The Venusian Gambit – Advance Reading Copy

Front Cover The Venusian Gambit by Michael J Martinez.  That's an actual printed red dot, not a sticker
Front Cover: The Venusian Gambit by Michael J Martinez. That’s an actual printed red dot, not a sticker
Haha! I are being an Advance reader! I knew that 600 SAT Verbal counted for sumtin.

Ok, I keed, I keed.

Through the generosity of author extraordinaire, Michael J. Martinez; myself and Margo-Lea Hurwicz each won an Advance Reading Copy of his upcoming novel, The Venusian Gambit, complete with autograph 😀 .

The Venusian Gambit by Michael J Martinez, complete with autograph
The Venusian Gambit by Michael J Martinez, complete with autograph 😀

Gambit represents the third and final chapter of the Daedalus series which chronicles the intertwined cross-dimensional adventures of Thomas Weatherby of His Majesty’s 18th/19th century Royal Navy and Shaila Jain of the 22nd century Joint Space Command.

The completed version hits shelves on May 5, 2015!

Back cover, The Venusian Gambit by Michael J Martinez
Back cover: The Venusian Gambit by Michael J Martinez

Working Split Screen in Scrivener

I searched around the net for an answer to this one.
I wanted to rewrite a chapter while looking at it, but without changing it.

What? Speak English man.

Basically I wanted to follow along on my old chapter while rewriting the new one.

Working Split Screen in Scrivener
Working Split Screen in Scrivener

If you ever tried to rewrite as you go you know that keeping track of your thoughts gets logarithmically more difficult after the first three sentences are rewritten.
This way I could go split screen and keep the old chapter in front of me (without printing out a copy).
Just hit the Split Screen graphic in the upper right of the active window n’est-ce pas?

Sort of. You end up with two screens of the current chapter. The moment you change something in the right window it shows up on the left window.

That’s when I took to the net. But the answers were wordier than this is getting to be.

The solution is simple.

Duplicate your chapter and rename it by adding OLD to the name.
Just right-click on the chapter, Duplicate, and presto, same chapter. But to Scrivener it is different.
Go back to your split screen. The active window has the chapter name underlined. Click on the title bar of your left window, go down your left hand chapter list and click a chapter. You’ll see the ACTIVE window change to the new chapter, while the other one remains on the other chapter.

That’s it. Click the title bar of the window, go over and click your chapter, click the OTHER window title bar, click the OTHER chapter.

‘Chapter’ and ‘Chapter OLD’ are now next to each other. 😀

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Essentials for your laptop bag

I have three basic groups I carry in my laptop bag; aka My Writing Kit:

Dell 3531 Laptop in its cocoon
Dell 3531 Laptop in its cocoon

1. Computer Group.
The laptop, THIS ONE, and the wall charger. I do plan on adding a spare battery.

2. File Group.
Literally files and perhaps a notebook.

3. Goodies Group.
This is the group we’ll focus on here.

So what does the well stocked laptop bag hold within it’s Goodies Group?
The Comfort Kit.
The Charger Kit.
The Food and Drink Kit.

In the Comfort Kit we have:
* Flents ear plugs, purple. 33db noise reduction on these babies.
* One of those thin fleece caps, for those really cold coffee shops lol. A regular baseball cap should hold in enough heat.
* Nose drops, Afrin regular. Much better than desiccating yourself with allergy pills or the like.
* Pack of tissues.
* Headphones. I just have the latest Apple earbuds and figured out how to (re)pack them in that case they come in.
* First Aid kit. Just a little pocket one which has Ibuprofen and a band-aid. Basically one of THESE, plus one or two Alka-Seltzer Plus in Citrus. I think the Cold and Cough version. I just use it in case of over-eating lol.
* A new blush brush. Yep, you read that right. I use it to clean off the keyboard and the screen.
* A Swiss Army Knife, like the Classic, is useful. Jut remember it’s there when flying. I have a SAK Bantam on my keychain.

The Charger Kit:
* Laptop charger
* Portable battery pack with USB out, at least 1 amp. I still have an Eneloop KBC-L2 pack rated at 5,000mAH. It’s roughly the size of a deck of cards.
* USB cable for iPhone
* Wall charger for iPhone. Naturally it will charge through any USB cable.

The Food and Drink Kit:
Just one or two 16oz water bottle and one or two food bars or Snickers. I also sometimes use a 16oz Pilot’s Flask since they are flat-ish and easier to pack.

It all fits into a Targus laptop bag most similar to THIS ONE. This is the only bag I have right now that accommodates this laptop (the Dell is a full 15 inches wide) and as you can see the interior pockets are empty. I don’t want anything to scratch up the laptop or crack the lid.

Not the perfect bag which is why I’m looking at the Netpack Comp Brief I and the Solo Urban 17 😀

Front flap stuff (and things) in the laptop bag
Front flap stuff (and things) in the laptop bag

Some of the laptop bag  goodies laid out
Some of the laptop bag goodies laid out

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Four tips to get your writing done at Starbucks

My Dell 3531 laptop pulling it's weight at Starbucks
My Dell 3531 laptop pulling it’s weight at Starbucks

Items Needed:

1. The right Starbucks
(or, of course, similar coffee shop)

2. Writing tool
(laptop, tablet, perhaps with external keyboard, maybe a phone, which I’ve done)

3. Earplugs
(or headphones, we’ll touch on that)

4. Internet connection

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1. The right Starbucks
What you’re looking for is a location that has a big table. For example, the Starbucks at 8442 SW 8th St, 33144 has three options: the big high school lunchroom type table, the glorified TV dinner tray tables in the back, and the single seat sofa seats with small end tables around them.

The big table is where you can lay stuff out, and still not bother those around you.

Another Starbucks nearby, on US1, has the same three options. Their table is raised up high and you sit on bar stools. Also works great.

2. Writing tool
I use a laptop. Make sure you get one with long battery life, or, at least, four hours. I got myself a Dell (Dell 3531 Review). For a while I used an iPad Mini while sitting in one of the sofa seats. Doable, but a keyboard separate from a screen is moh bettah.
Same with handwriting, better on a table surface.

3. Earplugs
I use the purple Flents plugs from Walmart, the big tub, about 40 pairs. They are 33db nose reduction and the exact thing I use when competition shooting. Unobtrusive and they allow for a proper cheekweld. Since I have them I use them in the coffee shop.
Every Starbucks, every coffee shop I’ve been to in fact, has music going about two steps louder than necessary. Plus there’s that milk steamer, WRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAGGGGHHHHHHH, going off.
Earbud headphones don’t provide the isolation you need, plus there you are listening to something anyway.
If you’re going to do headphones, get the over-the-ear noise-cancellation type and then you can listen to your stuff at low level and still drown out the surrounding noise.

4. Internet connection
Yes, I put this last. You’re here to write after all. But it’s nice to have the option. Every Starbucks I’ve been to has free wifi. It’s just enough speed to look stuff up, do a quick tweet, write online directly (such as for a blog) and work from an online copy of your stuff.
I use dropbox and I’m currently transitioning to OneDrive. Either one will allow you to work offline. Just make sure you synced first when you did have internet. With Windows 8, and probably Windows 10, make sure you set OneDrive to allow you to Use Files Offline. OneDrive is automatically set that way with Windows 7.
Even so I make sure my phone has the hot spot option (or get one of those dedicated hot spot pucks). In my case I have an iPhone 6 Plus that handles the hot spot option, if necessary.

Two Bonus Tips
* Use ONLY enough bag to carry your stuff. Anything larger only encourages you to carry MORE than you need.

* Have some goodies with you.
Examples include:
* An extra (charged *cough*) laptop battery. I also carry the wall charger thing but I don’t count on an outlet being available.
* A battery pack with 1Amp USB out for your phone along with the appropriate USB charging cable.
* A Swiss Army knife. Get the model with the toothpick and the tweezers. That’s nearly every one of them. I use a Bantam on my keychain. A good all around one is the Classic and then there are the models with the Philips screwdriver. Just remember it’s there when flying lol.
* A water bottle (I use a 16oz pilot’s flask because it is flat). Just watch out when flying, the whole TSA thing again.
* A food bar (even Snickers will do).
* Nose drops. I use the plain Afrin. This way you don’t mummify yourself with pills.
* Tissue pack. Naturally you can use napkins, which I did a moment ago 😀
* A blush brush. WHAT?! Yep, a new, never used, blush brush. I use it to wipe off the keyboard and the screen. I have one that came in a snap sleeve. What can I say, I’m a practical man. I also buy those wooden sticks chicks use for their nails. They make great gun cleaning tools, to get into the nooks and crannies. 😀
* A hat. Sometimes these coffee shops, in addition to having the music too loud, have the A/C too cold. It’s a business after all, they want churn. (ok, alright, it’s all relative)
Since so much heat escapes from your head you can offset this business practice and focus on your writing. A baseball cap will do (it’s not Arctic cold lol) or one of those thin fleece caps.

Of course, you can just get another hot beverage 😀
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