Monthly Archive: October 2014

Why? Why is this happening?

Nothing is more frustrating than software that doesn’t work right all the sudden.

I’ve used WordPerfect, Word, and MobiPocket Creator to successfully make several Kindle-ready products. I personally put together all my novels from Terrorcruise to my latest, Witch Warden: The Ux-Blood Trilogy, Book III, into Kindle format. Most of these titles included links within the pages to the various chapters and such. And through them all, I had pretty much no problems. It’s not an easy thing, but the software made it less complicated.

Then today happened.

I decided to put together a small collection of short stories. Call it A Brass Quartet, because, you know, there’s four stories. Beginning at around 3:00am Tuesday morning, I went through, proofed everything, made them all look pretty. Made a Word document using nothing but styles to do the formatting as I have done many times before. Even spent a goodly amount of time throwing together a cover (which I’m not much liking now, several hours after the fact and may change, because I can). Everything looked to be on course. My last such project, Chainsaw, went off pretty much without a hitch.

Then I used MobiPocket Creator to create the file I needed for my Kindle, the .prc file. I have another program that can do that, Calibre, but it’s confusing and something of a mess. I guess maybe I need to use it more. Anyhoo, I created the .prc file I needed to throw up to Amazon to have my little Kindle book. Before I did so, I plugged my Kindle Paperwhite into my computer to check the supposed final product. And wouldn’t you know, there’s a big issue: the second story opened as a footnote when I clicked on the link in the table of contents. It looked fine when I scrolled to it. Just when I used the table of contents to jump to it.

Huh. Real strange. So I opened the html file MobiPocket creates in the process of making the .prc file. I know html pretty good, as demonstrated by my Russia Trip pages here on my blog site. Those pages were raw html pages I stitched together in Dreamweaver CS5. I looked through my new book’s html file, found a few minor things to fix, but nothing that might have told the Kindle to open the second story as a footnote.

Now, I refer to the problem child as the second story, because after much tinkering, deleting files, recreating the entire Word document, and changing the order of the four stories so a new story stood as the second one, the second story continually opened as a footnote when the link in the table of contents was used to jump there in the .prc file. Didn’t matter what the story was, if it was second, it opened as a footnote. Utterly ridiculous. Very rage inducing. Pretty much a whole day wasted trying to figure it out. Seems the MobiPocket Creator just wasn’t working.

I cannot express to you my anger and frustration. Why this? Why now? I should have been done with this spur-of-the-moment project hours ago. Should have finished it by sunrise. Instead, I was continually stymied by some little program that until now had worked just fine.

Eventually I decided to just use Amazon’s KDP to publish my little collection of short stories. As of right now, it’s still in the process of being published, but all indications are it’s looking good. I won’t know until I buy a copy and test the link to the second story myself. If it doesn’t work, I’ll know then the problem is with the Word document (which wouldn’t be a f**king surprise, given how suck-ass Word is). If it does work, I’ll have to assume MobiPocket Creator is the problem. If that’s the case, I think I’ll be learning more how Calibre works.

Right now I’ve calmed down. No longer feel like doing the Hulk smash thing. But for Christ’s sake! What an odd problem to run into trying to do something plain and simple using software I’ve used plenty of times without fail in the past. All I can say is what the hell? Really! What the ever-loving hell!

UPDATE: I was just able to purchase a copy from Amazon. It’s not all the way up, but as the author I had access to a link allowing me to do so. The book looks good! All of the styles I used in Word to streamline the appearance appear to be working as intended, with all the right indents, spacing, alignment, and bolding. Fabulous. What’s more, all of the links in the table of contents work as specified. That tells me with utter certainty the problem was not with the Word document, but with MobiPocket Creator. (There’s an outside chance it could be with the html file, but I have my doubts as I scoured the code and found nothing amiss in the tags.) I still think Word is suck-ass, but this time is performed as intended. So, I may be switching to Calibre down the road. Ugh. I’m too old to be learning new software. I suppose I could use the KDP functionality again for the next Kindle upload. That might be Dew Drops, unless I get a professional publisher working with me on that one. We’ll see. But anyway, I’ll soon have a blog post about my latest publication. Stay tuned!

Dew Drops is now official

As planned, today I hammered out the first chapter of my next manuscript, Dew Drops. 1100 words. Fewer than what I set for my daily minimum, but it’s a complete chapter, so I thought I’d stop there and bask in the warm afterglow.

I did anticipate this. Back in August I knew I’d be working on this new manuscript by now. I had planned to begin writing on the first of September, but the planning stage took a bit longer than I expected. (And honestly, it’s still not done, but I have enough in place to begin the actual writing.) If things continue to go well, I hope to have a finished first draft by the end of the year. Having mapped out the plot and identified how the main characters feel along the way (and more importantly, why) I think the writing of my story should go fairly smoothly. I’m still getting ideas on how to enhance the story as a whole, and small details that should really give this some sparkle−which is why I’m still planning things out. I’m putting Throughline, the index card software program I bought recently, to good use. And I’m still adding stuff to my OneNote story notebook. Ultimately, I think this should all mesh well, and give me a pretty decent little story. (Well, might not be so little. Not sure of what the final word count will be, but I expect close to 100,000 words. And I usually underestimate that.)

I’ve set up WordPerfect to make typing my main character’s name a bit easier. I type ‘LE’, hit the spacebar, and WordPerfect auto-corrects it to Lake-Ellen. ‘LEs’ gets me Lake-Ellen’s. And that works for me. Just have to add those two auto-corrects to my laptop, which I will at work tomorrow night, no doubt. The other character names are simple enough: Tammon Grells, Abbix, Uncle Fross, Mawk. Lake-Ellen has a brother and a sister, but they’re not mentioned enough for me to add them in auto-correct at this point. Maybe by the story’s end, when the brother pays a visit. Anyway, WordPerfect will make this even easier to hammer out. (And I have the latest, WordPerfect X7, of course.)

I’m pleased as punch to have finally started. I put most writing aside a few months ago when I stopped work on A Ghastly Gillion Stars, with my only new writing being what I typed out for my Russia Trip, found here on this blog. I decided that story needed a complete revision from the original concept, and having gotten deep into a second draft (which was also a near complete revision of the first draft), I simply got tired of the whole thing. Don’t fret, fans of my Ux-Blood universe; I do plan to get it out, possible right after Dew Drops is in the bag. I see now the story I mean to tell, between the main character Kreek, her enemy Ugnalith, and poor little Tybis caught in between. If I get it right, it should be a very cool addition to my Ux-Blood stories. But that’s for much later. Right now my devotion and focus is on Dew Drops. And I think I have a right to be excited.