that country.

That team member was on her first assignment, and she made a fatal mistake. Since this was very much a covert operation that failed the records were purged and the family was given no information about how the young woman died. The three survivors, however, were all promoted and continued to work for the Company.

The story will tell the tale of the tale of that attempt and what happened in the lives of the three surviving team members afterward.

Needless to say, their identities are unknown to me and will remain so. But there is sufficient information available to write the tale and remain close to the facts without divulging more about the individuals than is safe, or necessary.

It is one heck of a story.

On the third of March I will be in Green Cove Springs, Florida, for their 20th Railroad and History Day.  It is quite an event.

Have a great week. I’ll be right here, writing, or putting up with all manner of irritating interruptions.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Well, I went and did it again

(Scroll down to the end to see the cover art for “Lonesome Cove”!)

I hated it the first time, too. Just as much as I hated it this time. And I knew – I knew I was gong to hate every minute of it. And I went and did it again anyway.

Not that I had any choice in the matter.

Needless to say, I’m referring to rebuilding my web site for the second time in a month. At least this time I DO get a blog page (not that I’ve figured out how to get a blog onto it yet) and I DO get analytics (not that there’s been any traffic on the site yet), and not that it looks particularly good or even in the same ball park of what I want it to look like.

But www.garyshowalter.com is  Live. It’s up there, it’s been Published, however you want to say it. My web site is out there once again for all the world to see. And just as soon as I get around to adding in the keywords and metatags on the pages folks should be able to pull it up in google, yahoo and any other search engine. Some day. Better be soon, too.

And there’s even a Contact Us form at the bottom of the nav bar. Wowie. Am I big time, or what?

There is an awful lot of work to do still. The Home page has an irritating table on the right side that just has to go. I’ll stick on another page and put the contents where they belong – on a page of their own. I don’t have an Events Page, either, so that has to be added, and I still need to get all of the book cover icons inserted and linked to the correct book pages on Amazon for punch-through’s. And a dozen other little odds and sods.

And the colors are – well, not attractive. I’m no diva when it comes to color coordinating stuff. I just do not pay any attention to that sort of thing. But even I can see it is not what I want it to be.

And I’m supposed to be a writer, not some geeky web site builder. Actually, I spent years in web site building and testing. I even did it for a very profitable living. But there is a very good reason I do not do this stuff for a living now. I do not enjoy it, not the least little bit. All that fiddly, hunty-pecky stuff sets my teeth on edge.

Enough. I’m ranted out for the evening. If you would pretty please with sugar on go to www.garyshowalter.com and poke around for a bit. Please, use that form on the Contact Us page and let me know what YOU think I should do. Especially if you have any opinions on the colorizing issue. I sure don’t.

Here’s an interesting thing that actually has to do with writing stuff. Sorta. I finally got the cover art photographed for “Lonesome Cove”!

Here it is, without any of the graphics in the way. All of my cover art is painted especially for my book covers by Mickey Summers of Silver Springs, Florida and used with his permission.

LCArtClean08Lite Neat, huh? Mickey Summers is a great artist. Thanks, Mickey!

Ah, closure at last


Kinda-sorta, anyway. www.garyshowalter.com is more or less complete after a frantic few days of live chats and phone calls to the support teams at www.register.com. The last little hurdle to overcome (other than the still-ugly color combination) on the web site has been conquered.

For some truly bizarre reason, the ‘blog’ wound up on my home page rather than on the ‘weblog’ (so styled by register.com) and I had no idea how to move it or delete it or even hide it. I was so unsure of why it was there rather than on the blog page that I used their blog post utility to post a short test. Sure enough it was posted to the middle of my home page.

A quick call to tech support had the tech lady stumped for a few minutes but she did come back with a solution that worked and the blog was in fact automatically moved by yours truly to the actual blog page in a matter of a few seconds (hint- it’s in the site layout options, but you’ll never find it on your own).

So, it’s more or less done and I’m even going to post this entry to the web site blog page to prove it.

I’ll spend part of tomorrow fiddling around with the colors again to see if I can come up with something I can live with. Everything is is more or less the way it will remain for the nonce (no, I have no idea what a nonce is or how long it lasts).

Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Web Site and Business Email Address will be unavailable for a few Days…


My web site (www.garyshowalter.com) and business email address (gary@garyshowalter.com) will be unavailable for the next few days while I move (again, sigh) to a new web site hosting service. I am sorry for any interruption of service, but this will be the last time I have to do this ( I hope hope hope it is!).

Microsoft's new Office 365 hosting service is not at all what it should be, as I have mentioned in a few prior posts. I made arrangements just a few minute ago to move my domain name to another hosting service. The Web site and email address will be back on line in a matter of a few days.

I do thank you all for bearing with me through this nightmare; I am reacting to, not initiating, a major screwup. I wish it were otherwise, because all of this mucking about with building web sites and moving them all over the damn place has absolutely nothing to do with writing (and re-writing) novels and building a readership.

But, as I have mentioned several times, being a writer – producing novels, short stories and so on, is not the be-all and end-all of writing for a living. Life do tend to intrude at the oddest of times in the life of ever writer, and this is one of those times for me.

Being a good writer enables you to produce a Product. Great. Congratulations. Now what? Now that you’ve spent a year or two years creating a Product, whatcha’ gonna do wit’ it?

Well, boys and girls, you gots ta sell that lil’ puppy and make yo’sef some bucks sose yer kin writes some mo’ of them book things, and then yer gots ta sell them, too.

And part of that is Managing your Resources, such as web sites and email address. Because if you can’t, or don’t want to learn how, you have to pay someone else to do that for you, and then you have to write lots and lots more of them book things and sell lots and lots more of them to pay someone else to do what you COULD do all by yourself. Of course, when you do it all by yourself you don’t have so much time left to actually write any more, do you?

Which is why I started this part of my rant by mentioning ‘Resources’. Time is really the most precious of the resources we have and just about the only one that really is finite (in a really big way, to0). Your choice, of course, but since my dollars and sense (Yes, I mean ‘sense’) are so very limited, I do as much of the housework as I can stand.

Which is why I am building my web site and setting up my email server all by my little old self. Again.

Thank you vey much,  Microsoft.

I have worked in and around computers since 1971, and I have developed over the years some very well-founded and well-justified biases and prejudices for certain companies and products. Microsoft is way at the top of several of my lists of biases and prejudices. I truly do love to hate that company. Especially now.

February will go down in my personal history as a  very ‘Interesting’ month.

I wouldn't have minded if we’d skipped it entirely.

Friday, February 10, 2012

It’s Friday night, and I’m Beat


“lonesome Cove” has gone out the door – twice, in fact, because I had to add some stuff to the ending. Now I’m thinking of adding more, but I’m afraid my publisher will go into a hissy fit if I send her another version before the second is even edited. That’s a good reason to do absolutely nothing on LC until I hear back from the editor, I guess.

But the ending does bother me…

Yesterday I started on that novel I’ll be co-authoring with Tony Attanasio. Tony’s got quite a background – he served in the Marine Corps, worked as a detective sergeant with NYPD in their Organized Crime Unit, spent ten years with DEA where he worked in a lot of the trouble spots and acted as the DEA liaison with the CIA on some very interesting cases.

He’s been declared an expert in international drug trafficking by the New York State Supreme Court, the U.S. District Court in Miami and by the German Supreme Court in Bavaria.

He’s written several books and worked as the organized crime advisor ton Robert De Nero’s movie, “Ronin”. He’s received numerous awards in the field of law enforcement and government, including seventeen awards for valor from the NYPD and from several foreign governments as well. Tony is a certified Florida Department of Law Enforcement Criminal Justice Instructor. If you want to know more about this very interesting man, check out his web site at:


I’ve spent the last two days going through the material he sent me on the novel we’ll be co-authoring. It’s titled, “A Silent Star”. I’m not going to divulge any of the details at this stage, but I will say it covers what happened after the attack on the U.S.S Cole (DDG-67), one of the Arleigh Burke class destroyers.

A 35-foot boat laden with the explosives RDX and TNT with two bombers on board rammed the USS Cole port amidships while it was refueling in Aden harbor, ripping a 32-foot by 36-foot hole in the hull and causing extensive internal damage. The ships crew lost seventeen dead and forty-seven injured.

The attack occurred in the harbor of Aden, Yemen, at eleven twenty-two on the morning of October 12, 2000.

Our story will be about the lives and actions of some of the people involved in the search for the perpetrators following that attack. From what I have read so far, it is going to be a very interesting story, indeed. It is a novelization, and names and circumstances will be changed to protect their identities without diluting the harsh realities of these valiant individuals.

With any luck at all, it will be released later this year for the Kindle. I have no idea of a publication date for a paperback version, but believe me when I say this one will be out in paper, as well.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

I’m going to Bite the Proverbial (and Expensive) Bullet


And decline Microsoft’s generous (NOT) offer to host my web site for $7.00 a month. Their new hosting service Office 365 DOES NOT provide ANY statistics on visits and it is next to impossible (which is the same as impossible for me) to set up a blog page on the site.

www.register.com owns my domain name and will provide a full-service web site for around $12.00 a month. I’ll be moving my web site (again, damnit) to Register.com at the end of next week.

I got a warning notice last week from Microsoft that they will be shutting down their free web hosting service at the end of April. If the web site owner wished he could pack up all his little bits and pieces and toddle off to another web hosting service or take advantage of Microsoft’s fee-based Office 365 service. Being sort of a proactive guy, I looked around, saw the prices from other services and decided to stay with Microsoft. So I got started on rebuilding my site on their new host. After several days of worry and tension the new site was up and running (and it does look good), but then I learned there were no statistics on visits and putting up a blog page was going to be well beyond my abilities since Microsoft made no provision for bloggers on the public side of the site.

Well, screw that for a really bad deal for me. To say that I am extremely disappointed in Microsoft would be a tremendous understatement. I am, in fact, rather pissed.

But that’s a personal problem, and I’ll learn to live with it. I’m going to be busy next week, doing once again what I’ve just done last week. Moving my web site to another host.

Oh, well.

I will say this about Microsoft and their total lack of concern about hosting small business web sites. It is rather apparent that they no longer wish to be in that business. If it were their intention to attract and retain small business customers they would have put much more time and care into the back end of their provisioning and support system for Office 365. But they did not, and it is clear to me they have no intention of recognizing long-standing issues with Office 365, much less fixing them.

So this author, along with any number of other small business owners from all around the world, is going to take his business and his money elsewhere.

Every customer has one and only one way to deal with any uncaring business; vote with your feet.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

“Lonesome Cove” is in my publisher’s tender care


And will soon be passed over to her editor, who’s hands are not so tender. But at least the manuscript is out of my hair. I spent most of the previous two days in a final round of editing and a bit of rewriting and expanding descriptions and dialogue to clear up a few issues in some parts.

Once again, I am exhausted and suffering from a male version of post-partum blues. Two years I carried that thing around with me. If I wasn’t actively writing in the MS I was sure as hell thinking about the next few scenes or researching or daydreaming (yes, damnit, daydreaming) about how the plot was coming along and where it had to go next.

Nine months? Give me a break. I wish my novels only took nine months to assemble. Of course, I don’t have pain in places where I don’t have places (being a guy and all), and I’m sure as hell not going to get up in the middle of the night and feed the manuscript or pat its little back until it burps or change its dirty book cover after it craps itself.

Have I mentioned to you that I am so very, very glad I am not a woman? I was present at the births of all four of my children and shared as equally as possible in their first ten years of so; I’ve changed any number of diapers and had my shoulders covered in baby puke (and other stuff). I’ve paid my guy dues a few times over.

But still, both the baby raising and the manuscript are over and done with. Until the kids come to visit and my publisher’s editor sends the MS back with her markups. Let’s hope they don’t get here on the same day.

In the meantime, I’ll be starting serious work on a new novel I am co-authoring with a gentleman who has very deep knowledge of organized crime, gangs and the DEA and CIA. It’s based on a true story  and should make a fast-paced and very interesting story. And it should be done and ready for the publisher in six months.

But I am becoming very aggravated with Microsoft over their new web site hosting service Office 365. It is a muddle, and none of the tech support guys have a clue about how to straighten things out for the thousands of small and middling businesses struggling to move their web sites over to the new platform. And little old me is right in there with them.

Poor, poor, pitiful me.

But I am a writer, and I’ve got a blog…

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Yesterday was absolutely Wonderful, and Today is ramping up to be just as Nice


I got up at 3 AM yesterday and left the house for the drive to the Inverness Book Festival. I live in Deland, Fl, on the East coast just inland from Daytona. Inverness is on the West coast. You know how some people 'hunt & peck' on keyboards, right. Well, that's how I navigate Florida roads...
Inverness finally showed up in the windshield at 7:30. I checked in with one of the boss ladies, found my table and spent the next forty minutes getting all my little rubber duckies in a row. Between catching up with a few of the other authors I knew from previous events and meeting lots of new ones (and drinking another much needed cup of coffee), I was ready a few minutes before the hordes of readers started to trickle in. And we were all busy for the rest of the day.

Not only was the room packed with authors and readers, there were two rows of marquee tents set up outside. It was one of the very best-organized events I have been to in the last few years.

Inverness, in case you are not familiar with it, is a small town  just inland from the West coast of Florida, close to Homosassa Springs, It is also the center of several retirement communities in the area and folks over there just love to read (oh, goody!)

Kathleen Walls, my tent mate at several events last year, is not only an author, she is a publisher of other authors. I was able to get into the Inverness Book Festival through her connections with the festival. Thank you so very much, Kathleen!

Kathleen is also going to be my publisher for “Lonesome Cove”.

One of the first visitors to my table spoke with me for a few minutes and then wandered off to look around for a bit. I suppose there were thirty authors in the room with me; authors of books on  living a spiritual life, poetry, making a business out of your music, historical fiction, mysteries, how-to politics and so on. quite an eclectic groups, actually.

Well, that lady I mentioned above came back about half an hour later and bought all three of my novels. That one sale covered the cost of my trip across the State. Then all I had to do was sell one more book to cover the gas back to Deland and another to cover my lunch and I’d be all set.

By the time I left Inverness that afternoon I not only covered the cost of the day in Inverness; I came home with plenty of cash.

I stopped in Silver Springs on my way home, to see the cover art for “Lonesome Cove”.  Mickey Summers is an amazing fellow; former educator (art) in the Marion County school system (30 years), former Ranger with the Florida Park system, naturalist (he spends every minute he can outdoors, and in Florida that means walking in forests, swamps and bogs) and he knows the history, geology and ecology of Florida better than you know the back of your hand. And he paints, too. He is a naturalist painter who can tell a very long story ( a picture is worth a thousand words, you say? That’s nothing to Mickey’s paintings) with a single picture.

Well, I didn’t have my camera with me, so the cover art is now here in Deland, waiting for me to pull it out of wherever it got packed for the move down here. It’s here, somewhere. I know it is. And I also picked up the MS for “Lonesome Cove”, as well. Mickey not only does my cover art; he is my first line of defense against my own stupidity in things like ‘choose’ instead of ‘chose’ and ‘bored’ instead of ‘board’, and having a character driving a red Ford pickup in one para and then putting him into a gray Buick sedan in the next.

Mickey checks dates, places and timing with a calendar, map and stop watch. And then he’ll draw a sketch, if he needs to, just to figure out if my descriptions of the layouts of scenes, rooms and the movements of characters is a bit too confusing for him. No kidding. he has saved my butt this way too many times to count.

So I’ve got my work cut out for me for the rest of this week; review the editing and make corrections, and then get the cover art photographed (yes, I can do a pretty good job with a camera and some photo editing software).

Then I print out a hard copy of the MS and get it up to my good friend Lesley in Jacksonville for a second look-see before sending it off to the publisher, who will have her own editor go over the MS before they start pre-production work

Have a great week. Oh, yes. I forgot. For those of you who plan to watch the Super Bowl today, I do hope you enjoy the game and the commercials. I’ll be sitting on the couch, too. And my team is guaranteed to win, so there (and no, I’m not going to tell you who that is).

I’ve posted a few blogs about moving my web site over to Microsoft’s Office 365 servers, so here is the very last on this issue: my new web site is finally up (www.garyshowalter.com) and everything – including my business email, works just fine, thank you so very much. At least, I think it does, which leads me to a request I have for you.

If you’ve stuck with me so far, please do me a very big favour ; on my web site there is a “Contact the Author” button on the left side of the window. It opens a short contact form where you can enter your name, email addy and stuff like that, and add a little note. Please do that for me. I

f you would like to be kept abreast of the progress on “Lonesome Cove: and further writing ventures I have lined up via a Notification List of readers I maintain, please let me know that specifically in the text box provided on the form.

If you do not make that request, I promise I will never send you an email for any reason (not because I do not like you and appreciate you, because I do. But if you do not request to be added to that notification list, I will not harass you with unwonted emails).

On my part I promise to never, ever, buy, sell or trade your email address to any person or agency or otherworldly being for anything, including gold, silver or Cheetos. Ever, I promise.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Update on “The Big Move”


Only it’s not a ‘Move’, exactly. It’s more like trash the old one, redirect the domain name and then build a brand new web site from scratch.


And it is a pain in my behind. But, as I mentioned in my last post, I was not given a great deal of choice in the matter. A few months ago I contemplated doing this very thing, but reconsidered after getting a few prices from hosting services and getting an idea of what would be involved in shifting my web site to a new host. I was unenthusiastic about the prices and downright staggered by all of the work involved.

I was right.

But I must say that Microsoft offered me such a nice deal  - with nasty implications if I failed to take them up on their lovely offer. Those nasty implications included finding another host for the web site, paying their monthly hosting fee, and still having to do all of the work by my lonesome. But their pricing was such I never even considered NOT taking the offer from Microsoft.

All things being equal, I am much better off staying with Microsoft for the hosting.

So this morning I began to build the web site. I’ve trimmed it down a bit, used ‘zones’ on a few of the pages for the sake of organization, and all in all the site is much better organized than the old one. So as of right now, all of the pages are there with buttons along the left side for navigation and I am reasonable satisfied with the look and feel.

But I can’t, for the life of me, figure out how to set up a blog on the site. So I posted a question to the techies, and I’m waiting on a response.

The domain name change should take effect in 24-hours from just about right now, and as soon as it does I’ll publish the web site and we’ll all get to take a look at it together.

Won’t that be exciting?

Not really, but I’m looking forward to it anyway.

So, if you would, say around three o’clock tomorrow afternoon (EST, that is), type www.garyshowalter.com into the URL bar at the top of your browser and give the web site a look-see. You can drop me a line at gary@garyshowalter.com and let me know what you think. Click through the pages and try to open one of the PDF files on the “Novels” page to see if it opens. I’ve got the first three chapters of my new novel, “Lonesome Cove” up there now…

Let me know, pretty please with sugar on, if something does not work.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Anyone who works for himself (or herself) has a fool for a boss


It’s embarrassing, I know. If I had a choice I’d fire myself right now, but somebody has to do this stuff, and I’m the only guy I’ve got who has the slightest idea what I’m doing.

Besides, with what I’m paying myself (no where near what I’m worth), I can’t afford to hire someone to do it for me.

And just what am I talking about here?

Why, moving my web site to another host, of course. And I’m really excited about it, too. NOT. One. Little. Bit.

I ‘own’ my domain name, garyshowalter.com, and when I decided to set up my web site with Microsoft’s Office Live for Small Business hosting service I got a pretty good deal. I redirected the domain name from Register.com to OLSB and had a fairly easy time of it over the next year or so.

Until the other day, when I received an email from Microsoft stating that OLSB would be reaching the end of its life cycle on 30 April, 2012. Well, it just sucks to be me, I guess, because with everything else I have to do I now have to move my web site.

But, wait a minute. The email continued to say that I could sign up for Office 365! And what is that, I hear you ask? It is Microsoft’s answer to everything on line, of course. For a very reasonable monthly fee I will have access to the same level of service ‘real’ companies get from Microsoft (and it really is a very reasonable – and small – monthly fee).

And nobody has made me a better offer, anyway. At least, not since I got that damned email from Microsoft. I know. I’ve checked.

So early this morning I downloaded everything from my current web site – photos, documents and icons and stored it all in neatly arranged folders I’ll never find again, ever, right on my Desktop. They’re still there, somewhere. I’m sure they are.

Then I went about the very first steps in moving stuff to Office 365, which including figuring out how to verify for the sake of Microsofties everywhere that I actually had the rights to my very own domain name. But it didn’t work out the way they said it would in their documentation, you see. I know, because I read through it several times and even sent emails asking for clarification.

They’re still laughing over those emails up in Redmond, I’m sure. Along with the thousands of other emails asking for clarification from all of the other web site administrators who are facing the same thing I am today.

Well, I said screw that for a really bad idea and just started to do it my way, and actually got some stuff done. When you don’t know what to do, do something. Even if it’s wrong. At least you will get a result, which is always better than no result because you didn’t have the guts to make a decision with what you did know.

I’m still waiting on word from the Microsofties. It might even be in English, which I should be able to read; if they keep the techno-babble to a minimum.

I’ll let you know how this works out.

But the important thing now is that my web site just might no longer exist. If it doesn’t now, it will soon, some day, probably. And it will still be at www,garyshowalter.com. Some day. Maybe. Probably. I sure hope so. Depends on how many Microsoft techs I piss off in the meantime, I guess.

Sty tuned.