It’s official. I’m in love with my Kindle.

This is not a paid endorsement or advertisement. It’s just something I feel like I need to say publicly, since I was so adamant about how little respect/interest I had in the things. I told everyone who mentioned how great they were that I needed the cover, the weight of a book in my hand, the pages to thumb through… the FEEL of a book was just as necessary as the story. I wasn’t going to get that from some little tablet computer thingamajigger.

A large step toward changing my mind was when I started doing book reviews for Geek Speak Magazine. The books they send are ebooks (naturally), so I was spending days reading them on the computer instead of writing. The first book I read, I was interrupted by a storm and had to get offline. My friend mentioned that if I had an e-reader, I wouldn’t have to stop reading. The seed was planted, but it took a couple more books before I realized, “You know what? She’s right!” I would save myself a lot of time and energy if I just went to that place immediately with this particular friend.

So the idea ruminated for a while, I did some shopping, asked some people what they thought of the Nook or the Kindle, and finally I decided it was time to stop hedging and get off the fence. I bought a Kindle Keyboard (or 3rd Generation, or whatever you want to call it). It was like those days when you’re not very hungry, but you decide to go make something for dinner just because it’s time, and as soon as it starts cooking you get ravenous. I couldn’t wait to have my Kindle. I spent the time it took shipping (an ENDLESS… three days…) considering what to name it and what books I should get to stock its little shelves.

When it arrived, I was reading a paperback book (“The Invention of Everything Else” by Samantha Hunt, a love letter to Nikola Tesla, which everyone SHOULD READ) so I couldn’t leap right in, as much as I wanted to. I held off and then I set off on the grand experiment to see what it was like to read on the Kindle.

Most nights, I try to read 100 pages of a book. That first night, when I finally put the device down, I was on Page 200. The next night, 220 and I finished the book I was reading. I was blown away. Two hundred pages in one night? Who knew I was wasting so much time flipping pages? But it’s not just that. With the Kindle, it’s so accessible to get back into the book that there’s no sense of starting over. With a regular book, if you stop reading for a minute or two, you have to pick up the book, thumb to the bookmark, find your spot, and start where you left off. With the Kindle you just push a button and voila, there’s your spot. The Kindle is always close at hand, so during slow moments of the day, I’ll stop and read a chapter before I continue on with what I’m doing.

The Kindle just makes it easy to read. Isn’t that what we all want? I love to read, and I have a habit of grabbing books to make a surplus. I’ll get my library books two or three at a time, and I’ll buy books just to stack them on the edge of the table so I can pick one at my leisure when I finish whatever I’m currently reading. With the Kindle, I don’t have to. I don’t have to worry about “Well, when will I get back to the store?” or “You know, if I buy this now, with the shipping, it’ll get here in a week or two when I’ll probably need something new to read” or “Well, I’ll just buy it so it’ll be available.”

With the Kindle Store, you can finish Book 1 in a series, jump online, buy the second book and voila. No unnecessary purchases ahead of time, no waiting for the USPS or UPS to deliver it, just… instant gratification. It’s like living in the bookstore without the crick in your neck that you get from trying to read the sideways spines of the books. There is still the appeal of holding a book in my hands, to being able to thumb ahead and see how much of the chapter is left, but the only change to the actual reading is that I’m able to read more books faster than I ever could before. I got a 320 page book yesterday morning from Oklahoma’s Virtual Library (which, oh my GOD. It may not have the best selection, but still! It’s a library! Free books!) and I’m currently on Page 220. I’ll be finishing it tonight. Finishing a decent-sized book in 48 hours isn’t exactly new to me, but reading four books in a single week is quite a feat no matter who you are.

So yes, I am a convert.

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My biggest fears about going to a convention as an author – which isn’t going to happen any time soon, but it’s always at the back of my mind when someone asks if I’m going – are readings. The idea of taking my book, standing in front of a group of people and reading words I wrote terrifies me. Terrifies me.

When I was in high school, I was in drama. I could perform in front of a class, and I performed on stage (some thought I was the definitive Mr. Fezziwig in A Christmas Carol. They were all related to me, but it still counts <g>). But senior year, I remember having to read an oral report in English class. I could barely get through it. When I sat back down, my friend said he thought I was going to pass out. Pale, shaking, nervous… yeah.

If I ever do go to a convention, I may just hire someone to do the readings for me. I wonder how much Teryl Rothery would charge…? <g>

Lastly, two questions from Feral. She gave me a whole list, but I decided to just answer two because my other answers were too boring (“Don’t know,” “don’t drink,” etc ;-D). So! Her first question: You can have only one book in the world to read for the rest of your years. what book? Ideally, a book of short stories. That’s the most bang for your buck. But if I have to be specific, I would say The Time-Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. It’s a brilliant novel and I try to reread it at least once a year. So I think that one would definitely be one of my top picks.

Her second question: What can one possibly float in jello that makes it worth eating? I personally feel that Jell-O is always worth eating. But fruit is always a good choice. I don’t know what kind it is… I can practically taste it right now, but I fail at identifying it. Not pineapple… a lot of people insist on putting pineapple on stuff like pizza and cottage cheese and I say NO. ~wags finger~ But yeah, I’m of little help because I like Jell-O too much by itself to be a good judge on how to improve it. 😀

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I asked for writerly questions over on my livejournal and I got one that I wanted to answer immediately. How’s that for service? The question(s), from Syrenslure:

How did you conceive of Squire’s Isle? Why are most of your stories set there? – I’ve answered the origin question before, in the post “Why Squire’s Isle?” (http://www.geonncannon.com/blog/?p=8), but as for why most of my stories are set there… I really loved the idea of a universe where my stories would all take place. It would create a connection between the fictional people that would, in turn, help readers feel comfortable there. When you read one novel and hear mention of a “female DJ,” you know it’s Nadine. Or if the characters stop into Coffee Table Books, even if Amy’s not mentioned, you might feel like you’re returning to an old favorite place. At least, I feel that way when I write about it. <g>

Who is your favorite character to date? Who was the first character to “come to life” in your head? Who do you relate the most to? Who would you most want to date? – The first character to be born is still the one who is unpublished: Neil Miser. Squire’s Isle was created for him, to give his stories a world to occupy. He makes a cameo in Gemini (due in September). Who do I relate to most… I don’t think I’m anywhere near as likeable as some of the people I have created. But I think Nadine would be close to me. Quiet, friendly, maybe willing to put up with a bad situation rather than say something and cause a scene. Who would I date? Geez. I put a lot of qualities I like in a woman into Nadine from On the Air (dark hair, glasses, etc), so I would definitely be attracted to her if I met her in real life. Either Nadine or Jill Colby.

I know you can knock out a new novel in less than two weeks, but what do you do in between? How long do you spend each day on writing? Where do your ideas come from? – I quote Martin Lloyd from Stargate: “Never ask a writer where we get our ideas. The truth is… we don’t know.” But I get ideas from songs, books, TV… My latest novel, The Following Sea, was inspired by a Great Big Sea song. On the Air was inspired with an email conversation with a friend, and Gemini came about because I read The Thirteenth Tale, which was about twins. So it’s a myriad of things that go into my brain, gestate and then explode.

The time I spend per day writing varies. I’m generally on the computer between 1pm and 11pm, but I’m never writing the entire time (even when writing a novel). I would say, grand total throughout the day, I would say maybe six or seven hours are spent actually putting words on paper/screen.

To clarify, I can write a first draft in two weeks. Revising takes another week, but I like to take a break between the drafts. So say a month between starting it and having it ready for submission. It’s a small difference, but it is a difference. 😀 In between, I write short stories, I let ideas for other novels stew (I have two battling it out right now trying to be the next one) and I basically just build up the steam for the next novel. I firmly believe that I write so quickly because I take such long breaks in between in which I do nothing. It evens out, I think. <g>

Hope this answers your questions! And anyone else who has any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

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