24 June 2023 – General Update

by | Jun 24, 2023 | Personal Updates, Random Thoughts, Writing | 2 comments

Hello, there,

I hope the days have been treating you well. I was chatting with a cousin for a few minutes earlier this evening, and one of the threads in the conversation reminded me it had been a while since I’d posted an update.

That particular thread in the conversation was rather timely, as today has been a rather learning-heavy day, and writing all this up might just help me process it all.

So… where to start?

(Fair warning. This will be a lo-o-o-o-o-ng post. The smaller the screen you use to read it, the more scrolling you’ll do… assuming you go all the way to the end.)

There is a push among certain portions of the tech community to move us toward a password-less society. The first time I heard about it, I relegated that bunch to the same postal code as the crazies who like to dance naked amid lightning storms or light their hair on fire.

I mean… no passwords? How’s that supposed to work?

Since then, I’ve learned more and expanded my awareness of developing trends in Information Security, and I’ve come to realize that maybe ‘that bunch’ is onto something.

Passwords are inherently insecure… outside of those who prefer more secure passwords. I don’t intend offense to anyone, but the simple fact is that people are lazy. Most individuals don’t even want to bother with remembered a master password for a manager–like Dashlane or 1Password–let alone remembering several unique and secure passwords.

Because passwords are so insecure (because the average person is insecure, no pun intended), two-factor authentication (2FA) appeared on the scene and has evolved to help us secure our password-focused accounts. Up until today, I preferred the text-message version of 2FA, and I’m sure there are those who would argue that isn’t truly two-factor authentication.

I’ve stuck with SMS codes for 2FA, because I don’t really like authenticator apps. It’s too easy to lose your device in some way (a friend recently submerged hers in the tub during a good soak in a bubble bath), and then, you’re stuck working your way through the recovery mechanisms of all the accounts that authenticator app so helpfully secured for you.

But there are some platforms that don’t support SMS codes for 2FA. There are some platforms that want you to use an authenticator app, a hardware key (like an RSA key with ever-changing codes), or security keys.

The security keys have attracted my interest. Specifically, one in particular: the Yubikey.

I came across the Yubikey while searching for ‘the best’ authenticator apps, and the more I read about it, the more I liked it. Matter of fact, it interested me so much that I recently placed an order for one. Once it arrives, I’ll write up a post describing my experience with setting it up and using it.

I’m cautiously optimistic.

The device–and others like it–basically take the place of smart cards and the RSA keys. After going through the list of platforms that support the Yubikey, I found that all the services I currently use support it… even macOS if I wanted to. So, that’s a boon.

In this day and age, we should all make every reasonable effort to be as secure as possible. Like I said, I’ll write an update when I receive it and have had a chance to play around with it.

Another facet of how today was a very learning-heavy day revolved around an email I received from David Gaughran. David is kind of a name in the indie author/publisher world, and he has a lot of good insights on newsletters and BookBub ads, even if he’s very Amazon-centric.

And today’s email was all about how the ‘new’ MailerLite will be enjoying a price increase in the semi-near future.

MailerLite is an email service provider. In other words, they’re a service that allows you to build an email list and send out emails however often you choose. I don’t use them. At the time I was switching from MailChimp (after their drastic re-design, which (I think) happened because they’d been acquired), MailerLite was having deliverability issues from where spammers had used their service in what was then the not-too-distant past. From everything I’ve heard, the service has since handled that and has been correcting and remediating their reputation.

At the moment, I use ConvertKit. It has always been reliable for me, but they’ve been slowly adding a bunch of new features that I don’t really need (or like). And their ‘new’ email editor is simply atrocious. It makes the Gutenberg editor on WordPress look like a good idea.

I’ve also recently become aware of just how much I’m paying ConvertKit. It’s not exorbitant. There are certainly several other options out there that are more costly.

But David’s email this morning reminded me of another option: Sendy. It’s basically a self-hosted email service provider. It’s a little techy to set up and get working, but I doubt I’ll surprise anyone reading this when I say that I’m okay with that.

In addition to some of the other pieces of new information I gleaned from David’s email this morning, I think I might just circle around and get that working. If I can get Sendy integrated everywhere I currently have ConvertKit integrated and if it will do everything I want it to do, the cost of using Sendy is less than one tenth what I currently pay ConvertKit.

I may be wrong, but I have a sneaking suspicion that I’ll be switching to Sendy before the end of the summer.

The final aspect to today is that I attended a webinar presented by Joanna Penn, the person behind The Creative Penn.

The webinar was titled (and is, for future sessions) “The AI-Assisted Artisan Author.” It was a paid-for webinar… but eight-plus hours after it ended, I still think the ticket fee was coin well spent.

It’s going to be a couple days before I fully wrap my mind around the tools she discussed that authors can use to help create better stories, and it’ll probably be weeks before I successfully integrate them into my writing process.

But even a half-hour into the webinar, I was already blown-away.

There was a lot to think about in those two hours, but I’m not sure but what those were the two most valuable hours I’ve had in quite a while.

I’ll update you more as get all this sorted in my head (and life), but I’m really excited to start experimenting with the tools.

Oh! Writing!

 Earlier this morning, I posted Chapter 15 of Tempus to the new Patreon page. Well… I’m not sure my Patreon page qualifies as ‘new’ anymore.

If you haven’t found it, you can do so here: https://patron.com/nomadicnovelist.

The complete, unedited text of The Fall of Skullkeep is up there. The completed edited text of Dawn of the Sorcerer (Novel #11 that I finished on August 17th of last year, and a new series starter) is up there, along with my progress so far on the next book in that series, Hyperion.

Back on April 1st, I started the Great Dean Challenge, which is to meet or exceed Dean Wesley Smith’s word count for the final nine months of 2023 (April 1st through December 31st). I am currently at 142,641 words. Dean is currently at 165,300. I came out of April with about a 20,000-word lead on him, but several of my favorite writers published books in May… so I haven’t been writing as much as I’d like to.

The AI tools from the webinar today, though, are incredibly exciting. Like I said above, I’m looking forward to experimenting with them.


If you’ve made it this far, I thank you for your perseverance. Like I said at the top, this has been a long post.

Thanks for your interest or curiosity in how I spend my days. I have a lot of fun projects on the horizon… and these are not restricted solely to writing.

I hope the days treat you and yours as well as possible.

Stay safe out there.


  1. Mark Robeson

    You mentioned “several of my favorite writers” and I was wondering who some of your favorite writers are considering you are one of MY favorite authors.

    • Rob

      Hi, Mark,

      Thank you much for those kind words.

      I started to rattle off a list, but then, I started annotating the list… which means it would probably get a bit long for a comment reply. I’ll hop over and make a new post.

      I hope the days treat you and yours well.



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