Taking the easy way out

Ever have one of those weekends where things keep going wrong but still turn out great?

That pretty much summed up this past weekend for me – all kinds of silly little things not going as they should, but still probably the best weekend I’ve had in the past few months.

So I was pretty darn tired when 11 pm Sunday rolled around and it was time to stream. Most of my brain cells* were screaming, “SLEEP!” But there were a few screaming, “RENOWN BOOST WEEKEND!”

I didn’t have anyone with sagas complete or even nearly complete, so I was tempted to go for sleep. But the Flower Sniffers are fast closing in on level 150, and that 30% renown boost was too good to pass up.

Ergo, I compromised, zerging through the heroic Pirates saga on level 30 Acanthia, who still had a renown pot going from the last guild renown weekend. Slvr brought his level 23 barb, we skipped Irestone, and in just about an hour we picked up a decent chunk of renown.

*I may be giving myself far too much credit by calling them “brain cells,” but that flows better than “miscellaneous cells that live inside my head.”

So here’s what went wrong this weekend (some for me, some for the person I was with, some for both of us):

  • Dead car battery
  • Lots and lots and LOTS of driving
  • Somewhat unexpected extra driving
  • Burnt-out taillight
  • Slow service and crappy food
  • Smelly hotel room with filthy tub/shower
  • Seriously major work emergency
  • Dead car battery, again
  • Weirdly heavy traffic
  • Road construction
  • Lost wallet
  • Were served food that contained something one of us can’t eat, after asking the waitress to make sure nothing like that would be in it

And yet… ’twas a really great weekend. I’m happy to report that the taillight was replaced easily, the wallet was found with all its contents intact, and we were able to swap out the unwanted food item for something acceptable.The driving is mostly over – at least for a few weeks. 😀 The work emergency is handled as much as is possible at this point. The dead battery turned out to be defective and has been replaced. And neither of us will ever stay at Red Roof Inn in South Williamsport again. LOL

Streamin’ with Even is live on Thelanis every Sunday night at 11 pm Eastern time on the official DDOstream! The show is also hosted on my own Twitch channel, but if you’re watching live and want to chat, DDOStream is the place to be. Videos are archived on my YouTube channel and/or on DDOStream’s YouTube. Feel free to send me a tell if you’d like to join! Thanks for reading and/or watching! 🙂

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Wraps and reapers

I was hoping to get on Lamannia and make a Dragonborn for this week’s stream, but either Lamannia’s down or it just doesn’t want to work on my extremely temperamental computer. So I decided to use my stream time to continue working on sagas (when the next renown weekend comes along, I am SO gonna be ready!). Even needed Sschindylryn and Druid’s Deep to mostly complete her epic Eveningstar sagas, and I was getting heartily sick of Drow, so I figured the vine horrors in the Druid’s chain would be a nice break.

And they were… but I’d forgotten about the wisps. The laggy, fear-inducing wisps. OK, Even doesn’t get feared, ’cause she’s a paladin. But still. Those damn things can take an otherwise manageable quest and turn it into a nightmare.

But I really wanted to get the chain done, partly because I needed it for sagas, and a little because, for the past few years, I’ve been trying to get Acanthia a set of Ivy Wraps.

Luckily Retsans joined Mock and Even shortly into Outbreak, and his warlock juju did a great job out-wisping the wisps while Mock wreaked havoc on the vine horrors.

The heroic normal version of the wraps frequently appears in the chain end reward list, but level 30 Acanthia won’t get much use out of those. Unfortunately all other versions drop only from the night hag rare encounter in Druid’s Curse, and in my experience, the hag is a very rare encounter indeed.

So when we got there and realized that the elusive hag was actually standing around in her swamp waiting to eat unwary adventurers, I appealed to the Twitch faithful for luck, karma, good vibes, and anything else along those lines…

AND IT WORKED!

Sparkling at me from the hag’s chest – er, her TREASURE chest – was a pair of Ivy Wraps.

Epic elite Ivy Wraps.

With a mythic bonus.

DAMN RIGHT I SQUEE’D.

After all my fruitless and ivy-less farming runs, I gotta give the credit for finally getting the wraps – and the best possible version of them, no less – to the good villagers of Twitchland. Thanks, guys! 😀

We followed that up with a surprisingly painless trek through Two-Toed Tobias on three-skull reaper difficulty. I wouldn’t have minded pulling another Jibbers blade, but all Jack had to offer was a Drowned Priest’s Torch apiece. Retsans’ Torch had a mythic bonus, which he passed to me. Might make a really nice weapon for undead specialist Riva; I think right now her only weapons are an EE Forgotten Light, a lootgen silver longsword, and… Muckbane.

I’m hoping U35 will hit soon, because after seeing VooduSpyce’s preview of Dragonborn, I can’t wait to roll one up myself!

I think I want to make a Dragonborn warlock… except I was already planning on TRing Zak into a warlock. And Zak is pretty darn Drow. I’ll have to have a chat with him and see how he’d feel about being Dragonborn – or I could just buy another character slot to give me an even 20, because alt-itis.

Streamin’ with Even is live every Sunday night at 11 pm Eastern time, now on the official DDOstream! The show will still be hosted on my own Twitch channel as well, but if you’re watching live and want to chat, DDOStream is the place to be. Videos are archived on my YouTube channel and/or on DDOStream’s YouTube. I’m usually on Thelanis, usually/often/sometimes on Evennote, and usually have room, so feel free to send me a tell if you’d like to join! I’m also definitely open to suggestions on what to run next. You can send ingame mail to Evennote on Thelanis, or email me at evennote (at) gmail dot com. Thanks for reading and/or watching!  🙂

An infinite number of Evens, an infinite number of Jacks…

There’s this theory that I heard ages ago. Can’t remember the exact wording, but it was something about how if you chained an infinite number of gibbons to an infinite number of typewriters, eventually one of them would churn out “War and Peace.” Or something like that.

Basically, the premise is that if you do something enough, you’ll get amazing results.

Well, I finally – FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY! – have run The Legend of Two-Toed Tobias enough. Because tonight, to my intense delight – not to mention overwhelming surprise…

I FINALLY PULLED A CURSED BLADE OF JACK JIBBERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I KNOW, RIGHT?!

I almost didn’t even make my nightly Jibbers run. Been sooooo tired from real life, had just run Inferno with Seki and Rayne and Slvr, and I have a borrowed copy of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” that’s just BEGGING to be read.

Ah well, it won’t take long, I thought.

So we get to the end, minus Seki who actually DID go to bed like a normal person and plus Citi who’d signed on in the meantime. We kill Jack (or whatever verb is appropriate to describe causing an undead being to no longer… be).

Alphonse, the summoned shadow from my Necklace of Mystic Eidolons, continues eagerly jumping at Jack’s blade dangling tantalizingly in midair like the sword of Damocles (“That ain’t no criiiime…”). I joke that Alphonse is trying to get me the sword. And then I open the chest.

Usually the “good” items are listed right at the top, one or two of them, and then you might get 100 axiomatic bolts, maybe a scroll or two, some gems, a bit of plat, and maybe some renown. So I look at the first two items, don’t see a Jibbers blade, sigh, and link the ring I got instead*. It’s a nice ring – Delightful Something of Something, can’t remember right now. Figured it would be good for my bard.

* – “instead,” of course, in this case turned out to be “in addition to.”

Slvr types, “OMG”

… and then types, “I got skunked on loot,” clearly an attempt to psych me out. (OK, yes, I fell for it momentarily.)

I happen to look at my loot list again.

I gasp.

I gasp again.

I may’ve even hyperventilated a bit.

THE JIBBERS BLADE EXISTS!

Really wish I’d been streaming, but I did fire up the stream to try to check out the blade in action… which ended up not quite happening. But you can see my attempt in the video.  LOL

And ignore my partial explanation of Eternal Defender, ’cause I got distracted and never finished it. Also ignore the arrow in the upper left corner of the still image, ’cause it looks like it’s pointing to the diamond instead of the MUCH better item under it. Oops!

To twinfinity… and beyond!

Sere and Taurriel

 

Talk about déjà vu!

Got my first glimpse of Keava’s new Shadar-Kai Taurriel tonight, and she looked… strangely familiar. I knew I’d seen that rogue before, but where?

Right on my login screen, that’s where. The hair color is different, and Taurriel’s eyes are darker, but otherwise she’s the spitting image of my own Seregeth.

This could come in handy when questing. One sneaky rogue sidles up and gets the enemy’s attention. The mobs whirl around to attack – and see what they think is that same sneaky rogue waaaaay on the other side of the dungeon. While they’re scratching their heads and going, “Wait, what?” the twin rogues whip out their trusty daggers and start assassinating. I like it!

 

Even and 3BC airship

 

Just some random thoughts tonight, because I had a most awesome weekend-into-Monday and I’m exhausted. Slvr discovered that if you climb the bell tower in Three-Barrel Cove when the rare encounter airship Ill Fate is up, you can get a great look at it from above. You can also land on it, which I didn’t get a chance to do because Slvr blew it up too fast. Sure beats trying to fire a ballista when a horde of angry pirates are swinging their whirly chains at you!

 

Meren and death_adurnac

 

Had a strange, slightly cool, and slightly creepy thing happen in a guild run of heroic Shroud Friday night. Everything had been perfectly normal – well, as normal as things can be when the Flower Sniffers of Destiny get together – until Phase 5. My gimpy li’l rogue Meren had grabbed Adur-Nac and was pulling him away so that he could be killed when she noticed that something weird was going on with his name.

He had the correct floaty text in Phase 2, but he kept his “death_adurnac” moniker throughout Phase 5, or at least until we killed him. No one noticed if his “ghost” form also had the glitch. I’ve never seen that in Shroud before, and as many times as I’ve run Shroud, that’s saying something. So it was kinda neat… even though seeing “death” in front of Adur-Nac’s name didn’t settle gimpy Meren’s nerves any.

 

DRETCH!

 

Yes, it’s a picture of a dretch. Because I can. Grabbed it from a splash screen because I was too tired lazy to dig through all my screenies looking for a good dretch shot. Dretches rock, and we need more of them. And we especially need dretch cosmetic pets. I have it on pretty good authority that this won’t happen for a long time if ever, but I’ll never give up hope. C’mere, little dretch! Glarb! Eat my sorrow and drink my pain! NUM!

Citi wrote about dretches in a blog post a while back, suggesting that they need a little theme music when they fall under the spell of Otto’s Irresistible Dance. The cool thing about the DDO blogging community is that, with a few exceptions (as anyone who’s read some of the comment sections on my blog knows, heh heh), we enjoy helping each other out. The lovely grimorde obliged Citi with a video giving dretches their right to party. It’s 18 seconds you’ll thank me for, I promise!

Potions of Wonder

The Flower Sniffers are getting down to the serious business of trying to get everybody flagged for everything. Keava made us a cool spreadsheet in Google Docs (we tried using forum posts first, but the alt-itis some of us – yes, ME – suffer from kinda made that too clunky) so that we can all put in our characters and what they’ve run. Slvr added a few quest arcs… now all I need is the ambition to go through all of my toons and see who’s flagged for what.

And at some point, we really need to have a nekkid guild fun run/raid night with EVERYBODY. Because Acanthia’s bank is starting to fill up with Potions of Wonder. The pic is from a couple of weeks ago; she now has close to 1,500 wonder pots. The plan is to get the entire guild on, take our clothes off, head into a raid, pass a stack of pots to everybody, and start chugging. That’ll definitely be one for the livestream!

Speaking of the stream, I’m moving to midnight (Eastern) Sundays from 11 pm so as not to conflict with any other streams.

Last, but certainly not least – today will mark the 200th issue to the DDO Chronicle! May you have many, many more!

Roid rage

 

Every so often, usually when I’m in the middle of something else, I’ll get a tell from Sadie…

“EEEEVVVEEEEEENNNNNN!!!!! Come run Abbot with meeeeeeee!”

Sunday I was trying to decide what I wanted to run for the livestream, so I opened up my quest journal and started looking for things Even hasn’t run yet. Lo and behold, though she’s been flagged for, like, EVER, she’s not yet run Abbot this life. Not sure how that happened – I may owe Sadie an apology, because I REALLY thought I’d run Abbot with her at some point during Even’s current life.

I actually really, intensely dislike Abbot. I won’t go so far as to say “hate,” but… it’s close. A long, long time ago, I was in Abbot and was on roids duty. In case you’ve never run Abbot, aka Ascension Chamber, the best way to handle roids is to use mouselook to aim boulders at ginormous asteroids that hurtle toward your rickety platform.

I happen to HATE mouselook. It is just completely non-intuitive for me. And that night, as I was trying to go into mouselook to better target incoming asteroids, I pressed “R” instead of “T”…

Not once.

Not twice.

Not three times.

FOUR STRAIGHT TIMES (because yes, we kept failing roids and had to redo it that many times), I pressed “R” for “autorun” instead of “T” for “mouselook,” thereby running right off the precarious perch and plummeting to my death.

I’ve had autorun disabled ever since that night. Remarkably, two or three years later, the people from that PuG still ask me to group with them.

 

Even tosses boulders at roids.

 

So I figured going in there was no way I’d get a completion, because even assuming I could get past roids, there would still be tiles (sheer luck to try to solo since you can’t see the tiles) and ice (that one, with Even’s HP and heal amp, at least I had a shot at).

Head in, beat down the Abbot, portals appear. I figured I’d roll to see which one I’d take first – 1 for left, 2 for center, 3 for right. Rolled a 2, clicked the center portal, and… you KNOW where I ended up. Great.

Oh, for any Abbot virgins out there, did I mention that hjealing of all sorts is disabled in roids? The roids come from all directions. If you don’t hit them with boulders in time, they smack into your little platform, dealing damage that you CANNOT HEAL.

No, I didn’t make it through roids. But then again, I never expected to. I was somewhat pleasantly surprised that I didn’t manage to run off the tiny platform, seeing as how I was in mouselook-that-I-hate, and even more surprised that I managed to take out what seemed (to me) to be a fair number of roids before they finally got the best of me. It was actually pretty fun, which is something I rarely say about Abbot… who knows, maybe I’ll try again sometime!

 

Keava and Getting do EE Demonweb.
Also this past week, Even continued to NOT get a Cursed Blade of Jack Jibbers from yet more Two-Toed Tobias runs. On a happier note, Keava talked Getting the intentionally-gimped bank bard into running Demonweb on EE. I didn’t think she’d survive the first fight… but we made it through Trial by Fury and The Deal and the Demon successfully before we realized it was bedtime.

So much for, “She’s JUST a bank toon. I’m NEVER going to play her!” Yeah, she’s now level 23 and one quest away from being flagged for Caught in the Web. despite being OH-so-gimpy. I was surprised that her CC generally worked pretty well on the rather resistant Drow in Demonweb and Sschindylryn… and wow, I also just realized that she can turn in the first saga if she wants to, just skip Reclaiming the Rift, and get credit for true elite. Go Getting!

She really does kinda suck, but it’s fun to play a toon who wears a giant mushroom on her head, beats things up with a bouquet of flowers, and never takes anything seriously.

Streamin’ with Even is live every Sunday night at 11 pm Eastern time. I’m usually on Thelanis, usually on Evennote, and usually have room, so feel free to send me a tell if you’d like to join! I’m also definitely open to suggestions on what to run next. You can send ingame mail to Evennote on Thelanis, or email me at evennote (at) gmail dot com. Thanks for reading and/or watching!  🙂

The Cursed Lag of Jack Jibbers

 

This past week’s livestream featured Slvr and I dashing off an epic elite Three-Barrel Cove/Sentinels saga to take advantage of the 30% guild renown boost weekend.

It’s probably the easiest epic saga to get through quickly on elite… under normal circumstances. Murphy’s luck being what it is, “normal” did not describe the circumstances we had.

First there was my crappy Internet, which normally gives me a “fair” connection with three bars. On bad nights, it’s two bars and “poor.” On really REALLY bad nights, it’s one bar and “low” or “poor.”

Last night, the signal bar actually disappeared several times. How I managed to stay connected to DDO, I have no idea. But I made it through the saga (sans Precious Cargo, which I thought I had ’cause it was marked on my spreadsheet, and Spies in the House, because I wasn’t in the mood to spend an hour trying to lag-jump through the blade traps) without a single disconnect.

Then there was my computer, which does not like it when I try to run anything else at the same time as DDO. So it’s really not happy on livestream nights when I have DDO, a browser window for  Twitch, and OBS all going at once. It protested, but managed to soldier on.

And then… there was the lag. If I’d been soloing, I’d’ve probably chalked it up to a combination of bad connection and unhappy computer. But Slvr was getting it just as badly as I was. In fact, we wondered if the livestream was going to consist of us standing at the gate to 3BC twiddling our thumbs waiting for the dialogue box to open so we could actually get in.

At last, get in we did, after what seemed like about half an hour spent dancing with the gate. Garl’s Tomb, Prove Your Worth, Ghost of a Chance, and of course, my old buddy Jack Jibbers in The Legend of Two-Toed Tobias. It took a while with all the lag, but FINALLY! we finished them all and headed off to House Deneith for the Sentinels of Stormreach chain.

And that’s where the video ends, because I decided I’d try to improve computer performance a bit by shutting down OBS and my Twitch browser window.

Streamin’ with Even is live every Sunday night at 11 pm Eastern time. I’m usually on Thelanis, usually on Evennote, and usually have room, so feel free to send me a tell if you’d like to join! I’m also definitely open to suggestions on what to run next. You can send ingame mail to Evennote on Thelanis, or email me at evennote (at) gmail dot com. Thanks for reading and/or watching!  🙂

Want Your Blade, Jack

 

Sigh.

I’ve begged the chest. I’ve danced with it. I’ve hugged it. I’ve tickled the itchy spot behind its ears – or I would have, if chests had ears. I’ve cheered for it. I’ve shown it my right hand so it can see that I still don’t have a Cursed Blade of Jack Jibbers. Tonight, I even groveled before it…

… all for naught. The loot gods sit on their lofty perches laughing at my feeble attempts to get that elusive Jibbers blade.

Clearly I need to try something new. And so I thought, hmmm, what says “I care” more than a song written JUST FOR YOU, chest? OK, so I borrowed the melody from “Hit the Road, Jack” by Ray Charles (László Csotye’s karaoke version used in the video can be found here) and put together this little duet between Even-the-pally and Jack Jibbers.

Lyrics are in the captions – if you don’t see them, click the little “CC” button at the bottom. They’re a bit confusing – the captioning I used let me use formatting, so it was easy to distinguish which lines were Even’s and which were Jack’s. Unfortunately YouTube stripped the formatting when I uploaded the captions file, so it’s all ordinary plain Arial 28-pt text. Meh.

 

Keava gets a Jibbers!

 

At least now I do have definitive seen-with-my-own-eyes proof that Jack Jibbers’ cursed blade does indeed exist. I was starting to wonder! But the other night, I was about to make my nightly Two-Toed Tobias run and asked Keava if he’d like to come along. Turns out Keava doesn’t even own Three-Barrel Cove and had never run ANY quest out there. No problem, that’s what guest passes are for.

Right before we opened the chest, I told him he didn’t have to pass me the Jibbers if he pulled it… you see where this is going, right?

Uh-huh. On his FIRST EVER RUN, Keava pulled the Jibbers blade. I’m pretty sure Even was crying in the hot tub later that night. I’m a little disappointed, too. Not so much about not getting the blade, though…

Naturally the first thing we did was run around the wildy until we found some likely-looking mobs so we could get Keava killed and see the blade in action. I’d been under the impression that using the blade invoked an animation in which you dramatically stabbed yourself in the chest with it and miraculously rose from the dead. It’s not QUITE that cool. There’s a bit of black smoke, and then you’re just… alive. Well, kinda. You’re undead, and you have a scimitar sticking out of your chest. I would’ve preferred the self-stabbing animation, but it’s still pretty cool.

… and I still don’t have one.

Curse you, Jack Jibbers and your non-existent blade

Damn you to hell, Jack Jibbers.

 

Did you ever farm for a certain item so much that, even when you got to the point when you knew you probably wouldn’t use it much anyway, you still wanted it desperately just as a matter of principle?

I’ve done that a few times. I remember waiting… and waiting… and waiting… and waiting some more as I ran Tower of Despair until I could recite the dialogue from memory, and still not getting a Band of Siberys. Even on multiple-of-20 completions runs, I’d eagerly check my end reward list only to be disappointed – seemed I had my pick of EVERY damned ring EXCEPT the one I wanted. Finally got it in Horoth’s chest on Even’s 80-something completion.

Then there was my seemingly endless quest for a Shard of the Silver Slinger. I thought I’d never get it. I wondered if it existed at all. So I blogged about it, and within a week, I finally pulled it.

 

 

For months now I’ve been running EE Legend of Two-Toed Tobias, mostly solo, sometimes with a guildie or friend or piker or two, looking for the Cursed Blade of Jack Jibbers. I’ve heard other people say they have it. (I’m lookin’ at YOU, Tholgrin…) Some guy in Even’s EE FoT group tonight claimed to have one – or at least that’s what he said about the third time Even tossed him a rez.

These people LIE. They are DIRTY DIRTY LIARS with DIRTY DIRTY PANTS ON FIRE.

Because I’m convinced that the Cursed Blade of Jack Jibbers DOES NOT EXIST. If it did, I would have seen one by now. But the closest I’ve come, as you can see in the screenshot above, is immediately after killing* Jack, when his blade dangles tantalizingly over your head, making you feel like Damocles (“That ain’t no crime…” – cookie if you get the reference) and remaining juuuuuuust out of reach.

* – Since Jack Jibbers is undead, is “kill” the proper verb here? “Unkill,” maybe?

Anyway. In hopes that, as with the Silver Slinger shard, the loot gods will see this blog and respond accordingly, I’m hoping that posting this will result in a Jibbers blade for Even within a week.

Or two… or…

(Also, the post title is a paraphrased version of what I typed in guild chat a few nights ago when I once again emerged from the Wheeping Cove empty-handed. The original version contained language not suitable for decent company, hence the paraphrasing.)

Making a splash… screen

Orchard splash screen

 

Geoff Hanna, aka “Gamer Geoff,” recently posted a blog that detailed how to change some of the splash screens you see when you’re zoning from one area to another in DDO.

 

I take a lot of screenshots. I mean, A LOT of screenshots. Thousands of ’em, possibly tens of thousands. And I get tired of looking at the same splash screens all the time. So this idea really appealed to me.

 

Last night I decided it was high time I bit the bullet and tried it out. Picked 11 screenies kindasorta at random, cropped them to 1024×768, saved them in the appropriate directory with the filenames DDO assigned to the default splash screens, and then booted the game.

 

WOW. SERIOUSLY. JUST WOW.

 

It was incredibly cool to zone from one airship deck to the other and see my OWN picture of our OWN airship while I was zoning.

 

If you try this, you won’t get your own screens on every zone; some zones and quests have specific splash screens that – as far as I know – can’t be changed. But if you’re zoning into a place that uses a generic screen (having a Kraken with a top deck, four lower  decks, and a cargo hold, this happens to me a lot), you’re going to see your own screens for those. And it’s pretty darn awesome.

 

I thought I’d share the first set of screenies I used as splash screens. Since I have so VERY many screen shots, I’ll probably rotate them every so often, just because I can. Feel free to click any or all of them to download for yourself!  🙂

 

  ToDFire pit

  WGUEveningstar river

  KrakenLightning globe

  GriffonAirship in Twelve

  Purple wormAmrath

Life gets real

Jaded kobold

Been kind of a while since I blogged, huh?

Real life has an annoying habit of interfering with DDO. Various surgeries for both parents, trying to get established as a serious freelance writer, dealing with some medical issues my kitty has… it all takes a toll. I *need* my playing time to decompress; unfortunately that means my time for blogging and working on OurDDO gets cut.

Months n’ months n’ months ago, the lovely and talented grimorde coded a rather brilliant carousel for OurDDO, much like the “Featured Blogs” section on the old MyDDO. I uploaded her test file to the site, admired it… and kinda left it there, because there was still the drudgery of updating a ton of links and finding/making icons for 40+ blogs.

Anyway, I finally buckled down, spent several nights updating links and such, and then blew off NWO with Shin and Comic tonight (sorry, guys :/) to do all the icons and port everything over to a new site, because I’m having some issues with the hosting on the current site and want to make sure I have a backup plan. The new site’s got a small display issue I haven’t figured out yet, but it’s functional. I’m going to keep both sites going for the time being.

Sadly, I’m *not* going to continue updating the feed at present. I’ve had too many issues trying to find a site to handle it – small limits on the number of feeds you can add; serious unreliability; not being able to add/edit feeds; etc. I had high hopes for Yahoo! Pipes, but 1) it’s no longer actively supported by Yahoo!, from what I’m told, and 2) it kept “dropping” feeds because apparently the way it pings sites looking for new posts tends to get it flagged as malware. The current feed is operational, but doesn’t contain recent additions to the blogroll. I’m hoping to eventually have the time and ambition to come up with another solution, since I know a number of people like to use feed readers.

Acanthia

And now for some really awesome news – I’ve been participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for the past several years, and I’m a member of a NaNo group that meets a few times a month. My friend and fellow NaNo-er Carrie submitted her novel, “Seashell, Stork and Apple Tree,” for Amazon.com’s Breakthrough Novel Award this year.

“Officially,” there were 10,000 entries for the award. So we were excited when she was named a quarterfinalist (top 100 in each of five categories). And we were REALLY excited when she made it to the semifinals (top five per category).

And now… SHE’S A FINALIST! She won first place overall in the Young Adult category, which guarantees her a $15,000 advance and a publishing contract with Amazon.com. Now she’s facing the winners in the other four categories for first place overall!

While Amazon.com made the selections from the start of the contest through the five finalists, now it’s up to a public vote. You can download and/or read free excerpts from all five finalists and cast your vote here.

I’m lucky enough to have read Carrie’s whole novel, because she E-mailed it around to our group for critique before she sent it off. But I’m not giving any spoiler alerts! If you have time, please do check out the finalists and vote… and if you happen to vote for Carrie’s entry, consider yourself gifted with virtual cookies from me! 😀