Kindle – first impressions

My dear friend Alan bought me a Kindle for my birthday.  My birthday was in December and, so far, the only book I’ve downloaded is Just Friends With Benefits.  (Don’t roll your eyes and make like you wouldn’t download your book first too!)  Of course, I haven’t read JFWB on the Kindle because, at this point, I’d rather stick toothpicks in my eyes than read that book again.  Seriously.  I’ve read it so many times, I can act out all the parts in a one woman show.

Anyway, since I went to town (twice) at the Border’s ‘going out of business sale’ and purchased quite a few print books, I haven’t had the opportunity to try out my Kindle.  Until now.  The book-club I organize has chosen Chasing Harry Winston by Lauren Weisberger for the April meeting.  Although I really enjoyed Weisberger’s Everyone Worth Knowing, the back cover blurb for Chasing Harry Winston has never particularly appealed to me.  Although I could be mistaken, the three main characters seem like the type of women who wear only expensive designer labels, gather only in the most “seen and be seen’ types of places, date only rich and/or famous men and are just kinda snobby and I prefer reading about women to whom I can relate.  Aside from a few ‘cliquey’ years in college, I don’t think anyone has ever described me as snobby and since I try not to associate with snobby people, I had no desire to spend my money on a book to read about them.  Not to mention that I am running out of room in my apartment to fit all of these books.  (Yes, I know that’s what the library is for, but I’m sort of addicted to buying books.  I do have a library card and have actually used it (once) but I like to know that the book I want to read is available to me when I want to read it and I don’t have to wait for three strangers on the waiting list ahead of me to read and return it first.)

At last, the opportunity to use my Kindle had finally presented itself and I downloaded Chasing Harry Winston on Sunday night.  Correction – I paid for Chasing Harry Winston on Sunday night.  I nearly had a nervous breakdown when I clicked “Buy now with one click” on the Amazon page and received a confirmation receipt in my email account but no book appeared on my Kindle.  I tried to ‘sync and check for items’ but my Wi-fi password was rejected.  When I plugged the Kindle into my computer instead to avoid the necessity of a Wi-fi connection, I received an error message that I could not download and read books on my Kindle while the device was plugged into my computer.  So, I unplugged the Kindle and tried, once again, to do it wirelessly and once again my password was rejected.  Fast forward a half hour and I’m ready to throw my Kindle across my apartment. I dropped the f-bomb multiple times, sent frustrated text messages to my sister and Alan and finally, after succumbing to Tylenol PM, went to bed.  I used my firm’s Wi-fi password the next morning, the book was finally synced to the device and all was right in the world.  (I know I will likely suffer the same frustrations the next time I try to download a book from my apartment but hopefully I’ll have restocked my Tylenol PM by then, assuming I can’t get my hands on anything stronger (jk).)

Although JFWB was published by an e-publisher and, therefore, I should be all ‘Rah-Rah”, “Goooo E-books!”, I wasn’t quite sure I was going to like reading on my Kindle.  I like the feel of a book in my hands and the ability to physically turn the pages and watch my progress.  I also like the ease with which I can go backwards if I find myself confused.  Oh, let’s be honest: I’m just not that comfortable with change and I am simply accustomed to reading books in print.   

With that said, I started reading Chasing Harry Winston on my Kindle yesterday and am currently 20% completed.  I rather dig it!  It is definitely less bulky than a regular book.  I also like that I can only see one page at a time.  I’ve always liked writing on my Blackberry because the screen is so small that the task of filling it with words seems much less daunting than filling up a full-sized computer screen.  The same can be said with reading on a Kindle.  With each page I read, I feel like I am accomplishing something and I never felt that way when reading a regular book.  Finally, I tend to read ahead and, as a result, I have removed the surprise and suspense from the ending of many books.  You can’t simply flip through the pages in a Kindle book without completely losing your place (or at least I haven’t figured out how yet) and so I might actually be surprised by the ending for a change!   

In sum:  my first impression of reading on a Kindle is a positive one.  And my first impression of Chasing Harry Winston is pretty positive as well! 

What about you?  Are you Team Kindle, Team print book or a little bit of both like me?



St. Patrick’s Day inspiration

I am behind on my blogging, but I like to think I have a decent excuse.  I’ve had a very eventful couple of days.  One of my very best friends came down from Boston and stayed with me from Wednesday night until Saturday morning.  My friend and I (along with our other comrades in drinking) spent many a St. Patrick’s Day past doing the parade circuit (Belmar, Pearl River, Hoboken and NYC) and bar hopping.  (Some of us were actually Irish; most of us weren’t.)  But good times were always had by all and I probably have enough memories from various St. Patrick’s Days to write a novel or at least a novella.  Actually, one of my experiences inspired a scene in my second novel!  Anyway, it’s been several years since I took off from work to join in the festivities, but I hadn’t seen my friend in almost a year and we were both itching for an opportunity to perhaps visit the ghosts from St. Patrick’s Days past.  It is not possible to re-create history, but I’m pleased to report that we managed a sufficient amount of debauchery this past Thursday and I think our younger selves would be proud! 

In other news, since my friend wasn’t arriving until later on Wednesday night, I did not have to miss my weekly writer’s group.  I’m so happy it worked out that way, because I finished the first draft of my second novel that night!  I think.  Unlike my experience writing Just Friends With Benefits, I am not entirely certain the ending of my second novel works, so I plan to read the book from start-to-finish over the next few days and see.  But if I’m pleased with the ending, I’ll start my first round of edits.  It feels like I’ve been writing this second novel forever.  Probably because I stopped writing it several times to edit Just Friends With Benefits, once to add more description and once when I received the publishing contract.  But even with the interruptions, it actually took only about a year and a half to write the first draft.  That’s not too shabby considering I work full time as a trademark paralegal, have an active social life and cherish my down time.

I’ll be busy revising my new book for a long time as well as continuing to promote Just Friends With Benefits, writing blogs, etc. but I’m already concerned because I do not have an idea for a third book yet.  (My premature worrying should come as no surprise to those people who know me well.)  It’s just that I came up with the premise of my second book while writing my first.  I wasn’t even thinking about it and so I sort of expected it to be that way with Book No. 3.  But so far – nuttin!  While a few ideas have popped into my head, I’m not excited about any of them and fear I only have two books in me.  Say it isn’t so!  I am truly inspired by those prolific authors who seemingly release a new book every six months!  

I sincerely love writing books.  It is so much fun for me to step outside of my own life and create a fictitious world and characters to inhabit it.  I’m actually fairly confident there is another story somewhere in my overactive noggin.  But if I have to take off more days from work and drink beer for further inspiration, I’m pretty certain my friend from Boston could be persuaded to tag along! 


happy endings (in books)

The reason I put “in books” in parenthesis, is because, having a dirty mind, my first thought when I hear the phrase “happy ending” is not of Cinderella-like fairytales.  And since I know many of you have dirty minds too, I wanted to clarify at the outset so you could get your minds out of the gutter.

Moving on….

The first draft of my second novel is almost complete and I am currently writing the conclusion and debating whether to give my main character the happy ending she so badly wants.  The thing is, we don’t always get what we want in real life.  And sometimes, getting what we want doesn’t make us happy.  Other times, what we want isn’t even healthy for us.  Take me for instance. I’ve wanted many things that weren’t good for me.  Back in college, I wanted to be 100 pounds at 5″5′ but I had to starve myself to get there.  In the late 90s, I wanted to impress my law firm by billing more hours than every other paralegal in my department, but I had to sacrifice my social life to get there. And through the years, I’ve had crushes on a couple of homosexual men.  None of them were openly gay but for obvious reasons, they didn’t return my affection.  

So why should my character get her happy ending when I haven’t always gotten mine and when, in ‘the real world’, she might not?

I guess the reason is that most people read books for escape, certainly those people in my target audience. Some readers like to live vicariously through the characters in a book and when the characters are happy, so is the reader.  For this reason, chick-lit novels, with some exceptions, always have happy endings.  Not necessarily predictable cookie-cutter endings and not necessarily what the reader is expecting but generally, conflicts are resolved in such a way that the reader feels warm and fuzzy when she’s finished.  And while suspending reality is often necessary to some degree, most readers recognize this and gladly oblige.   

While to a certain extent, I have no control over my own fate, as an author, the destiny of my characters rests in my hands.  While it’s pretty cool to invent a whole life for someone, there were moments when writing Just Friends With Benefits when one hand was trying to forcibly remove the other hand from the keyboard because I knew my main character was making a huge mistake. But for the better of the book and for the development of my character, I had to let her make errors in judgment and learn from her mistakes in order to better appreciate the good things she had coming to her.  When all was said and done, I wrote a happy ending for Stephanie Cohen.  It was not the one I had initially intended or the one I think my audience necessarily guessed, but there was definitely some warm-fuzziness in the house at the end.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I’ve thought about writing a sequel but I don’t want to screw with Stephanie’s world when I think she wound up exactly where she was meant to be. 

Chances are the main character in my second novel will get her happy ending too.  Maybe not in the way she wants, but in the way she deserves.   

In closing, I wish all of you happy endings.  With or without “in books” in parenthesis.


Chick-Lit Writer’s Blog

What’s the connection between my dear departed Nanny Tessie and Adena Halpern’s novel, “29”?  Read my post on the Chick-Lit Writer’s Blog and find out!