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Chromatik’s new iOS app just made sheet music cool again

JC Hammond:

Oh, Wow! Now all I need is a piano….!

Originally posted on Gigaom:

Sheet music may not exactly be what comes to mind when you think of technology changing the music world — but Los Angeles-based music startup Chromatik thinks that its app can be as disruptive to the hobby musicians as Spotify has been to the music fans of the world.

Chromatik relaunched its self-titled iOS and web apps Thursday, which now offer access to sheet music titles for thousands of popular songs, including titles like John Legend’s All Of Me, Beyonce’s Single Ladies and Adele’s Rolling In The Deep. And the best thing? All of those songs are free, thanks to a sponsorship model that let companies like Apogee foot the bill.

Chromatik offers users arrangements for the most popular instruments (and yes, your singing voice is one of them), and instantly transcribes titles when necessary. The app also includes videos for most titles to give users a way to…

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17 Essays by Female Writers That Everyone Should Read

JC Hammond:

One of the contests I want to enter this summer is a nonfiction essay contest. As a result I’m researching some essays to read to help me get in the right mindset. Here’s a list of essays by female authors I found particularly useful.

Originally posted on Flavorwire:

As the VIDA count shows, the ratio of male to female writers published in literary journals, magazines, and book reviews remains largely disproportionate in favor of male writers. In the conversation around this imbalance, some have suggested (among other silly arguments) that women should simply write about more important subjects. The folks over at Creative Nonfiction, the literary magazine that this year celebrates its 20th consecutive year of publication, scoff at this assessment of the situation. In fact, CNF’s current issue, “Female Form,” includes only essays by female writers. While the theme of the issue was initially unintentional, CNF’s editors think this only shows that there are indeed plenty of women writing serious nonfiction; they’re just not getting the serious attention they deserve. Just to hammer the point home, the magazine curated this list of 17 essays by female writers every woman (and man) should…

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‘Doctor Who’ special: Check out Matt Smith, David Tennant, and John Hurt in new trailer

JC Hammond:

I hope other Doctors have cameos as well. Would love to see Christopher Ecclestone. the most under-appreciated Doctors of the new millennium he deserves a spot in Who-story if for no other reason than regenerating the entire series. Not to take anything away from David Tenant (whom I adore) or Matt Smith, but without the ninth Doctor we would never have been treated to the wonderful performances of the more popular Tenth and Eleventh Doctors. It was good to see Rose, too. Great Trailer! Can’t wait to see the full show!

Originally posted on PopWatch:

[ew_image url="http://img2.timeinc.net/ew/i/2013/10/20/doctor-who-the-eleven-doctors.jpg" credit="BBC America" align="left"]The special, 50th anniversary episode of Doctor Who is now just two weeks away — depending where you are in the space-time continuum — and the BBC has finally released a proper trailer. Check out the clip below to see some old faces and some familiar foes.

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Digital Comic: The Vampire Diaries: Vervain 1/3

Intriguing. Maybe it’s something about vampires that just don’t translate into comic book art. Or maybe it’s that comic books have largely been the purview of nerdy males who (as Kevin Smith points out) unwisely sneer at the fandoms that bring more females into the worlds of comic cons, video games and yes, comic books. But whatever the reason, comic books are not flattering to fandoms like True Blood or, it seems, The Vampire Diaries. Sad, really.

True Blood comics were incredibly lucky to have a writer in Michael McMillian who was a fan, a member of the show’s cast, had obviously read the Sookie Stackhouse novels and was a veteran of the comic book industry. It would be nice if he were the trend for show based comic book. Unfortunately, he’s probably the exception rather than the rule.

The muddying of canon waters does demonstrate that comic book publishers need to look beyond their usual stables of writers or maybe just ask different questions. There have to be TVD fans who write comic books. They should be the ones writing the series, given the scrutiny the details and mythology are likely to undergo at the hands of fans. Consider the hew and cry that would arise if the writer of the Doctor Who or Star Trek comics were unfamiliar with the entire history of those series. TVD comics deserves the same respect.

Digital Comic: The Vampire Diaries: Vervain 1/3.

Good Deed Of The Day: Knit Sweaters For Penguins

JC Hammond:

Knitting for a great cause. Unfortunately, it’s likely that the tuxedo-ed masses will be cleaned up before sweaters from American or European knitters could arrive (at least, let’s hope they are!) but given the poor environmental history of most oil companies knitters could probably make up a few sweaters to have on hand for the next spill (you know there will be one).

Originally posted on NewsFeed:

Ladies and gentlemen, start your knitting, because there are penguins in dire need of sweaters.

While penguins in sweaters may be the stuff of which viral internet dreams are made, it’s time to put the awwws aside, because these sweaters may truly save the lives of the little birds.

The idea of penguins wearing sweaters may give pause to global warming activists, but the reason behind the penguins’ need for knitwear is due to a massive oil spill in New Zealand. On Oct. 5, a cargo ship ran aground there, pouring 350 tons of oil into the ocean. New Zealand’s Environment Minister Nick Smith described the oil spill as the nation’s “most significant maritime environmental disaster,” which has killed thousands of sea birds, including some of the country’s native blue penguin population.

(MORE: Fear the Cuckoo—It’s Scarier Than You Think)

As volunteers work to save the…

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Too Many Ideas…. #amwriting

JC Hammond:

Happens to me all the time. Someone needs to write a writing book about how to cull ideas and focus on a few to get them done in a timely manner. Too many writers do too much multitasking too much of the time.

Originally posted on ghostnapped:

I should be howling for joy….


I have sooooooooo many ideas at the moment. Ideas for chapter books, project books, whole novels, improving my webpage and more anthology pieces. So many ideas that yesterday I finished the first draft of my Keepsakes story only to start it again, from scratch with a completely different idea. I’m not getting rid of the first one, but will do this and see which one I like the best. It’s crazy as soon as I start one thing another idea pops into my head and I just have to do it! So why am I not howling with excitement??? There are only so many hours in a day. I have to run the kids everywhere, work, organise Christmas (for work and home), cook, clean (well that one doesn’t always happen) and get to the gym. There is so much to do, yet I could…

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Edgy Inspirational Romance: When I’m not reading: Fiction Steps Into Reality at the Renaissance Faire. (Sort of.)

Edgy Inspirational Romance: When I’m not reading: Fiction Steps Into Reality at the Renaissance Faire. (Sort of.)

What a great idea! I have to admit, it never would have occurred to me and until I read this, neither would the idea of dressing up as one of the characters from my own books. Yes, for all my creativity, it seems I sometimes fall short in the marketing department. Fortunately, I have plenty of time to remedy that before the 2014 convention season! Now…who should I be?

‘Depressed’ Cake Shop Will Cheer You Up

JC Hammond:

What a great idea! Not only are the “visuals” fascinating but sweets are often one of the ways depressed people self-medicate. And adding color inside is an excellent reminder that even those suffering from depression are not always exactly what they seem. I grew up with charity bake sales, everyone from the high school band to the library held them but they’ve largely vanished from my social scene. So glad to see someone bringing the back in a meaningful way! Now: who can send me a care package from Los Angeles later this month?

Originally posted on NewsFeed:

A new charitable project makes battling depression seem like a piece of cake.

The Depressed Cake Shop is a series of pop-up bakeries that sell gray desserts created by volunteer bakers to raise awareness about depression, then donate the proceeds to lesser-known local charities devoted to mental health issues. The first one popped up in London from August 2-4 and served up tasty treats like Swiss rolls that say “nutjob,” macarons decorated with rain clouds, and even a “fruitcake” — British slang for a crazy person. While the treats are uniformly gray on the outside, bakers have added splashes of color on the inside to signify that there is hope for the approximately 350 million people worldwide who suffer from depression.

“There isn’t a visual representation of mental illness, so we make the desserts gray, an ugly color, because not taking care of your appearance is a symptom of depression,” says…

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Real friends, virtually

Can real friendships grow out of online acquaintances?

Yes. At least, they can in my experience. And one of those real friends, bc, who I might add is also an amazing friend in the RP verses we share, nominated me for this Award. I have to admit, I’m surprised, but then I’m often surprised when anyone reads, let alone likes, my personal ramblings. Frankly, I’m afraid that if anyone got know the real me, they’d realize I was a fraud about two minutes later. I’m told that’s not an uncommon fear among writers, probably because so much of our lives happen in our own heads.

versatile-blogger-award-imageFortunately, my friendship with bc, the fascinating lady behind Never Pity the Past, is very real and I am very grateful for that. I tease her that a writer can never have too many librarians in their life, but it’s more than that. It’s more than a shared appreciation of knowledge, books, train travel and the diverse voices in our heads that find expression online. It’s the kind of friendship that supports, comforts, encourages, indulges, grounds, uplifts, teaches and makes the universe a better place. It’s laughter and tears, consoling hugs and Gibbs’-style smacks to the back of the head, silence and endless conversations. In other words, it’s the best kind of friendship to have!

I’m flattered she likes and reads, this blog, but I have to admit, it puts me at a disadvantage, because now I have to come up with seven (actually 14, since she nominated two of my blogs, this one and RolePlayWriter) interesting things about me. Since this is sort of my “real life” blog, I’m going out on a limb and posting real life points of interest. Here goes:

  1. “Home” is a boarding school in Fairbault, MN. Even though I only spent 2 years there more than 2 decades ago..
  2. I love my handwriting. It reminds me of my grandmothers. My printing reminds me of my dad. My signature is my mothers.
  3. I finally started making my own bed every day…this year. I also stopped leaving my clothes on the floor. Better late than never, I suppose.
  4. I have strong opinions but I hate making decisions.
  5. When I say I don’t care after being given a choice, I really mean I don’t have a preference.
  6. I really wish I’d never grown up. In some alternate universe, I am forever in 5th grade, wintering in Key Biscayne, summering in Omaha and living at home without a drivers license.
  7. I think i am a lousy friend, floating in and out of people’s lives on an irregular basis, yet I still manage to have friends I’ve known since before pre-school and all over the world.

Ok, that wasn’t as bad as I feared. Of course, it probably isn’t as interesting as it could be, though it is a lot most personal and revealing. And no, I’m not telling what I scratched off to get to that list. I also wouldn’t make a character with those traits, which explains why I am stumbling on that advice to treat my life like I was one of my characters.

Now then, for the 15 blogs I would like to nominate for the Versatile Blogger and WordPress Family Award…. In no particular order, they are:

wordpress-family-award1So now the ball is in their court. In the unlikely event that I am the first person to have nominated any of them (which even my fertile imagination has trouble imagining given the wonderful quality of the content they produce and provide), here’s a recap of the rules I was given and hope the will work with.

The rules are:
Display the Award Certificate on your blog.
Announce your win with a post. Make sure you post a link back to me as a ‘thank you’ for the nomination.

Present 15 awards to 15 deserving bloggers.
Leave them a comment to let them know after you have linked them to a post.
Post 7 interesting things about yourself.

That’s all there is to it. Pretty simple, when it’s all said and done. Not to mention a great way to recognize and reward the writers who make your corner of the blogosphere a little more interesting while sneaking a peek at their Muses.