Tag Archives: Kindle

CAN AN OLD DOG LEARN NEW TRICKS?

Or to be more specific, can someone who has been doing something in one way for a very long time learn to do the same thing a different way?

qThis is a question that looms before me as I embark on a mission to learn Scrivener. I’m starting a class in how to use this program in a couple of weeks. The author who wrote “Scrivener for Dummies” is teaching the class, so she sounds like the perfect teacher for someone like me.

I bought Scrivener months ago. I didn’t even take the “30-day free trial” offer. I was so confident I could use it I just bought it. Because I had more pressing things going on, I let its icon sit on my desktop for a couple of months before I opened it. I’m not an expert at the computer, but I’m reasonably savvy. After an hour with Scrivener, I was ready to pull out my thinning hair.

Since then, I’ve gone back to it. Even tried to fit my WIP (THE CATTLEMAN) into it, but haven’t advanced one iota. So it’s time for a class.

For those of you who have never heard of Scrivener, it’s writing software designed to replace or enhance Microsoft Word. For novelists and screenwriters, it’s supposedly more intuitive and more organized, with authors in mind, than Word.

And why am I trying to do this? Because I want to be faster and more efficient in my writing. I need to be turning out more than one book a year.

I wrote my first book, THE LOVE OF A COWBOY, as a pantster. A pantster is someone who writes organically. Stream of consciousness. Whatever pops into one’s head goes on the page. But being a pantster wastes a lot of time as you can probably imagine. You write stuff, then throw it out and replace it with something new. I don’t know about others, but by that method, I’ve ended up with stories that didn’t resemble the ones I had imagined in the first place.

After I became published by two of the Big Six publishing houses under two different pseudonyms, I no longer had the luxury of being a pantster. Time became precious. I *had* to become an outliner and a planner because I had to present new stories for the editor to consider before she would renew a contract and I had to meet deadlines. Consequently, over time, I developed a clumsy way of outlining in Word and in Excel. And that’s how I’ve written the last few books, with not much time for a story to “gel” in my mind.

But now I want to try something I hope will be better. So here I go into yet another class. <sigh> I’ve taken so many. :-/

“And speaking of THE LOVE OF A COWBOY, it will soon be available in print from Amazon.AnnaJeffrey_TheLoveofaCowboy_200px Hopefully before the end of the month.Amazon has a new feature for authors to offer those who want to hold a printed book in their hands. If you buy the printed edition, you can buy the same book in e-book format for a reduced price. Of course, the author has to opt for this feature. I’ve added this to the books I’ve got in print, THE LOVE OF A LAWMAN and SWEET RETURN. And I will soon be adding it to THE TYCOON.”

Meanwhile, wish me luck as this old dog sets out to learn a new trick.

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The Most Important Element, Part II

Hi, Fellow Readers:

Today, my guest is Texas author Kathy Ivan and her story of how she came to writing. As you’ll see,  she’s an avid reader, as are most writers. I don’t know a single successful author is isn’t also a dedicated reader. Kathy’s story is testimony that it must be in the genes.

So check out the short synopses of her books. And take a good look at her delicious covers designed by the awesome Kim Killion. Don’t they speak to you? Don’t you just know that a great read resides behind these covers?

Anna kindly asked me to participate in her blog and tell you a bit about myself, my writing, and the lovely covers the amazing Kim Killion has created for two of my books.Headshots_001 

I’ve always loved reading.  I was one of those kids in school who would finish the entire year’s reading list in the first five or six weeks.  Getting lost in books, those wonderful stories, was the best part of my school day.  Plus I was gifted with an absolutely amazing mother who instilled in me a love of reading from a very early age.  She was a voracious reader herself, especially of romances.  Most of my fondest memories are of my mom with her nose buried in a romance book.  Genre did matter to her as long as there was a happy ending.

So, I’ve always been a big reader.  I dabbled with writing some in high school, took creative writing classes and did very well in them, but put all that aside when I graduated and moved on to the 9 to 5, Monday through Friday world of sit-your-backside-in-the-chair-and-work life.  It wasn’t until early 2005 when I was invited to a book signing by a co-worker (the lovely and talented Jane Graves) that the writing bug struck again.  Shortly after that book signing I joined DARA (Dallas Area Romance Authors and RWA.  And I’ve been writing ever since.  J

My first published book was Desperate Choices, a romantic suspense that won the International Digital Award for Long Suspense.

 

Following are blurbs about my newest books.

Second_Changes_800SECOND CHANCES:  Can Dreams and Destiny . . . Lead to a Second Chance?

Welcome to Destiny’s Desire Lodge, where The Fates can manipulate the threads of life at their whim and the Fate-Keeper battles to unite the predestined souls of true love. 

Wracked with guilt, Denver firefighter Ryan Jackson is haunted by dreams of his dead brother, asking for something . . . impossible. 

Unwilling to let the love of her life slip away, Rose Jackson will do anything to discover why her husband has become distant and withdrawn — no matter the cost.

Will an early gift, an unexpected trip, and Rose and Ryan’s love add a spark of magic to destined souls wanting a second chance?

Buy:  http://amzn.to/GIx1uB Losing_Cassie_800

LOSING CASSIE: 

Welcome to Destiny’s Desire Lodge, where The Fates can manipulate the threads of life at their whim and the Fate-Keeper battles to unite the predestined souls of true love. 

Firefighter Jake Stone lost the love of his life when his high school sweetheart disappeared. The arrival of a mysterious letter promising answers draws Jake to Destiny’s Desire. Cassie Daniels has been running for seven long years. At Destiny’s Desire she might finally have a chance for a happy future, if she can face the evil from her past. When Fate and Destiny Collide . . . Can Love Survive?

Buy:  http://amzn.to/19kbELh

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE:  http://amzn.to/1ateyzt

 

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TIDBITS OF NEW OLD NEWS . . .

I’ve hired someone to format THE LOVE OF A LAWMAN for the digital bookstores, so I won’t be taking six months to do it myself and get it uploaded. If all goes well, I’ll be able to upload it by the end of this month and hopefully, it will be error-free.

I have a cover ready and waiting. It was designed by miracle worker Kim Killion. I love this woman.

I’m weary of seeing half-naked men on book covers, so I decided to go a different direction. Seems like every other book these days has a picture of bare chests and abs. Hope I haven’t made the wrong decision. This guy looks pretty good, doesn’t he? Even if he is fully clothed. Let me know what you think. One nice thing about self-publishing: If the cover is wrong, you can take a mulligan.

This book was originally released in 2005. The original cover designed by my print publisher won the Cover Cafe award for cover of the year.

Like all of my books, it’s kind of a soap opera. The “What If?” question I asked when developing this story was, what if beautiful gutsy woman who has been abandoned by the guy she ran away from home with years back, returns to her hometown, bringing her brainy daughter, searching for her roots and starting her life anew, only to encounter and be distracted by the man who has been in love with her since they were teenagers?

What if a handsome ex-ProRodeo champion, who is divorced and starting over, takes on the job of sheriff in his tiny crime-free hometown just to while away a few months before he does something else, then a murder occurs under his watch? And what if, at the same time, he runs into the beautiful woman he had a crush on in high school?

If you’ve read my books, you know that all of my heroines are beautiful and all of my heroes are handsome. Romance novels are, after all, fantasies. So if you haven’t read this one, it will soon be available through Kindle and Nook and other online venues.

****

The second occurrence is I had a conversation with Amazon about publishing a print edition of THE TYCOON. According to them, I’m wrong in thinking I should publish it as an e-book first. They recommend I publish it as a POD book first. I’m still deciding. In any event, God willing, I’ll get this book on the market this year. I started the year thinking I would get it out there in February. Then I moved the date to May, then September. Now I’ve lowered my sights and I’m just shooting for 2012. So much for best-laid plans.

****

My newly designed Web site is up and functioning. Check it out. www.annajeffrey.com. Let me know if you have any problems navigating it. It can be fixed.

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FINISHED!! … AT LAST!

I’m back, fellow bloggers and readers! I hope none of you thought I had died.

Two things have been going on that have kept me from blogging. I just had to get THE TYCOON finished, which I did. Unfortunately, my *real* job consumes so much of my energy and time, I just don’t get anything done during the four days I work, so I had to dedicate my three days off to nothing but the book.

I already have the cover. I’ve just applied for a copyright and now I’m on a quest for a couple of beta readers and a copyeditor. One thing I’ve learned is copyeditors are expensive!

I’m going to release it as an e-book, but soon I will put it into print as a paperback.

Finishing a book is a weird letdown. All of a sudden I feel like I’ve got nothing to do, though in fact, I do have plenty to do to launch the book. But I’ve lived with this particular one and its characters for more than two years now. So giving them up is almost like abandoning the family pet. I know from the past that for a few days, it will just feel like something important is missing from my life.

I’ve posted the blurb for THE TYCOON before, but it’s been a while, so here it is again.

“When DRAKE LOCKHART, wealthy Texas ranching scion and business tycoon, meets a stunning redhead at a fancy ball, the last thing he expects is a tryst he can’t forget, followed by her disappearing in the middle of the night. Every minute spent with the vulnerable beauty has left him hungering for more.

“SHANNON PIPER was out of place at the ball. And an intimate encounter with a man so far removed from her social hemisphere wasn’t on her agenda, especially when he has a reputation for ruthlessness and is one of Texas Monthly’s most eligible bachelors known for his history with women. Is a relationship based on just sex the way to protect her heart? Or is it the beginning of the most enduring love a girl with a sketchy past could ever know?”

So what do you think? Does the blurb make you want to read it?

I also have a new Web site being designed. Hopefully, it and the new book will launch at about the same time.

Now I’m on to working on THE LOVE OF A LAWMAN, which was originally released in 2005, getting it ready to upload. Too bad I can’t use the same cover because that cover won an award.

The second thing that has been going on is I put my 2003 release, THE LOVE OF A COWBOY, in the Amazon Kindle Select program. Since it’s a nine-year-old book, I was amazed and humbled by the number of readers who downloaded it when it was free and and bought it after the free promotion ended.  It stayed at #1 on the Top 100 Free Downloads in the Kindle store all five days and remained on the top twenty list for nearly several weeks. That was more than I had hoped for when I started the promotion.

That kind of reception lessens some of the trepidation I have about releasing THE TYCOON. Since I haven’t self-published an original book before, obviously, I’m a little nervous. I’ll keep you posted.

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A RANT ABOUT CELL PHONES…

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...

About a million words have been spoken and written about what cell phones are doing to us, i.e., giving us brain cancer, making us unable to communicate verbally, walling us off from each other, yada, yada, yada…..

Something happened recently that made me start to think more about this. I was in a parking lot, walking from my car into a store. I was walking along with car bumpers close by on my right side. Directly ahead of me was a guy walking toward me, deeply absorbed in texting.

I could go no farther to the right without running into car bumpers. “He sees me,” I told myself and continued my path. He came closer and closer and never looked up, so he simply ran into me and almost knocked me off my feet. I couldn’t believe it. He had feet and feet of space where he could have gone to his right, but he was oblivious to it and oblivious to me. His arm hit my shoulder and he looked up at me as if I had just landed from Mars. He didn’t hurt me, but he jostled me. And he didn’t even have the decency to apologize.

I work with a young man who is on his phone every minute of every day—texting, Facebooking, shopping, messaging or whatever else he does on the phone. Even when I’m trying to talk to him, he’s only listening with one ear. His eyes are glued to his phone screen. Why management doesn’t land on him, I don’t know, because he behaves that way not just to me, but to everybody.

I work with a young woman who keeps her cell phone hidden, but who has FaceBook open at all times and constantly refers to it.

I work with yet another one who plays gambling games all day long, even while we’re at lunch and trying to have a simple conversation.

When I walk into the break room, almost every person there is texting or doing something on the phone. Nobody even says hello anymore.

I have another acquaintance who pulls her cell phone from her pocket or purse every few minutes to check for something. It’s impossible to have an uninterrupted conversation with her. I never have her full attention.

I have yet another friend who weaves from lane to lane while driving while she’s either trying to get the phone out of her purse or trying to punch in a number or read a text. At least, I haven’t seen her text while driving, but she might do that. I no longer know, because I’ve quit riding with her.

Person using cell phone while driving.

Person using cell phone while driving. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

SMS: Text Messaging Gets Redesigned

Just last week, I heard a young woman talk about dropping her cell phone in a cup of Coke when she was texting while she was driving on a major highway.

I’ve seen two teenage girls standing a foot from each other and texting each other.

These days, you hardly see a young person who doesn’t have a cell phone in his or her hand. Only older people have them in holders attached to their belts or secured in their purses. But they still have them with them. Even if you’re on welfare, the government will provide you with a cell phone, and it isn’t just *any* cell phone. It’s an iPhone or an Android if you want it.

So do any of you recall the days when if the phone rang at your home and you weren’t there to answer it, you simply were not home? And if the caller wanted to talk to you about something important, he or she would call you back when you were at home? Do you remember the days when we didn’t have voice mail?

Mobile phone evolution Русский: Эволюция мобил...

Mobile phone evolution

When I was in the real estate business, I had “Call Waiting.” But I hated it. I thought nothing was ruder than abandoning the person or person with whom I was talking to answer the phone. But, for some reason, it was a tool I thought I needed.

Angel with mobile phone

Angel with mobile phone (Photo credit: Akbar Sim (terribly busy))

So now that we’re to the place where almost no one (and I mean no one) is without a cell phone, especially if one is under 25 years old, where are we really? We’ve exponentially compounded rudeness. We’ve almost eliminated verbal communication. We’re encouraging young people, who are already easily distracted, to have the attention span of a gnat.

And I could go on and on. Am I just an old fuddy-duddy who can’t adapt to the times?

What comes of all of this? Does anybody know?

By the way, for you who are interested, THE LOVE OF A STRANGER will be a free download on Amazon on the 17th and 18th. You can download it to your Kindle, your computer, your iPad, your iPhone or most other devices if you get the Amazon app. I don’t, however, think you’ll be able to get the Amazon app on Nook, but I don’t know for sure. So if you want to read it for free, there you go.  🙂

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A Surprising Discovery…

Steve Jobs at the WWDC 07

As I’ve posted on Facebook and in other places, I’m eager to read Steve Jobs’ biography. So I’ve been dithering whether to buy the book or buy a download for the Kindle. What I’ve discovered is that as much as I like that Kindle, there are some books that are just too delicious not to have a *real* book in my hands. Something tells me that the book about Steve Jobs is one of those.

This discovery was a “wow” moment for me because I thought I was ambivalent. I thought books in print had been replaced in my mind by Kindle books.

So I started thinking about other books I might like to read or have already read and I asked myself, “Kindle or print book?” I made a short list of the ones  I would just have to read in their print format if I hadn’t already read them. Here’s a small part of my fiction list in no particular order. I prefer a print-on-paper edition of every one of these books.

GONE WITH THE WIND by Margaret Mitchell
HEART OF THE WEST by Penelope Williamson
THE OUTSIDER by Penelope Williamson
LONESOME DOVE by Larry McMurtry
THE DEATH OF THE ARCHBISHOP by Willa Cather
THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA by Ernest Hemingway
SOPHIE’S CHOICE by William Styron
RIDE THE WIND by Lucia St Clair Robson
DEEP END OF THE OCEAN by Jacquelyn Mitchard
All of Nicholas Evans’ books

Cover of "THE HEART OF THE WEST"

Those are just a few. Then there are the non-fiction books I would prefer to have in traditional print form. That list is much longer. There’s just something about a non-fiction book that calls for one you can hold in your hands. Many of my non-fiction titles are research books and I haven’t yet mastered how to find things in the Kindle downloads.

In addition, I get a little panicky at the idea that you don’t really own anything with digital readers except the reader itself. The content is out there in cyberspace somewhere in that nebulous *cloud* and you’re only *using* it. I can’t get past the feeling that it could be yanked at any time.

Cover of "Ride the Wind"

None of this is to take away from the convenience, the ease and the utter out-of-this worldness of reading a book digitally. I do love it. Even my husband loves it. As I’ve said before, he can’t deal with a cell phone, but he can use the Kindle.  The technology is revolutionizing both bookselling and book publishing.

But in thinking about it, I wonder if a lot of readers will turn out to be like me. Some books on the Kindle, some not. Do all of you have digital readers now. And are you devoted fans? Or are there still books out there that you would prefer to read printed on paper?

I just hope the day never comes when the print books will no longer be available.

Anna J

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Now I’m Independent…

Amazon Kindle PDF

Last week, something finally happened that I’ve been working at for more than two years. I finally got the copyrights back on two more of mybooks. Whew! What a pain.

I’m so happy about this. It’s a good feeling to know that books I slaved over are no longer hanging in limbo where they’re not on the market, but there’s nothing I can do about it because I don’t own them. That’s like having them fall into a black hole. Getting my rights back makes me feel like I have a future again.

Publishing and bookselling have become dramas with lots of moving parts. Independents are barely hanging on, Borders is gone and every day, B&N is starting to look more like a gift store than a book store. I don’t know about the other chains because none of them are located in my part of the country. But I do know this. Big retail is in the process of killing mid-list authors like me.

Big retail is not in the book and author promoting business. It doesn’t have a dedication or devotion to *books*, as such. Big retail is in the RETAIL business, which is fundamentally the real estate business. Every square inch of space has to produce so many dollars over a certain period of time. Consequently, they’re going to fill that space with stuff that sells lots of items as fast as possible because profit lies in volume of rapidly moving stuff. From their perspectives, books are strictly a commodity that sells well or not. Thus, their interest in stocking only name-brand authors.

Entrance of a typical Costco warehouse club.

Image via Wikipedia

These days, if you stroll through the book section of a Walmart, a Costco or a Target, you won’t see a large selection of books by authors other than New York Times Bestsellers. Some of the stores are stocking the whole backlist of those authors, which leaves no space for mid-listers. So for you readers out there, if you don’t want to read every book by an author going back to 1985, or if you’ve already read them and don’t want to read them again, you’re going to have to buy a digital reader.  Online is where the mid-listers have found refuge.

So now I’m no longer a mid-list author. Now I’m an independent author selling my out-0f-print books for e-readers. I’m on my own. this is why I’m blogging, tweeting and facebooking more than previously. It’s a brave new world out there. I’m trying to reach as many readers as I can, hoping to find a larger audience for my stories.

Publishing houses are no longer the gatekeepers. The rights to my future books will not be owned by anyone but me, which is a liberating feeling. They most likely won’t be showing up in big-box stores, but that’s okay with me.

I sure can’t predict how digital readers and independent authors are going to affect publishing houses in the final analysis. Some of them might very well go out of business altogether. Having said that, I should also say that I suspect there will always be books in print. The publishers that survive this earthquake will always publish the big sellers. So if you are someone who loves the feel of a*real book* in your hands, something will be out there for you. But basically, books are going to become like music. In bricks and mortar stores, you’ll only see the big names who are posting big numbers. This is a huge boon to imaginative authors who have business sense.

I posted earlier on Facebook that I’m already starting to format my first release, “The Love of a Cowboy,” for Amazon Kindle, B&N Nook and others. Cowboy was released in 2003. It has been my bestselling book and I still hear from readers about it.

Amazon Kindle eBook Reader

See you online, Readers. Come and Facebook with me and Tweet at me. I’m interested in *all* of your opinions and thoughts.

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