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Searching for the perfect tablet writing app
January 29, 2015 | 2:32 pm

productivityYou'll not the title says "searching." There's a reason for that. I've found an option that works, after a fashion, and I've found another app I intend to try, but I'm open to suggestions. Let me lay out the situation. I do my best fiction writing in coffee shops, so I've been on a hunt for an iPad app which does the following: 1. Syncs with little to no effort to my desktop 2. Has a clean interface with few distractions 3. Has a word count feature (semi-optional, but preferred) 4. Doesn't add formatting I have to remove when I transfer the text to Word. Word...

Morning Links: Indie authors quitting day jobs. iPad turns 5
January 29, 2015 | 9:00 am

ipad turns 5Indie Authors Quitting Their Day Jobs- 2015 (The Passive Voice) The most commented posts in the history of The Passive Voice have been those requesting the stories of  indie authors who have been able to quit their day jobs and live on their writing income. The first post is here and the second is here. *** Apple's iPad Turns 5: Has it Lived Up to Steve Job's 2010 Keynote? (Slate) Five years ago today, Steve Jobs introduced the iPad. At a time when the press and the public were wondering whether anyone really needed a third computing device, Jobs was remarkably clear-sighted about what...

Morning Links: Death of music sales. Lost your reading mojo?
January 28, 2015 | 9:00 am

death of music salesHarry Potter eBooks Now Available on Oyster (GoodeReader) Today, the company is proud to announce that they have reached an agreement with JK Rowling, to have the entire Harry Potter saga available. *** The Death of Music Sales (The Atlantic) If CDs are "dead," so is iTunes. *** Apple Reduces the Amount of Storage iOS Updates Require (GigaOM) In a more specific note, Apple said that this update reduces the amount of storage required to perform a software update. *** Have You Ever Lost Your Reading Mojo? (Dear Author) I received this email and I thought a lot of readers might feel this way. With Roma’s permission, I’ve republished...

Oyster acquires Harry Potter series
January 28, 2015 | 8:00 am

Oyster acquires Harry PotterOyster just scored a significant acquisition. It's only a handful of books, but they involve some popular characters. Yes, Oyster has the Harry Potter series, all seven of the main books plus the three Hogwarts Library books. Their release says it's the only subscription service to have all the books, and that's true if you are talking about the Library books. The seven main books are available through Kindle Unlimited, although the Library books are not. In honor of the occasion, Oyster had added four new themes, one for each of the Hogwarts Houses. You can select your House or tap on...

Tesco bails on Blinkbox, bids bye to Blinkbox Books
January 27, 2015 | 6:25 pm

blinkboxTesco has followed through on widespread predictions, and followed the sale of its Blinkbox video service and telecoms provider platform with the disposal of its other Blinkbox-branded online media ventures, including Blinkbox books. Tesco has sold its streaming music service, Blinkbox Music, to Australian streaming platform Guvera, as detailed in an announcement, which states that: "The acquisition of blinkbox Music will help significantly accelerate the growth of Guvera’s business.  Leveraging blinkbox Music’s deep technical, product, marketing and content expertise will allow Guvera to expand into Western Europe faster." The Bookseller, meanwhile, quoted a Tesco spokesperson saying that the Blinkbox Books service would...

Book review: Wild Fell, by Michael Rowe, ChiZine Publications
January 27, 2015 | 4:25 pm

Latest in a long line of superb dark/weird horrific titles from ChiZine Publications, Wild Fell by Michael Rowe tells the tale of the house of the title on Ontario's Blackmore Island, site of a tragic drowning that has haunted the local town of Alvina, and of other more mysterious events deeper in the past. The book's protagonist, Jameson Browning, purchases the house partly as a refuge from his own ghosts, only to find, sure enough, that other and worse ones await him there. The novel was a finalist for the 2013 Shirley Jackson Award, and Clive Barker, no less, has declared that: "this is...

Royal Literary Fund launches Writers Aloud podcast, blog
January 27, 2015 | 2:25 pm

The Royal Literary Fund, the UK charity set up to provide grants and pensions to writers either in financial distress or invalid, has launched a new podcast series and blog series, Writers Aloud, to publicize its work and the contribution of writers in general to the UK. On Twitter as @rlfwriters, the RLF counted down "to the launch of our extraordinary Podcast series, Writers Aloud. You're going to *love* it." The Writers Aloud project also gives the RLF the chance to fulfil its mission by paying writers to write, or at least broadcast about writing. "We give help to writers in many...

The Great Media Filtering Project of 2015
January 27, 2015 | 12:25 pm

amazon_wishlistIn today's Morning Links, I shared a GigaOM article on media habits. Meanwhile, on the other side of the internet was this Lifehacker story on how to cull an over-run Netflix queue. It seems media filtering is on people's minds! The GigaOM article sums it up thusly: "Creating web content is incredibly easy — but filtering content is really hard." And that is as true for books as it is for click bait, Netflix queues, or any other media type. So, if we agree that 'filtering' is a problem, what can we do about it? Our fine friends at Lifehacker have...

Back in the YooKay – and some thoughts on English English
January 27, 2015 | 10:25 am

Arc PublicationsI'm going back to the UK for a week from Hungary to touch base with family, friends and some things literary as well. Besides literary London and Gothic London, and Jane Austen's Hampshire, I'll also be trying to see some significant British writers and editors, and communing with something less tangible: The spirit of English English. In an international career that took me so far from my linguistic roots that people started to mistake me for an Australian, I've gone a long way round through Simpsonesque to pay homage to my native tongue, but with good reason. Because it retains an...

Morning Links: Illegal music file sharing virtually eliminated in Norway. Auditing media habits
January 27, 2015 | 9:00 am

file sharingRecording Industry Has 'Virtually Eliminated Illegal File-Sharing' In Norway -- By Offering Better Products (Techdirt) A countrywide survey in December 2014 showed that just 4% of Norwegians under 30 years still used illegal file-sharing platforms to get hold of music. *** 4 Lessons From Two Months of Selling Books (Book Riot) A few months ago, I was ecstatic to learn about a new indie bookstore opening in my neighborhood in Chicago. On a whim, I messaged the new owner to congratulate her, and to see if she would be hiring booksellers. *** Authors Playing the Long Game in a Tough Book Market (Digital Book World) In...

App Review: Smart AudioBook Player for Android
January 26, 2015 | 11:11 am

smart audiobook playerIt finally dawned on me late last year that Overdrive MP3 audio books are DRM-free. Yes, I'd known that fact on some level, but I still listened to the books in the Overdrive app, which is okay but not great. Plus it often takes me longer than three weeks to finish an audiobook, so I was only checking out short ones (less than 10 hours). Once I processed the implications of DRM-free audio books (Hooray! I can check out long books!), I started looking for an audiobook player app and found Smart AudioBook Player. It has great reviews and offers a...

Morning Links: Is Internet Addiction Real? Science of science fiction?
January 26, 2015 | 9:00 am

science fictionIs Internet Addiction Real? (GigaOM) The stories are numerous, yet extreme, and thus widely covered. You’ve probably heard at least a few. *** Spotify for Books: Authors and Publishers May Constrain the Rise of e-book Subscriptions (The Economist) The record companies tolerate music-streaming services like Spotify, which pay them only modest fees, because the alternative is a continued rise in music piracy—on which they earn nothing at all. However, piracy of e-books is not such a problem... *** Does the Science of Science Fiction Matter? (Book Riot) I love Neil deGrasse Tyson, so believe me when I say upfront that this isn’t a criticism of him–it’s just...