Sunday, December 18, 2011

Finished Chapter 10

I've completed chapter 10 of book2 of Wyrmewood. Andy and Fay explore the depths of the Undermine and the many dangers therein. Here's an excerpt;

The raging river heaved wildly as it seemed to come alive, like it had transformed into a great dark serpent, and in an instant they were swallowed up and being carried downstream at a considerable speed. At times they bobbed along above the waves bounding into the tunnel walls in their bubble, while finding themselves underwater at others. Fortunately, within the globe there was enough air for them to breath, though the ride was both simultaneously frightening and exhilarating with how bumpy it was and not knowing where they'd end up. And when they'd had nearly more than they could take it ended, dumping them into a deep pool, and then the dark watery serpent vanished, slithering quickly through an adjacent tunnel exit. They floated and bounced about within the pool and tried for the next several seconds to regain their composure.

So, I'm nearly halfway done with the second book now. It's coming along nicely I suppose and I hope to be able to keep up the pace. By the summer of 2012 it should be done.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Book 2 of Wyrmewood

  I've finished chapter 9 of book 2, Wyrmewood of Magic & Dragons. Here's an excerpt:

The day was cold and gray. A gathering gloom was rising from the west to cover the land and the wind was freshening with the smell of rain. The darkening clouds, rippling to the flashes of faraway lightning, grew heavier by the hour as morning passed into midday. A wicked storm was brewing over Wyrme the likes of which even the bravest of dragons would shun.

In this chapter Gratoly meets the Mermydians-one of the more curious species of Dragons on Wyrme. They give him his mission, whereby he heads off to begin but runs into a little problem. After a talk with Murme, his former mentor, he continues on his journey. Far to the west, out over the Endless Ocean, he finds what he is seeking, though it isn't like anything he's seen before or quite what he expected to find. There his very faith is tested by a choice he is given. Enjoy.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Something New: KDP Select

  I read an interesting email today, and it lead me to something new. KDP Select. Apparently it's a new way to promote/sell your ebooks on Amazon.com for their Prime members. Something they've created called the Lending Library now lets members check out one book/month for free, while the author of said lent book still receives royalties as if it were purchased.
  After reading about it I unpublished my 2 ebooks from Smashwords.com (a requirement) and enrolled both into KDP Select. (Neither book had done anything on Smashwords anyway). I doubt that I'll see much from this as I don't market my books (so no one really knows anything about them) but it's worth a try at least. It's also a good bet that since the Prime members only get to 'borrow' one book/month they will use this priviledge to get a top selling book (instead of an unknown book like mine).
  Information on KDP Select can be found at:
https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/KDPSelect

Friday, December 2, 2011

Wyrmewood of Magic & Dragons

  Yesterday I completed chapter 7 (or actually 8, as I'll probably be renaming the Prologue to chapter 1) of my second book in the Wyrmewood trilogy. Gratoly's recovering from his first test as Andy is busy learning of magic and preparing for his own challenge: the Undermine. A few surprises arise along the way, but ultimately Gratoly receives good news from the missing Andy and is ready to face his second of three tests-that of the Mermydians. Here's a small excerpt for your enjoyment:

  One morning while trying to study even the most basic of tomes, which he thought reminded him of children's literature from earth with their lavish illustrations and large font styles, he was overcome with a sudden qualm and could only sit and stare at the walls.
  “Are you alright Andy?” asked Fay at length, noticing his state of unease. “Is something on your mind?”
  “It...it's nothing really. I was just thinking of Gratoly and if he was okay. It's been a while, and I imagine he would have found out by now that I was gone.”
  Fay hadn't lost any of her friends, but her mother had been killed several years earlier while hunting for mushrooms in the Undermine. And she knew that Andy had also lost his brother and parents. So, she could empathize with his feelings and relate to losing someone close to her.
  “I know that it's tough right now, so soon after...a loss. But your friend will be fine, and you'll make new friends in our society. You're Rysouri now Andy. If you wish to be at any rate.”

Thanks for looking & I'll be back soon to post more of the book.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Twilight Kissing Scenes Video

  Today I have for you a new video for the Twilight fans. This is a video of two scenes from the Twilight movies of Bella kissing both Edward and Jacob. In the background we have "Every Breath You Take" by the Police. I think it worked out well with them. Enjoy...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Star Wars Revenge of the Sith Final Fight Scene

I've uploaded a 'music video' of sorts here that I made with MS Movie Maker. It is from Star Wars Revenge of the Sith (EP3) and of the final fight scene between Anakin Skywalker (soon to be Darth Vader) and Obi Wan Kenobi. I took out the boring dialogue between them and put in something much more fitting: the song "Hells Bells" by AC/DC. Enjoy!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Do you want to know what the "Matrix" is?

The "Matrix" is everywhere....
It is in this very room.
It is in the food we eat...
It is in the air we breathe...
You see it when you go to work...
When you go to church...
When you pay your taxes...
It is the world that has been pulled over our eyes to blind us....
To the truth...

Get your own "Matrix" in the form of a cool graphic utility here:
http://download.cnet.com/ZMatrix/3000-2072_4-10069288.html
Then, once you've configured it to your liking, play the following video
in a minimized screen and on auto repeat for a cool audio accompanyment:
(The video is only a black screen, in case you might think you missed something)
or goto the video upload on Youtube.com at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=En2hmSsoh6U


Monday, November 14, 2011

Book & Blow

    I'm through chapter 4 and well on my way into chapter 5 of book 2. It's coming along nicely. Andy found out that he's not who he thought he was as neither are the Icurnians. Unfortunately, he's been separated from his friend Gratoly & is told he can never see him again. The dragon meanwhile is busy with his own tasks, in his attempt to complete the trials and gain his honor with the dragons of Wyrme.
   I had an epiphany the other day (after listening to the song "Blow" by Kesha & thought it might go well with the prom scene from the movie "Carrie"). See what you think of the video I created:

I uploaded the video to Youtube as well, which can be found here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kv-7OITMRQ&noredirect=1
I hope you like it!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Chapter Three is in the Books, so to speak

I've pretty much finished chapter three of book 2 this morning. I'd been wondering yesterday how far along I was with my first book by this time of the year, and in checking I found that I was already done with chapter 12 by the end of October, 2010. I finished it back in April, 2011. I figure that if I can write about 3 chapters per month that I might just about finish book 2 in April, 2012. Things never go quite as planned, but I guess that I can hope to make this schedule. I did see also that I had actually begun writing book 1 around March or so of 2009. So in actuallity, it took a whole year to write. Book 2 I began to write I think back in September. So I've only been writing it for 2 months so far. (though my notes and thoughts on it have been planned even during my writing of book 1). We'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I've Wasted Too Much Time Already...

  Well, chapter 3 is coming along nicely. I would say that it is nearly done, just needs a few more finishing touches. I was on a good roll-working on book 2-and had gotten through the prologue, chapters 1 & 2 pretty quickly. But then I fell back into playing the Lord of the Rings Online game again. I guess that it's one of my weaknesses; taking characters into virtual worlds where they can adventure and explore. I've loved MMORPG's since I began playing them back in 2000 when I started with Everquest. From there I moved on to EQ2, Wow, PWI, D&DO, and LOTRO (naming the major ones-there were a few others of lesser merit that I won't mention). I have vowed to not play the game though for a while. At least not until I've finished chapter 3 and probably even longer than that. I really don't need to keep wasting my time with the game-it really doesn't do me any good to play anyway. Even though it is enjoyable in it's own way ultimately I have nothing to show from all the time I've spent playing. And what good is that? Even if my characters were to become the most powerful and envied characters in the game, what would that really amount to? Just a means to use more of my precious time in not concentrate on my work. On the other hand, spending time writing gets me that much farther into my book, which leads to getting me closer to finishing it. And that is an actual accomplishment. So, though I may find it frustrating at times to go without the pleasure of playing my favorite game, in the end I know that I'll be glad that I did. I was overjoyed at the feeling I had upon finishing my first book. Completing book 2 should be, I hope, even better.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Into Chapter 2

    Work on my second book is progressing. So far I have the Prologue and chapter one totally finish-drafted (to a degree where they are 90% done-just needing finishing touches/editing to polish them off). I'm now working on chapter two. The second chapter I think will be one of the defining chapters of the book as it is where Andy Brighton will make a huge discovery=that there is a city of people on the dragon planet of Wyrme hidden under the illusion of the forest of Wyrmewood. And the people themselves are humans, albeit also different in that they can cast magical spells. Not only this, but Andy finds that he is actually one of them and able to manipulate enchantments as well. His learning of magic and becoming a powerful sorcerer will bode well for these people and the dragons in the time to come when the Icurnians, those who would want to invade Wyrme and assimilate it's people, finally arrive.
    Anyway, hopefully when finished the book will be even better than book one (Wyrmewood and the Forsaken Orb) and I hope to find an agent to accept it for publishing with a major book publisher.

Monday, September 12, 2011

LOTRO & Book 2

  I have 2 topics of interest this evening to discuss;
  The Lord of the Rings Online = I've been playing this game much more lately & have become a bit addicted to it I must say. As with several other MMORPG's (Everquest, Wow, Perfect World) I start playing and just can't stop. The game has an appeal to it that draws me, and many others, back to it & it just makes you want to keep playing and improving/leveling your character(s), & skills. Lately I've been advancing their crafting skills & not so much on leveling them. With 4 characters I have every craft covered, so they can make everything craftable in the game - or will be able to eventually if I keep playing long enough (and the game stays around - sometimes the games fold, see Dungeon Runners). My main character is an elven hunter and is very good with his bow, though melee fighting he is fairly weak at. All in all I've had a lot of fun lately playing the game, but I do really need to tear myself away from it in order to make more time for writing book 2. Which brings me to the second topic.
  Work on Book 2 is going along well. At the moment I've settled on the title
WYRMEWOOD of Magic & Dragons. This title is I think both eye-catching and relevent to the subject matter of the book. So far I have completed a draft of the Prologue and am working on writing the draft of chapter one. I have the entire book preliminarily rough drafted too in a notebook, so I have a good idea of how the whole book will go. I'm hoping that I can get some of chapter one written tomorrow on my day off; maybe if I'm lucky it will go quickly and I'll get the whole chapter finished. Though that's being prehaps too optomistic on my chances. We'll see.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Tried a Couple of New Games

Over the past couple of weeks I've downloaded and played a couple of MMORPG games that I have wanted to play for quite a while. These being Dungeons & Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings Online. Downloading the games takes quite a while, days for me where I live and at my connection speeds, so I'd leave the laptop to download while off at work. But after waiting for that and the installation I had the game & could start playing. Both games are free to play now (they used to be pay to play-but now they had a store where you buy upgrades and expansions. Basically, to get the full game experience you need to play them some cash-otherwise certain features are unavailable, such as items, areas of the game and the highest levels your characters can achieve.)
Dungeons & Dragons Online was my favorite of the two from my short experience playing. Here you are thrown into a dungeon within the first couple minutes of play and afterward you arrive in a village where you can do repeatable adventures leading into instances all around the village and island. Gameplay was fast paced and enjoyable. The only part I found a bit annoying was the slow leveling-I'm used to leveling my characters fast, as in WOW. I about 3 days playing I'd only gotten my dwarf cleric to about 5th level. The game is made to take longer however, so I guess that it must be accepted to be this way.
Lord of the Rings Online is a very enjoyable game as well, but it seems to be played for the most part outdoors, in cities or in the countryside. There was little underground/dungeon activity, though I did see a few in the short time I've played. Leveling is faster than in D&DO, I suppose because it works a bit more like most other MMORPGs (EQ & WOW to name a couple, where leveling is fairly quick). I saw little resemblance to the books/movies except for map locations and playable races. You do hear people talking a bit (NPC quest givers/narrators) but none are the actors from the movies. I guess they didn't think that that was desired by the players.
One major drawback I found & saw on forum boards that others found this annoying too, was the lack of bag space in your inventory. And you cannot craft or find more bags-with the exception of rune-stones and maybe crafting supplies. There were no normal bags you could craft or buy, and this to me is a major problem. You get 3 bags in both games, that's all. I did see a good bit of room in the bank vault of LOTRO, though they limited you to I think about 30 items to deposit (unless you pay to get more). Both games are free to play & I'm sure that many people just play them for free-but to really get the best play experience paying to at least be a VIP is recommended. Though I don't think I will-I just don't have the money or time for that-I'd play WOW if I did as it's a better game than these.
Overall, they are worth playing for a free fun distraction & to burn a few hours every once in a while. I don't recommend becoming a pay to play player though as I'm not sure paying would make them all that much more worth it in the long run.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

One Way the US could solve Our Debt Crisis

The idea came to me, and others too as I have read on the Internet, that selling Alaska (probably to China) could get our country out of it's huge debt crisis. The debt is at just over $14 trillion, which the land of Alaska is probably worth today. There are pros and cons for doing this that I can think of:
Pros:
1> We would be out of debt-at least for a while until the idiots of government put us back there again.
2> Downsizing/restructuring our country during this economic period might be a good idea. We could keep the number of states at 50 by splitting California into a north and south-many there say that they were wanting to do that anyway. Or find some other place to make a state-maybe make Puerto Rico into a state.

Cons:
1> We would lose our largest state, 2nd is Texas. (Texas is 2nd in population too with over 25 million people, while Alaska is 47th with under 1 million people).
2> The people in Alaska would either have to move-relocate to some other US state-or find a way to stay in Alaska (or whatever name it might be changed to by the buyer). This would also mean many people would have to change jobs and create a rise in unemployment.
3> We would lose the natural resources provided by Alaska-oil, timber, copper & other precious metals, seafood, coal & also the growing tourism and service industry sectors.

I'm sure there are other pros & cons out there, this was all I could come up with at the moment. Having Alaska as a US state is to me is an unnecessary luxury considering our present situation. And I would bet that the sale would be possible and desirable. Do I think that it will happen? No. But stranger things have happened before, so I won't rule out the possibility. Maybe if we run out of options, like we just might in a few years when the US is about to implode in on itself like Greece appears on the verge of, we will have to consider doing this as a last resort to keep America financially viable. Otherwise, our great land might all become the property of some other nation.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Amazing Hike By A Local Resident

Published in The Birmingham News; Sunday, July 31, 2011:
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Samford grad Jennifer Pharr Davis on Sunday set the record for the fastest hike of the 2,185-mile Appalachian Trail by anyone -- man or woman.
Starting off at 4:06 a.m., June 15, atop Mt. Katahdin in northern Maine, the 28-year-old 6-footer hiked the trail in 46 days, 11 hours, 20 minutes.
The previous record for a supported hike -- where helpers supply food and drink at trail crossings and help set up camp each night -- had been 47 days 13 hours 31 minutes, set by Andrew Thompson in 2005. It took Thompson three tries to set that record, and he lost 35 pounds in his 2005 effort.
"It was a very, very difficult record to break," Pharr Davis said this afternoon, in a phone interview after finishing. She averaged nearly 47 miles a day for the entire endurance hike.
Three of her former Samford classmates and five people from Birmingham were among the small crowd of family and friends that greeted her as she finished her epic journey atop Springer Mountain in north Georgia.

Monday, July 11, 2011

I have a new Kindle book

I've created a new Kindle book (ebook), and it should be available for sale on Amazon.com soon. It is a novella of 3 short stories about WYRMEWOOD and the how and why it exists.
I wrote it as an exercise to better explain where WYRMEWOOD came from and the three stories are intertwined, with one main character throughout each of the tales.
As with WYRMEWOOD and the Forsaken Orb, the stories are fantasy genre.
Here is my Kindle book cover:

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Still Losing Weight

Yes, I'm very overweight. But after three weeks on my diet I have managed to lose 15 pounds so far. I'm walking for about 40 minutes in the mornings and evenings and watching what I eat (avoiding fast food which is full of fat and calories). I mainly eat soups, turkey sandwiches, grilled chicken fajitas, and other low calorie/low fat things. Hopefully I can keep losing about 5 pounds a week and make my goal of reaching 250 pounds by the end of August.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Tried The Game Rift

I played the 7 day free trial of Rift that you can download at: https://www.riftgame.com/en/products/mmo-free-trial/
After playing World of Warcraft for so long I was curious how Rift would compare. I found Rift to be an enjoyable game-probably the best part I experienced was an event where you fight a kind of epic boss (with help from npcs) to make it thru the first rift. Otherwise, gameplay was a combination of killing mobs and collecting quest items and talking with npcs. I would put it somewhere between Everquest 2 and WOW on the greatness scale. Unfortunately, my system is a laptop and my Internet connection is a wifi, so I had to play at the most reduced graphics settings. If I could play the game on the most state of the art system and with the fastest Internet connection I'm sure that the experience would have been better. But I used what I had so thats all I can judge from. 3 stars out of 5 for me.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Saturday Off Work

    I have the day off work today (& tomorrow) and have been watching The PGA US Open Golf with Rory McElroy in first place & trying not to self-destruct like he did in the Masters tournament. He's got such a huge lead that I doubt even he can lose, though it's not over yet.
    I've also been working a bit on my novella (Tymespell). I think that I have a handle on the story lines which I'll be writing about. It's basically going to be 3 separate but related stories that delve into the history of the Rysouri city of Tyme and how the forest of Wyrmewood came to be. I've already written a good bit about one of the 3 stories (involving the dragons of Wyrme) and have been working on one of the others (involving the humans who descended from the Rysouri from Wyrme). Later I'll need to finish up by writing about the Rysouri themselves in some way. If I can write about 10,000 words for each of the 3 stories then I think It'll be okay.
    A few days back I finally got my book to a reviewer. Hopefully it will be reviewed favorably and this will maybe garner some interest in me & my books. I wish that I had some of the "magic" that other writers have had (like Victorine Leiske, she's done fabulously with her first book).

Monday, June 13, 2011

Well LeBron You Didn't Win...Again

When LeBron left Cleaveland for Miami and put together his "dream team" people had all kinds of reactions; they hated it, loved it, didn't care, whatever. It just goes to show that just because you may be a great player doesn't mean that you have skills at forming a winning team. He may be happy playing in Miami with his friends Wade and the others, but has it come back to bite him? Personally I don't care much for the NBA, ever since Jordan retired, and could care less what happens. I've been to 1 NBA game in my whole life and it pretty much sucked. I don't find it a good sport to watch on TV either. It's just a bunch of guys running up & down the court, talking trash, and collecting their ridiculous checks. It's the only thing they know how to do so you can't criticize them-they got to make a living somehow. Truthfully there's no professional team sport that I would recommend, be it NFL, NHL, NBA, whatever. The college versions are still worth watching however, for the most part at least. But anyway, LeBron is still not a winner. And if he continues to think in the limited way that he has he may never be.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

I Went to a Movie Friday

On my day off on Friday I went to see a movie that I thought the previews looked like might be good. I saw "Super 8". The movie harkened back to the time when the period of the movie was actually set (1979), and in my opinion they did a good job making it look like it was 32 years ago (back when I was entering high school). The Spielberg touch was very evident giving the film an almost "E.T."/"Close Encounters" feel which I liked. Overall I'd say that the movie was worth seeing. What I didn't like was the alien. It was computer generated like many things are in movies these days. It's something that I detest and something that you can tell is obviously fake. It's not that I hate computer graphics, I don't, but mixing live action with CGI I find is rarely done well, and this movie was no exception. It would have been better if the entire movie was done in CGI, at least that way it would all match (AVATAR did a great job with CGI, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within was a great film and was totally computer animated). I prefer aliens in a live action movie to be done by live action actors (for instance: the Predator from the Predator movies and many of the aliens from the Alien movies, though not all of them, were done in live action.) It just goes to show that it's not impossible to make a live action alien being. Also, one reason why I hate the CGI stuff is that invariably they move so fast on the screen that its all just a blur anyway. (Oh great, I paid $whatever to goto a movie to see blurry stuff on the screen. No thanks. IE: Transformers movies do that like every 5 seconds-blurry scene, blurry scene, blurry scene=wow what fun, not). It's a shame, but unfortunately I doubt that it will get any better anytime soon.

The effective "Whale Wars" show

I hate the show "Whale Wars"; not because I don't sympathize with their cause, but because they seem powerless to actually do anything. So, I say; they should go all out and really make a difference if they really believe in what they're doing. They've never made a difference from what I've seen in the shows (the only thing I've ever seen was that they delayed the whalers a bit). That's not good enough. If they mean business then: start ramming ships, dive bombing from that little helicopter, mining the seas, hire some Somalian pirates, or whatever. Otherwise, what's the point? As it stands the show is only about a bunch of guys who "really wish the whalers would stop & geez guys, please stop killing the whales." It's stupid. Asking them to stop, pleading with them, & the half assed ideas that they use have no & will never have any effect. I can see the point of the show, it's basically there to protest against whaling, but unless everyone else in the world gets on board & joins the whale wars crew & other protesters, nothing will ever come of it. I don't see it happening-most people are too busy with their own lives & whales just aren't important enough.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Losing weight

I'm in a contest to lose weight over the summer (June 1 to Aug. 31) and am competing against an unknown number of others around the country. It's through my workplace O'Reilly's Auto Parts and the winners are determined by % of weight lost, not total pounds lost-so I guess a lighter person could lose fewer pounds than a heavier person and still win, just as long as their % is greater. I started at 316 pounds and hope to lose about five pounds/week to end up at around 250 pounds by the end of the contest. If I could do this, I would have lost about 20% of my body weight, which is a pretty good effort. My strategy so far is to walk for about 30-40 minutes in mornings and evenings, eat as little fat as possible (no fast food), mostly eating things like soups, lots of veggies/fruits. I think that I'm on track so far as my weight after 1 week is 310. So I've lost about 6 pounds after the 1st week.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Finally Finished My WYRMEWOOD Movie

Yes, after about two weeks work I've finished my animated film on my first book, "WYRMEWOOD and the Forsaken Orb". If there could be a movie trailer for the book, this would be it. Check it out  at YouTube.com at:
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SZ3cNqdV6E
and thanks for watching. :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Working on an animated video

I've been working on an animated video over the last several days. I'm using Microsoft Movie Maker to create it from a compilation of both photos and animated cells that I've created. The short film will be kinda like a trailer of sorts, like a movie trailer, but will be for my book "WYRMEWOOD and the Forsaken Orb" as it will cover a good bit of things in the book. Currently it is about half finished and when totally complete I will upload it to YouTube and also post it here on the Shelnuttarium.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Video of me Creating the Second Book Cover

Here is my first foray into the world of film/animation. I created a short, 2 minute or so, slideshow movie of how I made my second book cover. It shows many of the graphic images I used in making the cover page and the alterations I did with them. Microsoft Movie Maker was what I made this in. The music was one of the selections and it seemed to fit in with the presentation pretty well. I plan on making a short, 2 to 3 minute animated movie about my book "WYRMEWOOD and the Forsaken Orb" next and possibly upload it to YouTube if it is decent.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Smashwords Gives the Thumbs Up

My first book (Wyrmewood and the Forsaken Orb) has passed the testing phase and is approved for the Premium Content channels. This means that It will soon be available to a much larger readership as they will receive distribution to Smashwords retail channel partners such as Apple, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo, the Diesel eBook Store and others yet to be announced. It's all good news in any case, so hooray for me. :)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

I Did Some Modifying on my Cover

Here is my book cover after modifying it a bit (mainly improving the text for readability)

I am working on a new book

Yes, I've begun my second book, a novella, which covers the history of how Wyrmewood came about. I've made a cover page for it already. Here it is:

Friday, May 6, 2011

Found a fun and addictive game at Bing Games called Ice Breaker

I've been playing a game from Bing Games called Ice Breaker, which is very fun and addictive the last day or two. You can find it at this link:
Ice Breaker from Bing Online Games
Object is to save the little vikings by slicing pieces of ice or rope on the play field. Physics comes into play a great deal (gravity, forces, weight, etc.) Trying to figure out just what you need to do to get the vikings to their ship is half of the task, then doing it is your next step. There's no clock or timer to worry about, you have all the time you need. I haven't really watched my score much, so I couldn't say if there are any penalties for failing. I do know that you get 30 slices per screen & if you haven't succeeded by then you have to start that screen over.
Give it a try.
Another game I found there is called "Wake the Royalty" & it is much in the same vein as "Ice Breaker";
Wake The Royalty from Bing Online Games

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Forced to Use Either IE or Chrome

I cannot get Firefox working with Amazon.com, so I'll have to use either Internet Explorer or Google Chrome. I've looked at them and both look okay. Neither are to me as intuitive as Firefox was, but IE seems a little better than Chrome. In any case, I'm able to purchase things on Amazon.com once again thank goodness. I just hope Firefox gets fixed someday so I can use it again.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Buying Books For My Kindle For PC Not Working

I'm not sure why but it seems that I cannot buy Kindle books for my Kindle for PC any longer. I bought several ebooks this way about a week ago, but now I cannot. I've checked everything I can think of, even reinstalled my Kindle for PC a couple of times, but nothing I do or check seems to do anything. I hope I can figure out this problem, I'd like to keep buying Kindle ebooks.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Storms and Tornadoes

  Alabama was hit pretty hard in many areas by strong winds and tornadoes. I live in Birmingham and a massive tornado hit some of the nearby communities very hard. They say that the extent of the devastation across the state was only last seen in 1932, when 268 people died in Alabama alone from tornadoes and 315 total in Alabama, Texas and South Carolina. So far they say the death toll in Alabama alone is at least 209, with many more in other neighboring states. Tuscaloosa was very hard hit as well. I was off work Wednesday when the storms rolled through and was watching the broadcasts and saw on the CBS broadcast a tornado actually form live on TV. The meteorologist was pointing out the cloudwall and rotation and then the tornado came down right where he was pointing as if by magic. It then became larger and larger and proceeded to churn it's way along through the city of Tuscaloosa, blowing up transformers and tearing up structures as it went. It was amazing to see and something I'll never forget. By the time the tornado reached Birmingham they say it was like a mile wide or more-so big that it was difficult to see on the many webcams that the weather broadcasters were trying to use to get a shot of it. But obviously it was there hearing of all the destruction caused all around this area. I just hope the likes of storms like this won't be seen again for a long time.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Waiting and Uploading to SITB on Amazon

 My book submission to Smashwords is still in queue; it started at position 3909 and is this minute at #1165 in the queue. I guess a lot of people are submitting books and it takes a while to run them through the "Meatgrinder" as they call it. So, I can only wait. I also just uploaded my files to the SITB (or Search Inside The Book) Program on Amazon.com. I like using it myself when I'm shopping for books, so I would guess that others would too; which is why I signed up. It makes sense, to see some of the book & getting a feel for how it is written before buying. Now I need to wait for that to process through Amazons system. So, I'm waiting again. Lots and lots of waiting....

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Uploaded to Smashwords

My first novel has been uploaded to Smashwords.com. I'm now waiting on it to be converted. My file was in a queue of about 3900 other's who are also uploading, so it will take a while before I know if my book is okay and will pass on to the Premium distribution. I got my fingers crossed. I took like 3 days in my spare time to go thru the book in MS Word & trying to abide by the rules of the Smashwords Style Guide, so hopefully it passes muster.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Magnetic Screen Monitor Idea

  A thought rattled around in my noggin today; has anyone ever created a magnetic screen for the output of something like a monitor? I guess it would appear much like an "Etch A Sketch" with tiny bits of a powder inside used for drawing whatever images are desired. However, the mechanics would be much different. Somehow the powder of the magnetic screen monitor would create the image instantly and as quickly as a crt screen can (which uses magnetic deflectors to direct the electron beam to create the images). But in the magnetic screen Monitor the image would not be scanned repeatedly like in a crt, rather the image information would be sent to the display and changed there directly. I think it would be similar in some ways to the design of a liquid crystal display. The screen would be made up of thousands or possibly millions of very tiny pixel-like magnets, and each would have 2 states that they could be in: either at rest and unpowered, or active and powered. When unpowered the screen would be either grey or white, but when powered the powder would be pulled to it creating a black pixel. The combination of all the pixels together in a pattern would create the images. There could be many pockets inside the screen holding the powder so that it wouldn't need to travel far to reach a magnet. Also, when unpowered, the magnets would actually have a negative-like charge in them to repel the powder (to avoid extra powder falling onto unwanted areas). I'm not sure what applications a monitor using this technology would be good for, although I thought it was an interesting idea. Someone may have, and probably has, thought of it before. I have no idea.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Smashwords, Wyrmewood is Coming Soon

  I am currently working on getting my first novel submitted to Smashwords.com and into their Premium Catalog. It would be a good idea, as Smashwords.com distributes their Premium Catalog ebooks to major online retailers including Barnes& Noble, Sony, Kobo, the Apple iPad iBookstore and the Diesel eBook Store.This would mean a much larger readership audience compared to only having the book on Amazon.com. Hopefully it will be ready in a couple of days to submit; I'm having to go through the book, checking for formatting and indention problems. So keep an eye open for Wyrmewood and the Forsaken Orb in many more epub outlets soon.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

My 3-D Kindle Idea Got "Shot Down"

  It seems that my 3-D Kindle idea was rejected by 99% of posters at Kindle boards. I guess it didn't go over too well. Oh well, it was just an idea. Maybe it would be useful for certain applications, but for the general public I suppose they would prefer either a 2-D Kindle or a real book. My mind thinks of things sometimes and I wonder if other people might find the ideas useful. You never know if you don't share. I'll keep thinking and posting though, someday I'll come up with a winner! :)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Has Anyone Thought of a 3-D Kindle Yet?

A weird thought just buzzed into my brain; a 3-D Kindle. I don't know if anyone has already started making this or if it's soon to be produced. But it seems like the idea would be desirable. Since the paper type books are fading out to be replaced by virtual books, it seems logical for a 3-D Kindle to be the next step. They already have 3-D movies and TV's. A friend of mine would rather have a real copy of my book instead of an eBook, he told me. So, that left me thinking that many people will want the look of a real book, instead of the current 2-D flat-screen image we get on Kindle's. Here's a drawing of what my idea might look like in use:
Anyway, it was just a thought I had. And one I wouldn't be surprised to see become a reality. :)

One Idea For A Future City = No car traffic to deal with

  One of the things I've always found illogical in current cities was car traffic. It is a necessity for the cities of today, but for the cities of the future I think it will have to be eliminated. No one should be driving a vehicle inside a city any more than someone should inside a shopping mall. Vehicles should only operate outside the cities-for people to drive to other cities, and for trucks to deliver goods to and from cities. The only traffic inside the future city would be people walking about or riding in automated transports. The city would be quite large so having a transport system would be needed, but it would be all automated. If you've ever seen Minority Report then you have seen an example of what I agree is the solution to moving people about town. A transport system which uses magnetic automated vehicles on metal roads that can even go vertical. And it would work out perfectly for those people who already seem to be living in this sort of future world & spend about as much time driving their cars as they do texting or talking on their phones or whatever else.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A City of the Future

Here is a design for a city of the future. It is only a very basic design showing the format of the city and was something that I whipped up in like 20 minutes. But it is a good representation:

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Future City Idea

 I've thought about how cities in the future would be like. And it seems to me that eventually we will have cities very different from what we have today. A little over a hundred years ago, with the Industrial Revolution, the large cities of the world began to go through great changes. Buildings grew taller as the means to build them improved. And as designs for buildings have become more elaborate the need for technology to keep up with their demands has had to evolve as well. Human necessity is the driving force behind the structures we make. If we decide that there is a need for something, people usually figure out a way to make it happen. And there is something I think about people that is strangely inherent, at least for Americans and many other humans of earth: we never seem satisfied with things as they are. We're always coming up with a better way to do something. Change is inevitable. Over the last 30 years there have probably been so many new ideas and concepts that to list them all would take several life-times. And there's no slowing down. If anything it is speeding up. So the thought that say in a hundred years New York City or any other major city will look exactly as it does today to me seems ridiculous. I won't be alive to see it then (unless I live to be 146 years old), and I have no idea what it would be like, but I know that it would be much different than what we see today. In my next post I'm going to try and make some drawings to show what I think a future city could look like.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Self-Publishing an eBook or Kindle Book

   Okay, this will be a bit tougher than the process for self-publishing a paperback book on Amazon.com.
And this is how I did it, I'm sure there are other ways to do it, but this worked for me.
Step 1: Write your book in a word processor like MS Word or OpenOffice. It doesn't really matter how it is saved I guess as long as you can copy and paste the entire text.
Step 2: download a free program called Crimson Editor (available at crimsoneditor.com)
Step 3: goto agoodread.com and look in the lower right corner of the screen. There you see a place to input your name and email to get the Kindle eBook macro. The macro will be used in the crimson editor and all the information about installing it and using it are on the agoodread.com website which is provided by the creator: Judith Tramayne. Trust me, if you do your eBook my way, you'll want this macro in your crimson editor.
Step 4: run the crimson editor, open your book file (in Word or OpenOffice or whatever), cut and paste the entire text of the book from the book file to the crimson editor.
Step 5: Okay, here's where the tough part starts. Follow the video tutorial on how to use the macro in crimson editor from the agoodread.com site. It shows you quickly the different steps to adding html code to the book. The point of what you are doing, as Judith Tramayne says, is to create a CLEAN html file of your book. The CLEAN part being the important part, as it removes unnecessary things. Let me tell you why we're doing all of this. I tried to simply use both an .odt and a .pdf format file of my book to submit at first before trying it this other way with a clean html file. The other ways the submitted file resulted in a horrible looking book. It just didn't work. So, I recommend highly doing it the Judith Tramayne way. The only bad thing is that doing this takes a looonnngggg time. My book is 396 pages (like 128,500 words) and going through the whole thing and making a clean html file took me like 4 days, working for hours and hours each day. Thankfully I had the whole week off for vacation when I was doing it so I was able to get it done. Also when doing this (adding the code macros) you need to check your work frequently to make sure it is coming out right. To do this just save your html file in crimson editor-like onto the desktop-and open up the html file in your browser so you can see it (I use firefox). It won't be exactly like a Kindle eBook reader output but it is fairly close. The thing that iritated me the most when coding was putting words into italics. You just gotta be extremely careful and precise to make sure you get it right, or else things will come out messed up. (simply typing in a word processor is so much easier compared to this).
Step 6: Okay now that you've spent several days adding all the macros/html code to the book's text and you've checked to make sure it looks okay, we now have 2 options: add a table of contents or not. I think that if you have a real short book then a contents page could be skipped. But for my book, which has 23 chapters, a contents page was a necessity. This part for me was hard to figure out because finding the information on how to do it isn't easy on the Internet. What I usually did find was so convoluted or complex to understand that even I couldn't figure it out (and I have a computer science degree). I don't understand why people can't just do what I'm doing here and explain things simply. (BTW: Judith Tramyne sells the information on how to add a table of contents to the html you've made for like $70.00 or something which for me wasn't an option as that's just way too expensive.) Anyway, I finally found out enough by looking around at different websites to make my own contents. And here's an example of the way I did my book:
(In this example we have a prologue and 11 chapters, but it works for however many chapters you have)
        <div id=”toc”>
        <p><a name="home"><h3>Contents:</h3></a>
        <p><a href="#Prologue:">Prologue:  name of prologue</a></p>
        <p><a href="#chap01">Chapter 1   name of chapter</a></p>
        <p><a href="#chap02">Chapter 2   name of chapter</a></p>
        <p><a href="#chap03">Chapter 3   name of chapter</a></p>
        <p><a href="#chap04">Chapter 4   name of chapter</a></p>
        <p><a href="#chap05">Chapter 5   name of chapter</a></p>
        <p><a href="#chap06">Chapter 6   name of chapter</a></p>
        <p><a href="#chap07">Chapter 7   name of chapter</a></p>
        <p><a href="#chap08">Chapter 8   name of chapter</a></p>
        <p><a href="#chap09">Chapter 9   name of chapter</a></p>
        <p><a href="#chap10">Chapter 10  name of chapter</a></p>
        <p><a href="#chap11">Chapter 11  name of chapter</a></p>
        </div>
        <mbp:pagebreak />
 There are a few special considerations on this for it to work properly which I learned; the code inside <> is blue in color (like <p>, </p>, etc.)
  The href are red in color, (if it isn't red, then something is wrong. you need to rewrite it)
  The "#chap05" or "#chap11" or whatever chapter number you have are purplish in color, (if it isn't purple, like it is black instead, then it needs to be rewritten)
Basically the colors are blue, red, purple and black. I guess this is a way to tell in the crimson editor if the html has been coded correctly. If you write up a contents like my example above but its all just black in the crimson editor, then it's not going to work correctly. (at least it didn't for me. I had to rewrite some of the lines to make them work.) What will happen is, when you save the file in crimson editor and view the html file, you will see links which will look like this:

Contents:

Prologue: name of prologue
Chapter 1 name of chapter
Chapter 2 name of chapter
Chapter 3 name of chapter
Chapter 4 name of chapter
Chapter 5 name of chapter
Chapter 6 name of chapter
Chapter 7 name of chapter ...etc.

These chapters above will be clickable links that take you directly to the chapter number. That's basically it to adding a table of contents, pure and simple. In addition to this I also added links from the start of each chapter to return the reader to the contents page. If you want to do this just add the code:
       <p><a href="#home">Top of Page</a></p>
just after the chapter headings. Here's an example:
      <mbp:pagebreak />
      <br />
      <a name="chap01"><center><h3>Chapter 1</h3></center></a>
      <p><center><b>name of chapter</b></center></p>
      <p><a href="#home">Top of Page</a></p>
      <br />
When you do this it puts a clickable Top of Page under the chapter name that if clicked returns you to the beginning of the book at the Contents. My book has a prologue and 23 chapters, so I have 24 of these in my book. This might sound crazy, but when you see it it makes sense. At least to me it does, so I used it.
  Step 7: Okay, let's assume you've gotten this far and have a clean, saved, coded and macroed html file of your book. Now we need to change it from html into eBook format. The eBook format is .prc. I discovered by looking around on the Internet something called mobipocket.com I wasn't familiar with the Mobipockets before this but apparently these are eBook readers/telephones/ etc. Anyway, on the mobipocket.com site they have software you can download free for both reading eBooks on the PC and also creating eBooks from your document files. Mobipocket reader, and Mobipocket Creator respectably. I recommend getting creator, but the reader I don't (I use Kindle for PC you can get for free from Amazon.com for eBook reading on my PC). Okay run creator. Click "Import from existing file . html document" I tried using Adobe PDF but it came out looking horrible. Put your file in "choose a file" and click "import". This creates a new folder and takes you to a new page. (the name of your destination folder is at the top of the screen in blue to the right of the red book. Click cover image and click add a cover image if you have one, other wise skip this. Also, if you have any graphics images in your book you need to add them in here too. You can do this by dragging them in to this page, which I recommend as it seemed to work best for me, or clicking add file and finding them. Okay once you have the html file, cover image, and all other files you click on "Build" at the top. Next page says Build Publication. I didn't use any compression or encryption and just clicked "Build" below & the program built my .prc file and put it into the file folder listed up in the blue above like I mentioned before. This .prc file is what you will be submitting to Kindle.
  Step 8: goto kdp.amazon.com This is the kindle website for Amazon.com. Sign-in with your Amazon.com account & password and follow the steps to self-publish your book. Once you are ready to upload your newly created eBook choose the .prc file you created and upload it along with a cover image if desired. (As in my paperback book I created my own cover image). Once you're done with this and you've submitted your files they review the files to make sure they are okay. This takes a day or two. Once they are done reviewing the files go "live" and you  start selling.
   That's about it on making an eBook. At least that was the path I took. My book came out, after much effort and redoing things over and over several times, looking pretty good. If you have a better and easier way that actually works good then I bow to you. But the way I've outlined above is I think the best way to do this without having to pay someone else to either do it for you or tell you how to do it. I found out everything that I posted above myself on the Internet for free and paid not one red cent for anything. The only thing it cost me was the time to get it done, which was a good deal of time, but time I have. So anyway, good luck in writing your own eBook whether you follow my way or find a way of your own.

Self-Publishing a Paperback Through Amazon.com

   I decided to go this route instead of trying to find an agent willing to publish my book as it is a 0% rejection route and it is basically no charge to do it for the writer.It just takes time.
   Step 1. Write your book in some word processor like MS Word or OpenOffice or whatever. I use OpenOffice as it is free to download and I'm poor. However you like to type up your book is up to you. If you put images into the book you need to make sure to follow certain rules (read up on these at the Createspace.com site) There are also certain rules to follow about margin size (it basically depends on how many pages you have in the book.  Again check Createspace.com).
   Step 2. go to Amazon.com and register for an account if you don't already have one. (fill out profile info if you want to too). It is needed in the next step.
   Step 3. go to Createspace.com and sign-in. Amazon uses Createspace as there publishing house so to speak & that is who will be creating the paperback books that you sell or buy yourself.
  Step 4. Decide what size you want your book to be; there are several choices to choose from on Createspace and the choice you make will affect certain things; it will alter page count and thus might also alter margin size requirements. I made the mistake of submitting my book with incorrect margin sizes twice because I didn't read the requirements carefully. So make sure you follow the rules precisely or you'll end up resubmitting your book several times.
  Step 5: Once you've gotten your book sized to your satisfaction you'll need to save your book in .pdf file format for submitting to Createspace.com. Also you need to either upload a self-made cover-page or choose one of Createspace's cover-page templates. I chose to make my own cover and hunted down a free to use image from  http://digitalmedia.fws.gov/ which is a place you can download outdoors images & use them by giving credit.(Seems like most places want to charge for using their images).
   Step 6: Createspace reviews what you submit for a time (it took them about a day for my book). If the cover image and interior file passes inspection you order a proof copy to be sent to you which will take from 1 to 10 days to reach you depending on how much you're willing to spend on postage.
  Step 7: You receive the proof paperback and look it over carefully to make sure it looks perfect. My first proof ended up having about 8 to 10 little errors and also I moved the text on the cover image just a bit to center it better. (So basically the proof wasn't perfect yet). I resubmitted my cover image and interior files again. and once again they reviewed them for about a day.
    Step 8: The files passed their inspection and so I ordered a second proof copy. (note that it does cost some money to get your proof copy-it's not free. For me it was somewhere around $9.00 to $10.00 for the book and another $6.00 or so for postage-the cheapest rate. It all depends again on book size and page count as to the book price.)
    Step 9: Receive the second proof and review it for perfection. If it is perfect then tell Createspace that the proof is acceptable and tell them to put it up for sale on Amazon.com. If and when someone buys the book it will be published by Createspace (it is a POD or publish on demand service) so no books are made unless they are bought. You'll need to choose a price for your book which should be a bit over the "price threshold" which is what it costs to print the book. Ex: if it costs $9.00 to print it and you price it at $10.00, you'll make $1.00 off each book that sells. There's some optional things you can do once you start selling: Pro Plan, and EDC. Pro Plan does several things; lets you earn a larger royalty share, it costs less when you order your own books, and you gain access to EDC. EDC, or Expanded Distribution Channel, basically makes the book available to a much larger audience of buyers, outside of Amazon.com . Retailers, bookstores, libraries, academic institutions, wholesalers, and distributors. Through the EDC you have the potential to distribute your work to thousands of retail and wholesale outlets throughout the U.S. The two optional plans cost $39.00 each to add to a book, but to me it looks like it could be well worth getting- at least the Pro Plan. But I'll probably get both.
   So, thats it to making your own paperback book and self-publishing it on Amazon.com. If you thought that was complex just read my next post which will cover how I self-published my book for the Kindle.

Lunch Time

   I'm at lunch right now, just posting about what I am planning for my next few posts. I am going to tell the steps I did in publishing my book Wyrmewood and the Forsaken Orb on Amazon.com in both paperback and the eBook (Kindle). The process is different for each and I had some trouble in getting them done (especially the eBook because of the strange steps I had to go through and never having done anything like this before). The paperback I'll explain first because you sorta need to do it first anyway; because really all you need is to export your MS Word or OpenOffice document into a pdf file for uploading and you're nearly all done. Doing the eBook however requires much more effort. So anyway, my next post will cover making and publishing the paperback.

Whoa Dizzy

    Got up to get ready for work today and started feeling dizzy. Like I had a sick feeling. I've been off work for a week's vacation and gotta start back this morning. It should be good to get working again-I almost think that I've forgotten how to do the job I been gone so long.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The First Post Ever - YAY!

   Okay, Here I am writing the first post ever for the Shelnuttarium, which is a blog for me-James Shelnutt-to tell about the things I am doing or thinking. I started this blog to keep track of whats going on since finally finishing my first book and getting it published; which is very soon to be happening. The book is the first of a trilogy and is called Wyrmewood and the Forsaken Orb. It is about a young boy who one day is transported far away to another world he learns is called the Orb & where he meets up with a dragon who lives there. The dragon is in need of his help and as the boy and the dragon become friends they learn more about each other as they struggle to try and get back to their home-worlds. It is part fantasy and part science-fiction while also being an adventure for the reader that I hope he or she will enjoy. check it out soon on Amazon.com under my name James Shelnutt or Wyrmewood. It will be available in eBook (Kindle) and paperback formats (maybe even others in the future).