Sunday, February 24, 2019

When the ducks turn stubborn

February 24, 2019

For the official record, I am sick to death of rain. I live on the side of a mountain and yet my yard looks like a swamp. It's not difficult to figure out - all the water above drains through here on its way to the creeks below. The joke is on me. Come summer, I need to round up the cousins and add an extra swale in the back yard. Provided, of course, it dries up enough to get the John Deere in the back yard without it sinking up to the axles. 

You'd think all the rain would be conducive to productive writing. Again, and I repeat, the joke is on me. I've spent these few early days of 2019 managing the health care of husband and stepfather. That endeavor has left little time for my own pleasurable pursuits. I finally broke down and made arrangements to pay (out of pocket) for someone to transport my stepfather to all his doctor visits. I've missed far too much work to be comfortable about it. More importantly, the simple act of asking for help has already lifted some weight from my shoulders. 

The Grammarly project has been moving along. I took a sanity break this past week and did some "fluff" reading. I call it that because I'd read the books before - The Chanur series by C.J. Cherryh. It was a revisitation to old friends from the 1980s. I understand why the author stopped at five books, but I'd love to read how things worked thirty years later for all involved. 

I decided it was time to set aside my dislike of Facebook and start some promo there. I got a spam email from some company offering to "promote your book on over 100 Facebook groups." And then it actually listed the groups. Yep. I copied the list and set myself the task of checking out each one and joining if appropriate. Thanks for the tip and not sorry you won't get any money from me. 

I continue to enjoy messing around with Photoshop. Some samples of the promo cards I've made are posted here. 

We're almost to the end of February and I've not produced a Jan/Feb newsletter. It's like entries for the Between the Keys blog. What do I have to crow about if I've done...not much?? The behind the scenes work is pretty boring although fellow authors and informed readers will understand completely. Sometimes those damn ducks will not form a neat row!

 KC Kendricks

Life through the eyes of Greenbrier Smokey Deuce:

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Bookish Moods and AI

February 9, 2019

A lot has been going on in my corner of the world. The spousal unit continues to improve following neck surgery. How long this will last I can't guess. The occupational therapist has him taking things out of MY cupboards and putting them back - the Medicare dollar at work. The first time he breaks something, I'm taking a day off work to break her. 

My stepfather is whining about not being able to drive. Does he really think I'm enjoying doing his grocery shopping and hauling his arse to doctor appointments? Nooooooo. This morning my duties include taking his trash to the landfill. Fun? Nooooo. 

At the day job, the boiler failed. Half the building has no heat. All of the interiors of the building is
covered in a layer of fine soot. Luckily, my area is heated/cooled by a heat pump. My office was far enough away from the furnace to be barely impacted. I dusted, changed the air filter, and got back to work. Instead, I should have milked it into working at home for a week. 

On the writing front, the Grammarly project has hit about twenty percent completed. The 

Amethyst Cove books are finished, as are A Friendly Neighbor, A Perfect Hire, Lightning Shifts, Desert Snow, Doors of Time, Eye of the Beholder (I must get that uploaded today), The Ghost at the B andB, Hey Joe, and Passion's Victory. I don't know if it's vitally important to my readers that I'm doing this exercise, but it matters to me. It's feeding all those author-ish masochistic tendencies about how foolish it was to pay for "professional" editing. I know I learned a lot from working with editors but you know how we all gripe about those things we view through hindsight. 

Not that the Grammarly system is perfect - far from it. It can take off with you in the middle of a correction and drop you pages away. Very annoying. That little glitch might be adding problems if the system fails to go back and pick up that spot. The major plus is I feel better about the books because I'm at least attempting to improve them. 

I'm sure the Grammarly folks will continue to improve their product. After all, we should all write in one voice, shouldn't we? Therein lies a rub. We should not. We should all sound like ourselves. A comma here or a comma there is not as important as an individual voice. I see that in the number of "suggestions" I decline to accept, especially in dialogue. People should sound like people, not echoes of the robotic. 

Cautiously embracing artificial intelligence makes me feel like a sell-out. It goes against one of my core values that says individuals are more important than the tools they use. On the other hand, this tool may have earned its place in the writer's arsenal.  I suppose like any other tool, it's all in how you use it. 

But enough finger chatter (that's my current slang for typing). Daylight has arrived and my coffee cup is empty. I need to upload the updated Eye of the Beholder manuscript and maybe even get Bored, Stroked, and Blueprinted back out before the demands of the day crash down on my head. 

Because once I've fulfilled my responsibilities to dog, cat, spouse, and stepparent, I'm going to close the door and hide in my office. I may even get some new writing done. Or should that word be accomplished? Where's the AI when you need it? 

KC Kendricks
My home on the web- Between the Keys:
My country life at Holly Tree Manor