eBook Lessons and Bargains

I received a Kindle Touch for my birthday this year. Since then, I’ve learned a number of lessons about eBooks.

  1. eBooks are expensive! My heart sank when I looked at the books I wanted and discovered many cost more than the paperback versions.
  2. eBooks are free! My heart soared when I discovered the abundance of free eBooks. Also, eBooks can be borrowed from the library. My reading possibilities seemed endless. However…
  3. Sometimes, you get what you pay for. My heart resumed business as usual. I’ve picked up some freebies that were awesome and some that were duds, but the same goes for books that I’ve paid for.

My year-end lesson is that what really counts is quality, not price. Of course, it’s easy to download a free book and if I don’t like it, simply discard it. That’s a lot more painful when I’ve paid $9.99.

I don’t want to be a perpetual literary freeloader. Authors should be paid for their work. The freebies have been a great way to be introduced to new authors and if I like the free book, I will often buy that author’s next book.

A happy medium between freebies and full price are bargain books. Every day, Amazon offers daily deals and every month offers 100 books for $3.99 or less. The price drop can be pretty steep, so these are well worth checking out. Since today is December 31, I suggest hopping over there right now.

Kindle Daily Deals (December 31, 2012)

100 Books for $3.99 or Less (December 2012)

Today I picked up a couple of books that I’ve had my eye on for quite a while. Both books are deeply discounted.

“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” looks creepy, scary and fun. It has to do with a teenage boy exploring an abandoned orphanage and finding strange photographs. Today’s price: $1.99.

“A Year of Biblical Womanhood” is the true story of a woman who lives the Bible’s laws for women for a year. I love the subtitle: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband “Master.” It sounds like a funny, informative and inspirational read. Today’s price: $1.99.

An additional bargain to note, one I’ve already read and enjoyed, is the first Lemony Snicket book, “A Series of Unfortunate Events #1: The Bad Beginning.” It’s a dark, drolly written tale suitable for children and adults. Today’s price: $1.99.

I just looked out my window. It’s starting to snow. Perfect weather for reading. eReader in one hand, hot drink in the other and warm kitty on my lap, I’m looking forward to a happy new year.

Happy New Year to you all!

Motivation and Extreme Writing

Free Today on Amazon

The holiday season, with its fun, food, travel, snow, marathon movie days, not to mention illness (cold chased by the flu), have played havoc with my writing schedule. It’s time to get motivated again and for that I usually turn to writing guides.

I seldom read an entire guide. I usually skip to that parts that are relevant to my particular needs. Today, it’s motivation, so headed for the Kindle freebies to see if I could find anything short and to the point. I found several books that look promising.

NaNoWriMo is awesome for motivation. While I wouldn’t want to do it every month, I wish it were more than once a year. I’m aware there are other extreme writing competitions and through the freebies today, I discovered a new (to me) one.

The Story A Day challenge takes place in May. Participants must write one short story for each day of the month.  During the rest of the year, the organizer, Julie Duffy, offers weekly writing prompts on her blog. She also wrote a book about breaking writer’s block, which is offered free today.

Another freebie offers advice on how to write a book in 10 days or less. I’m usually skeptical of such claims, but the book has received a couple of good reviews, so I’ll give it a look. I’m always looking for advice on how to write faster and better.

The final book has to do with unleashing the creative spirit. Sad fact, I know I’m the one who puts that leash around that neck. Time to break free!

If you know of any books or websites that motivate and inspire, let me know!

The StoryADay.org Guide To Breaking Writers' Block  Breaking Writers’ Block by Julie Duffy
Writer’s block can come out of nowhere. It can be temporary and related to one project, or it can be chronic, stopping you from writing anything creative. It is always painfully frustrating. Julie Duffy, host of StoryADay.org, the month-long short story writing challenge, takes you through more than 60 techniques for breaking writer’s block that have helped StoryADay participants become insanely productive writers. Conversational and light-hearted, this powerful guide may just become your favorite new writer’s handbook.

How to write your novel in 10 days or less  How to write your novel in 10 days or less by Amy Bates
You have always had some scenes and characters running through your mind; and now, you want to bring them all out of there and make the perfect story that people will love. So do you need to invest years of your life to fulfil this dream? Not necessarily! This ebook shows you how you can write your story in ten days… or less!

Unleashing Your Creative Spirit  Unleashing Your Creative Spirit by Cate Russell-Cole
This e-book will help you turn your dreams into reality! It explores the process and practical aspects of creativity; and has been written for artists, writers, musicians, dancers, gardeners, cooks, craft lovers: anyone trying to tap into their creative potential. It looks at the mental processing behind creativity; philosophies that drive how we think about and assess our creative worth; creative character traits; historical role models; an extensive bibliography and web link list and more. The content is practical, not just analytical. It will give you ideas on how to move forward in your creative life.

Descriptions provided by Amazon

Disclaimers and Disclosures

I found these books via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

These freebies are limited time offers, so there is no guarantee any of these books will still be free when you click on the links. Grab them sooner rather than later.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Free Today on Amazon

It snowed on Christmas Eve, literally that evening, dumping about four inches on us by the next morning, but, hey, white Christmas! So, no complaints. We’ve had little snow since on the front range, but frigid weather has settled over us. It hasn’t warmed up past 20 degrees Fahrenheit since December 24.

Christmas morning. It looks almost the same three days later.

Christmas morning. It looks almost the same three days later.

Fortunately, we bought tons of food in preparation and have happily hunkered down with Argentine empanadas and my husband’s Cantonese steamed chicken. Yum. While keeping the cranky, housebound cat company, we watched an entire Danish detective series, “The Eagle.” It’s about a special unit that investigates cross border crimes. The protagonist is half-Icelandic, so he’s a fish out of Nordic water, so to speak. It was pretty good! You can find all three seasons on both Netflix and Hulu.

By now, the fridge is empty and we need to do some grocery shopping. I was thinking I’d like to make soup. While I was perusing the Kindle freebies, I noticed two recipe books for soup. Score! I’ve also added a book that was previously listed for those who missed it the first time. “The Complete Sherlock Holmes”, i.e., all the short stories and novels, is being offered for free by Simon and Schuster. Seriously, you don’t want to miss this.

If you’re where it’s cold, stay warm. If you’re where it’s warm, enjoy!

The Complete Sherlock Holmes  The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
The complete collection of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes tales, both long and short, compiled together for the first time by Simon & Schuster for free! This fantastic collection is accompanied by an exciting new introduction from Robert Ryan, a writer who’s own book has been fully endorsed by the Conan Doyle Estate. A big Holmes fan himself, he will undoubtedly provide a fascinating new look at the detective and his bizarre ability to read both people and objects, in order to discover who dunnit.

Simply Delicious Soups  Simply Delicious Soups by Royce Anderson
Soup is the quintessential comfort food. It is one of the most basic food dishes, easy to make and almost infinite in form. Start with a flavorful stock then add meat and or vegetables. Season with your favorite spices and let the mixture simmer. Soon your house fills with a delicious smell that promises a wonderful treat just for you. Warm and hearty soups are the perfect answer to a cold winter night. Or beat the heat of summer with a chilled soup. A perfect change of pace without heating up the kitchen.

Delicious Soup Recipes (Delicious Recipes)  Delicious Soup Recipes by June Kessler
In today’s fast track world; I forgot about soup for a while and recently I found my soup recipes and have been busy making soups for my family a few times a week. Now that strawberry season is here my grand children are really enjoying the chilled strawberry soups they seem to awaken their appetites, soup is also a good way for my grand kids to eat their fruits and vegetables they need in their diet. Also I love the aroma from the simmering soup that lingers in the kitchen all day. On a hot Texas summers day there is nothing like a chilled cream soup to cool you down . or a hot beefy soup on a cold night. Soups are very versatile they can be the main meal an appetizer, or served with a sandwich, which is much healthier than potato chips or French fries. You deserve delicious wholesome and nutritious soup.

Descriptions provided by Amazon

Disclaimers and Disclosures

I found these books via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

These freebies are limited time offers, so there is no guarantee any of these books will still be free when you click on the links. Grab them sooner rather than later.

San Francisco Dreaming Part 2

Free Today on Amazon

When I visit San Francisco, I usually stay with friends. However, on my last visit, I wanted to try something different.

As a travel writer, I’d been interested in the website airbnb.com. It facilitates private homeowners to offer anything from crash space on the couch to the entire house. I liked the idea and had wanted to give it a try. I looked at the listings for San Francisco and found a condo in a good location at the right price, $85 a night. It had good reviews for all categories, including cleanliness.

To make a long story short, it was not a good experience. The location was great. The condo was not. Cleanliness was an issue, but the worst part was the smell. The owner was obviously a smoker who smoked indoors. He appeared to have tried to cover the smell with candles and air freshener, which only made things worse.

Here’s the review I posted on airbnb:

I had a very mixed experience staying in this condo. First, the pros. The location is great. I loved the view. Public transportation is right outside the door. There is a well-known pharmacy across the street and a nice, natural food grocery store down the block. Cole Valley is close walking distance with lots of good restaurants. For the most part, the place is quiet, though you’ll hear sirens from the nearby medical center. Since the apartment is on the third floor, it was nice having access to an elevator. Now, the cons. The apartment was not very clean, especially the kitchen and bathroom. There were grease spots on the stove and the fridge had spill stains. The microwave oven was crusty and stained, and I had to clean it so I could use it. The bathtub had dark stains and soap scum.  Also, there was a strong smell of cigarette smoke. On a lesser note, cable and HBO are listed among the amenities, however the host told me that the cable was out, and he offered as an alternative an antenna on the TV that received a few local channels. In the bedroom, there was a second TV that didn’t work and blocked access to the window and the other side of the bed. Despite enjoying the convenient location, I would not stay here again.

I tried not to be too nitpicky. I don’t want the owner to lose business, but the place has lots of room for improvement. It was not worth $85 a night. I probably won’t be using airbnb again. I can’t trust the reviews. And I can get a decent hotel room for slightly more.

I’ll be returning to San Francisco shortly. I’ve signed up to attend the San Francisco Writers Conference in February. It’s at the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins Hotel, a very pricey hotel at the top of Nob Hill. I’ll be staying a couple of blocks below at a hotel I can whole-heartedly recommend. The Golden Gate Hotel is a charming bed and breakfast. Clean, reasonably priced, and best of all, serves up a really yummy continental breakfast. Plus, there’s a big orange tabby, Pip, who will probably wander into your room.


Pip hung out in my room last year. He’s a friendly kitty.

In the meantime, I’ve found some San Francisco themed Kindle freebies to enjoy. Plus, a book titled, “How to Pack Like a Rock Star,” which is actually about rock stars packing their luggage. Can’t resist that and since they travel so much, they probably have some good tips.

  How To Pack Like A Rock Star by Shaun Huberts
A photo-driven adventure book combining a nerdy-cool ‘how-to’ book with humor, comments and advice from all your favorite Rock Stars on how to pack your suitcase. Town to town, tour after tour; who better to listen to about packing a suitcase than someone who spends their days living out of one? Sooner or later the world will learn that Rock Stars are the real packing professionals and this is your inside source! So if you too are planning on living a life out of your suitcase then this could be the simplest, most effective, and by far most pleasurable way to learn how!

  San Francisco Values by James K Turner
Today’s plunging real estate market may seem brutal, but it’s nothing compared to the heady bubble days. Just ask real estate queen Ella Barker. She’s at the top of her career, a master of San Francisco’s hysterical housing market, and now some maniac comes along and starts slaughtering real estate agents? Why, this is outrageous under any circumstance, but it’s more than just a little distraction in a market where a child’s future earnings are mortgaged, Open House lines stretch for blocks and prices go up by the hour. Then Ella gets word the most expensive home ever in San Francisco is coming on the market, so she sets out to do whatever it takes to rake in the mega-commission.

  Wait For Me by Elisabeth Naughton
After a tragic accident left her with no memory, Kate Alexander struggled to fit in with a husband and world that didn’t feel right. She’s had no reason to question what friends and family have told her, not until her husband is suddenly killed and she finds a photo of a young girl in his office. A girl who can’t be anyone but a daughter Kate didn’t know she had. Ryan Harrison lost his wife in a plane crash five years ago. To cope with the pain of her loss, he dedicated himself to his job and to raising their daughter. Now a successful pharmaceutical executive, Ryan has everything a man could want—money, fame and power—but he’d give it all up in a heartbeat for just one more day with the woman he still loves. As Kate begins to dig into a past she doesn’t remember, evidence leads her to San Francisco and puts her on the path toward Ryan, a man who sees in her the woman he loved and lost.

  Complete Story of the San Francisco Horror by Samuel Fallows
This book has first hand interviews, photos and descriptions of the tragic event that shook the world in April 1906. Anyone who has any ties to San Francisco and California should read this wonderful non-fiction story! (Amazon review Dean Phelan)

Descriptions provided by Amazon

Disclaimers and Disclosures

I found these books via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

These freebies are limited time offers, so there is no guarantee any of these books will still be free when you click on the links. Grab them sooner rather than later.

Christmas Trees, Books and Recipes

Free Today on Amazon

Due to my San Francisco holiday, I didn’t put up the Christmas tree until December 19. It was a snowy day and as I hung the ornaments, I listened to the holiday music I’d been studiously avoiding since before Thanksgiving. It was an enjoyable way to spend a cold, dark afternoon.

I’ve always been one to put up the tree later in the season. If I put it up too early, it becomes part of the furniture and by the middle of December I barely notice it’s there. Traditionally, Christmas trees weren’t put up until close to Christmas, sometimes not until Christmas Eve. Here’s an interesting article on when to put up and take down the tree.

Here’s our tree after I finished decorating.

Oh Christmas Tree

A fake – err – renewable tree from Target.

I love interesting, fun, creative ornaments. Here’s a video of my favorite one. Turn up the sound to hear the holiday message from a certain Vulcan.

A lot of people have both Monday and Tuesday off this year, and are doubtless enjoying the long holiday weekend. If you’re looking for something to read or some holiday cooking inspiration, I’ve got a nice variety of Amazon freebies listed below.

However you celebrate, have a happy and joyous holiday season!

Hell's Christmas  Hell’s Christmas by Cynthia P. Willow
Monika Hell seemed to have it all. She was gorgeous, owned a nice condo, an expensive car, an endless wardrobe, and had a great job as a store manager in the mall. But, she was mean, miserable, and worst of all, hated Christmas. Kidnapped from the mall parking lot on Christmas Eve, her life is turned upside down. Now, on Christmas morning, she finds herself in a freezing alley with nothing but the tattered clothes on her back. With no identification, no money, and no one willing to help, Monika is forced to start all over. Could losing everything she’d worked for all her life lead her to find what’s been missing all along?

Rain and Revelation  Rain and Revelation by Therese Pautz
On the rugged, rain and windswept coast of Ireland, twenty-year-old Eliza Conroy’s predictable life is shattered when she returns home to find her mother bathing in her own blood. Eliza sets out to understand the events leading up to that fateful day and discovers that she has been deceived her entire life by those she loves and trusts the most. What she uncovers threatens to destroy her family and tight knit community and Eliza is forced to choose between the cost of speaking the truth and remaining silent.

Dear Santa...... A CHRISTMAS STORY  Dear Santa…… A CHRISTMAS STORY by Jay Frankston
This is a true story about a Jewish man bringing magical joy to children in a big city at Christmas time. Perhaps you have already read this story in Reader’s Digest or Chicken Soup for the Soul. Even so, you will enjoy reading it over and over again. This little book has been translated into 15 different languages.

Christmas in Pennsylvania: 50th Anniversary Edition  Christmas in Pennsylvania: 50th Anniversary Edition by Alfred L. Shoemaker
Originally published in 1959 and written by one of the seminal figures in American folklife studies, this classic work examines the folk origins of Christmas in the Keystone State. Composed of interviews and contemporary newspaper reports, it records holiday traditions from the eighteenth century through the early twentieth century, including mummers, Christ-Kindel and Kriss Kringle, Christmas trees and trimming, Belsnickels, the Philadelphia carnival of horns, Moravian pyramids and putzes, Pittsburgh firecracker celebrations, and holiday treats. Now with full-color images, this edition includes Don Yoder’s new expanded afterword on recent research of Christmas customs and a selection of traditional recipes.

COOKING CHRISTMAS! (Donnas@Home)  COOKING CHRISTMAS! by Donna Stafford-Skare
“HELP! It’s my turn to cook CHRISTMAS DINNER” Sound familiar? If so, HELP is at hand! COOKING CHRISTMAS, has most everything you will need to put together a deliciously, memorable meal! From Recipes, Menus, In-depth instructions, Wine suggestions, Required cooking utensils (and the best ways to get them), food staples, Safety measures, AND SO MUCH MORE! As a BONUS, we have also included a Prime Rib NEW YEARS Dinner, with all the trimmings, and again, explicit instructions. If you are a Novice cook, then this book will quite likely become your CHRISTMAS & NEW YEARS MANUAL! If you simply need a reminder, or your adult kids could use a little help, then COOKING CHRISTMAS is for you as well! HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Katharine's Mouth Watering Christmas Recipe  Katharine’s Mouth Watering Christmas Recipe by Katharine Koe
Prepare a memorable Christmas dinner with Katharine’s Mouth Watering Christmas Recipe. These are simple Christmas recipes that are packed with flavor and down-home goodness. They are easy Christmas recipes to make and all will become favorites of your family.

Descriptions provided by Amazon

Disclaimers and Disclosures

I found these books via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

These freebies are limited time offers, so there is no guarantee any of these books will still be free when you click on the links. Grab them sooner rather than later.

Holiday Recipes

Usually Yahoo’s front page links lead to nowhere but a glorified advertisement. But sometimes a link can lead to something fabulous. This is one of those times.

The following link will take you to a page with a slideshow featuring 25 favorite cookie recipes. Each slide contains a photo and the recipe without a lot of hoo-hah. Go here for the recipes.

As an added bonus, the article contained a link to Sunset Magazine’s Ultimate Holiday Cookbook. It looks like a great resource, but be warned, you will face a lot of pop-ups as you click through. If you don’t mind that, check it out here.

Yahoo! also provided a link to a slideshow with recipes for holiday gifts you can prepare in your kitchen. If you like homemade gifts, this could be a great resource. Check it out here.

Enjoy your holiday preparations!

The Twisted Life of a Frequent Flyer

Free Today on Amazon

I love to travel. I particularly love to travel to San Francisco and do so often.

I hate what travel does to my body.

To get to Denver International Airport from Boulder, I have to take a public shuttle bus, which is an hour ride. During this particular trip, I had delayed flights coming and going due to fog, and got to enjoy the airport accommodations in both cities. It’s a two-and-a-half-hour flight, which isn’t so bad, but still isn’t so great on the body. The condo I rented had a hard-as-a-board bed and a couch I didn’t want to sit on, so I spent a lot of time perched on the single stool. When I finally arrived in Denver yesterday, I had to make a mad dash from the luggage carousel to the bus stop, hauling my luggage behind me. Got there just in time. Otherwise, I would have had to wait an hour for the next bus.

There really is no place like home, with the husband and the kitty, and the comfy bed. I slept all right, but my back is still tweaked. I’m waiting for Thursday when my favorite chiropractor has his shift at The Joint. In the meantime, I’m doing some stretches to straighten out the various kinks.

I’m also planning my future trips. 🙂 It’s a twisted dichotomy that I am a homebody who loves to travel. No wonder I like to write about gypsies.

In the meantime, to help the twists in my body, I downloaded a couple of Kindle freebies that look very helpful. One is a book of stretches. It has photos, so I downloaded it to my tablet. The other is a book on fitness tips. It’s so easy when I get home to settle in front of the computer. I need some tips to help keep my home body moving.

Until my next trip.

Back Stretching - Back Strengthening And Stretching Exercises For Everyone  Back Stretching – Back Strengthening And Stretching Exercises For Everyone by David Nordmark
If you suffer from back pain or discomfort, you’re not alone. From the young to the old, from the average person to the hyper fit athlete, all are likely to suffer from some kind of back pain at least once in their lives. In Back Stretching – Back Strengthening And Stretching Exercises For Everyone, I explain why back pain is so common in modern society. More importantly though, I will show you a series of back stretching and strengthening exercises which can bring you relief.

50 Fitness Tips You Wish You Knew: The Best Quick And Easy Ways To Increase Motivation, Lose Weight, Get In Shape, And Sta...  50 Fitness Tips You Wish You Knew by Derek Doepker
Do you wish you knew how to have more motivation, less stress, faster fat loss, less aches and pain, complete emotional freedom, more money saved, and more time to enjoy your life all while enjoying the body of your dreams? You’re about to discover how to have all of these things and more with these 50 valuable tips you’re not going to find in all the other “me too” generic and boring health and fitness books that rehash the same old tips you’ve heard a million times before. This guide is pure cutting-edge content from someone who has spent the past nine years and thousands of hours of research testing and refining what really works to bring you only the best of the best health, fitness, muscle building, and weight loss tips you’ll ever find!

Descriptions provided by Amazon

Disclaimers and Disclosures

I found these books via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

These freebies are limited time offers, so there is no guarantee any of these books will still be free when you click on the links. Grab them sooner rather than later.