Pull up a log by the campfire and enjoy some original creations by Stuart J. Whitmore, including photos, fiction, software, technical solutions, video, and more.

Read Your First eBook

Ebook, e-book, eBook... however you like to write it, you don't need a Kindle to read one. I find myself telling people this fairly often, so I decided to make a short video to demonstrate how to read your first Kindle book without owning a Kindle. In less than three minutes, you can watch Read a Kindle book without a Kindle on YouTube. That video mentions using a free book for your first book, and today through Sunday the book shown in the video (No Fanfare) is a free download.

Of course, as I've written about recently, there is more to reading e-books than the Kindle ecosystem, and now that I have a Kobo e-reader (the Glo HD) I have become more familiar with the Kobo platform as a reader experiences it. Unfortunately, there are a number of things that Rakuten (the parent company of Kobo) should do in order to make the Kobo line more competitive with the Kindle line. I published my Open Letter to Rakuten Kobo on Medium if you'd like details on that.

Bring Those Savages to God

For a book written in the 1800s, I'm not going to worry too much about posting spoilers. However, I'm only about a third of the way through Malaeska: The Indian Wife of the White Hunter, so I don't have much I could spoil for you anyway. But I will tell you, this book has been a challenging read sometimes, in part because of the "purple prose" and in part because of the story itself, which appears to be about bringing "savages" (Native Americans) to Christianity. But why am I reading it at all, and how does it relate to modern writing and publishing?

I chose to read this book—as an e-book downloaded from Project Gutenberg, a process that would mystify and possibly scare the people who published and originally read this book—because it is the original dime novel, the book from which the term "dime novel" arose. If you look carefully at the cover, you will see that it even carries a label as such, i.e., "Beadle's Dime Novels Number 1." And dime novels are an interesting thing to compare to modern books because, adjusted for inflation, a "dime" novel now would cost around $2.80 -- very close to the common $2.99 pricing of indie e-books, and nearly three times as expensive as countless 99-cent e-books (such as my Journey to Yandol, and other stories). Read on for more thoughts on this connection!

Can I Visit The World?

Wouldn't it be great to visit every country at least once? I think the experience of seeing so much of our world would be very enlightening. I've visited or lived in a few countries in North America and Europe, but there is a lot of the world I have not yet seen.

I may not be able to visit every country in person, but what if my books could? As I thought about that, I decided to set an open-ended goal for myself of having one book sold in every country. It's not likely that I will ever reach them all, but I know I have books in a good number of countries already. Starting now, I'm going to try to reach as many countries as I can and keep track of them here on my site. Read on for details about how you can join me on my world tour by books!

E-Reading Options Aplenty

Apart from making solid progress in a new fantasy novel for NaNoWriMo, I have another book-related development to share, this time not about writing but about reading. This gives me a good opportunity to share some thoughts on e-reading in general and about one e-reading platform in particular. If you look closely at the vendor-supplied image shown with this blog post, you may recognize it as a Kobo Glo HD, which is an e-ink reader with optional lighting.

I've wanted an e-ink reader for years—originally I had my heart set on the Kindle that had a physical keyboard—and the Glo HD has been near the top of my list for months. And now? I have one on order! Read on for my thoughts on why I chose this device over others, and about the many available options for reading e-books.

The Hours Are Ticking Down

As I write this, just after midnight and a few minutes into Halloween here in the Seattle area, NaNoWriMo is less than a day away. I've been scurrying along the past couple of weeks trying to make sure I would be ready, and apart from the thing that matters most — the story I plan to write — I think I'm sort of ready. I re-read the book for which I will be writing the prequel, and I created a blank project on Penflip to hold my novel. Now I just need to figure out what I'm actually going to write! Read on for a little more about my NaNo prep and plans.

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