The Kindle version of Dragon Stones is now available! There was a slight delay while I satisfied Amazon.com that I am, in fact, the author of and have electronic rights to Dragon Stones; no doubt this process was tightened up somewhat after the 1984 fiasco, when Amazon allowed a publisher without distribution rights to sell 1984 in the Kindle store, then reached out and deleted it from customer Kindles when the mistake was discovered. They certainly don’t want a repeat of that; plus I wouldn’t want someone else peddling copies of Dragon Stones to Kindle users, so I guess it’s a protection for both Amazon and authors/publishers. (But we know who Amazon is REALLY protecting. Nudge nudge wink wink.)
I’m pretty happy with how Dragon Stones turned out for the Kindle, so I’ll probably do this with the other books I have electronic rights for. At the moment that’s just Long Before Dawn (Hard Shell Word Factory, which is in the process of being acquired by Mundania Press, has electronic rights to Night Watchman), but I am working on a reissue of Crows through Lulu.com which will, among other things, have the missing epilogue restored, along with a new cover, and without any missing pages (thanks for reporting that, Mango’s mom!).
Anyway, I’d encourage anyone with an Amazon Kindle to check out Dragon Stones. As with other Kindle books, you can get a free sample, and text-to-speech is enabled because unlike some publishers, I don’t mind if you want to have your Kindle read to you in the car. The more opportunities for reading the better, I say.
Don’t forget to vote for the November scene of the month!
This weekend, I decided to spend a little time formatting one of my books (Dragon Stones, natch) for the Amazon Kindle. The Kindle, of course, is an e-book reader notable for its built-in “Whispernet” wireless client, which allows the user to shop and buy books and have them delivered directly to the device without ever having to connect it to a computer. I got a Kindle 2 for my birthday this year and it quickly became my preferred way to read books. But this isn’t a post about the Kindle, it’s a post about creating Kindle content.
Once I got beyond reading five or six blogs, it became more or less impossible to keep up with checking them online and seeing if there were new posts; so I started subscribing to their RSS feeds using the Thunderbird mail client. This worked fine and made it much easier to avoid missing posts. However, today I became aware that a couple of my subscriptions had stopped functioning (sorry, Finicky Penguin and Cinema Gypsy). The folders were still there, but they looked empty, so I thought, okay, I’ll just add the subscriptions back in. Wrong! Thunderbird wouldn’t let me add them because it said I was already subscribed. I went through every single feed folder looking for the phantom feeds, but they were nowhere to be found.
Hmm. What to do next? I decided to try exporting all my feeds and then importing them again. So I created the export file (under Subscribe –> Export), deleted all my feed folders, and then imported the feed file (under Subscribe –> Import). Everything came back, except for the two missing feeds. So I thought, okay, I deleted everything, so I should be able to add the missing feeds back in now. Wrong! Thunderbird still insisted I was subscribed to them, even though it hadn’t pulled in any messages from them in over two weeks and they were nowhere to be found in any of the other folders.
Mutter mutter mutter. Okay, now what? After briefly flirting with going back to Opera and its wonderful M2 mail & RSS client, I opened the feed export that I created earlier (it’s an OPML file, which can be edited with any text editor), deleted everything out of it except for two entries, and then proceeded to modify them to be for the two missing feeds. Then I imported the hacked OPML file. Eureka! There are my missing feeds! I dragged them back to the “Blogs” folder under RSS feeds, and here come all the posts that I missed from those two blogs.
Oh no! Information overload! I’ll pick up commenting on the new posts as they arrive …
For those who are interested, here’s the OPML file after I edited it:
<title>Thunderbird OPML Export</title>
<dateCreated>Sat, 28 Jun 2008 15:38:33 GMT</dateCreated>
<outline title=”The Show Must Go On” text=”The Show Must Go On” type=”rss” version=”RSS” xmlUrl=”http://cinemagypsy.wordpress.com/feed/” htmlUrl=”http://cinemagypsy.wordpress.com/”/>
<outline title=”Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Soda” text=”Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Soda” type=”rss” version=”RSS” xmlUrl=”http://finickypenguin.wordpress.com/feed/” htmlUrl=”http://finickypenguin.wordpress.com/feed/”/>
So I haven’t done a “free software for writers” post in a while because, as I mentioned earlier, I’ve kind of run out of software that I use that I can plausibly label as “for writers”. If I do think of another writing-related package I will certainly post it, but I didn’t want to stop writing about free software until then, so I’ve decided to branch out and just write about other programs that I’ve used or seen (other than well-known ones like Firefox or Thunderbird) that people might find interesting. Today’s software is Stellarium.
I periodically Google myself, just to see if there are any new reviews or listings for my stuff. (No new reviews since I found that one for Night Watchman back in February. Oh well.) However, I did find this particular search result interesting:
Granted, the person answering the question appears to have just pasted in the list of horror writers from Wikipedia, and he didn’t even bother to weed out the dead ones, but still … look … Google says I’m one of the best living horror writers! Are you going to argue with Google?!
Google … all is forgiven for that whole “forbidden” incident.
A few days ago, Goodbear asked about free video editing software. This isn’t an area in which I have a lot of experience, as I don’t do much video editing (all my video is perfect as shot … :-P), so I did a little research. Linux users have a number of choices in this area, including Cinelerra and Kino; these are the only ones I have tried (although see Blender, below). OS X users, of course, have iMovie built in as part of the iLife suite (I’m not going to get into the whole iMovie ’08 vs. earlier versions of iMovie controversy). But what are Windows users to do?
It’s been a while since I did a “free software for writers” entry, mainly because I’m kind of running out of free software that I can label as specifically for writers; I may just switch over to doing “free software for anybody” posts. However, I do have at least one more program to write about, and that’s Audacity. Audacity is an audio recording, editing, and mixing program. I’ve mainly used it to fix glitches in audio files (such as MP3s with a skip in them) or to change sound levels; the local Arthur Murray uses it to change the tempo of songs without introducing distortion so that, for instance, a ridiculously fast samba like “Jazz Machine” can be slowed down so that mere mortals can dance to it. (My wife insists on the full-speed version.)
So now you’re probably thinking, “Well that’s just fascinating, Jim, but what makes Audacity free software for writers?” To which I reply with one word: Podcasting.