English is an amazing language, full of words even most English speakers have never heard of. I love finding obscure words – there are websites full of them. I’m going to do my part in saving them from extinction by using them as often as possible… because sometimes, it’s just fun to confuse people!
This first one is such a rare word form that not even Wiktionary has an entry on it yet (though they do have “nyctophile”). It’s close to my heart, as I am a pure (can I make up my own word, please?) nyctophilite. I’d do everything in the dark if I could. I do fitness at night when the rest of the world has gone to bed, and I usually go to bed after the sun has risen; our exchange student used to call me a half-vampire. I fold clothes, clean house, and walk around our house in complete darkness, and I’m even teaching myself to crochet without looking so that I can do that in darkness, too. There’s just something about darkness that I find restful, and peaceful. My favourite hours are in the night, and I avoid strong light as I have sensitive eyes. I’d be perfectly happy to live in the arctic circle for the winter months, except for the cold.
Are you a fellow nyctophilite? Or do you have nyctophobia?
Loch Eriboll and region. Click to enlarge.
Loch Eriboll is a sea loch along the northern coast of Scotland, roughly 16 km (10 mi) long. It’s been used (probably as long as inhabitants were in the area) as a safe anchor from the stormy seas off of Cape Wrath and the Pentland Firth. Bronze Age remains can be found in the area, including the souterrain I wrote about recently. There’s also a well-preserved wheelhouse on a hillside above the western shore, and on the small peninsula jutting out into the loch you’ll find the ruins of a small scale lime industry that developed there in the 19th century. The shores around the area are fascinating, as the geological composition is a conglomeration of an amazing variety, split along the eastern shore of the loch by the Moine Thrust. Even along the roads, you’ll find chunks of pink metamorphic rocks glittering with mica.
Loch Eriboll, taken Summer 2012, © Stephanie Huesler. Click to enlarge.
In 1945, thirty-three German U-boats surrendered in the deep loch, ending the Battle of the Atlantic. Eilean Choraidh, the largest island in the loch, was used as target practice for aerial bombing due to its size and resemblance to the shape of a ship. Along the western hills, you can see words written with stones near the settlement of Laid: They are the names of warships, such as the Hood and Amethyst, arranged there by the sailors of those ships.
Tràigh Allt Chàilgeag Beach, taken Summer 2012, © Stephanie Huesler. Click to enlarge.
Not far from Loch Eriboll, on the way to Durness, is a treasure: Tràigh Allt Chàilgeag is a beach of vertical walls of stones layered in colours ranging from black to pink. When the tide is out the beach is endless, and when it’s in, climb the rocks! The beach was created as the Ice Age sheets began to melt, pushing the walls of rocks upward as the island actually rose, no longer being held down by the massive weight of ice.
On a clear day, you can see the southern-most Orkney Isles, and the waters around the coast are still busy highways for ships of all sizes.
My husband and I were on holiday in Scotland in 2012, and we spent several days in this area so that I could do research for The Cardinal; both the souterrain and the above-mentioned beach play a role in the story.
September 7, 2013 History Undusted,
Do you sometimes get the feeling that everything’s moving far too fast? I don’t necessarily mean technology, media, or time in general, though it could all certainly be included. I’m referring to your specific life circumstances. Perhaps, like me, you’ve got a goal looming ahead, and you see dozens of things that need to be done before it arrives. Just thinking of it all makes your head spin. Time flies by. If you’re like me, it’s the vagueness of those “dozens of things” that can stress me out, or as the Brits say, “get my knickers in a knot”.
When I feel that pressure building, I do three things, and I’d like to share them with you:
- Make a list. Break the list down into sections – whether those sections be things like “phone calls to make” or “research” or “phase one” or “today”, you know how best to get your tasks organised. For me, my current list branches out into ten topics, each with sub-sections, not counting my list of daily tasks around the house. I’d encourage you to buy a “to do” pad or notebook pages, or make up your own and print them out; having it written out makes it concrete, and therefore manageable.
Use a time management app. I use two: “aTimeLogger” and “Clear Focus”. I’ve mentioned these both before in my article about productivity (check it out for more tips!). When I sit down to work, I put my phone into airplane mode, open these two apps, and use them to keep me focused. Sometimes I work straight through on one topic and its sections, and sometimes I break it up into several different topics that are related. Set yourself a time goal for the day, and set yourself up to reach it! The time goal of Clear Focus can be adjusted to your needs; I have mine set at 30 minutes, with a long break every 3 sessions; I also have the paid version, which adds a “pause button” – helpful if e.g. the doorbell rings (and I decide to answer it!). The time logger app can be adapted to your needs; I’ve eliminated unnecessary categories and added my own – including writing, editing, and blogging. Also, it’s practical if you’re interested in learning just how much time you spend in any given area; if you think you spend too much time on social media, log it to find out!
- Minimize distractions. Several weeks ago, I removed Facebook from my list of “home page” tabs on my computer; it’s amazing how much that little decision has saved me time! It becomes a habit to check in because it’s there; out of sight, out of mind. Now, I must remind myself to go check in occasionally to answer messages. When you’re working on the computer, and you need the internet open, then minimize the distractions by controlling which tabs remain open, and make your first tab one that prompts you to write or work – a dictionary, thesaurus, etc. If you have websites you want to regularly check out, then limit that time to your 5- or 15-minute breaks (set in Clear Focus) as a “reward” for staying focused. My treat is Pinterest; it’s a place I could easily get lost in for longer than I’d like, so the time app keeps me focused there, too.
I hope these thoughts help you focus, take the stress out of the vague, and encourage you to tackle your goals, whatever they be! Keep writing!
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I’m fairly savvy in a lot of things to do with technology; I’m usually the one in our house who figures out how something works, from electronic gadgets to computer programs. Having said that, I’m probably a complete novice when it comes to all things “webby” – web design, computer programming, SEOs, and their ilk.
I found out about something recently that I thought I’d share with you – especially those of you who are authors with e-book editions: Pure URLs.
When you do a search, say, on Amazon, for your book, the URL will reflect the search phase. If you use that URL as a hyperlink in your ebook, it won’t work for anyone else – which is hard for you to know as, when you test it, Amazon will recognize your computer and reinstate that search result.
Here’s an example:
If I do a search on Amazon for one of my books, the URL looks like this (with spaces added to prevent conversion):
https: // www. amazon .com / Cardinal-Part-One-Stephanie-Huesler-ebook/dp/B00PKS2EWO/ ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1501893862&sr=1-1 &keywords=Stephanie+Huesler+The+Cardinal+Part+One
the pure URL will be shorter, like this:
https:// www. amazon .com / Cardinal-Part-One-Stephanie-Huesler-ebook / dp/B00PKS2EWO
If I remove the spaces and paste the pure URL into this post, it will look like this:
I hope this helps you as you prepare your document for publication. It’s something I am in the process of editing in my already-published books (in preparation for updates). As always, honing skills means that there will be cringe-moments when looking back on writing results from years ago. Bringing out a new book is good reason to go back and give the other documents (which need to be updated with new book information anyway) a good run-through!