Me & My iPad

Back in May I acquired an iPad. I'd like to share with you my impressions of this new device in my life.

In short, I love it. I've done so much with it that I don't want to go back to the days when I didn't have one. Let me tell you all the uses I'm getting out of it.

Take the three cons I've been to. I was able to record my books sales and sync them when I got home; before I wrote them in a little notebook then had to enter the sales by hand onto my Mac. I could show people the book trailer for Expert Assistance. I was able to check my email and surf the web without using one of the hotel computers. I listened to podcasts in the morning before the cons started. I could show off my book catalog. I could show people the Smashwords website to encourage them to find more ebooks. I edited a few of the stories I'll be posting over the next several months.

In addition, I have some good photo editing tools on the iPad. I used one of them to create the cover of True Friends. I have plenty of games to occupy my time. I do most of my home web surfing on my iPad. I've read several books (mainly classics, and mainly free). I can even put my ebooks on the iPad for show or to see how the files look before final approval.

Surfing the web on my iPad has been very interesting. For one thing, it's faster than on my desktop iMac! I've noticed that seeing web pages slightly smaller isn't a problem. I can enlarge the page, but often pages are crowded with junk. The only thing I'm not getting is Flash, and I've found Flash to be buggy. I can watch YouTube videos, as there's a YouTube app. Overall I miss very little while surfing on my iPad.

One criticism is the lack of features that Pages (my word processor) for iPad has. Namely the program lacks smart quotes. This means I can't really write in it. I would have to change the quotation marks in my desktop version of Pages if I wrote anything with dialogue.

My other criticism is one shared by many: the iPad's less-than-stellar still camera. I haven't tried to take still pictures because I know how weak the camera is. That weakness means I still have to take a digital camera with me on the road to take pictures. I'm probably not alone in hoping that Apple with include a much better camera in a future version of the iPad.

In short, my iPad has become my computer of choice for most of what I do. I'm not going to give up my desktop iMac anytime soon, but I won't be using it as much as my iPad.


Another EA Giveaway!

Quick post: one of the many authors I've met since really getting into self-publishing my fiction is having a Halloween book giveaway to celebrate a new release. A copy of Expert Assistance is one of the prizes!

This is where you can find the rules and a list of all the books up for grabs. Good luck!


Event Report - 2011 Frisco Convention

On Saturday, Sept. 17, I attended the convention put on by members of the Frisco Railroad Forum. The convention has moved in the three years it's been put on. This year it was held in Springfield, MO, the city that for years was where the Frisco was headquartered.

The convention itself was held at Frisco Crossing. This used to be a Frisco administrative building. It how houses offices, a restaurant, and a meeting room. The main events at the convention were presentations, door prize drawings, and a few vendors. I was able to sell several books, and some extra stuff I had brought with me. I was too tired to take part in either of the afternoon tours, however.

There's been no decision on where to hold next year's convention. Wichita is in the running. If Wichita gets it I might go back, but when is just as big a factor for me as where.

My event schedule will be quiet for a couple of weeks, so I'll have to think up some new topics to post about. I should have another post later this week, on a new book giveaway.


Event Reports - Glitch Con & Whitewater Book Talk

Over the weekend of September 9-11, I attended Glitch Con in Bentonville, Arkansas. I didn't sell very many books there, but it seemed as though attendance was good. I did meet plenty of people, and saw some I hadn't seen in a while. In fact I was meeting people right up to the start of closing ceremonies! Overall I had a good time, and I'd like to go back if they do it again next year.

Then, on Tuesday the 13th, I spoke about Kansas 1874 at the Whitewater library (which is just up the road from where I am, Andover). There were about a dozen in attendance. I answered questions about the book and about self publishing. I also sold some books.

The most interesting aspect of my visit was that I learned that the library has a Nook that they're lending out. This means their patrons can read ebooks without having a reader of their own. This is an interesting idea. I hope that other libraries will consider it as one way to keep open in this new digital age.

Next week, I should have a report on the 2011 Frisco convention.


New Novel - True Friends

I'm pleased to announce that I have a new short novel for sale, True Friends. It's not science fiction or fantasy, tho' it does feature SF/F fans. It was inspired by some experiences and lessons from high school and just after. Here's what it's about:

It’s the fall of 1983. David Chalmers is a high school senior who hangs around with a group of fellow science-fiction fans, but feels few attachments to them. Alison Hughes runs with the popular crowd, but she’s as smart as she is pretty, and wonders if they’re becoming predictable.

Over the course of a few weeks events will cause David and Alison to think about what it means to be friends. Are friends just people you spend time with? What does it mean when you’re someone’s friend? Why should any of that be important?

It's in ebook form only; here's where you can get it:

Amazon Kindle Store


B&N Nook Store

I hope you'll get a copy, and that you enjoy it.

I've got a busy schedule for the fall, so there will be lots of posts about my events. I'll insert an extra item or two when there's a quiet week. See you on the road!

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