Blogging Tools, iPads, iPhones, Reading, Writing

E-readers vs. Printed Books

Yes, Virginia, there is a difference

Make no mistake: I love my E-readers. All three of them. I have an iPhone, an iPad, and an Amazon Fire Tablet.Between them I have a library of over 3,000 books. I devour books the way children devour ice cream and cake at birthday parties.But my living space?—and therefore my storage space?—is limited to a single room. Ergo, E-books and E-readers.

Vive le différence?

But lately I’ve discovered a problem, and it has to do with the differences between reading a printed book and an E-book.

When I’m reading a printed book, I can spend hours in my comfortable chair, only stirring to brew a fresh cup of tea or, as a result thereof, heading into the loo to download the same.

I love the smell of printed pages. I love the feel. And I especially love the ability to leaf back to earlier pages to see if I missed something.


I also love being able to carry my entire library in my purse. I love being able to conduct research whilst riding on the bus. And I love being able to finally finish my latest who-done-it sitting in the waiting area of my doctor’s office.

But but but…

Lately I’m finding that reading a mystery, a science text, or any kind of book at all on my iPhone gives me headaches.

My iPod is better, but here’s the really big thing: it’s exhausting to read my E-books. Where I can tear through five or six chapters of the printed page, I can barely get through a half of a chapter of an E-book.

And that’s strange, because I always adjust the text size on my E-readers so that it’s larger than it is on the printed page.

Does it have something to do with the fact that the printed word is reflected into my eyes, while E-text is beamed into them? But even that is questionable: I have no problem bingeing on Netflix for hours at a time.

And I can spend more than half a chapter’s worth of time composing a story for Medium on my iPhone.

It’s a mystery

One that may well fall under the rubric of religion: “There are some mysteries man was not meant to solve.”

But like young Jim Hawkins, I won’t rest until I’ve found the secret treasure. Perhaps then the mystery may be resolved.

NOTE: I’m sure there’s already a scientific or medical answer that I can easily find. But when have any of us let facts get in the way of a good story?

Originally published on

Bigotry, Rants, Revolution, transgender

I’m Rightly Pissed Off

And here’s why:

Donald Trump, in his eternal ass-licking of the fascist Evangelical Christian movement, seeks to deny my existence. Not content with stripping minorities of their civil rights, he is now attempting to define me out of existence.

What next? Is he going to round us up and put us in ghettoes, as the Nazis did in the 1930s and ‘40s? Or maybe the same detention facilities concentration camps he’s using to house immigrant children?

People have been saying for years that “it can’t happen here.” But it is happening here, and has been, ever since the Great Pumpkin (aka Trumplethinskin) and his cronies stole the election with the help of Russia.

Trump wasn’t elected: he was Putin office.

Who’s next? Atheists? Gays and lesbians? Minority races? And even “minority races” is a joke, since collectively they outnumber the so-called White majority.

I’m so angry right now that I have to save this as a draft and walk away until I can think more clearly.

Much Later

The news keeps getting worse. With the Rethuglican party firmly in control of the Senate, it’s probably going to sanction these new policies. And since they’ve managed to stack the deck in their favor on the Supreme Court, any legal challenges to these unconstitutional policies will also be denied, even the the Constitution plainly states in Article 14:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

I’m pretty sure that denying people their civil rights by executive dictatorial decree does not constitute “due process,” but I could be wrong. After all, I’m no lawyer: my parents preferred that I pursue an honest career instead.

But it Ain’t Over ‘til it’s Over

As a wise man once said. Perhaps this latest indignity will wake up the sleeping masses and fire them with sufficient zeal to overturn this dictatorship.

But I doubt it. Most likely they’ll just go back to Netflix & Chill.

Medium, Writing, Writing Tools

I write on Medium. Maybe you should, too.

WordPress is great for blogging, but it has limited visibility

Let’s be honest: blogging—even on WordPress—is a labor of love. Many of us pour out our hearts and souls only to receive comments that far too often are actually adds for products. It’s a rare day when I receive helpful comments.

Not so on Medium

I’m doing more and more of my serious writing on Medium. Don’t know what it is? Here’s how Medium bills itself:

Ideas and perspectives you won’t find anywhere else.
Medium taps into the brains of the world’s most insightful writers, thinkers, and storytellers to bring you the smartest takes on topics that matter. So whatever your interest, you can always find fresh thinking and unique perspectives.

The stories—that’s what Medium calls whatever you publish there—that I’ve written have received positive responses and replies. This is truly a supportive community by, of, and for writers. It doesn’t matter if you’re a rank beginner or a seasoned pro: you’re welcome here.

It’s free to join

Basic membership is free, but there’s also a premium membership level for $5 a month. The basic membership allows you complete access to stories, but restricts the number of stories marked “members-only” each month.

In addition, paid membership allows you to join the Medium Partners program, which gives you a chance to earn money on your stories. Oh, I’m not getting rich, but at least my stories earn enough to pay my membership fees.

There are also major commercial publications on Medium, and I’ve known authors whose stories have been picked up by the New York Times, and who have been paid the proverbial Big Buck$ for them.

So give it a try

Maybe you’ll like it, maybe you won’t. But what self-respecting writer would ever turn down an opportunity to put her stories in front of a larger audience?

NaNoWriMo, Novels, Writing

It’s That Time Again!


Autumn is upon us, and most serious writers know what that means: It’s time for NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month.

If you haven’t heard of it, it begins in November every year. The goal is to write a novel (at least 50,000 words) in a single month. But don’t wait until November: sign up now to start getting tips, hints, and ideas before then.

It’s ironic that it’s called National Novel Writing Month, since it’s open to people all over the world.

This is my third year for NaNoWriMo, and this time I’m determined to complete a novel—something I’ve yet to do.

That’s the thing about the program: it encourages you to write, but doesn’t nag you about it. And if you don’t complete your book in the time allotted for it, nobody’s going to call you out on it. Some people—like me—take longer to write their stories. But even if you can’t complete it, at least you’ve made a start, and you can continue long after the challenge is over.

If you do finish your novel—either during the month or after—you’ll have the satisfaction that you’ve written a book!  It might not be the next Great American Novel, but at least you wrote it.

And that’s more than most people do.

Blogging Tools, IA Writer, Ulysses, Writing Tools

IA Writer

My Latest Writing/Blogging tool

OK, I admit it: I’m a hoarder. I collection software and apps. I can trace this habit (obsession?) to my earliest computing days, when I absolutely had to have every free bit of software written for the CP/M operating system. Eventually that transferred into MS-DOS and later still to Windows.

And then came iPhones and iPads. iOS tested my limits; no longer could I collect hundreds of apps for the simple reason that memory (storage space) is limited on these devices.

The REAL Problem

I write. A lot. Blogs, short stories, op-ed pieces, you name it, I’ve probably written it. And so I’m always on the lookout for The Ultimate Editor. I thought I had found it in Ulysses, but it didn’t really match my style (*read*: “idiosyncrasies”).

Finally biting the bullet, I bought IA Writer. Unlike Ulysses, it also comes with a desktop version for Windows which, for me, is an absolute requirement.

Like Ulysses, IA Writer uses Markdown for formatting. And like Ulysses, there’s a built-in Markdown keyboard, so unless you’re creating something with graphs or other advanced formatting, you don’t have to worry about memorizing a lot of codes and formatting marks.

How I Use It

The iPhone

I usually do my initial writing on my iPhone. My phone is always with me, and I can take advantage of stolen moments in the doctor’s waiting room, sitting at the bus stop, or any other one of a dozen opportunities to write. An obsession? Absolutely. But it beats the hell out of a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, right?

The iPad

My next choice is my iPad. It’s perfect for days like today, when it’s 86 degrees out and the humidity is close to 70%. Normally, I’d be sitting in my Lonely Writer’s Garrett(tm) working away on my laptop, but on days like this, you’ll find me downstairs (where it’s always at least 10 degrees cooler), sitting in an easy chair, and writing on my iPad.

My Laptop

Finally, there’s my laptop. I have yet to figure out how to add a spell check to the iPad and iPhone, but the desktop versions makes use of Windows’ built-in spell checker. It also makes it easy to add pictures, etc. to whatever I’m working on.
So why not simply move the laptop downstairs? Because it’s too inconvenient. It would require detaching both the external hard drive and the external CD/DVD drive. That, in turn, would involve crawling around under my desk. It’s simply too much trouble.

So the iPad it is.


Syncing across all three devices is seamless. Changes are saved automagically, and since everything is saved to the Cloud, I have immediate access anywhere I have an internet connection.


IA Writer not only saves to the Cloud, but with a little tweaking, it will publish directly to Medium and WordPress.

But that’s for another day. Right now, I’m going to save this article and later, after the temperature drops, I’ll finish it on the laptop before publishing it.

Maybe the predicted thunderstorms will cool things off a bit! At least one can always hope.

Evernote, My Writer's Toolbox, Writing Tools

Evernote: My Digital Filing Cabinet

I’ve been using Evernote® for a few years now, but it’s only been in the last 6 months that I’ve been using it daily.

Back in the olden days—defined as when I was writing or typing on paper—I always kept a copy of what I had written.

Each one had its own manila folder:


Each of these folders, in turn, resided in a hanging folder, grouped by subject:


Finally, they were all kept nice and safe and warm in a locked file cabinet:


Enter: The Digital Age!

I was employed as a secretary when I decided to return to uni and finish my BA in Liberal Arts. Our company had just switched from our aging Lexitron® word processors in favor of the IBM Displaywriter®.



IBM Displaywriter® (Scott Peterson photo)

I knew my major (English, with a minor in communications) would require a lot of writing. I also remembered uni in the late ‘60s, where having to make a correction to a paper usually involved having to retype the entire thing. And I wasn’t going to sit still for that.

So I bought my first computer, a Kaypro 2X:

Kaypro 2X

Over the years as I became more technology-literate, I dispensed with paper output entirely. No more files, envelopes, or filing cabinets for this girl!

I began to look for a digital equivalent—assuming there even was one.

Evernote to the Rescue

That’s when I discovered Evernote. The program is structured exactly like a file cabinet, but with Notebooks instead of file folders:

My Evernote file structure

Everything–and I mean everything–of any importance that I write gets copied into Evernote. And Evernote’s files get backed up nightly to an external drive. Finally, once a month, my entire Evernote collection gets burned to a DVD for insurance against any possible catastrophes.

Evernote: the ultimate digital filing system. You should try it.

Blogging, Medium, Writing

This Vehicle Does Not Stop For Reavers

(NOTE: This is mostly a post about Medium, and why I do most of my publishing there. If you’re unfamiliar with Medium, I’ve written about it here, here, and here.)

“This Vehicle Does Not Stop For Reavers”

On gender non-conformity in the life space.

That was the bumper sticker on my friend David’s car when I first met him. I was already familiar with the word “reaver,” being a long-time Firefly and later Serenity fan.

But MY vehicle stops for gender. Or rather, it claps.

So long is it’s presented in a positive light, I’m going to give your story about gender at least 25 claps. And if you write positively about the Trans community, my community, you’re all but guaranteed 50 claps.

Hell, even if I don’t agree with you, I’ll probably give it at least 10 claps, just to make your story more visible. After all, isn’t Medium a public forum where, among other things, we can have (mostly) polite discussions about topics that interest us? And despite my father’s claim about there being 2 sides to every issue (“my side and the wrong side”), I try to keep an open mind. Indeed, there have been times I’ve actually changed my mind about an issue after reading a well-written, rational response to one of my stories.

I’m not afraid to admit when I’m wrong. As somebody famous but whose name I don’t recall once said, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” So I’m not interested in shutting down polite and well-reasoned discussion on Medium; it’s one of the things that attracted me in the first place, and why I stick around.

(I’ve reached my monthly limit on free stories; I had to downgrade my subscription this month because of a lack of funds, but as soon as I can afford it [or next month comes], I’ll be able to see your response, if any.)

That’s what I posted this morning on Medium; I’ll be following it up in further posts here.