29 August 2012

I am tired of sucking at the internet.

iStock

So, if you read yesterday's post (was it really only yesterday?) I'm trying to do the right thing with the images on this site (removing, attributing, resubmitting) and I'm adding plain and simple copyright notices on the artwork I've featured on the site to try and prevent the images from being distributed illegally...

And it turns out, I'm still doing things wrong. I was trying to remove images that don't belong to me from my Picasa Web Album. When you upload a pic from your hard drive to Blogger, a copy of it automatically goes to your Picasa album.

I did not feel comfortable having images that I don't personally own ending up in my Picasa album, even if they were free images from Wikimedia Commons or similar. I thought that removing those pictures, then reposting the images from the URL, was another way of showing additional proper attributions. Nope. I've got it all wrong. 

Turns out I've been hotlinking. I didn't even know what that meant until I came across this article. But basically, when you upload an image into your post and choose Blogger's option submit from a URL, you are using that other site's bandwidth to house the image on your blogger page.

So yeah. It's another form of stealing. Didn't know that, so I get to go back and redo all those posts over again that have images I resubmitted via URL, and then download and upload them to Blogger properly.

Another dumb lesson I learned today? I've been getting referrer spam in Blogger. You can read about it here and here. Basically, if you keep an eye on your Stats, you'll see a section that lists Referring URLS and then the website address, and to the right, the number of referrals. This interests me because I like to see where my traffic comes from and get a rough idea of who's dropping by.

But there were a few links that were showing up for referrals, and it really freaked me out. You know, like porn sites, or "normal websites" that really had nothing to do with my site at all. Completely random stuff.

There are two causes for this:
  1. Referral spam--the web addresses listed as starts are spam, and you're redirected to the spammer site, which then adds more bogus links and stats to your Blogger.
  2. Other people are hotlinking to my site--Yes, if there are sites that don't seem to be spammy, but still seem completely irrelevant to your own website, they could be hotlinking images from your site and driving traffic that way. Usually through research you can find out if they are embedding your stuff into their site. In other words, stealing. See previous info for lesson learned.
The moral of the story: DO NOT CLICK ON ANY OF THE LINKS IN THE BLOGGER STATS PAGE FOR "REFERRING URLS."  

I'd been clicking on them, trying to figure out why the hell porn sites and healthcare sites would be drawing traffic here. They're not. It's all fake, the stats, and the URLThey're relying on me to be a dumbass, click on the link, and then generate more spammy whammy so the circle continues evermore.

If you want legitimate site info, work with Google Analystics (I do notice that they have different referring URL info that what Blogger shows me); or special third-party stat counter programs.

Please learn from these mistakes. They are time-consuming, aggravating, and annoying to fix...so Bloggers, beware, and get it right the first time you blog!

28 August 2012

Art and Updates

(cc) by KEB
Hi all, been busy busy busy with the book book book. My head's exploding and I only have about a month left to make The Name and the Key as fabulous and complete as it can be.

It's soooo clooooose to meeting the word count requirement! But the story isn't close to being done, so I definitely think it'll shoot over 80,000 words. And I still have about 900 things to do to the manuscript...so I'm going to likely go into hiding for a while. This is what still needs to be done, and I've got less than 30 days to do it:
  • Finish the story. Which I think will need another seven chapters or so (minimum).  
  • Rewrite the first five chapters completely.  
  • Cut the chapters that aren't working and combine the leftovers in new chapters.  
  • Revise the entire novel.  
  • Proofread the entire manuscript. Like...four times. I am the queen of typos and I leave words out of sentences all the time. And even though I read my drafts out loud, and go over the printed copies repeatedly, I always miss something. 
  • Curl up in a corner and rock myself tearfully to sleep.

Honestly, I don't know how I'm going to do this, but it has to be done.

Some updates to tide you over:

This website will continue to undergo changes...

I read this scary article for bloggers: Bloggers Beware: You Can Get Sued for Using Pics on Your Blog and then I started reading up on  Legal Liability for Bloggers and then I freaked out and went back through all of my posts from the beginning and tried to clean them up. I'm not close to being done yet, (I haven't even gotten to pages like Geekery, which is a huge reposting mess) because I use a lot of images in my posts: some public domain, some that qualified under fair use, and some that did not. I had to stop working on this clean-up so I could write more for school, but if you're wondering why certain posts and images disappeared, that's why--read those articles. Seriously. And then look at what you're doing.

I also added some statements to help protect the artists whose work I feature on this site for the Lily and Andresh project. I bought the commission and received permission from the artists to share it on my blog, but those images are still copyright protected. So I started adding disclaimers and copyright statements to each post to let readers know what they can and can't use.  It's a lot of work, but it needs to be done.


Lily and Andresh (c) Maruka.
As far as the Lily and Andresh project is concerned...

It's grown and grown. Here are the artists who've already done artwork or will do artwork (discovered via Deviant Art)--they're all very talented, and all have completely different styles and interpretations of the characters, which is really, really cool:

PLEASE COMMISSION THESE ARTISTS! Everyone is broke right now, but artists need to help each other out (that means writers and artists together)!

26 August 2012

Lily and Andresh, by Maruka

(c) Maruka.

This is so beautiful. *Sigh*

And so romantic. *Sigh*

And so magical. *Sigh*

I really, really love this. In fact, I think my thank-you message to Maruka probably sounded like a love letter, for all I know. It was very complimentary of her work and her attention to detail, and full of rambling and lots of exclamation points.

When readers finally get their hands on my book, The Name and the Key, they'll read passages of description--Andresh's coat; the smoke from calling on Shadow magic; of how Lily and Andresh see each other--they'll read my words, and when they look at Maruka's art, they'll see how closely it matches. I'm very impressed. I hope all of you are, too.

*Update: I got a bonus freebie sketch! How awesome is that? It's Lily's little sister, Elaine (aka Laney). Check it out here!

For more of Maruka's work, check out her official website, her Deviant Art, her Anipan page, and her Tumblr. Be sure to take a look at her awesome interview over at Something We Like! And please, commission her!

21 August 2012

My friend's book launches! Woo!

The 1st edition cover.
My awesome friend and SHUmate Rachell Nichole is living the dream. Her book, An Affair Across Times Square, launches August 21st,from publishing house Loose Id!

Format: Ebook

Genre: Erotic Romance (Mature Content)

Plot:  "As Layla and Tyler leap into an affair across Times Square, they quickly realize they may have found the way to quench their wild sides. But can a relationship begun through a window really last?"

Extended Plot Info: Read it here.

Chapter One Excerpt: Read it here.

Buy the book: Here!

For more of Rachell Nichole, visit her official site, her blog, and her YouTube Channel. Keep it social with Rachell via Facebook and Google Plus!