Windows Live Writer

So this is kind of cool. I’m using a new blog editor called Windows Live Writer. It’s desktop based, so you don’t have to be in the back end of your blog to type the post. It makes inserting pictures, videos and other rich content a whole hell of a lot easier than I was finding it in WordPress.

As a for instance, I linked to Windows Live Writer above. There’s a click box to the right that gives me that option, and when the box pops up to insert the link, it also allows me to choose if I want that link to open in a new window. Groovy.

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Now for the picture. Usually I’d have to first crop the picture how I want it, then upload it to my blog using the image browser, and insert code to nest it in my text. But the blog editor has those functions all in this one screen, and it uploads the picture to my blog for me. I can make it bigger or smaller or add effects (hello, how do you think the picture ended up with rounded corners?). It also allows you to set the option of having this thumbnail link to a larger picture when it’s clicked on. Or link to a website when clicked on. Wheee! Blogging has never been quicker or easier. I have to admit, that part of the reason I haven’t always shared pictures (like this one) that I’ve intended to is because it’s such a pain. If the picture is too big a file, it freaks the image browser out, and becomes a huge headache to insert. No more! Now I have this groovy blog editor. There goes one excuse for not blogging out the window.

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Test

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Don’t these make you hungry?

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(that’s not the test, but I figured I didn’t need to make my test post boring).

Friday Free stuff

So you’ve always wanted to have a WordPress blog, hosted on your own domain, but all the techno-babble that goes along with setting it up makes you break out in hives at the mere thought? There’s a new site that will do all that for you:

Blogtastique

From their site:

Blogtastique is a service that helps you build your blog, custom design it, and even outsource your blog management permanently.

It is our philosophy that bloggers should not have to bother about installing the latest WordPress installation, deleting spam comments, finding the best plugins and managing their images. We want to help you by taking the management burden of your block off your shoulders. Let us do the hard work, all you’ll have to concentrate on is writing and marketing. Heck, if you want we’ll even help you with that!

The best things in life are free right? Free as in speech, air and blog setup! If you’re new on the scene, or just don’t have enough time, let us install your blogs with your choice of plugins and themes, or let us recommend some for you.

If you’ve never installed WordPress before you might be set back by the uploading, config file modification and so on. For those of us working with WordPress this is a simple and easy task. Why should you pay even $5 for something that will take us 5-10 minutes? We will gladly install your blog for you for free!

As veteran “WordPressers” we also use a lot of plugins, and have seen our share of themes over the years. Tell us what you have in mind and we’ll recommend plugins so you can maximize your (and your readers’) experience, and we’ll also show you some themes we think would suit the site, all this, for free of course. In addition, we will also install the plugins you want and the theme you had in mind and we’ll send you a tutorial on how to do this for yourself in the future. Have we mentioned free yet?

They, of course, also have paid services, but just the fact of getting someone to set up your original WordPress blog for free is awesome, because it’s a huge headache. I’m going to try them out. I’ve been thinking of setting up a seperate blog (because, you know, I’m so good about keeping this one updated) for even more personal use (aka lots more stuff about Brianna) but have been dragging my heels partly because I didn’t want the work of the actual setup. Tada! This website service appeared in my life at just the right time. I’ll report back on how it all goes, but in the meantime, check out their website for yourself, if you’re interested in having your own WordPress blog.

I’ve been on blog hiatus

As if you couldn’t tell. We went out of town last Friday and I ran around Thursday trying to get things done before we left. Brianna got sick while we were gone, and Josh lost his voice (though he swears he wasn’t sick). Now that they’re both working at getting healthy again, I seem to have gotten Brianna’s cold. Which, for the month of June, puts me at a case of strep, double ear infections that did not want to clear up and now a cold. In one month. I swear, I’ve never been so sick as I have been this year, I wish I knew why because I’m frustrated, tired of being sick (and just plain tired) and more than a little worried about all the traveling I have coming up!

I haven’t done any reading in the past week, except for magazines, but I did get to go see Sex and the City last Wednesday night. It was fabulous. I loved it, I wanted to see it again right away, I wanted to sit down and watch every episode of the series again right away. And I have no idea why I find Chris Noth so sexy as Big when I don’t find him sexy at any other time. One of the mysteries of life, I guess.

Oh, and I love this song from the movie, so haunting and beautiful. Which is weird, since it’s not a song one would normally think of as haunting and beautiful.

This weekend, we were away for one of Josh’s racing events. Brianna actually did pretty good during the time she and I were out there (we also spent a lot of time at malls, she and I!) But one of her favorite things is when she’s allowed to help wash Daddy’s car. She takes the task pretty seriously.

Yesterday, I went to a baby shower. Since Brianna is in daycare, I get to go and not worry about chasing her around. Plus, it gives me a chance to hold the babies (because she gets very jealous when she’s around and I do this). My friend Maria makes beautiful babies and I got to pal around with two of hers. Delilah is the little one, and Pearl is the older (though I remember when Pearl was Delilah’s age!)

Last, I leave you with a picture of this wine I bought in Cincinnati. Mad Housewife wine. I bought it for the cool label (I buy a lot of wines this way. Same way with books!), but the white zin was pretty tasty.

TBR Day: When Demons Walk

By the skin of my teeth! How can it be the third Wednesday already?

This month I actually read 6 TBR books, but only two TBR authors. I read three books by Patricia Briggs and three by Lois McMaster Bujold. Okay, technically I read four by Patricia Briggs, but one of them was a new book (Cry Wolf). I’m only going to talk about When Demons Walk today, since I’m a bit late with this post, but I have to say I loved all of the books I read!

I’m a big fan of Patrica Briggs’ Mercy series, and I collected her backlist after I read the first Mercy book when it originally came out. But for some reason I collected them–and never read them. So I’ve been cleaning out my bookshelves and hers were some of the books I decided I needed to read. I was also reminded when I saw a post on Paperback Writer’s blog about some of Patricia Briggs’ older books being repackaged (with some pretty wicked covers). And then I saw one of those repackaged books, When Demons Walk, in Walmart. And then in Barnes and Noble. It was like signs from above...read me.

I loved When Demon’s Walk. It’s narrated by Sham, a young sorceress whose drawn into “court” life to use her magical talents to figure out who is killing court nobles. She’s a fascinating character and the narrative voice is very strong, as it is in all of Patrica Briggs’ books. She’s definitely got a strong affinity for her characters, both primary and secondary, with a great ability to make them come alive with subtle layering and cues. I think this is especially hard with a first person book, because you have to give the reader clues that even the narrator doesn’t know. Skilled authors pull off first person exceptionally well through layering and story telling, and Patricia Briggs has this in spades.

I’m a huge fantasy fan, so I appreciated the world building, but I’m also a huge romance fan, so while I appreciated the romance thread, I also wished it would have been a little more developed. It was very subtle, though, and probably perfect for someone looking for more fantasy and less romance. In all, the author did lead us without making it obvious, to the conclusion.

Anyway, if you’re a fan of fantasy, of Patricia Briggs, I highly recommend this book, and hey! You can even pick it up in Walmart these days!

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