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News Flash: e-Books Older Than You May Think by Linda McLaughlin

August 16, 2017 by in category The Romance Journey by Linda Mclaughlin tagged as , , , , ,

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about my preference for e-books over print. In it, I talked about reading my first e-book in 1999. Some of the commenters were amazed to hear that (so young) and author Alina K. Field suggested I write about e-book history. This blog post is a revised version of one I wrote in three years before.

News flash: e-books have been around since at least 1971 when Project Gutenberg started digitizing public domain works. The US Declaration of Independence was the first document chosen.

Janet reading

My dear departed friend Janet Cornelow reading on her eBookwise, 2006

I started reading e-books in 1999 on my laptop. I’d gone to the Romance Writers of America conference in Chicago and signed up to moderate a panel. By sheer serendipity, I was assigned to moderate the e-book panel presented by Janet Lane Walters and the late great Jane Toombs, two true e-book pioneers. I came away with an interest in e-books and a couple of samples on 3 1/2 inch diskettes. (Remember those?)

Back home, I read the books on my laptop using either Adobe Acrobat or an Internet browser, depending on whether the format was PDF or HTML. I’m a voracious reader and book buyer, and the house was already full of print books. The idea of being able to store book on my computer seemed like a godsend to me. A way to buy and hoard store books without cluttering my already cluttered house. I was hooked!

Commercial e-books were in their infancy, but dozens of small publishers sprang up, most of them no longer in business. Ellora’s Cave was the best known of the early small e-book houses. My publisher, Amber Quill Press, started in 2002 and closed its doors in 2015. Romance readers got hooked early, and small presses deserve credit for reviving the paranormal romance genre, which NY had lost interest in, for feeding the erotic romance craze and for pioneering gay erotic romance.

While e-book readers were a tiny minority at first, the growth became explosive, often 50% in a year, though sadly has slown since. The numbers didn’t start to hit critical mass until Amazon got into the game with the Kindle 1 in late 2006, though Sony gets the credit for having the first available e-ink reader. There were commercial e-readers available before the Sony Reader and the Kindle: the original Rocket e-book reader, its successor the RCA Gemstar 1100, requiring a stylus to make selections. (You had to press a lot harder than on a tablet.) Also, books could be read on the little PDAs, like the Palm Pilot and Pocket PC. I read a lot on my Sony Clie.

Kindle 1

Kindle 1

My RCA Gemstar gave out shortly before the release of the Kindle1. I briefly considered getting a Sony reader, but decided that Amazon had already shown a commitment to the book business which I didn’t see Sony making, so decided to order the Kindle, despite the $399 price. I loved it from the beginning. There was no touch screen, just a wheel for scrolling up and down plus the keyboard. It seems unwieldy now.

Amazon’s real innovation, the one that made it the leader in the industry, was the one-click purchase followed by wireless delivery directly to your device. No more having to buy from the publisher’s site–with different accounts at each site, were we dedicated ebook readers or what?–download the books to your computer and then side load your e-books using the USB cable. Sadly, one-click ordering tolled the death knell of many small publishers.

One-click buying took e-book reading beyond the limits of the technologically proficient among us. The ability to download a sample before buying was (and still is) another popular feature. I was an early adopter of the Kindle 1 and still have my device, though it’s no longer in use. I’ve moved on to a Kindle Keyboard and the iPad.

Do you read e-books? If so, when did you start and what device(s) do you use?

Linda McLaughlin

Website: https://lindalyndi.com

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In Memorium: Janet Quinn Cornelow

November 16, 2012 by in category A Fantasy Life by Janet Cornelow tagged as , , ,

All of us here at OCC were shocked and saddened by the sudden death of our friend Janet Quinn Cornelow, and I want to dedicate today’s post to her memory.

Janet joined OCC in 1988 and quickly volunteered to take on the newsletter, a board position. Computers weren’t as sophisticated in those days, so the newsletter was still printed at a local print shop and snail mailed to the membership. Janet would collect the information and compose each story or column on her computer and print it out. Then a bunch of us would gather at her house once a month to literally cut and paste the final proof. Afterwards, we’d have lunch at a local coffee shop and talk writing. Later, Janet did other volunteer jobs like Lunch Coordinator, in addition to judging in the Orange Rose, manuscript critiques and hosting Ask-An-Author. 

For those who didn’t know Janet as well as I did, here are some additional details about her.

Janet was a native Californian who grew up in the Riverside area. She attended Call State Fullerton and earned a B.A. and a Master’s Degree in Journalism. In addition to her writing career, she taught for many years and worked as office manager to a Sylvan Learning Center. In recent years, she taught online classes for two private universities.

Janet and I joined the chapter the same year, we sold our first books to New York around the same time, 1997-98, and when the 21st century came along, we went on a crazy e-book journey together. Last year she plunged into the Brave New World of self-publishing. No one can ever say Janet was afraid to take a chance or try a new idea. She had just finished another book, and I hope her family will be able to see it published.

The photo above, from a signing at Bearly Used Books, shows Janet as I like to remember: surrounded by books and with a big smile on her face.

Author bio from her website:

Janet Quinn has always been a story teller. She has put her love of stories into her writing. While honing her craft, she earned a B.A. and an M.A. in journalism. Then she took up teaching high school English and writing. She has also taught novel writing classes at the Learning Tree University in California.

Her first novel, Yesteryear’s Love, was published by Berkley/Jove under their Time Passages imprint. It placed in the finals of the Romance Writers of America/Orange County Chapter’s Orange Award Contest for published writers for best historical.

Wild Honey placed in the finals of the Romance Writers of America/Orange County Chapter Orange Rose Contest for unpublished authors. Also, her manuscript, The River’s Treasure, placed in the finals for best historical in the PASIC Book of Your Heart Contest. The Irish Countess, a historical romance, was a finalist in the 2007 EPPIEs.

At her memorial service, Janet’s family handed out cards in her honor that said:

Janet Marie Quinn
August 14, 1949 – October 26, 2012

Janet was the mother to three exceptional boys, Nana to two wonderful grandchildren and an accomplished author.

There are no words to properly sum up such an amazing woman or such a life well lived. She played many roles: mother, teacher, author, friend…

She left far too soon and far too suddenly. There was so much that she still had to give to the world. We will mourn and miss her–but in the same moments that we find ourselves with heartache, we must celebrate her life. We must remember the laughter and humor that she brought and the love and warmth that she always offered.

No writer could have expressed it better.  Janet was a good friend and I will miss her, as we all will.

Please feel free to share your memories of Janet in the Comments below.

Linda McLaughlin

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A Fantasy Life – by Janet Quinn Cornelow

August 28, 2012 by in category A Fantasy Life by Janet Cornelow tagged as ,

I have a second grandchild. Elijah Liam Cornelow was born to Rob and his wife on Saturday morning. He was 6 lbs and 14 oz and 19 inches long. He has fat cheeks for being three weeks early. He is a good baby and doesn’t fuss much. He has been over for most of the afternoon after they left the hospital. I am not getting anything done.
Wanted: True Love is up with a new cover by Lex Valentine. It is on sale at Amazon and Barnes and Noble as an ebook. This is a fantasy romance with a witch. It is kind of like Bewitched and is a fun book.
Bree-Anna, a witch, has been searching for true love her whole life, with no success, thanks to Gerard, a warlock. As her 200thbirthday approaches, she has given up and knows she must face Gerard and culmination of the curse he put on her. If she doesn’t find true love, she must marry Gerard or give him her powers.
She flees Gerard and moves to Los Angeles to reinvent herself. There she meets Quinton Lawrey, a man whom she knows she can love. He comes under her spell and wants nothing more than to spend time with her. Then, she must tell him her secret – she is a witch with magical powers.
Can Quinton accept Bree-Anna for whom she is? Will his love prove to be true and break the curse, or must Bree-Anna give up her powers to escape Gerard?
I hope everyone is surviving the heat and getting some writing done. I think maybe by next week I will be caught up with other things and can finish the last few pages of A Chance for Love, a western, historical, time-travel.
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A Fantasy Life by Janet Quinn Cornelow

June 28, 2012 by in category A Fantasy Life by Janet Cornelow tagged as ,

My newest book up at Kindle and Nook is Yesteryear’s Love with a new cover by Lex Valentine. It is a western time-travel.
Following clues in her great-grandmother’s diary, lovely Sarah Martin left the big city for Moose creek, Wyoming, hoping to trace her family history. As she stands in the town’s church, Sarah has a strange feeling that the figure in the stained glass window is calling to her. She turns away…
…and finds herself over a hundred hears in the past! It’s 1870, and suddenly Sarah must adjust to frontier life-and meet her great-grandparents. Then their friend, the handsome bachelor Joshua Campbell, arrives. He’s looking for a bride-and thinks it should be her. Sarah knows a dark secret about Joshua’s future and does not want to give her heart where there is no future. But this stubborn pioneer captures her heart before she can refuse him. Can they hope for lasting happiness-when the force that brought Sarah to Moose creek begins to call her back home?
My newest book, A Chance for Love, is also a western time-travel. It is coming along and I am down to the last 50 pages. There just hasn’t been much time to write, but the current term at school ends next week, so I should have time again. I would like to have the first draft done in August.
The sales for the self-published books has not been as good this spring, but seem to be picking up some. I am actually selling more at Nook than  I am at Kindle. I have no idea why the sales go the way they do and why some books sell more than others.
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A Fantasy Life by Janet Quinn Cornelow

May 28, 2012 by in category A Fantasy Life by Janet Cornelow tagged as ,

I have gotten the rights back to The River’s Treasure and put it up on Kindle and Nook. Lex Valentine made a new cover for the book. She does such a great job.
Genevieve Rawlings awakens on the banks of the Mississippi River, cold, half drowned and with no recollection of how she came to be there or of who she is. Cooper Monroe rescues her and makes her part of his family while he tries to figure out who she is and where she came from. Then someone tries to steal her diamond and ruby necklace and her life. Cooper must protect her as well as his family.
As they try to find out who wants the necklace and Genevieve’s life, they travel down the Mississippi and to New Orleans. Can they find safety for everyone? Can she convince him that she’ll be happy as a farm wife? Can they find true love?
Rob finally graduated from Cal State Fullerton a week ago Saturday. There were times I was beginning to think he was never going to make it. Of course it stated at 8 a.m. and went for two hours. Then there was a break while everyone changed locations. Rob’s group was small and he was sitting on the stage, so there was no sneaking out once he crossed the stage. I could see him and I was fairly well in the back. We had Bella with us and I was so tired from walking all over the place, I just sat. That campus is huge. I did get a picture of my three boys together and a picture of Bella and Michael. They were the most important.

Then we went to lunch and Rob picked a place that didn’t open until 3 p.m. and it was 11:30 a.m. Michael and Tom decided on Sizzler since it was nearby and open. Then both of them tried calling Rob’s dad, Rob, and Rob’s wife Loki. Did any of them answer their cell phones? Of course not. Everyone finally found us except Loki who Rob dropped at home because she wasn’t feeling well. She’s pregnant and seldom feels well.
My granddaughter Bella had her first birthday in May also. Boy, this has been a busy month. All this socializing is cutting into my writing time with my teaching seven classes. Bella looked so beautiful. We had a bit of trouble getting her to break her cake up to eat it since mom and dad always break her food into bite size pieces. Grandpa had to demonstrate taking a bite. Once she figured it out, she was into the cake. Mom doesn’t let her have sweets so she was happy. She didn’t get really messy. She is the neatest eating baby I have ever seen.
Hopefully by the time is my turn to blog again, I will be a lot closer to the end of my new time travel. I know every scene. I just need time other than the middle of the night to write. By then I am half blind and my grammar is gone from grading papers.
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