For some, Christmas is a wonderful time of year filled with joy and warmth. For others, it's a time of stress. Finding the right gift for someone you might only see a couple times of year can be challenging. But does it have to be? Should we search for hours at large retail stores for that perfect gift which may end up returned after Christmas? Isn't there a better way?
The country of Iceland seems to have a cool tradition which could easily solve that problem. Today, I learned about something called Jólabókaflóð. Essentially, it's an Icelandic tradition where people give each other books on Christmas Eve. That night, the books are read while drinking hot chocolate or a special Christmas ale. I don't know about you but I think I just found my new favorite holiday tradition.
Jólabókaflóð gets its origins from World War II where books were common gifts to give, as paper was one of the only commodities not being rationed for war time. Every year since 1944, the people of Iceland receive a bulletin featuring many books. They use this bulletin to order books for one another. Amazing, right?
Instead of buying random kitchen appliances or shirts that might not fit for extended family members, I think it would be neat to start buying books. The tradition I would love to start would be each member of the family buys a book, from their favorite local bookstore of course, and gifts it to someone else. From there, it can be handled like a Yankee Swap (Chinese gift exchange, White Elephant, or whatever you want to call it). At the end of the night, everyone has a book they should read at least one chapter of that night. It would be a great way to explore new authors and get into a better habit of reading.
Let's join Iceland in reading more books during this holiday season. Who else is thinking about following the Jólabókaflóð tradition? Are you thinking about making your own? Let me know what your plans are in the comments below! And, as always, thanks for reading!
P.S. You could always gift your family one of my books 😉 What? You thought I would write an article about gifting books and wouldn't try to slip in a promo?
You are able to read this right now because of the free and open internet we enjoy. In fact, the internet allows me to realize my dream and get my work out there for the world to see. You're only able to read it because of the open internet. Imagine if that were gone? How many of your favorite artists would cease to create? Without a platform in which to share their work, how could they? Millions of dreamers across this country would lose that dream. And many of you who support them and enjoy their content would lose out.
This is exactly the thing the current chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai, is trying to create. Listen, there have been a lot of articles floating around stating the "government has no business regulating the internet." Unfortunately, these articles are taking advantage of people who don't understand what the FCC actually did to protect the internet.
In 2015, the FCC passed a regulation known as Title II. This gave the FCC the power to keep companies such as AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast from throttling, blocking, or interfering with web traffic. What does that mean? Well, it means these corporations would not be allowed to slow down internet speeds, forcing you to pay more for higher connections. It also means they would not have the right to block content they did not agree with. The FCC is not "controlling" the internet the way they see fit. They are making sure it's being distributed fairly. In fact, they're stopping private companies from controlling it.
Pai is suggesting we hand control of the internet over to private companies and allow them to decide how to police it. That would be like allowing your neighbors the ability to arrest the people on their block. Would that power get abused? Maybe not. Maybe they would only arrest those who are actually breaking the law. But what happens when someone does something they just don't like? Maybe they don't like their new neighbors. Maybe they don't like the candidate you plan to vote for. Maybe they don't like the kind of car they drive. How long before they abuse that power? And with no consequences, what would it matter?
Right now, there's law to protect the internet and us from being taken advantage of. The only thing keeping us safe from losing the internet as we know it is Net Neutrality. Taking it away could also mean higher prices for the internet you already use. Imagine having to purchase your internet much like you would cable or a car. Would you just like the basic internet? You're able to browse a few selected websites and have access to email, only $29.99! Want to connect with friends and family? Get our social media package. Comes with access to Facebook, Twitter, and basic access to the web. Only $39.99! Want to watch videos and stream content? You need the entertainment package. Access to Youtube, Netflix, and more. Only $59.99! And with this bundle you get up to 55GB of data! What a great deal! *Access to data sold separate*
I think you get the point. We shouldn't have to pay more for the content we want to see online. We should have all access to it. Small businesses generate revenue and traffic from their online presence everyday. Artists create their work and use the web to distribute and advertise their art. Students use it to study. Families use it to connect. News outlets use it to inform. The internet is a much more powerful tool than many realize.
We need to save the internet as it is today. Keep Net Neutrality laws in place. Let's keep Pai and his lobbyists' hands off of the internet that we know and love. This weird, funny, loving, awful, wonderful, and passionate place where we can all thrive and explore. Call your congress representatives, send them an email, sign online petitions, even share this blog. Do anything! The FCC votes on this Dec. 12th. We can't allow Pai to win!
Click HERE to sign the online petition.
Click HERE to email your member of congress.
Click HERE, HERE, and HERE to learn more about Net Neutrality.
Here's the thing, self-publishing a book is hard work. If you're looking to make a quick and easy dollar, don't do it. It takes time to write a book, more time to edit, and even more time formatting. I can't tell you how many countless hours I've spent doing all three. But the book is never finished. Once the book is published, us indie authors have more work ahead of us with advertising and trying to get reviews and so on. Then, we write another book and the process starts all over again.
So, what's my point? Well, recently, I was informed of a local publishing company and decided to take a look. I thought, if they accepted one of my manuscripts it could help cut down on some of the time editing, formatting, and advertising and allow me to spend more time writing. When I looked up the company, however, I learned they were one of my least favorite types of publishing companies. So, here's my PSA below about why I dislike self-publishing companies.....
Personally, I use Kindle Direct Publishing and Smashwords.com. These are great because it allows me to maximize the platforms in which my books are published. KDP gets me on the Kindle, obviously, and Smashwords pretty much takes care of everything else. Yes, both companies take a percentage of my sales for their profit, which is understandable. What's not understandable is these self-publishing companies charging upwards of $800 for the same damn thing.
Look, if you prefer to go through these companies, that's fine, I'm not judging you. If it works for you, then great. But personally, I believe many of these companies are taking advantage of a market that a lot of indie authors aren't fully familiar with. Here's how many of them work:
In this way, these companies at least provide a service for which to keep everything in one organized place. One platform for all of your platforms. I'm sure this can be helpful but the price tag is too high for the service. They're majorly profiting off of your hard work and I think it's wrong. Yes, self-publishing can be a lot of work but it's also fun, challenging, and you learn a lot along the way.
If you're looking into the option of self-publishing, try and stay away from these companies. Trust me, they promise a lot and make it sound wonderful and simple but the truth is, doing it yourself can be too. And, you have the added bonus of not putting yourself deeply in debt before your book is even put on the digital shelves. Save that $800 for advertising!
Also, if you are looking for the option of self-publishing and don't know where to start, leave me a comment, send me and email, or DM me on social media and I can give you some tips. I might not be the expert but I've been doing it for a while now and I'm always learning. I'd be happy to teach you a few tricks. Maybe I'll do a blog post in the future outlining how to self-publish. Thanks for reading, everyone!
I just finished my first edit through my horror novella and I'm excited about the direction it's headed. When it's finally available, I know you will love it too. Like I've said before, it will be available this October but I guess it's time to give you and exact date. I can think of no better day in October than Friday, the 13th! Maybe we can have a horror themed launch party as well. More on that to come!
If you want a copy of Getaway, my horror novella, you will be able to preorder it soon. Everyone who is currently signed up for my monthly newsletter will be getting a copy for free! If you didn't sign up for the newsletter in time, there's other ways of getting the book. If you become a Patron at any level on my Patreon page, you will get every single novella that I release yearly. It only takes a $1 a month to help me out. It really does make a huge difference.
There's also a little more news regarding my blog novel. I've got a main character and plot picked out. However, I don't have a release date for the first installment just yet. There will be more information on that in the future. I can tell you the name of the project, though. I will be calling it The Truth You Seek.
Also, Sins of the Mother is available as an eBook now. Paperback and hardcover will be coming soon. Head over to your favorite e-retailer to pick up your copy. I hope you enjoy reading Ethan's second adventure as much as I loved writing it.
Last, but not least, I've been thinking about starting an advanced reader program. Essentially, I would be wanting people to proof read my final copy before the book is published to help catch any spelling or grammatical mistakes. As well as give feedback. If you're interested in this, please let me know in the comments below. I would only ask that you leave an honest review for the book on Amazon after it has been published. In return for your services, I would personally thank you in the book's acknowledgment section. Please let me know if you're interested!
Well, those are the updates I had for you today. Thanks for taking the time out of your busy day to give this a read. Hopefully you're as excited about everything as I am. As always, thanks for reading everyone!
As I've mentioned before, I'm currently reading The Dark Tower series by Stephen King for the first time. It's a fantastic series and I'm really finding myself drawn into the world of the Gunslinger and company. At the moment, I am reading The Dark Tower IV, Wizard and Glass. There are minor spoilers ahead so read at your own risk.
After our heroes get off their ride through Mid-World with Blaine the Mono (who is a pain and that's the truth) they find themselves in Kansas, our world. Except, it's not really our world. Instead, they have found themselves in our world ravaged by a plague that has wiped out much of humanity. A plague nick named Captain Trips. This is exciting! It means our ka-tet has entered the world of The Stand!
Of course, I haven't finished reading the book yet so I can't be sure of anything but as of right now I'm excited! This means Stu, Randall Flagg, the Trashcan Man, and others are all in the same world right now. Will we get a cross-over with Roland and company with the others? Unlikely. But it's still cool to think the characters in this series are in the same world as one of my all time favorite books. It makes me wonder, what other easter eggs are there in these books? How many other references are there to his other works? I'm going to read on to find out.
If you haven't read Stephen King's Dark Tower series, you really should. I'm loving it so far. Trust me, you will too! As always, thanks for reading!
Well, here we are in 2017, a brand new year with new adventures in front of us all. I hope your New Year's Eve was filled with fun and celebration. Also, I hope this new year is kind to you and provides you all with much opportunity and success.
What are your new year's resolutions? I'd love to hear what everyone plans to do this year. Did you not make a resolution? Let me know why! I don't set personal resolutions for myself but I do for my writing. Last year I was a little short of my goals but this year will hopefully be different. I plan to stick to a regular writing schedule every week. I'm also planning, as I talked about in a previous post, to stick to a more structured blog and newsletter schedule. About two blogs a week and a monthly newsletter. The latter being issued on the second Wednesday of every month.
So those are my goals. I hope you stick to yours like I hope I stick to mine! Happy New Year everyone! Make it a great one and, as always, thanks for reading!
With The Dark Tower books by Stephen King finally being turned into a major motion picture, I thought it was time I dove into them. For years I wanted to read them and finally I am. In the second book, The Drawing of the Three, I came across an interesting easter egg that got my mind racing!
I'll make sure to keep it spoiler free for those of you who haven't read the series and are planning to. A character from a differen't world than The Gunslingers makes a reference to a very popular movie made by Stanley Kubrick. It was crazy because the particular movie he talks about is The Shining. That is, of course, a Stephen King novel!
What's the big deal with this? After all, King makes references to his other work all the time! 11/22/63 mentions Pennywise, The Dead Zone talks about Carrie's high school, and countless others. Well, this is different. Stephen King makes mention of the movie The Shining. This leads me to believe that Stephen King is alive and writing books in his particular universe!
Now, here's where I get a little confused. If Stephen King exists in the universe in which this particular character, Eddie, is from, does that mean Eddie is from our universe? Does that mean all of the other books King has written exists in their own universe? Is there a door in which Roland could step through and meet characters such as Johnny Smith, Carrie White, or even Christine?
And on a different note, from the first book, does that mean the boy Roland befriends is from our universe or King's? It seemed as if the boy comes from Eddies universe, which would be ours as well. When Roland stepped through that door he actually stepped into the real world, our world. The stories of The Shining are just books and movies. But the boy, Jake, is from the universe King created. That means he shares a world with Dale Barbara from Under the Dome and Danny Torrence from the Shining!
I'm sure this has all been talked about before. I'm a little late reading these books but I still found the concept fascinating. What about you? Have you read The Dark Tower books? What do you think about this shared universe concept? I'd love to hear about it! Let me know in the comments below. As always, thanks for reading!
Evan Bond, author of To the Wolves and Death Can Wait, is a thriller/suspense author. When not writing, he can be found hiking or camping in the beautiful state of Florida.