Virtual Book Tour

March 27, 2009


Last weekend, I happen to find Shaindel Beers on line in Yahoo messenger.  Before this, we some how linked on Goodreads.  She has one of the coolest names I know.  I find that Ms. Beers is from Bend Pendelton, Oregon.  Perhaps this was the reason I befriended her on Goodreads, because she is in my neighborhood, the same state.  Later, I find that Ms. Beers also teaches poetry at Blue Mountain College.  She also does audio interviews on the net for blogradio and serves as the poetry editor of Contrary Magazine.  Now she is a published author.  We chatted a bit and I find out that Shaindel is on a Virtual Book Tour for her new book, ‘A Brief History of Time’, a much lauded first collection of poems.  I think Shaindel has several interesting ideas up her sleeves.

I’m hoping Shaindel will stop by soon.

Hi Shainel,

Thank you for stopping by on your busy schedule of virtual book tour.

So how does it feel to be a Goodreads Author?

Hi Duc,

I’m from Pendleton, not Bend 🙂 I’m very happy to be a Goodreads author. I’ve been a member of Goodreads for a few years now and always enjoyed seeing what my friends were reading and reading their reviews of various books. I even give my students extra credit for writing Goodreads reviews, so it’s exciting to log on and see “Goodreads Author” next to my name.

How do you feel about being labeled as a Gen X poet?

Some people feel negative about being labeled as this type of poet or that type of poet, but it’s bound to happen. As for being a Generation X poet, it’s fine. It’s the generation I was born into, and I think people my age have important things to say. Each generation seems to want to label the one after it negatively. When I was in high school, people said Gen X’ers were lazy, lacked ambition, had no goals, but I think we’ve done an okay job with the world. I think each generation just has a habit of thinking the one after them is going to ruin everything. It seems to be human nature.


Shaindel’s work on Antonio Machado


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Action Folio Junior

March 25, 2009

action folio

Originally uploaded by Duc N. Ly.

Recently, I listed my pre-owned but hardly used Action Folio (Junior size) on EBay.  At first I did not expect any interest.  I was wrong.  Apparently, this discontinued item generated much discussion.  I had been wanting to possibly look into upgrading it to the junior zip Action Folio.  But I did not examine this new Action Folio carefully.  It is a bit too clutter.  By the time the card is inserted into the pocket, there’s not much to look at on the index card, the writing was hidden.  The plastic version was even more cluttered and overlapped.  So there was a bit of fierce competition to get the old version which was very clean, compare to the new.  But it was still not perfect because I wanted the pockets it to be on both side of the folio, not on just one side and perhaps a little bit larger to fit a Junior size Circa Notebook.

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Byte size Fiction

March 9, 2009

To follow up with the last post about index card writing, I wanted to think about this idea for shorter forms.

For those that don’t have the mind or patience for Nanowrimo, there are other ways to express.

Some of the stories are publish as it goes along.  One can chose to keep it private.  But what is the fun in that?  Here one gets an instant gratification of having publish a story and getting comments from the readers immediately.  In Nanowrimo, a lot of authors hide their stuff either because they think it’s not good or they are afraid some people might steal their ideas.

I thought this idea for a diary was excellent:

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Virtual Index Cards

March 7, 2009

So I’ve been very productive away from the net. I organized my writing on Super Note Cards (SNC). (google it)  It is great for a quick outline.  I chopped longer Nanowrimo work into bite size virtual index cards.  I’d read that many writers use index cards to write.  Navokov is one of them.  He wrote this way because it was easy to take on the road when he was on his butterfly expeditions.  It is a different process.  There are two variety of virtual index cards that I know of.  One is call Scrivener, made for Mac.  The other is SNC, for Mac and PC.  Since SNC fits both,  I’ll test drive it.

SNC encourages people to try writing in paragraphs on virtual index cards.  It is like the film editing process. It helps me to see large holes in my narrative. But also the story is good with large holes as that is how the mind works in the first rough draft. The editing may have diluted the first impulse during the Nanowrimo writing sessions. Not everything has to be spelled out in the first draft. It helps a great deal to fill in the gaps or take away stuff that doesn’t belong there, that is the editing process.  It is hard to write large bits on index cards because of the temptation to shuffle things around, to do quick outlines, to edit as one goes. That is why writing on a typewriter, word processor or long hand is best for the first draft. I’ve always compared the Nanowrimo session as one long take and the second draft as the work done like the film editing’s cutting room.  I found program’s speed slow at first maybe because it is a trial version or my computer. After I entered the activation code, it seems faster.  Though, I find the cards with large amount of text slower to work through then the shorter cards.  The scrolling and high lighting and the mouse cursor movements seem slower and a bit less responsive compare to my regular word processor programs.

It does have the spell check and formatting text is much faster and different.  One can change the entire document’s text base on preference.  The index card can have one font and the print out another.  It is not a normal word processor.  I could always export it into rich text format and edit it in Words or other word processors.  I downloaded the trail version without the instructions.  Go to the website for their instruction it’s very helpful and I would have thought that it would come with the trial download because it would help the potential customer to see the usefulness of it.

So far, I’ve learn on my own as well as with the help of the instructions.  I’ll tell you how I use it.  There may be other ways.  I usually look at my Nanowrimo as a daily entry and will keep track of it at the heading of each writing session.  Using SNC, I dedicated each index card to a day.  As I have a collection of thirty cards, it is daunting to sort through.  I find the category, and factors help a great deal.  Factors such as person, place, and things can be assigned to the general deck of cards.  Each Factor is then assigned a keyword.  The programs looks for keywords and compile a list.  I can choose to pin down each card with that particular search.  It’s fun to see the relationships between the cards.  Unfortunately, the factors disappears when, I copy the deck into another SNC file.  It would be nice if the assigned factors go with the cards to the new file.  It takes a bit of planning to work around this problem.

+ compatible with Mac and PC.

+ opens files as tab.  I thought this was very useful to navigate from file to file.

–  A full screen would be nice.

– Assigned Factors does not copy over into new file.


I tried this out during a weekend and I must say that I like it alot.  Couple of features that I thought was useful.   One is the Document Split.  I wish I had this on my Super Note Card.  It allows me to split longer documents into shorter sections.  With SNC, I had to copy and past which can be tedious.

The other is the Scrivender Edit which combines all of the card into a seemless document and the tinted background highlights one card from the other.

Importing text files into Scrivener was also very useful.

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