Merry Christmas! Have a Bedtime Book.

Merry Christmas, everybody!

For Christmas I wrote my son a ridiculous bedtime book. Don’t tell him and ruin the surprise, please. I thought I’d go ahead and share it. Download a free pdf version by clicking the cover below.

Alexander Adam Astronaut

Alexander Adam Astronaut free pdf download. ~11mb

A paperback version is available on Amazon, too.

In other news, I think I’ve decided to stay on WordPress for a bit. I’ve been playing with a bunch of themes but can’t find one that does exactly what I want, and I’m working on a new theme.

How to Combine wav/mp3 Files (Using free tools)

I know that this is random, but I came upon this problem for a project at work. Googling it led me to a bunch of commercial solutions and non-useful resources. I wanted at least one useful article to have a chance in the search engines.

Here was my Problem

I have many directories of wav files that in the old days were used to create a CD set which we sold. We haven’t sold the CD course for several years now, and the boss recently said “Let’s release the whole shebang for free as a podcast or something.” I could go through and convert and tag all the wav files to mp3s and then post them separately. But I’m lazy and some of the 18 or so CDs have over 20 tracks. How much easier would it be if I could just combine one CD’s worth of material into a single track?

This is pretty straightforward to do in Audacity, but I would still have to import all those tracks and line them up end to end. I wanted something a little more automated. What I found was a command line tool called sox. Sox is cross platform, so you can do this on Win/Mac/Linux, although my comments will be directed specifically for the windows crowd.

Now to The Useful Part

  1. Download & install sox (Sound Exchange) Make sure you put sox on your “path.” If you don’t know how to do that, here’s one walkthrough.
  2. Download & unzip the LAME mp3 Encoder into the sox directory. On that download page, I used the x86-Win32 version. You’ll need this if you are working with mp3 files.
  3. Put a bunch of audio files that you want to merge into a directory.
  4. Open a command window in that directory. If you are in the windows file explorer, you go can hold down shift while right clicking on a folder. “Open command window here” will appear on the pop up menu.
  5. Type the sox command.
    sox input_file_name_1.wav input_file_name_2.wav [... more input file names] output_file_name.mp3

    Now let sox do it’s magic. My files were already conveniently named in the order I wanted them in the merged file, so I could use

    sox *.wav output.mp3

    Note: if you have a lot of files, this will take a while. Just have faith that your prompt will eventually come back.

  6. Rejoice

You can do a lot more with sox if you want the output mp3 to have different-than-the-default quality and bit rate. You can also boost volume and do all sorts of other processing. All of that, however is beyond the scope of this post.

There, now I only have to tag 18 files rather than spend a whole day doing it.

Oh, and if you’re at all curious as to the project I’m doing, it’s a real estate investment training course. I’ll start posting the audio files within a day or two.

Book WP version 2 is here.

Okay. I think I’m satisfied enough to release version 2 of the Book WP theme. It may not be perfect, but if I don’t release it, I’ll just never get around to it.


This theme is meant to help authors use wordpress to write an online book, rather than just a blog. You can see the theme in action on my site on self-publishing.

More info and a download link can be found on the Book WP page.

Now I’m going to see if I can get it listed in the official WP Themes gallery…

I can’t help myself. (random news)

New Theme.

Yes, I have changed the theme once again. I just can’t stop myself. Anyway, I made it so that and match fairly closely now. If you see any weirdness with it, please let me know.

In case you’re wondering, to build this theme I started started with lifehacker’s blank theme. Then I added in concepts from The Goldilocks approach.

Free Book Alert

Desiree Finkbeiner, who had a guest post a couple of days ago, just let me know that her publisher is offering her book on kindle for free today. If you’re interested go grab it and give it a read, then go ahead and give it a quick review.

St. Laurent is Almost Done

Friday’s chapter is done and ready to post. I’m working now on the final chapter. After that, I’ll let it sit a week or two and then hit the revisions.

Have I ever showed you guys the cover for it? It’s painted by the same guy who did the redone cover for Oasis.

Freeware Outliner for Authors: TextTree 1.3

*update 3/7/2013 * I finally got the download link fixed.

Merry Christmas, everybody. Several years ago I wrote a little outliner program to make following Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method of writing a novel easier. I put it up for sale and have been selling a copy or two here and there ever since. As it ends up, somewhere in the last two computer crashes I’ve lost the code for the latest version. And it doesn’t look like I’ll be returning to the idea anytime soon.

So I’ve decided to release it as freeware. Thanks to all of you who have supported TextTree in the past.


Text Tree Windows Installer (1.5 MB)

Screen Shots

screen1 screen2

(click for larger)

Program Description

Text Tree is an outline based writer’s tool.  It is designed make structured, understandable documents easily and quickly.  Text Tree has been found useful for story writing, FAQ creation, novel planning, manual writing, software support, biographies, and lesson planning.

What really sets Text Tree apart from other outliners is its export abilities. In other outliners, you make a outline of everything, then you have to cut and paste or go node by node to get your information out. Text Tree allows you to quickly export all or part of the information in your outline. For example, if you are organizing information to be displayed on the web, Text Tree can generate an html file with a table of contents to your information.  You can see an example of raw html output from Text Tree in the Text Tree Manual.

For novel writing, lesson planning, or biographical work, the text file exports are more useful.  In fact, Text Tree was originally written so that I could have a tool that would help me follow the snowflake process of writing a novel. If you are unfamiliar with the snowflake method, it is a process in which you distill your project to a single idea, then expand the parts of that idea, and then expand those parts, etc. until you get to the nitty-gritty details.  You then use the nitty-gritty details to write your work.  Text Tree help you expand those ideas in an outline, then allows you to export all that information, or just those nitty-gritty details.  For more information on how to follow the snowflake method with Text Tree, please watch the flash tutorial.

Text Tree also can import/export files from other outliners, including noterrific and Treepad lite.


You need at least Windows XP with Java installed.

Java be obtained here for free.