Where to buy Traci Robison's books

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Buy Gates the Hours Keep at:

February 28, 2011

Remembrance for a good cat


Lily died yesterday.  Her absence I notice more keenly than I did her constant subtle presence.  She was not a cat who curled on laps.  She hid whenever company came.  But her independence was not the aloof and haughty kind of which cats are commonly accused.  Instead, she behaved like the best of old friends--sharing moments of affection and finding happiness also in solitude. She parceled her companionship, sidling up to my chair as I worked and standing prairie-dog style to rub her head against my hand.  Satisfied, she always sauntered just out of reach to watch me for awhile.  Every night she appeared a half hour before bedtime to stare at Jim and I and jump up on the couch for the passing attention she relished best.  When we rose to settle in, she would beat us down the hall and bed down on my husband's side.  Each morning she had shifted to snuggle alongside my legs.  I'd blame her for my hitting snooze too many times and linger to pet her soft head before diving into a day.

This morning I didn't want to open my eyes.  This morning I had no reason to linger in bed half-awake, all alone.

After six gray days, the sun shined today--brightness bursting through my unwashed windows.  If Lily were here, she would be basking in the swatches of sunlight.  I would stop to pet her on my way to re-fill my coffee cup.  She would roll on her back, her front legs stretched up in surrender, and she'd purr while I rubbed her furry chest.  Eyes half-closed, whiskers twitching, she'd share with me that contentedness she captures better than anyone in this home. 

Thirteen years we've shared our daily routines.  In her small, quiet way she filled empty moments and sunlit patches of carpet.  I miss her.

February 14, 2011

A Little Romance

A visual writing prompt for Valentine's Day:

 Some questions you might want to explore in your exercise:
  • Who are these people and what is their relationship?  
  • What are they thinking/feeling at this moment?
  • Where are they and why are they there?
  • Why are the streets empty?
  • Who is watching?  Why?

February 11, 2011

Scrivener for Windows

Scrivener, a software designed to help writers not only format but also generate content, was only available for Mac users when one of my writing buddies started using it last summer.  Reading her review and listening to her describe using the program, I had a twinge of software envy.  I have a PC.  I compose in Microsoft Word with my own formatting settings, and I use Microsoft OneNote for compiling outlines, character sketches, and research.

The software gods must have heard my prayers.  Scrivener released a beta for Windows, and although it doesn't have all the features of the most current Mac version,  the software is impressive.  Project templates are included for various types of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and scriptwriting as well as miscellaneous and blank templates.  I've been using the short story template and find myself using the text view more than the corkboard or outline views as I'm free-writing.  I anticipate using the other views more as I edit.

What I like most about the software:
  • Research, character and setting sketches, outlines--basically everything that goes into my story--can be kept together as a specific project.
  • Scenes can be described in notes, and it's easy to move the scenes around or simply exclude them from the final compilation.
  • The snapshot feature allows you to capture a version of the manuscript before you start making changes, so if you don't like what you've done during editing, you can go back to the un-mucked-up version.
  • The search feature makes it easy to find specific parts of the manuscript.
I wish I'd been using this software when I wrote my novels.  Editing would have been much easier.  So far the only thing I've had a problem with while working in Scrivener is eye fatigue.  My keyboard's zoom feature doesn't work with the program, and I haven't looked into how/whether I can enlarge the text without actually changing the font.  For now, I'm just taking it as a signal to step away from the screen and get a fresh cup of coffee or toss the rope bone for Sadie . . . maybe built in breaks are another of the things I like.

I've hardly touched upon the software's features.  For more information, take a look at this introductory video.