Idea Tree – Book 107

author

In this postapocalyptic, earthwise, get-rich, elemental, romance, I’ve combined several genres. I’m categorizing this book as a Romance, even though the romantic parties don’t meet each other until 3/5 of the way through the book.

I wrote Idea Tree in bits and pieces with several breaks in between writing. Wow! was it ever hard to make sure that the story was woven together correctly.

It’s the year 2052, the great cataclysm has happened and now people are trying to restore the Earth. OK, so I’m a little optimistic as to how soon we’ll start putting things back together. But then again, perhaps I’m a little pessimistic about how soon that cataclysm has happened. On the third hand, some say that cataclysm is already happening.

On to happier notes: Three friends form Idea Tree to get rich while saving the Earth. Idea Tree will generate ideas that companies and philanthropists will pay them for. These ideas will save the Earth. But, these three friends can’t do it all, so they hire three Idea Generators.

A poor hispanic woman works many long hours and figures out how to start investing what little she can. Eventually she becomes a multi-billionaire (there’s that optimism again). And starts using her money and influence to save the Earth.

She’s hesitant to ask Idea Tree for help for some reason. Yet eventually, she has nowhere else to turn to save the Earth. Ian Mossiman is the Idea Generator who is assigned to help Ultresa Milan create the next idea which will really turn the corner in restoring the Earth to vitality.

And sparks fly – both metaphorically and litterally.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09NRH6VXT

Tongue Twisters or Knot

author

I recently decided to write a month’s worth of tongue-twisters. Why would I do something so maniacal?  That shouldn’t be too hard to do, I thought? But these tongue-twisters required more of me than writing 31 one-liner diction exercises. These had to be fun. Some had to be syncopated poems. Those which were one-liners insisted on being lists of one-liners. And once I got 31, they just wounded stop coming. Finally I had to shut off the faucet.

Enjoy such tongue-twisters as: Thin’s Shims; Path Cat’s on the Cat Path; Heathcliff’s Eclipse; Frog’s Frock; Swanson the Swan (below); Gargoyle Girl; Charles Chews Chocolate; Dr Jekyll Heckled Hyde’s Spectacular Side; Paradoxical Paradise; and Sasha Sashays.

Tongue Twisters or Knot

Swanson the swan swung
O’er the bolly belly billabong
Out o’er the water he flew
Making a heck of a swell hullabaloo

The lackadaisical lake lacked water
The faster he flew did he falter
And he barely missed three trees
By tucking in his knobby knees

Swanson the swan swung
O’er the bolly belly billabong
He missed a pilaster avoiding master disaster
Landing with haste in the past Pastor’s pasture

Why is my Enemy my Enemy

Here’s an age old question: Why is my enemy my enemy? That’s usually followed by: What did I do to them? (Or to offend them)?

I was prompted recently to look at a book that was in my Not to be Published stack. I wrote it in 2004, but didn’t like the ending. I was amazed as a reread what I had written. This book was very apropos for today. It asked these questions:

  • Why does evil always resurface?
  • Why is my enemy my enemy?
  • Who and what will save the day?

Aumanil’s: Three Paths – One History had lots of holes in the story – had to fix that. The reason I had put this book on the Do Not Publish heap was because I didn’t like the ending. As part of the rewrite, I ended up with more information at the end, twice.  So I guess there were holes there also. Now, I really like the ending, wasn’t what I had planned.

Aumanil’s doesn’t so much answer those questions, as it gives us insights into how those in another Cosmos wrestled with them. Their solutions probably aren’t our solutions. But there was one thing they did, which we will probably have to do. Somebody had to walk to where the sun was shining more brightly. For there lay their solution.

This is my 105th book.

Exploring Lost Territory

When I was young, I liked to explore the woods. Got lost a few times, Yet, that didn’t stop my love of the woods. However, I still love the ocean better.

In my 104th book, Criseilish and Bileander live on the tropical island of Vascandola. At five, they become pretend boyfriend/girlfriend so that they can play together all the time. They spend most of their time on the beach or playing together in the village. But one day, when they’re 9, they explore a place in the woods, that Bileander calls Lost Territory.

The woods are dangerous and not many people go into the woods. But Bileander is adventurous. And Criseilish is willing to go along for the fun.

But then she can’t remember what happened that day. She’s sure Bileander is responsible for her forgetting, so she dumps him.

Theirs is the relationship everyone else envies. Can she ever trust him again?

Another Romance, not TMI.

Exploring Lost Territory

 

SEA Spot Saver

Another secret about Seatac – one of the world’s most environmentally favorable airports – is the SEA Spot Saver. Don’t have TSA Precheck or Clear? You can sign up to get through security faster with the SEA Spot Saver. Best part, it’s currently free!

Yes, so, it’s only for morning flights as the spot saver is not available after 1pm. And there’s an interview required. But if you don’t have TSA Precheck or Clear and you’re traveling from SEA, check it out. Why not?

Speaking of secrets about Seatac, check out my book – Seatac Seacrets.

Book Magnet’s Author’s Lounge

I was invited by Book Magnet to write an article about my top selling book – The Wizard without a Wand. It was a good experience and well worth the effort. It would have been well worth the effort, even if they hadn’t published the article (they did). The questions were thought provoking and ones which would be good to answer about any book.

You can read the article here

And you can also sign up to try to get them to publish an article about your book in their Author’s Lounge.

Microsoft Word – Get Your Voice Back

If you suddenly can’t find David or Mark or Zira computer voice to read your word documents to you, here’s the solution!

When I edit my books, I go through 4 edits:

  1. Let Microsoft Word’s Editor help me correct spelling and perhaps grammar. Editor is funkier to use than the previous spell check. But my settings to display reading level and ease are still in force, so that’s good.
  2. Reparagraph. When I write, I don’t always split paragraphs correctly. And often, I want to make my paragraphs shorter so that they’re easier to read. I also find lots of little errors when I do this.
  3. Let Word read the book aloud. More on that below.
  4. Check for words that I commonly misspell. I created a word macro to highlight those words. By this point, I often don’t need to do this edit. However, I usually still do as I often end up reading the story once more and perhaps correct other issues or add a few more gems.

I hadn’t published a book in a few months. When I was editing the latest book, Microsoft’s Read Aloud tool had changed. It no longer used David’s voice. It was now using a female voice which I found to be grating on my ears. I switched to the male voice, and ended up switching back to the female voice. David’s voice is not the greatest. But it was better, IMHO, than either of these. But it was no longer an option.

So, I googled. And people, including microsoft, kept telling me to go to settings and choose David for Narrator voice. Well, that was still set. And Mark and Zira voices were also still there. However, now Read Aloud can’t use those voices. 

I finally found the answer. Not the greatest, but it works.

Choose a menu (ribbon in Microsoft Word), where you want to add Speak. Read Aloud is on the Review menu ribbon, so you might want to add Speak there. I have custom menus for writing books, so I added speak there.

Now, I just click on speak for David to read the text to me and click on it again to make it stop. Actually, it’s not that simple. David will read the selected text or the current word. You can make it function like Read Aloud (Read from here forward until you stop it). Press Ctrl+Shift+End to select from here forward. However, David will keep reading even though the text doesn’t move on the screen. Not helpful!

So, I select one paragraph at a time, by triple-clicking in the paragraph. Then I have David read me just that paragraph. Not the best method. But it works, and usually, I want to make some changes, unless it’s a very short paragraph.

To change narrators (perhaps you don’t like David or perhaps your local language is not US English), click the Windows Start menu, then settings gear, then search for voice or narrator. Once you get to the Narrator settings, choose whichever voice you want. If there aren’t any there, google to figure out how to install them. 

Please note that sometimes the computer reader will autocorrect for you. The error will still be in the text, but you won’t hear it. And sometimes, they really mangle words, especially the ones I’ve made up. However, that can help when perhaps I should change the spelling to something which a human reader might guess at. If that’s important.

Alternate options:

  • Use the Windows Narrator – I found this to be clunkier. Maybe you’ll like it.
  • Read your story outloud to somebody else
  • Have somebody else read the story outloud to you – I tend to not find quite as many errors with this or the previous method as I do by having the computer read to me while I edit.
  • Hire an editor
  • Use an online read such as Natural Readers – I haven’t tried it, it’s just the first one that Google returned.

Electric Cars – New Book, Website, Info

Electric Car

I know I haven’t posted in a while.

Why not?

Been busy.

Busy with what?

Work, mostly. Then there was this pandemic. But I did write a new book.

EV – Electric Vehicles Come Home is full of information about Electric Cars and other Vehicles around the world. There are cars, trucks, SUVs, boats, planes, skateboards, etc. Yep, there’s an electric skateboard.

I try to keep all that information not so boring. To help, I included some stories about my visitors from another planet. They came looking for information about Electric Vehicles (EVs). They figured, since I’ve been researching them for 50 years and had written one book about them (Select Your Electric Car), and was working on a second, that I would be their best source of information.

There’s also a story about Whistlethwaite, the legendary EV owner and his standoff with Jake – owner of a Monster Truck. Plus a couple of fictional stories about planes.

EVs have come home. Sales of Electric cars are outpacing sales of other cars. In Norway, most of the vehicles sold are electric. Sales are heading that way in other countries. If you don’t already own an EV, you’ll want to get in on this wave. If you do, maybe you want to upgrade.

EVs now have plenty of range (you can drive one for your daily commute and then some before having to charge). Charging can usually be as quick as you want. It’s always easy. It will save you money over buying and owning a petrol-powered cars. And there are plenty of vehicles to choose from. Plus, you’ll be helping to save the environment.

And, to paraphrase President Biden, These suckers are quick!

And I have a new website for Electric Cars – https://electriccarconcierge.com/

Add Animated Cards to your Website

Programmer

I should have added the word Easily to the title of those post. Alas, I didn’t.

When writing my fantasy series, The Wizard without a Wand, I had trouble keeping track of all the characters. First, there’s the tensome – ten Wizard School students who hang out together. They even share the same dorm room – the school calls their dorms hotels. Even so, we all know they’re just dorms, not hotels. Then there are parents, teachers, the Principal, etc.

I figured, if I had trouble keeping them straight, my readers might also. So I added a cast of characters at the end of each of the ten books in that series. I didn’t intend for there to be 10 books. I didn’t even intend for it to be a series. That just happened.

Anyway, when I added that series to my website, I decided to add the cast of characters to the website also. Then I decided to get fancy, and put each of the Tensome on a card on the website. I wanted the card to be animated, so that when a user clicked it, it would turn over and show the user more information.

In order to have the card turn over, I animated it. I created my own animation routines in javascript. These are free and easy to use, provided you can understand javascript just a little bit. And provided you can add javascript to your website. I call this library of routines xa_animate. It goes along with my x_press javascript library which helps make your website more expressive. These libraries are accessible at https://stubbart.com/computer_consulting/code/index.html

You can use these animated cards for playing cards, greeting cards, or business cards. You might want to use a card for each of the top people in your company on your company’s website.

Turning over the card, means rotating it. For my children’s superhero series Zuper Zero (Only three books this time, so far. Again, series was unintended.), I wanted the front of the card to slide into the sky. So, I added the Scroll method to the Rotate Method.

Then I added the Slide method (a variant of the scroll method with more options), the Fade method, and the Open Method.

In my scifi book Shalomar (no series this time), one of the main characters is named Glo-Reta. One of my favorite lines from that books is, Life wasn’t bad, living with Glo-Reta in Gariza. Anyway, I wanted the front of the card to glow as it disappeared and showed the back. So, I added the Filter method.

The Filter method is a repeat of the Fade method, however, in addition to opacity (opposite of transparency), you can apply blur, brightness, contrast, grayscale, hue-rotate, saturation, and sepia. My test picture glowed the best with brightness and contrast. Glo-Reta’s glowed the best with brightness, grayscale, and hue-rotate. I have no idea why grayscale helped. hue-rotate alters the color, so yellows become purples, or some such.

https://stubbart.com/computer_consulting/code/xa_animate.html – xa_animation documentation and examples.

https://stubbart.com/publishing_consulting/cast/wizardwithoutawand.html – Wizard without a Wand – Cast of Characters

https://stubbart.com/publishing_consulting/cast/zuperzero.html – Zuper Zero – Cast of Characters

https://stubbart.com/publishing_consulting/cast/shalomar.html – Shalomar Cast of Characters