Protect yourself …

I’m a fiction writer, but this can apply to most of us.

In the middle of getting my first mystery (One, Two – Kill a Few) published and working with my editor on the second in the mystery series, my desktop computer came up DOA.

I have an external ( 1 tb) hard drive I use for backups. It was a pain in the tush to pull files from that external drive and use them on my 10″ screen net book. At least it kept me alive in the real world.

BACK UP YOUR FILES. It’s better than crashing and burning without a paddle.

From Will Rogers: Never miss a good chance to shut up.
John

web: johnachor.comfacebook.com/jachor1LinkedIn.com― Twitter: @CaseyFremont

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T1red of p@sswords? Y0u @reN*t @lone!

Quick personal note before I get to business. My Casey Fremont mystery novel is now available on Amazon as a paperback. Go to amazon.com and search on: john achor

I have a problem resolving the time missing since my last blog. It was a year-plus of weird odds and ends. Just don’t ask me, “how are you?” Because neither us has that much time to waste on getting caught up.

Suffice it to say, I am doing my best to come out of hibernation and get back to all my old pursuits; readin’, writin’, ‘rithmatic and all that jazz.

Long memory: I can remember the day I had only a couple of passwords and could keep them in my head. Ah, days long gone. Today I have somewhere north of 150, and I defy anyone to remember that many. Unless you use “password” for all of them. ― a dumb thing to do ― I need help. The title above is an article headline from a local paper that gave me a chuckle.

My suggestion: use a password software program to track and protect them. I’m using RoboForm (roboform.com). There are free versions on the market, however I prefer what I hope is a more robust program in their payware version ($9.95/year). I also use online sites to create passwords. Here are the links to two of them; both free:

http://freepasswordgenerator.com/    and      http://strongpasswordgenerator.com/

This is a password generated by one of them: e296hu.<Ci37

Using 12 letters, numbers, upper/lower case and symbols ― remember the longer the password, the more protection. I then log the password into RoboForm.

            I used Gibson Research Corp. site (https://www.grc.com/haystack.htm) to check the strength of that password, and here are the results: 1.74 centuries – chop the last four from the password (leaving it 8 characters long) and the time to crack drops to about 5 seconds. Wow!

            123456 and abcdef are not strong passwords. Do yourself a favor and create strong passwords to protect your computer and the work you slaved to create.

From Will Rogers: Never kick a cow chip on a hot day. 

John

web: johnachor.comfacebook.com/jachor1LinkedIn.com― Twitter: @CaseyFremont

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A holiday gift from me to you … free, enjoy.

Let’s put the New Year’s resolutions to rest. Here is a list of my resolutions:

1)

That’s all folks …

– Easy Transfer – PC to Kindle

First, why would I want to transfer Word files or other documents from my desktop to my Kindle? As a mystery writer, I like to use “down time” as an opportunity to work on my current project.

I often find time while I’m out and about to add a few lines of the novel I’m currently working on. I find it handy to have the novel outline, dramatis personae, etc. to work from. Even an entire novel will only use about one thousand kilobytes of hard drive space.

I just finished reading an “ultimate” guide to the Kindle Fire and they describe the difficult way; write a short email to yourself and address it to your Kindle account email. Let’s see, what is my Kindle address? After a long search, I find it’s: brackafrats83467@gmail.com ― yeah, that should have been on the tip of my tongue.* The next step is to attach the desired document to this email and send it along. Too many steps. Now, here are the details of a new and better way to accomplish this task.

This new method will pare transfer time to nothing. This hint came from a Kindle user group presented by our local computer club. First step, find a Kindle app (application) that will do the “Send to Kindle” job. You can search the web for it or use this URL:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/sendtokindle

There are four options here; I’ll describe the PC option, however there is one for the Mac.

Download and follow screen prompts to install this app to your desktop PC. Now you can use the easy way to send many types of files to your Kindle.

Locate the document(s) you want on your PC by navigating to the proper location using Windows Explorer and left click to select. If a second one is in the same folder, you can choose several by left clicking on the first one, then CONTROL + (Left Click) on the next one you need; repeat as necessary to get all the docs you want. When they are selected, RIGHT click on any of the highlighted file names and from the pop-up menu, and click on the “Send to Kindle” choice.

If you own more than one Kindle, the app presents a list of your devices and you can tick (check) any or all of the boxes shown. If you have the Amazon Kindle app on your Android smart phone, it will appear in this list as well.

The process takes only a few seconds and a notice appears saying the document should show up on your Kindle in a few minutes. Most of the time, it’s on my Kindle before I can get to that device in the next room.

This app is quite versatile. Rather than a document, you may want to send a picture/image (JPG or BMP), a text file (TXT), a Portable Document Format (PDF), or a music file (MP3) – all of these work. It will not, at the time of this writing, work with movies (MOV and WMV), spreadsheets (XLS) or Power Point presentations (PPT).

No guarantees but the list above should give you a way to go. I’ve checked it on the desktop transferring to: Kindle 2, the Kindle Fire and the Kindle Fire HD. So far, so good.

Save yourself some time and go for the “Send to Kindle” app. See what other uses you can come up with and email me with your discoveries.

* Don’t try the sample address, it does not exist.

Happy Holidays …

Cheers,

John web: johnachor.comfacebook.com/jachor1LinkedIn.com― Twitter: @CaseyFremont

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Pay attention – to your body

This blog site is dedicated to matters relating to writing; however I’ll ask your forbearance if I stray a bit.

I was taking a class at our local community college ― Expression Web (software for developing web sites). The class met once a week in the evening.

On the third night, near the end of the class, I got a peculiar and slightly nauseating sensation in my chest. After class I began my twelve to fifteen mile drive back home, the majority of which in over nearly deserted areas of two-lane country roads.

I reached the entrance to our gated community. The sensation was still there and becoming more pronounced. I made it through the gate and into a small parking area. I entered the guard shack and told them I needed a place to sit down and take a nitroglycerin tablet.

Condensed version: guard called 9-1-1, EMTs arrived and took me to the hospital. Next day, angiogram confirmed blockages in arteries to the heart that were not treatable with stents.

The following day, I underwent double-bypass open heart surgery. One repair was to the Left, Anterior, Descending Artery (sometimes called the Widow Maker).

Moral: pay attention to your body. I did, I stopped at the first reasonable public spot. Recovery is going well and cardiac-rehab should start in a week or so.

My writing has suffered during the convalescence to the point I can hear my lady in Little Rock, protagonist Casey Fremont, whispering in my ear, telling me to get back to work on the current mystery novel. She said, “I want to find out how it ends.

I said, “Me, too.”

Cheers, John
web: johnachor.comfacebook.com/jachor1LinkedIn.com― Twitter: @CaseyFremont

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Videos

Hi all,

This is my first attempt at creating a video. I’m using a fairly new camera: Nikon S9300. Next I have to decide how far to go in this direction and how often. Here’s a short url link to the images: Casey’s workstation

If you’d like to comment, I’m interested in four areas regarding this video: (1) Originality, (2) Execution, (3) Can a writer actually write in the midst of this conflagration? and (4) How do you use videos?

There is a bit of truth in the captions …

Cheers, John
web: johnachor.comfacebook.com/jachor1LinkedIn.com― Twitter: @CaseyFremont

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And the Winner is …

The contest is over and it is time to let you in on the winning title for my next Casey Fremont mystery and the winners; yes winners. As the contest period was drawing to a close, I decided on a name I liked. I checked my list of entries. No one person had the name I chose, so I looked for the words in the submissions.

The name I chose is Five, Six – Deadly Mix. Two ladies each had one of the words in their suggestions; Janet Liszka and Karen Jordan. I took a first name and a last name for the new character: Janet Jordan.

Now I have to go through the portion of the novel I’ve written and substitute the new name for the character. I will use Find and Replace to ease the burden, but I seldom use the Replace All selection. I’ve seen some weird things happen using that command

Cheers, John
web: johnachor.comfacebook.com/jachor1LinkedIn.com― Twitter: @CaseyFremont

 

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Help name my next Casey Fremont mystery …

My first Casey Fremont novel was titled: “One, Two – Kill a Few.” The second, due for Kindle release early in 2012, is called: “Three, Four – Kill Some More” – I bet you’ve detected a pattern to the names of these books.

I’m working on the third of Casey’s adventure; I have a working title, but it could be improved. In this story, Casey is called upon to investigate possible Medicare fraud at a Little Rock hospital. Along the way she also discovers the theft of controlled prescription meds, and of course, a few bodies will drop along the way.

Your job, if you choose to accept it, is to complete the title: “Five, Six – … ”

Since I cannot provide a signed copy of an eBook, here’s my offer. If you are the winner and you give me permission, I’ll include you as a character in the story. Fair warning, your “character” may become one of the fatalities – of course, only in the fictional sense.

If you would like to participate, send an email to me at: john@johnachor.com and please put “five, six” in the Subject line. In the body of the email, (1) give me your full name, (2) your suggestion for the title and (3) whether I have permission to USE YOUR NAME or NOT use your name. I need the permission, in writing (email) if I am to include your name as a character. If you don’t include this statement, I’ll assume you do not want me to use your name.

Keep your suggestion for the title short and punchy (total 6 words or so counting “five, six”).  I’m looking forward to suggestions from the talented people out there.

Yeah, I know; I stole this idea from another mystery writer, Janet Evanovich. I only borrow from the best. If you haven’t read her stories about bounty hunter, Stephanie Plum, you may want to give her a read – right after you purchase ($2.99) a Casey Fremont novel, that is. My web site (www.johnachor.com) has a direct link to Amazon and B&N

I am the final and only judge; judge’s decision is final. If there is a tie, I’ll flip a coin. One person, one entry ― so make your first entry the best one. The deadline for entries is June 15, 2012 (I decided to add a couple of weeks beyond the original May 31, 2012). If you fail your assignment, the Secretary will disavow your actions. This tape will self-destruct in the year 2050.

Cheers, John web: johnachor.com — facebook.com/jachor1 — twitter.com/caseyfremont — LinkedIn.com

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Wandering through the wilderness – eBooks on your own

So far, I’ve only published my mystery in a Kindle (Amazon) format. I plan to check out Nook (Barnes & Noble) shortly.

The KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) web pages are excellent and leave little in doubt. If you are using Microsoft Word, there is a link to another page that leads you through the steps you need. These steps include creating a Table of Contents (TOC). It works, but after I published the book, I decided a TOC for a mystery novel is superfluous. I plan to modify the book without a TOC.

You will need a few bookmarked spots in your book. “Cover” and “start” (and others) are listed in the KDP instructions.To make changes to a Kindle published document is as simple as recreating (re-editing) the book and republishing it to the web.

Back to Word files. When you have your book/document completely edited and ready to go; save it as a Web Page, Filtered (HTML, HTM). I have no idea what a “filtered” document is, but it works so follow their instructions.

You need a new program; MobiCreator which is a free download. Google the name to locate it on the web. Run that saved file through MobiCreator where it is converted to the format required by the Kindle. Now you can log onto Kindle on Amazon and use (or create) your account. Follow the steps and soon your book is up on the web – after about 24 hours for Amazon of verify the content you submitted.

It’s fun to see your name in print, so go for it.

Cheers, John
web: johnachor.com — facebook.com/jachor1 — LinkedIn.com — (blog) johnachor.wordpress.com
Kindle mystery eBook (Amazon) – One, Two – Kill a Few

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Breaking news … new eBook

My mystery novel, One, Two – Kill a Few (a Casey Fremont mystery) is now available for the Kindle from Amazon.com — search Amazon for “john achor” or the title and you’ll arrive at the correct page. A bargain at $2.99

More about publishing for the Kindle later.

Cheers, John
web: johnachor.com — facebook.com/jachor1 — LinkedIn.com

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Prep your manuscript

Do you dash off a few (or hundreds) of words and send it off to an editor, publisher, agent or contest? I’m sure someone out there has an anecdotal example of doing that and receiving an acceptance. More likely than not you get a rejection of even worse – being ignored.

Steps to follow to get a manuscript ready to make it public.

1) Write the best story you can. Scrub it till it’s in the best possible form.

Follow the standard manuscript format for your genre (check the internet for examples).

2) Run your effort through your critique group. You do belong to such a group, don’t you? They can be one of the most valuable assets to a serious writer.

3) Technical preparation. First on the list is your grammar and spell checker. Remember this is a dumb software program, watch for the pitfalls; errors in grammar suggestions, the difference between their and there don’t show in spell checker.

4) Next, put your work under additional scrutiny. These are extra programs which may or may not be free. READ ALOUD — I use ReadPlease Plus (around $50 USD; although they have a free version) to read the prose to me. I don’t seem to be capable of reading more than one page before I lapse into reading in my head. I’ve picked up even small lapses in my story.

5) I use one more software package: PerfectIt (a payware program). Although it’s basically designed for business writing, it does a great job of pointing out inconsistencies. Example: how many times did I use “mid air” and how many times “mid-air” – there are places where one is correct over the other; but I have the choice of which one to use.

Use these steps and you’ll have a better chance for publication.

Cheers, John
web: johnachor.comfacebook.com/jachor1LinkedIn.com

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