Scrivener Features: Links

This afternoon when I was cleaning out my email (a never ending task), I ran across one I had marked to save because it had several links to web sites I was interested in reading. Rather than bury the list in my inbox, I thought I’d start a file for the topic, and rather than open yet another Word document, I opened a new text item in the Research folder of my Scrivener Miscellany project, where I stash blog posts and book reviews.  I had downloaded and saved a PDF file from one site, and I pasted the addresses of the other three sites into my new document. And that’s all I had—addresses, not links.

Being inherently lazy, I wanted links, not addresses that I’d have to cut and paste (again) into my browser. I knew this was possible in Scrivener, but I didn’t know how to do it. I tried right-clicking on an URL; that brought up a menu of formatting options, including “Scrivener link,” but I didn’t want to connect to anything within my Scrivener project. I wanted the outside world, or at least my computer files and on line sites.

So I went poking through menus and found what I wanted under Edit/Link. That brought up this little box:

Link 2

When I cut and pasted the URL I wanted to save into the box and hit “okay,” I had my working link.

To link to the PDF file I had saved to my computer, I opened the link box, changed the source to “file” and dragged the file name into it.

Link

Now I can build my own catalog of references, each accessible with a click of my mouse.

The latest update of Scrivener for Windows was released last month. I printed out the Refinements and Changes notes, but I haven’t begun to scratch the surface. Scrivener Ace Gwen Hernandez has posted an overview of the new release here, along with scads of useful information on the program.

Recent Reading

I sat down this evening to write this post and found myself wandering off into an entirely different article.  That one’s not finished yet, but I’m back here for my occasional report of what I’ve been reading.  This morning I made the mistake of opening the Kindle App on my computer, and found myself staring at the vast array of books that I have downloaded, most of which I have not yet had time to read.  I’m not sure of the experience is discouraging, embarrassing, or just overwhelming.  (It doesn’t stop me from downloading more books, of course.  A few days ago I went on a minor binge and downloaded Blind Fury by Gwen Hernandez, Withholding Evidence by Rachel Grant, and Writing Your Novel From the Middle by James Scott Bell.)

For the last few months I’ve only been working three or occasionally four days a week, and friends have asked if I’ve been catching up on my reading.  Alas, so far the answer appears to be No.  I haven’t been writing as much as I’d like, either.  I have, however, been getting a lot more sleep.

But I’ve managed a few books so far this year, and I’m reading three more as I write this (possibly having three books going at once isn’t the best habit, but I seem to be stuck with it.

Grave DangerGrave Danger is an excellent romantic suspense novel by Rachel Grant.  I particularly enjoy Rachel’s books because, like me, she has a background in contract archeology.  (We even went to the same school, Florida State University, although I was there mumble mumble decades earlier.)  In Grave Danger, archeologist  Libby Maitland has landed a great contract in a small town in the Pacific Northwest.  She can deal with the usual problems of the business, keeping the crew at work and the clients happy, but she’s got serious trouble this time: a burial where there shouldn’t be a burial, and a stalker no one else, especially not Police Chief Mark Colby, believes in.  Libby’s been stalked before, but is this the same man, or has she become entangled in something far bigger than a simple excavation project?  Grave Danger kept me turning the pages (or rather pressing the button on my Kindle) in search of the answers.

Bride of the Rat God, by Barbara Hambly, was as enjoyable this time around on my Kindle as it was when I first read it in Bride of the Rat Godpaperback twenty years ago (something I didn’t remember when I snagged it from the Kindle Daily Deal offerings recently).  It does eventually live up to its rather lurid title, with a cursed necklace, a Chinese wizard, and a powerful demon, but it is also a fascinating picture of Hollywood in the 1920s, when movies were silent, parties were noisy, and Chinatown was a mystery.  Not to mention the three gallant Pekingese dogs who help fight the demon.  Bride of the Rat God is full of eccentric but believable movie folk, silent movie production, and thoroughly spooky suspense.  There’s even a romance.

I even got around to updating the software on my Kindle this morning.  Good thing those files don’t weigh anything.  The  App on my computer says I have 214 items on my Kindle.  That’s kind of scary.

Weekend With Writers

I’m afraid I’ve been neglecting my blog lately.  We’ve been very busy at the Scorekeeper, and I’ve been judging Golden Heart entries and keeping up with Gwen Hernandez’ excellent Scrivener class.  I don’t seem to have much time or energy left over.

I didn’t catch up on much this weekend–my grocery shopping and laundry remain undone, I’m behind on email and the rest of my Internet activity–because Jo Anne and I drove to Shreveport on Friday to attend the NOLA Stars RWA chapter’s Written in the Stars Conference.  We went because Jo Anne’s manuscript was a finalist in their annual Suzannah contest, and because we have friends in the Shreveport chapter.  RWA is a close-knit world.

The weather was beautiful, cool and sunny, and the roads were clear.  The only problem we had with the trip to Shreveport came when we got off Interstate 20 on the west side of the city to discover that Google maps is behind on updating street names.  The left turn on our driving instructions simply didn’t exist.  We had to call the hotel to ask for directions.  “What can you see?” the desk clerk asked.  “Wendy’s on the right and an Exxon station on the left,” I replied.  “Turn left at the Exxon station and keep driving until you see our sign,” she said, and that worked just fine.

The conference opened Friday evening with a panel of editors and one agent, a Q&A session on industry trends, the editors’ individual interests, and some funny (and valuable) advice on what doesn’t work for them.  Electronic publishing, whether through an established New York publisher, a smaller/newer press, or done independently on line continues to be a topic of major interest to both writers and editors.  After the panel, the members of the North Louisiana chapter really outdid themselves with a buffet supper, featuring local recipes from their own kitchens.  The crawfish pasta was to die for.

Saturday was a mix of workshops, editor/agent appointments, and visiting with fellow writers.  I missed some workshops I would have loved to see because of appointments, but I did enjoy Sarah Hamer’s presentation, “Intimacy: Not Just Sex,” Liliana Hart on “The Indie Revolution,” and the full-time hard work that has gone into her publishing success, Liz Talley on “New Twists on Old Plots,” and Christa Allan on social media (more on that topic another evening).

One of the best aspects of an intimate writers’ conference like this one is the opportunity to see old friends and make new ones.  The conference attracted writers, most but not all of them women, from Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, as well as Louisiana.  I was delighted to find fellow Firebird Pamela Kopfler there–she and a friend drove up from New Orleans via a computer generated route she described as “the theme from Deliverance played Zydeco style.”   A charming expatriate Englishwoman named Mavis, who decided it was time to write a novel when she turned 80, wasn’t the only lady there who reminded me that it’s never too late to try something new.

I also met the wonderfully witty Barbara Vey, an out-spoken and often hilarious lover of books in general and romance in particular, who blogs on the Publisher’s Weekly site.  I had a ball visiting with her, and I’ll be following her blog, Beyond Her Book.

It was about 40 degrees in when we left Shreveport at 11 AM this morning, and about 70 when we rolled into Houston this afternoon.  This is Texas: if you don’t like the weather, wait an hour or drive fifty miles.  It was a lovely day and a fun road trip (especially the stop at the Catfish King restaurant in Livingston), but now I have Friday’s Scrivener lesson to do so I don’t fall behind, and one more contest entry to judge.  I stopped for milk and produce (and one more box of Girl Scout cookies–those little sales women are hard to resist) on the way home, but there’s no telling when the laundry will get done.

 

Reading, Writing and Watching

Reading:  If you stop by here from time to time, you’ve probably heard me complain about my lack of reading time.  Nothing’s changed.  I still buy books faster than I can read them.  But I keep at it, and recently I finished reading Lowcountry Boil, a delightful mystery by my friend and Firebird sister Susan M. Boyer.  The heroine, Liz Talbot, is a very modern P.I. who returns to her family home on South Carolina island Stella Maris to invesitgate her grandmother’s untimely death.  Her pursuit of the truth is complicated by a parade of family members and friends, an ex-flame and an ex-husband, a devious cousin and the ghost of Liz’s high school BFF.  It’s no surprise that this Golden Heart finalist made it to publication so quickly.  I recommend it enthusiastically.

Lowcountry Boil introduced me to Henery Press, a new publisher in Dallas, specializing in mystery and suspense fiction, much of it in the cozy/humorous vein I enjoy.  On Susan’s recommendation, I ordered another book, Portrait of a Dead Guy by Larissa Reinhart, which was a finalist in my own West Houston RWA chapter’s Emily contest last year.  That one’s waiting at the top of my priority To Be Read stack.  And isn’t the cover art on these books wonderful?  Stop by the Henery Press site to see more; the books are available as e-books or trade paperbacks.

Writing:  My One Hundred Words a Day loop is jumping again, with quite a few of us back on track, and even trying for 250 words a day.  I’m hard at work on my new Jinn story, and I’ve fired up my enthusiasm with a new piece of software for witers, Scrivener.  I had pangs of envy when Scrivener was a Mac only program, but a few months ago the Windows version was released, so I decided to try it out with a manuscript that was barely started, and therefore easily switched into a new file.  I had files relating to Bathtub Jinn in Word, Action Outline, Excel, and OneNote; Scrivener stores everything, including research, pictures, note cards, an outline, and no doubt things I haven’t discovered yet in one file.  It’s a large, complex program, so I did what I normally do:  I bought books.  Two of them, in fact (although Scrivener does come with a very good tutorial and a pdf manual), Writing a Novel with Scrivener by David Hewson and Scrivener for Dummies by Gwen Hernandez.  I’m just getting started with Scrivener, but so far I’m very impressed.  You can try it before you buy it, and it only costs $40.  (What would I have given for a program like this when I was in grad school?   I couldn’t have imagined it.  When I was in grad school computers were programmed with punch cards, and I wrote all my papers with index cards and carbon paper on a portable electric Smith-Corona typewriter.)

Watching:  I’ve tried to get excited about Revolution, I really have.  I love the premise.  I’m a sucker for abandoned amusement parks and disintegrating freeways.  Rebuilding civilization–or sliding back into the dark ages–has always been a favorite theme.  But I find myself watching the show on DVR or On Demand, when I get around to it.  When it’s actually on, I’m watching Castle.  I think, once again, that it boils down to characters.  As much as I like the premise of the show, the characters haven’t grabbed me and refused to let go.  But this week’s episode is on again Saturday evening, and I’ll give it at least one more shot then.

This evening I’ve been watching/listening to a show I recently discovered on the Travel Channel: Mysteries at the Museum.  Very enjoyable for a history/artifact buff like me.  I’ve started watching the schedule and recording episodes.  One of these days I’m going to find the beginning of a good story on that show.