An Interview, An Update, and a Meltdown!

First off, I’d like to thank Penelope Crowe at Hot Books Daily for interviewing me in connection with the re-release of Chasing the Wind. If you’d like to read the interview, click here.

And now…after revising Chasing the Wind, I had planned to expand Final Hours to three first-person points-of-view. But after considering how far behind I am on almost everything, from writing to laundry, I decided against it. Collin did, however, reformat the book and the updated version will be free at Amazon for five days, starting tomorrow!

Getting there has not been easy. First, I discovered the first file Collin had used was missing about twenty pages. I stupidly created a whole new file…so now, the Kindle edition of Chasing the Wind has TWO product pages and is confusing prospective buyers. Since it’s been blocked by KDP, I can’t post a notice to readers to direct them to the right location, nor can I get rid of it. The link on my Author Central page there is to the defective edition. Run a search for the title or my name…you guessed it! I’m trying to get the whole page removed, but I suspect it will require customer complaints to get results.

Then, I went in this morning to edit the product info for Final Hours. Now the book is listed as being “In Review” instead of published….

That blood-curdling scream you just heard was me!


Here We Go Again….

We have two new additions to our family: a Kindle Fire and an Acer Iconia W500 tablet PC.

(This is beyond cool!)

Eleven years ago, I got my first cellphone. I resisted the idea at first. Collin had seen a display for Virgin Mobile phones at Target and decided he wanted one. For him, it made sense. He was working nights at the time and had to walk several blocks from the bus stop to our place–it was a good idea, for safety reasons. I didn’t want one for myself. The idea of having a phone I could carry with me didn’t appeal to me at all. Leaving our phone behind when I went out didn’t bother me at all. But I soon changed my mind and became the proud owner of a very simple little phone that didn’t do anything but make calls and send text messages.

That was good enough. For a while, anyway.

Three years later, Collin decided he wanted to trade up. The new phones also took pictures, had cool ringtones and limited web access. Okay, I was again sold. And I chose a special ringtone for people I didn’t really want to talk to: the sound of a flushing toilet. If I was going to be stuck with nuisance calls, I was going to at least get a laugh out of them. And I became very good at composing messages with a limited keypad–I could do it accurately without even looking at it.It took me a while to get used to a QWERTY keyboard again!

Then, in 2009, when April came to stay with us, Collin wanted a phone like hers–a T-Mobile Sidekick. This time, we didn’t get the same kind of phone. I opted for the Dash, which was a lot like the Blackberry I’d been craving after hearing an author being interviewed on TV talk about composing part of her novel on hers. Unlike the Blackberry, it had Windows Mobile–easier to sync with my computer. I loved my Dash, and even after my next phone came along, I continued to use it for editing and for email in wi-fi areas until very recently.

Late in 2010, Collin decided he wanted an Android. I wasn’t interested–at first. Once I saw all his phone could do, I quickly changed my mind, so he got me one for Christmas. It took me about a year to learn how to use it without screaming for help (I am, after all, a technomoron!), but I was convinced I finally had one device that could do everything.

Then Collin decided he wanted a tablet.

(He took this photo. I wish he’d turned it on. The wallpaper is gorgeous.)

It wasn’t a frivolous thing. His little netbook didn’t have the RAM to handle Photoshop and other programs and files he needs for his graphic arts work. He’d first decided on a desktop–then discovered the Iconia had twice the RAM as his netbook. It has, in fact, everything he needs and is portable (we like being able to work in the living room, parked in front of the TV–what can I say?)

Tired of getting the “memory nearly full” message on my Android–in spite of the 16GB memory card that supposedly held most of the apps as well as my files–I toyed with the notion of getting a tablet to accommodate the larger apps, like Kindle and Audible. I decided on a very inexpensive model. Collin talked me out of that. He pointed out that warranties are almost nonexistent for off-brands, as is tech support. He felt I should go with the Kindle Fire. Along with being able to read and listen to books, I have web access and can use it for writing and editing.  And it has games and other apps–I’m especially fond of Birdland.

I am so glad I took his advice!

So once again, we have a bunch of gadgets for which we have no use. Each new arrival has more and more capabilities, making things like cameras, digital voice recorders, etc. unnecessary. Mind you, these are perfectly good devices that have had good maintenance and little use. We still have all of our old cellphones–unlike many people, I don’t throw stuff away if it’s still in good working order. I suppose we could have an electronics yard sale….

Bring Back the Pony Express

Recently, the U.S. Postal Service hit us with yet another rise in first class postal rates. As if they weren’t already overpriced! 

I’m starting to think this isn’t really a joke.They aren’t getting enough volume to stay out of the red ink, so they’re going to make it up by overcharging for every item we are forced to send through them.

I’m not whining here. When I send a package to Ontario, CANADA and it ends up in Ontario, CALIFORNIA, I figure somebody isn’t earning his government salary.

We’ve played musical mailboxes on many occasions. When you have a large number of mailboxes clustered together and a substitute carrier, things happen. Even this. Seriously. I suspect, however, that most of my mail has been picked up or delivered by this fellow….

If the postal service wants to get people to use their services again, I suggest they stop raising the rates. E-mail, after all, is free. 

Or maybe a change in HOW the mail is delivered is in order. I think the Pony Express was far more efficient, and look what they had to deal with.

Carrier pigeons are a possible alternative. Or these guys….

It would have to be an improvement.

Why do I get the feeling that from now on, only junk mail will find its way to my mailbox?

Ah, Amazon!

For the most part, I like Amazon. I’ve been quite happy with them as a partner in self-publishing my books. Compared to Barnes & Noble, Amazon has been smooth sailing!  (I get royalties from B&N, I get statements from them, and I just got my 1099 tax form from them. What I can’t get is into my Nook vendor account. I’ve been trying for months now. I can, however, get into my customer account–big deal!)

But getting back to Amazon. My only real gripe here is when I have to make a correction on one of my books. Even if it’s a big, honking error–like when I updated Chasing the Wind over the weekend, only to discover that twenty pages were missing from the file. Easily corrected, but anyone who bought that edition is stuck with an incomplete book. Only those buying it after I made the correction would get the complete novel. It’s not possible to buy it again and get the updated edition automatically. I know. I contacted KDP and got this response:

Hello Norma, 

Once you’ve updated your content, please write back so that the appropriate department can email all the customers who previously purchased your book to let them know an updated version is available; customers will then be notified within 5 business days.

At this time, we must receive their permission before sending the revised version to their Kindles because receiving the new version causes highlights, the last page read, bookmarks to be removed, and the locations of any notes won’t match the updated copy of the book. 

We’re working on a long-term solution to improve this experience by automatically making the revised content available in My Kindle Library. 

Thanks for using Amazon KDP.

Now they tell me. Collin set up a whole new book there last night. So…for any of you who bought the January 26th edition–an update of the 2008 edition–the corrected version is available by clicking on this link:

Yes, you do need the link to find it. If you do a search for it, you will only find the paperback and the original Kindle edition (which I’m trying to have removed). I’m told that customers who go to the book’s main product page will find a tiny (and I mean microscopic) + sign to the left of the Kindle listing that will take then to the January 26th update. As if anyone knows what that’s for! But there’s nothing to lead to the most current, CORRECT edition!

Now through February 5th, the Kindle edition is only $.99. Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for my weekly meltdown….