Tag Archives: Kindle

The Seven-Word Story by Harry Margulies

Our ancestors had maybe three entertainment options available to them:cavemancrop eating, watching someone else eating, or watching someone else getting eaten. The rest of their day wasn’t nearly as much fun.

 

Over time, our choices multiplied. There are a serious number of diversions available to us these days, enough that we hardly ever choose to watch someone eat, which is a shame, since it can be very entertaining.

Middle Aged Man Eating A Bacon Sandwich

Consider television, the Internet, movies, and video games. What a great way for both you and your computer to waste a day. And let’s not forget the abundance of sporting events, live theater, and concerts we have at our disposal.

I could go on and on – and that, to me, is the problem. Most of these activities go on and on; movies stretch beyond two hours, video games are unbeatable in less

Two Boys Playing With Game Consolethan three days, and television shows require at least a five month commitment – longer if there’s a season ending cliffhanger.

Am I the only one cursed with restless legs? Isn’t there anyone who appreciates a quickie any more? (I’m not referring to a ten-minute oil change). It wasn’t that long ago that we could satisfy our entertainment fix by watching a standalone half-hour sitcom. Take seinfeldlogoSeinfeld for instance. Thirty minutes and you’re done. Sure, all the seasons kind of link together, but really, it’s only a half-hour commitment.

For lots of people though, the ultimate leisure time indulgence is reading a good book (or even a bad book, as long as it’s on a Kindle so nobody else can see how little taste you have). The thing is, books can be massively long (thank you Mr. Tolstoy, you little trendsetter you). For a deliberate reader like me, that’s as big an obligation as playing Grand Theft Auto V, and then watching every season of The Walking Dead.

Having said that, a number of publishers and authors have done a pretty good job of tightening things up a bit. Lots of books, especially the juicy, steamy ones, are being written and published as novellas, which usually cap out at less than 30,000 words. Flash fiction is gaining in popularity too, with complete stories typically just a few hundred words, and sometimes less. Given these options,  Rambler_American_1st-generation_blue_sedancropwhy are there still so many wordy books? I thought they stopped making Ramblers back in the 60’s.

So, what do I do for entertainment whenever I sense my jimmy legs firing up? I read a comic. Not hundred page graphic novel comic books, or even twenty page Archie & Jughead’s. I’m talking comic strips, or better yet, single panel cartoons.

They’re the perfect snack – the amuse bouche of story telling. I give a quick glance, and then I can move on with my day, satisfied. If a cartoon is stupid, not funny, or I just don’t get it, it’s no big deal. I’d given it only a few seconds of my life. But if it’s a good one, it could impact my day, as a good book might.

I still enjoy novels, television and other time consumers. I’m sure I would be miserable without them. But I encourage everyone to give more thought (or less thought, actually) to spending a few seconds every day with a cartoon. I’ll take a seven-word illustrated story any time. Maybe you should too.

* * *

Harry Margulies is the author of The Knowledge Holder and the to-be-released The Weight of the Moon. When he’s not writing about romance, money, women and other subjects he thoroughly enjoys but knows nothing about, he’s frittering his precious time as a cartoonist.

 

Rambler photo courtesy of Christopher Ziemnowicz

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Technology Addiction Continued….

I have always been a reader. I love books. Their smell, the way they feel, the sound they make when the binding is cracked for the first time. I love the feel of the coolness in my hands and the smooth surface of the cover.

Beside my bed, there is a stack of books that I have purchased at various stores with the intent of reading. Unfortunately, I tend to purchase more books than I am capable of reading. Thus, my to-be-read pile continues to grow despite the fact that I spend a great deal of time sitting on my couch reading. It has grown so much, in fact, that I now have a spare bedroom that I have furnished with bookcases along one wall. It is these bookcases that hold the books I am intent on reading but can’t find room for on the pile beside my bed.

It really is quite comical. I may find myself buried beneath a pile of trade paperbacks one morning and unable to get out of bed. Come to think of it, as long as I can open one of the books, that may not necessarily be a bad thing…

But I digress.

In one of my earlier blogs I confessed to my technology addiction and now I will confess to allowing technology to enter my one true love – books.

I now have an e-reader. But not just any e-reader. I have the Kindle paperwhite. This neat little gadget has a screen that mimics both the look and feel of an actual piece of paper. The technology that comes with this little gizmo enables one to read while they are anywhere…even in direct sunlight! If any of you are like me, much of your time is spent outside. And if you can read while enjoying a sunny afternoon, all the better. Perhaps you’re sitting on your porch or relaxing by the pool. In either of these situations, the sun is your enemy as you simply cannot see the words on your e-reader screen despite how much you squint or turn the device. You wind up with a headache from trying to read through a piercing glare.

I no longer have that problem.

Let me say that this particular path to yet another technological addication was a long one. I didn’t want the e-reader. I had no interest in a device that was so “portable,” which is what my mother told me when she purchased hers. I simply could not understand how this device was any more portable than, say, a paperback.

Still, I gave in and got the e-reader. Once it was in my possession however, I was hesitant to purchase books for it. Would I miss holding a book in my hand? Would I miss turning the pages and feeling their smooth, cool softness between my fingers? Would I be somehow disloyal to the stack of books I already had in my possession?

I began slowly by downloading anything that was free, whether it was a short story, a novella or a full-length novel. In this manner, I was much like the former smoker who never buys a pack, only borrows from friends. If you don’t have to pay for it, you’re not really cheating, right?

Of course, it is a slippery slope and from there, I began to search out older books from some of my favorite authors. I signed up for several email alerts that let me know which books were on sale or were free. Before long, I had pages and pages of books stored on my Kindle that were sitting there, just waiting for me to read them.

I now confess to having an equal amount of books on my shelves and on my Kindle.

And I’ll never be able to read them all.

Donna Small is the author of two novels, Just Between Friends and A Ripple In The Water. She lives in Clemmons, North Carolina where she is at work on her next novel.

http://www.secondwindpublishing.com/index.php?manufacturers_id=62&osCsid=ae4531f38449420009d200bed615aecb

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Smartphones, eReaders and Tablets…oh my

2010 marked the first time Amazon sold more ebooks than traditional pulp and ink books. Authors need to realize this revolutionary development and focus marketing and promotion on selling electronic versions of their novels and less on traditional methods like book signings.

I have a Kindle Store app on my smartphone, but even I don’t want to read Scorpion Bay on my phone. eReaders…that’s more like it.

You’ve all heard of the most popular e-book readers, Kindle and Nook from Barnes and Noble, but what about the Libre, Kobo ereader, Literati Reader, Pandigital Novel and Sony Reader? If you’re not familiar with these and your publisher isn’t I guarantee you your customers, or potential customers are. Here’s an article that will allow you to compare the various e-book readers.

Literally thousands of books can be stored on a single eReader. Cutting edge stuff, right? Yes and no.

There’s another revolution within this e-book reader revolution that authors should be familiar with. The first table, Apple’s Ipad, touted its ability to download ebooks. It’s a popular feature with the Ipad 2. Like the explosion of e-book readers, there’s an ongoing explosion with tablets. With a tablet, one can download various e-book reader applications from the Apple Store or Android Market. Readers can select books from iBooks, Kindle Store, Barnes & Noble Nook, Borders, Kobo and more. Rather than have a Kindle, or a Nook, or a Kobo, consumers can have them all on their tablets and the applications are free.

Consumers can also download audio books applications on tablets and listen to audio books. They’re doing so at increasing rates.

You should become familiar with all these and more,  Ipad 2, Motorola Xoom, Blackberry Playbook, Archos…the list goes on and on. What list? Here’s one.

If you want to maximize your ability to promote electronic versions of your books, or if you just want to read a book on a great new device, try a tablet.  Me?  I have a Xoom!

Michael

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Book Award Season

I hope everyone enjoyed a fabulous holiday season. 2011 is upon us, which means it’s time to get ready to submit books and short stories for award consideration.

My novels are released by Second Wind Publishing, therefore my latest title, SNARE, qualifies for the Independent Publishers Book Awards (IPPY), and the Glyph Awards, sponsored by the Arizona Book Publishing Association. I plan to submit SNARE to the Suspense/Thriller and Multi-Cultural categories.

As for short stories, I submitted “Loose End” which appeared in the Sisters in Crime Chapter Desert Sleuths mystery anthology How NOT to Survive a Vacation for consideration to the Derringer Award.

The award possibility I’m most excited about takes place during the upcoming Left Coast Crime Conference (LCC) which will be held March 24-27 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This is one of the most prestigious fan/writer conventions. I networked and mingled with readers from around the globe and some of the finest crime novelists in the publishing world at last year’s conference.

One of the locations of my latest thriller is set in the Great Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina. The female lead is Native American and the other location takes place on New Mexico’s Taos Pueblo Indian reservation, therefore SNARE qualifies for The Hillerman Sky Award.

Since this pop/rock music-based thriller was only officially released 12.21.10 I’ve been doing all I can to spread the word about book two of the Deputy Hawk/Inola Walela series. I unveiled the visual of the cover on the Second Wind Publishing blog titled: “Snare – Uncovered” and have received a fantastic response to the cover.

Writers and readers I’ve met since the release of book one of the series, STACCATO, have been very generous with their thumbs up based upon the first pages of SNARE. You can download this sneak peek from my website before the printed version of the book becomes available.

If you plan to attend LCC 2011, I hope you find SNARE to be worthy of a nomination to The Hillerman Sky Award.

Another Second Wind author, Eric Beetner, will be at LCC Santa Fe as well. He and J.B. Kohl co-wrote the fantastic 1940s noir novel Borrowed Trouble, worthy of the Bruce Alexander Award. I hope you will also consider this book for nomination.

Am I missing any other awards you’d like to share information about?

Deborah J Ledford is the author of the debut suspense thriller novel STACCATO, now available from Second Wind Publishing, Amazon and Kindle. If you’re in the Arizona area, STACCATO can be found at Borders Scottsdale Waterfront, The Well Red Coyote, and Changing Hands Bookstore.

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SNARE – Uncovered

I’ve received raves for the cover of my debut suspense thriller STACCATO, so the pressure was on to think of equally compelling ideas for my latest release.

This project has held the title ICE ON FIRE since its inception as a screenplay, but after receiving input from quite a few published novelists I decided stay with the musical theme for Book Two of the Deputy Hawk/Inola Walela thriller series. In doing so I had to come up with a different title—a single word grabber more relating to this rock music themed thriller. Not an easy task, believe me.

Many suggestions were offered, but SNARE kept coming to my mind and wouldn’t let go. I try my best to implement titles that signify more than one element relating to the plot. The word “snare” has not only has a musical connotation, but also means caught in a trap—which every character in the novel finds themselves ensnared in.

Once the title was nailed down I enlisted the assistance of the incredibly talented designer Chantelle Aimée Osman for the crucial task of coming up with ideas for the cover most fitting the new title. Chantelle insisted I stay with the “hands” theme. She was absolutely right. Due to her innovative efforts, SNARE truly is a killer cover.

SNARE is slated for a limited release December 28th and will be available to a wider audience beginning February 22, 2011.

As with STACCATO, I look forward to taking you on the journey to publication for this release as well.

So, what do you think? Does the title work for you? Is this cover an eye catcher? I look forward to your comments.

Be the first to read the first 25 pages of SNARE before the official release by going to my website.

 

Deborah J Ledford is the author of the debut suspense thriller novel STACCATO, now available from Second Wind Publishing, Amazon and Kindle. If you’re in the Arizona area, STACCATO can be found at Borders Scottsdale Waterfront, The Well Red Coyote, and Changing Hands Bookstore.

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Locations: Real or Imagined?

I’m 10,000 words into my next novel and this and one is turning out to be a traditional mystery rather than the thriller genre my Steven Hawk/Inola Walela series falls under. Although the location is based on Baker City, Oregon, I’ve decided to create the fictional town Cascadia, Oregon.

I usually perform endless hours researching locations if I’m not familiar with the locale, and a majority of what I write is based on first-hand experiences of the areas I present. This is the first time I’ve built an entire town from the ground up and I’m a bit nervous about this.

For you writers out there, have you created fictional locations for your work? And readers, do you prefer the writer to take you to an actual place?

Deborah J Ledford is the author of the debut suspense thriller novel STACCATO, now available from Second Wind Publishing, Amazon and Kindle. If you’re in the Arizona area, STACCATO can be found at Borders Scottsdale Waterfront, The Well Red Coyote, and Changing Hands Bookstore.

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Sisters in Crime, Indeed

Thought I’d take the opportunity to inform all of you about a project other than my Deputy Steven Hawk/Inola Walela thriller novel series for Second Wind Publishing.

Last year, the Desert Sleuths (Arizona) Chapter of Sisters in Crime published the mystery anthology How NOT to Survive the Holidays. My short story “A Christmas Tail” appears there—my only slightly humorous story written to date. HNTSAH has received a great reception, quite a few glowing reviews and will soon go to its fourth print run.

Many of you know how prestigious Sisters in Crime is, yet for those who don’t, SinC is an International writers organization and the Desert Sleuths (DS) is one of 48 chapters. Nearly every acclaimed female, and quite a few male, mystery authors are members. Much like a sisterhood, the Desert Sleuths have been extremely supportive and provided me with opportunities to present STACCATO in ways I could only have crossed my fingers and hoped for.

Although confident I’d be able to come up with an acceptable story for their upcoming anthology, I didn’t know at the time the Desert Sleuths had another mission in mind for me to undertake. When talented writer and lead editor, Chantelle Osman, asked me to be one of the co-editors of How NOT to Survive a Vacation, I immediately said “NO!” . . . on the inside. Don’t get me wrong, I was honored to have been considered, let alone asked to help select and work personally with the writers. Yet I was apprehensive that this task would mean a lot of effort and that I would need to not only curtail my professional editing assignments, but also put my writing projects aside.

The yearning to be involved with what I knew would surely be clever stories, written by gifted members of the Arizona Chapter, overtook my fear of failure and in January I found myself at the first meeting with the other three editors, ready and willing to do everything I possibly could to help make the anthology truly shine.

Desert Sleuths released How NOT to Survive a Vacation at their annual conference last month. This anthology features exceptional authors. I’m thrilled that my story “Loose End” can be found there as well. And due to the caliber of writing and our confidence in the collection, novelists on the cusp of rocketing to fame: Sophie Littlefield, Rebecca Cantrell, Kelli Stanley, Juliet Blackwell and Simon Wood, provided spectacular back cover blurbs.

Chantelle and I proved to be an excellent team and now I actually miss the seemingly endless hours, weeks, months we spent accomplishing everything we possibly could to make the writers, Sisters in Crime National, and especially the members of Desert Sleuths proud.

It’s too early to gauge yet, however with Ms. Osman’s clever, eye-catching cover design, the 18 fabulous stories featured inside, and the enthusiasm of each and every Desert Sleuths member, How NOT to Survive a Vacation is certain to receive a warm reception by reviewers and readers alike.

Deborah J Ledford is the author of the debut suspense thriller novel STACCATO, now available from Second Wind Publishing, Amazon and Kindle. If you’re in the Arizona area, STACCATO can be found at Borders Scottsdale Waterfront, The Well Red Coyote and Changing Hands Bookstore .

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E-Books – Shaking up the Industry

I’ve been sharing on Twitter lately about the growing trend of e-book publishing. Publishers Weekly announced that E-book sales jumped 252% during the first quarter of 2010. Here’s the link to their article: http://tinyurl.com/32fynza

Even the Independent Book Publishers Association has jumped on board offering great marketing tips for E-book sales: http://www.ibpa-online.org/articles/shownews.aspx?id=2953

Apparently, the best at marketing his E-books is J.A. Konrath. He touts 4,000 Kindle sales per month at $1.99 per download. Now Amazon has signed Konrath to a deal where he will provide content exclusively to them. He already has more than 20 Kindle offerings on Amazon, so this author has a lot of product available.

This author was unable to find a “legitimate” publisher, yet kept writing. With the advent of virtual publishing, Konrath has found a profitable niche.

Even J.K. Rowling is beginning to ease her distaste in digital publishing. Word is she’s considering making her Harry Potter series available for the Kindle.

Second Wind Publishing offers all of their titles for the Kindle and I am delighted my debut thriller STACCATO has been purchased by a number of readers.

Recently one reader friend couldn’t wait to pull out his Kindle and prompt STACCATO’s first pages. So very cool. The only complaints he voiced is the lack of actual page numbers, and one glitch with the formatting. Forced hyphenates show up as hyphens within words. What I mean by this is in order to visually make a line of printed text more appealing (without too much white space on a line) there are times when a hard hyphen is implemented to tighten the text. What appears on the page may appear as an actual line, yet on the Kindle unit the hyphenated word looks like: format-ting. 

Best of luck to you writers who decide to make your words available as Kindle downloads.

Deborah J Ledford is the author of the debut suspense thriller novel STACCATO, now available from Second Wind Publishing, Amazon, Kindle, and independent bookstores.

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Searching For a New Title

If you’re anything like me, you spend a long time coming up with the perfect title for your novels and short stories. Some writers give their manuscripts numbers or nicknames until they’ve found something ideal. PublishersMarketplace often lists sales of projects as “Working Title” because agents and editors know the title pitched isn’t perfect/already recently exists/hasn’t been approved by the editing committee.

The title is one of the elements I always know when I begin a novel. Every title I’ve attached to my works has at least 4-5 different meanings to the piece.

I write thrillers, and one word titles seem to work best for this genre. Lisa Gardner’s titles Gone, Hide and Alone come to mind. And of course the Twilight blockbuster trilogy which has made one-word titles such a hit.

The title for my debut thriller novel is perfect: Staccato. This definer, along with the cover photo of hands clasped in handcuffs, hovering over a piano keyboard, give the perfect set-up. I had the Staccato title from day one of story conception and was thrilled when Second Wind Publishing agreed to keep my original title and the cover concept.

Now I’m polishing the second book in the Steven Hawk/Inola Walela series and I’m rethinking the original title: Ice on Fire. Yes, there are problems . . . people are constantly calling the project Fire on Ice, which has been used as a title before. To me, these titles have completely different meanings and implications, but not to others. And the visual of a jagged edge chunk of ice with fire licking upward would make a really cool cover photo.

But after spending time with my writer friend, Jeffrey Siger, who’s second novel Assassins of Athens just came out from Poisoned Pen Press, I’m thinking I should not only go with a compelling one-word title, but completely redo my existing title’s concept. Jeffrey suggested I stick with the music theme since the plot also involves the music world (this time a rock star is in peril). I think that’s a great idea, so I’ve been kicking around options and looking through music term glossaries.

And so, for the first time ever I’m considering a different title that the one I originally came up with. Nothing has rung my bell yet, but I like: Resonance, Vibrato, Cadence, Velocity (my favorite so far, but not really a musical term unless I add another term to it) Frequency, Counterpoint. Any one-word suggestions for the title of the next book would be greatly appreciated!

What about you? Have you ever needed to change the “perfect” title of one of your novels?

Deborah J Ledford is the author of the debut suspense thriller novel Staccato, now available from Second Wind Publishing, Amazon, Kindle, and independent book stores.

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The End Is Near – by Deborah J Ledford

So we’re coming up on the end of 2009 and I’ve been going down the list of everything to be grateful for.

First and foremost, professionally, is that my debut suspense thriller Staccato was picked up and published by Second Wind Publishing. This has been a decade-old dream and I am so proud of the finished product.

Three short stories were acquired for publication as well. The literary short “Sighted Brother” now appears in the Gulf Coast Writers Association anthology “Sweet Tea and Afternoon Tales,” my one and only humorous story “A Christmas Tail” was published by the Sisters in Crime chapter Desert Sleuths for their anthology “How NOT to Survive the Holidays,” and “The Spot” will soon be featured in the Second Wind Publishing anthology “Mystery on the Wind.”

Most of all, I am grateful for all the readers who have found my work, the reviewers who have showered Staccato with praise, and the other authors I have met during my seemingly endless online promotions.

A BIG thanks to Pat Bertram for her tireless and awe-inspiring efforts in promoting all the Second Wind authors. And, of course, to Mike Simpson for making my wish to become a published novelist come true.

What were your accomplishments this year? Let us know what you have to be grateful for.

Wishing you all a fabulous 2010! Hang on, it’s going to be a wild, exciting ride for all of us.

Deborah J Ledford is the author of the debut suspense thriller novel Staccato, now available from Second Wind Publishing, Amazon, Kindle, and independent book stores.

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