Links I Love
Software Used Currently
[Note: I have no connection with any of these folks except to use their products! I highly recommend all of them to all.]
Vue is a software to help me create beautiful skies, mountains, fields, and cities!
E-on Software makes Vue, which many film companies use for scenes they can't do in New Zealand, etc. You have probably seen many movies that incorporated scenes from it.
Interested in learning 3D? You can download a free copy of Vue to play with here!
There are a lot of great sites out there to download 3D content [people, clothes, props, and sets]. I use the recommended sites from Vue and Poser. Vue's artist community is 3D Cornucopia, and there are links right in the software to purchase and download 3D models. Everything you download is covered under one license at Cornucopia 3D:
Poser is where I create my characters, though I am playing with MakeHuman.
Smith-Micro Software creates Poser. You start with a male or female figure, change the face to your liking, put clothes on it, add props, and create a picture [You render it, which makes a picture you can print or display on your computer screen]. The actual process can seem daunting at first, but there is a well-written manual to teach you how to use it. If you don't like to read manuals, there are so many tutorials out there, it makes it easier to learn! Oh, what you can do with this! I am not good enough at drawing and painting to create what I see in my mind. This software, and Vue, makes me able to visualize what's in my mind, which is awesome!!
Poser's artist community is Content Paradise, and there is a ReadMe file with every model downloaded to explain what you can and can't do with this model, from the artist. If there is no ReadMe file, don't use the model in a commercial render or post a render including it to the Internet, without contacting the artist. The ReadMe should explain the legal terms for using the item.
A good starting place for tutorials is to subscribe to the Content Paradise channel on YouTube:
MakeHuman This is an open-source, free software to create 3D people. With MakeHuman, I could make figures to sell; Poser figures are just for creating people for book covers or to be used with the Poser software.
You can find MakeHuman here:
It is a free software, a product of love from volunteers. They exist through donations. MakeHuman is a lot of fun to play with!
Blender is an open-source, free software to create a 3D model from scratch, layer by layer. Get it here:
Open-source means it is in the public domain, maybe with certain limitations. A program has the source code, or source, as the programmers say. Open-source means anyone can copy it, add to it, and re-release it, as a free product. SourceForge is a great resource for free software.
Legal Stuff and You: If you just want to print it out and hang it on your wall, you don't have to worry about this stuff. But, if it's going outside your home [on your blog, emailing to friends, etc] it's a good idea to wait and check the ReadMe or license info on the site you downloaded a 3D model from, first. If it goes viral, you might get sued for plagiarism, which is claiming someone else's work as yours. There's a lot of good info on Copyright.gov on what plagiarism is, and isn't. Look up Fair Rights here:
As an author, I check this site whenever I have a legal question. Any prospective writer should check it out. If you have a manuscript that you want to publish yourself, I strongly recommend you take the trouble to copyright your work with Library of Congress. It is true that the moment you write something, you have legal rights to it under the law. But, if you are serious about publishing it yourself, you must be serious about protecting your work. If you plan to submit it to a publisher, keep a copy, and any revisions you do on it, ever. I've been able to prove my stuff to Amazon by submitting all those revisions.
Word-Processing Software I use LibreOffice for my writing. It is open-source and free! LibreOffice includes Base, a database program. I can't do database programming anymore, though. My memory isn't good. You can get your very own copy here:
You can find out more about Microsoft Word, and the Office suite here:
Beware of other sites that advertise free Microsoft products; this software is so famous, there are bogus copies of it floating around. Every copy must have a valid code, and an internet connection to verify it. You don't want to buy a copy only to find your code doesn't work.
If a publisher accepts your work for print, you should be covered without going through Library of Congress. The publisher will get an ISBN number for you. This is the number assigned to your book so bookstores can distinguish your book from other books that might have the same title. It is expensive to buy your own ISBN number, but if you use a print on demand service, you can use the one they assign. It just won't have whatever name your Indie publishing house uses on it.
I use CreateSpace to print my print books and make them available through Amazon, but there are others out there. I use Lulu for my hardcovers, because CreateSpace doesn't offer the format for huge books like mine. Personally, I love CreateSpace! I don't use their editing services because I feel I can edit my own books, but the services are available, for a fee. It didn't cost much to get started because I skipped most of the services except just to submit an already formatted file, use my created picture, and their nice cover making software to make my book available when someone clicks the button for that print copy of Home Is Not Home. They check my files for errors before they publish it. I love the quality of the finished book!
However, the much-anticipated beta paperback publishing function is now live in Kindle Direct Publishing! I plan to check it out.
My experience with Lulu was good, but no hardcovers of my book sold yet so I can't comment on how they were with customers. The proof copy I received was library quality and beautiful! Paper is becoming more expensive, so the cost of one hardcover is probably a great deterrent to my possible readers! Most of that price is what goes to Lulu. Ditto CreateSpace.
For e-publishing your book, I use Kindle, Amazon's electronic bookshelf. You don't have to own a Kindle to publish Kindles! Kindle software is free to everyone, so if you have a computer, you can read Kindle books. There are many, many free ones [public domain books]. They even have a downloadable free guide on how to get started. Please, follow their instructions on how to set up your copy of Word!! Formatting is very important. If you don't have Word, you can download a free copy of LibreOffice. Just save your manuscript as a .doc or .docx when you're done and follow the instructions at