Welcome to Inkygirl: Reading, Writing and Illustrating Children's Books (archive list here) which includes my Creating Picture Books series, Advice For Young Writers and IllustratorsWriter's and Illustrator's Guide To Twitter, interviews, my poetry for young readers, #BookADay, writing/publishing industry surveys, and 250, 500, 1000 Words/Day Writing Challenge. Also see my Inkygirl archives,  and comics for writers (including Keiko and Will Write For Chocolate). Also check out my Print-Ready Archives for Teachers, Librarians, Booksellers and Young Readers.

I tweet about the craft and business of writing and illustrating at @inkyelbows. If you're interested in my art or other projects, please do visit DebbieOhi.com. Thanks for visiting! -- Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Thursday
Jun172010

Inkygirl moved to Squarespace

Hurray, Inkygirl has been successfully moved to Squarespace! If you're reading this post in your old feed, then all is well  - I'd appreciate it if you'd post below to let me know. You can find a list of my updated feeds in the top right corner of this page.

I'm actually going to be displaying two blogs on the Inkygirl page: my regular Inkygirl info plus a separate comics blog. I decided to keep my comics separate to make it easier for people to find the comic they want since I'm tagging/categorizing as I upload my archives.

In addition to Inkygirl, I've moved over Blatherings, Will Write For Chocolate, My Life In A Nutshell, Filking.net and my Filk FAQ, iPadGirl and DebbieOhi.com. I have about half a dozen other blogs to go, but when I have the basic infrastructures in place, I'll go back and do finetuning and link-fixing.

If you notice anything amiss or would like me to fix certain pages sooner than later, please do let me know! And thanks for sticking with me through this transition period. I'm hoping not to have to move again for a very long time.

Monday
Jun142010

Wordcount Challenge Check-In: 250, 500, 1000 wds/day

 

Haven't heard of the Inkygirl Wordcount Challenge? The goal of this challenge is to help provide goal-oriented inspiration, with flexibility to avoid giving up in frustration. Please click on any of the buttons above for more info.

Every Monday, I'll post a Wordcount Challenge Check-in to see how you're all doing with your challenges. You don't have to post, of course, but I find that encouraging and receiving encouragement from others is inspiring to me as a writer.

Good luck!

Sunday
Jun132010

Please help me test out the revamped Inkygirl

Inkygirl.com is now pointing to my Squarespace account, although it may take a few days for the change to propagate through all the name servers.

I still have a fair amount of tweaking and content moving before I'm ready to start up regular posting again, but would very much appreciate it if some of you could try posting comments.

If you are unable to post, could you please e-mail me?

Thanks so much!

Thursday
Jun102010

Moving To Squarespace...and thank you!

Just letting you all know that I've decided to move Inkygirl to Squarespace. I appreciate all your suggestions, info and feedback. While I'm moving some of my sites to Squarespace, some will be moved to other services some of you have mentioned (still researching the latter). No need to change your bookmarks; I'll just redirect Inkygirl.com to the new site when it's ready. The main reason I'm moving Inkygirl is because I want to cut down on the amount of tweaking, admin and security issues I have to deal with, so I can focus on the content. Wordpress is a great blogging platform, as some of you have pointed out, but I lack the time to keep up with the version updates for all the blogs that I currently have, plus other admin. I want to be able to post more often, including more writing-related comics. I have half a dozen interviews with amazingly talented and knowledgeable authors lined up, but haven't had time to work on editing/posting them because of the Wordpress admin / repairs I've had to do lately. No blogging platform is 100% secure, but on Squarespace I know I'll be able to have someone ELSE deal with fixing the code/admin. I've sent their customer support half a dozen questions so far and each time, I've gotten back a response within a few minutes; I've been really impressed! Many thanks to literary agent Elana Roth for all the info/help. And again, thank you all SO MUCH for sticking with Inkygirl through all this. :-)

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jun072010

Wordcount Challenge Check-In: 250, 500, 1000 wds/day

For those who encountered the malware warning over the weekend, Inkygirl has now been scrubbed cleaned (HUGE thanks to my hubby). Will post about what happened later today but basically, Inkygirl got hacked late Friday night. Didn't get much writing done over the weekend. :-(

Do you need a wordcount challenge with some leeway? Check out the challenges below: 250 wds/day | 500 wds/day | 1000 wds/day
So how did you all do with your daily wordcount challenges since the last check-in?

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jun052010

New comic up on Writer Unboxed

Friday
Jun042010

Time management and focusing on the CONTENT

So it looks as if Inkygirl's been hacked again (if you missed reading about the first one, see this post). This time the hack is more subtle (no malware) and only noticeable in search engines. If you try entering "inkygirl" in Google right now, here's what you get as the top hit: Chris Pearson encountered the same hack and posted a solution, but it didn't work for me. I admit to being frustrated, especially after Jeff spent so long cleaning up after the first hack, and all the time I've been spending on repairs as well. And this has got me thinking more about time management issues. In the early days of the World Wide Web, I was as excited about the tweaking/design of my websites as I was about the content. I've always tried to have good content but I also admit to spending a ton of time tweaking templates, looking for useful plug-ins, playing around with different Wordpress features. As more and more people started using the Web, however, inevitable security and hacking issues have increased. This last incident (or incidents) has prompted me to seek another blogging platform. I would much MUCH rather spend more time writing and creating than tweaking and admin. Yes, I realize that any platform I choose will have its security issues. But whereas I used to want total control over my site's design and features, now I'd rather find a service that will do most of the behind-the-scenes work (including putting out security issue fires) so I can just focus on the content. Some of you have suggested Tumblr and Blogger. I've tried both sites and they're easy to use, but I have to confess I'm hesitant to commit to any free hosted service that doesn't have a clear business model, just in case they decide to start charging (like Ning just did) or worse, shut down without warning. Not as much of a problem if you only have one blog, but I maintain quite a few, not just for myself but for others as well. I plan to consolidate some of my blogs/sites and cut down on the number of domains I use. I'm thinking of reorganizing most of my own blogs under one personal site and one work site rather than have the scattered all over the place. I'm looking for a service that won't roll out new versions unless they're rock solid and thoroughly tested, will let me modify CSS if I want but also have templates so I don't have to do much appearance set-up, has as little downtime and glitches as possible, and good customer service. Right now I'm checking out Squarespace and Typepad. If any of you have had experience using either of these services, I'd love to hear about it.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jun022010

Writers: take this health challenge & increase your productivity

I find that whenever I start slacking off the daily exercise ("I have too much WORK to do..."), I inevitably start feeling more and more tired and uninspired. I'm trying to get in the habit of doing a power walk a day -- by "power walk," I mean a walk that is brisk enough to get me slightly out of breath and sweaty (though the latter's not hard to do in the recent Toronto heat wave, ugh). I used to run, but some knee problems scared me into a lower impact exercise. Some days, though, I get so wrapped up in my work that it's hard to drag myself away from the computer screen. I've briefly thought about doing my walk in the morning, but I'm currently trying to WRITE first thing in the morning. Anyway, I'm going to take Ami Spencer's June Fit 'n' Healthy Challenge For Writers, to get 30 minutes of moderate exercise 5 or more days a week. I find that getting some exercise outdoors does wonders for getting creative inspiration flowing plus is good for de-stressing. Anyone else want to take the challenge with me?

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jun022010

Book Signings: amusing video and some advice

Above: "Signing in the Waldenbooks by Parnell Hall," which I discovered via Moonrat at Editorial Ass. Moonrat also offers some great advice about How To Throw An Awesome Book Launch.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jun012010

Over-enthusiastic spam-blocker

Apologies to those who recently tried posting a comment and were accused of being a spambot by one of the Wordpress security plugins I was trying (Invisible Defender). I've deleted the plugin so you should be able to post normally. I have a policy of moderating the first comment anyone posts, but once you've had a comment approved you should be able to post without having your comments moderated first.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jun012010

Inkygirl is BACK...and some security tips for other bloggers

(Resource list updated: June 3, 2010, 11:06 AM) As some of you may already know, some of my sites were hacked on the weekend. If you notice some missing images and features from this site, that's why -- I still haven't finished the finetuning after major damage control had been done. Many thanks to those who e-mailed, tweeted and sent me Facebook messages about the problem, and to Cid of Cidwrites.com and others for their advice. Biggest thanks to my technonerdboy hubby, Jeff Ridpath, who spent pretty much the whole weekend helping me get things back to normal. For anyone else out there who uses Wordpress as their blogging platform, be aware that what happened to me could very easily happen to you. You might think you don't have to worry because you just have a small site or figure that you don't have any valuable info on your site anyway but trust me...it's worth taking a few precautions to avoid going through the hassle of having to scrub your site clean and have to reinstall everything. And if you get flagged by Google as a malware site, then you have the added embarrassment of the warning that comes up whenever someone tries to access your site. Even after you scrub your site, then you have to fill out an application to get Google to review your site. Here are some things I learned from the experience that you may find useful: - Make sure your passwords are strong. Read Protect Your Blog With A Solid Password. Don't use any words that can be found in the dictionary. Other BAD passwords: names spelled backwards, phone numbers, birthdays, qwerty, asdf, yourname1, default, letmein, password1, your car license, middle names. Don't use the same password for multiple sites. - Keep your versions of Wordpress updated. As Alex King says, "Upgrade immediately. Always. No exceptions." - Keep your versions of plugins updated. Remove any plugins you aren't using. Some older versions of plugins have security holes that hackers can use. - Don't use the default admin account (called "admin") that comes with every Wordpress installation. Create another admin account with a different name and then delete the "admin" account. - Take regular backups of your file directories as well as your database. One security tips post I found recommended WordPress Database Backup. - Be wary of letting an application have write access to your files. Keep your file permissions as restrictive as possible. - Limit your use of plugins. I try to do this anyway, because I was finding that having too many plugins really slowed down page loading on my site. - Turn off any features you don't use. And yes, I'm on the lookout for another blogging platform. If anyone has any suggestions, feel free to post below! Anyway, here are some useful resources I found while researching Wordpress and security issues: Top 5 WordPress Security Tips You Most Likely Don't Follow Wordpress Security Tips and Hacks 20+ Powerful Security Plugins and Some Tips & Tricks Wordpress Security, Upgrades and Backups Wordpress Security Issues Lead To Mass Hacking. Is Your Blog Next? Hardening Wordpress Wordpress Security Whitepaper How To Diagnose and Remove the WordPress Pharma Hack Protect your Admin folder in Wordpress by limiting access in .htaccess Any other tips or suggestions? Feel free to share them below.

Click to read more ...

Monday
May312010

Wordcount Challenge Check-In: 250, 500, 1000 wds/day

For those who encountered the malware warning over the weekend, Inkygirl has now been scrubbed cleaned (HUGE thanks to my hubby). Will post about what happened later today but basically, Inkygirl got hacked late Friday night. Didn't get much writing done over the weekend. :-(

Do you need a wordcount challenge with some leeway? Check out the challenges below: 250 wds/day | 500 wds/day | 1000 wds/day
So how did you all do with your daily wordcount challenges since the last check-in?

Click to read more ...

Thursday
May272010

BuNoWriMo - write a novel in June

For those who missed NaNoWriMo or did NaNo but are keen for more punishment inspiration, checkout BuNoWriMo, a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in June. There's also a BuNoWriMo Facebook group.

Click to read more ...

Monday
May242010

Weekly wdcount check-in: 250, 500, 1000 wds/day

Do you need a wordcount challenge with some leeway? Check out the challenges below: 250 wds/day | 500 wds/day | 1000 wds/day
So how did you all do with your daily wordcount challenges since the last check-in?

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
May182010

Reading magazines on the iPad

Monday
May172010

Weekly wordcount check-in: 250, 500, 1000 wds/day

Do you need a wordcount challenge with some leeway? Check out the challenges below: 250 wds/day | 500 wds/day | 1000 wds/day
So how did you all do with your daily wordcount challenges since the last check-in?

Click to read more ...

Saturday
May152010

New comic up on Writer Unboxed!

For those interested, I've posted a new comic on Writer Unboxed.

Click to read more ...

Friday
May142010

Looking for a useful notetaking or writing app for the iPad?

I've been reviewing iPad apps that could be useful to writers on iPadGirl recently. Unfortunately Posterous doesn't have a good archiving index system, so I'm compiling a list of notetaking and writing iPad apps for writers on a separate page, with links to my reviews.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
May132010

My reviews of writing & note-taking iPad apps

For those interested, here's a list of the writing and note-taking apps for the iPad that I've reviewed on iPadGirl so far. Some have iPhone versions!

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
May112010

DRM, e-books, and Fictionwise/B&N Removing Access To Books *I Have Already Paid For*

CARTOON EMBED CODE: (Before embedding, see my cartoon licensing info.)

 


A while back, I mentioned that Fictionwise support had e-mailed me saying they were NOT developing a version of their e-reader for the iPad. Disappointed, I thought, "Oh well. At least I'll be able to read my e-books in small iPhone size on my iPad." But then I discovered that some of the e-books I purchased through Fictionwise (a Barnes & Noble company) were now unavailable because of "geographic restrictions." When I tried downloading them for my iPad, I got the error "Territory not authorized." Nearly a month ago, I wrote to Fictionwise support about the problem. Here's what they wrote back:
"Hi, We are currently working with our providers to resolve the download errors you are experiencing. Sorry for any inconvenience this may be causing and thank you for your patience as we attempt to resolve this issue. Best Regards, Ted Fictionwise Support Team"
Since then, some of the titles I couldn't access before can now be accessed, but there are still quite a few that remain unavailable. It's this sort of problem that makes it clear that the e-book industry still needs a lot of work before it has a hope of succeeding. I've already had at least one reader say, "See? This sort of thing is why I don't buy e-books." DRM, for those that don't know, stands for Digital Rights Management. It's a pretty broad term that's used to refer to techniques for restricting the free use and transfer of digital content. It's meant to control copying of digital files but from what I can tell, it only ends up ticking off the consumer while content thieves find ways around it. It only takes ONE person to crack the code, and all the effort/hassle that has gone into the DRM for a particular item (an e-book, for instance) becomes worthless. Less than worthless, actually, because of the problems encountered by a consumer who LEGITIMATELY BOUGHT the e-book. A quote from science fiction author Simon Haynes about DRM:
And now for DRM. When you sell someone an encrypted e-book, DVD or computer game, what you’re basically saying is: "Here’s the content you wanted, and by the way we think you’re a thief." The joke is that any thieves have already downloaded pirated copies of the same content, so you’re not inconveniencing them. No, the only people you’re annoying are your paying customers.
Whatever has changed at Fictionwise, whatever the current geographic restrictions placed on certain titles in their store, the fact remains: THESE ARE E-BOOKS I HAVE ALREADY PAID FOR. It has been nearly a month since I last wrote them, when their support staff said they were "working on it." I'm not the only Fictionwise customer in this situation. If I was running the company, I'd be sending at least one follow-up e-mail a week specifically addressing the issue, keeping my customers up-to-date about what was going on and offering the option of a membership/book refund. I hope someone at Barnes & Noble is paying attention. As the owner of Fictionwise, this reflects poorly on them as well. I've been trying to be patient but I've pretty much hit my limit. I've written to Fictionwise again today; let's see how/if they respond. Related resources: Why DRM Doesn't Work - an illustrated example SF author Simon Haynes’ case against DRM at Amazon and elsewhere (Teleread) Why DRM won't ever work (ZDNet) DRM Doesn't Work - Mark Shuttleworth How Doesn't DRM Work? - Cory Doctorow

Click to read more ...