Writing, Reading, and Smiling . . . It's Contagious.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Seanachaí's News


On the last Sunday of each month, I compile "Seanachaí's News," a status report that assesses my work during the current month and also formulates my plans for the upcoming months. It will also give you a peek at my works in progress.


My Work During the Current Month

  1. Do you enjoy the simplicity and beauty of haiku? Don't miss Part IV of  my continuing series, "Murmuring That Creeps into the Life of a Wandering Soul."
  2. Read about a haunted woman's brave attempt to face the future in my latest short-short, "I Saw You."
  3. Are you a writer or artist looking for great software? Check out these five must-have free programs!
 


My Plans for the Upcoming Months

  1. If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I've been working diligently on my new book. What you may not know is that you've already read the first page. Yes, really. Read the first page of my new novel here!
  2. Don't forget, all of my short stories and poetry are now available at Scribd. You can download my work and subscribe to my feed by following this link. 



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As always, I love to hear from you.
If you’re in the cyber-neighborhood, drop me a line.

In the meantime, keep writing, reading, and smiling.
It’s contagious.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Five Must-Have Free Programs




How much money did you spend on that program?

None.

Huh?

None!


Many people ask me about the programs I use in my writing and artistic endeavors. As a starving artist, I generally shy away from the expensive software and utilize free programs. On the average, most are as good as or come in a close second to the big blockbuster software. Not only that, but I don't have cut off an appendage in order to achieve success.


Five Must-Have Free Programs


1. OpenOffice  In my opinion, this is the best word processing program you'll find among open-source and traditional software. Page layout is advanced and exports include .pdf format, among others. The only major cons I've found are the inability to export to PDF/X and the limitations of the full-justification feature (line rather than paragraph execution). OpenOffice also includes five other popular programs that rival major competitors' spreadsheet, slide, and database creators. 

2. GIMP  Why would anyone ever need another art program after using GIMP? I have no idea! After downloading GIMP several years ago, I've never used another art program. EVER. OK, I've used the art program mentioned later in this countdown, but that's all! This program has a lot of goodies, including advanced layering, brushes, animation, and filters. Not only that, but creative people are always writing new scripts to improve the functionality. The only con I've found is that the program will not export images to the .pdf format, hence my usage of Inkscape.

3. Inkscape  This program is nice because it will convert popular image extensions to the .pdf format. Although it does have filters, easy-to-execute line creation, and a nice layout, I prefer GIMP for all of my drawing and photo editing needs.

4. Storybook  I discovered this program a couple of weeks ago and have thrown away all of my handwritten notes and abandoned my offline database for novel writing. Yeah, it's that great. You can create character descriptions and location descriptions. You can create and manage chapters and scenes and add characters and locations to each. Time lines of chapters and scenes are generated (great for mysteries) and characters' ages are automatically calculated (helpful if you're writing a saga). I'm only skimming the surface of this program, folks; my advice is to check it out before you write another word. If you're a highly organized writer, you're going to love it!

5. Font Xplorer  This is relatively minor, I know, but if you're a writer who has about a million fonts on your hard drive, a font viewer is going to make your life much easier. Installation is easy and the reward is having all of your fonts available for viewing in one location. When I download fonts, I save them by individual author in a font folder. Then I can view the fonts and their character maps in Font Xplorer by author, character set, whatever.


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Why are you still here? Download these free programs. Now!

***

As always, I love to hear from you.
If you’re in the cyber-neighborhood, drop me a line.

In the meantime, keep writing, reading, and smiling.
It’s contagious.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

I Saw You


THE NONFICTION

A woman in an old blue T-shirt throws open a screen door and glares at a vulture gliding in the late afternoon sky. "There's nothing dead around here but my brain," she screeches. The door slams and the carrion eater decides to hang around for handouts of human brain and sanity.

***

As you may have guessed, the scene above did in fact happen this week. The strain of working on my new book has exhausted my word tank and my creativity. With that said, I'll leave you with the short-short I wrote this week for Friday Flash. Enjoy!


*** 

THE FICTION 



I Saw You



11/1/08  Just a Tired Old Town
SAW YOU.
   I was driving through the old part of town when I was caught by the light next to the apartments where we used to live. Mom was shielding her eyes from the afternoon sun and I was fiddling with the rearview mirror to check on— My hand slid from the mirror. I saw you sitting behind me in a black pickup truck with narrowed eyes and a tilted head.
   Was it because of the sun or because you saw me, too? 
   A gentle breeze blew through the crack in your window and ruffled your hair. You still wear it a little long, but that’s OK. I always liked it that way. I closed my eyes and imagined I was running my fingers through those unruly brown curls. Your lips were determined but gentle and your eyes were the color of . . . the color of. . . . No, it’s no use. I may not remember the color of your eyes, but I know they gleamed when you held me close.
   I’m such a fool. I thought I was over you.
   Is it possible to forget someone who used to make me laugh in the cold winter wind and smile at a sink full of dirty dishes? How can I not remember those late nights on the patio, gazing at no-name stars and shaking my head at crazy wishes? Remember how we used to dance in the elevators between floors and wake each other up in the blue hours of dawn to talk about how we met on the corner at the old bookstore? 
   That old brick building is gone now and my heart is breaking in two.
   Did you leave because of the money? I never made you pay for anything I wanted. I had a job. Was it getting too serious? Was it because you weren’t having fun anymore? You warned me before I moved in that we were supposed to have fun. The last words you said to me were, “Baby–” No, wait, I want to make sure I remember this right. You said, “Angel, I’m bored. I’m going out with the guys.” I waited up till three and for breakfast I had stale crackers and old tea. I saved all the furniture and finished out the rest of the lease, hoping you would come back to me.
   I opened my eyes and glanced at the mirror one last time. A woman with long black hair rested her head on your shoulder like I used to do. 
   The light changed and I drove Mom and our daughter home. She’s two.
   You didn’t know about her, did you?

***

As always, I love to hear from you.
If you’re in the cyber-neighborhood, drop me a line.

In the meantime, keep writing, reading, and smiling.
It’s contagious.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Murmuring That Creeps into the Life of a Wandering Soul, Part IV



6/3/10  Actually, a spring sky . . . shhh! ;^)

Lemonade and laughter subside and the warm summer sun gives way to an amber autumn sky.

This week's feature is Part IV of my continuing series of haiku entitled "Murmuring That Creeps into the Life of a Wandering Soul."  

Enjoy!



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nothing so mournful
as a dove in the morning
silenced by motors

hear wagon wheels crunch
a pair of red sunglasses
reflecting the road

blinding lights at night
pilot dropping loud bombs inside
flashing garbage truck

watch the waxing moon
large and bright in the night sky
falling to the sea

speckled blackbirds cry
and the song of a sparrow
hides in a pillow

warm summer sun shifts
blue jays in the corn crying
silent crickets soon

somewhere in the world
she swims out too far and sings
a sad melody

thoughts of yesterday
cry louder than mourning trains
waking you at dawn

small seeds scattering
on the walk and in the cracks
last song of summer

heavy mist and cold winds
frosting a whimsical leaf
cooling on a rack





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As always, I love to hear from you.
If you’re in the cyber-neighborhood, drop me a line.

In the meantime, keep writing, reading, and smiling.
It’s contagious.