Life is a Cruel Mistress

Have you ever wanted to stick your finger in a light socket to see if it really hurts? Or what could go wrong when you rode a shopping cart down a steep hill in San Franciso? I don’t think it would hurt at all. On the other hand, I know I would crash into something soft.

Let me tell you, friends, life sucks the big one! As my mom tells me, “You never learn your lesson unless it hurts!”

My quest to publish my erotic stories in paperback has turned into Monty Python’s Search For the Holy Grail, except for the coconut carrying swallows (European or African). I’d always hoped to find the Castle Anthrax with “8 score young blondes and brunettes…, all between sixteen and 19-and-a-half…, cut off in this castle with no one to protect us! Oh…, it is a lonely life. Bathing…, dressing…, undressing…, knitting exciting underwear….”

I especially love that the castle was cold, and the girl’s outfits were so thin and showed every bump.

Sorry, got distracted!

My quest to publish all of my erotica in paperback form is about one-third completed. I’ve now published ten of my stories in print format. After having slain QuarkXPress 2021 and left it a quivering mass on the floor. I then advanced to Quark 2022 version, which appears to be somewhat more stable but still with annoying quirks.

But like Sir Galahad in search of eight score of young blondes and brunettes, I am bloodied but undeterred in my goal of publishing stories in paperback form. So the last several weeks have been a “learning experience,” as I’m oft to say.

CorelDRAW – I love this program for creating book covers, Twitter ads, posters, and the like. When you are doing print books, you have to create a PDF of the cover. This is one wide PDF of the back cover plus spine plus front cover. For example, below is one of my cover images.

The sticking point with cover design is that the spine width changes with the number of pages in the book. This book, Cuckold Hotwife Stories, is 340 pages ready to be stuck together.

Using Amazon’s handy dandy print cover dimensions calculator will determine your cover’s dimensions. For example, below is the template for my 340-page book. Note that the spine is 0.766 inches. If your cover does not meet their precise dimensions, it will be rejected. The dimensions are down to the thousandth of an inch and the program used to create the cover must generate the output file precisely.

With CorelDRAW I create guidelines which show the boundaries of the various parts of the book cover. This way when I layout the parts of the cover, nothing is accidently placed out of its assigned spot, which would cause the book to be rejected.

The beauty of Corel is that I can use a previous design and copy it for my next masterpiece. As the back cover object placement doesn’t change, I can simply adjust the width of the entire cover to the dimensions calculated by the Amazon cover size calculator.

Using Corel, I import the template image created by Amazon into a separate layer. Then turning that layer on, I can see how the guidelines need to be moved.

By turning the template layer off, it doesn’t show and is not part of the final output file. Once everything looks okay, I export the cover as a PDF for Amazon to use when it assembles my book.

QuarkXPress – A desktop publishing program that I love to hate. This is a commercial product that is not for the faint of heart. But, once you learn its idiosyncrasies, it will do anything. My current process to create a print book of an existing story is down to under two hours.

Quark uses “Master Pages,” which are like a template to create the final output. Using the source verbiage in Microsoft Word format, I copy an existing Master Page setup for the body of the story. Then simply import the document into Quark and it formats each page as necessary.

By using a specific set of templates for the front matter, body, and back matter it is simple to rapidly generate a book of any size. Any artwork that I need to create or modify can be developed with Corel. Quark has similar layout capability but I’ve always stuck with Corel as it’s the program that I know.

I’ve just upgraded to QuarkXPress 2022 and found that it corrected several issues that vexed me with the previous version. I was glad to see that they didn’t just blow off my comments and suggestions. One problem that didn’t get fixed is some type of memory corruption (I think). With Quark open and running PhotoShop, which is a notorious memory hog, the display in Quark will become screwed up and partially blank. My guess is that Quark uses a block of memory that it doesn’t protect and PhotoShop will intrude and corrupt the data. So far, I close PhotoShop when I’m running Quark to avoid the problem but hopefully this will get straightened out as it is a little aggravating.

I’ve upgraded my computer to 32Gb but that didn’t resolve the display issue with Quark. Hopefully, I can describe the problem well enough for someone to find it. It’s not a show stopper but simply an annoyance.

I’m Larry Archer, and I write erotic stories for the huddled and yearning masses. Foxy and I are swingers in real life. I write erotic stories based on the things we do and see. While the Lifestyle is not for everyone, it’s been fun for us. My smut is explicit and hardcore but with a somewhat plot. My porn novels are generally positive and fun, as this reflects how enjoyable swinging has been for us. If you’re interested in checking out my stories, I publish them at all the popular outlets.

Kinky Literature
Amazon Kindle
Apple iBooks
Barnes and Noble

About LarryArcher

Larry Archer's the name, smut's my game. I am a writer of erotic literature that's generally always HEA (Happily Ever After), which typically involves no regrets sex. I write in a humorous style with a plot and suitable for reading with one hand. My stories are full of sexual situations that are often taken straight from our swinger lifestyle in Las Vegas. If you want to enjoy erotica, where every page is dripping with action, give me a try.
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15 Responses to Life is a Cruel Mistress

  1. kdaddy23 says:

    This is good stuff to know, Larry… and why I balk at publishing the stuff I have saved or trying to publish the stuff that’s in my head. I’m sure I wouldn’t want to be fighting with Amazon or being bitch-slapped by publishing software. Photoshop is a memory hog and some programs are made not to be but, as a result, wind up not working well in conjunction with other programs and, yeah, that includes all of the stuff running in the background of your computer. Adding more memory actually doesn’t help since all it really does is give programs more memory to use and that keeps messing up other programs who need x-amount of memory to perform properly.

    That’s not your fault or your computer’s – it’s whoever wrote the software for QuarkXPress or, to hear you talk about it, “QuirkXPress.” Makes my BP go up just to think about having to mess with it even if it’s good at what it does.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LarryArcher says:

      Quark has always been touchy and people who use it every day learn what to do and what not to do. As I’ve relearned stuff, using Quark has gotten a lot easier. I spent at least a full day futzing around with my first story and my last story was done in minutes. We’ve gotten used to things working under Windows in a certain way and when a program doesn’t follow standards, it is problematic as we use muscle memory with the computer just like target shooting. A big complaint I had with the 2021 version was that it would duplicate graphics and you’d have to delete them one page at a time. When we’re talking about several hundred pages, that is a time suck. The 2022 version so far has not done that and I’ve published two books with the 2022 version.

      I piss and moan about it but in actuality, once you learn not to do something then it goes smoother. Desktop Publishing is a niche industry and unlike Word, there are not millions of people beating down their door. So they don’t have a lot of incentive to change.

      It’s a 64-bit program. My idea of the problem is that they are using blocks of memory for the display. If that is not protected and when you load other programs, they might try to use the memory for their own purposes. I haven’t done a lot of programming with graphics and only know enough to be dangerous. What I need to do is load PhotoShop first and then Quark to see if it makes a difference or not. I’ve bumped from 24Gb to 32Gb of memory to see if that would help but it didn’t. 32Gb is the maximum my motherboard will take. I guess it’s time to update my computer system but moving all the software is a pain.


      • kdaddy23 says:

        At some point you just bite the big one and buy a better computer and man-up moving files and stuff. Loading Photoshop first might help; loading it second probably makes it grab all available memory and bashes Quark in ways that annoys you.

        I had similar problems using my music software – I had to load them in a certain order to keep stuff from crapping out – MIDI transports use a lot of memory. Bit the big one, bought better computer, solved many problems.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. kdaddy23 says:

    I forgot to ask – is QuarkXPress a 64-bit program or a 32-bit one?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi, Larry,

    “But, once you learn its idiosyncrasies, it will do anything.”

    Will it give you a blow job? (Just askin’!)

    Love your butt plug graphic! And I really admire your fortitude in the face of flaky software.


    Liked by 1 person

    • LarryArcher says:

      If only? A good BJ would solve a lot of my problems. I deal with software all the time and expect issues to crop up. Like a lot of software, you learn to deal with issues but it’s the stupid ones that bug me. If this is so simple to find then why can’t the people who develop the software discover it in testing. I used to develop engineering software and know that when you’re trying to deal with a situation that is rare you kind of expect something to go wrong. But, when it’s a simple issue why not fix it. Especially, when you consider that the annual maintenance contract is $450/year.


  4. LarryArcher says:

    kDaddy, My thought also. Today, I’m going to load PhotoShop first and see if that makes a difference. I’m running SSD’s so the load time for programs is not bad. Corel is pretty well-mannered. The biggest problem with Corel is it doesn’t always respect the page size. When you’re placing an image and only want to use a portion of the image, it will sometimes make the output image larger than the selected size. It’s not much of a hassle, I just have to load the image in PhotoShop or GIMP and trim it but that’s another step. I’m considering a new machine that will allow more memory as my DTP machine is maxed out at 32 Gb.


  5. “8 score young blondes and brunettes … ”

    What, no redheads?!?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Mark K says:

    “I’ve upgraded my computer to 32Gb but that didn’t resolve the display issue with Quark.”

    As I recall, you use laptop computers. They typically share memory between the CPU and the GPU.

    If you’re using a PC with Windows for the OS, there’s a way to turn off a bunch of graphic fluff that can significantly reduce the load on the PC.

    1. Select Search, type performance, then select Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows in the list of results.

    2. On the Visual Effects tab, select Adjust for best performance > Apply.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LarryArcher says:

      All my publishing is generally done on a Windows 10 Pro desktop. My laptop is just for carrying around and working remotely. I think the problem is that Quark grabs a block of memory to use and feed the display. If they grabbed a block of memory and then didn’t properly lock it, another program could use the memory for other purposes which makes the display show corrupted data such as blank areas, etc. It’s not a major issue but if I better understood why and when it happens I could (1) complain to Quark and (2) avoid doing the things that screw it up. It appears that PhotoShop makes the problem worse and PhotoShop is bad about scarfing up all available memory which leads me to believe that it’s memory related. Today, I’m going to open PhotoShop first and see if that helps. I’m also seriously thinking of upgrading my DTP machine to one that I can expand the memory to 64Gb or more. I also do photo editing with that computer and more memory would help with LightRoom.


  7. LarryArcher says:

    I’ll check out that link, but I’m not sure that will solve the problem. My guess is that Quark uses Allocate to carve out a body of RAM to use to store the display (the graphics that you see) and Quark pages through this body of RAM to grab sections and display them. It’s possible that limiting the RAM available to a program will solve the problem, but if I can come up with a method to cause the problem, then I can send that to Quark tech support. The issue that I have is I’m typically working on a porn novel and don’t want to send them that as an example. I created a sample project using the Gettysburg Address as the source that I don’t mind sharing. Don’t waste your time as Quark has its own development group, and they should be doing this and not friends of a user. Quark has always had gotchas, and since their user group is not ordinary people, they have never tried very hard to fix minor irritating issues.


  8. Mark K says:

    Well I’m old school enough to have used the Lorem Ipsum text to check layouts.

    And no, I don’t mean before the Gettysburg Address was given. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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