Tag Archive for Kindle Book

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?

 

#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.

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.

Kindle Fire HD 7 Continues to Score Big Here

It’s been nearly seven weeks since I purchased a Kindle Fire HD 7, and I am liking it more and more everyday. For good reason.

Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7

I remember reading on Michael Hyatt’s blog about how preferred the iPad Mini over the original, larger version, saying the Mini was what the iPad should have been from the start.

Having never owned an iPad, I cannot make the same statement, but I can say this: The Kindle Fire HD 7 is what netbooks should have been all along. When my wife’s laptop became old, outdated and slow, I wanted to get her a new one. However, there was something attractive about the netbooks. At the time, I did not fully understand what they were; I just thought they were slightly smaller laptops.

Well, in a sense, they are. Netbooks are smaller than laptops. And, netbooks kind of look like laptops. But, what we discovered is a netbook is not really a laptop. A laptop is for computing, and a netbook is mainly designed to surf the Internet.

My Kindle Fire HD does just that. It surfs the web, it feasts on Amazon.com content, it plays games and it even contributes to some productivity. After I first purchased the tablet, I carried it with me sometimes. Now, unless I know I am going to be totally tied to my desk at the newspaper, it comes with me.

Why I Carry My Kindle Fire HD All the Time:

  • It turns my vehicle into a mobile university: This is the No. 1 reason why it is with me most of the time. By owning a Kindle device, I can turn on Amazon’s text-to-speech function and listen to books while I drive. I just finished reading/listening to The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur (which turned out to be better than I initially envisioned). Whether I am in the Jeep five minutes or 35 minutes, I like having the option of listening to a book.
  • It keeps me up-to-date with my blog: I have a WordPress app that allows me to edit or create posts, check my site stats or do anything else I need to with my blog, as long as I have a Wi-Fi connection.
  • I keep my teaching notes on it: I teach an adult Sunday School class at Parkview Christian Church, and I send all of my notes to my Kindle device. I have a study Bible loaded on the Kindle, and I keep my notes for Sunday School on it.
  • I can capture thoughts using Catch app: When you start blogging, you realize how important it is to get your ideas down. With Catch Notes, I can do that. The free app allows you to write notes, record audio notes, take photos, set up reminders and create checklists. I used it the other day to jot some ideas down for future blog posts and a future book.
  • I can move my online reading offline: With Pocket, another free app, I can be reading something on the web and save it to read later. The app works across all sorts of devices. I can be reading something on the web at home, save it to Pocket, and when I sync my Kindle Fire HD, I will get a nice, readable version of the web page. It is important to sync Pocket’s content while you have Wi-Fi access. This is immensely helpful when researching. I have been using it to aid me in writing a book for mindreaders. It is invaluable.
  • I can keep up-to-date with all of my social networks: Again, as long as there is a Wi-Fi connection.

If you would like to purchase your own Kindle Fire HD, check out my affiliate link by clicking here. I recommend the 32 GB version because once you buy it, there is no expanding it. Might as well get the extra storage space.

The Kindle Fire HD  7 has been a great fit for me, but let me caution you by saying I made the purchase because I was an Amazon Prime member. It made sense to have a device geared toward watching the movies, TV shows and videos available for free to Prime members, getting the shipping discount from Amazon and the ability to borrow one book a month from the Kindle Owners Lending Library.

If you are looking for more of a computing tablet, then perhaps the iPad, iPad Mini or Google Nexus 7 are better options for you.

For me, it was the Kindle. You can see other reasons why by clicking here.

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.

 

My Take on the Kindle Fire HD, and Where the Kindle Fire HD is Taking Me

When Amazon introduced its new line of Kindles, the Kindle Fire, I was curious about how it would compete in the ever-growing tablet market. Perhaps I am the only one on the planet, but I have an aversion to Apple products. I don’t know why, exactly. I have been wanting a tablet for years, even before Apple introduced the iPad. I saw a laptop computer with a repositionable screen, and it intrigued me. Given Amazon’s reputation, I felt the Fire might give Apple a run for its money.

Even though I wanted a tablet, my wife talked to a friend of mine who owned an iPad, and he told her I would probably be better off with a smartphone rather than a tablet. So, for Christmas 2011, I got an HTC ThunderBolt. I love it as a device; I hate it as a phone. Nevertheless, the smartphone was a good choice for me at the time.

Fast forward to December 2012. I reach a milestone birthday, and my family and friends are generous … generous enough that I can buy a tablet.

From everything I read, the iPad and the iPad Mini were the best tablets on the market. I do not dispute that; I just don’t like Apple. Also, Apple’s price point did not jive with my birthday cash, so it remained out of reach. I seriously considered the Google Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire HD 7. I thought briefly about a Nook.

When the time came to make a decision, I consulted with two of my cousins. One travels around the globe for Microsoft, and the other works in the IT Department at Harvard University. Both said I would not go wrong with an iPad, Google Nexus or Fire HD. Apple wants to make money on its hardware, so its tablets cost more. Amazon wants to make money on its content and Google wants to make money with ads when people browse, so their tablets sell for less. I was also told Amazon wanted to build good machines that would last for years because the company was more interested in selling content than in producing the latest, greatest machine.

I did some other research, and I ended up purchasing the Kindle Fire HD 7 because my wife and I already had an Amazon Prime membership. With this membership, we have access to thousands of streaming TV shows and movies, and we can borrow one book a month from the Kindle Owners Lending Library. It made sense for us to go with the Amazon machine because we were not looking for a portable computer (we have an ASUS netbook for that).

I am quite pleased with my decision because I am looking at the tablet more so for content delivery than anything else, and it does a great job of streaming video, better than my Dell All-in-One Computer and better than my media center computer I put together for our HD television.

What I did not realize when I purchased the Fire HD was how it would change me. All of a sudden, I am more connected with the Kindle store. I begin looking at things. I begin wondering how I could sell articles, booklets and books through the Kindle store. And two days after purchasing my Amazon device, I had an article published via Kindle Direct Publishing, and it is selling. You can read about the article here.

Because of publishing the article, and the desire to publish more in the future, I needed a platform. And here it is, The Z Section blog. I had a lot of influences that led me to creating this blog, and I talk about those influences in my introductory blog entry here.

So, the Kindle Fire HD 7 is taking me on a journey. Where it ends, I do not know, but I am enjoying the trip so far.

What an old, blind, deaf dog taught me about God

Bungy_Cover

My wife, Wendi, and I recently returned from a weekend in the Boston area. My wife flew me up so I could spend a milestone birthday with my family. I am truly blessed with a wonderful wife and family.

The short trip was a great one, and I had the opportunity to see a lot of family members. The flight back started off on a sour note: It was delayed. Wendi and I had a whirlwind week, as it started with a surprise party in Wooster, Ohio, the night before we departed for Massachusetts. It continued with two more parties in Boston and a day spent in Cape Cod watching my niece play ice hockey.

When Monday night came, Wendi and I were ready to get back. News about our flight being pushed back was not well received. We wanted to get home and relax.

There were several factors that delayed our arrival home, including snow and rain in Ohio. The ordeal prompted me to write a devotional thought for our Sunday School Christmas party. Everyone enjoyed hearing the story and encouraged me to have it published. I chose to publish it as an article through Amazon’s Kindle Store. Here is an excerpt:

Thinking back, it was probably a good thing it did take us longer or this story might have ended up with a not-so-happy ending.

By the time we got into the home stretch of our 60-minute ride home from the airport – we were literally two minutes from our home – we saw something in the middle of road. It appeared to be a dog. I am not the smartest man in the world, but I do know this, if I don’t offer to turn around and go get that dog, I am going to have to listen to Wendi get on my case about not turning around to get that dog, and I am still going to have to get that dog. There was also a part of me that did not want to be driving on the road Tuesday morning and see where that dog had been hit.

We turned around as soon as we could and headed back to where we saw the dog. With the lights shining on the animal, I told Wendi, “That’s not a dog, it’s a possum. No, wait a minute, it’s a dog.”

I stopped the Jeep in the middle of the road; got the flashers blinking, and Wendi jumped out to get the dog. At that point, all we knew was for whatever reason, an old, long-haired Dachshund that is blind and deaf is wet, cold, shivering and wandering aimlessly across the road. The dog does not have a collar, a dog license or any other ID tag. We have no clue as to who owned the dog. So, we took it home for the night.

As we pondered what to do with the newly found pooch, it dawned on me how trusting this dog. It began to make me think about my faith and how much trust I have in Jesus. Spoiler alert: This story has a happy ending. With the help of the Wayne County Humane Society, we were able to reunite the dog with his family. In the 3,400-word article, I write in a humorous way the story of finding the dog and his owners, and I conclude by sharing seven lessons I learned from this dog, whose name is Bungy. Here is Lesson 4: Trusting Others:

Bungy made me realize we have to learn to put our trust in someone other than ourselves. Being blind and deaf, Bungy had no choice but to trust others. Jesus said in Matt. 11:28-30, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Jesus wants us to put our complete trust in him, and Bungy made me question just how much trust do I really put in Jesus and how much do I want to be in control of my own life. While I was a student at Cincinnati Christian University, Mark Taylor of Standard Publishing once preached in a chapel service. He said he always wanted to preach a four-point sermon based on the hymn “I Surrender All.” The first point would be “All;” the second, “To Jesus;” the third, “I;” and finally, the fourth, “Surrender.” He told us at the time then he never wrote the sermon because he could not get past the first point, “All.” What did it mean to give Jesus all? What did it encompass? Bungy reminded me that I have yet to give all to Jesus.

If you would like to read the whole story, it is available from Amazon here. If you decide to purchase the article, which is only 99 cents, then would you please consider writing a review?

Has God taught you any lessons through an animal? Write them in the comment section below.