Archive for Kindle Books

Free Gift for Everyone If You Accept It

Guest Post By Wendi Warren

When I wrote my fairy tale, Princess Grace: A Tale of Faith, Hope & Love, I did so because I wanted to write an allegorical tale of God’s love for us—for me.

Princess Grace

I wanted to show His love for us, even when we make choices that aren’t good for us. I wanted to show that He is coming to get us some day and take us back with us to His kingdom—heaven.

When I finished my story initially in 2007/2008, I shared it with a woman that I had come to respect. I didn’t know (and still don’t know) where she stands in her relationship with God. The feedback she gave me was that my story would have been better if I gave power to the princess to save herself and not have to rely on her father or brother to save her. Perhaps that is why I kept it on the shelf for so long.

The message of needing someone to save us, is not a popular one—especially in the United States. We are an independent lot. We believe we are more than capable of accomplishing anything if we just put our mind to it. Honestly, I feel this way a lot.

But when it comes to the salvation of my soul, there is nothing I can do to save myself. I must fully rely on and trust the message of the Bible.

Jesus Christ, the only son of God, came to earth as fully God and fully human to rescue me from the penalty of death, which is caused by my own willful disobedience to God’s law (i.e. sin). It is only through his death, burial and resurrection that I have hope of ever being rescued. I can’t earn it. I can’t buy it. I can’t do anything to get it, except receive it as it is, a free gift from God.

So because of the free gift that God gave me, that we celebrate on Easter, this coming Sunday, I want to give my fairy tale away as a free gift. It doesn’t have the power to save you, but maybe God will use it lead you to want to know about His free gift of grace.

Editor’s Note: Wendi’s book will be offered free through Amazon’s Kindle store on Saturday and Sunday. The Amazon link to Wendi’s book is on a special page about “Princess Grace,” you can click here. In addition to the Amazon link, the page contains other blog posts about the book and a podcast of an interview with Wendi about her book.

Have Kindle Fire HD Will Travel, er, Work

In my role as a journalist, there are times when I have to adapt and improvise. Such an occasion arose recently when I was working on a couple of stories for a special section.

Kindle Notes

The special section focuses on arts and music in the schools. I had conducted my interviews a few days earlier, but had not yet started to write my stories.

I started to write one of them while in a Burger King getting breakfast. I was between interviews in a city about 20 miles away from the office. Whenever I head out to this city, I like to have a number of interviews and stories to work on so I can maximize my efficiency and cut down on the amount of mileage the newspaper has to pay.

Because I had some time, I decided to go to the Burger King because it has free Wi-Fi. I proceeded to order a large caramel iced coffee and order of tater tots, sat down and whipped out the reliable Amazon Kindle Fire HD.

With my notes on the table and the tablet in my hands, I started writing my story in GoogleDocs on my Kindle Fire HD. I have written before about how this tablet has improved my productivity, and this is just the latest example. Though I had some down time in terms of interviews, I did not have to stop working because the free time was converted to writing time.

I could have brought my laptop with me and accomplished the same thing. The writing process would have been quicker because it is much easier to type on a physical keyboard than a virtual keyboard. But, it was a very cold day, and the laptop would have been outside most of the time in my Jeep.

Instead, the Kindle Fire HD stayed in my pocket instead of the Jeep, ready to be deployed at a moment’s notice.

Also, as I have written about before, I use the text-to-speech functionality of the Kindle to make my books audio books, and I listened to one of them on my drive out to do the interviews and on my way back to the office. (Check out all of my blog posts about this tablet here.)

My Kindle Fire HD cannot do everything, but it does a lot, enough to keep me busy, anyway. What about you?

Are You Sacrificing Your Core for the Elusive Cutting Edge?

As I boarded a flight at the Akron-Canton Airport for Boston to attend the Association of Health Care Journalists annual conference, I brought with me my trusty Kindle Fire HD.

Old school notebook

‘I sat there for a long time unable to read anything. Then I pulled out a small notebook and a pen and started to write this blog post!’

I have so many books on it, ranging from The Story Template, Simply Jesus, Click Millionaires, Necessary Endings, EntreLeadership, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, Princess Grace, How to Deliver a TED Talk, APE: Author, Publisher, Editor and others, it was tough deciding which would I would read on the two-hour flight.

I finally settled on Simply Jesus by N.T. Wright.

I sat down and started reading the book. I highlighted a passage I found to be particularly profound about how the teachings and sayings of Jesus made sense to some people who considered him the messiah, while those same words led others to want to assassinate him.

As I was typing in my note, the flight attendant repeated herself several times informing me and everyone else on the airplane to turn off all electronic devices and stow them away.

It seemed like it took me forever to write a very short note (I was in such a hurry I didn’t even capitalize Jesus and feel bad about it now), but I managed to get it recorded. I shut off the Kindle and settled in for the flight.

Before we could take off, the plane needed to be de-iced. It turned out to be about a 15-minute process. I sat there with my amazing and incredible Kindle (I really do love the device, you can see what I mean here, here, here and here, and if you are really ambitious, here) tucked under my left arm, and I waited and waited and waited for the plane to be de-iced so we could taxi down the runway, take off from the airport and reach a high-enough altitude so I could turn on my amazing and incredible Kindle.

I happened to notice a guy sitting across the aisle one row up who was reading The Wall Street Journal. I immediately thought he never has to fold up his newspaper and lay it down. Altitude means nothing to a newspaper reader on an airplane.

The lady next to me was involved in completing word searches printed in one of those magazines you would find in a dollar store.

The man to immediate right across the aisle was utilizing some old-school technology: He was reading a traditional paperback book.

Their encounters with the written word proceeded uninterrupted during the de-icing process. I, however, was not so fortunate.

I sat there, Kindle still clutched under my arm, and thought about how sometimes we are too quick to discard yesterday’s technologies, yesterday’s devices and yesterday’s ideas for new things that might relatively unknown, unproven and untested.

However, those old things served our parents and grandparents well. They were able to accomplish great things without computers, GPS units, smartphones, smart TVs, the Internet, Wi-Fi, Mi-Fi, Eye-Fi or Re-Fi (OK, maybe they needed Re-Fi).

As I sat on the airplane thinking about all of this, I pondered this question: Are we sacrificing our core for the elusive cutting edge?

I sat there for a long time unable to read anything. Then I pulled out a small notebook and a pen and started to write this blog post!

 

Do You Remember Where You Were the First Time You Heard Dave Ramsey?

It is 6:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning, Feb. 23, 2013. I can hear my wife, Wendi, rehearsing for a talk she is giving today about “Joy in Budgeting.” She is talking about how we ended up being part of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University class.

Wendi Warren

Wendi Warren speaking at a Dale Carnegie class.

So, do you remember where you were the first time you heard Dave Ramsey?

I was driving in my car listening to a radio station out of Akron, Ohio, when I heard Dave’s program. He seemed to be making a lot of sense. But, something Dave said intrigued me: “The only way to true financial peace is to walk daily with the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ.”

I would catch Dave a few more times before my wife and I finally decided to become part of an FPU class in town. It was being offered at Grace Brethren Church in Wooster, Ohio. Almost immediately, it turned our lives around. This was in January 2009.

Later that year, Wendi and I facilitated the FPU class at our church, Parkview Christian Church, where it helped others get on better financial standing.

It was nice to hear how Dave Ramsey’s teachings came into our lives and helped us to eliminate debt, stop living paycheck to paycheck and not have to charge something when there is a major home or car repair. We are also giving more and helping out children in developing countries. Not too shabby for a couple of people who were struggling to make ends meet.

Wendi wrote a booklet for the class, which is now offered for $2.99 in Amazon’s Kindle store, aptly titled “Joy in Budgeting.” The Kindle version contains more material than the booklet she is handing out, and it has links to additional free resources, like spreadsheet templates for a spending plan (a budget) and an allocation plan (how your money will be distributed).

If you are looking to get out of debt, then Wendi’s book is a good place to start. Also, be sure to check out the Get Out of Debt page on this blog.

So, where were you when you first heard Dave Ramsey, and what were your impression?

 

Fast from Politics Still Going Strong After More Than 3 Months

After the November elections, I simply gave up watching politics on television, and for me, that was huge.

Congressman Jim Renacci

Congressman Jim Renacci looks at weapons seized in Wayne County, Ohio, in this file photo by Bobby Warren.

I was totally engulfed in politics. I so loved the strategy and the speculation. I followed all of the polls and read and retweeted just about everything coming down the pike. I read and shared stuff from anyone from HuffPost to Fox News, from Rush Limbaugh to Lawrence O’Donnell.

I was hungry for all things politics, and because of my background in journalism, I wanted to share stuff from all across the political spectrum, whether progressive, liberal, Democratic, Liberterian, Republican or conservative.

But, by the time of the election, I had just grown weary of politics. I invested so much time in politics, and for what? Nobody ever institutes the policies I want.

So, what have I learned from abstaining from (mostly federal) politics?

  1. I get a lot more done. I have been helping my wife with her two books (one a work of fiction, which you can read more about when you click here, and the other titled “Joy in Budgeting,” which you can learn more by visiting Amazon.com when you click here). There just always seems time to get things done.
  2. I have longer and better conversations with my wife. However, you will have to confirm with her if this has been her experience. We seem to talk about more stuff (especially her books, which she was deeply immersed in).
  3. I am exposed to different things. I read a lot more. This is the latest book I am reading: How To Deliver A TED Talk: Secrets Of The World’s Most Inspiring Presentations  (an affiliate link). I have read books on starting businesses, building a platform, writing articles for Kindle and how to analyze Kindle numbers and more.
  4. I am having more fun. It is nice not being so wrapped up with every nuance of the political discussion. It is freeing.

While I am not watching political shows on TV or listening to political talk radio, I have not divorced myself from politics. I am a journalist, after all. I will be spending some time with Congressman Jim Renacci on Friday, and I just spent time with Ohio state representatives Ron Amstutz and Dave Hall and state senators Larry Obhof and Frank LaRose. I was with Wooster Mayor Bob Breneman today, along with Wooster Councilman Jon Ansel and Wayne County Engineer Roger Terrill.

So, I am still in the thick of politics, but face-to-face, not face to screen.

 

#002 Interview With Wendi Warren on her New Book [Podcast]

Wendi Warren, my wife, launched her new book, “Princess Grace: A Tale of Faith, Hope & Love,” on Valentine’s Day, and it is now available in Amazon.com’s Kindle Store.

Wendi Warren

Wendi Warren doing voice over work at the Audio Thrills Recording Studio outside of Wooster, Ohio

I sat down with Wendi and interviewed her for the latest Zest for Life podcast to talk about her new book (a fairy tale that is not your typical fairy tale), why she decided to write it and the writing process itself.

While every author desires to have a best-seller, Wendi’s motivation is different, and she talks about it. You might be interested to hear her thoughts on that subject. Give the podcast a listen.

The book is available at an introductory rate, and you can check it out (and get to read some of it). Click here to learn more about Princess Grace: A Tale of Faith, Hope & Love, the new book by Wendi Warren.

Hit play below to hear the interview.

Pushing to Launch Book on Valentine’s Day, Will We Make It?

One of the most exciting things I have done is to work as an “executive project manager” for my wife Wendi’s book/fairy tale about a princess who gets kidnapped and has her life hanging in the balance. Will the king find her in time? Will she be saved? Will she live happily ever after?

Deadline on castle

We are pushing to have the book ready for release on Valentine’s Day via Amazon’s Kindle store, and it has been a fun challenge bringing it to this point. Right now, all systems are go, but just like a NASA launch, we could get to T-minus 3 seconds and scrub the book’s launch. I don’t think it will happen, but it could.

Part of the challenge is that we are self-publishing the book, and I really would have it no other way. Sure, we won’t have a team of editors reading the book, but we had several friends along the way at various points of development, like Jeanine Kendle, Lydia Gehring and Linda Hall. We’ve been following the advice of Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch, co-authors of APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book, and we even have had comments and input from both on Google+. Kawasaki, Welch and Peg Fitzpatrick have an APE Community on Google+, and the feedback from some of its 1,700+ members has been informative and helpful.

Through all of this, Wendi has been rewriting the book. (While it is a fairy tale, it is not necessarily a children’s book. It is a wonderful tale of faith, hope and love for people of all ages.)

In the final stages of the project, Linda made some insightful comments, as well as helping with some additional editing. Those comments led to another rewrite by Wendi. And, every time I edited the book, it seems there were mistakes I missed or mistakes I introduced into the copy. The editor’s oath is the same as the Hippocratic oath: Above all else, do no harm.

As Wendi was rewriting the story one more time, I told her it was wonderful to see the writing process in action. Yes, she wrote a story, but it does not mean it has to be the final word. And, it has not been. With each rewrite, the story became better and revealed more of God’s love.

Even though I have been in and around journalism since 1988, I have never seen the writing process like this. Journalism tends to be linear: You go to an event, you cover it, you come back and write your story, you send it to the editor and it gets printed in the newspaper.

But, this has been different. Questions were asked? What if the character does this? What if the princess says that? What if, what if, what if. Because this is Wendi’s story, she has to filter all of this new information in a way that is consistent with the story she set out to tell and decide if those suggestions make their way into print or not.

The title has been a struggle, and it has changed more times than I care to remember. I am not even hinting at a title here, because I am certain it will change again. We had artwork produced for the cover, and we are still up in the air as to whether it will be used.

We are excited; we are nervous; and we are tired. And, Thursday, we will know if Wendi is published. Stay tuned.

‘Bungee’ Jumping to 3.0 Soon

The story of Wendi and I finding an old, blind, deaf dog continues to spread and grow, mainly thanks to the dog’s parents.

Bungee

The basic story in a nutshell is this: Wendi and I were on our way home from Boston to Ohio, our flight was delayed, when we got back to Ohio, it was raining and snowing so it took us longer to get home and as a result, we found this dog wandering in the middle of the road on a cold, dark, wet winter night.

The dog ended up being reunited with its owners, Pam and Dave. After clearing some hurdles with the local humane society (the hurdles were policies and procedures in place to protect people’s privacy, not a bad thing), Pam and I eventually made contact.

My wife, Wendi, and I finally had a chance to meet Pam and Dave at the annual Wooster Area Chamber of Commerce annual dinner, and we talked and talked and talked. It was amazing to hear how this little dog, Bungee, and his story was making it all around the United States and even overseas.

Once, Wendi and I were at the First Amendment Public House, a restaurant in Wooster, and Kyle Durniat was telling us about the story, she had no idea it involved us. Another lady I go to church with said she was recently with Pam and Dave, and she did not realize I found their dog.

We recently went to visit Pam and Dave, and Bungee, in their home, along with our friend, Angie, who was ready to provide Bungee a place to live had the owners not been found. It was nice to see them and Bungee again and hear more stories about this incredible dog.

I decided to write a devotional thought about finding Bungee for our Sunday School class Christmas dinner. Everyone loved the story and encouraged me to publish it. The story was about all of the things that had to happen in order for us to find Bungee and then what Bungee taught me about God. (You can read all about it when you click here.)

I ended up publishing it via Amazon’s Kindle store, and The Gospel According to Bungy is for sale there now. (Don’t have a Kindle device? No worries. See how you can still read Kindle books here.)

The original version of “The Gospel According to Bungy” (yes, I misspelled his name) showed the story from my perspective. After the opportunity to talk with Pam and Dave there is more of the story to tell, and it will be soon.

The version offered for sale right now is the second version. I made a slight update to the original. The 3.0 version will be a major update, and everyone who purchased the book already will be able to update the story to the latest version, at no extra cost, after it is finished.

Bungee 3.0 is coming with a more complete story, a better cover and even more warmth and love. Stay tuned.

Lessons I Learned Working with a Freelance Illustrator

When I dipped my toe into the world of publishing through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, I had no idea where it was headed. What I discovered was I landed a gig as an executive project manager on a fairy tale with a Christian message to it, so I needed to work with a freelance artist.

Princess Sketch Freelance

Actually, I began exploring all of the possibilities with publishing via KDP, and it occurred to me my wife, Wendi, had written a fairy tale that would be a good project. I had been reading Timothy Ferriss’ “The 4–Hour Workweek,” and he talked about working with freelancers through elance.com, which I decided to do.

We found an illustrator in Armenia, and we really liked her style. When we solicited bids for the project, she returned with a very reasonable price, and we came to an agreement. For us, this was an exciting time.

The project ran into some hiccups in the early stages, and I learned some things in the process. Based on my experience, here are just a few things you should consider when working with a freelance illustrator (when it is not possible to meet face-to-face):

  1. Communicate with the artist in broad terms, but clearly identify some boundaries. In sketch No. 1, this is all the direction I gave the illustrator: “A wide shot of Princess with Castle and woods in the background and the ability to use a close-up shot of the Princess.” That is exactly what was delivered, just as requested. Because this was my first time doing something like this, it would have helped if I also added: “Because this is a story with a Christian message, the princess needs to be dressed modestly.” Not fully understanding what I needed to communicate, it caused delays. I responded and told her that the neckline needed to be moved up. I used a photo editor to take her drawing, modify it and show her an example of what I wanted. This can be seen in sketch No. 2. However, leave the artist room to create and express herself or himself.
  2. Be prepared for the work flow to be interrupted due to time zone differences. Armenia is nine hours ahead of Ohio. When I am going to bed, our illustrator is waking up. When I wake up, our illustrator has finished her work for the day. There is no overlap, so if I want something changed, it is a two-day process, at minimum. To work like this, you need to recognize there is no immediate feedback or reaction. It is a process. If you are uncomfortable with this, find an illustrator in your town or the closest one you can find.
  3. When working on a project, plan for delays in the timeline: By not clearly identifying some boundaries, there were delays. One of the issues we ran into was a time when Internet service in Armenia was not optimal. This was not the fault of our illustrator. Also, after we communicated what we wanted from the original sketch, you can see in illustration No. 3 what was delivered. This was not what we asked for, however, mistakes happen. The illustrator could have been in a hurry with other things, maybe dealing with some traumatic things in life, and the result is the changes were not made. My full-time job is a reporter, and I make mistakes all of the time. Why the illustration came back wrong was not a concern to me, we are all human. Getting it corrected was, and you can see in illustration No. 4, our illustrator accommodated our wishes.
  4. Find a freelancer who recognizes this is a give-and-take relationship. It is important for the freelancer to understand while you will give them some latitude to be creative, at the end of the day, the project will bear your name, so it must be what you want it to be. The next time I hire a freelancer, I will articulate that I can be picky at times. It does not mean the work produced is bad or inferior, rather, I just want something else — it doesn’t work for me.
  5. Be a contractor who recognizes this is a give-and-take relationship. You, too, must understand that you must be flexible where possible. Do not give up your principles or values, but allow for the creative process to work. In one of the illustrations that will be in the book, we needed the princess to be shown in a work camp setting making bricks by hand. I have no idea what this scene should look like, but the illustrator came up with something, thankfully. I do not have the ability to express Wendi’s books in pictures, so I have to give up some control.

Working with a freelancer has its challenges, but understanding what they are going into the process will help provide for a better outcome. I am quite pleased with how this process is moving forward, and even with the delays, the project is still on track to be done on time. We are hoping to publish it on Kindle on our anniversary, March 4.

Stay tuned.

Great Deal on Kindle Version of @MichaelHyatt’s Platform, Only $3.99

If you desire to be an author or sell more books, then you better get over to Amazon.com right now to purchase Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, Michael Hyatt’s incredible book.

Michael Hyatt: Platform

I keep meaning to write a proper review of the book because I am so impressed with it. If you read the reviews on Amazon, Hyatt gets a lot of 5-star reviews, but there are also some 1-star reviews. The main complaint from these people seems to be that the content of his book appears to come largely from his blog and that the book is choppy.

I do not understand this train of thinking. Anyone who has read Hyatt’s blog knows how practical he is and how teaching flows through his posts. Platform is an incredible book, and for $3.99 it is like stealing it from him.

I cannot endorse this book enough for an aspiring writer or one looking to go down the trail of self-publishing. You need a platform from which to speak and an audience to hear you. Follow Hyatt’s advice, and you will not go wrong.

I have no clue how long the book will be sold for $3.99, but I would jump on it now. You can do so here.

Disclosure time: The above link is an Amazon affiliate link. You know what that means, and if you don’t, just ask.