Ultimate Writing Goal

Welcome to July!

This month’s IWSG question asks: what are your ultimate writing goals, and how have they changed over time?

My ultimate goal is to write a DGB.

The goal has not changed over time, but my methods have changed powerfully.

My ultimate writing goal ...

Thank you to July’s IWSG co-hosts:

Nicki Elson,  Juneta Key,  Tamara Narayan, and Patricia Lynne.

Click here to enter your link in the IWSG Blog Hop and to view a list of participating bloggers.

Solar Report for May

Solar Fool! The Fool avatar and The Dog stroll on top of solar panels. I created this photoshop mashup for my monthly solar reports. Fool components are by artist Xochicalco on canstockphoto, csp6440045

Greetings from the Northern Hemisphere where it’s Summertime, and the wattage is fine. Have I mentioned, the Grehan stronghold is powered by the Sun? But of course! Last May I kicked off this website’s monthly solar report feature.  Here’s the inaugural post. This month, I’ll provide a tiny bit of spec about our solar setup.

The term PV system refers to all of the components required to turn sunshine into margaritas in my blender. PV stands for photovoltaic. Components vary depending on the system. Here’s an illustration to give you an idea of what I’m talking about. I found the pic, where else? On Wiki.

By Rfassbind [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons
If you were to gaze fondly upward at the Grehan’s roof, you’d see our PV System’s solar array. Twenty-five shiny blue panels manufactured by Canadian Solar. The panels can withstand wind speeds up to 90 mph, and snow loads of 25 psf. Underneath (attached to) each panel, is an Enphase micro inverter. Twenty-five inverters in total, each rated for 260 watts. This setup gives us panel-level converting. A single shady panel won’t impact the entire array. The micro inverters also enable panel-level monitoring through the Enphase Enlighten app. I used the Enlighten app to create the monthly production report you’ll find below. The app also provides realtime monitoring.

Realtime! Holy Sunshine!

In case you’re wondering, our system is tied to the grid. In my locale, you can’t live off grid. You heard right, my prepper friends. Off grid is not permitted around here. You’ll be relieved to know that, if the grid fails, my computer will pull power from a bank of solar-charged batteries. Lack of public utility power won’t disrupt the posting of my doodles.

Perhaps in a later post I’ll describe all the other wires and cables and boxes that comprise the totality of the Grehan’s PV System. For now, let’s get to the stats:

Grehan Solar Report for May
Grehan Solar Report for May

Thanks for checking in, Blog Follower!

 

 

 

Titles and Character Names and the IWSG

The Fool answers to any name.

Grehan here. I’m proud of myself. Three consecutive months I’ve shown up for IWSG blog hop. June’s prompt goes something like this:

What’s harder to come up with: story titles, or character names?

This’ll be quick.

I don’t sweat over this stuff.

These aren’t dogs we’re talking about. Stories don’t have to come when they’re called. The title is a digital placeholder, a pointer that directs you to the genius tale you’re focused on creating.

Characters? Unless you’re writing biography, character names are meaningful only to you. I’ll bet my cap feathers nobody ever read the final page of a novel, and then sighed and said, “What great names.”

On the final edit, and the really final edit, and the edit that might genuinely be the last final edit, I’m still open to suggestion. If you’re planning to involve other people in your publishing journey, don’t grow attached.

Pitch, premise, synopsis, and story. Those are your bread and butter.

 

Character names and titles. Forget about em.

The IWSG’s co-hosts this month are Beverly Stowe McClure, Tyrean Martinson, and Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor!

 

Curious about the image on this page?

A-to-Z Challenge: Y is for YouTube and Photoshop

Grehan here. Better late than later, has been my Spring motto.Digital Artist with a cherry on top. A Photoshop mashup for April's A-to-Z post celebrating YouTube tutorials.

This post celebrates the greatest invention of the 20th Century.

YouTube. 

Formal education is so old school. With YouTube, an X-acto knife, and a bottle of Jameson, we can now perform our own appendectomies. Is this a great time to be alive, or what. In addition to dash cam videos and Carpool Karaokes, I’ve amassed an impressive viewing history of Photoshop tutorials. To show my appreciation to the contributors (and because I needed a Y-post) I’m showcasing several tutorials which I found useful during April’s challenge.

I use Photoshop Elements 15 which is the hobbyist’s version of Adobe’s graphics editor. I’ve learned to ignore demonstrations which use the professional version. Invariably, a feature is employed which is not available in Elements.

Five Photoshop Tutorials for impatient, wannabe digital artists, like yours truly.

#1. With a magic eraser I’m a force to be reckoned with. I learned a lot about removing backgrounds in this tutorial. Best new tip: straight-line erasing. A game changer.

#2. I consulted this video when creating the wrinkled effect for the image in my Quiz post. Little did Darlenescraps realize that her “spiffy little trick,” recorded 9 years ago, would find its way into my blog.

#3. Perspective control. Gets the job done. Fast forward to the meaty bits.

#4. I referred to this tutorial to get the raised effect on my Interrobang Mystery cover. Coffee up and FF through the narrator’s tranquilizing voice.

#5. Here’s an offering by InfoPuppet. My kind of human. One of these days I’ll have a reason to post my head in a snow globe, and then, won’t this video come in handy.

Bonus WordPress tutorial. The instructor, Kori Ashton, demonstrates how to create anchor tags and anchor links. Kori posts weekly WordPress how-to’s. I like her no-nonsense style. I’ll be tuning in for more.

Coming soon, an X-post and my A-to-Z Reflections.

Curious about the images on this page?

Spring Inspiration and the IWSG

Welcome to May!

Not coincidentally, this month’s IWSG prompt is about Spring.

The IWSG asks: Does Spring inspire you to write more than other seasons?

My answer is no. 

I’m a writer. It’s my job. And not a seasonal job. Hey, if I waited for inspiration to strike, I wouldn’t jot so much as a store note. Imagine calling the plumber and they say, “Sorry about your rusty pipes, but I’m not feeling the muse.”

Spring. Summer. Fall. Winter. I show up. Writing happens.

That’s not to say that Spring isn’t a special time of year. I live in the northeastern US. In these parts, we claw out of Winter like Uma escaping the grave.

Uma Thurman in Kill Bill
Uma Thurman in Kill Bill.

My writing habit won’t change with the arrival of Spring, but–but–I will generate more. More energy.

You see, the Grehans are friendly with the sun.

That’s right, we’re solar.

In the spirit of the IWSG prompt, my solar panels have found their muse and, man, they are churning out the juice. In Springtime, the sun climbs higher and the days begin to stretch. These are happy times for those of us who dwell beneath the bright blue tiles.

In my part of the US, solar is still rare, though I’m lately seeing more shiny roofs. Because I’m often asked about my experience with solar power, I’ll use the IWSG prompt to launch a solar report feature.

Solar Fool! The Fool avatar and The Dog stroll on top of solar panels. I created this photoshop mashup for the May 2018 IWSG post. Fool components are by artist Xochicalco on canstockphoto, csp6440045
Fool on the Roof

Our panels were installed in 2016 to take advantage of a federal tax incentive, called the Investment Tax Credit, that was due to expire at the end of that year.* The ITC allowed taxpayers to deduct thirty-percent of their installation costs, with no cap. That was a decent incentive.

Beginning today and until I lose interest, I’ll post sporadic regular updates about our energy production.  To make sense of the stats, it might help to know that The Grehans enjoy living small. We occupy a meager 1200 sq ft. We own one television, no cable, dish or fios, so most of the time the TV is dark. On the other hand, we’re tech heads so computers abound, as well as other smart toys. Even though we love gadgets we’re not big consumers of anything (save whiskey) and our solar is sized accordingly.

In other words, your results may vary.

Solar generation, 2018 April

I’m saving trees, baby! Except for the ten I chopped down cause they gave too much shade — just kidding! Am I?

Thank you to May’s IWSG co-hosts:

E.M.A. Timar,  J. Q. Rose

C.Lee McKenzie,  Raimey Gallant!

Click here to enter your link in the IWSG Blog Hop and to view a list of participating bloggers.

*According to Solar Power Rocks, the ITC was extended in some fashion. Do more research if this is something you’re interested in, because I gave it only a cursory search.


Curious about the images on this page?