Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Full Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Exhausted and frustrated. It should have taken me 45 minutes to convert the ebook, upload it to Payloadz and list it.

It took seven hours.

Because both NitroPDF and Microsoft suck.

I designed a gorgeous cover for the ebook, and was thrilled with it. And that’s thanks to the readers like Kalem who taught me how to create it in Word. Only, NitroPDF won’t hold it when it converts the file. Even though the sales fuck who sold it to me swore it did. Because, believe me, I had a LONG list of questions before I bought it and I made it very clear that if the answer to ANY of them was no, this product was not worth my time or money. And the sales staff lied. Gee, what a surprise. Not only that, unless you pay them more money for them to tell you that no, the program doesn’t REALLY do what the sales team promised, you can’t even ask questions past the first thirty days. They can bite me. So not only do they make false promises to get you to buy it, customer service is non-existent.

In other words, if you’re looking for a conversion program, I suggest you take your business to a company that actually gives a damn about its customers once they’ve parted them from the money. There must be one out there somewhere.

It wouldn’t let me import images, it wouldn’t let me set new backgrounds, it wouldn’t let me do any damn thing. It took me a few hours, but I finally managed to underlay a photo as a watermark that’s still not exactly what I wanted, it’s not the photo I wanted, but that was that.

Only then Microsoft failed and the whole system crashed and then Nitro wouldn’t open again. It seems it only opens ONCE PER DAY. Um, excuse me, but when I’ve BOUGHT the program, shouldn’t it open whenever I need it to?

I finally tricked it into opening, planning to keep it open for the rest of the day, because I had to do the newsletter and all that other stuff that needed to get done in and around the conference.

But Microsoft kept failing, freezing, then crashing. Over and over and over again. And I had to keep finding new ways to trick Nitro PDF into opening, which it only did about every third time Microsoft crashed.

I’m telling you, I’d be better off hacking this Dell piece of crap into tiny pieces and then driving back and forth over it with a Hummer. It would work better. NitroPDF, Microsoft, and Dell – useless.

Seven effing hours. For something I knew how to do, which should have taken 45 minutes.

But the ebook is up, called SENSORY PERCEPTIONS, and it’s a seven week course based on sense-specific exercises and layering them. At the end of seven weeks, you have seven short stories. I’ve been working with these exercises with students for several years, developing them, and then did another test run on all of them last week, which is why I’ve ended up with a batch of new stories. I hope you check it out. I kept the price point low enough to make sense in these economic times, but high enough so that PayPal doesn’t keep 90% of it, which is what they do with Writing Rituals.

The newsletter came out, finally. If you haven’t gotten your copy, or haven’t yet signed up, you can do so here.

I wrote a short story for the short story workshop I’m taking. It surprised me in a good way, but the ending needs some more oomph, a kind of a button. The very last sentence is weak, and that ruins the impact of the piece as a whole

I commented on all the exercises I’d missed while fighting with the computer, and they’d stacked up. The majority of the students are really into it and there to learn. You always have one or two who pull something out of their drawer and slap it up there, whether it fits the exercise or not, or the ones who do the bare minimum, but for the most part, they’re an exceptionally lively, creative bunch.

I checked in to the workshops I’m taking, making sure I did the assignments and had the next and kept up my part of the conversation. I have to say, when the instructor can’t be bothered to respond to any of the assignments . . .it annoys me. We’re there for interaction, not to be lectured and then, when we do the work, be met with silence. The point of a workshop, in my mind, is to WORK, and to me, that means something that’s interactive. But, everyone’s got their own way. I’m meeting a lot of great people, and I’m also meeting some people whose methods just don’t jive with mine, and that’s fine – we can be pleasant colleagues and then go our separate ways. I’m learning a lot, both in where I can grow, and what doesn’t work, which is good. And I’m challenging some of my processes, which is also good. Uncomfortable at times, but good.

I should do some work on The Big Project. I’m feeling a little scattered now, so I’ll probably spend time on the conference board and try to get back to it later.

I STILL haven’t heard from the editor about the deadline for the two articles I’m supposed to write, and I asked about a week ago. Well, without a firm deadline, I’ll do them when I get around to them. I asked THE DAY I was hired. It takes 60 seconds to write a response.



Devon’s Bookstore:

NEW!Sensory Perceptions: Techniques to Improve Your Writing Through the Six Senses by Devon Ellington. Use the six senses to take your writing to the next level via a series of sense-specific exercises. By the end of seven weeks, you complete seven short stories!. $1.29 USD. Here.

Hex Breaker
by Devon Ellington. A Jain Lazarus Adventure. Hex Breaker Jain Lazarus joins the crew of a cursed film, hoping to put to rest what was stirred up before more people die and the film is lost. Tough, practical Detective Wyatt East becomes her unlikely ally and lover on an adventure fighting zombies, ceremonial magicians, the town wife-beater, the messenger of the gods, and their own pasts.
$4.00 ebook/ $6.00 on CD from Firedrakes Weyr Publishing.
Visit the site for the Jain Lazarus adventures.

5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.

Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here:

Published in: on October 14, 2008 at 8:22 am  Comments (5)  
Tags: , , , ,


  1. Devon, forgive me for laughing, but I’m howling at your description of hacking up the computer and running over it repeatedly with the tank-gone-SUV. It’s exactly how technology that doesn’t work makes us all feel.

  2. Aw, sweetie, take a deep, cleansing breath. It sounds like you had a yucky day. Nothing is more frustrating when technology doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to. It always puts such a crimp in the day! (Or in yesterday’s case, a big ol’ hole you could drive a Mack truck through!)

    Oooh, can I add my laptop to your “sacrificial pile” when you get ready to hack it up? 😉 Yeah. Microsoft does suck, when it doesn’t work.

    Hang in there!

  3. Oh, yeah. Dell sucks. I’ll be the first in line to cheer if you ever do that. Hugs on all the frustrations.

  4. Yaye on getting Sensory Perceptions uploaded — did you ever see Office Space when they take the copier machine into the field and destroy it? Maybe replaying that scene with your computer will provide some satisfaction!!! : )

  5. I wish I’d found your blog sooner; while I am no defender of either Microsoft or Dell (I’ve nearly burst a blood vessel keeping myself from saying something I could be arrested for when calling to resolve issues with both), I suspect there is at least a partial fix to your problems.

    First, try running a good registry cleaner (there are some good freeware ones: go to the latest Pricelessware list and click on the link for Registry and File Tools to choose one. The ToniArts offering (EasyCleaner) also lets you clean out start up entries, which is another possible source of trouble. If those don’t work, then it might be a particular program, bad hardware, or just a messed up Windows installation, all of which are much more major pains, but the first two options aren’t very hard. (Clean out anything starting up that you don’t need – but be sure not to trim stuff located in the Windows or Windows System folders unless you know what it is.)

    I can’t help you with NitroPDF (the trouble could be with NitroPDF or it could be with Word – I’m inclined to guess Word, but then, as I said, I hate MS) but there are good, free PDF creators out there. At least if one won’t work for you, you won’t waste any more cash on it. 🙂 Another section of the Pricelessware list gives some good choices; click on the Convert Text to PDF link.

    I hope that helps with some of your computer worries.

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