Tag Archives: reading

Predicting the Future

Many a book and film has predicted the future with varying levels of success. 1984 is the first title that comes to my mind, but there’s many, many more. And with the popularity of apocalyptic and dystopian stories, I kind of hope they DON’T get it right!

Occasionally someone does get pretty close to the bull’s eye. This time, it was, of all people, the marketing department at AT&T. Maybe you saw these ads back in the 90’s?
(Thank you to Peter Kafka at All Things D for highlighting this blast from the past.)

Do you see yourself in any of those commercials? I know I was stunned by how accurate they were. Unfortunately for AT&T, the one thing that was really off was the “Who’s going to bring it to you?” line. Okay, maybe the A was a little right (Apple, Amazon…?).

Technology is changing so fast, it’s hard to predict what will be around next month, let alone the next decade (see my post on that here). We now have 3D movies, phones that do everything, and cars that just about drive themselves. I’d love for the guys at AT&T to put out a new commercial showing us how we’ll be living in the 2020’s. Just so long as it doesn’t look like this:

Cosplay 5th Element

Image by flexgraph via Flickr

Meet an Author Monday

Check out what other authors are chatting about today. Whether you’re a reader or a writer, there’s a lot of great stories out there! Hosted today by Carol Oates.

Meet an Author Monday

Click here for the Author hop

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Share the Wealth Giveaway

After having such a great time at the RT Booklovers Convention and scoring a TON of new books, I’m sharing the wealth and giving some away!

Here’s how it works:

1. To enter, comment on any of my blog posts that go up in May (starting with this one!). I want to hear from you! And yes, more comments equals more entries! Note: comments are moderated, so spammers are not eligible to win.

2. Due to postage costs, this contest is open to US addresses only. 8( Sorry!

3. Winner will be picked at random on June 1, 2011.

WHAT DO I WIN??!

The grand prize winner will get their pick of FIVE books from the following list (you can see them all in one place HERE on Goodreads):

Bitten
Body Language
Weddings Can Be Murder
A Little Bit Wicked
Lover Mine
No One Heard Her Scream
Southern Comfort
It's Hotter In Hawaii
Murder in Vein
Coming Undone
The Vampire Voss
Those Who Fight Monsters: Tales of Occult Detectives
The Panic Zone
Killer Heat
Face of Danger
Blue Diablo
Eve of Chaos
Senseless
Nowhere Near Respectable
Knight of Passion
This Charming Man
Skinny-Dipping
Up Close and Dangerous
The Guy Next Door
Malice
Mad about the Duke
How to Woo a Reluctant Lady
Brimstone Kiss
Healing Dr. Fortune
Poisoned Kisses

The runner-up gets their pick of TWO of the remaining books.

What? You DON’T have a copy of Whirlwind yet? Each winner will also get an autographed copy!

So if you like to read, be sure and check out my blog entries this May and leave a comment or two. You may win a box of books to take to the beach this summer!

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Tomorrow is the Day!

I can’t believe Release Day is tomorrow!  There were many times in the past few years that I was sure this day was never coming…but now it’s only a few hours away.  Suffice to say that I’ll be a jumpy mess today!

How about one last excerpt from Whirlwind to pass the time? This is a long one, I hope you enjoy it!

My stomach lurched when the wrinkled suit of the eighties guy I’d bumped into outside stalked toward me. Not surprised or angry—thank goodness—he had a confident, almost predatory walk. His smile didn’t convey excitement or happiness but voracious greed, his lips rising to fully expose his canines in a wolf-like grin. He was, in a word, creepy.

That’s it. Gotta go. I reached for my purse, but the strap caught on something. I’d just untangled it when I felt a heavy hand on the back of my chair.

“Hi. Would you like to dance?” he asked in an oily voice.

“No, thank you. I don’t dance.” Still.

“How about I join you then?” he asked and promptly sat in the chair closest to me. “I was rude when we ran into each other earlier. I’m Ron.”

Was that supposed to be an apology or a pick-up?

“What’s your name?” he asked, ignoring the fact he hadn’t let me answer his previous question.

Showing him the same level of courtesy, I scanned the crowd, searching for a lifeline. Chase and Linda were busy talking to his parents several tables away. Beth and Todd were dancing; Mitch and Ann were across the room, laughing; and neither Tricia nor Jason had reappeared. Welcome to wedding reception hell.

I picked up my water glass and considered dumping it in Ron-the-creep’s lap, but that would mean getting closer to him and his smelly suit. Instead, I took a long drink and inspected the five-tiered wedding cake in the far corner, avoiding his eerie stare. Would he get the hint if I refused to acknowledge his existence?

“So, are you a friend of the bride or the groom?” he asked, unfazed.

“Groom,” I nearly shouted, hoping this guy was as intimidated by Mitch as the Trojans were. “Close friends.” None too subtly I clutched my purse, thankful I’d remembered to slip my pepper spray in the tiny bag. “I should probably go congratulate him.” I tried to inch my chair away, but Ron held it fast.

“He’s busy with the other guests.” His head turned slightly, toward the newlyweds I assumed. “I’m a friend of a friend of the bride. She’s quite beautiful, isn’t she?” The covetous smile reappeared.

“Yes, she is,” I said. Coldness enveloped me when I realized all the tables around us were empty.

Options…I need options. The door closest to me was marked WOMEN—that’d do nicely. I tensed, planning to make a dash for the bathroom should Ron’s hold on my chair loosen even for a second.

He scrutinized me with hungry eyes. “Hey, let’s get out of here and take a walk in the garden. There’s a trail that goes down to the beach. I doubt a little hike would wear you out.” A cold finger grazed my back. Was he touching the ends of my hair?

I jerked forward, away from his hand, still unable to budge my chair. Ron was exceptionally bold, quickly moving from creepy to frightening. My thoughts turned from flight to fight.

“No thanks. I wouldn’t want to miss the action here.” I repositioned my purse in my lap so I could reach the zipper. As I did, the table moved—and another path appeared: tip the table and make a scene. Could I ruin Mitch’s celebration? What if I was misinterpreting Ron’s eagerness?

“Aw, come on, this stuff is boring anyway. It doesn’t look like anyone will miss us,” he pressed. “It’ll be a treat.”

A treat? I had to get away from this guy! Like a song stuck on repeat, the possibilities raced around my brain, along with an adrenaline-enhanced list of Ron’s weaknesses. Run, scream, fight, spray. Ribs, eyes, knees, groin.

Summoning all my courage, I gripped the edge of the table. Thankfully, Chase materialized beside me before I tipped it over.

“Hi. I’ve been looking for you.” He carefully avoided using my name, somehow sensing the fear surging through me. “We’re dancing as a group over in the corner. Come join us.”

I didn’t hesitate. “Okay.” Without a second glance at Ron, I pushed myself away from the table, catching my captor off guard.

In a flash, Ron wrapped his clammy hand around mine and squeezed it hard—too hard. I flinched, still trapped in my chair.

“She doesn’t dance,” he said, his nostrils flaring. I tried to free myself, but his fingers became a vise, tightening as I struggled against them.

“Get your hands off her!” someone snarled. Ron’s head whipped around, looking for the new speaker.

I took advantage of the distraction and ripped my hand out of his, jumping up so fast I slammed into Chase. He caught me, automatically wrapping a protective arm around my shoulders.

Ron rose to face him, his hands bunched into fists. My new savior intervened, equally incensed: Jason McAlister.

In less than 12 hours you can read the rest! Omnific Publishing even has a sale going for the holidays:

Holiday Ebook Coupon

Check out Meet an Author Monday for More Book Suggestions

Meet an Author Monday

Click here for the Author hop

 

Authors! Have a book out? Are you under contract for publication? Make sure you join in the hop. This is a great way to network your blog and let readers know who you are!

And We Have a Winner

Congratulations to Britney in Texas – she won the autographed copy of Whirlwind on goodreads.com! More giveaways are coming, so stay tuned.

Quick Gift Ideas

Looking for something quick and easy to give?  Here’s a couple quick gift ideas:

  • Restaurant gift cards – great for the person who has everything!  Many are on sale now…pick some up for your favorite restaurant, too?
  • Movie tickets – kids especially love these. I’ve found that Costco has great deals on movie tickets; I always have a couple passes in my wallet.
  • LED Keychain light – a great stocking stuffer, but SO useful.
  • Movies at home kit – Great for people who can’t get out (like parents of young kids). Include a pack of microwave popcorn, some Raisinets and Hot Tamales, and either a DVD or movie rental gift card. Put them in an inexpensive bowl or popcorn containers (available at places like Target).

Have a great day, and see you TOMORROW!

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All a Book Lover Wants for Christmas is…

Meet an Author Monday

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A Kindle! No, an iPad! NOOOO! A box of books!

Okay, how about a gift card?

The eBook market is HOT.  The New York Times just announced they’re adding an eBook category to their famous Best Sellers List; eReader sales are expected to break records again this holiday season.  Everyone is talking about eReaders…there’s a great overview of the different types on the Dear Author blog, to name just one.  But if you’re starting from scratch and are looking to get a gift for someone (or yourself), where do you start?

The two big names in the eReader game are Apple’s iPad and Amazon’s Kindle.  They are both very popular, have great features, and are very different.  There’s been many articles written about the pros and cons of both, but if you’re like me, it’s the experience of a real user, a real reader, that is the most valuable.

To that end, I’ve asked two avid readers—one a Kindle user, one an iPad user—to answer a few questions about their favorite eReaders.  And for fun, I asked a devout paper and print reader to weigh in too.

The idea is to hear from people who use and love their readers, not to bash one or another, or even suggest that paper books are dying (one look at the supermarket checkout stand will prove that’s not happening soon). I personally think there’s plenty of market space for many kinds of eReaders and for paper and print. But if you’re considering making a purchase in the future, perhaps these owners can answer some of your questions.

And of course, if you’re looking for a great first book for your eReader, I suggest you check out mine!  Whirlwind‘s release date is approaching, so stay tuned!

Enough of my chatter, let’s hear from the owners!  Today we have my husband, Steve, the proud owner of a Kindle:

booting up the Kindle 3

The Kindle 3 in graphite. Image by The Shifted Librarian via Flickr

Which eReader do you have? How long have you owned it?

Kindle 3; I’ve had it for 2 months

What features do you like best?

Size, availability of content, new apps, PDF support (take a few work items home and read them on the Kindle instead of the laptop)

How do you load books on your eReader? (wirelessly, connect to computer, other?)

Wirelessly; connected to computer to load PDFs

What kinds of eBooks do you load on your eReader (formats – PDF, epub, other?) Do you load them from sources other than the default bookstore? (e.g. amazon for Kindle or iBookstore for iPad)

Most books are in native Kindle format – straight from the Kindle bookstore.  I’ve loaded PDFs as well by direct-connect to the computer.  I haven’t ordered anything from another store.

Where do you use your eReader? (in the car, outside, at work, at home, traveling)

I try not to read while I’m driving… 🙂  I use it at home a lot.  Haven’t been on a business trip since I got it, but I expect to take it with me whenever I travel.  I currently have some work-related content on it, so will be using it at work this week.  I have used it outside occasionally.

Does it have an annotation feature?  Do you make notes?

It has annotation capabilities.  I haven’t made notes yet, but I foresee using that for work-related content.  I never made notes in my physical books (at least not since college), so I don’t anticipate annotating my fiction reading.

Can you read your eBooks anywhere else? (on your computer or your phone) Do you?

I have the Kindle app on my iPod Touch also.  I have read large portions of a Kindle book on that device with no problems.  The Kindle and the Kindle apps on other devices all sync your reading position, so you can move from one to the other as needed.

Do you share your eReader with anyone?

I don’t now, but I can easily see swapping Kindles with my wife so she can read a book I bought (and vice versa).  While our reading habits don’t overlap 100%, there are a number of books/series that we both like.

What else do you do on your eReader? (browse the web, watch videos, read magazines, etc)

As mentioned above, some new apps on the Kindle are interesting.  There are some games and travel-related apps that are good for a diversion when you want to take a break from reading.  They keep the reader device in your hands, but let you step away from the book for a moment.

I have browsed the web on the Kindle.  The browser is surprisingly capable, but the web is a color environment and it’s just meant to be viewed that way.

I haven’t tried any newspaper subscriptions yet on the Kindle.

How did you get your eReader? (buy in store, buy online, win it, receive it as a gift, other)

I received it as a gift from a wonderful person!

What accessories do you have for your eReader?

I have a cover with a built-in book light.  I’ve used other Kindles that don’t have the book light, and if you try to read in low-light environments, that’s a problem.  Carrying a separate light is inconvenient and bulky.  This cover is perfect – built-in light when needed, keeps the Kindle safe.

Kindle 3 Cover: About the same size as a DVD case!

Kindle 3 Cover: About the same size as a DVD case! Image by Racum via Flickr

http://www.amazon.com/Kindle-Lighted-Leather-Display-Generation/dp/B003DZ165W/ref=_1_2

How many books do you have on your eReader?  How many hard copy books do you have?

I’ve got 5 books on my Kindle (and a couple more on my wife’s).  I’ve only been buying books as I’m ready to read them, so I haven’t loaded very many yet.  But, I can put 3500 on my Kindle, so I suspect the library will grow.

As for hardcopy books, I don’t know for sure, but it’s certainly in the hundreds.

Any other comments about your eReader?

Never running out of books is a great thing.  Having the global Kindle means that anywhere I go I can buy a book when I need it.  I’ve run out of reading material in several cities around the world, but that won’t happen again.  Also, I won’t have to haul around extra books when I travel.

Coming soon: the iPad

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Review of Catching Fire

Catching Fire (Hunger Games, #2)

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The second installment of the Hunger Games series picks up pretty much where the first left off, though the heart of the action is actually a year later. Katniss finds herself in more trouble, and not just due to her own actions. There’s another force at work this time, so though she faces a similar fight-to-the-death situation as the first book, she’s dealt a very different hand this time. While she’s very attuned to some aspects of her survival, she’s quite naive in others. She only gets a glimpse of the forces throwing her life into chaos in this book, though…but I’m getting ahead of myself.

I don’t want to post spoilers, so I won’t go into any more detail about the plot. Katniss continues to be strong and assertive in this book, which I like. There is a definite repetition of what happened in book 1, but the end result is very different.

Ms. Collins continues to put every character in jeopardy, so don’t get too attached to anyone. The real warning is this: Don’t start this book unless you have the third, Mockingjay, ready to go when you finish.

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