Day: November 15, 2015

Sunday, 15 November 2015

10:48 – We’ve gotten started on packing stuff up for the move. For the last six months or more, I’ve been saving boxes from incoming shipments from Amazon, Walmart, and our science kit vendors, so we have literally hundreds of good boxes of various sizes. I think we’ll have enough to pack everything up, but then I’m an optimist.

We plan to make the move in stages, carrying vehicle loads up each time we go. We’ll take enough stuff up the day we close to let us spend the night up there, including the dorm refrigerator, spare vacuum cleaner, munchies and drinks, clothing, our air mattress, bedding, and so on. That and large trash bags, cleaning supplies, and other stuff we’ll need to get the place emptied out. And, of course, a large supply of shelf-stable food and bottle water. Furniture, boxes of books, and other heavy/bulky stuff will go via a moving company once we’re ready for it, and we’ll reverse things so that we have what we need to camp out at the old house while we’re getting it ready to go on the market.

We’ve gotten science kit inventory built up sufficiently that it should cover us through the moving process. We also have sufficient subassemblies built up to allow us to build another several dozen kits on the fly. We’ll move half our inventory up to the new place and leave half here so that we can ship from either place.

I re-joined Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program the other day. I never transfer books to our reading Kindles via Wi-Fi because trying to use Wi-Fi on either of those Kindles causes them to crash and require a reset to factory defaults, wiping out all the data including categories. The first time that happened on Barbara’s Kindle she was upset; the second time she was livid. So now I always download Kindle books to my hard drive and then transfer them via USB.

The problem with KU is that it doesn’t offer the USB transfer option when you “buy” a book. You have to specify the Kindle you want it transferred to via Wi-Fi and then go back in and download it to the hard drive. It’s a PITA, but it works.

The problem with doing that is that the author doesn’t get paid. Formerly, Amazon paid the author the full royalty once someone had read at least 10% of the book. They changed that a month or so ago. Now they pay $0.006/page starting with the first page. Fortunately for authors, Amazon is pretty liberal about defining a page. A book that’s 200 pages in print is considerably longer in terms of Kindle page count. So if I read through 300 Kindle pages, the author earns a $1.80 royalty. The problem is that if I’ve transferred that book to my Kindle via USB, Amazon has no way to know that I’ve read even one page because I don’t let my Kindle connect via Wi-Fi to Amazon.

Right now, I’m reading Theresa Shaver’s Stranded series. I wanted to make sure she got paid, so last night I brought up book 2 in the series on my Fire and swiped my way through the whole book. So Amazon now knows I’ve read the book, and Theresa gets paid. Of course, Amazon also keeps track of how fast people read the books, so they now think I read at something like 30,000 words/minute. Call it one page/second. I do read very fast, but not quite that fast.

Shaver, incidentally, writes pretty well for a beginning author. There are some minor issues with to/too, that/which, and so on, but the books are readable. She needs to work on writing dialog as well and she has a tendency to explicate, but she shows some real potential as a writer. The novels are aimed at young adults, so of course her main characters are all teenagers. Shaver is Canadian, which comes through in her attitude. It’s actually refreshing to read PA novels written by a Canadian woman rather than an American man. The tone is very different. Canadians are famous for being polite and helpful, and that comes through in Shaver’s books.

Interestingly, Shaver apparently was not a prepper when she started writing this series and wasn’t even aware that there was a prepping movement in Canada. As she researched and wrote the series, she found herself becoming more and more a prepper. She’s a bit canny about the details, but she did say in an interview that she has “87 cans of spam, 4 gigantic just add water bags of pancake mix and a hundred bottles of duty free booze in my basement…bring it on, I’m sooo ready!”

At any rate, if you enjoy PA fiction, give Shaver a try. The first book in the Stranded series is regularly $0.99 but it’s available on Amazon at the moment for $0.00. I grabbed it the other day because Amazon recommended it. When I checked her author page, I learned she was based in south-central Alberta, about an hour from Heartland, so I just had to give her books a try.

I mentioned this series to Barbara while we were on our way up to Sparta, NC the other day. Barbara retired from our library system after 20 years as a public librarian, and I remember her talking back then about young-adult novels. I thought those were characterized by an absence of explicit sex and strong language, so I was surprised when reading the first book to come across what most people would consider strong language, i.e. “motherfucker”. I doubt that anyone who reads my journal would be offended by that or any other language, but you have been warned. Barbara just shrugged it off and said that the definition of YA novels must have changed since she left the library system 15 years ago.

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