Sunday, December 21, 2008

Cruising into Christmas

Just got back from the obilgatory Christmas "Dan Murphy's raid" ... and I just realized I have no idea if Dan Murphy's is worldwide, or if 90% of readers are saying words along the lines of "WTF is MK babbling on about now? I have a powerful intuition that Squire O'Murphy is a purely Aussie thing, so I'd better explain why it's obligatory at Christmas, and why one talks about a "raid" there.

Close your eyes. Relax. Imagine an aircraft hangar. A hangar big enough to garage a jumbo jet. Now, fill it with wine ... spirits ... beer ... liqueurs. In bins. In boxes. In crates and cartons. On shelves. On tables. On the floor. Take a cart. A big one. Fill it. Then stand in line in the checkout queue, enjoying the air conditioned coolness and thinking longingly of the beer in that case, because its too bloody hot outside, and it's still morning.

Good golly, it must be Christmas time! Which would explain why we watched Bill Murray in Scrooged last night, and will probably watch Jim Carey in a weird green suit tonight, or maybe the dudes from Halloween Town trying to usurp Christmas. Woah ... what happened to 2008?

In fact, today is a semi-special occasion, at least to me: it's six months since this blog opened. Six months! This is something like post #222 ... if only it could have been #666. Well, can't win 'em all. But when we do get to #666, we'll have a competition or something, to celebrate.

Speaking of blogging: no joy yet in the Google situation. At this point I can win searches from places like Ukraine, Nepal, Laos, Thailand, Iraq, the UAE, Nigeria, Honduras ... but as for getting back the 80% of visitors who were coming from the USA ... not yet. I live in hopes.

Also speaking of blogging: good news at last! I found a studio which publishes blogger templates which WILL INSTALL, if you give them just a couple of minor tweaks. You do need to know what you're looking at in css, but the templates otherwise embrace the Blogger engine.

Here's the studio: -- and the good news is, they're some of the most gorgeous templates you ever saw. Kudos to these guys: they figured out what the hell it is Blogger wants, and they worked around it.

So right now I'm fiddling with the template, getting it fully configured. It's quite a process. I'm working with three columns, and it also gets interesting in the headers and footers: there's extra "bays" where you can part things. I'm also experimenting with colors and schemes (which, thank gods, is easy at Blogger), and thanks to Aricia [sounds of grinding teeth] I now know that you can edit the css and tell it to remote-load images into the background.

The digital novels will be looking every bit as good as they read. I'm still intending to start with the Atlantean fantasy -- as a memorial to Lane Ingram -- but the second one could easily be Crystal Genesis, which is future fantasy. I find myself drawn to the project more as I think about it. We've even started mucking about with logo graphics (click on this, it's 980 pixels wide, designed to suit the template I finally, finally got working):

This is going to be extremely cool. If Crystal Genesis has a 'sound' (and it does), it's a song called Inner Universe, by a band (or individual) called Origa. Below is the YouTube plugin of the whole song, which is weird and ... amazing. I know absolutely nothing about the performers, but I stumbled over the song when it was used as the theme music for the anime Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex, which used to go to air at about midnight in this country, a few years ago. Adult SF anime. The music is apparently a Japanese band singing in Russian, with a sound that's unique. Enjoy.

The situation with CreateSpace is kind of "on again, off again." This morning the set-up project page would allow us to upload a new project ... and the shopping cart crashed on the way out of doing the "upgrade to the pro package." CreateSpace as an entity is extraordinarily delicate. If we can just get through The Lords of Harbendane, plus Dangerous Moonlight and Death's Head, I'm inclined to quit right there and promote the hell out of those. See what happens in 2009.

Speaking of 2009: one of the guys from DreamCraft was partying last week, and talking to a friend who works on the fringe of the publishing and IT industry. According to this guy, the idea of retrenching 50% of the writers in the USA is being kind. Apparently -- at least as far as the Big Apple is concerned -- they make 90% of their money from 10% of their writers. The rest of us could do a swandive right off the nearest cliff for all they would know ... or care. Hmmmm.

Anyway -- onward and upward into a somewhat "Irish" scenario. Says Mick to Paddy, "Did you not hear what happened to Mel Keegan, then?" Says Paddy to Mick, "Sure, didn't he give his stuff away and make a fortune!"

Here's to making a fortune by giving your stuff away!


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