NaNoWriMo begins tomorrow

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Some of you know I’m a pantser (write by the seat of your pants – very little to no planning – ‘free writing’). I’m in a slightly different head space with my Nano project this time.

Last year I decided on October 31 to have a go. No idea what I was going to write. Sat down at the keyboard and let her rip. Ended up with the book, On A Life’s Edge.

This year, I’m writing a sequel. Also I’m itching to get started. Guess what: I’ve sort of done a plan to fill in the time before Saturday. I say ‘sort of’ because I have
- chosen a set of characters from book 1,
- decided who the MC (Shawna), nemesis and hero are,
- jotted a few scenes that I can throw in
- gone back to book 1 to figure out how old the kids are now, what their development stages are, birthdays (important milestones for children)
- thought about what the existing and new locations will be,
- jotted down how the characters from book 1 will change in the sequel, and
- considered which loose ends from book 1 the readers may have questions about that can be answered in this one.

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve written a sequel and my memory isn’t exactly as sharp as it used to be. For example, I spent time searching book 1 to be sure of hair colours for characters. That’s something I hadn’t recorded when writing book 1. Note to self: keep more character notes when writing any characters/location the first time.

Anyone else finding their writing approach different this time? Are you a planner or a pantser? Do you approach a project differently if it’s a sequel or part of a series?

Discuss.

Book Review: The Gray and Guilty Sea

The Gray and Guilty Sea: An Oregon Coast Mystery (Garrison Gage, #1)The Gray and Guilty Sea: An Oregon Coast Mystery by Scott William Carter

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked this. Garrison Gage, former NY private investigator, finds himself caught up in a mystery around a dead girl washed up on the beach near his house. The town is full of interesting seedy suspicious characters to choose from. The police chief isn’t sure there has been a murder. Gage is.

This is the first in a series. I look forward to reading the next.

View all my reviews

Recording with a basic Kogan PVR model KGNFSTBVAA

I have a ‘new’ old Kogan PVR from a friend because my Supernet recorder ‘broke’ again. This Kogan one is a model KGNFSTBVAA – which presumably stands for Kogan F? Set-Top Box (VAA??). It requires an external memory device such as a memory stick or external harddrive. It is a single HD tuner, so nothing flash on this inexpensive model.

The manual leaves a lot to be desired. It is available from the some old Manuals websites if you look around.

The reason for this post is that I searched for over an hour on the internet to find out why I couldn’t record using the timer. To save others some grief, I thought I’d put up the solution, which was simple once I realised it was there.

- Timer Service. There is a selection of Channel or Record. Change to record. Otherwise, the system just turns itself on and you can watch the broadcast. The Channel option is handy if you’re watching something to fill in time and just want to switch to a program you really want to watch. NOT so good for recording.

So the steps are:

  1. EPG
  2. Pick the channel where the program will appear
  3. Arrow through until you find the program on the listings
  4. Press the green button to open the timer
  5. choose if this is once or daily with the arrows
  6. **set the timer service to RECORD**
  7. If your stations tend to run over the appointed times, adjust the start/end time for the recording so you don’t miss the ending (happens to me ALL the time)
  8. Save

I am recording my first timed session right now on an 8Gb memory stick. I want to find out how much data space 1 hour of recording takes up before I go buy any more memory.

Hope this does others some good if you get a ‘hand me down’ gadget. Otherwise, it’s pretty straightforward using the manual for set-up. Even the menus are relatively fine without the manual.

New project – On A Life’s …

It’s nearly time for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) – November 2014. I’m chomping at the bit to get started, taking notes, thinking about —– Shawna Charity and what happens next to her after On A Life’s Edge.

[Spoiler alert -- if you haven't read the book, you may want to stop now, go get a copy, read it and come back later.]

Continue reading

Cover of Lost Anchors

Lost Anchors — It’s live on Amazon

It’s here!

Dead or alive? Michael’s missing — in the middle of Melbourne. Julia is hysterical. Michelle just wants Daddy. Can psychiatrist Sadhu Singh and Detective Taylor Franke find him?

Lost Anchors, by JJ KirstenCover of Lost Anchors
(pen name for JL Whitaker, Taran Roberts, and Justus H Lewis PhD)

In Kindle and Print. Samples available.

If you read, please leave a review at your retailer. Tell your friends!

It’s Almost Ready… Lost Anchors, by JJ Kirsten

I’ve spent the past week pulling all the pieces together for Lost Anchors. The cover is done, the proofing is done, and the ISBN is assigned, so there’s no backing out now.

Counting down to the release date. I’m excited!!

Cover of Lost AnchorsOn a drizzly, windy, winter day, Julia Stewart loses someone in the middle of Melbourne – her banker husband, Michael Stewart. Or has she? In a desperate phone call to her long-time counsellor, psychiatrist Dr. Sadhu Singh, Julia pleads for help. When Julia reports her fears to the police, Detective Taylor Franke joins the hunt for the missing Michael.

As far as family friends and Michael’s co-workers know, the relationship has been a relatively happy one, raising daughter Michelle, spending time sailing, planning a trip to visit Michael’s family in Scotland. Of course, there was Julia’s breakdown a few years earlier, as well as Michael’s mysterious ‘men’s business’ meetings upstairs at The Anchor Cafe, his long unexplained mid-week lunches, and the stash of unlikely garments locked in his office file cabinet. Could he have run off with Michelle’s trust account? Did he have a lover? What about the refuelled family boat in the harbour? No one in their circle has seen him for a week. That doesn’t match Julia’s fuzzy stories – at all.

Over the course of the next five days, Dr. Singh and Detective Franke work to answer the question Julia needs them to answer: Where’s Michael? What they eventually find, they could not have imagined.

Next book coming soon — Lost Anchors

Lost Anchors

by JJ Kirsten

NOAA Ocean Explorer: NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer: Gulf of Mexico

(Coming soon)

I’ve been putting the final touches on a new book, and I’m excited for a number of reasons. I hope you will be, too.

Lost Anchors is a mystery, but not your normal run of the mill mystery where someone is killed at the outset and the rest of the time police run around accusing people of being the culprit only to find it was the second person they interviewed who really knocked the guy off. I’m sure we’ve all played that game, taking bets on who in the first few scenes ‘did it’.

Lost Anchors is a missing person mystery. Our central character, Julia Stewart, has mislaid her husband in the middle of Melbourne Australia, a city of over three and a half million people, on a winter Friday afternoon. Julia is distraught and turns to her friend and psychiatrist, Dr. Sadhu Singh, to help her cope and to find the missing Michael. Then there’s Detective Taylor Franke, a crusty middle-aged divorced copper, who knew Julia from an earlier time, when her parents were killed in a train crossing accident. Franke gets drawn into Julia’s current problems and sets off to find out what has happened to Mr. Stewart, while Dr. Singh tries to keep Julia from diving off the deep end. Has he scarpered on the family yacht with his dominatrix? Is he really a dodgy investment banker who is stealing from his clients? Or is there something darker in this couple’s past that has come to a head?

I’ve enjoyed working on this project, in its beginning stages and now in preparing it to see the light of day. Here’s why.

This book was a co-writing project with two other extraordinary women – Taran Roberts and Dr. Justus Lewis, hence the pen name, JJ Kirsten. Continue reading

New Blog, New Content, New Books, New Life!

If you have just clicked on the janwhitaker.com link and expected to see my prior life in IT consulting, welcome to my new blog.

Life is all about change. And so it is for me. I’ve pretty much hung up my IT workboots, except for volunteering with a local Berwick Computer Club, and am focusing my efforts on writing.

I’ve published my first novel, On A Life’s Edge, available from many online bookstores (by JL Whitaker). More books to come over the coming months. More blog posts about that coming, too. coverthumbnailOALE

Another addition to my social media life is Twitter – JL_Whitaker. I’m still looking for a Tweet widget for this blog. If you read something interesting here that you feel the rest of the Twitterworld might appreciate, feel free to Tweet away. I will also connect up as many of my posting places as possible, too, including my Amazon Author page.

I will be posting here about a range of interests: my writing activities, interesting things I find on the net, politics, privacy, computers and technology, and what ever grabs my fancy on the day. I’ve even been known to put up some of my art from time to time, hence the name of this blog: JL Whitaker Creations.

If you have a comment to make, don’t be shy. If you’re a reader of my stuff, either published or here, jump in. Tell me what you think. Ideas for what a character might do next? Let me know!

Thanks for reading!