Up, up and away! (one more time!)

I grew up on comic books, devouring the adventures of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman like candy. There were a lot of heroes I loved to follow, from Green Arrow to the Avengers to the X-Men, all of them taking place in a world something like our own but just *that* bit different. And by different I mean twisted enough to allow the existence of superheroes.

When I started writing the first in the “Blaze of Glory” trilogy I wanted to show a reason why superheroes would exist and battle on an almost daily basis with the good guys always winning but never quite managing to keep the bad guys in jail. And the bad boys (and girls) always somehow escaping to fight another day while the good citizens continued to work around this nonstop destruction and fighting. It took a bit of time to figure out the reason but I got it – all the fights were fixed!

By the time I got to the third book in the trilogy, “Heroes Lost and Found” releasing October 2nd, I knew there had to be some sort of final end in sight for our intrepid team of supers who had managed to break their chains and earn their freedom from their captors – a resolution and, in a way, a new life ahead of them. Which brings us to the final fight, the final battle for Jo and Hunter as they figure out who they are, where they are going and how they’re going to get there.

And which heroes are going to be lost along the way and which ones will rise to the challenge…

Heroes Lost and Found, Blaze of Glory, Book 3

Jo Tanis is still recovering from her near-death experience in Las Vegas when she receives a mysterious postcard from Harris Limox, who claims to have a promising lead on the whereabouts of the Controller. Over her boyfriend/guardian Hunter’s objections, she sets off to a sleepy Oregon town to ferret out the truth.

The Controller is more than just a disgruntled super. He’s a rogue Guardian who was presumed dead and is now armed with a slew of high-tech hardware that not only makes him physically superior to the supers—and therefore almost impossible to destroy—he’s got the ability to detonate the implants in the back of all supers’ necks.

In Oregon, Jo meets a surviving Alpha super, Kit Masters, whose wild plan to capture the Controller could put an entire town of innocents at risk. But instead of successfully talking her former idol out of his disastrous bid to regain former glory, Jo finds herself betrayed and trapped in her worst nightmare.

Fight her former teammates, or die.

This is it – the final fight. Lex Luthor vs. Superman, the Joker vs. Batman, Hulk vs…. well, everyone! Who lives, who dies and who gets to live happily ever after…

And who is, in the end, a superhero.

*****

RT Book Reviews says:

Heroes Lost and Found: 4 out of 5 stars “Brisk and playful, Nantus achieves the perfect balance between romance and explosive action…”

Heroes Without, Monsters Within: 4 out of 5 stars “This sequel … surpasses the storytelling of the original. Nantus knows how to work with setting; the scenes in Las Vegas are vivid and accurate while the supers’ secret lair is homey and comfortable.”

Blaze of Glory: 3 out of 5 stars “Nantus has crafted a superhero novel for the 21st century with a spunky, stubborn heroine…”

Why not grab them all and have the complete series on hand?

Six month Nook – ee Report!

Well, it’s been six months since the Wookie bought me my Nook and I thought I’d give a general update on to how I like/dislike it and what I’ve been doing with the darned thing!

First, I spent the extra money to get the extended warranty and spent a goodly amount to get a fine leather cover from Oberon Designs – highly recommend them for their notebook covers, Nook covers, Kindles… you get the idea. Black oriental dragon, just so you know. And it’s wearing wonderfully well and I love the feel!

So, as to the content…

B&N has totally won me over with their free books. Every Friday I get at least one free ebook, if not more. During the summer they ran a huge promotion of their classics – most of which are in the public domain, yes, but these are formatted for the Nook AND have a nice foreword and intro like the printed version, so it’s a nice drop in my archive. The free books range from pulpy goodness to recent releases to westerns to mysteries which is all good – along with the usual promotions that Samhain and other publishers have put out I’ve got over 100 ebooks… of which I’ve only bought about five or six.

Seriously.

And LEGALLY.

Please don’t get me started on ebook piracy. I know my titles are up there and it grates on me that people don’t want to give me even a freaking buck for my hard work or that of my publisher and editor and cover artist.

But I digress.

I’ve picked up a subscription to the New York Times Book Review and am really enjoying it – I’d never see it around here in paper form, so getting it dropped into my Nook/PC for Nook’s mailbox each week is totally faboo!

Just picked up the new Tim Gunn book along with a book on the Zen in Basho’s Haiku – yes, I read that sort of stuff. And while some of the ebooks are a bit pricy I think the free ones tend to balance them out – aside from the fact that I want to read it now and not in hardcover for thirty bucks.

Dislikes?

The web browser is pretty useless. Slow to respond and you’ll spend hours trying to navigate the pages. Total waste of space. Along with the two games – Sudoku and Chess. Not that I don’t like the games, but it’s an ebook reader. Keep it as such, please.

Aside from that I can’t think of much else. I do recommend it to anyone who doesn’t want to play with the Amazon monster and who likes to get goodies from the Starbucks in the stores. I’ve gotten free cookies, chocolates and coffees. How great is that?

XD

So…. two dragon claws up for the Nook – at least for now!

Beware of False Profits, or, Ramblings of an Old Dragon Broad

Today I feel the urge to discuss, or at least toss out my views on, the Imminent Death Of Print Publishing.

Yeah, again.

*stifles yawn*

I remember, a thousand years ago when computers first crept onto the scene. The VIC20, with 20K of memory. Really. 20K. No one knew how to use that much memory!

Really.

*snerks*

Move on upwards and forwards, through the Commodore 64 and the PC and the Mac and now I’m sitting here working on an “old” laptop that has more memory in it than the mainframes I used in highschool to program Basic onto punchcards. Yes, I’m *that* old.

And back then we had the prophets going forth, the ones announcing that paper was dead and that we’d be saving the Amazonian rain forests because we were weeks, maybe months away from having Star Trek-type of pads that would do everything for us and we’d never use paper again.

*looks around house*

Nope. Paper still here. Lots of it. Plenty of books, too.

In fact I’m not really sure that a single tree has been saved in the long run because everyone likes to have their records on paper, somewhere, somehow. The receipt from the bookstore. The check for that stereo system. That textbook that isn’t out in ebook form and that you’ve marked up with highlighters to the point that an unmarked page is a rarity.

Which is not to say that the ebook isn’t springing into the forefront of the literary world. Indeed, sales increase every time you turn around and people are picking up ebook readers or downloading programs onto their iPhones or laptops or whatever to read from.

But is it the End of Print Publishing, as some self-proclaimed prophets would have you believe?

I don’t know. I don’t think so. And unlike these people who would have you believe that we’re one short hop, skip and jump away from demolishing the NYC publishing industry, I can’t make a prediction.

And neither can they.

Now, I can make a guess, based on the fact that I *did* work for Penguin Books Canada back in the day and now am on the other side of the fence, having books published in ebook form AND in print form. But whatever I say it’ll still be a guess. I think that ebooks will continue to grow and take up a good hunk of the market but print will never go out of style.

Why?

Because people like the touch of books. I know, that’s the usual mantra given. But let me point out other factors.

Many, MANY books will never go into ebook format for a variety of reasons, from the authors not wanting to give permission to the publishers to the cost of putting them up for sale as an ebook to there just not being that much demand. If I’m looking for an obscure nonfiction author I’ll have better luck finding a print copy than hoping it comes up on Amazon eventually as an ebook. And, again, a lot of authors aren’t racing to put their backlist up because of the threat of piracy along with concerns about royalties, etc.

So print books will still be around. But publishers?

Sure.

Despite what some of the prophets want you to believe, not everyone in publishing is a drooling idiot who can’t understand what an ebook is or how to program their VCR or whatever passes for a dumb person these days. These men and women are trained professionals who spend years learning their art – be it editing, creating cover art for the books or sales. They didn’t just drop off the turnip truck and fall into their positions. And they like to make money. Lots of money. Which goes back to being professionals who want to sell their product.

They know what ebooks are. They’re not ignoring the trend or sticking their collective heads in the sand or whatever rumors are put out there, they’re having meetings and discussing options and doing what they do – figuring out how to sell lots of books. Both ebook and print. And just because they’re not calling up Joe Author and telling them what their plans are doesn’t mean there aren’t any. Remember, these people are in the business of making money.

Rumor: “All the brick and mortar stores are closing!”
My thought: No, they’re not. The economy sucks for them, but it’s a DEPRESSION, folks. Books are still a luxury for many and I’d be surprised if library use hasn’t gone up as people cut back. And it’s an illogical jump to go from “they’re not buying print books!” to “they’re buying ebooks instead!” Think it over.

Rumor: “Screw the trad publishers! Go indie and get rich!”
My thought: I’d rather be writing. I don’t want to negotiate distribution with different warehouses, design cover art, write blurbs, edit and handsell my book. I’d rather be writing and leave it to those professionals who know how and what they’re doing. I think it’s worth “paying” my publisher with a cut of my royalties for excellent cover art, a sales force that will sell more books through their connections than I can EVER do by begging on the Amazon boards or spamming people on Facebook and get reviews from people who I’m not begging to trade reviews with.
And for all the money these prophets are making – how much of that goes right back into their sales effort? And how successful do you think the majority of them are, selling a full-length novel at $0.99? In the middle of thousands of other “indie” authors who are putting up their unedited tomes on Amazon and hoping to strike it rich?
It’s like the California Gold Rush – many will try, few will succeed. And many will follow the rantings of some who just don’t like the idea of having to answer to anyone for their writing – an editor, a cover artist who may know what appeals to the public, a salesperson who may have more connections than you do.

Do I think that ebooks are the future? Sure – to a degree. But I’d still want to have my books come out in print, from a recognized publisher with good cover art, decent distribution and a good reputation in the field. But that’s me, an old broad who just wants to write and not spend hours doing stuff that I know I’m not good at and won’t get good at because I don’t have years of training to do it.

The death of print? Don’t believe it. Don’t believe the self-proclaimed prophets leading scads of anxious, desperate authors to their doom by encouraging them to ignore publishers and toss their work up on Amazon. If you go that route do your homework and decide on your own.

But, hey… what do I know?

Nothing.

Which makes me as qualified as the next person to rant, eh?

😉

Getting some Nook-eh? And other ramblings… oh, another contest!

Well, I’ve decided to give in to my baser instincts and get myself a Nook. The Wookie is, to be precise, for my birthday since I’m supposedly so hard to buy for. *laughs*

The reason is pretty simple – I’m just too tired to keep reading ebooks off of the laptop screen and I must admit, I’m enticed by the idea of being able to use the Nook to read my fellow authors’ works along with the ebooks I have now, in a decent format.

Why I went with a Nook instead of a Sony or a Kindle? Well, the Sony, while much cheaper, seems to have much less support in the long run. The Kindle? I just can’t get excited about Amazon. Not to mention that I like the idea of playing with something before I buy it (insert joke here) and at least I can walk into any Barnes & Noble and see the product and use it. And they’ve updated the software twice since it first came out, which shows a committment to keeping the product fresh. I don’t know if Kindle is dong the same, but… and I don’t need a keyboard on the screen. The Nook *does* have one, which makes it work for me.

And, of course, I want a fancy cover. That’ll be next month. Check this baby out!

Squee!

Next rambling – Anne Scott, one of the Samhain editors, is running her own contest for SF&F authors! And yes, “Blaze of Glory” is up for one of the giveaways! Check out her blog here and see what great stories Samhain has to offer!

Less than two weeks until “Blaze of Glory” hits the virtual stands!

🙂

Ebooks for Idiots! (for Read an E-Book Week!)

I’ve decided today to give you the benefit of my limited, silly ground bits of knowledge on the mystery that is, ebooks.

Yeah, yeah, I know – you’ve got it all figured out. Probably so, but bear with this old broad as she puts down some thoughts on electronic paper for those who may just not be as fast as you are.

Which would be, me.

😉

Ebooks come in a dizzying number of formats. Amazon’s Kindle has one, Sony has one, Barnes and Noble has one, everyone has one. Why? Because they want you to buy ONLY from their store. Thus the inability for you to transfer files from one format to the other. Unless you’re a hacker, in which case you are loved and adored by many a friend who weeps over their loss when they change readers.

Now, most ebook publishers will sell you an ebook in a variety of formats so that you *can* put it on your favorite ebook reader. That’s why when you buy a book you get a huge zip file containing formats that you never knew existed. Or you get to choose the specific format you need and the epublisher sends it to you. Seems to me that the best, and simplest one around is PDF format – used by plenty of other files for other reasons, and thus most people already have the ability to read it on their laptop/mainframe computer.

Which brings me to the next point – ebook readers. I am still too poor to buy one and even if I wanted to, I refuse to pay more than $99 for something that basically does nothing but give me books. If I want something to multitask, I’ll take the money from the Nook or Sony or Kindle and put it into a netbook with Windows when I can read everything without fear of formatting and the like. It blows my mind that no one has yet put out a nice little reader without the bells and whistles. I don’t need an MP3 player, I don’t need to store videos and pictures, I just want to be able to read my ebooks. Yeah. I’m an idiot.

😉

And, finally… what do you read it with?

Let me point you to what is, right now, my bestest friend for ebook reading. Calibre.

Let me say that again.

CALIBRE

Calibre is a FREE ebook program for your computer that lets you read almost every format there is under the sun, at present. You can tag your books, sort by publisher or author, skim the covers (if you have a wireless connection) and basically does everything I want in a reader.

FOR FREE.

You also have the option of the Kindle for PC. This is great if you want to take advantage of all the great FREE ebooks being offered by publishers like, say, Samhain, every month. (Go Misty Evans!) The only caveat here is that you do have to have an online connection to read the books – if you don’t, you can’t.

Barnes & Noble also have theNook application for PC. I haven’t used this at all, since I found it pretty clunky the first time I tried it. But they also offer free books, so…

And where do you find free books that aren’t linked to a bookstore? Well, try Smashwords – yes, that’s my page. Shoot me. *laughs* There’s also Scribd  – you can find specific types of books at the Baen Free Library or at Suvudu Free Library. There’s plenty of free books out there for you to take a look at and enjoy.

Which brings me to piracy. Of course.

Please, please, please do not accept books from sources that you know to be illegal. I can start on a rant here about how you’re taking money out of MY pocket and my publisher’s pocket and go on, but you know it’s wrong. You know that it’s not right to go to a pirate site and have some badly-scanned mess of my book downloaded onto your computer with God knows what sort of viruses or spyware or whatnot along for the ride.

Please don’t do it. Tell your friends not to do it, please. If you’re that desperate for a copy of my book, write me an email detailing your argument and I *might* send you a free copy. No promises, but I’d rather you present your argument in a logical form and convince me of why you can’t spend the price of a large coffee from Starbuck’s.

’nuff said.

the idiot retires….
😉

Well, the Nook is out.

And, Lord help me, I’m sorely tempted.

Even though it doesn’t do full color. I do like the idea of not being tied to a single format and that I can take all my PDF and ePub books from my laptop and put them on without anyone running shotgun or paying for it.

I do like the fact that I’ll be able to go to a B&N in a month or so and TOUCH one. Beats the heck out of ordering blind from Amazon. Not to mention that while I like Amazon for some things, the idea of them knowing exactly what I have on my Kindle and the ability to scrub it at a moment’s notice doesn’t sit well.

But the price.

Eep!

Still… we’ll see. I’m liking it so far.

And sweet video!

Kindle take-backs…

Interesting article here about what Amazon’s policy is, regarding what they can and can’t remove from the Kindle. Not really much there, but they had to clarify due to the idiotic problem that happened with the Orwell book.

I’m of two minds here – first, obviously I’m not keen on anyone knowing or being able to know and delete what I would have on ANY ebook reader… but I feel for the Amazon folks, who had to do something or face a huge lawsuit by the Orwell estate due to money lost by these pirates that put up the book as their own. There should be better gatekeepers at Amazon, and I’m sure there are NOW to keep such nits from grabbing money due rightfully to authors and their estate, but Amazon was really caught between a rock and a hard place and deleting the book from all Kindles that had purchased it was the lesser of two evils. Still, their PR department really sucked when it came to communication about same, and they should really be picking up the slack and assuring the public that it’s not going to be a mad rush to delete books whenever someone at Amazon gets a bee in their bonnet about something. Well, it’s a brand new world out there and someone’s got to start somewhere…

Good Lord.

"Bee in their bonnet".

I truly am getting old…

😉

I saw, I touched… I wasn’t impressed.

So over the weekend, the Wookie and myself found ourselves in Best Buy, picking up some ink for the dearly-abused printer and, of course, a copy of Wolverine for our DVD rack.

And just as I was whining about the lack of ebook readers… we tripped across the Sony Ebook reader display. Set, of course, in the middle of the CD area, beside the video game section.

Sigh.

The Pocket version was there, at $199, as well as the Touch version with the larger screen, for $299. So we touched, we poked, we looked at them.

Not. Impressed.

First, the Touch model, which was a wee bit larger by an inch for the screen, seemed to be stuck in the screensaver mode. It wouldn’t go anywhere other than run through the ads, which made us both nervous. How much abuse had this poor thing had since it was installed that it would be broken already?

The Pocket was nice, but we noticed one thing right off the top – the font on the Pocket seemed to be just that little bit clearer than the one flashing by on the Touch model next to it. Hmm… Flipped through some of the books listed; had Hitchhiker’s Guide which looked nice…

Then I looked to one side, and about thirty feet away lay the netbooks.

At less than $300.

Color screen, LARGER screen, keyboard and a full computer.

Hurm.

Along with no worries about compatability, having to deal with a cranky system, and having an object that could only do ONE thing. And that wasn’t even in color…

So, I’m temporarily out of luv with the Sony ebook reader. Nice, but I’m holding out for the Asus EE which appears to be color and have a paperback book format – we’ll see how that goes. And, again, price is the breaker for me. If I can get a netbook for the same price… why would I buy a Kindle/Sony ebook reader/etc…

so it goes…