“Twisted Key” update and AutoCAD LT


I know; that’s a strange mix of subjects, but then I’m a strange guy. “Twisted Key” is still with the editors, but I have a copy of the manuscript that I’ve been handing out to a select group of readers. Select, meaning they are white-collar professionals who read – a lot, and all the time.

The first said he and his wife went camping, so he brought the MS with him, planning to read about 50 pages a day. That would give him plenty of time to wander around in the trees and bushes and enjoy the vacation. The first day he tried this he finished the first fifty pages and decided to read until the end of that chapter, and then decided to read through the next chapter and so on. By late afternoon he had read through page 157 and the light was starting to fade on him.

Another reader runs a bookstore. She doesn’t work in the store on Mondays, so she sat down to read a bit of “Twisted Key” that morning. When her husband interrupted her in the afternoon to go out for a few drinks she refused, saying she wanted to finish the book.

So “Twisted Key” has legs. Both readers have told me they enjoy the mix of humor and tension, and neither could could guess the ending. That’s good news.

If you’ve been to my web site you probably spent some time browsing through the Photo Gallery. Lots of pictures of very fancy stuff I’ve built or restored over the years. For the last several years I’ve been  writing on a dining table. My computer is beside my right leg and a trash can (usually full to overflowing) is next to my right leg. My files are either stored in a closet or placed in a rack on my dresser. My software and other CD’s are up on a shelf somewhere.

I noticed the other day that much of the volume of space above my table is empty, and that for all of that time I’ve been getting up and hunting for stuff that should be within easy reach, but isn’t. Then I began to think of pigeon holes and slatted dividers, and little trays and maybe a few drawers, and maybe some really thick doors with slats for manila files and on the desk itself, maybe a few slots above the monitor for printer and photo paper, and so on.

And then I remembered a wonder-filled day about forty years ago at an antique show in Atlanta when I had the true pleasure of studying 2 Wooton Patent desks. Absolutely gorgeous pieces of design and embellishment. I’m not really big on embellishment, but the design fascinates me.


Wooton Patent Office Desk, Cir 1880

Many years ago when I earned a living as a draughtsman, I used AutoCAD in the architectural or engineering offices where I worked and owned my own version of AutoCAD LT (Light) that I used for my own design needs at home. www.autodesk.com still provides this slimmed-down version of their flagship product, and they give a 30-day free license when you download it. When I bought that LT version all those years ago, I think I might have paid $75.00 for it. Unfortunately, what with inflation, demand for the product and who knows what else, AutoCAD LT is now priced at something over $500.00. But it is worth it. AutoCAD LT is a great tool if you need 2D CAD capabilities. It will do anything you need to do in that arena. Needless to say, the intervening years have only improved the product.

I downloaded the application and installed it two days ago. CAD requires a very detail-oriented mindset. The incredible number and flexibility of the tools in AutoCAD LT can be confusing until you become familiar with the layout and location of the tools and what input the require to work. But once you do become familiar with one or two or three tools, you will quickly find the others you need. The on-line Help is thorough and easily understood. Autodesk has enjoyed an excellent reputation over many long years. They are the leader in their field for a reason; they give good value for your dollar.

Let’s see how much of this project I can get drawn before my free trial runs out. I like the project – it’s a great diversion from writing – and I like AutoCAD LT a lot.

Have good week.


About Gary Showalter

Gary Showalter was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. He lived in Aruba, Florida and the Panama Canal Zone before joining the U.S. Army during the 1960s. Following his discharge from the Army, Mr. Showalter picked cotton in East Texas, baled hay in Ardmore Oklahoma, sold light bulbs in Los Angeles, California, and built cattle pens in Fallon, Nevada (during a blizzard, of course). After settling in Atlanta, Georgia, Mr. Showalter worked as a professional gardener before turning his hand to furniture making. In 1981, he moved to Israel, married, and raised four children while working as a furniture maker, silversmith, goldsmith, and ornamental wood turner. He served in the Israel Defense Forces Reserves for sixteen years, and when not on active duty he worked in government and private security. He has also served in senior management positions in two software development companies in Israel. During his time in Israel, Mr. Showalter published articles dealing with international terror and the Israel-Arab conflict in the Jerusalem Post, Israel national News and several political science web sites. Mr. Showalter returned to the United States in the fall of 2003, to care for an elderly parent. He published his first novel, “The Big Bend”, in the fall of 2008. His second novel, “Hog Valley”, is now in print. Mr. Showalter's third novel, “Twisted Key”, was published in the fall of 2011, and his fourth novel, "Lonesome Cove" is now available in Kindle format and should be published in paper near the end of 2012. He currently lives in Deland, Fl, where he is co-authoring "A Silent Star" with Tony Attanasio. "A Silent Star" is the true tale (though novelized, with names changed for security reasons) about the 4-person covert action team sent into Yemen to capture Osama Bin laden immediately after the bombing of the USS Cole in the Aden harbor in Yemen in October of 2000.
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