Thursday, January 31, 2008

The End of January

The first month of the year has come to a close! And I've been so busy working on tech docs, I hardly noticed. But, hey, if you're looking for some light reading, check out my nearly 400 page User Manual for Kepler.

In other news, I selected some author shots, which I hope to get back from the photographer tomorrow in time for my deadline. I'm using one of the pictures on my web site bio--or rather, I will be using one as soon as I update the site. It was taken in my house.

Also, I learned that 38 is old for a writer coming out with a first novel. At least, so says the former editor of the New York Times Book Review.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Rain and fog

The good news is: I put up my website!

I also hired a photographer to take some author pics today, and then rescheduled the shoot for tomorrow since it's raining and cold here in SF, and we'd planned to take the photos in Golden Gate Park. New expenses to add to the publicity budget so far: hair and makeup ($70 for the hair, and $60 for makeup, which I don't wear. In fact, I put myself at the mercy of the Clinique people--a gaggle of well made up folks who wear white lab coats to provide the comfortable familiarity of a doctor's office as they apply foundation, lipstick, and mascara--for guidance (foundation, application technologies, and "natural" colors). I suppose it's only fitting that the entire investment got bedraggled on my pre-cancel-the-photo-shoot-trip up to the park; it isn't really what I look like anyway. Oh, yes. And I also bought a new shirt: $50 for a navy blue tunic that I decided was appropriate for the photos since it (a) is a solid color (b) has classical lines, and (c) fits.

That's the news here. Hope you're all warm and dry.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Foul breath?

History may repeat itself, but the tools of the times tend to change: Scientific American recently published an article about electronic noses that can "sniff out" disease, just like medical practitioners of old! Using a state-of-the-art nose, doctors can identify lung cancer, pneumonia, urine infections and more...

From the article in Scientific American:

Though the technology [electronic nose] was originally designed for other tasks, such as sniffing out chemical leaks or detecting food spoilage, research is increasingly revealing its diagnostic potential. Physicians can effectively identify potential lung cancer patients, for instance, by "smelling" their breath.

Wow! What does the e-nose look like? Some images, thanks to the internet:


(from the Electronic Nose Project)


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Let's hear it for progress!

Week one of my promotional efforts has nearly come to a close! I made another purchase: a one-year subscription to for $19.95. Finding such a great brain repository was well worth the expense. I'd much rather pay a little than spend a day searching for free clipart online.

In other news, I've nearly finished the beta version of my website. It's pretty straightforward, but I think it better to put up something simple than to putter away on a site for weeks instead of writing fiction. I decided to use Google Groups for the mailing list, and have played around with that a little bit with the hopes that I'll iron out any kinks before anyone other than me and my husband join. I also figured out how to set up email for my new domains and how to FTP to them. The GoDaddy site is hard to navigate at first, but I think I have things working. Will see if the email bounces.

And finally, I submitted an application to be an author on, a new site for writers. I'll hear in a few weeks if I qualify. The site looks interesting and was recently written up in the SF Chronicle.

Monday, January 7, 2008

January 2008: The Beginning

Happy New Year!

2008 is the year Dr. Olaf van Schuler's Brain is coming out, and I'm starting to prepare. According to Author 101 Bestselling Book Publicity, writing the book is five percent of the work and publicizing it is ninety-five percent. Though I question those numbers (I spent the last six years writing Dr. Olaf), I believe that the publicity effort requires some, well, effort. And today, I have officially begun.

I decided to kick things off with a new web site. It's not up yet, but I made tremendous progress by (1) starting out with a pre-existing template from AllWebCo Design Corporation and (2) registering and hosting my domains with (rather than fussing with "free" hosting from a friend). I have no affiliation with either of these companies--they just seemed like the best options based on my research, so I thought I'd share. The total cost of today's efforts came to about three hundred dollars. Here's how that breaks down:

Template: $85
Hosting (one year): $75.46
Domain Names: $134.26

Yup. Domain names were my biggest expense. This is the problem with unruly names like mine (and my book's). I registered:

Of course, also recommended that I register .org, .net, .etc etc etc for each domain, to protect my "brand," but I stuck with the .coms EXCEPT for WS? Yes, it may sound useless, but that's what I thought about ten years or so ago when I decided not to register it and now I regret that decision. So. it is.

I hope to get a site up soon. In the meantime, I'm just happy to look at the parking spot. If you have any great publicity ideas, or are publicizing a book and want to promote it here, please share!