Happy Birthday Mr. Clarke and Ms. Austen

Jane Austen

Today, December 16th, is the birthday of both Arthur C. Clarke and Jane Austen, two literary greats.

Clarke’s work had the greatest impact on my own. I discovered Clarke through his short stories and novels at an early age. Rendezvous With Rama, 2001, and his other works shaped my interests in science fiction. For the longest time 2001 and the sequels were the future. I remember how strange it was when I found myself living in 2001,then 2010, and it wasn’t—of course—the future that Clarke described. I was born near the end of the Apollo missions and was a child in the Mojave desert when the Space Shuttle started flying. Clarke’s work (and that of other science fiction writers) led me to believe we’d be back to the Moon and beyond. By 2010 that seemed much less likely but my enthusiasm around space exploration hasn’t dimmed. I was so excited when Huygen's Probe finally showed us the surface of Titan or New Horizons revealed Pluto and Charon—and soon Ultima Thule (in 15 days!)

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Hail to the King 2019 Stephen King Reading Challenge

Hail to the King 2019

Here's something just for fun: You're invited to join me in a chilling reading challenge for 2019—Hail to the King 2019.

The challenge itself is simple: Read a Stephen King book each month in 2019 and share your thoughts on the book. Whether that's on your blog, social media, Goodreads, or Amazon reviews—share your thoughts. I'll be posting my thoughts here on the blog and I hope you'll join me with comments and discussion on each post.

I've created a free PDF with the titles selected for each month. Pop your name into the box below to join my Reader's group, Readinary and download the PDF. You're welcome to unsubscribe at any time, but I hope you'll stick around.

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Beat the Blank Page With These Weird Writing Prompts

Writing Prompts

Welcome! I've written some of my favorite stories with simple writing prompts that have encouraged my imagination to come up with things I probably wouldn't have come up with otherwise. Check back each week for new writing prompts, or sign up for Readinary to receive my weekly emails and get the prompts in your inbox along with my latest posts. I've also set up a simple submission page you can use to suggest writing prompts.

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Favorite Author Reread: Beholder’s Eye by Julie E. Czerneda

Beholder's Eye

I've started rereading Julie E. Czerneda's
Web Shifters series beginning with the first book, Beholder's Eye. Czerneda is one of my favorite authors and I enjoy going back and experiencing her character's stories again. She writes my kind of science fiction—a universe filled with a variety of intelligent species doing their best to get by each day. It's space opera and tons of fun. Let me tell you why I think this book is worth your time.

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How to Write Amazing Characters Like Stephen King

How to write amazing characters like Stephen King

I love Stephen King's books and especially his characters. I once sat on the floor reading Dolores Claiborne instead of packing for a move. I hadn't planned to sit and read the entire book. I picked it up, flipped to the first page, started reading, and didn't stop.

What did you ask, Andy Bisette?
Do I "understand these rights as you've explained em to me"?
Gorry! What makes some men so numb?
No, you never mind—still your jawin and listen to me for awhile. I got an idear you're gonna be listenin to me most of the night, so you might as well get used to it.

I did sit and listen to Dolores for awhile. A long while, the sort of thing I haven't done many times, just sit and read a book through front to back in a single rush. Yes, the pages are a bit narrower than some, and the lines are generously spaced, but it still comes in at 305 pages in the hardcover edition I read. King started writing the book the year I finished high school and it came out the year I finished college—and I still don't understand how he creates such compelling characters.

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Is Traveler the Ultimate Distraction-Free Writing Tool?

Traveler

Astrohaus, the company behind the Freewrite, launched a new crowd-sourcing campaign today for the Traveler. The e-ink writing laptop, billed as the ultimate distraction-free writing tool reached its funding goal in less than 30 minutes. At the time I'm writing this, the campaign is at 324% funding.

I wrote about setting up a Scrivener laptop as a dedicated writing tool. A dedicated, zero-distraction tool for writing can be a big boon for productivity. Unfortunately, it's easy to give in to distractions on such a device. It's the matter of a moment to open a web browser or other applications. The Traveler looks to be just what I've wanted since first holding an e-ink ereader.

Does it hold up to my hopes? I can't know for sure. Let's take a look at what the Traveler offers.

What is the Traveler?

The Traveler is the successor to the Freewrite Smart Typewriter. The Freewrite is billed as the distraction-free writing tool. It features:

  • Mechanical keyboard switches

  • An e-ink display—viewable in sunlight

  • Long battery life

  • Alternate Pencil

    Internal storage and cloud-sync

The Freewrite met most of the features I wanted in a dedicated writing tool. Except the form factor. I wanted something smaller and more portable.

Freewrite

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Dictation Redux

Dictation

One of the pleasures of being a librarian is sharing resources with people. When it comes to making recommendations on books, we tend to talk about "readers advisory." I think there is also a place for "writers advisory" in libraries—librarians have a long history of working with writers and I think it is a relationship that we should cultivate. For this post, I want to suggest resources for writers thinking about dictation. If you haven't considered dictating your work, take a look at these resources to see how many writers today take advantage of speech-to-text technology to write.

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42 Answers to the Question, “Why Blog?”

number 42

The Number 42

Few writers have made as much of an impression as Douglas Adams on my imagination. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy remains one of my favorite books.

“Forty-two,” said Deep Thought, with infinite majesty and calm.

The number 42 has entered the popular imagination since the release of Douglas Adams' book. I don't know the ultimate question. I have asked myself on many occasion, "Why blog?" Most recently, while taking the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog course from Problogger. One of the first assignments is writing a post answering that question. It probably isn't the ultimate question, but I decided to use the number 42 to answer it anyway. Here are 42 answers I came up with to the question, in no particular order, as far as I know.

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