Thursday, March 31

Joe Konrath and his 99 cent ebook experiment for charity

On March 30th Joe Konrath pledged to donate $500 to First Book, a charity that gives books to children in need, IF his book, Origin, broke the top 100 in the Amazon ebook store. Well, it did and he did. Even though his goal has been reached I would encourage anyone who likes a thriller to check out Origin. I bought the book and am enjoying it.

Tuesday, March 29

Amanda Hocking, Barry Eisler and Mark Coker: Legacy publishing versus indie publishing

A couple of interesting links:

A Conversation between Amanda Hocking and Barry Eisler:
Barry Eisler turned down a $500,000 book deal with a major trade publisher for his next two books and decided to self-publish instead. Amanda Hocking accepted, or intends to accept, a 2 million dollar deal with the same major trade publisher, St. Martin's Press.

J.A. Konrath interviews Mark Coker, creator of Smashwords
Guest post by Mark Coker, Creator of Smashwords.

Sunday, March 27

Setting up a WIFI hotspot for your iPad

In my last blog post I promised to recount my experiences setting up a WIFI hotspot in my home so I could use my iPad 2. Since I didn't get 3G, without a WIFI connection this lovely piece of machinery is just a very expensive paperweight, and at only 1.33 lbs not a very efficient one at that!

Yesterday morning, the first thing I did was look at routers on and see what scores folks had given them. The D-Link DIR-601 Wireless N 150 Home Router stood out right away. It had many glowing reviews and was said to be easy to install, just what I was looking for. I would have bought the router from Amazon but it would have taken a couple of weeks for shipping and I wanted one that day.

Two electronics stores in my area I thought would probably have routers were Future Shop and Best Buy. I called Future Shop first but the sales associate said that they didn't have the D-Link DIR-601 in stock and that, in any case, I didn't want that one because it was an older model and he mentioned a couple of other routers I might be interested in. One was twice the price of the 601 and the other had received abysmal reviews on I thanked him for his time and called Best Buy.

The sales associate I spoke with at Best Buy confirmed immediately that the store had the D-Link DIR-601 in stock but, when I got to the store, I realized he had told me it was selling for 10 dollars more than it actually was. Odd that, but it was a nice surprise. I didn't get any help in the store and was nervous that I would need something else—cables, etc.—to setup the router.

I put my worries aside and bought the router and brought it home. I stared at the unopened box for a minute with butterflies the size of rhinos in my stomach. When I opened the box the first thing I saw was a DVD that had "begin here" in bold white letters on its packaging. I ran the DVD and it stepped me through the install. It only took me about 10 minutes to get my wireless network up and running. I had a bit of a tussle when it came to figuring out the correct password for the network but once that was sorted out I had my very own WIFI hotspot!

If anyone is nervous about setting up WIFI in their home I would highly recommend the D-Link DIR-601 Wireless N 150 Home Router. It does everything I want it to and it was simplicity itself to set up.

Now I'm looking at all the marvelous applications available for the iPad. Hmmm, choices, choices ....

Below is a picture I took on my iPad as I walked along the seawall.

Friday, March 25

The iPad 2: I'm in love!

As any reader of my blog knows, I have been impatiently anticipating the day (today!) the iPad 2 would be for sale in Canada. I doubted I would have the chance to buy one since I had to work today and I worried they would sell out before I could get to the store.

As soon as I was off work—5:16 pm—I scurried over to the Apple store in Pacific Center only to find out that the lineup to buy an iPad 2 was around the block! I thought I probably wouldn't be able to get an iPad but I didn't have anything pressing to do today so I thought I'd get in line on the off-chance the one I wanted would be available.

The whole experience, even waiting in line, was very positive thanks to the Apple employees who kept everyone informed about which models had sold out and how things were proceeding. Apple employees came and asked us which iPad 2 we wanted to buy and then told us which models were going to sell out before we reached the store.

It was a cool experience, I got to know the people in line in front of me and behind me. I didn't have to wait in line long, only about three hours. The first people started lining up at 11:00 pm the day before. I spoke with one man who said he lined up at 5 am and, at that time, there were about 200 people ahead of him.

The individual personalized service was amazing. When I got to the head of the line an apple employee came and escorted me into the store (we were lined up in the mall just outside the store). We chatted and he found out this was my first Apple purchase and asked me if I would like someone to help me set up the iPad 2 for use and give me a quick introduction. He stayed with me as I purchased it and then walked me over to Marc, introduced me, and then went to fetch another lucky person from the head of the line. Marc spent about 15 minutes with me and gave me a helpful orientation.

And now I have an iPad 2! I am very happy. :-)

Now, though, I have to figure out how to setup a wifi hotspot, but I'll leave that for my next blog post. :)

Tuesday, March 22

Barry Eisler says no to 500,000 book deal

Barry Eisler is a NYT bestselling author who was offered a 500,000 book deal. Eisler decided that he could make more money publishing the book himself and so turned the offer down. Wow! I don't think many people could do that, say no to half a million dollars.

- Joe Konrath and Barry Eisler discuss Eisler's decision

Friday, March 11

Fitness and Writing

For the past couple of years I have wanted to begin exercising on a regular basis but one thing that prevented me was the thought of all the time it would require, time away from writing. The less time I spend writing and revising the longer it will take me to publish, so this wasn't a trivial concern.

I took the plunge in the middle of January and have been using my local fitness center about 5 days a week, for approximately an hour each time. We are cuddling up to the middle of March as I write this so I thought I would share my thoughts on the results of my little experiment.

The most significant change is that I've lost weight. Yea! Also, and perhaps more important, my back problems—I was experiencing quite a bit of pain in my lower back—have disappeared. AND when I run for the bus I no longer appear to be at death's door. All of these things are wonderful and, collectively, they have made me feel much younger.

To come back to my original question: Is it worth it? Is the time spent exercising worth the lost writing time? As you've probably guessed, I don't think there is a clear cut answer to that question but I can say that it was worth it for me. I am healthier, and probably happier, because of having started an exercise program and I can only hope that is reflected, in some way, in the quality of my writing.

Thursday, March 10

Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie is one of the best selling authors of all time. Years ago—I'm not sure whether this is still true—it was said that she had outsold the Bible!

I know opinions vary widely, but I have been a fan of Agatha Christie's since grade eight when my english teacher—one of my favorite teachers—assigned us Christie's "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd," to read—and we got to watch the movie! It was great fun—we each had to try and guess who had committed the murder—and I've loved her books ever since.

Every time I read one of Christie's books I ask myself, "How did she do it? What was her secret, why are her stories so popular?" I think I must have read each of her books many times and one thing I noticed is that in both her Miss Marple and Poirot books she tends to include a romance.

I find that interesting and possibly revealing.

Friday, March 4

Hallelujah! The iPad 2 on sale March 11

Forget the academy awards, March 2nd was my big day, the day the world found out what features the iPad 2 will have and when it will be available to buy. March 11 is the big day in the US and it goes on sale in Canada, I believe, before the end of the month.

I wanted to blog about this on March 2nd but, as fate would have it, my computer was down for the count, getting a new operating system (Windows 7—love it!).

Here's a link to the apple store listing the different kinds of iPad 2 for sale, the prices, etc.