Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Neat Little Website

At work, I'm part of the team designing and building the new website. One of the things we need to do is ensure our website is accessible for those who are colour-blind, which led me to searching the internet for a tool to check it, which led me to snook.ca.

Snook.ca is the website of web designer and developer Jonathan Snook. It's nice little website with some interesting information, including his Colour Contrast Check. This handy tool allows you to put in any two colours (a foreground and a background) and see how well they fare in meeting standards for web accessibility. Alas, the piece I was working on didn't fare well at all, so it's back to the boards for me. Argh.

A great, very handy little tool.

And now, I'm going to... wait for it...

All right, it's editing Cold Magics.

Anyone surprised?

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Little Night Music

Friday night and I have nothing to say.

So how about some music?

This is a Soundie featuring Matthew Barber, produced by Athens Soundies

For those reading this on facebook (and there are some...), here is the link to the video.

And what is a soundie, you might ask? In this case it is the pet name for a single-take, live music video. For the history of the name, have a look at the Athens Soundies website.

Also, check out some of the bands. They've got some good stuff out there.

Tonight I am editing Cold Magics again. Then I'm to sleep well before midnight if I have to use a bottle of scotch and a meat tenderizing hammer to get there.

(exact method of using these two devices left as an exercise for the reader)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What? How did a week go by?

It's been a week since I've posted anything, which is bad from a marketing point of view. Most things I've read suggest you should be writing at least a post every two or three days for best coverage, with 2 out of five posts on brand (meaning about my books).

So where have I been?


I've a lot on the go right now, in work, in school (yes, I'm back in classes), in writing and in life. So much so that I haven't been sleeping at all well. The result: no posts.

So, I'll try to come up with something a bit more creative later this week. Now, I am going to go to sleep for a few hours.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

We're Men! Manly Men!

One of the guys on bodyweightculture.com, the workout forum I hang out on, posted a link to an article that led me to The Art of Manliness, which is a well-thought-out website on all things manly.

Now, be certain that it is not a website on all things macho. Being macho and being manly are generally two different things. Here, the focus is on manliness, from dressing well for little money to what to carry in your briefcase, to the five things every man must master to save his life.

The Art of Manliness is a fun, informative, well-written site, and -- putting on my communications hat for a moment -- an excellent example of niche marketing.

Hat tip to Cheeze Baron, who led me to the site.

By the way, am I the only one who, when he hears the word "manly," thinks of this:

Monday, September 14, 2009

Killing Your Creations... Again

So I've got a scene in Cold Magics. I really like it. It has great emotion, depth, pathos, all sorts of fun things. Unfortunately, it does nothing to advance the plot.

I've tried modifying it, I've tried shortening it, tried changing it, but none of that works. It's either the original scene, or nothing. And the original scene doesn't add anything to the book. All I can do is kill it.


On the bright side, it should knock 10 pages off the book.


I had the exact same issue (different scene) when I was writing Small Magics. Sometimes there's good bits that just don't fit the book you're writing. And even if they're really, really good bits, there's still no point in keeping them in the book.

So I have a file on the computer where I keep the scenes I can't use. After all, I might be able to use them somewhere else, right?

All right, I'll never use them, but I still keep them. Anyone out there want to tell me I'm not alone in this?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Twelfth Night by Urban Bard

Late night posting tonight. Just saw Urban Bard's production of Twelfth Night. They did a great job, and I wanted to spread the word.

Urban Bard is "...focused on using Toronto's urban landscape in unexpected ways to stage entertaining and relevant theatre." Their venue was the park space behind the College Park building at the corner of Yonge and College. The production had the audience moving from one location to another to see the action of the play.

The actors all did fabulous work, the physical work was great -- especially the fight work. The venue sometimes worked against them, with people walking through or behind the scenes, and with others having loud conversations near the locations. And, of course, College Park is near the hospital district, so we got to hear sirens on regular occasions as well the normal street noises.

All this, however, added to the experience, rather than detracting from it. It gave a fun, entertaining ambience to the production, which the cast and crew carried off in fine style. They made excellent use of the surroundings, including the fountain, stairs and various other obstacles.

My compliments to Scott Moyle, the Artistic Director, who did a great job bringing his vision to life, and to all the cast and crew. Excellent work from everyone.

Urban Bard's Production of Twelfth Night runs September 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 24, 25, 26 at 7 p.m.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Feeling a Little Zen-ish...

Or possibly a little peckish, but I'll go with the Zen because I need a lead in.

There's an interesting site I stumbled across called zenhabits, whose focus is "simple productivity." They've got some interesting articles on decluttering your life, slowing down to enjoy the roses, and doing less to be more productive (very zen, that last).

The blog is run by Leo Babtauta, a Guam-based writer. It has some excellent articles, and the owner has spawned a second blog: mnmlist, which is all about living better with less.

So, if you're feel zennish, of feeling like you need to get your life simplified, head on over and have a look.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

A Universal Health Care Message

I try to stay away from political matters on this blog, and I try to stay away from talking about my job. The first, because politics isn't really my focus, and the second, because it is never wise to talk about work on a public forum, even if you like your job, which I do.

Tonight, however, I get to do both:

See, today my boss forwarded me the latest newsletter from Longwoods Publishing, a Canadian company that "... publishes academic and scientific research, commentary and information related to health sciences and health care."

This week Longwood Publishing has on their website a video entitled "Universal Health Care Message to Americans from Canadian Doctors & Healthcare Experts." It's a good, solid piece that dispels several of the lies put out by the opponents of universal healthcare in the USA, and talks about the benefits of the single-payer system:

Everyone is welcome to register opinions, of course. I will say, however, that if you are going to engage in personal attacks on other commenters or unnecessary rudeness, I will delete your comment without explanation or warning. Differing opinions are welcome, but there is no excuse for being uncivil.

Buy Small Magics
if this is your first visit to my blog, whether or not you came solely as a result of this video being posted here, do me the goodness to nip over and buy Small Magics while you are around.

Think of it as doing your share to stimulate the economy.

Friday, September 04, 2009


Just thought I'd mention, for those who are on facebook and like to see what I'm doing with my time, I've started a facebook fan page to see about doing some social media marketing as things go forward. So, if you are on facebook and not yet a fan, pop on over and sign up.

After all, if a certain well-known pizza chain can get 1,000,000 fans, there's no reason I can't. Right?


All right, I'm shooting for the stars but, hey, you have to start somewhere.

And now, editing!

Random Blogstuff

Whenever I stumble across an interesting article at work, or when I'm surfing the web, I think, "this would be a good piece to blog about." Then I email it to myself and promptly forget all about it.

So here are a few sites and articles that I found while clearing out my yahoo inbox:

David Cheong had an interesting article on 11 Ways of Staying Focused, for all those of us who have trouble BIRDIES!

So Misguided is a Canadian blog about publishing, marketing, books and technology. Interesting information, and she does book reviews, including reviews of fantasy, so I may have to send something her way when Cold Magics hits the shelves next year.

Over at Yahoo there's a short piece on how to eat so your brain works better, for all those who have trouble BIRDIES!

If you are a skywatcher, you can learn exactly when satellites (including the international space station) are passing over your head by going to www.heavens-above.com. Just enter your location and they do the rest.

My long weekend is going to be spent in equal parts working, editing Cold Magics and playing with my child. With luck, there will be an element of sleeping in there as well, but I'm not holding my breath.

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