If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

Here are the upcoming WWK interviews for the month of July!

July 4th Christopher Huang, A Gentleman's Murder

July 11th V. M. Burns, The Plot Is Murder

July 18th Edith Maxwell (Maddie Day), Death Over Easy

July 25th Shari Randall, Against The Claw

Our July Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 7/7--Mary Feliz, 7/14--Annie Hogsett, 7/21--Margaret S. Hamilton, 7/28--Kait Carson.

Our special bloggers for the fifth Monday and Tuesday of July--Kaye George and Paula Gail Benson.

Please welcome two new members to WWK--Annette Dashofy, who will blog on alternative Sundays with Jim Jackson, and Nancy Eady, who will blog on every fourth Monday. Thanks for blogging with us Annette and Nancy!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Annette Dashofy's Uneasy Prey was released in March. It is the sixth Zoe Chambers Mystery. The seventh, Cry Wolf, will be released on September 18th. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Annette on September 19th.

Carla Damron's quirky short story, "Subplot", was published in the Spring edition of The Offbeat Literary Journal. You can find it here: http://offbeat.msu.edu/volume-18-spring-2018/

Tina Whittle's sixth Tai Randolph mystery, Necessary Ends, debuts on April 3, 2018. Look for it here. Tina was nominated for a Derringer Award for her novelette, "Trouble Like A Freight Train Coming." We're all crossing our fingers for her.

James M. Jackson's Empty Promises, the next in the Seamus McCree mystery series (5th), was published on April 3, 2018. Purchase links are here. He's working on Seamus McCree #6 (False Bottom)

Dark Sister, a poetry collection, is Linda Rodriguez's tenth published book. It's available for sale here:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

Shari Randall's second Lobster Shack Mystery, Against the Claw, will be available in July 31, 2018.


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

My New Malibu Barbie

My New Malibu Barbie by Carla Damron

My desktop computer has been doing strange things. It doesn’t always turn on when it should, and takes forever to load websites. I can’t fault it—the thing is eight+ years old. Yes, it has a floppy disk drive. Yes, it’s the size of a Chevy pick-up. For about a year, I’ve been pondering its replacement. Do I want another desktop? Or a laptop? Or would a tablet with a keyboard work?

Several of my friends have severe Apple addictions. “Get an iPad!” they say. “Or a Macbook. Or both.” These are fine devices but I write in MS Word. And I don’t have a bottomless bank account. I loved the idea of a tablet (“so convenient! It fits in my purse!”) because I could A) play Words with Friends on it and B) hook up a keyboard and get some writing done. But when I borrowed my husband’s, I found it to be less than perfect for work. The dang thing has NO USB, so I had to keep emailing the manuscript to myself. And the MS Word equivalent wasn’t equivalent enough for my tastes. Words with Friends, however, worked beautifully.

So maybe a laptop was what I needed. Something not too big or heavy; my work laptop is amazing but I have to bend my knees to lift it. Something I could easily keep with me, allowing me to snatch a few minutes of writing time between other events of the day. My shopping/research was overwhelming. There are about 10,000 different kinds of laptops, with various sorts of bells and whistles, and each promises to be the best device ever invented. I narrowed it down according to my needs: 1) Easy to operate—the touch screen idea had its appeal. 2) Not too heavy, perhaps even purse-able. 3) I need it to LAST. 4) It needs MS Word and a USB port.

Still, all the choices perplexed me, and the idea of a tablet kept popping up. Could I really get both?  I decided to seek guidance. I posted my quandary on my Facebook page and asked for writers to chime in. This led me to what seemed like great—but expensive—choice: The Surface Pro II.

This is a hybrid tablet/laptop. The screen can be used as a tablet, but it snaps into a keyboard and becomes a netbook size laptop. It has a touchscreen—check. It’s not heavy—check. It’s well built and should last—check. It has a USB and MS Word works on it. Check, check. But dang, the thing cost a fortune.

I mulled. I brooded. I waited till after Christmas in hope that its price would come down (it did, a nano-price drop). I played with it at several office stores. I cornered one poor salesperson and drilled him about it: “Show me how the touchscreen works.” “Do you think it’s as good as the reviews say it is?” “Can I pay Words with Friends?”

The answer to the last question was, sadly, “no.” “This computer is designed for work. For productivity.”

“So no Words with Friends?”
“Not in the App store yet. But again, this is designed to be a work product.”

“Are you saying I should quit goofing off and get to work?”

He smiled. I pulled out the credit card.

I named her Malibu Barbie and she is amazing. Fast as lightning. A little heavier than a large iced tea. Her keyboard is comfortable, user friendly, and purple. Writing is a joy on this baby.  She’s easy to keep with me and whip out at a Starbucks or the library.  In tablet mode, she works much like an iPad. There’s even an app that lets her read my work aloud to me. In laptop mode, I press an icon and a regular desktop screen appears. This hybrid thing is working for me.

Why did I name her Malibu Barbie? Because the first thing I did when I bought her was start looking for accessories. I bought a case, but didn’t like it, tried another, didn’t like it either, and ended up designing one and making it out of wool that I felted. The case looks good on her, but I’ll need another for travel—one that’s better insulated to keep her safe. I’m looking for one that’s purple.

Malibu Barbie has proven to be the right device to help me with my writing. And who knows—maybe one day they’ll add Words with Friends to the App store.

What’s your preference? Desktop? Laptop? Tablet? Pad and pen?





James Montgomery Jackson said...

I now use a laptop for most things, but I also have a 7" tablet for travel and long waits in doctors' offices.

We do name our computers. My current is Gavia immer (It's black and white as is the Common Loon). It's predecessor was Canis lupus because it was grey like the wolf.

Before that we had "Hot Momma," which replaced "Big Moma" and "Little Moma" (desktop and laptop; misspellings courtesy of my young son at the time).

Jan uses Macs. Silver Fox is her current one and her previous was White Rabbit (colors to match).

Have fun with your new dress-up toy -- oh, and do try to get some work done, too.

~ Jim

Warren Bull said...

Hmm, I looking for a lighter lap top. My old one nearly takes my arm out of its socket when I carry it. I wonder who makes barbies.

E. B. Davis said...

I've never tried a tablet. The size, like my Kindle, would be wonderful, and yet, as I get older, having a larger screen to read is really better for me. How anyone reads off a Smart phone is beyond me.

I've never named a computer. I always start a computer relationship like a honeymooning couple. Before too long, though, I'm yelling obscenities at it. The Mac is better, but I still get frustrated with them.

Glad you found a system that you like, Carla. Having a new, reliable system is a plus for any writer.

Gloria Alden said...

I have a lap top, but I only use it if I travel and will be staying in a motel and sometimes not even then. My daughter uses it when she comes to visit rather than bring her own.

I prefer my desk top with my clutter on it and the reference books on the shelf beside it.

I like the cover you made for yours, Carla.

Carla Damron said...

Jim, love your names!
Warren: there are definitely lighter laptops now, thank goodness!
EB: I find the screen size is less important than the font size, which grows with each birthday!
Gloria, I do still have the dying desktop. Not completely converted yet.

Nancy said...

I need to replace my laptop--still has xp on it and too old to just install a new operating program on it. My son-in-law gave me a Samsung Galaxy Tablet, brand new, when he got a new IPad thru work place. I'm still learning to use the tablet and seriously doubt I could have it as my one and only system for writing. Definitely going for a new laptop but, like you, I find the choices almost overwhelming. I'll have to look at the Surface but I most likely will go with the laptop and the tablet for occasional times. Why does something that should be so simple get so complicated? Found this post of great interest, Carla. Thanks for sharing.

Carla Damron said...

Nancy, I'm with you re: too many choices. Just read reviews, narrow it down, then close your eyes and pick one!

Kara Cerise said...

I used to prefer laptops but, for some reason, mine kept crashing--I had three different brands over five years. I finally gave up and now have a desktop. It's had a few glitches, but I'm crossing my fingers it will last for a long time.

I hope Malibu Barbie continues to be reliable and fun for you.

Rhoda Twombly said...

Could really identify with this, Carla. When my old pc finally gave up the ghost, I knew I wanted another desktop. I am a creature of habit and have always worked with a desktop with Windows. I have had 2 laptops and hated both. Why do they call them laptops when they weigh a ton? But I was very tempted to get a tablet - and the debate was on! In the end I had to have a think to myself about what I really wanted it for, especially as I don't travel much. I wanted the basics - news and mail. I wanted to be able to read mail, submissions, etc while away from the desk and not go blind reading from my smartphone. Just by chance I spotted a 7inch at less than half price so got it. I am happy enough with it, but have to say I am envious of your new Malibu Barbie.Maybe if I win the Lotto!

Paula Gail Benson said...

Carla, I sadly confess I have two iPads, a regular size and a mini. When I got the regular size, I quickly discovered it could not be seen naked and I was appalled at the cost of its clothes. I found a pewter cover on sale that resembled the fabric from the shiny outfits of the Space Family Robinson. I call it the iPad's "Lost in Cyberspace" suit. Now, both my iPads have changes in clothes. Sigh. It's a terrible addiction. Almost as bad as purses.