Tuesday, July 29, 2014

RWA 2014 Photos

Angie here: I took a few photos of my experience at RWA 2014. But less than normal. I had the honor of speaking at a workshop called Fit to be Tied to Your Desk (on how health, fitness, and nutrition are crucial to creativity & writing) and I shared special stretches/exercises/tips for people with desk jobs. No pics though because I was teaching. I didn't think to ask someone to  snap a few. Dang!
Narelle Atkins with Angie at the Faith, Hope, & Love meeting before RWA 2014 started. 
FHL meeting: Janet Dean, Missy Tippens, and Angie Breidenbach. 
At the Literacy Signing: Angie & Dorothy (Dotti) Adamek. 
RWA 2014 Literacy Signing donated $53,000 toward the support of literacy!
Margaret Daley & Angie at Literacy Signing. 

A friend posted this on Facebook and I downloaded it, a little blurry, but I'll keep it as a lovely memory :)

Lots happens all at once. The Beau Monde soirée was on the same night as the Literacy Signing. This is Laurie Alice Eakes in Regency costume and her Seeing Eye Dog, Nick. This RWA chapter teaches Regency dance at their event held inside the bigger conference! Very fun!
Angie & Laurie Alice (we were roomies and had a good time.)

Amazon had a presence in both workshops and a party for the authors. This is a rendition of traditional publishing...
And Amazon's rendition of Kindle, Create Space, ACX publishing. 
I tend to take notes differently now. I write a few, but I take photos of presenters slides so I can listen better. I missed the beginning of this workshop so another writer let me snap a pic of what I missed. Things go so fast that this habit has helped me immensely this year!

Lacy Williams taught Photoshop! Highlight for me because I needed the updated training for the full program I was given for Christmas.

Lunches and other meals were too short when not part of the package, but RWA is trying to help cut costs. Hotel catered meals are usually 2-3 times the expense of getting it on your own. The fun part is being able to connect on a more personal level with old and new friends. 
Carla Laureano, Angie, Shannon McNear, and Elizabeth Younts. We're at the San Antonio food court in the mall next door. 

The conference was super fast and busy. This is the first conference I've actually had to go lay down several times. But when you don't feel well, it's better to take care of yourself than push through. The workshops I did attend made a lot more sense because I took time to care for my migraine. It's frustrating when everything seems so important, but if you let yourself keep running down very little will stick anyway. So when attending an event like this, plan what is crucial and also plan a little down time. You can always do what I did and ask someone for a pic of their notes :) That's real life for real people. 

Also, buy the recordings of things you really want. A hint, the last year's recordings are often on sale later and closer to the next event. Or you can ask a friend to buy the heavily discounted recordings at the conference for you. 

RWA conference is over 2K people! It's pricey to travel, attend, and cover hotels. But though I haven't been in about 7 years, I'm glad I did this year. 

What ideas or thoughts stick out to you?
Have you attended a big event like this? 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Romance Writers of America Conference

Missy, here. I had the pleasure of spending time with a few of our bloggers at the Romance Writers of America conference this past week in San Antonio. It was so nice to see each other in person!

I thought I'd share a few of my photos. Later, maybe Angie will share the ones on her phone since my first one is a little blurry.

Here's one after a fun lunch at the beginning of the conference.

L to R: Lindi, Angie, Mindy, Missy

This is one from the awards ceremony Saturday night.

Missy, Mindy, Lindi

And here's one from the Harlequin party. We had so much fun! 

Mindy and Missy

Do any of you have friends online who you've had the fun of meeting in person?

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th of July!

We at the Faith Blog Wish you a Happy 4th!

Photo by Missy Tippens--JFK Museum, Boston

What are you doing to celebrate our amazing country?

Photo by Missy Tippens--JFK Museum, Boston

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

How to learn just about anything!

Angie here: For 3 days I've been trying to figure out how to minimize a file. It's an important file full of photos... for a book proposal. But it's heavy, heavy photos. The standard duplicate and minimize every photo would take weeks. There are a lot and that's a lot of hands-on photo work. Yikes!
Need a little energy to keep going?

I think even my #Muse was beginning to get a bit fatigued. He pulled out my energy drink more than once. I'd done old tricks to minimize photos. I'd searched for new tricks to minimize photos. I was still over 10MB too large and getting very frustrated that I couldn't minimize to the need.

And then... yes, I Googled one more time (I'd already tried about 30 times and not found what I wanted.) I worded it a little differently and voilá! I am thrilled to say you can minimize an enormous file to near nothing! 

How to learn just about anything!

Search engines are our friends! So let's say you have a bunch of photos or a large-sized file you need to send. It's way too big to go by email or you want a newsletter to go out that people or their email servers won't reject.

Here's how to minimize a massive file down to near-nothing and preserve the interior material... Wait for it...

  • Copy/paste into a new Word doc.
  • A new option comes up called Reduce File Size (under the File header option).
  • Click that option. Then leave "remove cropped sections".
  • Change to the Picture Quality you want: best for email, keep same resolution, etc. (I chose "best for email" option.) 
  • Run through it quickly to make sure things didn't shift (3 of my photos shifted to other pages and I quickly snapped them back in place). Then save that new file with the same name, but add "small" to it so you can see it quickly to attach. 
Uh huh. It's that easy. No need for buying any extra apps or programs. Color me stunned that something so simple existed all along and I never knew it.

My Muse book series proposal is on its way. Yay! (And I think my agent is finally a bit relieved that I've quit telling her I can't figure it out, lol!) I can. I figured out how to learn just about anything by searching online. But I'm still not a rocket scientist... hmm.

Go ahead – Google and figure out how to learn just about anything!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

About that Control Issue

Diana here:

I'm going out there on that limb...you know the one that's about to break and send you careening down a rocky cliff? I'll be sitting at the bottom rubbing my owies and flushing in embarrassment because I was so honest with all of you thinking, maybe just maybe you would understand the situation.

So here goes:

I want to be in control--of everything.
I also want to be good at it, so good that it would be impossible to tell if I'm having a bad day or was losing control.

Copyright: ra2studio / 123RF Stock Photo

I want to stand in that yoga pose "The Tree" and say delicately never losing my calm or balance as things happen.

It's not working out for me. Medication changes, headaches and now a summer cold have inched me to the unstable side. I complain I have so much to do, that I want to do and even look forward to doing.

And yet, one by one the balls I have spinning so effortlessly and with a smile are beginning to fall.

The sad thing is that this is not the first time, the second or even the tenth time I've tried to go it alone. It seems I have to lose control of almost everything before I remember that I can change everything by surrendering my will and choosing His will.

That's my confession. What I want to know is this, am I alone?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Charming Behavior

Angie here: After an amazing bike ride on the Hiawatha Trail... Exhilarating! America is a beautiful country!

We stopped for dinner back in our home town. The restaurant was awesome, lovely company. Perfect day! Nice people all over the place from the trail ride to the families we passed to our waitress! Lots of charming behavior. 

 Until... Some young men strode out from a group in the back of the restaurant speaking a foreign language. They looked nice, healthy, and like they were having a great time. Kind of sporty.

The table next to us had 3 people. A woman yelled, "You're in America! Speak English!"

My family was stunned at her rudeness and judgmental attitude. Shocked and sad! Wasn't that charming behavior?

These young men could have been tourists, college kids, or visiting athletes at our Griz camps. I don't think the boys knew she was addressing them, thank God!

A minute later a long line of young men followed. Yep, attendees at Griz camps. International invited guests. And some idiot tries to spoil their impression of Montana based on an ignorant assumption. 

We really aren't like that in Montana. That's a very odd experience. But I so wanted to send the rude table to the country those boys were visiting from and tell her especially to speak that language! But for some reason I don't think Miss Charming Behavior owns a passport...

Have you watched people jump to stupid conclusions and become the "ugly Americans"? I was so disgusted by that woman and her obnoxious table mates. Boys, we aren't all like that and I pray you couldn't understand that insult. I hope you go home full of joy from your visit here! 

What do you think we can do to better educate people to behave and act with courtesy?

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Shh! I'm a Secret Hoarder

Diana here:

I'm confessing to all of you something I was unaware of until my computer became disabled.  I'm still mourning the loss of  the letter "C" but I'm having better days now.

So if you read last weeks post you know I replaced my old reliable friend Gateway and replaced her with Toshiba. In the process I discovered I had over 36,000 photos and close to 50,000 files. There might have been more but I have trouble retaining numbers. What if those were all in paper form? I wouldn't be able to leave my office!
too many files
What my Hard Drive looks like
I was shocked. I have become a data hoarder. If you came to my house you would never suspect I have this problem.

Stop!  Don't even for a second consider my home is organized, nor will you find an over used labeler--yes, I own one but it ran out of tape and I ran out of interest.

Our home is a bit messy but I don't keep things (well not a lot of things) that I don't use. I had heard somewhere that if you don't use it give it to someone who will.

So that's why I was in shock when Carbonite (a back up/restore plan) said it would take 24 days with my Internet connection to get my files onto the new computers hard drive.

What? 24 days? It had to be my Internet, right? I unplugged and stuffed the computer into my backpack and headed to my son's home. He has faster Internet because he lives in town.

I waited hoping to see a much lower number of days. The screen popped up to let me know my time had been shortened to 12 days.  But but still, 12 days?

The verses from Matthew 6:19-20 filtered from my heart to my brain.
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steel. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal."

I realized I have been storing up treasures on my computer. Titles for possible books, gluten free recipes I never made, classes on writing that I no longer needed.

And the photos! oh wow, there was a real treasure chest. I take a lot of photos to use on my blog www.dianabrandmeyer.com and for this one FaithGirls. I use them once and then forget about them.

Here's one that should go.
Mac and Cheese so good but I must delete you.

I have a lot of cleaning out to do, but I'm waiting for winter so I can sit by the fire and open each one and then delete. Yes, I'm afraid to push that delete button without looking because it might be something I need.

If these files are truly important and I want to protect them from moths and vermin (virus and malware) I need to print them out and file them. The unimportant can go.

Unless someone out there would like me to send them my Christmas list from 2002?

*if the Mac and Cheese photo made you hungry here is the link for the recipe  Gluten Free Mac and Cheese.