Monday, December 24, 2012

Get Your Stocking Stuffer

Fire up your Kindle! It's time to download your Christmas short story! Where else can you get this many laughs and still get change back from your dollar? Click now to download!

It's the Trial of the Century, as prosecutor Nicholas Scratch presents his case against Santa Claus. An irreverent short story by Keith B. Darrell. 3,690 words.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Betrayed By My Kindle Fire!

Forgive me, readers, for I have sinned. It has been two weeks since my last confession, I mean, blog post. In my defense, it has been a prolific two weeks. I've learned to hate the Kindle Fire I had grown to love and to complete a NaNoWriMo experience without ever having participated in it. And I've done something I’m really proud of, even though it’s left me a bit sad.

You may recall, last year I bought a Kindle Fire. It took me a while to warm to it, especially since no one had explained to me what an app was. But eventually, I found myself dragging my Kindle around like Linus and his security blanket.  
My relationship with my Kindle Fire really took off when I discovered I could create and load my own eBooks onto it, and then edit them right on the Kindle. No more printing out reams of manuscripts and replacing the outrageously expensive printer cartridges. Plus, it had the added advantage of displaying the work in progress exactly as it would appear in published eBook form. What a fantastic editing tool. Can you blame me for falling in love with my Kindle Fire?

Of course, like all relationships, we hit a snag. This is where NaNoWriMo comes in. For the uninitiated, NaNoWriMo is an annual event where writers attempt to write an entire novel in one month –  November, to be specific. I've always eschewed NaNoWriMo on the premise that it is impossible to write a novel in 30 days, or at least a well-written one. But something happened this November. Perhaps I discovered my muse, in the form of an electronic tablet. Maybe she was intent on proving her worth to me so I wouldn't replace the superannuated electronic muse with the newly released Kindle Fire HD. Whatever the cause, the Kindle Fire and I developed a synergy that led to a fecundity never before experienced: I penned more than 65,000 words that month, including a new short story and completing my novel (Amazing what you can do when you put off blogging).

I was amazed, gobsmacked even. It WAS possible to write a novel you could be proud of in 30 days. Of course, I still wanted to go back and do some editing, proofread for typos, and tweak a few lines. Over the next few days, my Kindle Fire lit up, pleased to see me, as I logged on and made my corrections. Instead of transferring my changes to the manuscript on my computer each night, as had been my practice, I decided to wait until I had made all my changes to the novel on the Kindle Fire.

On the third night, I set my Kindle Fire down for a break and when I returned, I decided to transfer my changes up until that point to my computer. I turned on my wonderful Kindle Fire, my loyal, dependable, and reliable writing companion. I clicked on ‘notes’ and… nothing. All my notes had vanished. I stared in disbelief at the heartless bitch. “How could you betray me?”

As with all breakups, I devolved through the five stages of grief: Denial – “No, you couldn't have deleted three days of work!”  Anger– “Damn it, you deleted three days of work!”  Bargaining – “I’ll buy you a new cover if you show me where you've hidden my work.”  Depression – “There’s no way I can recreate all that work!”  Acceptance – “I’m screwed!” 

I called Amazon. There must be a way to recover my work, I thought, knowing nothing is truly ever deleted from a hard drive. After an hour and a half, we discovered what had happened. My Kindle Fire had been unfaithful. When I had set her down and turned my back, she had gone online to “synch”. Apparently, Kindles synch with Amazon’s server to match the data on the device with the data the user has uploaded to Amazon’s server. There was just one flaw with this explanation: I had never uploaded anything to the server. “That’s the problem, sir,” the polite young techie explained. It was trying to sync with something that wasn't there, so the notes file defaulted to a blank file.”

“Blank?” I asked. “As in empty, totally devoid of the heart and soul I had poured into it these past three days?”

“Yes sir.”

“How do I get it back?” I asked, with about as much hope as a forlorn maiden inquiring how to regain her virginity.

“If you had uploaded a backup to our server, we could have restored the backup, but since you never uploaded anything, there’s nothing to restore.”

“What about the original file? Isn't that still on the Kindle hard drive?”

“No sir, the attempted synching overwrote that file and replaced it with the empty one.”

I hung up the phone and turned on my faithless electronic muse. I shall spare you, dear reader, the unpleasant description of what followed. Suffice it to say, gorilla glass is NOT bullet-proof.

No one said being a writer was easy. I rolled up my sleeves and returned to my keyboard. My computer forgave my dalliance with the tablet and welcomed me back. She responded to the gentle tapping of my fingertips as I spent the next three days plumbing the depths of my eidetic memory and recreating the first three days of revisions. On the seventh day, I rested. I saw what I had written, and it was good. I had completed my novel and I was proud of it, as one would be with any achievement, yet my sense of accomplishment was tinged with the sadness that inevitably accompanies the completion of a project one has enjoyed working on for a long time. For although it only took 30 days to finish, this book wraps up the first story arc in the Halos & Horns fantasy saga that began four years ago. More on that in my next blog.