Filed under: Alzheimer's, Amazon, Arthur C. Clarke, Connections, Feedback, Health, Hospice, Humor, Kindle, Marketing, Promotion, Publishing, Science Fiction, Writing stuff | Tags: Alzheimer's, Amazon, blogging, care-giving, direct publishing, feedback, free, health, hospice, humor, jim downey, John Bourke, Kindle, literature, promotion, reviews, Science Fiction, St. Cybi's Well, writing
I found this to be a helpful account of what to expect as parents age. The two men in the account were truly devoted attendants and I was impressed by them.
I enjoyed this book from start to finish. It was my “recovering from Christmas insanity this weekend” selection on my kindle and it was just perfect for the purpose! I started Saturday and read until I was bleary eyed and finished Sunday.
* * *
I very much loved the weaving of deep lines of spirituality throughout the story and how integral it was to the story from beginning to end. Unlike several books I’ve read that attempted this, Communion of Dreams actually succeeds in making you WONDER! Mr. Downey’s writing definitely favors Clarke and evokes the same beautiful but disturbing feelings that 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Well, gee …
Like I said, it’s a fairly lengthy review, and not all gushing. Check it out when you get a chance.
Work continues apace on St. Cybi’s Well. I’m starting to get feedback from several “alpha readers” on the first batch of chapters, and so far I’m pleased with the overall response. Which isn’t to say that it is all praise; that wouldn’t be of any help to me at all. As I’ve noted before, if you check my FB page, I often will post small passages from the working text there.
Filed under: Alzheimer's, Amazon, Bad Astronomy, Feedback, Health, Hospice, Humor, Kindle, Marketing, Phil Plait, Promotion, Publishing, Science Fiction, Slate, YouTube | Tags: Alzheimer's, Amazon, Australia, Bad Astronomy, blogging, Brazil, care-giving, Communion of Dreams, direct publishing, free, health, hospice, humor, Japan, jim downey, John Bourke, Kindle, literature, memoir, optical illusion, pareidolia, Phil Plait, promotion, Science Fiction, Slate, video, www youtube
Via Phil Plait, another wonderful illusion:
Plait has the full explanation (and a number of other links worth checking out), but here’s the critical part:
The key to this whole thing is the way your brain sees perspective, specifically convex and concave shapes, coupled with its uncanny ability to pick a face out of patterns (called pareidolia). Your brain wants to interpret the dragon as a face, and faces are convex: The sides of the face curve away from you (when you look at someone’s face, their nose is closer to you than their ears).
Definitely worth checking out!
Quick note about the promo results: 175 copies of Communion of Dreams were downloaded, including first-time downloads in Japan and Brazil! Her Final Year had a total of 63 downloads, and before the promo started someone in Australia bought a copy. I should be used to this by now, but I still really get a kick out of the fact that people around the world are reading both books.
Filed under: Alzheimer's, Amazon, Art, Augmented Reality, Brave New World, Connections, Feedback, Kindle, Marketing, NPR, Predictions, Promotion, Publishing, Science, Science Fiction, tech | Tags: art, augmented reality, AWARE camera program, blogging, care-giving, Communion of Dreams, David Brady, direct publishing, feedback, free, GigaPan, gigapixel, hospice, jim downey, John Bourke, Kindle, NPR, photography, promotion, science, Science Fiction, technology
This is a really cool application of imaging technology: a massed ball of high-quality digital cameras which can capture a gigapixel panorama in one instant. And the neat thing is that one of the main people behind this understands that while he can imagine some uses for such a camera system, there will come applications which he cannot now envision. From the NPR story:
His team has photographed Duke University football games, for example, that let you zoom in and see the ball in the air, plus the faces of all the players in the field, and the faces of all the fans in the stands.
“I can’t imagine … how people are going to use these things,” Brady says, “and, of course, since I’m an instrument builder, that’s the real interest. Because I’m sure photographers will use it in ways that I haven’t even thought of.”
Nice to see that awareness of shifting reality.
Filed under: Alzheimer's, Amazon, Health, Hospice, Kindle, Marketing, Promotion, Publishing, Religion, Science Fiction | Tags: Alzheimer's, Amazon, blogging, care-giving, Christmas, Communion of Dreams, direct publishing, free, health, Her Final Year, hospice, jim downey, Kindle, literature, Merry Christmas, promotion, Science Fiction
Merry Christmas, whether you observe it as a religious occasion or a secular holiday!
And for all those who have new e-readers/phones/tablets/laptops/desktops, here’s a little gift … actually, make that *TWO* gifts: both Communion of Dreams and Her Final Year will be free to download tomorrow through Saturday! You don’t need to own a Kindle — there’s a free Kindle emulator for just about every electronic device. And you don’t need any kind of special code or anything — just go to the Amazon page for either book, and it will be free.
Again, wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas!
Filed under: Alzheimer's, Amazon, Connections, Feedback, General Musings, Health, Hospice, Kindle, Promotion, Publishing, Science Fiction, Society | Tags: Alzheimer's, Amazon, blogging, care-giving, Communion of Dreams, direct publishing, feedback, free, health, Her Final Year, jim downey, John Bourke, Kindle, promotion, Science Fiction, Thanksgiving, writing
As those close to me know, I’m not really “into” holidays the way many people are. Oh, I’m happy to have an excuse to eat and drink more, to visit with family & friends, to relax a bit more than usual. And I can appreciate the rituals which surround the holidays, and how those rituals can give some definition and context for things. Marking birthday milestones. Taking time to remember loved ones and Veterans. Observing the change of seasons and acknowledging the passing of years. Giving thanks.
Those forms are important. I understand why holidays exist even unto this modern age, when everything seems to exist in a constant froth of work, commerce, and entertainment.
But it is easy — far too easy — to come to think of those holidays as things in themselves, rather than reminders. The meanings of the rituals are lost, and only the rituals themselves become important.
And there, I just did the same thing. I just fell into the ritual of bemoaning how holidays have lost their meaning.
What I want to say is this: thank you. Thank you for being family, thank you for being a friend, thank you for just reading my stuff. I try to remember to be appreciative for all this, and for so much more, to make that appreciation more of an attitude than a holiday.
Filed under: Amazon, Astronomy, Connections, Emergency, Feedback, Health, Hospice, Kindle, Marketing, movies, NASA, NPR, Predictions, Preparedness, Promotion, Publishing, Science, Science Fiction, Space, Survival | Tags: Amazon, appendectomy, appendicitis, blogging, bookbinding, care-giving, Communion of Dreams, David Casarett, direct publishing, emergency, feedback, free, health, hospice, jim downey, Kindle, leather, literature, movies, NPR, Philip James Bailey, predictions, promotion, reviews, science, Science Fiction, space, travel, video, Voyager
This morning, NPR repeated the story of Voyager 1 having apparently left the solar system.
I wonder why?
* * *
Philip James Bailey, Festus:
We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths;
In feelings, not in figures on a dial.
We should count time by heart-throbs. He most lives
Who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best.
Life’s but a means unto an end; that end
Beginning, mean, and end to all things,—God.
* * *
We went shopping yesterday.
Big deal, right? Actually, it kinda was. It was the first time my wife had been in good enough shape to do so since her emergency appendectomy. Things are slowly returning to whatever passes for normal.
* * *
Dr. David Casarett is the director of hospice care at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He works with families as they try to navigate end-of-life decisions.
At least once a week, Casarett says, one of his patients expresses a desire to end his or her own life. “It’s a reminder to me that I have to stop whatever I was doing … and sit back down to try to find out what is motivating that request,” he says. “Is it really a carefully thought out desire to die, or is it, as it is unfortunately many times, a cry for help?”
It’s a good story.
* * *
Tomorrow’s the last day this month to get the free Kindle edition of Communion of Dreams. And this week is the last one to get entered into the drawing for a hand-bound leather copy of the special edition. Remember, you have to have posted a review on Amazon of the book, and then post a comment with a link to that review in this blog entry. There are currently 65 reviews on Amazon, but only 8 entrants for the drawing — don’t delay, as the end will come sooner than you expect.
As it usually does, for good or ill.
Filed under: Amazon, Connections, General Musings, Humor, Kindle, Marketing, movies, Music, Predictions, Promotion, Publishing, Science Fiction, Weather, YouTube | Tags: A Tale of Two Cities, Alzheimer's, Amazon, blogging, care-giving, Charles Dickens, Communion of Dreams, direct publishing, Fred Hoyle, free, Her Final Year, humor, jim downey, John Bourke, Kindle, Led Zeppelin, literature, movies, music, October The First is Too Late, predictions, promotion, Science Fiction, Sean Carroll, St. Cybi's Well, time travel, travel, video, www youtube
Partially related to stuff which happens in St. Cybi’s Well, but also I suspect because I just turned 55, I’ve been thinking about “time” a lot. The perceptions of it, how it ‘works’, how it is portrayed in books and movies. This topic is hardly new for me, though, since tropes about time travel are so common in Science Fiction.
Anyway, one interesting little side-track I was considering this morning was what you could do with a series of stories/books premised on a slightly different concept of time than what we commonly work with. Specifically, I was thinking of time as a manifestation of other aspects of the universe, analogous to how weather is a manifestation of other physical characteristics on a planet. You could have something like a “time forecast”, wherein changes in the quality of time itself had an impact on the story/characters. Perhaps our little corner of reality has long been in a ‘calm’ period of time weather, with things moving along smoothly and placidly, so that we’ve come to expect that it will always be that way. What happens when there’s a change? Perhaps a new front moves through? A storm? A tornado? Does everything get jumbled, a la October The First is Too Late? Perhaps it could literally be the best of times and the worst of times simultaneously.
Something to play with. But for now, I need to get back to work. And you, if you haven’t already, should take advantage of this last day of the week-long promotion and go download Communion of Dreams and/or Her Final Year.
Filed under: Alzheimer's, Amazon, Connections, Constitution, Government, Health, Kindle, Marketing, Promotion, Publishing, Science Fiction | Tags: 55, Alzheimer's, Amazon, birthday, blogging, care-giving, Communion of Dreams, Constitution, direct publishing, free, health, hospice, Independence Day, jim downey, John Bourke, July 4th, Kindle, memoir, promotion, Science Fiction
Happy Independence Day, everyone!
And a quick update on how things are going with the promotion so far: almost 1300 downloads of Communion of Dreams, and the current ranking for that book is #647 overall in the Free Kindle Store (it down all the way to #289 at one point on Tuesday evening!) And Her Final Year is presently at #1,570, with 231 downloads so far. Remember, the promotion ends tomorrow night — so take advantage of it now!
Have a safe & fun Fourth!
*Because I’m 55, get it? Yes, I am so very clever. Also because of the meaning of “five by five“, which is unknown to most people these days, belonging to another era.
Filed under: Amazon, Art, Book Conservation, Connections, Kindle, Marketing, Promotion, Publishing, Religion, Science Fiction, tech | Tags: Alzheimer's, Amazon, art, blogging, book conservation, bookbinding, care-giving, Communion of Dreams, free, jim downey, John Bourke, Kindle, promotion, Science Fiction, technology
Remember that 700+ year old bible I posted about the beginning of June? This one:
Well, this weekend I got started working on the book. And I thought I’d share a couple of images of what I found inside, and what I’ve done to it so far.
Here’s the spine of the text block, once it had been freed from the cover seen above:
That’s after I’ve removed the gross chunks of paper liners which were applied between the cords. I’ve since removed all the rest of the liners, first using a jeweler’s tweezers and then a scalpel. Anyway, I want to note the very evident lines of sewing stations (holes punched through the folios) from the original binding. That shows that the book has been rebound at least once.
Here’s another image:
That’s an image of the interior of the cover. Which shows a couple of interesting things. First, you can see how the vellum of the cover molded itself to the spine of the text block over time. That sort of thing happens over *centuries*.
Second, how the supporting cords are laced into the cover. The sewing was done in a way that it wrapped around the cords, which helps to support the overall structure. The cords are then laced into a channel, looped over the board material, and then come back on the inside and are pasted down. This is VERY common of medieval and Renaissance bindings.
And lastly — note that the cover material is an early variety of bookboard. It’s NOT wood. This is a clue to the age of the binding. It means that it is after the introduction of papermaking to Europe. Which is to say, this book was probably rebound sometime in the 14th or 15th century. (Papermaking technology was introduced to Southern Europe late in the 13th century, but it took a little while to disseminate across the continent.)
So, I removed a couple of layers of more modern papers on the inside, and pulled the old ends of the cords out of the bookboard. Then I dampened the board on the inside, put it between moisture barrier sheets, and put it into a press to flatten overnight. Then once the spine of the text block was fairly clean I applied a layer of conservation adhesive (a blend of methyl-cellulose and poly-vinyl-acetate) and some fairly heavy Kozo-fiber paper, which I stippled onto the spine so that it would conform to the existing structure and hold everything in place. Like this:
You’ll note that it extends past the text block on the left-hand side of the spine. I can trim that excess off with a scalpel once everything is dried. I should finish up the rest of the work tomorrow.
Oh, and speaking of tomorrow … remember, the week-long give-away of my books starts then!
Filed under: Alzheimer's, Amazon, Connections, Feedback, Fireworks, Health, Hobbits, Humor, Kindle, Marketing, Promotion, Publishing, Science Fiction, Synesthesia, tech | Tags: 301, 55, Alzheimer's, Amazon, birthday, blogging, care-giving, Communion of Dreams, direct publishing, free, health, Hobbits, hospice, humor, jim downey, John Bourke, July 4th, Kindle, memoir, promotion, Science Fiction
As I’ve noted previously, July 4th is my birthday (secondary thought – damn, this blog is six years old!). And in something of a “Hobbit’s Birthday” spirit, again this year I’m going to run a promotion in celebration. But because I’m turning 55, it’s going to be a bit different than last year. Instead, the Kindle edition of Communion of Dreams will be free for 5 days – yup, July 1st through July 5th.
And that still ain’t all. Nope. When the promotional period is over, the Kindle edition price for each book will drop to just $3.01. Why $3.01? Well, because of Amazon’s policies, it’s best to keep the price over $2.99. And I like the ‘shape’ of 301, mild synesthete that I am. And the number has some interesting properties. So, $3.01 it is.
And remember, you don’t even need an actual Kindle to enjoy either book, because there is a free Kindle emulator/app for just about every computer/tablet/mobile device out there. Earlier this year I installed the app on my Android phone, and I’ve been happily using it in lieu of my Kindle since.