I’m thrilled to announce that Deep Justice, #3 in the Karma series, is available as of last night. And it’s flying up the charts already, joining my first Silo story The Sky Used to be Blue, and my second, Cleaning Up. Be prepared… this one has a lot of action. We see a side of Karma never encountered before.
It is an amazing time to be a writer! If anyone reading this is thinking about writing, DO IT. It’s never been easier and more accessible to the average (poor) person. I’ll be adding another blog post about self-publishing soon. Watch this space.
And as to the Karma series… there are two more parts to come! If you’d like to be notified the minute they are released (or even before) please give me your email address here, and I’ll let you know. No worries that I will abuse your trust.
[Credit to David Gaughran at Let’s Get Digital for plugging this worthy cause on his blog — I have reproduced his post here]:
Chronic under-funding of school libraries has led to the tragic spectacle of empty shelves, leaving children with nothing to read; but a new initiative called Fill The Shelves hopes to change all that.
This story starts in a Pennsylvania K-8 school called Pittsburgh Manchester, where the librarian – Sheila May-Stein – decided to do something about the empty shelves in her own school.
Last month, Sheila posted that photo to the Facebook wall of University of Pittsburgh professor Jessie Ramey, who then wrote about the problem on her education blog Yinzercation, along with ways that people could help – including ordering books from an Amazon Wish List.
Then things went a little viral. That Facebook photo spread like wildfire. They got coverage from their local newspaper. CBS Pittsburgh came out and did a story. Neil Gaiman, Laurie Halse Anderson, and Newsroom’s Alison Pill got involved, tweeting and blogging about Manchester’s empty shelves, leading to thousands of hits.
And books started turning up on Sheila’s doorstep – from all over the world.
In a matter of days, over 800 books had been donated to Manchester’s kids.
The internet is a wonderful thing and can make a real difference to people’s lives – especially when it helps to drive good causes like this one.
However, Manchester is only one school and the issue of underfunded school libraries is widespread. The success of Sheila’s campaign got a group of authors thinking: what if we set up a website that could help lots more schools?
Fill The Shelves is a simple, but brilliant, idea. The website lists a number of schools that are in the same situation that Manchester faced – years of under-funding, empty shelves and no books for kids to read.
You can read all about the schools that need your help, see pictures of those bare shelves, and, most importantly, help to fill them. Here’s the homepage for Fill The Shelves.
Each school librarian has provided an Amazon Wish List detailing the particular books that their kids need, and readers can choose which books they would like to purchase on behalf of the school. Amazon handle the transactions, and the books get delivered straight to the school librarian.
In just two weeks, Fill The Shelves has restocked the libraries of three under-funded schools: Southside Elementary School in Jonesboro, Louisiana; Jorge Mas Canosa School in Miami-Dade County, Florida; and Downsville Charter School in Downsville, Louisiana.
Here’s what Southside Elementary School had to say:
Southside Elementary School was bombarded with boxes and boxes of fabulous books today. The poor UPS guy didn’t know what to think as he hauled them in on the dolly.
Our students were very excited and could not contain themselves as I opened boxes and showed them each book. The ‘oohs and aahs’ were heard all around as excitement filled the air. One student wanted to know if it was my birthday. LOL!
I then explained how wonderful people across the nation had so much faith in them they wanted to make sure they had plenty of great books to read! I read the notes that came from the gifters and with eyes wide, the students would repeat the state the sender was from in awe.
They couldn’t believe this many people cared enough to bless them with so many books and they can’t wait until the books are logged, labeled and ready to read! Thank you to everyone who has made this happen for my students and our school.
That’s over $5,000 of books sent via Amazon Wish Lists in a matter of days. But so many more schools need our help. Right now, there are three more schools on Fill The Shelves that desperately need books for their kids.
How can you help?
1. Buy books. On the Fill The Shelves website, there are three schools with empty shelves that need filling. You can read all about the respective schools here, and choose the books you would like to purchase from their Amazon Wish Lists. The books you purchase will be automatically delivered straight to the respective school librarians.
2. Share this blog post. Just as important as buying books is spreading the word. We need to get this message out to as many people as possible. Share this post on Twitter, Facebook, and the rest of your social networks (there are buttons on the bottom to make this easy for you). Please also share news of this initiative with any school librarians you know that might be in need of help. While Fill The Shelves have several schools in the pipeline, there are plenty more out there that need assistance. Contact details are on the website, or you can email contactfilltheshelves [AT] gmail.com
3. Use the affiliate code for Fill The Shelves. All book links on the Fill The Shelves website have an Amazon affiliate code attached. 100% of this money is plowed back into buying books for schools from their Wish Lists. If you are buying anything on Amazon, clicking through on this link first will attach the affiliate code – meaning roughly 5% of the cost of anything you purchase will go towards buying books for kids.
If you are an author, you can also add the affiliate code to your own book links. If you want to do this, simply add this to the end of your link:
British author and winner of the prestigious Whitbread Prize for Literature, Joan Brady, made these provocative statements in an article in the UK’s online version of The Daily Telegraph:
“…lowbrow ‘pulp’ such as ‘celebrity biographies… and porn’ will ‘disappear into e-books.’
“Your Rolex watch? It’s a statement. A four-wheel drive? A statement. That’s what the books in your house are too.”
Odd! I thought books were for reading, not for placing on a shelf to prove your erudition. [Erudition: extensive knowledge acquired chiefly from books: profound, recondite, or bookish learning. And though I love the heft of a great big print dictionary, I got that definition online instantly.]
I had my first-generation Kindle ereader for about a year before I used it much… I really wanted that Kindle, and as soon as I heard that such a device was coming out, I asked my then-fiance and kids to buy me one for Christmas. They did, and though the Kindles sold out fast that year, mine was pre-ordered and I got one of the very first ones. Then it sat around for about a year while I continued to buy and read old-fashioned paper books.
But eventually I picked up that original Kindle… which is now rather like a Model T of ereaders. Sometime later I began publishing my own books and those of others electronically, persuaded by all the advantages and control available to new indie authors. Now that I have both the classic Kindle and a Kindle Fire (my husband graciously reads the old black-and-white) I am a complete convert.
I acknowledge the value of print books. I was in a bookstore yesterday for the first time in a while, marveling at ALL that paper, and the outrageous expense of producing it, but also the beauty of these objects, and some of the positive aspects of a simple, non-technical solution to the desire to share stories. We will always have print books, despite their limitations.
But I prefer ebooks and ereaders. Let me count the ways:
1. Ebooks are lighter (for many books).
2. Ebooks are cheaper (nearly always, once you have your reading device).
3. You can choose your font size (increasingly important as we age).
4. There is an infinite selection of books available at a touch.
5. A reader has the ability to chat with others in real-time about ebooks and the reading experience.
6. The content of an ebook is updatable.
7. There can be, and will increasingly be, brilliant, light-filled color photos.
8. No trees are destroyed.
9. Instant gratification — you are able to order a new book and start reading it in seconds!
(Love the last best — I can finish Book #2 of The Hunger Games at midnight and give in to the irresistible urge to buy Book #3 in the blink of an eye!)
But I ain’t sayin’ nothin’ about that 50 Shades book. Oh, all right, I was curious. I read the sample. And I couldn’t figure out what all the fuss was — it wasn’t even very dirty, and it certainly wasn’t very well-written. So I had to buy the first one, of course, and then I was still curious, so I bought the second. By then, my curiosity was sated. And yes, it was dirty. And after a while, not all that interesting. Perhaps that’s the porn Ms. Brady is talking about.
But ebooks being just for pornography? Hardly.
Here’s when we’ll know that ebooks are the thing. When the word “book” simply means ebook, and one has to use a term like print book or paper book to identify the old-fashioned kind.
Oh, and here’s the kicker to the story in The Telegraph: Ms. Brady’s new book, The Blue Death, to which she is naturally trying to draw attention with her provocative statements, is available as an ebook!
I note that her book, a kind of political thriller, costs $14.99 via Kindle, $3.00 more than the paperback costs. Currently, it has no reviews on her U.S. Amazon page. I guess she doesn’t object that much to ebooks and ereaders… but perhaps she is not having much success electronically.
My political thriller, RUNNING, has 51 reviews, a 4.4 star rating, and has been downloaded 50,000 times. Oh, and it’s on sale for $2.99 right now.
And though it does have a bit of sex, it’s not porn.
P.S. That first photo above is me, looking at my Kindle Fire, in front of my library of old-fashioned books, being funny. But I’m not reading porn!
(Not that you would know, right?)
See comments for a response from Joan Brady herself.