Wednesday, April 04, 2018

On Hiatus

The bird and I are going to take some time off and unplug to deal with that personal stuff, catch up on work and otherwise get things sorted. No worries now, I'll be fine. See you in a few weeks.

Monday, April 02, 2018

Work Time Ten

Ten Things to Help You Time Your Work Sessions

This aquarium timer from provides a nice fish tank backdrop. The alarm when the coundown ends is like a digital alarm clock.

For a guided, one-minute exercise workout, try's morning warm-up timer (always check with your doctor first if you have a condition that could be aggravated by exercise.)

Want to use Google Search as an online timer? Here's how. provides a timed sessions with a nice background chime for your contemplation.

You can set the Online Stopwatch to countdown any time interval you'd like. It ends with a ringing bell sound like an old alarm clock. The site also offers a bunch of different timers. has a variety of pre-programmed times you can use in addition to customizing your own; the alarm sounds like a low-volume digital alarm clock.

Pomodoro is what I personally use during my writing sessions to remind me to stop, get up, stretch, etc. It silently runs for 25 minutes, then sounds a alarm (I use the Brrrrrrring option) to remind you to take a five minute break. After four such intervals gives you a 15 minute break.

Want a little fun with your timer? This robot-race timer is cute.

For the multitaskers, offers countdown, alarm clock and stopwatch timers

Set the Vclock timer to countdown your session and pick your own alarm sound (I liked the wind chimes.)

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Wishing You

Image Credit: Designed by Freepik

Friday, March 30, 2018

Stranger Than Fiction

Inspiration for stories come from innumerable sources, but I find most of mine in the real world. I especially love the unsolved mysteries of history, as they can be a wonderful focus for the imagination. Unsolved puzzles and indecipherable relics are my favorites, because there are no answers, only questions. I've talked about my fascination with and theories about The Voynich manuscript and how to use other mysterious finds as story starters; today let's look at another one:

People have been bickering over the origins of the Dighton Rock for centuries. Discovered in the Taunton River in Massachusetts, this big rock has enduring intrigue written all over it. Cotton Mather talked about the mystery it presented back in 1690; others have attributed it to the ancient Spaniards, Phoenicians, and Vikings. It may even date back to 1502 or so. Since it's a forty-ton boulder covered with enigmatic and potentially untranslatable petroglyphs, that debate will likely continue.

Chiseling images in stone is not an easy task. Someone spent considerable time creating the glyphs on this rock. Before you ponder what it means, consider why the artist would go to all that trouble. Does the Dighton Rock offer an ominous warning, such as "Everyone who follows the river beyond this point dies badly" or could it be graffiti along the lines of "For a good time, visit the village around the next bend."

I see a horse, a fish, three people and four X's in the rock's image. It also looks a bit like a map to me. I could easily write a story about seven wandering medieval soldiers in a strange land, four of whom died in a skirmish with the locals. Since the survivors are left with only one horse, the dead are buried by the river along with a fabulous paranormal treasure they were transporting. The other three miss their ship's sailing and are marooned in this new land where their treasure is now worthless. They make friends with the locals and join their tribe (or lose another skirmish), and the treasure is forgotten.

Now fast-forward to modern times: the last descendant of the survivors decides to investigate and comes to examine the glyphs, and discovers the four dead guys didn't stay dead? Competes with another survivor to find the treasure? Finds the treasure and is transformed by it? Lots of possibilities.

What story could this rock help you tell?

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Off to Write

I'm unplugging to catch up on some work. See you on Friday.

Image credit: Designed by Freepik

Monday, March 26, 2018

More Freebies

I found these free pics and over 700K more at, which allows you to download any of them without strings. All you're asked to do is provide a photo credit line, which they provide already coded for your web site or blog. There is a daily limit (five images, I think) if you use the site as a guest, but if you register for a free user account you can get at more.

Image Credits:

Roses: Designed by Freepik

Clock: City image created by -

Mask: Designed by Freepik

Friday, March 23, 2018

Couple of Freebies

Freeware caution: always scan free downloads of anything for bugs and other threats before dumping the programs into your hard drive.

The Hemingway Editor is an app to help improve the quality and clarity of your writing; it not only counts your words and grades their readibility, but highlights problem words or phrases that are difficult to read, are written in passive voice, contain adverbs, etc.

Still in development but very interesting, Manuskript writing freeware offers an outliner to help you organize your story ideas and elements, a mode where you can write without distractions, and a novel assistant that uses the Snowflake method of outlining and plotting to tackle story development.