Monday, May 5, 2008

The Kindle, Iron Man and Percy Jackson

Greetings! I plan on updating my blog more regularly than I've been doing. The last six months were very hard with my grandmother being ill and then passing away. It's time to get back on a regular schedule. She would have wanted it that way.

The Kindle

I'm sure most of you reading this blog are technologically savvy and I'm sure you've heard about the Kindle. It's taking the world by storm. I just saw this weekend that has caught up with its orders and now the Kindle is available right away. I read somewhere that it was taking from two weeks to a month to get the Kindle when the supply was short. It's good to know they've caught up.

The Kindle, in my opinion, is going to revolutionize the publishing industry. I am so excited by what this new technology promises. No more huge inventories to have to maintain. This is going to save a lot of trees! No more waiting for days or weeks until a book is delivered to your door -- you can have it in the blink of an eye. No more having to hunt for a dictionary to look up a definition for an unfamiliar word -- the Kindle has a built-in dictionary. What a wonderful tool this can become for college students, or even more importantly, for backpack-laden, sore schoolchildren around the globe. Imagine having all your textbooks in something the size of a paperback book -- and you can highlight in it, take notes and even store additional, supplemental resources there, too. Some backpack companies may feel the pain with the advent of the Kindle.

Many years ago when I was first working on The Heart of a Father, I envisioned an eBook version of the book. I could see us having photos, videos and even music all in a book. I was thrilled to think of what it would look like, feel like and sound like, even though the prospect of learning about all of that was daunting. With the Kindle on the market now, I wonder how that will change the way I see our book? I already discussed this with my marketing vice president and we've agreed we need to make our book available on the Kindle. I'm curious about what exactly that will mean.

As I learn and discover more about this phenomenal publishing format, I'll keep you all posted.

Iron Man

This weekend Alexander and I went to see Iron Man with some friends of his. The movie was excellent. In fact, it was so good, Alex went to see it the next night with his dad. He enjoyed it even more for seeing his dad's enjoyment.

As our children age, it's so easy to step back and step away from them. Their taste in books, music and movies is often different from our own. But I think that's an even more important reason for us to share, share, share.

Homeschooling allows me more opportunities than most parents have for sharing. Almost everyday Alex and I read aloud together. When I was homeschooling Joey, too, I went though a long phase of reading nothing but Newbery books or classics. When Joey left the homeschool, Alex got a twinkle in his eye and said, "Now we can read what we want to read!" I found this very funny, but also on target. His brother is not a lover of fantasy and science fiction like Alex and I are so he wouldn't have appreciated the books we've shared over the last year and a half.

We started with the entire Narnia series. Of course we enjoyed the movie when it came out, too. We read the Snow Spider trilogy by Jenny Nimmo. Then we moved on to the Eragon series (and its movie!). Because of my book club, I was able to throw The Pearl by John Steinbeck in the mix, too. Lately we've been reading the Charlie Bone books.

Hollywood really needs to make some movies based on the Charlie Bone books. They are great. In between all of that reading aloud we also shared books that we read to ourselves -- most notably the Percy Jackson series.

What I loved about Iron Man was his message: It doesn't really matter what you do in life, how rich you are or how famous you become if you don't do something for someone else. This is something that I talk to Alex about a lot. I believe Alex's life has a purpose. His life has inspired so many people. In some ways, Alex is an Iron Man. I found it fascinating how the character's weakness -- and then his strength -- dealt with his heart. Just like Alex.

Percy Jackson

I wrote about Alex and me meeting Rick Riordan months ago. Lucky Alex gets to meet with him again! My friend, Cristy, has graciously offered to let Alex accompany her family to another book signing by Rick Riordan. I am jealous! Joey has a German National Honor Society Induction ceremony the same night at the same time, so I can't possibly go to both.

I'm going to ask Cristy to take a picture and I'll post it on the blog for you all to see. Mr. Riordan really inspired Alex. It was after he met this awesome writer than he came home and really started writing with a passion. Hearing Mr. Riordan say that the hardest thing for him is to actually finish a book was something that Alex could relate to. Now when he gets stuck on his story, we discuss how even famous authors feel the same way and how you just have to slog through it sometimes.

Just recently Alex and his father (Frank) joined a writers' group in Austin. The group meets specifically to talk about science fiction and fantasy writing. Alex came home so psyched after that meeting that I couldn't get him to bed until after midnight! He was too busy editing his outline and a chapter of his book. When he goes to the next meeting, he's bringing two chapters of his book to share in public -- something he's never done before. I'll keep you all posted on how it goes.

I hope all of you have something to be excited about, something to be passionate about and something to share with others today.



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