Category: Tools

My Writing Desk

My Writing Desk

January 18, 2014 | By | 4 Comments

I got a question a couple of days ago asking what my writing desk looked like. That’s a pretty good question, because I have two desks in my office. One is for the day-to-day finances, emailing, music, and all the rest.

The other one is my writing desk. I planned it with the idea of getting away from distractions. It’s on the opposite wall from my other desk, so I turn the speakers off on that one. That way I won’t be distracted by email beeps, and all the rest. And yes, I turn off the music too. I find I need as much silence as possible. Probably indicates I’m easily distracted!

So I took a picture of my writing desk, the one with no distractions. As I looked at the picture I wondered what I’d been thinking! No distractions? I had to be kidding myself.

However, if you’re one of my readers (and I hope that you are!), I’m presenting the picture for you here. Feel free to get a little view into my head, and the things that interest me. The stuff I’m interested in.

Click to see the image full-size.
My Writing Desk - Labeled for Your Convenience

I’ve got a 1949 Packard Deluxe Eight sedan. I bought it in 2006, rusted, gutted and not running. I worked on it pretty hard for a few summers, and now it’s a fun car to drive.

I use Scrivener for my writing. It’s a wonderful software product, and you can take that from a guy that writes software for a living (me).

I love Bluetooth stuff, so I use a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard. Also a headset, but that’s not in the picture.

The Mossberg 300 is a great shotgun for home defense. There’s a box of 12-gauge shells for it.

The fake security camera is looking for opportunities. It doesn’t take pictures, but it does follow you around with a blinking red light, and runs on two AA batteries.

I built an airplane from a kit, which I flew happily for six years. Loved flying that thing. I finally sold it to a brain surgeon (yes, I really did) because fuel got so expensive. Maybe someday I’ll build another one.

My day job never goes away, so I have a dedicated laptop for that under the Toshiba I use for writing.

My kids (their ages range from sixteen to forty-four) and my wife are what keep me going. I’ve got stuff all over from them.

And lastly, you can see real work taking place. That is, when I’m not distracted.


Camtasia – Part of My Other Toolbox

Camtasia – Part of My Other Toolbox

November 3, 2013 | By | Add a Comment

Last week I posted a quick and easy way to do a book trailer for ten dollars. It didn’t lack much of being really cool. However, it did lack one thing. . . an image of my book’s cover.

The problem was that when I bought the basic trailer from the seller on Fiverr, the only modifications to the basic trailer were the eleven lines of text that I was to provide. I wanted to add something special at the end — my book cover.

Trailer Book CoverAnd wouldn’t it be cool to have it rippling in like you see on the left? That takes us into the world of video editing, which is enough to scare most people away for their entire life.

Actually, it’s not that hard. Neither does it have to be that expensive. Here’s what I did, and you can do the same. Plus, you have a choice. If you want to do it for free, then you can. If you want to do it for $300, then you can do that too.

Years ago I used a screen capture program called Camtasia. When I started using it, the program was designed to capture what you were doing on your computer screen into a video. Then you could take that video and add audio to it if you wanted. It was great for doing tutorials. It still is. Back then I was using version 4.

More recently, with version 8, they have added wonderful video editing capabilities to Camtasia. Now you can do almost anything with it.  The producers of Camtasia have done such a nice job with video tutorials (what else!), that there is no sense in me trying to recreate all that good content here Instead, here is the link you need. I am not affiliated with Techsmith, the producers of Camtasia. This is an entirely unsolicited recommendation to you to investigate their product.

Camtasia costs $300. That’s a lot of money, especially if you’re only going to do one project with it and then never use it again. Here’s what you can do to use it for free. The first time you download it from their site, you are granted a thirty day license to use it as much as you want, with all its features, for free. That is a very, very generous trial period. All I can guess is that so many of their trial users decide they don’t want to be without it after the trial period, that it makes economic sense for them to offer that. That’s how they got me, after all.

Doing an extra eight seconds on my trailer took me about forty-five minutes. Most of that time was playing around with it till I got the effects I wanted.

I’m curious to know what tools you use for video editing.