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Friday, December 28, 2012

Turn Your Computer into a Kindle Reading Device

I've been wanting to post another blog, but bronchitis has been kicking my rear. So I decided to write a simple blog I've been wanting to do about the subject of buying and reading ebooks for those of you who don't have Kindles.
Let me start by addressing the issue of ebooks. Many people refuse to take the plunge, protesting that they want to hold a book in their hands and turn the pages with their fingers. "None of these ee-lectronic books for me!" they say. I was of the same frame of mind until I downloaded the app so I could see how the ebooks I was publishing looked on Kindle. It changed my mind. Reading an ebook on a computer is a pleasurable experience, and you might as well get used to it because the way things are trending, in a few years most new books won't even be available in print (or they will be very expensive).
Perhaps you have been thinking about taking the plunge but don't have a Kindle. Perhaps you want a Kindle but it's not in your budget right now. If you are reading this blog, you have a computer, right? Just go to Amazon and download the app for your particular computer, and in minutes you'll be downloading and reading ebooks.

For a desktop or laptop PC go here: Kindle App for PC

For a Mac desktop or laptop go here: Kindle App for Mac

"But I don't have a Mac or PC," you say. "I have an IPad. Surely they don't have an App for that."
Actually, they do, and don't call me Shirley. Kindle App for IPad

"Well, I have an IPhone. Don't tell me they have a Kindle App for IPhone." As a matter of fact, there is an App for IPhone, Android, and Blackberry. Do people really still have Blackberries?

Kindle App for IPhone

Kindle App for Android

Kindle App for Blackberry

So there you have it. No matter what kind of computer or smart phone you have, you can turn it into a Kindle reading device with a free app. And there are always free books on Amazon offered by emerging authors looking to get their name out. There are also many classics like "A Tale of Two Cities," "Les Miserables," and "Treasure Island" to name a few of many, which are free on Kindle.

Free Classics on Kindle 

Finally, now that you have turned your computer into a Kindle, check out my books. You could have all of my books in your Kindle library for under $20.

"Donovan's Island"
"When You Die in Your Dreams"
"God Said Not Yet!: One Man's Experience with "Terminal" Cancer"
"I Am Perfect (in God's Eyes)"
"The Mystery of Lake Clandestine" written under my pen name - Van Morgan

Follow me on Twitter - @neffmoore

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Winter of My Discontent

It is a saying with which most of us are familiar, and although many don't know the references well (myself being one of those), we understand the gist. Winter is a season of the year when everything dies off or goes dormant. Nothing is growing or blooming, and life slows down as we huddle inside warm dwellings to escape the brutal weather outside.
The word discontent has connotations of being in a state where we aren't getting what we want. Webster's defines content as - satisfied, and discontented as - dissatisfied. All of us deal with discontentment in our lives. We spend billions of dollars every year on cosmetic surgery, diets, makeup, clothing, etc. as we pursue a more perfect version of ourselves than the one we see when we look in the mirror. My latest book, I Am Perfect (in God's Eyes) deals with this very issue.

To many of us the phrase "the winter of our discontent" means the height, or depth, of being dissatisfied.
In order to be as thorough and as accurate as possible, I researched the references of the phrase "the winter of our discontent" for this blog. The first appearance on record is in the opening lines of William Shakespeare's Richard III.

"Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by the sun of York."

In that passage, Shakespeare is referring to a time a discontentment or dissatisfaction that has been transformed into a time of satisfaction and prosperity, symbolized by summer. Another common reference of the phrase is a Labor Dispute in England during the winter of 1978-1979. The third and final common reference is John Steinbeck's novel, The Winter of Our Discontent.
It was Steinbeck's novel which struck a chord in me.
According to Wikipedia, The Winter of Our Discontent is about Ethan Hawley, who after losing his family fortune, is relegated to working in a grocery store. Feeling pressure from his family and acquaintances to achieve more than his current station, Ethan considers letting his normally high standards of conduct take a brief respite in order to obtain a better social and economic position. (synopsis courtesy of Wikipedia)
In his novel, Steinbeck does a masterful job of illustrating the temptations we all feel, although we rarely act on them, to break the rules to achieve the things we desire. Whether it is gambling on the lottery, cutting corners in finances, or resorting to illegal activities; all of us are human and therefore subject to temptation. The secret, of course, to contentment is to be satisfied with the things we do have. But that is easier said than done. Especially when many of our friends and family have more than we do. Especially when the television schedule is full of movies and shows featuring material success and reality shows about wealthy celebrities. Especially when it is Christmas and we can't afford to give our loved ones all the things we want to give them.
As an aspiring author, the concept of discontentment is one which I struggle with on a daily basis.
I have not yet achieved the sales level of a Tom Clancy or Stephen King or J.K. Rowling. I cannot yet afford an extravagant writing studio resplendent with mahogany and leather. I do not yet have a summer home on Martha's Vineyard. I have not yet achieved the literary acclaim that is afforded the great writers of their time.
Writing is a pursuit that rarely elicits instant gratification. It takes years of hard work to garner notoriety and recognition. Authors have to continue to slog through rejection after rejection and continue to believe in themselves when no one else does.
Examiner - rejected authors

  • Stephen King's first novel - Carrie - was rejected dozens of times before it was picked up.
  • William Golding's Lord of the Flies, (a literary classic) was rejected 20 times. One publisher added the following comment to his rejection: "an absurd and uninteresting fantasy which was rubbish and dull."
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's (later Sorceror's) Stone was rejected by a dozen publishers.

Some authors only receive recognition for their work after they have passed on.

Recently I have been experiencing a winter of discontent in regards to my writing. Sales have been slow, feedback has been scarce, and my desire and enthusiasm have plummeted like the temperature on a January night in New England.
Much like the seasons, the winter of my discontent is not a permanent condition but a necessary passage of time. However, unlike the dramatic transformation to summer in Shakespeare's Richard III, my winter is slowly easing into spring, with bitter ice and snow giving way to chilly rain. And when the cold rains of early spring come; blossoming flowers, chirping birds, and the warming rays of the sun beaming down from heaven are not far behind.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Book Review


(A review)

If you only take one thing away from this review, let it be this:

“Buy this book!”

Make sure you get “Taking Flight” by Sarah Solmonson. There is at least one other book out there of the same title by a different author. I don’t mean to disparage the other book (I am not familiar with it at all), but I want to make sure you do not miss out on this one.
There are many books that will bring tears to your eyes. There are a few books that will, upon finishing them, make you say, “Wow.” When I finished reading “Taking Flight,” I leaned my head back and with tears in my eyes, said softly but emphatically, “Wow.”
As near as I can tell from her website and her Amazon author page, this is Sarah’s first book, although I find that very difficult to believe. “Taking Flight” is written with a style and maturity that takes many writers years (and several books) to develop.
In a way, this book is a microcosm of her father’s journey of building his own airplane all the way through to his first flight. The story builds the background methodically, complete with triumphs and frustrations, chronicling all of the life stuff that happens along the way, building to a crescendo of emotion as he rolls down the runway, being bumped by each gofer hole and clod of grass, until at the end, despite the wrenching heartache experienced along the way, you are lifted into the sky of your dreams and finish on a soaring note.
As a writer myself, I have found that a well-written book elicits one of two responses: it entertains me or it inspires me to reach new heights in my own writing. For me, “Taking Flight” does both. 
Several poignant passages touched me deeply, one of which sticks out in my mind.
Sarah’s father David had noticed that most of the music he collected was by musicians who were dead. His favorites featured artists who had died in plane crashes. Sarah recounts the death of John Denver, a famous folk singer and avid private pilot who perished when the plane he was piloting crashed into Monterey Bay. In the following passage she shares the importance of John Denver’s music to her memories of her father.

“John Denver’s anthology is safely housed in my iPod, available whenever I need music to match the country roads that exist in my dreams.”

That passage was especially meaningful to me. My father was not a pilot, and as far as I knew he did not own any John Denver CDs and I never heard him listen to any of his music. However, I have been a huge fan of John Denver my whole life. His peaceful spirit and the beauty in his lyrics and music have always caused a deep stirring in me. We found out after my dad passed away in 2011 that he had many John Denver songs downloaded on his computer. Although my dad suffered from some bitterness and sadness in his later years, knowing that he listened to John Denver reassures me that he had found peace (or at least was actively looking for it).
There are many other lyrical and artful passages in this book, but you will have to read it and discover them for yourself.
If I have one criticism of this book, it would be the use of single letters to denote the first initial of some characters in the book (as opposed to using fictitious names). Before I proceed I want to emphasize that this is a minor criticism and in no way should it deter you from buying this book: you will be missing out on a gem if you pass on this book.
The first instance was in referring to her first boyfriend. It confused me at first, until he left the story. At that time I thought,

“It makes perfect sense now. The story is about Sarah and David and Jan, and using the boyfriend's name when it turns out he is not an integral part of the story would be distracting. I understand now.”

However, when some relatives were referred to by name while others were given a letter like the boyfriend, I found it to be a little distracting. Again, this is just a little nit-picking and does not take away from the overall quality of this book. There may have been a reason for this technique that I am not sophisticated enough to appreciate.
If you only buy one book this year, make it “Taking Flight” by Sarah Solmonson. If you buy a hundred books this year, make sure this is one of them. Bottom line – this book is a must-have in your collection. There are a lot of books, which after having read them, we put them down and move on. Special books, after reading them, cause us to think, “Wow, I’m glad I found that book. I would be the poorer if I had never read that one.”
This is one of those special books.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I would like to thank K.R. Hughes and T.L. Burns for tagging me in

What is the title of your book?

Where did the idea for the book come from?

  • Although at the moment of salvation I believed that I was saved by grace through faith alone, but as the years went by I fell victim to the bondage of Legalism. One Sunday in church in September of 2010, I was reminded of the fact that nothing I did or failed to do changed my standing before God. I don’t have to work or worry. I can rest in His peace. I am perfect in God’s eyes because of Jesus’ sacrifice.

What genre does your book fall under?

  • Spiritual nonfiction. And religion. And Christian theology. And philosophy. In case you can’t tell, I have an issue with pigeon-holing books into one narrow category.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

  • I would have Kirk Cameron play me, although he is slightly more attractive than me. I do have curly brown hair (though not as much as I used to).

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

  • From the moment you place your faith in Jesus, God sees you as the perfect creation He intended, in the beginning, before sin came in and wrought its corruption.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

  • Self-published. It is available in paperback and as an ebook for Kindle. Amazon has a free app for PC and Mac that turns your computer into a Kindle reading device.
  • I chose a simple cover with a yellow butterfly on a black background. We often think of our faith walk like that of a butterfly. At the moment of conversion, we believe we have become this perfect creation, like a butterfly. Then we become confused and discouraged because we continue to struggle daily with sin, and fear, and doubt, and disobedience. But we can rest easy - God sees us as a perfect butterfly because we have the righteousness of Christ.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

  • Four months.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

  • Pastor Kirk Bowman and the Bible.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

  • If you have placed your faith in Jesus, you don’t have to constantly strive and work to be acceptable in God’s sight. You are perfect in His eyes.


A small excerpt:

"Henry David Thoreau wrote in Walden (or Life in the Woods) that:

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”

He also wrote that the very tedium and ennui (weariness and dissatisfaction) which presume to have exhausted the variety and the joys of life are as old as Adam. While I don't agree with Thoreau on much of his beliefs, I think he is correct in this case. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, sin entered the world. Our constant striving to atone for sin and return to the state of perfection we were created in and for has robbed us of our joy as well as much of the variety of life. Consequently, the majority of us lead lives of quiet desperation."


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