Sunday, July 22, 2012

Summer Splash Blog Hop!

BIG FUN is afoot at the Circle K. (Pardon the goofy Bill and Ted's reference.)

Consider this a jump-start to your fall reading list as well as a jump into the excitement for the release of my next book, Paige.

Truly, though. A boatload of writers are participating in a giant blog hop through the end of July. Each blog offers a chance to win prizes like books and other swag.

PLUS: The home blog for the hop will give out lots of GRAND PRIZES that you won't want to miss out on.

Grand Prizes Include: 
  • TWO Kindle Fires
  • $75 Amazon gift card
  • $50 Amazon gift card
  • A Kindle cover
  • And signed paperbacks of something like TWENTY different novels (including a copy of PAIGE, which will be out right about the time the hop ends!)

To win one of the grand prizes, tweet about the hop.

Each tweet must have two things: (1) a link to the hop AND (2) the #SummerHop hash tag (both are needed to track the tweets to give you credit). Cool side note: The blog hop host blog post already has pre-written tweets, complete with links, for you to use. Copy, paste, and tweet. Easy peasy. (Use the link below to get there, or use the blog hop button in the sidebar.)


SO WHAT IS MY BLOG OFFERING?

I'll randomly select FIVE winners. Each will receive one of the following prizes:
  • E-book of Lost Without You: Contemporary inspirational romance. A woman staring at her upcoming 30th birthday and biological clock, a widower with a young daughter, and an ex-boyfriend who decides if he can't have her, no one will.
  • E-book of At the Water's Edge: Contemporary inspirational romance. A Finnish woman's decision to change her religion sets a chain of events into motion that change every aspect of her life. Work, family, home, and, possibly, her heart. 
  • E-book of The Golden Cup of Kardak: Middle-grade fantasy. If there's any chance of winning the war, two siblings must find their father in the enemy's prison and bring him a magical goblet, a journey fraught with danger and adventures. 
  • Paperback of Spires of Stone: Historical romance. A loose re-telling of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing set in 1860s Salt Lake City.
  • Paperback of Paige (Get your hands on it before anyone else!) Contemporary women's fiction, part of The Newport Ladies Book Club. A new divorcee and mother of two young boys starts over and must discover who she is as a woman rather than a wife and whether she can ever learn to trust another man again.

HOW TO ENTER HERE

TWO ways to win on my blog:
(1) Spread the word about MY participation in the hop, leaving a link to my blog. Be sure to leave comments each time you tweet or Facebook about it. PLEASE add the links so I can track them. (This is in addition to general tweeting with the #SummerHop tag.)

AND

(2) Answer any or all of the trivia questions below, but NOT in a comment. (EMAIL the answers to me. See details below.)


(1) SPREAD THE WORD
Every day from July 23 through the end of the month, you can get an entry point for linking to THIS post on Facebook or Twitter. (Don't link to my blog's regular URL. Use this post's permalink). Do it every day, and that's NINE potential entries on FB and NINE more on Twitter, for EIGHTEEN total.

(2) ANSWER UP TO 5 TRIVIA QUESTIONS
E-mail me the answers to any of the following trivia questions about me. Each correct answer gives you TWO entries, for a possible total of TEN.

Find every answer with a simple blog search right here. HINT: Each question has a big-time hint in it. Just search this blog for the bolded and italicized words.

IMPORTANT NOTE: 
NO trivia answers in the comments will be accepted, or the answers will be ruined for everyone else. Comments with trivia answers will be deleted. Instead, e-mail your answers to ANNETTE (at) ANNETTE LYON (dot) com with "SUMMER HOP TRIVIA" in the subject line.



NOW FOR THE QUESTIONS:

(1) When I referred to racing stripes in a post, what was I referring to?

(2) If I'm NOT an Anne freak, who or what am I obsessed with?


(3) While blow drying my hair, I got a great idea for the story that became Tower of Strength (the creative juices were really flowing). What annual tradition kept me from working on that book for a week?

(4) In the company of weird, where was I? (A general answer is fine. No specific date or location required.)

(5) When my family decided to attack the grammar fascista, what word pair did my husband brilliantly drive me crazy with? (TIP: The answer to this question is part of Melissa Smith's scavenger hunt, which she's doing for the hop. Find the answer to this question, and you're ahead of the game when you hop over to her place!)



For the list of all of the participating blogs, and for further details about how the hop (and for a chance to win prizes!), head on over to the Summer Splash Blog itself.


Happy hopping!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Print vs. Electronic Books: My Take

You'd have to be living under the proverbial rock to not be aware of the brouhaha over e-books versus print ("real") books.

Two common arguments:
1) Get with the program. E-books are the wave of the future.

2) Nothing will ever, ever replace a good book. I love turning pages and the SMELL! Oh, I love the smell of paper!


Not surprisingly, I'm often asked where I stand on the issue, so I figured a blog post would be apt. Everything below is my opinion. The book industry is changing at warp speed, and no one has a crystal ball to know what it'll be like in the future. But here's my take:

E-books, for better or for worse, are here to stay. 
This isn't necessarily a bad thing. A few years ago, my mother (a bibliophile who at the time traveled by air a lot) asked why anyone would want a Kindle. I told her to imagine being on a long flight and having hundreds of books to choose from to read . . . but no extra weight in your carry-on.

Her eyes lit up at that.

This is a woman who has bookshelves in every room of the house. (Yes, the bathroom, too.) When I moved out, bookshelves moved into my room. My dad has joked that he needs a library card to get into his own room. If anyone loves a real book, it's Mom.

And yet. Even she could see an advantage to having e-books as an option in addition to print books. Slip that e-reader into your purse instead of a bulky hardback (or two) and read any time you have the chance.

Sales of e-readers and e-books continue to grow each year, at an amazing pace. There's no unringing this bell.

Perks to e-books:
I read a lot of books. Books take up a lot of room. Eventually, I have to weed through my collection and decide what to keep and what to give away.

And then there are books I want to read, but which probably won't end up on my all-time favorites list, to be read and re-read. Once is enough. I don't need a physical copy of those books. A digital one is just fine.

Five devices can access the same account on Kindle. So all four of my kids' Kindles can download any book that any of the others have bought and read--or are currently reading. It's like a family library with extra copies of the same book.

Another benefit that may impact me more than some other readers is that I read a lot of beta manuscripts from friends, as well as some Whitney Award books for judging purposes, and it's easier to do that on the fly with my Kindle. I can email it documents and read them that way. So easy.

I'm betting that schools will get more and more involved with e-books, especially with text books, which can be enormously expensive in print.

Why print books are here to stay.
All that said, I believe that there will always be a place for print books.

Think of hardback books versus paperbacks. A lot of people worried that that cheap paperback would eliminate the market for hardbacks. In reality, die-hard fans tend to buy both: the paperback to read fast and quick and maybe share with friends, and the hardback to keep on the shelf in their collection.

The way I see it, the e-book is the new paperback. In my case, I have a lot of books signed by the authors (who are usually friends). A "signed" e-book (done with a website) isn't the same. I'll always treasure my personalized signed books. I buy the physical book in those cases instead of downloading it, although I've been known to buy the book AND download the e-book version too, especially if the e-version is inexpensive.

For that matter, I wouldn't be at all surprised if some publishers start bundling the versions together: buy the hard copy and get a code to download the e-book for free.

Print books do have an advantage in some areas. If I want to highlight and take notes and easily flip back to find something, an e-book is a bit cumbersome. Yes, they have highlighting and note-taking features, but it's not the same. This is an issue, for me, at least, that's mostly a non-fiction book problem. (Not too often that I'm highlighting stuff in a novel.)

I have a lot of books that hold dear memories, like my dog-eared copy of Rilla of Ingleside, which I bought at my 8th grade book fair at school and remains one of my favorite books ever. I love reading the "real" book.

But when I want to eat up a book, something I'll be glad I read but don't necessarily need the physical reminder of the experience, an e-book will do the job just fine.

Another element to the whole issue is that children from poor areas, who already have a gap in reading because they don't have access to books at home, will fall even further behind if they need technology to access books. I can hope that schools will fill in the gap, whether with e-readers during class or by sending home actual books. But it's an issue that could widen the education and literacy gap.

The e-book generation
My kids each have a Kindle. They're avid readers of "real" books and e-books, both. From what I can tell, they're pretty even on how much they read of both, and they don't seem to prefer one method over another. If we go on a car ride that's longer than 20 minutes, it's common for them to bring along a Kindle to pass the time. Kindles go along to Grandma's house and other trips. They love having access to lots of books at the push of a button.

It's sort of like how kids today are "fluent" with computers. They were born into a world where computers were everywhere, and they picked them up almost like another language. So to them, they aren't hindered by the idea of whether reading on a screen is "real" or not. They just want a great story.

Call me crazy, but anything that gets kids reading more is a good thing. Paper smell or not.

I'm confident that e-books are not heralding the death of print books. I'm also confident that e-books are here, and they aren't going away. Readers (and writers and publishers) will gradually adapt, and each type of book will settle into its own niche.

Sort of like how television didn't destroy radio. VHS and DVD players didn't keep us from going to the movie theater. E-books won't keep us from reading on paper. They're simply one more form in which to enjoy a great book.

Oh, and if you've got an e-reader and just gotta have the smell of paper books, try THIS.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

WNW: Independence Day Edition

Laurie (L.C.) Lewis is a friend of mine and a historical novelist who has studied U.S. History, particularly the founding of the country. She's written a series of books about the the War of 1812. 




(Note: I consider myself relatively well-versed in US history, but I learned a ton reading her stuff.)

She suggested a few words worth looking at on Word Nerd Wednesday for the holiday. Laurie gets lots of feedback from people who see those misused, so she passed some of them on to me.


EVINCES
The text: But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security.


The meaning: To display clearly, or provide evidence of. This part of the Declaration says that the "long train of abuses and usurpations," among other things, show clearly that the intent ("design") or the British government was to absolutely control the colonists. And when a people have such evidence, it is their right to throw off that government.

INALIENABLE

The text: We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their CREATOR with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.


The meaning: Something that cannot be alienated from or transferred from ownership or relation. In other words, there are certain things human beings own by virtue of simply being alive. Jefferson used John Locke's ideas in his writings, and here, he used the same idea, changing one of Locke's unalienable rights. The Declaration has "the pursuit of happiness" where Locke used "estate" (or property).

PERFIDY In the text: HE [meaning the king] is, at this Time, transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to complete the Works of Death, Desolation, and Tyranny, already begun with Circumstances of Cruelty and Perfidy, scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous Ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized Nation.

The meaning: Being unfaithful and disloyal. Pretty clear in this instance what it refers to: The King George III of England was sending troops to the colonies to keep them in line and make them obey his laws, which felt traitorous tot he colonists.

CONSANGUINITY In the text: We have warned them, from Time to Time, of Attempts by their Legislature to extend an unwarrantable Jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the Circumstances of our Emigration and Settlement here. We have appealed to their native Justice and Magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the Ties of our common Kindred to disavow these Usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our Connexions and Correspondence. They too have been deaf to the Voice of Justice and of Consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the Necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the Rest of Mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

The meaning: Being a close relation or connection. The colonists were saying that the king had essentially cut off the close relationship the colonists had once shared with their mother land.

Laurie also pointed out two words that are often misunderstood in our country:

REPUBLIC This is the kind of government we have in the United States. (Remember the pledge: "and to the republic for which it stands . . .") A republic is where citizens vote for representatives who then run the government and are responsible to those who voted them in. This is what we do with our representatives and our senators. The average U.S. citizen doesn't make laws or vote for laws. We vote for leaders who do that for us.

DEMOCRACY In some ways, a democracy can be a republic, and vice versa, but they aren't necessarily the same thing. A democracy usually means that the majority rules. The power lies entirely with the people themselves. Our country has elements of a democracy, but in the end, we're mostly a republic. Even voting for the president isn't technically a democratic situation, because each state is really voting for electoral seats to represent their votes. It's not majority rule. If it were, several recent presidential elections would have ended up with different results.

 *** 

There's an episode of Monk where he sees a copy of the US Constitution in a bag and knows immediately that the woman who owns the bag is an immigrant working toward citizenship. He explains how he knows: "You're studying the Constitution, something no citizen would ever do." The line gets a good laugh because, unfortunately, it's at least somewhat true. I hope more of us take the founding of our nation more seriously, and that includes knowing what's in both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.


Happy 4th of July!

Monday, July 02, 2012

DISPIRITED WINNER!

Random.org picked Heffalump as the winner of her own copy of Dispirited.


I'll be returning to my regular blogging schedule soon, including a new Word Nerd Wednesday.

In the meantime, congrats to Heffalump, and for the rest of my readers, be sure to check out the book. (Remember that the Kindle version is mucho cheap!)