Free Kindle Coming Soon

March 1, 2011 at 7:25 am | Posted in Gadgets and Good Stuff, Publishing | 2 Comments
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Is it true? Will Amazon give away a free Kindle to any and every reader who wants one? That looks like what you can expect by November—just in time for Christmas 2011.

According to Tech Crunch, Kindle prices have been consistently falling for a good reason. It’s all part of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ master plan. The speculation is that every Amazon Prime customer will receive a free Kindle. Of course, Amazon may find a different way to bundle their eReader that will have mass appeal and compel all digital book consumers to flock to Amazon’s cyber shelves.

But what is the fall-out of this master a-Kindle-for-everyone plan? There’s a lot to consider.

As a reader, which would you rather have: tons of print books on your shelves, taking up space and requiring sturdy boxes and strong arms to move? Or a free, small, light-weight device where you can read/store thousands of digital books and take them anywhere you go? $25 for a hardback, $16 for a paperback, or $2.99 for an ebook? No contest, right? But what will happen to traditional publishers? They are still clinging to the print-book publishing model and will soon be sinking like a dinosaur into a tar pit if they don’t embrace digital and POD technology. Evolve or perish. The time is now.

With the increasing accessibility of digital and POD publishing, true self-publishing (not publishing via a subsidy/vanity press) has never been faster, easier, or more affordable. That’s a completely different blog post, but definitely something Amazon’s master plan will support and encourage.

With this free Kindle plan, it will force other manufacturers to also make their readers free, but aside from B&N (with the Nook), no other company has the same volume of digital content available. Easy. It wipes out the companies that can’t compete.

The publishing industry is changing at an exponential rate. Are you on board for Amazon’s wild ride? What are your fears? What changes will you celebrate?

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Was Santa Nice to Your Muse?

December 30, 2009 at 1:44 pm | Posted in Gadgets and Good Stuff | 21 Comments
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By now, you’ve unwrapped all your Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa gifts, played with all the cool stuff, and braved the Russian-bread-line return areas in your local mall to get store credit for those gifts that missed the mark. So, let’s take stock of the leftover booty (not to be confused with the ever-expanding booty from eating holiday dinner leftovers).

Did your family and friends stick to your meticulously prepared wish list? Did you receive a stack of gift cards, so you can choose your own gifts? Or did they shop from the heart and buy you a light-up globe/music box/ decorative plate combo thingy covered with airbrush-painted ceramic and glass dolphins because you once mentioned you like dolphins?

For Christmas ’07, my Danish Prince (aka, Santa) gave me a MacBook Pro (my favorite writing-related Christmas gift, ever) which I dearly love—both the prince and the laptop. I just have to say, if you’re in the market for a new computer in 2010, or want to put it on your wish list for next Christmas, I highly recommend an iMac and/or MacBook Pro. They are definitely worth the investment.

This year, my Wonderboy (aka, The Elf) gave me a gift certificate to Brighton. And he checked off a practical item on my wish list: a backup battery for my MacBook Pro—for those extra long hours I’ll be sitting in the sand on Hollywood Beach while I compose my next great American novelty. And, to help remind me to actually move during the day (so my computer-chair-shaped ass is bikini worthy), The Elf also gifted me with a BodyBugg digital display—another practical, wish list item. It’s a great motivation tool to be able to see how many calories you’ve burned (or not) during the day.

Hubby calls me Gadget Girl, and I have to admit, I do love my tech toys, but I took two of the hottest Christmas must-haves OFF the list he made for me for this year: the iPhone and the Kindle DX. I’m at home on the computer too much for the iPhone to be useful. And I want to wait to see who comes up with the best eReader. Call me skeptical, but I’m not an early adopter who got stuck with Beta instead of VHS. So, Santa, knowing me like he does, gifted me with a Nikon Coolpix s70. Now, I can capture great pictures at events, book fairs and signings, writing conferences, etc., without lugging a chunky camera around like a Disneyland tourist. And, as a bonus, it’ll be easier to take spontaneous snaps when I’m around the house.

My gifts this year weren’t as “writerly” as they have been in previous years, but I did receive a pretty Vera Bradley pen and pencil set from one sister-in-law. My other sister-in-law gave me a gorgeous pair of Brighton silver earrings—not at all writerly, but what girly-girl doesn’t love jewelry?!

And, as a special gift for my muse, I bought a book to tickle her creative fancy: Taking Flight: Inspiration and Techniques To Give Your Creative Spirit Wings. I’ve always wanted to try mixed media and collage art, so I thought I’d indulge my latent artistic desires. Yes, this is my new “Hey, what’s that shiny thing over there?!” writing distraction.

But even more than being a gadget girl, I’m a bibliophile and information junkie, so I’m eagerly awaiting my best gift of all: the Writer’s Digest $50 gift certificate from my honorable mention in the life stories category of WD‘s 2009 Self-Published Book Awards. The notification email said it would be sent out “toward the end of the year”—so, hey, that’s tomorrow, right Jessica?

I’ve already chosen the books I want:
The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Screenwriters by Karl Iglesias (Because who doesn’t like reading tips from multimillion-dollar writers?)
On Writing Horror by Mort Castle (Because everyone has that one coronary-scary story they want to tell)
On Writing Romance by Leigh Michaels (Because it’s the best genre for writing fog-your-eyeballs sex scenes, and combined with the horror-writing techniques, I can write about my dating experiences)
Bullies, Bastards, & Bitches: How to Write the Bad Guys of Fiction by Jessica Morrell (Because I think I exhausted all the personality traits of my exes and exBFFs in my book The Break-Up Diet:A Memoir)

Maybe it’s a Gemini curse, but there are far too many interesting things to learn and try and pursue and experience and do. I guess it’s good I have another 40+ years to try it all!

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Ok, dear readers, it’s time for you to join the show and tell. What are your favorite writing-related, practical or muse-inspiring gifts? Share the details of gifts you’ve received and/or gifts you gave to yourself (or your favorite writer).

Walk and Work – Get Off Your Butt

May 4, 2009 at 1:24 pm | Posted in Gadgets and Good Stuff | 10 Comments
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walknwork-station-12I spend an average of 12-14 hours a day on my computer: checking and responding to email, social networking, editing articles for WOW-Women On Writing, doing analysis and editing of book manuscripts for clients, working on a TV series adaptation of my book The Break-Up Diet: A Memoir, and writing the first draft of a new book project. That’s a lot of sedentary chair time.

As writers, it’s really hard to carve out time to take care of ourselves physically. I don’t know about you, but it seems that whenever I do take the time to go to the gym or out for a walk, I have so many story ideas that come to me when I have absolutely no way to write them down.

Then I saw a piece about the work and walk station on 20/20. I knew creating a treadmill computer workstation would be a great way to continue creating and drop the 30 lbs. that began padding my small frame little-by-little over the last six years. Finally, a way to get back into those Size 0 jeans! How’s that for multi-tasking.

So, I asked my handy-dandy hubby (a general contractor) to build something for me, using my HealthRider R60 SoftStrider treadmill. He suggested we repurpose a Pottery Barn ladder bookshelf to hold the computer. Hubby removed the lower shelves, then bought and cut a laminate board (from Home Depot) to fit around the treadmill console and work as a keyboard and mouse table. He secured the board to the treadmill handles by extra-strength Velcro strips (and it doesn’t budge). The height of the table is perfect for me—keeping my shoulders/elbows at a 90 degree L while I walk and type on my ergonomic split keyboard. (Yes, I’m using a Microsoft keyboard with my iMac until Apple comes up with one.) I have a wireless mouse, and also internet wi-fi throughout the house, so my work and walk station is complete with everything I need. Though I may invest in a set of external speakers, so if hubby wants to watch a DVD, he’ll be able to hear it over the sound of the moving treadmill. The best part about the way this station is constructed is that the Velcro allows the keyboard table to be removed easily, so the treadmill can be used normally.

walknwork-station-2My next foray into creating the ultimate active writing space will be to see how/if I can use a headset and Dictate, Apple’s voice-recognition software, to “write” my next book while I get into shape.

And, of course, I still have to decorate my creative space. I’m so excited! I’m considering creating a giant vision board on the entire wall around my workstation, or maybe a colorful, hand-painted craft and inspiration word cloud… Stay tuned for future posts showing my completed space—and an update about how my computer-chair butt has been transformed into a fitness magazine booty!

What are you doing to stay in shape? Do you have a fitness routine that works with your writing and computer-time schedule?

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