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.
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.
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?
Two years ago I began a journey.
I traveled from the battlefields of Virginia to the ice-capped mountains of the mythical principality of Monterra. I met generals and princes, fell in love, time-traveled, and learned that even Cinderella needs a second chance.
It all began with Kindle Scout. (My Kindle Scout journey begins with this post HERE.)
Now I’m taking a new turn in the road with my Kindle Scout winner, LOVE ME FOREVER. A prequel to my novel will appear in an anthology SUMMER SOLSTICE with stories from other Kindle Scout winners. It’s FREE and will be available around June 18, 2017.
Why a prequel?
Love Me Forever opens in 1862 with my secondary heroine, Pauletta Sue Buckingham, escaping from the Yankees and then segues to the present day. There we find Liberty wearing a Confederate officer’s uniform. She’s about to get her head blown off in the midst of a reenactment of the Battle of Antietam.
The bloodiest day of the Civil War.
How on earth did Liberty find herself in such a predicament?
In the prequel, you’ll find out what happened that morning before Liberty joined in the reenactment battle.
And what she saw that changed her life.
Forever . . .
I’ll be entering another novel in the Kindle Scout campaign soon — and yes, it’s a time travel and it takes place during wartime, but that’s all I can say for now! I’m excited to enter it and I’ll post when my campaign is up.
Any questions about the KS program, please ask!
Not only is my KS winner part of Kindle Press, but I was invited to write for Kindle Worlds “The Royal of Monterra” by Sariah Wilson, another Kindle Scout winner. And what a ride that has been.
Here’s a preview.
That’s it for this month! See you soon.
Once upon a Story blog
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001IU2P8G
Mmmrrh … Book Boyfriends. For most of my life, I have been dreaming about boys and men who’ve reached right out from the pages and stolen my heart. It all started with Jim Frayne from the Trixie Belden Mysteries. Then came the unforgettable Nat Eaton from Elizabeth George Speare’s The Witch of Blackbird Pond. And Rapheal Sabatini’s Dr. Peter Blood (Some call him Captain). Agatha Christie’s Anthony Cade from The Secret of Chimneys. Mary Stewart’s Rob Granger from Touch Not the Cat. Mmmrrh … the list goes on.
I’m still falling in love with book boyfriends. And even better, I’m creating heroes that readers tell me they adore. This May, Arlen Black, the hero of my romantic comedy Queen of the Universe, is one of 30 candidates up for Chick Lit Book Boyfriend 2017. Meet Arlen …
attraction, too. Seriously? After that “audition” kiss on the very first day … and then everything that happened on her patio? Man, it’s a good thing I walked out – well, stormed out – when I did.
But I came back. Just to do the show. Nothing else. Because now I know that Lola is a liar and a manipulator and … God, why can’t I stop thinking about her? And why does it keep happening? Every time I’m near her, she makes me feel … God! Even knowing what I know about her – even after everything I lost … Damn it!
She makes me feel alive again.
After being sleepless in SoCal all weekend, I checked before I powered down tonight and there she is! Excited that I did it right and fulfilled all the requirements.
It wasn’t easy to enter – writing the book was only the beginning. Formatting it and also doing a print version, getting them linked, right keywords, did both covers myself. Crazy, but I’m just happy to have a chance.
****UPDATED**** Saturday May 20, 2017
That was the deadline looming for the Kindle Storyteller UK 2017 contest (see below for the scoop). I was almost finished with editing, formatting, etc. CRYSTAL GIRL, a prom queen wannabe sells her soul to the devil to get thin, watching the clock. You have to upload a print book as well as an e-book. Formatting an e-book I can do.
The print book.
Well, let’s say I used up a pot of coffee stressing on that one. However, I’m pleased to say that Amazon has made it exceptionally doable for authors to turn their e-books into print. Kudos to them. It takes some studying, a few trial runs, but I did it.
So . . . I uploaded everything before the deadline. I’m all set, right?
No. My entry isn’t there.
At least I can’t find it.
So I emailed Amazon support and they’re helping me figure out what’s happening. So, that’s my update. I did what I set out to do and that in itself is a win. But I’m hoping, really hoping, that my book will show up in the contest. It may take a few days to show up, but I know in my heart I’ve done everything I can.
I love to wish on the stars.
Big ones, little twinkling ones. I’ve always been the type to jump headfirst into a challenge and then wonder later how I’m going to do it. Like the time I was a freshman in high school and I was a newbie on the Speech and Debate Team. The team was entered in a big speech contest over the weekend where each contestant performed a piece in front of judges.
At the last minute, somebody dropped out. I raised my hand and said, “Yeah, I’ll go!” Eyebrows raised. Throats cleared. Obviously, I was not their first choice. Far from it. But I wanted it so bad, the teacher must have seen the stars in my eyes. I was so eager to get out into the world and try out my wings. They had no one else, so I went. This was a Thursday. I needed my speech ready by Saturday.
Too green to know everybody thought I’d freeze up.
Hey, I was fourteen.
By Saturday, I had the speech down. Kinda. Not perfect. But okay, I couldn’t back out now. I’ll never forget the snickers, the whispers when I got up in front of the judges and jumped into my speech. It was a speech about life and its many roads and the choices you make. A bit too mature for me, but what the heck, I forged ahead like I was on a mission to Mars.
Then reality set in. I forgot a line . . . then two. I stopped, grinned like a puppet with its strings cut. Now what?
Thank God I have a bit of blarney in me. I filled in with personal anecdotes about roads my family took. Literally. I talked about our wild adventures living in different places from coast to coast. No one breathed. Or made nasty comments. They just listened.
When I was done, I left the room as fast as my ballet flats could take me. Went to the girls’ restroom and cried.
I messed up.
Or did I?
I don’t believe I did. Even now as I write this, I never forgot the feeling of taking that risk and getting through it even if I wasn’t successful. Just putting myself out there made me grow up.
And in case you’re wondering, here’s how I scored: 4 judges = 2 third places; 1 honorable mention; and 1 second place.
Not bad for a kid at her first speech contest.
So, why am I telling you this?
Because I’m wishing on the stars again. This time it’s the Amazon Kindle Storyteller contest. (Get all the info HERE). A writing contest and the deadline is fast approaching. I have to wrap up my YA Novel entry asap.
God help me, I’ve seen the sun come up the past few days. Did you know the birds start chirping outside my window at 4:30 a.m.?
I’ll fill you in more later about my story with updates here. Post the cover, etc. It’s called CRYSTAL GIRL and it’s the story of a prom queen wannabe who sells her soul to the devil to get thin.
So that’s it for now.
But you know what’s funny to me? I don’t feel any different than I did at fourteen when I jumped into the speech contest and did the best I could. I love the challenge and I trust the storyteller in me to accomplish my goal.
I hope I never lose that feeling.
And I hope I never run out of stars . . .
High school can be such a pain, remember? I do.
Here’s a very short story I wrote about that first kiss.
You can find me on social media at:
Once upon a Story blog
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001IU2P8G