Mar 2019


Microsoft Word Tips for Authors

If you’re an author, you will probably use Word at some stage. Even if you don’t use it to create your novel or story or non-fiction book, you will probably use it when interacting with an editor.

There are plenty of Word tips out there, but these contain so much information that they look too complicated to authors who have limited time for technology and a limited number of things they want to do with Word.

And yet, there are features that would make their Word experience much more pleasant, if only they knew about them.

I’m going to try to make those features clearer by posting a tip once a week on Fridays, starting next week, 5th April. I’ll be using the hashtag #MSWordTipsForAuthors. See you back here.

If you have any questions or suggestions for topics, that’s what comments are for.

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10 Years of Blogging

Yes, this blog has been going for TEN years. The very first post went like this:

Speech is Silver; Silence is…

…not golden. Just a fake gold that soon dulls.  Like the necklace I bought in Cyprus. They told me it was gold. I knew they were lying, but I bought it anyway. I felt I had to buy something because they gave me tea….

I’ve been keeping silent for most of my life. It’s time to talk.

So tune in again, keep in touch and don’t suffer in silence.

A lot has happened to me in those ten years.

I began the blog anonymously, and eventually ‘came out.’ I was afraid of negative comments, but so far there haven’t been any.

I’ve had short stories and three… almost four… books published.

And I talk – not so much in conversations, but through my books and even in presentations. Slowly but surely, I’m telling the world about social anxiety.

Miriam Drori - Presentation on Social Anxiety

P.S. Not all my stories involve social anxiety.

EDIT: I was happy to receive this from WordPress:

Happy Anniversary from WordPress

 

Curtains

With everything that’s been going on… promoting the free day for Social Anxiety Revealed and lots more – bookwise and lifewise… I somehow omitted, on this blog, to announce the fabulous cover for my new novel, Cultivating a Fuji, to be released on 15th May.

Crooked Cat have created a masterpiece with this cover.

So, without further ado…

except for a crescendoing drum roll…

and a blast from the trumpet…

I present the amazing cover of Cultivating a Fuji.

Cultivating a Fuji - Front Cover

The other day, I tweeted the following:

You don’t have to remember how. You only have to remember what.

It was in reply to this, from @jamesgarside_:

People: How do I [do thing] on computer?
Me: *googles how to [do thing] and shows them*
People: Well, I could have just googled that!
Me: But you didn’t. You asked me.
People: YOU should know how to do it without searching for it first.
Me: You didn’t know how to do it at all!!!

The tweet contained an appropriate head-banging GIF.

I could definitely relate that to Microsoft Word. I think most authors use it, even though there is sophisticated software dedicated to writing novels. And most authors have no idea what Word can do – features that would help them immensely if only they knew about them. What, not how. Once you know that a thing is possible, you can find out how to make it happen. But if you don’t know it’s possible, you won’t think of searching, to discover how to make it happen.

Shocked SmileyImage by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

I was shocked to hear one author’s method of working with Word. She creates an Excel sheet with the starting and ending page numbers of each chapter, so that she can go directly to the chapter she wants to review. During (or after) every revision, she updates the Excel files with the new page numbers.

That would never work for me. I have so many revisions that I would never manage to keep the spreadsheet up to date. Fortunately, Word itself has a much simpler solution – one that doesn’t have mistakes because it’s built in.

Working with Word

Cropped screen shot of Cultivating a Fuji in Word

This is how Word looks as I’m working on a novel. Down the left-hand side is my list of chapters. I give the chapters names, even if the names won’t remain in the final version. That way, I know roughly what’s in each chapter. When I want to review a specific chapter, I click on the chapter in the list and Word jumps right there. So much simpler than going to a separate file, rembering a page number and then going to that page in the Word file.

Sometimes I divide the chapter into scenes by creating sub-headings, which also appear in the list. The sub-headings won’t be included in the final version of the novel, but they’re useful while it’s still being written/edited.

I might not remember exactly how to set this up without trying it out, first. I might even need to google it. But the main thing is that I know it’s possible. What, not how.

You don’t have to remember how. You only have to remember what.

Could that apply to other walks of life? What do you think?

~~~~~

News

To celebrate the forthcoming publication of my novel, Cultivating a Fuji, the ebook version of my non-fiction book, Social Anxiety Revealed, is completely free for one day only. Today. Do hurry to download it before time runs out…

#SIMTalksWithMiriam

Misunderstandings are often fun… when you look at them from the outside or with hindsight. When they’re actually happening and you’re involved, they can be far from fun. Here’s Joan Livingston, whose third mystery in the Isabel Long series is due out next week (22nd March).

A Dangerous Misunderstanding

Sometimes words get in the way of what people are trying to say. That happens with several of my characters. And because I write mysteries it can get them into trouble.

Joan LivingstonLet me tell you about Isabel Long, the protagonist in my mystery series who is a former journalist turned amateur P.I. solving cold cases. In Redneck’s Revenge, the second in this series, Isabel gets herself into a sticky situation while interviewing Gary and Larry Beaumont in their dump of a home. The brothers are notorious drug dealers and suspects in the death of a junkyard dealer. And Isabel is brave enough to dig deeper in her line of questioning.

Ah, but she hits a nerve because she’s dealing with a couple of hotheads who don’t listen very well. They have a tendency to jump to conclusions. And being new to the P.I. game, Isabel is still learning how to deal with people like the Beaumonts.

Here’s part of that scene from Redneck’s Revenge. She is meeting them at their house.

“If I’m hearing correctly, you two don’t have alibis for that night,” I say. “Right?”

I believe I just stepped into it big time because Gary and Larry’s foreheads clamp so hard their brows hang heavy over their bloodshot eyes. Their lips curl.

Larry slaps his brother’s arm.

“What’s she mean?” he asks.

“It means she’s callin’ us liars,” Gary answers.

I speak up.

“I didn’t call you liars.” I try to make my voice as warm as I can muster given how nervous I am. “What I said is that you can’t account for your whereabouts the night Chet Waters was killed.”

Gary’s fist hits the table.

“You bitch, what makes you think we’d have anythin’ to do with that?”

Yes, Isabel manages to get out of there unharmed, but she is rather shaken because she really felt in danger.

Checking the TrapsI’m not going to spoil what happens later in this book, but fast forward to the third, Checking the Traps. Yes, the Beaumont brothers return. Gary, the alpha brother, wants Isabel to find out what happened to their half-brother, Cary. Did he jump from a bridge known for suicides, or was he pushed, like Gary thinks?

Isabel takes the case, largely because she is interested in the victim, who was a highway worker by day and a poet at night. But she decides to be upfront with the Beaumonts, particularly, Gary, who is the alpha brother. She wants to avoid any misunderstandings this time.

“He was just a regular guy.”

“Uh, Gary, you gotta do better than that. I’m gonna need as much information as possible. By the way, if we proceed, I might ask some tough questions that’ll make you uncomfortable, and I don’t want you getting all pissed off at me like you did once before. Remember?”

Gary puckers his mouth. He’s thinking about that time at his home when he and his brother scared the bejesus out of me because they thought I called them liars. It was a misunderstanding on their part.

“Okay, okay,” he says finally.

Yes, Isabel is learning.

About Checking the Traps

Isabel Long is a bit banged up from her last case with a broken collarbone and her arm in a sling. But that doesn’t stop her from pouring beer at the Rooster Bar or taking her third case with Gary Beaumont, a local drug dealer who once terrorized her. Gary is convinced his brother didn’t jump off a bridge known for suicides. Somebody pushed him.

Gary’s brother was a boozer who drove for a highway crew. But what interests Isabel and her ‘Watson’ — her 93-year-old mother who lives with her — is that the man wrote poetry.

The chief suspects are one of Gary’s business associates and a famous poet who plagiarized his brother’s poetry for an award-winning book. Yes, he was that good.

As a journalist, Isabel did regular meetups with her sources for stories. She called it checking the traps. She does the same as a private investigator, and this time, she’ll make sure she doesn’t get caught in one.

About Joan Livingston

Joan Livingston is the author of novels for adult and young readers. Checking the Traps, published by Crooked Cat Books, is the third in the mystery series featuring Isabel Long, a longtime journalist who becomes an amateur P.I. The first two are Chasing the Case and Redneck’s Revenge.

An award-winning journalist, she started as a reporter covering the hilltowns of Western Massachusetts. She was an editor, columnist, and the managing editor of The Taos News, which won numerous state and national awards during her tenure. Recently, she was named editor of the Greenfield Recorder.

After living eleven years in New Mexico, she has returned to rural Western Massachusetts, which is the setting of much of her adult fiction, including the Isabel Long Mystery Series.

Links to Joan and her Books

Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads

~~~

Is this the last of the series?

There have been some wonderful articles in this series. Some guest posters have opened up on difficult topics. But now, if no one else wants to volunteer, I might close it, either temporarily or permanently. You’re still welcome, however, to suggest a topic for a guest post.

Do you want to write (or talk) about one or more of the SIM topics – Social anxiety, Israel, Misunderstandings? The details are here.

#SIMTalksWithMiriam

What visitors to Israel should be aware of before flying out, and landing in

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Israel?

Is it war, conflict and terrorism? As a tourist, you’re very unlikely to encounter any of that. We (not me, personally, but the authorities) work very hard and put all sorts of measures into place to keep you safe while you’re here. So, don’t worry about that.

What else comes to mind? Probably hot weather and a land of deserts. You might think you can leave coats and umbrellas at home. You might think: tropical.

Well, think again. It hardly ever rains… in the summer. But in winter, we have plenty of rain. Sometimes the heavens open and you can get drenched in minutes… seconds. You might be lucky – most winter days are dry and some are even warm and sunny. But come prepared for rain. Jerusalem, Safed and other parts of Israel can even get snow.

SnowPalmTree

Palm tree in snow

Why am I thinking of this now? Because a friend just came for a brief trip. During her three-day visit, rain poured down almost all the time. And she wasn’t prepared.

Another visitor once came for a ceremony, for which he had to stand outside in pouring rain, and the following day he was stuck indoors when snow fell.

When we lived in the beautiful area of Jerusalem called Yemin Moshe, we occasionally seemed to be standing in a river when we walked up and down its stairs.

Those deserts… they’re only in the south of the country.

 

You have been warned!

~~~

Do you want to write (or talk) about one or more of the SIM topics – Social anxiety, Israel, Misunderstandings? The details are here.

#SIMTalksWithMiriamThis post is from me, because I think this is important.

Are we brave?

Social Anx (@social_anx) ran a pole on Twitter, asking social anxiety sufferers whether they think they’re brave.

Brave Social Anxiety Sufferers

Only 14% consider themselves brave.

That means 86% of those who took part are wrong, in my view, unless any of those are constantly locked up in a room and never see a soul. I think anyone who defies social anxiety enough to venture out, to do things outside their comfort zone, to face potential derision, disdain, misunderstanding, rejection – is a brave person.

The fact that 86% of responders do not see themselves as brave is due to low self-esteem, a symptom of social anxiety. They are brave and need to recognise that. If they don’t recognise their bravery, no one else will.

And that’s unfortunate.

I am Brave

Yes, this was especially brave, but I say we’re brave all the time.

Stop press! This quote from @SocialAnxiety88 says it all:

You are not weak. People like us, we’re brave. We’re the ones who get up and face our worst fears every day. We keep fighting.