Keeping a Schedule

I’m the type of writer who becomes easily distracted by…well, just about everything–giveaways, Vampire/Mafia Wars, critiques, software. ARGH TWITTER! So, I’ve decided to put myself on a schedule in order to be more productive.

  • Sunday: Reading
  • Monday: Writing
  • Tuesday: Critiquing
  • Wednesday: Writing
  • Thursday: Software tryouts
  • Friday: Writing/Editing
  • Saturday: Blogging

I’m writing this blog on a Wednesday, by the way. As you see by my schedule I’m already distracted. What techniques do you use to keep on track?

Software Review: Liquid Story Binder

Straight off the top, I’ll be honest. This program irritated the hell out of me. It is the perfect example of too much of a good thing. But before I get to the issues I had with the program, a little excerpt from their website.

A Portable Text Editor that Keeps You Organized
Liquid Story Binder XE is a uniquely designed word processor for professional and aspiring authors, poets, and novelists. Writing software for those who require the editing ability of a commercial text editor as well as a document tracking system. It is for those who want the freedom to create, outline and revise but are tired of losing track of their work

From what I’ve heard, Scrivener is the way to go for writers, though I’ve not tried it myself. Unfortunately, Scrivener is only available for Mac users. The next best thing, according to others, is Liquid Story Binder. My first impressions of Liquid Story Binder was it was overly complicated to use. Sure, it looked pretty and all, but it required me to learn a completely new piece of software with very few items self-explanatory.

If I can’t figure out a program right off the back, I head to the tutorials. The Quick Start Guide on their website is pretty decent. It showed me step-by-step with screen shots on how to create my first book. I ran into problems right off the back. It only created the first 9 of 14 (blank) chapters at the creation screen then stopped functioning. I finally gave up and settled on creating 9 chapters and manually inputting the rest one by one. I’m not sure if it was a limitation to the program or a glitch.

Later, I found creating chapters first probably wasn’t the best for my way of organizing. For writers who like to work with scenes then combine them into chapters later, builders are the best bet. So, I deleted my chapters and started with builders. I’m not going to go into details, but I will say this is part of the reason this program is difficult. The names. Why would I relate the term builders to screens? Or Planner to Table of Content. Anyway, I created the scenes then used the build all items features to create chapters. One thing I didn’t like about this method is my builds files were organized alphabetically instead of in the order of my chapters. So when I exported them to chapters, I had to reorganize the chapters in the right order. Blah! And then there’s the frantic search for the scenes within the builds to make changes before importing them back into the chapters again. What a mess.

I also came into problems trying to copy and paste. Liquid Story Binder does not work well with MS Word 2007. The program consistently locked up when I copy and pasted from MS Word 2007 whether the file was in RTF or not. The fix suggested in forums was just don’t use MS Word. 🙂 I opened my manuscript in a program called RoughDraft and copy and pasted from there. For someone like me who depends heavily on MS Word, I was highly disappointed in this glitch. Hopefully the programmers will resolve this issue in the future. I’d like to say I had no more problems after ditching Word, but that wasn’t the case. It still locked up on me occasionally while copying from Rough Draft and sometimes just when typing things in.

Liquid Story Binder is very flexible with plenty of features. However, in creating the abundancy of features, the programmers also created redundancy. Many of the features do the same thing, just display the information in a different format. However, the program didn’t allow for a lot of importing. So I found myself having to enter or copy and paste the same information repeatedly in order to try out new features.

Despite having a pretty interface, the program was not user friendly. I found the features poorly organized and usage buggy at times.

Now for the good stuff! YEAH! Liquid Story Binder has AWESOME customer support. I sent my concern through the forum about the lack of integration and received an online response within 24 hours from a programmer. I’ve been following the forum for a few weeks now and find even if the program doesn’t do exactly what the user wants, the programmers have suggestions to help simulate a particular function. The programmers value the consumers’ opinions and are constantly updating and making improvements based on the suggestion.

If you’re a novice computer user, I’d suggest an easier program to use such as yWriter. My review for it is here. If you’re savvy with computers software, this program might be something to investigate. As I mentioned, it’s HIGHLY flexible. I got the impression every function was not meant to be used by a writer all at once. Instead, the writer picks and chooses a suite of features which works best for their particular style.

Because of the glitches, it had a beta version feel to it. Even so, I imagine the program will be awesome once the programmers work out the kinks.

The makers offer a 30 day free trial. So, no need to rely on just my opinion. Try it before you buy.

Win “Pleasures of a Dark Prince” by Kresley Cole (Immortals After Dark Series) [CLOSED]

Yesterday marked the end of my first giveaway. I have to admit the turn out was rather…well. I had enough for a winner and that was plenty! Without further ado.


Congratulations! Please contact me by May, 4, 2010 with delivery details, and I’ll get a copy of “A Hunger Like No Other” by Kresley Cole in the mail to you.

**********************

As promised, I have another contest! I’ve wanted “Pleasure of a Dark Prince” by Kresley Cole for a while. I’ve entered contests and hoped. Now I’m tired of waiting. I’ve ordered my own copy. Woot! To celebrate my decision, I’m giving another away to one lucky winner.


To tempt you, the teaser from Ms. Cole’s website:

A DANGEROUS BEAUTY

Lucia the Huntress: as mysterious as she is exquisite, she harbors secrets that threaten to destroy her—and those she loves.

AN UNCONTROLLABLE NEED

Garreth MacRieve, Prince of the Lykae: the brutal Highland warrior who burns to finally claim this maddeningly sensual creature as his own.

LEAD TO A PLEASURE SO WICKED. . . .

From the shadows, Garreth has long watched over Lucia. Now, the only way to keep the proud huntress safe from harm is to convince her to accept him as her guardian. To do this, Garreth will ruthlessly exploit Lucia’s greatest weakness—her wanton desire for him. . . .

To enter, I only need a few things from you. If you win, I’ll be in contact with you for delivery details.

  1. Comment on this post telling me which book you’d like to see next in a giveaway.
  2. Become one of my Google Friend Connect Followers. I just put the widget up, so be the first! Or rather second after me. 🙂
  3. Fill out the form.

Extra entries

  1. Follow me on twitter +1 (leave @twittername)
  2. Tweet this post +1 (leave link)

So if you enter this contest you should end up with 1-3 entries. As I mentioned, I have a hard time counting higher. 🙂

Contest ends Monday, May 3, 2010. Spread the word!

US residents only.. Once again, I love non-US residents, but have no clue how to do international contests. Still looking for someone to coach me. If you’re privy to international contests, leave a comment or send me an email with details on how to get it going. If it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, perhaps the next contest will be international.

Available at Barnes & Nobles || Amazon || The Book Depository || Kobo || iTunes

Book Review: Lady of the Nile by Susan Krinard

I’ll admit that I’m not a fan of historical romances. However, the paranormal aspect was enough to pique my interest. The summary from Susan Krinard’s website:

Lady Tameri believes herself to be the reincarnation of an ancient Egyptian princess, and Leo Erskine has set out to prove her wrong… never dreaming that the two of them are about to discover a prophecy that will bind them together forever.

The novella started wonderfully—a Duchess (Lady Tameri) who believes she’s a reincarnated princess and a skeptic (Leo Eskine) willing to find out the truth. The waters became muddied soon after. I found Leo mettlesome to the point he seemed to take on a busybody caricature. Other times he seemed flaky, running from place to place not knowing what the heck was going on.

Tameri–I loved her; I hated her. I just couldn’t make up my mind. She had great convictions in her beliefs, a quality I admired. However, her personality seemed inconsistent. Sometimes she was quite bold, other times she acted like a willow in the wind. I could never be sure if her moments of boldness were attributed to the goddess or not. Was she really weak? I don’t know.

As I mentioned, historical are not my forte. However, I would have liked to see a bit more background here. I was unclear of who exactly any of the main characters were. Sure, we have a Duchess dowager, but that’s the extent of her background. Then we have Leo, who’s the son of an earl…but what else? With so little, I had a hard time connecting with them. I suppose that’s the way of shorter stories sometimes. So little space, so many words…what to cut?

I laughed through the last ten pages or so, though I’m sure it was not meant to be comical. I’m not sure if this is a spoiler or not but just in case. <SPOILER><SPOILER><SPOILER><SPOILER><SPOILER><SPOILER><SPOILER><SPOILER><SPOILER><SPOILER><SPOILER><SPOILER><SPOILER><SPOILER><SPOILER><SPOILER><SPOILER><SPOILER><SPOILER><SPOILER> <SPOILER><SPOILER> <SPOILER><SPOILER> <SPOILER><SPOILER> <SPOILER><SPOILER><SPOILER> <SPOILER><SPOILER> <SPOILER><SPOILER> <SPOILER><SPOILER><SPOILER> <SPOILER><SPOILER> <SPOILER><SPOILER><SPOILER> <SPOILER><SPOILER><SPOILER><SPOILER><SPOILER><SPOILER>So we have this fight scene, which isn’t so much as a fight scene since the villain is placed in time out while the main characters discuss strategy. This isn’t like the fighting and talking at the same time you see in movies. No, this is actually setting the villain aside (screaming and yelling at the MCs) while the main characters plot his demise. Then there’s this thing with sex and taking a break to read before getting to the orgasm. I’m still scratching my head on that one. OMG, I just read it again. Now I’m cracking up laughing. I’ve got to share it. So they’re in the middle of sex and then…

Maahes reached beneath the couch and shook the scroll from his kilt. He got to his feet and unrolled it, beginning to speak the words of the final segment even before he could read them [a bit of action here and then….]

Maahes set down the scroll and returned to the couch. Tameri opened herself again, and Maahes thrust with greater and greater urgency…

Come on people, you know that’s funny. I laugh every time I read it. I have to admit, the absurdity of it all makes that part my favorite piece in the whole novella.

Anyway, the ending was okay. It reminded me a bit of a love story and less of a romance.  <Shrug> Oh well.

Available at Barnes & Nobles || Amazon || The Book Depository || Kobo || iTunes