Blog Archive - May 2013

A Thank You Photo from Trip

As some of you may know, my Love Has No Boundaries story An Intrepid Trip to Love went up on Sunday, May 26th, and already it has some wonderful reviews. I just wanted to shout out a thank you to everyone who's taken the time to read it, not to mention leave a review. I've been blown away by all the comments left in the thread as well. You guys are amazing. All your effort is truly appreciated, and nothing warms my heart more than knowing folks are enjoying it.

Here's a little family photo for you. My guess is Trip wouldn't have been able to stop giving his tiny pup kisses no matter how much the pup griped about it. Though I imagine Robbie wouldn't have been able to resist returning those kisses because he loves his daddy so--even if he is a bit OTT at times.

Trip and Robbie

  For those who haven't read Trip's story and would like to, you can find it here:   x Charlie

My Love Has No Boundaries story is up!

An Intrepid Trip to Love200Hello all! I'm so excited to announce that my Love Has No Boundaries story is up in the Goodread's M/M Romance Group. As a celebration for reaching 10,202 members, the M/M Romance Group has released my story early, making that a total of 5 stories which have been released!

If you'd like to read An Intrepid Trip to Love, you can find it here:

Hope you enjoy reading about these fellas as much as I enjoyed writing them!

x Charlie

Kayelle Allen is my guest over at the tea house & updates on Johnnie's book!

teahouseFavicon128Hello all! First, I'd like to let you know Kayelle Allen is over at the Purple Rose Tea House with a great post on how to write a hot shower scene! Drop by and check it out.

Second of all, there's still a chance for you to win a $25 Dreamspinner gift certificate. Just check out my guest post about cover art over at Mickie B. Ashling's blog. Contest is running until the end of the month.

workinprogressAlso, the reason I've sort of dropped off the social media planet this month is because I've been concentrating on Johnnie's book to get it done in time. It's reached 60k, officially making it a full-length novel and longer than Chance's book. I have two chapters left and few details to fix up before it goes off to the beta. It's been a tough one this one, as the story isn't just about Johnnie and Henry, but the new generation of "brats" that live at Hawthorne Manor.

In Chance's book, it was more about him and how get gets his life together. In Johnnie's book, you get Johnnie's story, how he's trying to get his life together, but you also get to see Chance and Jacky eight years into their relationship. You see how they run things, their dynamics with the rest of the boys. You get a little from Alexander and Bobby, but mostly you get to know the rest of the family through Johnnie. He tells you about the seven youngsters who reside there, all with sad stories to tell. I wrote three of their 'stories' in one day, and I admit all three made me cry a little. Although it's the 1930s, it still deals with the heartbreaking issue of gay youths who have been mistreated and discarded for their homosexuality. I hope the boys will touch your heart the way they've touched mine.

I'll make sure to keep you all posted regarding Johnnie's book, which has the tentative title: The Dangers of Loving Mr. Wolfe. Hopefully you all will forgive my absence while I wrap up these mischievous fellas.

Trip is over at Romance Lives Forever!

An Intrepid Trip to Love200Hello folks! Our intrepid Trip is being interviewed over at Romance Lives Forever! I'm surprised the lovely interviewer was able to get him to sit still and focus long enough to answer questions. He'll be sharing a little about himself, Boone, and Macadamia Nut cookies. There will also be a short new excerpt. If you fancy leaving a comment, there's a chance to win any free eBook from my book list. Hope to see you there!

x Charlie

The Romance Reviews gives The Auspicious Troubles of Chance a wonderful review!

Yesterday I woke up to no internet, phone, or TV service. A problem which wouldn't get sorted until this afternoon. However finding this lovely review for Chance in my inbox couldn't have come at a better time, as I'm busy working away on Johnnie's story for his upcoming deadline (more about that soon!).

Susan Mac Nicol from The Romance Reviews had some truly wonderful things to say about the book. I'm so glad she enjoyed it. She said,

"This was truly a story unlike anything I've read in this genre before. The characters themselves are all so well drawn and portrayed, the writing flows and ebbs with emotions and wonderful situations, and I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed this story. The plot is well thought through, the relationship between Chance and Jacky beautifully written with sympathy, humour and the inevitable growing affection between the two men."

You can read the full review by clicking on the badge below.

The Romance Review   If you can't see the badge, here's the direct link:   x Charlie

Techno Trauma Part 2: The Awesomeness of Evernote

evernoteHello and welcome to Part 2 of my mini series on useful author apps. Some of you may already be using Evernote, some may have heard of it, while others might think it's just another one of hundreds of programs not worth the effort. I admit, I'm hopping on the Evernote Love-wagon a little late, as I only recently decided to see what all the fuss was about. Well, let me tell you, the fuss is right. First of all, Evernote is FREE. There's of course an Upgrade available and a Business version, but let's look at this magical free program.

Evernote can be used for anything from collecting recipes to gathering research. This has become my research bible. The way you collect , create, and send information is amazing, and the best part is (what got me hooked): it is so easy! Once you get the hang of it, you start to think of how much easier your writing life would have been if you'd started using it ages ago.

Before I tell you why it's so great, let me show you a screen cap of what my Evernote Web looks like. Evernote Web is an app for Google Chrome. Evernote Desktop has the same layout with a slightly different look. Click on the image for full resolution.

Charlies Evernote

Here are some of the amazing things you can do with Evernote:

Notebooks: You can create notebooks which will hold the notes your create for that topic. Fore example, I have notebooks created for each book's characters, and then in that notebook are notes which will have information and stats on each character, which you can see in the screen cap above.

Notes: You create notes much like you would any document. Notes can be formatted, you can add images, documents, tags, even add a to-do box you can check off if you want to make a checklist.

Stacks: Stacks are like folders where you keep your notebooks making everything nice and organized. The only thing with stacks is that they appear alphabetically. As far as I'm aware, you can't move them around, BUT you can get clever with your titles. So all my Series stacks have a '0' before the title so they'll always be first and stay together. All my research stacks have 'Research' followed by the category title, so all my research folders are together and so on.

Photos: You can send photos you take to your Evernote email address (which they provide when you sign up) and the photos will sync up with your Evernote. Even better, if you add the Evernote app to your phone, you can take pictures and just send it to Evernote. Wherever you have Evernote installed, whether your phone, tablet, or PC, they will all sync up so you're always up to date with all your info.

Audio: Sometimes you don't have time to type, or it's just easier to record an idea verbally before it gets away from you. With Evernote you can record audio and file it away under the appropriate notebook.

Search: The cool thing about Evernote search is that it also recognizes words in images, handwritten notes, and content text, as well as tags.

Share: You can share notes on your social media, or you can share notebooks with fellow authors if you're writing together by inviting individuals or providing a public link.

Evernote Web clipper: Ah, Even more cool stuff. I love the web clipper. It's a browser extension that allows you to save full internet pages, website articles, images, and more, sending them right to your notebooks. As organized as I am, I still had to scroll through countless bookmarks to find exactly the page I was looking for, and of course after a while, you don't remember what website had what.

Charlies Evernote web clipper example

As you can see from the image above, I used Evernote Web Clipper (it's the little elephant logo on the top right hand side of my browser next to the 'a'), and I saved this article on Weddesdon Manor which I told the clipper to add to my notebook labelled Book 2 Johnnie's Research. So rather than a bunch of random links I don't remember the content for, I can save the articles I want, or the full pages. The window in the middle gives me a brief description and thumbnail, the right window is the article. I can also click on any links and it will take me to the page. I can also just save the url if the website contains a lot of content I'd use, or whose link is obvious as to what it is.

I have Evernote on my Google Chrome browser along with the web clipper, Evernote on my Android, and Evernote on my desktop. They all sync, so no matter where I am, I have all my info at hand and can add to it. That's what makes this program so amazing. Everything is together in one place. I don't have to go searching through files and folders on my PC just to find out what a character's eye color is. I can just go to the notebook of whichever one of my stories I want to access and everything is there.

Evernote is available for Windows, Mac, Android, Blackberry, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, and the Web.

The free version allows you 60 MB of uploaded data and resets every month, with unlimited storage. You can upgrade to Evernote Premium and get 1 GB of storage every month, with unlimited storage. Premium also allows you to store content offline. There are also loads of third party extensions and apps you can use with Evernote. I use CamSanner on my Android smartphone. With that, I can take a picture of a handwritten document, the app will fix it up, and then send it to my Evernote. No need to type it up.

Find out more about Evernote and download it here.

Evernote Blog

Well, I hope you found this installment useful. If you already use Evernote and would like to share something I haven't covered, just leave a comment. Or if you have a program you love and want to share, let us know!

Techno Trauma: Part 1

Welcome to part 1 of Techno Trauma, a series on the various programs and apps I use as an author--though most aren't author specific and can be used for everything from recipes to shopping. I admit, I'm not as techno-savvy as I once was. Probably because I just don't have the time to learn all these new programs that keep popping up. As much as I like keeping up with the latest gadget, I'm also partial to the phrase "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". However, as an author in this fast-paced industry, I can't afford to be left behind. We never stop learning.

For writers, there are countless programs meant to make our lives easier. I don't always go looking for these programs, because a lot of the time, in trying to make my writing life easier, I end up complicating it. If I invest time in a program, it's usually on someone's recommendation or because I happen to stumble upon it and a light shines from above when I learn my way around it in a few minutes. For writing, I use Microsoft Word because it's familiar, I know my way around, so why change it if it works for me? Obviously everyone will have their favorites programs and apps, but these are my faves and what works for me.

Google Chrome - Yeah, I know, Google evil, taking over the interwebs, blah, blah, blah. The fact is, as annoying as Google can be at times, their apps are easy to use, and the way everything connects makes things easier for me as an author. With Google Chrome, I can have apps I use on a daily basis sitting there when I open my browser. Just one click away. Here's what my browser looks like when it opens (click image for full-size view):

Charlies browser

As you can see, aside the gorgeous theme created by Cath Kidston, these are my most used apps at the moment. When I click on my Gmail icon, I'm already logged in and there's my email. On the top right hand side, you'll see a little Y! icon. Clicking on it will take me to my Ymail address which I have set up solely for my yahoo groups. That way I don't miss all the lovely posts from folks, and my Gmail doesn't bust something from all the emails. I have 5 email accounts, and no, it doesn't get confusing, because 3 of them are Gmail and all accessible under one button, which also happens to be next to the Google + button which notifies me when someone adds me to their circle.

But why so many emails? It helps me keep track of everything, prioritize, and not miss anything. Keeping separate emails has been one of the best things I've ever done in my world of crazy organization. And aside the rare occasion when something goes to spam, so far it's worked out great. Let me break it down.

  • Gmail 1: For business use. This email is for my communication between me and my publishers, where work-related receipts are kept, this is my personal author email address. Notifications from Goodreads and my author website come here, as well as my website backups. Emails that have to do with my writing and its process, uses this address.
  • Gmail 2: For personal author use. This email address is the one I use to chat with author friends, my lovely beta, reviewers, where my subscriptions to author, review, and writing websites come. I also receive Facebook notifications here.
  • Gmail 3: Personal. This is the address I use to chat to friends and family. It's under my real name, and is also where Netflix tells me what DVD has just shipped. Also, this way when I sign up for a shopping website or anything, it doesn't get shuffled between important emails.
  • Email 4: Official Charlie address. This email address is for all things Charlie. It's where all the lovely readers get in contact with me. It's where comments from the Tea House come, where I connect to folks and set up promotional stuff. I use Thunderbird for this email address which is the little blue bird pinned on the bottom bar next to the heart. This email address is part of my domain name so I need an email client for it, otherwise it would probably be Gmail too.
  • Email 5: Yahoo. I like to keep up with all my different yahoo groups, though I don't always have the time. Most of my groups have heavy participation which is great. The thing is, if I put my notifications on digest, I never look at them, so I keep almost all of them on individual emails. Of course that means A LOT of emails. So my inbox doesn't look like a war zone, I  keep a separate ymail address for Yahoo related stuff.

I also have all my email addresses connected to my smartphone, so I'm notified whenever I have a new email. My phone is set to either make a notification sound or buzz depending where I'm receiving email. All this makes sure I'm always connected and don't miss anything. It also makes getting back to folks a whole lot easier. Keeping most of the email addresses with the same client makes it easier, and Google lets you switch between accounts with one click.

I also have Gmail offline which allows me to access my email account when I'm not connected. These days, nothing's more frustrating than losing your internet connection. I have my YouTube button, my Google Search button, Picassa--where I host my images, Wordpress-which I'm always logged into so I can access my dashboards, Thesaurus--for when I'm writing posts. This next one is Wunderlist.

Wunderlist is a nifty, super easy to-do list/task manager which you can set up to email you reminders. I have to have things jotted down in several places to remind me or things will slip my mind. When it comes to scheduling, I use my wall calendar, my daily diary, and Wunderlist. Between the three of them, they keep me informed of when something is due either from me or a fellow poster. (Click on image for full size). I love it's simplicity and look. You have your lists on the left, you add your item at the top, pick a due date and a reminder date. You will then receive an email reminding you on said chosen date and time. That's it. Then like any list, you check off an item once it's completed. And yes, I also have a Wunderlist app on my phone which syncs up with the one on my PC.

Charlies Wunderlist

The next apps will be featured in other parts in this series. One being Evernote, which I started using recently and LOVE. I can't believe it's taken me this long to give it a chance. I'll go more in depth into Evernote in Part 2. Then there's Feedly.

When Google announced recently that they were going to get rid of Google Reader, my first reaction was, "Well, crap. Now what." I did a little research and admit that the look of a program does make a difference to me. I want something that's user friendly, and very easy to access. I have enough content in my reader without having to take up classes on how to use said reader. Feedly, in my humble opinion, is awesome.

Charlies Feedly

Feedly imported all my Google Reader feeds, which I was dreading having to find all over again. It also let's me sign into Facebok and Twitter, the feeds appearing on the right hand side under recommended Amazon books. You can choose from different layouts, different themes, you can organize your feeds, tick them off as you read them, see how many likes they have, and more.   I also have Feedly on my phone. See, with my Gmail email address, I can log into all these apps and have them all synced up on my PC and phone. My Google Chrome app on my phone syncs up with my PC which means all my bookmarks are on there as well. And that's why Google's okay in my book.

Thursday, May 2nd will cover Evernote and why you need it, especially if you're a writer. Soon to come, Dropbox, Google Drive, Photoshop, and more.

Hope this post was a little useful. Stay tuned!

Do you have any programs you'd like to see covered? A program you're curious about, or do  you have one you can't live without?

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