Cruel and Inhumane? — Filosofa’s Word

Rosa Maria Hernandez … you are likely to hear that name a lot in the coming days, for she is, at age ten, one of Donald Trump’s “bad hombres”. Rosa Maria came to the U.S. when she was three months old and her family settled in Laredo, Texas. She had been diagnosed with cerebral palsy […]

via Cruel and Inhumane? — Filosofa’s Word

There are two things in this world that I will fight to protect – children and animals – because neither can effectively fight for themselves. If you are a mother or a father, please, pass this post to those you know and love in the hope that the groundswell of outrage will be noticed, even by /him/.

Advertisements

Warrandyte – burning off in the rain

That pile of ash and charcoal is all that’s left of a huge pile of dead branches, windfall and prunings that I’ve been collecting all winter.

I know it doesn’t look like much now, but that pile was becoming a real danger so, it had to go. And what better time to burn it off than when everything’s nice and wet!

“But isn’t it too wet to burn?” you ask.

Nope. It rained quite heavily early this morning and at 7:00 am, everything was quite wet, including the outer layer of the pile. Inside, however, that pile was dry and ready to burn. I crumpled up a few sheets of scrap paper and shoved them underneath the pile. Then I put a couple of firelighters on top of the paper and set it alight. In an hour, the original pile and huge armfuls of very wet windfall were all gone.

I suspect most of you know where I’m going with this; branch and leaf litter burn extraordinarily well, so if you live in and around Warrandyte, clean up your property now, before everything dries out and the whole area turns into a tinderbox.

Okay, now I’m going to collapse and not move for a while. 🙂

cheers

Meeks

 

 


Intellectual Property – an Indie minefield

I am in no danger of having my intellectual property [IP] diddled away by some corporation waving a contract, but Kristine Kathryn Rusch* is, and her latest post was scary to say the least. Here’s a short quote:

‘Those companies can all acquire IP from stupid writers for less than $10,000 per property forever. Just say the word “movie” or “TV” and most stupid writers give away their IP for free, in the hopes of having a movie or TV show made from their property. The property they no longer own, by the way.’

But the most terrifying part was this:

It doesn’t matter if your copyright is registered, the expert said. They’ll register anyway, even before they’ve started production on anything. The strategy is to create confusion over who owns the copyright, and it’ll take litigation to straighten that confusion out.

The bold emphasis is mine but the meaning is clear – one small Indie hasn’t a hope of fighting a company with millions of dollars in its war chest. Can you afford to take a production company to court to get your intellectual property back?

“Oh but if I’m being paid for it then it doesn’t matter.”

Yeah, that’s the big ‘if’, but sadly those contracts make sure you get little if anything in return.

I really, truly, strongly suggest you read the Rusch article, just in case….

http://kriswrites.com/2017/10/25/business-musings-stealing-intellectual-property/

I’ll confess, part of my outrage stems from the fact that I have day dreams too. I would love to see the Innerscape story turned into a movie or a big, beautiful game. I understand the desperation to have that kind of validation, because I share it. If someone came knocking, waving a contract in my face, I know I’d have stars in my eyes and the k-ching of cash registers in my ears too. But after this warning, I hope I remember that the one thing worse than never finding fame and fortune is being cheated out of it…by a corporate with lots of money and no scruples.

Seriously, if you’re an Indie author, please read the Rusch article.

Meeks

*Kristine Kathryn Rusch is a Hugo award winning writer with her own wiki page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kristine_Kathryn_Rusch


How to Modify Styles in Word 2016

The following excerpt is from my unpublished how-to called ‘How to print your book with Createspace, a step-by-step guide for Absolute Beginners’. The specific instructions are for the layout of a book, but you can change the settings to be appropriate for any document.

# # #

Word Styles

Styles contain pre-set groups of commands that determine how headings and paragraphs appear.

The most commonly used Word styles are found on the Home tab, in the Style gallery [as shown below]:

 

Even if you did not select any of the styles in the Style Gallery while writing your book, there is one style that you would have used without even being aware of it. That style is ‘Normal’.

Note: the only time the Normal Style is not used automatically in a Word document is when the document originated in another software program and was imported into Word. For example, the Windows program ‘Notepad’ creates documents in Rich Text Format. RTF documents can be opened in Word but the Normal style must be applied manually.

Every time you create a new document in Word, it automatically sets that document to the ‘Normal’ style settings. These include:

  • the default font [Calibri],
  • the font size [11],
  • the font colour [automatic – i.e. black],
  • the text alignment [left]
  • and a host of other less immediately visible options.

As part of the design process, you can modify some of these options for your book.

Modifying the ‘Normal’ style

In Word, the easiest way to modify an existing style is to right click on its name in the style gallery. This will cause a small menu to be displayed. On that menu is an option called ‘Modify’:

To change elements of the ‘Normal’ style in your document, right click ‘Normal’ in the Style gallery and select the ‘Modify’ option from the drop down list [as shown above].

You should now see the ‘Modify Style’ dialog box:

The first thing to note is the radio button down near the bottom left corner of the dialog box. The option ‘Only in this document’ is pre-selected to ensure that any changes made to the ‘Normal’ style of this document do not become standard for all  Word documents.

Editing the style name

Up near the top of the dialog box you will see the style name. Editing the name is not necessary, but it can be useful as a reminder that the style was changed.

To change the name of the style, simply click inside the Name text box and type in a new one.

Editing the font, size, colour and alignment

You can change the font and font size just as you would on the Home tab. Remember to also select the ‘Justify’ alignment option.

To change the colour of the font, click the small arrow next to the box that says ‘Automatic’ [as shown below]:

Click the colour of your choice or leave it as Automatic, i.e. black.

Editing the paragraph options

All of the less common stylistic functions are hidden behind the ‘Format’ button which is located on the bottom left hand side of the Modify Style window.

Click ‘Format’ and select the ‘Paragraph’ option from the menu:

The paragraph dialog box is now displayed:

As you can see from the screenshot, the alignment is already shown as ‘Justified’ because we set it in the first dialog box along with the font and font size.

Indentation – leave the Left and Right settings at zero, but under ‘Special’, click the small blue arrow [as shown above]. Now select the ‘First line’ option from the drop-down menu. For By: type or select an indent width for the first line of the paragraph.

Check the preview pane to see how the first line indent appears.

Spacing – ensure that ‘Before’ and ‘After’ are both set to zero. These numbers control the blank spaces inserted before and after each paragraph.

Finally, make sure that the ‘Line spacing’ is set to ‘Single’. When you are satisfied, click the ‘OK’ button.

If you are using Word 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013 or 2016, any text already using the ‘Normal’ style will be automatically updated to the new settings..

In earlier versions of Word you may have to manually update the text using the modified style.

# # #

These same techniques can be used to edit any of the Word Styles, not just ‘Normal’.

cheers

Meeks


Wifi hack

Just in case you haven’t heard/seen the news on the internet, a basic exploit has been discovered in the Wifi architecture, and that exploit has been hacked. That means potentially everything that uses wifi to communicate is vulnerable.

And that includes:

  • computers via their router
  • smartphones
  • tablets
  • Amazon’s Alexa [I think]
  • and even cars

Apparently Windows based computers should already be updated against this exploit, although how Microsoft managed to find out so quickly is a worry. However, that is only the computer operating system itself. The router also handles things like internet banking and I have no idea how secure that is now.

Android and Linux are both vulnerable. I believe Apple is too.

As most people these days have wifi routers [the box with the flickering lights that sits between your computer and the internet], I would strongly recommend checking with your ISP* about when you can expect a security update for the router. ISPs are your service providers – e.g. Telstra, Optus etc. Until you get one, I would keep internet transactions dealing with money to an absolute minimum.

Actually, you might consider going around with wads of cash for a while. No seriously.

Oh, and don’t use the free wifi in your local shopping centre because such locales are plenty big enough to make them worthwhile for hacking.**

If any of my techie friends has info to share I’d really appreciate it.

cheers

Meeks

* When you sign up with an ISP, they usually provide you with a router [for a fee] so the ISP should provide info. on updating the router.

** Although this hack is universal, it is constrained by the hacker’s need to be physically within reach of the wifi he/she wants to hack. So home wifi is not that ‘worthwhile’, but a large shopping centre probably would be.

 


Miira means ‘mummy’ in Japanese!?!

Okay, life can be strange sometimes. I was on Amazon, quietly attaching my new print books [dance] to my Author Central page when my search for ‘Miira’ came up with five pages worth of results. And most of them were Japanese!

Given that my Miira is supposed to be a Eurasian of Chinese/Swedish extraction, I was a little dismayed. Clearly I should have done my research when I first came up with the name, but…I thought I’d made it up. Anyway, eager to make up for being lazy before, I googled ‘Miira’ and ‘Japanese’ and discovered that ‘miira’ means…

-cough- mummy -cough-

No, not the motherly kind of mummy but the wrapped-up-in-cloth-and-buried-in-a-sarcophagus kind. I kid you not.

Not exactly the connection I would have liked but hey…maybe I can break into the Japanese horror market one day? lol

In other news, the Offspring and I went out, actually out to see a movie last night and it was absolutely, fan-bloody-tastic. The movie is Blade Runner 2049, and if it’s still playing in a cinema near you, do yourself a favour and go see it on the big screen. Seriously, probably the best movie I’ve seen since Fury Road. Okay, it’s the only movie I’ve seen since Fury Road but let’s not split hairs.

Want to know something else? The production team of Blade Runner 2049 is chock full of Hungarians!

Yes, it has been a good weekend, and I hope yours turns out the same.

cheers

Meeks

 


Sorry, another Maru video :D

This cat is amazing!


Finally, a box too small for Maru!

The best start to a weekend EVER! Keep watching…and I apologise if anyone dies laughing. 😀

Why Evolution Is True

Let us end the work week, as we often do, with a cat—this time a prominent one. Maru is of course Japan’s most famous cat, and perhaps the most famous Internet cat in the world. His forte is entering small boxes, and he’s able to get into very tiny ones. But at last, after many years, Maru has found a box too small to enter. He does try, though!

Voilà:

h/t: Jim

View original post


When fantasy and reality collide…

This is not so much a post as a kind of public journal entry by someone who doesn’t keep a journal. For that reason I’m turning comments off.

So…what is this collision of realities? It’s that odd moment in a writer’s life when she hands a physical copy of her book to someone else, for the very first time.

The books are the original proof copies of the Innerscape saga and the someone else is my neighbour. He’s a very nice man and a voracious reader, but I have no idea whether he has ever read a sci-fi book in his life. More to the point, I have no idea how he will cope with some of the scenes and language in the books.

I decided a long time ago that I was not going to self-censor my writing on the basis of what others might think of me. I kept to that pledge for Vokhtah, and I kept to it for Innerscape. But. It’s so much easier being devil-may-care about a relative stranger than it is about someone you see when you put out the rubbish or go to check the mail.

I’m not exactly worried. Just a little…unsettled. I’ve dreamt of handing my books out to real, live people for a very long time, but of course in those daydreams, the people are all adoring fans and they think the story is wonderful…

Ouch. Now I remember why I’ve never liked keeping a journal. Some egotistical imaginings should never see the light of day. In any format.

Okay, well I’m not deleting this so I’ll just pull up my big girl pants and live with it.

Meeks

 


You’ve got to be kidding…!

I don’t often comment on the publishing industry, but I could not let this article from The Bookseller [thanks Passive Guy!] pass me by.

In a nutshell, Freight Books is in trouble. Authors published by the company [who haven’t been paid in months] received an email from Davindar Samrai, the co-founder of the company, about the situation. The following are snippets from that email…-laughs in disbelief-

“If you would like to buy stock of your titles, it may be prudent to act sooner rather than later”, Samrai said. “I appreciate this may cause unease but depending on quantities, I may be able to supply at a better discount than the regular author discount. If you would like to secure books – please email me your requests and I’ll do all I can to ensure you receive your books.

He [Samria] added: “If any author is owed monies by way of royalties/advances etc. it may be possible to set stock against any monies you are owed. Also, if you are owed royalties an invoice should be submitted, in order to be registered on our accounts system (even if you not interested in books as payment).”

Being Indie can be tough at times, but I’d still rather be Indie than a ‘published’ author with a company like Freight. I cannot imagine anything more demoralizing than having my dreams come true one day only to disappear down the gurgler the next.

Author beware indeed. 😦

Meeks

 


%d bloggers like this: