A week ago, a fire that was probably arson heavily damaged a building on Orcas Island here in Washington State. I'd like to help out the victims of the fire, using one of my books, and you can help me without spending a dime.
Writings of Stuart Whitmore
Want to supplement your income and do me a favor at the same time? If you follow the three easy steps in this blog post, you can do just that. The first two steps are really easy, while the third (which is the one that has the most impact on how much money you will make) is easy at a basic level but doing it at a more effective level will take some effort and skill.
I've always been a fan of reading and writing long-form fiction, but today I cranked out a "flash fiction" piece that I decided to share here on my site. It's called Kallmarn's Quest and, as that page indicates, the original inspiration behind it was to help my son introduce new players to D20-style gaming. With a complex game it can sometimes be hard to figure out where to begin when explaining it, and I feel that having some context, to paint the big picture, is important before delving into details like how to roll up a new character.
If you try this printer/copier paper and don't like it, I'll give you two free e-books!
Okay, so you might think that offer is a bit odd. After all, why promote paper using e-books? A little background may help. When I was growing up, my family was fairly involved with our church, and one of the things we did to raise money for the church was collect materials for recycling. I don't know how much money was involved, but we collected a lot of glass and newspaper back then. I won't underscore my age by saying how far back that was. Anyway, I grew up with a mind toward recycling. Also, my formative years included watching moon landings on TV (yep, there's that indication of age again) and the excitement of manned space exploration, and this – combined with recycling – helped me understand that we have limited resources on our "spaceship" (Earth). This leads me to being a bit fanatical about recycling, but now that I'm older I understand that it's not a perfect scenario. Just because I put something into the recycling bin doesn't mean it will actually be recycled. It may end up in landfill. In another country. I would like to do my small part to help fix this sad situation, beyond simply putting things into the recycling system. I don't have the wealth of Bill Gates to put into a cause like this, but I do have assets in the form of my books. That's where the idea for this offer comes from.
Often, a newly-published author will want five-star reviews for their book. Along the same lines, the friends and family of a newly-published author will often want to give five-star reviews for the book, thinking that high praise will promote the book and help the author sell more. They may also want to avoid lower ratings because they might "hurt" the author's feelings and/or sales. This is nice, but concerns about hurting sales are not very accurate. Surprisingly, while four- and five-star reviews can be pleasant for the author to read, there is a lot of value in a three-star review. Authors shouldn't be dismayed to receive them, and readers close to the author shouldn't be afraid to give them. Consider this blog post a "celebration" of three-star reviews!
Extra Credit for Liberty (tentative title) by Stuart J. Whitmore
“I never used to sign these things,” Karena said, forcing a smile and trying to sound casual as she began filling in her personal information on the petition. It was clipped crookedly to a clipboard held out by a middle-aged woman who looked as bored as stone. There were already more than a dozen names on the page, and on the wobbly table in front of the woman Karena saw a thin stack of already-filled pages. The table was placed just outside the entrance to one of the small, regional-chain supermarkets in Branner Glen, and Karena felt like she was blocking the door by standing there to sign the petition. “It's funny how you can meet someone who changes how you look at things like politics.”
I may not be Pete Townshend, but I'm “Going Mobile” anyway, at least in terms of my writing. Last month I received a Nexus 10 tablet and my intent with it is to be productive rather than just using it as a media-consumption device (although clearly it's designed for, and very good at, that purpose). With my prior Android experience limited to a cheap Android phone, the big question for me was what apps I would need to install to be productive. While some aspects of my work (such as system administration) won't be of interest to readers of this blog, the decisions I'm making app-wise for writing might be useful to share with other writers.
"Page!" King Reedur bellowed. "I can't sleep! Fetch me my scroll with my favorite bedtime story, The Slaughter of Framsingtonne!" The young man leapt up from the shadowy corner of the room and sprinted out the door, returning quickly with a heavy bundle. "What is this?" the king demanded. "I asked for a scroll!"
The young man grinned faintly. "Your Majesty, this is a new invention. It is a book, with pages. Instead of one long scroll, your favorite bedtime story is divided into pages. To continue reading, one simply turns the page."
"Fine, fine," King Reedur grumbled, "get on with reading to me how my valiant knights slaughtered the scum rabble of Framsingtonne."
Many generations later, Pat Reedur, a distant descendant of the king, peered at the Kindle display and muttered angrily. "What is wrong with this book?" Pat asked the inanimate device. "The letters look funny, and I can't make the text bigger to make it easier for my old eyes to read. And the story doesn't flow right, it has all these weird page breaks. It's like a PDF or something."
About a year ago, I wrote a blog post that has become fairly popular about how to format a children's book for the Kindle e-reader platform. Technology moves forward, however, and that includes the technological wizardry behind e-books and e-readers. I felt it was appropriate to post an update to cover some important changes since that older post, and to address something that I did not discuss before (the dreaded "aspect ratio").