Abandoned but not forgotten: My startling discovery about the websites of my past

surprised man

“No, really?”

This past weekend, I visited a couple of websites/blogs that I designed in the past but that I had stopped maintaining because they simply zapped too much of my time. One is about running “mommy camp” for your family over the summer, the other is about finding cheap, “kosher” fun around Southern California for families and date nights. I was curious to know how they are doing, because ever since the local day schools went on Chanukah vacation last week, I’d been receiving emails and phone calls for activity recommendations. I wondered how many people had headed to my website instead of to the phone.

Lo and behold! The sites are actually doing quite well. Continue reading

Moving day!

I just moved to this new WordPress URL after several years at Blogger. Instead of packing a suitcase, I imported my posts from my old Blogger site. Why the move? I felt I needed a fresher look and some features that Blogger just doesn’t have. Most importantly, I now can post PDFs of pieces I’ve published in the past in order for you folks to see a little of what I do. Just take a peek at “Want to read a story?” in the menu above.

The 2 easiest ways to write books yet

 Snowflakes

Picture credit:
http://etc.usf.edu/clipart/24300/24305/snowflakes_24305.htm

For a while now, I’ve been a believer in the Snowflake Method. It was invented by Randy Ingermanson as a way to build your novel in a structured, yet streamlined way, and it does just that. I came late to it, as my novel had started off as a short story, then had expanded to much more than that. I wish I’d got to the Snowflake Method sooner–it would have prevented me from floundering about quite as much. There are other ways to create a novel with discipline and skill–but this has always seemed to me just about the easiest. There’s even a computer program that can help you with the method.

However, there’s new tool that makes creating a book possibly even easier. Building on a successful blogging format, the folks at PressBooks have designed a online tool that adapts the WordPress platform for the purpose of making a book. The writing process becomes as easy as managing a blog, using the same familiar, simple tools.

The webware is free, and can be used collaboratively (multiple authors can have access to your book-in-progress at once, just as with a blog). Each post is roughly one chapter. You can take your document and covert it to a PDF, epub, etc. It can also be used for a POD (Print On Demand) service, if that’s what you want to do. The design of the book is reportedly much more refined than in most do-it-yourself POD products.

I’m skeptical about its utility for novel-writing (although if you want your final product to seem like a fly-by-the seat-of-your-pant serial, where what happens next might surprise the author as much as the reader, it might be okay). It’s too linear, where a good novel is usually built in layers. However, if you are working on a non-fiction book project with colleagues, I imagine it would be outstanding. Check more about it out at: http://pressbooks.com/about