Tuesday, May 31, 2011

eBooks and Future History

What am I reading now?  Switched (Amanda Hocking)

Annnd. . . what do I think so far? There's been so much hype about ePublishing for authors that I wanted to read a book by someone who has been successful in the field. This author put out nine eBooks and sold 450,000 copies so far. I think there's something to learn from her marketing strategies.

The story was interesting. the conversation between characters was my favorite part. It feels so natural and real. The edit could have been better in spots, but it was/is successful.
Wildly successful!

 I'm a firm believer that readers vote with their dollars. Amanda Hocking is doing something amazing here.

I'm trying to decide what it means. Are readers less picky about the rules and theories you'd learn in an MFA than we are led to believe? Or will that change in time too as more authors turn to ePublishing? How much is changing in the marketplace? And how quickly? Who stands the most to gain or lose?

eBooks and Future History 
(yeah, sounds like an oxymoron)
•What would it have been like to witness the printing of the Bible on the Gutenburg press?

•Or to be in Wabash, Indiana in 1880 to see the first city to be lit with electrical lights?

•Or see the revolution of technology that made it possible that man could take a first step on the moon? (Oh, crap--I'm old enough to remember that one.)

I think eBooks are that kind of history-changing, society-changing innovation. The amount of knowledge available to masses is drastically increased with books being available electronically anywhere, anytime.

The question will become quality and reliability. As a reading specialist, I'm clapping so hard my hands hurt as I consider the beauty of access to literature for millions. And as that same specialist, I'm concerned that we must be up to the task of educating children to read critically and think strategically about the information they read, be info-smart. Question sources. Validate opinion. Research reliability issues.

Wow--it's an exciting time in history.

How do you feel about eBooks? 
What do you think about ePublishing?

Remember: Book Party starts tomorrow! Giving away books all month. Check back to win!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Summer Treasure Hunt Announcement

What am I reading now?  The Forgotten Garden (Kate Morton)

Annnd. . . what do I think so far? I really like this one. The story opens with an elderly woman in the hospital, dying. She's attended by her granddaughter. The story is told from several points of view, but all the chapters are positioned to help the reader understand Nell by understanding the history of her family. The narration moves forward and backward in time from along the life of Nell from 1900 to 1975 to 2005 and back and forward through the chapters. The continuity isn't provided by the timeline but by understanding the connection between events that created the person Nell became.

3rd Annual Summer Treasure Hunt: 
Starts on this Blog on June 1
Dig for Clues and Win! Contest

Welcome to our 3rd Annual “Summer Treasure Hunt: Dig for Clues and Win Contest!” This is becoming an exciting tradition, both for our sponsors and hopefully for all of you! 29 writer friends and I have banded together to present a month-long contest where we will give away a prize a day for the entire month of June. That’s right! 30 awesome prizes, running the gamut from books books books! (romances, fantasies, mystery/thrillers, inspirationals, children’s books, and various non-fiction), as well as Amazon gift cards, a Mary Kay gift set, a vinyl lettering gift certificate, a hand-sewn weekly planner with ribbon bookmark, a crocheted book tote with matching cell phone case, and again for you aspiring authors, TWO free edit/critiques of a partial manuscript. Many of the giveaways are open to International entries, though always check to be sure before you enter for a particular prize.

And how exactly do you enter for these amazing prizes? By following these rules:
You can send in one entry for each day’s prize, or only for those prizes that strike your fancy. The rules are simple:
(1) Go to the website or blog indicated for each day, find the answer to the question for that day, then email the answer with your name and AND MAILING ADDRESS to jdipastena@yahoo.com. I promise you will not wind up on any mailing lists. This is only to facilitate the receipt of your prize. All entries will be deleted at the end of the contest.
(2) Please send a separate entry for each day and type the day you are entering in the subject line. (Such as: Summer Treasure Hunt, June 1; Summer Treasure Hunt, June 2, etc).
 (3) Deadline for each day: Midnight PST
 (4) The winner will be contacted and announced on the day following the deadline.
 All winners will be drawn by www.random.org.
 You do not have to wait until the designated day to enter. You can start sending in your entries right now, or begin entering at any point along the way. And check back here each day between June 2nd – July 1st to read the names of the winners.
 If you have any questions, please email Joyce DiPastena at jdipastena@yahoo.com.
 And now…let the treasure hunt begin!

My Prize Is First--June 1 $25 Amazon Gift Card

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Yummy Lemon Cake

What am I reading now? Stolen (Lucy Christopher)
Annnd. . . what do I think so far? Have I ever read a book in second person before? Nope. Don't think so. This one is. The narrator is speaking to her captor. It's a little unsettling as she reveals what she thought, what she noticed about him and what she begins to realize what things mean and what they didn't mean. Having fun with this.  :)


Here's our dessert on Sunday! I made it as a trial run. My granddaughter's first birthday is in a couple of weeks, and we are trying to decide which cakes to serve. This one is definitely in the running.

It's a lemon cake--the kind out of the box--but I bake it in three 6" pans and cool. Then cut two of the cakes into halves (making 5 layers). Start by stacking the uncut cake on the bottom.

The frosting is made from canned lemon frosting mixed with a small can of marshmallow fluff and one package of melted white chocolate chips.

I frost between each layer and sprinkle in blueberries (lots of blueberries). I push some bamboo skewers into the cake to keep the layers straight. Finally, frost the outside and garnish with more blueberries. If you have time to chill it in the fridge for an hour or two, it's a little firmer to slice. But I often just serve the cake as soon as it's assembled.

This is a tall cake so serve the slices thin--figure about 12 servings. Lemon cake with lemon frosting can be so tangy-sweet it's hard to eat, but this one has blueberries that soften the sweetness. Lemon and blueberries go great together. ENJOY!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Do you ever feel like this?

What am I reading now?  Illusions (Aprilynne Pike)
Annnd. . .  what do I think so far?  I'm so glad to see Tamani back in the story. Yeah, David's hot too. That's not the point. Laurel will choose whoever she chooses. But Tamani, he's the one with mystery, loyalty, sacrifice. He's the one who is compelling. I want to read more about his story. What was he up to? Why did he leave so suddenly? Why has he shown up here--now?

Do you ever feel like this?
A couple of days ago I was straightening some books and I moved my computer out of the way by setting it inside the baby carrier. When I finished with the books, I turned to pick up my computer again and had to take this picture.

It hit me then how much I'm learning and still need to learn about writing and the publishing industry. The LDStorymakers conference was in Salt Lake City last weekend. There was so much to take in--

I started writing fiction a year and a half ago--it's so much fun. But it's still just a baby. I want to see it grow. That takes time and practice and patience.

What do you think is the most important thing you have done to help grow your craft?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

What am I reading now?

What am I reading now?  Courting Miss Lancaster (Sarah M. Eden)
Annnd. . . what do I think so far?  So fun and funny. I really enjoy the way this author makes her characters vulnerable and awkward, then throws them in situations where we can really savor their agony.

I have been at the LDStorymakers conference in Salt Lake on Thursday-Friday-Saturday. 
Now I'm in Orlando at the International Reading Conference on Sunday-Monday-Tueday-Wednesday. I'll be back soon and blog about what I learned.