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OK, ScribeFire does exactly what it says it will do. Fantastic, I love it! Here's a link to the Chrome version of the plugin for anyone interested in multi-blog management from a single interface.

And you'll find a Firefox version of the same thing (though I tested only the Chrome version) here

Back To It

Oct. 13th, 2010 04:50 pm
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I've been busy with music/Hypnos, my dad's visit to Portland, writing, and all the rest of life. Funny, when I blog regularly I find it easy to keep on blogging regularly, and once I stop it's very easy to STAY stopped. So many things are like this, especially exercise and creative activities. Running every single day is easy. Taking a week off running, and then starting to run again that first time is much harder.

I still write six days a week, exercise six days a week, work my day job five days a week, listen to tons of music, watch lots of movies with my wife, and don't get enough sleep.

Lately I'm working on a lot of stories simultaneously, even more than usual for me, and the stories are all over the map. I'm writing an SF story about a group of robotic domestic helpers left behind by their humans on an Earth-like colony, a horror-tinged SF story about some weird stuff lurking in the bottom of a deep mine (not started in response to the major news story about miners in Chile), finishing up a dark fantasy or horror bit about a family vacationing at a lake house and coming under the influence of some local entities. I have another odd, dark bit about a married couple who retreat to a cabin out in the wilderness near Mt. Hood and begin to lose all connection to the world they left behind.

I'm also continuing heavy cuts on my two "salvage project" stories I mentioned before... mega-long stories that needed to lose 2/3 of their length before I could even assess how to turn them into something interesting. They're down from 14,000 words to 5,500 and from 11,000 words to 5,300 so they're getting close to where I can see what they need to be. This has been a really useful and interesting test or experiment, but I don't know that I'd do it again. I could have easily rewritten these stories from scratch in less time, and with better result, but then again that wasn't really the point.

I've got the same nine final drafts still circulating among various markets. My two longest-pending submissions are both Writers of the Future, for 2010-q3 (June-ending quarter) and q4 (Sept-ending). Jeez, sending those guys a story means keeping it from other markets for about six months, it appears. I realize they get a lot of submissions but it seems they could finish one quarter's reading before opening it up to the next quarter... and then the one after that. They just announced q2 results, and they're reading stories for q3, q4, and 2011 q1 (quarter ending December) all at once. Sheesh, talk about slush pile.

Reading notes...

I'm still reading Laird Barron's Occultation, an absolutely top-notch collection. Seriously, some of the best strange/dark short fiction I can remember reading, not just recently, but ever. When I get through that last story and a half (I'm reading other stuff in parallel so it's taking a while) I'll write a real review.

Just finished The City & The City by China Mieville, and I'm very impressed. I knew it would be good, based on all the reviews and awards, and interviews I've read with the author. I can tell he's just a super-sharp guy and I've owned copies of several of his books for a while and intended to get to them... but finally dived into one of his newest. Before I move on to Kraken I'll probably jump back to Perdido Street Station since that's been on the "must read soon" list since, you know, a really long time ago.

Lessee, I think I mentioned finishing Old Man's War, which was really good, and not as lightweight or pastiche-y as I expected. I'm on to Charles Stross's Singularity Sky, which is fully of SF-nal goodness, and pretty well written, though at times a little too heavy on the political & military detail. I'm not far into it so I'll reserve judgement.

I did mean to blog a bit more about the HP Lovecraft Film Festival, which was a lot of fun and quite memorable. But this is a "rust buster" blog so I'll wrap it up, and leave stuff to blog about later this week.
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One of the most-viewed entries to this blog is MarsEdit versus MacJournal, a months-old entry which continues to show up among my most-viewed entries every week. I'm sure those hits come from people who don't know me, and just happened to google "Mars Edit versus MacJournal" and found that entry. That's OK, of course -- everyone's welcome here.

For those of you who missed the original post, I compared these two programs as tools to help me manage mirrored blogs on Wordpress and Livejournal. Both applications claim to support both, so I ran trial versions to see which might work for me.

I now follow-up that earlier post only because I thought the end result of my comparison of the two products might be of interest to some of those reading that earlier post. I'll probably edit a link to this follow-up within the earlier post.

Of the two programs, I thought MarsEdit was overall the better-designed application, but it had the fatal flaw of not supporting tags within Livejournal. MacJournal had other weaknesses that made my decision not just a matter of deciding which tool I preferred to use for the job, but a realization that neither really did it properly. Yes, I could use MarsEdit to manage the dual entries in WP and LJ, then manually log into LJ and add the tags, but that was no easier than what I was already doing. In my final appraisal, neither MarsEdit and MacJournal offered any improvement over my existing workflow, which is to make entries in Wordpress via the web interface, edit everything to my liking, publish it, then copy-paste the raw HTML into Livejournal's web interface.

This method is a bit more "manual" than what I'd hoped for, but it has the advantage of being completely cross-platform (MarsEdit and MacJournal are both Mac-only) and location-independent. I can blog from any computer with an internet connection.

I wouldn't rule out taking another look at MarsEdit, but my sense is that enhanced LJ support in that application is not forthcoming. The developer seems to consider LJ a fading platform, and though I don't know whether user statistics support that impression, my own gut feeling doesn't contradict it. Most likely, I will just continue the same way I've been doing it, as long as I'm maintaining two mirrored blogs.
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Hmm, somehow when I originally posted that last blog entry I lost the first half of it. Not that anything too important was contained therein, but I've restored it via edit.
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So far with this Livejournal, I'm just mirroring my Wordpress blog. The Wordpress has been around longer, but I went back and copied across all the pre-LJ entries from WP to here, so they both look pretty much the same as far as content. Other aspects of appearance, though, not so much. I have yet to see a good-looking Livejournal blog, not even among people who use Livejournal as their one and only blogging platform. Something about the infrastructure of this thing seems to make impossible the stripping-out of various ugly elements of the interface. Yes, you can apply skins or various styling options, but it still looks terrible.

If someone can point me to a tasteful, well-designed Livejournal-hosted blog, please do so. Aside from aesthetics, this place works as well as the other.

One thing I'm curious about is that on Wordpress, it's easy for me to see how many people are viewing my blog, by day or by week or by month, and which specific posts are being looked at. If there's a way to see this sort of thing on Livejournal, even something as simple as "total hits" or "daily hits" or "views per post," I have yet to find it.

Maybe I need to make some Livejournal buddies and have somebody throw me a tip or two. Or maybe I'll just leave this thing the way it is, keep mirroring the Wordpress blog, and not worry about it.
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I do seem to run hot and cold when it comes to updating this blog. Just like the last time I took a long break from posting here, the explanation is "been busy writing lots of stories."

I've been working hard to shape up a new-ish space exploration novelette, vaguely space-opera-ish, to enter in this quarter's Writers of the Future contest. I made a large number of changes, additions and deletions based on a very useful long discussion I had with my wife Lena during one of our mega-hikes, this time up at Trillium Lake, on Mt. Hood. That story's just about done, but I had to set that aside.

In a recent post, I mentioned a Writers Weekend I'll be attending in July, up in Moclips, Washington. For the workshop that weekend, I could have submitted one of my earlier, finished stories but I wanted to write something new. I decided to push through to completion the recently-begun story I mentioned in a few of my most recent blog posts, trying new methods & tools for writing... remember? This is the one I started out writing longhand, and finished drafting in Scrivener, where I've completed all the revisions. It ended up needing very substantial changes, including at least 6-7 drafts so far, and a completely new framing intro and beginning added in the past week. Managed to chop it down from 8,000 words to about 4,500 despite adding a whole new beginning and end, and it's much leaner and meaner now.

Sometimes all a story needs is sifting with an increasingly fine screen until it's done, but this one needed a radical re-think, a bunch of new stuff added, and really quite a different emphasis from where it started. It's called "The Long Tightrope," and normally I'd send this one out at this stage, but I'm ready to hand it over to other readers in this group and take their suggestions. It'll be a good learning experience.

Just coincidentally this new story is in the same "universe" as the novelette mentioned earlier. I don't usually do that, work on a whole string of related stories one after the other, in fact I started several other stories between the novelette and the new one.

Things have been especially busy -- extra efforts required at the day job, various weekend outings including a family beach trip, and the usual real life -- but I've been writing steadily, lots of new words, many newly-planned stories, and keeping the finished stories in submission.

Some upcoming blog plans:

1. A mini-review of Metatropolis, an interesting audiobook project (now out in good old fashioned printed paper format) by five authors working in a connected world.

2. Another discussion of the idea of rejection (from a writer's point of view), specifically the idea of different kinds or degrees of rejection... even "good" rejection.

3. More about this upcoming Writers Weekend

4. More book & audiobook reviews, mini and otherwise

That's all for now. I hope to be back soon, and more regularly this next month or two.
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Both MarsEdit and MacJournal appear to have strengths and weaknesses relative to what I'm trying to do, which is compose and edit blog entries in a single location, and post them to both Wordpress and Livejournal and thus keep two blogs synchronized while I figure out which to stick with.

Initially I liked MacJournal better, because you can create a single "entry" and once it's composed, send it first to one blog and then to the other. MarsEdit uses a different organizational structure in that every blog is kept in a separate folder within the window, and each blog entry must be composed in one blog or the other, then copied-and-pasted into the other blog. Though this is less than idea, the two blog folders are only separated by a tiny bit of screen space, so it's still more convenient than separately managing the two blogs.

When I post images to my blogs -- something I'm trying to do less frequently now, unless there's a good reason, because it makes composing the blog entry more difficult and time consuming and thus something I'm less likely to do often -- I upload the images via FTP to my own server (, in a sub-folder, and then link within the post to the image URL. This way, I always know where my images are, what they're named, and I can download them, mess with them in Photoshop, repurpose them or whatever. Using the image attachment feature of the blog itself just stashes the file away on Wordpress or Livejournal's servers, and isn't how I want to do it. I have plenty of storage space on my own server and this seems more in line with how I edit and post to the web site and online store.

Here's where the problem with MacJournal reveals itself. MacJournal is promoted as software for blogging and journaling but it's really best suited for private diaries, note-keeping, or journals, rather than a full-fledged blogging tool. There's no means of editing the HTML code of your entry, which reveals just how limited MacJournal is as a blog editing tool. Also, as I've worked with this software in evaluation mode for two days, several times it has completely lost track of my Livejournal settings and I've had to re-enter them from scratch. I don't mean just re-entering or confirming my password, but entering all the blog address, username and password information as if I'd never entered it in the first place. For these reasons, MacJournal just isn't going to work.

MarsEdit has some weaknesses. I already mentioned that each entry must be duplicated from one blog into the other -- not a deal-breaker, but I wish there were a way of creating just a single entry and then cross-posting (even if it takes two steps). Another weakness is the lack of tag support within Livejournal. My Wordpress posts can be fully edited and manipulated within MarsEdit, no problems I can find at all, but Livejournal posts cannot have tags entered. If I want to tag my Livejournal posts I'll need to log into Livejournal's web interface and do this manually. I figure this is the direction I'll go, just log into Livejournal every once in a while and tag all the entries I've made.

MarsEdit HTML support is great, in fact it looks like it could be a perfectly good interface for editing regular old web site pages (though it wouldn't function for uploading your files -- it only works with blogging platforms), as it has HTML code interface, WYSIWYG editing, and a web preview capability.

One final downside to MarsEdit is the requirement for OSX 10.6 (that's Mac talk, for you Windows fellers), and my old laptop, on which I work first thing in the morning while I chug my iced coffee, is stuck on 10.5 because it's an old Powerbook G4, and 10.6 won't install on PPC processors like this. So assuming I work with MarsEdit, which is how it looks at this point, it will have to be only on my various newer Macs.
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I’m getting the hang of this new MacJournal system. I tried MarsEdit too, and it’s actually a nicer interface in many ways, but it doesn’t appear to support tags in Livejournal. So to use MarsEdit I’d have to separately log into Livejournal’s admin screens and set up the tags for every post there, which kind of defeats the purpose of having one program that keeps everything up to date and synchronized.

One thing I haven’t figured out is why the images from my Wordpress blog don’t properly come through into Livejournal, but I’m sure I can get that straightened out.
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I’m converting over from creating each blog post in the blog’s web interface, to a program called MacJournal which lets me write a blog post once and crosspost it to more than one blog. I’m doing this because I’m trying out both Wordpress and Livejournal at once and want to run them both in parallel until I decide if I want to use just one.

So far I’d say Wordpress creates a much more professional and polished blog, but Livejournal has some nifty social networking or “community” features Wordpress doesn’t have. So I’m doing both, and I don’t want to have to remember which posts have been made on which blog.

As I get the two blogs synchronized, and play around with MacJournal, some posts may appear out of time sequence, or posts that previously appeared on Wordpress may appear again (until I get the duplicates trimmed out). It’ll look messy for a day or two or three, but once it’s all lined up, it should be pretty slick.

By the way, MacJournal looks pretty great. I like MarsEdit better in some ways (it automatically retrieves your previous blog posts from the server) but it doesn’t seem geared to simple crossposting. If you write an entry for one blog and want to post it to another blog, you have to copy and paste the content into a new blog entry within the folder of the second blog, and post that... which isn’t much improvement over just running two totally separate blogs that I administer from the web admin pages.

MacJournal site:

MarsEdit site:


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