Category Archives: Site Updates

My Author Website Devlog #1

I’ve been using this free WordPress.com blog as my online author site for years. As you can imagine, the conversion toward book sales hasn’t been great. But now I’m finally making a move to improve my online presence and build a better book shop. This video highlights my progress from Black Friday (when all I had was hosting and a newsletter) to mid-December (what I show in the video).

It’s definitely got room to grow and improve. Some of my ideas may not work. Other, more efficient ideas may come along during future development sessions. Time will tell. But this is the beginning. This is what it looks like behind the scenes at my new author site as of today.

Here are my resources if you like what I’m doing and want to do something similar:

WordPress (free)

Divi Theme Builder ($82/yr or $249/lifetime)

Note that Divi requires WordPress to work, and WordPress requires hosting to work. I’m using Hostinger as my hosting service. It’s cheap and mostly reliable.

Look around YouTube for Divi affiliates. Some of them can get you 20% off the market price. Or better yet, subscribe to Elegant Themes’s newsletter to get notices on upcoming sales.

Divi alone is good, but its extensions and layouts make it better. I will likely add Divi Plus, Divi Responsive Help, Divi MadMenu, and Divi Overlays to the first edition of my website. Eventually, I’d also like to add Divi Toolbox, Divi Mega Pro, Divi Essential, Divi Carousel Module, Divi Sumo (not on Elegant Themes site), and Divi Ribbon Module once everything is up and running and I can see better how it performs. With the exception of Divi Sumo, all of these extensions are on Elegant Themes’s Divi Marketplace, but many of them have cheaper alternatives on their developers’ websites.

So, that’s what I have so far. Tell me in the comments below if you have any website development advice or want to share your experience with these or other themes like Elementor.

I hope to open my new site in early 2021, but you can become one of the first to enter by signing up for my newsletter and looking for my announcement. (You also get free stuff for signing up, if you’re in to that kind of thing.)

Thanks for watching the video.

My New Website is Coming Soon

As the title suggests, my new official author website is under construction and coming soon.

But before I unleash it to the public later this month or in early January, I wanted to give readers of this blog an opportunity to join my newsletter for updates and special offers, including…

You guessed it…

FREE E-BOOKS!!!

Okay, let’s try that again, but without the all-caps:

Free electronic books by me.

Nah, let’s go with the first one:

FREE E-BOOKS!!!

Yep, much better.

So, joining my newsletter is simple. First you click on this link. Then you fill in your first name and email on the landing page. Then you check the GDPR consent box. Then you click the big button below it to subscribe. Then you check your email for your welcome message.

If you don’t see it, then check your junk mail. If you find my welcome email inside, then put me on your approved messages list. Tell those garbagebots to leave me out of their business!

Inside, you’ll get some information about me, which you’ll probably ignore, and links and coupon codes to the books I’m offering for free, which you’ll probably TL;DR directly to. From there, you’ll follow the instructions. Then you’ll get your books (The Computer Nerd and A Modern-day Fantasy, Year One: Cannonball City, if you must know)!

But…

Early subscribers who join during the construction phase will also get The Computer Nerd: Rebooted Edition free once it’s released. This version will replace the original (what you get right now) as the beginning of a new series. This will not be offered to later subscribers (the ones who wait until after my new website opens), so it’s worth it to join now instead of waiting for the grand opening.

Remember, good things come to those who jump ahead in line!

But, whether you join now or later, all subscribers will get an exclusive novella that can’t be bought in electronic form (maybe paperback if it’s long enough), as soon as I finish writing it, so even if you miss the early bird special, you can still take part in the regular bird special.

Finally, if you’re a fan of this site, don’t worry. I’ll still be writing content for it. The difference between this site and my new author site is that the new site will be better looking and focus almost entirely on my author career. This site will focus less on my books and more on everything else. In other words, you should subscribe to or bookmark both sites.

So, with that, I hope you’ll join the fun train (that reference will make more since when you click on the newsletter).

And enjoy your new books!

Cover Image: Pixabay

Using Scrivener for NaNoWriMo 2020

National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short, is right around the corner. Chances are, if you plan to participate this year, you’ve already started getting your materials together. But my question for you is, have you decided how you’re going to write your novel?

“Er, I’ll probably type it. How else would I do it?”

Okay, not exactly the answer to my question. Of course you’ll type it. But will you type it in Microsoft Word, Scrivener, or some other software? Do you plan to write it on your desktop or laptop? Or will you pull an E. L. James and type it on your phone while sitting by a pool (in November, mind you)?

Well, if you plan to type on Microsoft Word, a dedicated fiction app, or your window of great distraction (phone), I can’t help you. But if you plan to type it on Scrivener…

Well, I’ve got a template you might like.

It’s my NaNoWriMo Basic Template, which I created last year for my work-in-progress Washed Up: A Pirate Adventure, and you can now download it directly from Drinking Café Latte at 1pm. In fact, you can check it out, along with some of my other templates, right here on my new writing template page. If you see anything else you like (and the list will be very small as of this writing), all you have to do is click the link, read the full description to make sure it’s right for you, then click the download (from Google Drive, if that matters).

Then after you try it out, come back to the description page and leave a comment letting me know what you think.

Hope it works out for you.

So without further ado, jump on over the new templates page and give it a try. And if you want, check out my other Scrivener template, Story Planning General (still a work-in-progress), if you like obsessive planning and complete from-scratch-to-published design work (read: insanity). It’s another way to bring your story from idea to “What Have I Done?” status.

Once again, if you want to participate in NaNoWriMo this year, check out my Scrivener template, NaNoWriMo Basic Template. It’s good stuff.

Watch the before video:

And the after video (Posted December 1, 2020):

Update to “My Books” Page

Just a quick maintenance note:

I’ve updated the “My Books” page with a comprehensive list of not only all of my existing book tiles and brief status descriptions for each one, but also of all of my planned future books.

This is truly the one-stop shop for information on all of my present and upcoming titles. It it’s not on this page, there’s no news on it.

Remember to click the tab, not the drop-down selections, to access the page. Or, you can just click the link here.

If you have any questions, leave a comment below.

November 2018 Round-up (and Catch-up)

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on Drinking Café Latte at 1pm, and there have been many occasions on which I thought it was time to post something, but I didn’t. As I’ve reiterated in previous posts, I find that I’ve got so much to write about that I spend more time doing the thing I want to write about than I do writing about it, so I end up writing and blogging about nothing. That’s been the case for much of the time I’ve spent away from here since last summer. I suppose that’s the difficult trade-off with blogging: I can write about anything, but if I also want to experience the things worth writing about, I gotta make the time for both, and there isn’t that much time in the day, especially if I want to experience a lot, and so I end up writing about nothing.

I do have a series of articles in the waiting that I wrote last August, related to my “Adventures in Unity,” about my experiences learning C# on the Unity Engine and comparing it to the systems in place for the game engine I usually use to make games, the OHRRPGCE. I wrote four parts, but I never published any of them because I thought the OHRRPGCE audience was too small to warrant such devotion to the topic, and because I thought this blog has already dabbled in so many different topics that it’s essentially void of any topic, and no one’s going to read an article from a site that has no focus. So, I never finished the series, and I never published a single article from that series. I may decide differently when I’m further along in my “adventures.” We’ll see how it goes.

In September, I got new screen recording and editing software and started recording gameplay videos for Game Dev Tycoon by Greenheart Games, an indie game about developing for the gaming industry, to try my hand at episodic programming on YouTube. I probably devoted five or six hours to each episode on average, maybe more, and found my time for other important things slipping away. I thought I’d see if posting gameplay on a more popular game than the ones I play for developers using the OHRRPGCE would attract a bigger audience. It didn’t. I started posting the videos this month, and, as of this writing, all four episodes that are currently online have a combined total of eight views, with most of those views lasting just a few seconds. There are four live and four on schedule for release Mondays at 1pm EST until December 24th. I’ve got enough footage to make at least eight more. I doubt that will happen now. It’s too bad. I thought I had made a pretty good show.

In October, I spent a night in the hospital for severe pains I was having all over my body. That visit resulted in several follow-up visits with the doctor, one blood drawing with another on the way, and an upcoming appointment to receive an MRA scan (for arteries). October in general has been exhausting, the exhaustion has rolled over into November, and it looks to continue into December. That had its own impact on my desire to blog. I may still write a blog or two about the experience for those who are healthy and have no idea what they’re in for on the day that their body starts laughing at them. We’ll see.

In every month since the summer, I’ve spent a lot of time watching the news. It’s a drug these days. I rarely watch scripted television anymore. I can’t count how many days and nights I’ve wasted trying to find out what happened each day. Those were hours I didn’t spend writing or doing anything productive. A part of it I regret. The rest of me thinks the news these days is must-see TV.

I’ve been trying to get some momentum back into my fiction this month, and I will be talking more about that in the coming weeks, barring anything stupid getting any the way.

So, that’s what the last five months have been like. I also haven’t been posting because WordPress will no longer forward my posts to my personal Facebook page. I don’t like change.

Quick Social Media Test

#socialmediatest, #blogblitz, #funexperiment

My blog is remotely linked to Facebook and Twitter, which I use to share news to my wide array of narrow masses. I also have other options I could link to, like LinkedIn, that I’m not yet connected to, but should probably look into and link to at some point, so that my blogs cry out rather than whisper to an audience of many, like you and other friends I could link to, to share links and other matters of shared interest, to keep the social media family growing even if we’re all technically isolated from real human connection.

So, I want to see if I can tweet #hashtags from my blog’s log line to create and connect to a wider web of wisdom and wishes, which can in turn be linked to through LinkedIn and  other go-tos, Facebook and Twitter being my current coexisting content curators, and potentially procure plentiful portions of ravenous readers, and maintain a social media pathway that includes apps like Path and Google Plus, plus whatever other crazy things that they may link to, not including Instagram or Pinterest, both of which have interest in instant images, not to be confused with instant messages, which are another form of social media not supported by this blog, along with Pinterest and Instagram, which are also, sadly, not supported by this blog.

If this test works, please tweet me on #Facebook, or message me on Twitter to let me know if you like this link and consider subscribing to support content like this, even if you don’t know why you’re still reading it.

Cover Image: Pixabay

Have You Forgotten About Your Control of Information?

In two days, the European Union will be updating its privacy laws for marketers, content providers, e-commerce sites, etc. to its new GDPR standards (short for General Data Protection Regulation), and said marketers, content providers, etc. need to be up-to-date with the standards. On a quick mental scan, I don’t think I fall into any of these categories in a way that would violate the EU’s new terms, but just to be sure, I want to remind all of my subscribers that you can choose to receive updates via the “follow” button at the bottom of this page (so that it says “Following Drinking Cafe Latte at 1pm”), just as you can stop receiving updates by clicking it again (so that “following” turns to “follow”). You control your information influx, and the dial for that control is at the bottom of this page.

Just so we’re clear, I don’t share your information, nor would I know how to, and that little green lock to the left of the URL is the proof that this site is secure, even if your information does somehow find its way here, which I’m pretty sure it doesn’t–not in any way that I’ve discovered.

That said, I hope you’ll continue to follow this blog, as I occasionally have awesome things to share, when I have anything to share, and I’d hate for you to miss out on important announcements, like the fact that the European Union is updating its privacy laws and heavy fines apply to any business (in Europe or abroad) that does not comply by its rules.

So, yay for information!

Just a reminder, you can follow Drinking Cafe Latte at 1pm by clicking on the blue button at the bottom of this page (or unfollow if you’re already following and you decide you no longer want cool blogs like this one). Likewise, you can continue to follow this blog by doing nothing if you’re already following it.

Oh, while we’re at it, are there things I could be writing about that I’m not writing enough about that you’d like for me to write more about? For example, would you like to see more chapter excerpts from novels I’m writing? I haven’t done those in a while. I’m curious what you actually want to read about because the comments on this blog are notoriously silent and I don’t actually know what people are interested in when they find their way here. The more I know…

Anyway, I like your readership, and I welcome your feedback, so feel free to hang out here with your 1pm cafe latte if you’d like.

Image: Pixabay

Branding: Some Things I Want to Try

Lately I’ve been reading up on social media, and gathering tips on how to use it to further my brand. Specifically, I’ve been reading Social Media for Writers by Tee Morris & Pip Ballantine, and taking note of its suggestions about the many platforms available to me, the writer, and the ways I can use those platforms to reach you, the reader. I’ve also been looking up insightful blogs from writers like Dave Bricker at The World’s Greatest Book, Joel Friedlander at The Book Designer, and Kimberley Grabas at Your Writer Platform to widen my range of understanding. And, I must say, I’ve learned a lot from each of these sources.

I’ve also learned that my “brand” is kind of a mess.

When I started writing many years ago, my interest was solely in telling stories. At some point, my range of stories grew from fiction, to personal narratives, to speculative philosophy, to speculative fictional philosophies based on personal narratives, mainly because my interests in connecting with people has changed much since that day I decided I wanted to give writing a try. And in that vast space of time, I have acquired a wealth of material, and pretty much nowhere to put any of it. Ideas may have been consistent to themselves, yet inconsistent to each other, and I’d keep building on them in the hope that someday I’d “crack their code” and turn them into something readers could experience. And sometimes I was pretty sure I’d cracked those codes, even if they didn’t systematically crack each others’ codes.

But I also had three problems going along with those assumed cracked codes:

  1. I have a hard time throwing things away. So, rather than let my good, if not inconsistent ideas linger in the void, I’d just put them on display like a proud adult man who shows off pictures to complete strangers of not just his kids, but also his dog, his truck, and his annual income.
  2. Branding requires consistency, according to the books and the blogs. Inconsistency confuses people.
  3. No one will care about the works I have on display if no one’s here to read it, and they won’t come to read if they don’t why they should.

Obviously, for someone who’s a better writer than marketer, specifically for one who makes his “brand” about whatever is currently on his mind, this is a conundrum. How do I keep doing what I’m doing and still get people coming back if what I want to write about today isn’t thematically in line with what I want to write tomorrow?

Well, I’ve been giving it some thought lately, and I want to try a new system. This system would inevitably focus on practical things, fun things, and other things as much as it would focus on my writing things. But how would it lean focus on such ambiguously defined themes and still somehow force a “brand” on me?

Here’s what I’m thinking:

My main goal for this site is to express my thoughts. It’s always been about that. Sometimes it includes a review of something. Sometimes it talks about an idea I’ve had. Sometimes it hypes something I’m working on or trying to sell. It’s all about the things that concern me.

But, not everyone who comes to this site is looking for every type of post I make. So, I think I want to give a calendar system a try.

For example, Sundays are usually relaxing days for some, church days for others, so I figure that can be the day I post inspirational things. Mondays start with M, so that can be a miscellaneous kind of day. And so on. Each day can have its own theme. BUT, let’s be clear that I’m pretty busy without blogging every day, so not every theme will be met every week. I would like to try to stay weekly or biweekly on one or two themes a week.

How ever it goes down, and however frequently I post, here is a sample calendar of themes I may try for soon:

  • Inspirational Sunday – includes quotes, spiritual matters, life advice, and so on.
  • Miscellaneous Monday – mainly fun things like “Beach Photos of the Week” and other things that have no real category.
  • The Tuesday Review – where I talk about the movie I saw or the book I read.
  • Writer Wednesday – where I talk about writing, books on writing, the life of writing and so on.
  • Throwback Thursday – because why not? I’ll probably use this as my reminder of past posts day, or my link to other bloggers I like day. I don’t know. This one’s in the air.
  • Friday Hype Day – when I talk about my books.
  • Saturday Fun – when I focus on fun things.

Now, I’m one man, and I don’t have machinery in my bones, so I won’t actually be posting every day. What I want out of this is to have a plan for the days in which I offer certain types of posts. So, if you’re here for some writing tips, check in on Wednesday to see what’s new. If you want to see a cool beach picture, check in on Monday. No promises that there will be something new that particular week, but check anyway! Maybe this is the day you’ll read that post you’ve always been hoping for.

Obviously, announcements and time-sensitive posts will be in the moment, regardless of day. Just keep checking for those as you think about it.

So, that’s what’s on my mind. If you like this idea, let me know in the comments. If you want to find out what’s new, subscribe.

Oh, and if you want a review on Social Media for Writers by Tee Morris & Pip Ballantine, come back here soon. Reviews on writing books will happen on Wednesdays (when they happen). I do plan to make that a thing.

And just for kicks, this postscript will make this post clock in at a cool, sleek, awesome, amazing, rounded 1000 words.

 

A Recap of Important Events: Amazon Edition!

January 2, 2016:

So, if you’ve been paying attention to this blog in the last week, you may have noticed some subtle updates or mentions about the work I’ve been doing over my Christmas vacation. If you haven’t been paying attention, then let me catch you up on some things:

1) The day after Christmas, I finally released my long-in-production series starter for A Modern-day Fantasy, called Cannonball City. Or, to put it more realistically, I released the introductory version of the story, which takes the core elements of the first three books and combines them into a single yearlong tale. It’s about a tennis star who must undergo an identity shift to keep one step ahead of the murderous stalker who’s hunting him and people like him down like dogs. It’s a free e-book at Smashwords and its distribution channels (Barnes & Noble, et al.) and clocks in at a whopping 270,000+ words. It’ll take a while to finish it, but it’s a fun journey I’ve been told. Click on its store page to check it out. The trilogy of books it’s based on will be released at a later date.

cannonball city cover art version 1p
Cover Image for “Cannonball City: AMDF, Year One”

2) After seven months of e-book publishing, I’ve finally ported all of my existing titles to Amazon. Each book has its respective link already listed on its page. Click your book of preference to check it out. Note: Amazon does not allow authors to set their prices at “free,” so each free book on Smashwords costs $.99 at Amazon.

3) Not only have I ported all of my e-books to Amazon, but I’ve also made paperback editions of them. More specifically, I’ve made a paperback edition of The Computer Nerd (354 pages), retailing at $14.99, and a paperback collection of the shorter stories in a single volume called Zippywings 2015: A Short Story Collection (644 pages), retailing at $21,99. Why should you buy these instead of the cheaper e-book versions? Well, because they’re actual books you can hold and flip pages and smell and stuff. I’m still waiting for my copies, so I can’t yet vouch for the print quality, but I know they’re the best we’ll have until I gain the interest of a traditional publisher. As of now, each book can be bought at Amazon or CreateSpace. I’ve selected “Expanded Distribution” as an option, so other online retailers should have them in the next six to eight weeks. It’s why I can’t price either book any cheaper, otherwise I would. Both books can be purchased through the links provided at their respective store pages.

zippywings 2015 title 2
Cover Image for “Cannonball City: AMDF, Year One”

If you purchase any of my books, please leave a review. The more feedback I hear, the more I learn, and the better I can make my next book(s).

If you’re not sure whether to buy from Amazon or CreateSpace, let me give you a couple of facts:

Buying from Amazon will better improve my market sales rating, and will allow you to review directly on the site (something of which I need a lot of, whether positive or negative–because a comprehensive review is better than one man’s opinion). Buying from CreateSpace will give me a higher royalty. So, before you buy, decide which bonus you’d rather bestow on me (the author), publicity or royalty.

Option #3, of course, is to save your money for something you actually need.

4) I made the announcement for it yesterday, but in case you missed it, I now have a header page for “Promotions,” which will keep you informed of any specials I’m running on my books, including coupon codes. Check it out if you want to pick up my books and save money doing it.

5) I finally released the cover for my upcoming novel, Teenage American Dream. Actually, I’ve attached covers to all of the books listed in the “Future Stories” category, but the other two have already gotten covers attached to their store pages at Smashwords. As of now, Teenage American Dream is the only one that will release with its existing cover. The other two have temporary covers. They will become permanent only if my actual plans for their covers fall through.

So, that’s the summation of my busy holiday break. If I have time tomorrow, I’ll talk about my goals for 2016. Hope your New Year is off to a good start.

Coupon Codes Available

January 1, 2016:

First off, Happy New Year. Hope you had a good one.

Secondly, I’ve added a new page to the site header for “Promotions.” Check here if you want to receive any of my books at discount. Note that coupons for unreleased books are posted in advance, but won’t be usable until the day of release. As of now, codes are available for Smashwords e-books only.

Thirdly, I have my first review of The Computer Nerd, posted yesterday! The reviewer didn’t like it, so you know I didn’t pay him off. 😉 But if you would like to form your own opinion, please check it out. For reference, the review can be read here.

Note: I appreciate getting feedback about specifics issues if you don’t like what I wrote. Helps me write a better book next time.