Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Kindle 3 is Out!

I checked Amazon's site and I'm excited to learn the kindle 3 is out! Pre-orders are available for August 27 shipment.

My problem is they're giving a choice between graphite color and white. I can't make up my mind.

Does anyone know which is better for reading, or does it matter? The white is prettier, but maybe the graphite is more practical. I don't know what to do. Such a quandary. Help!

Morgan Mandel

Smashwords, kindle and ebook discussion at Acme

come on over to Acme Authors Link, where we're discussing Smashwords, Kindle and Ebooks at

Morgan Mandel

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Chris Verstraete Talks Dogs, Minis, and Other Fun Stuff

Today, we welcome Christine Verstraete who enjoys writing mysteries, children's fiction and short stories.

Besides writing her children's book, Searching For A Starry Night - (now in Kindle and coming soon in a new print version!)  Christine has had short fiction published in various anthologies including Timeshares and the upcoming Steampunk'd from DAW Books, plus in Dragons Composed and The Bitter End: Nautical Tales of Terror. Her latest spooky stories in eBook include "Motherly Love" and "The Killer Valentine Ball" (coming in Oct.)
1. Tell us about Petey, the Dachshund, and Snowy, the Malamute mix, they are too cute for words. Besides that, why are they included in your blog header at Candid Canine ? Is either one included in any of your books?

I know you're a big dog fan, Morgan. I love dogs, too, (Hi Rascal!) and try to add them to most of my fiction.

The funny thing is I add a dog to all my dollhouses and miniature rooms, too. (One project, The Dogcatcher's House, has at least 100 dogs. See my website and click miniatures.)

Petey the Dachshund plays a big role in my kid's mystery, Searching for a Starry Night. Besides causing trouble, he uncovers some clues, too. Snowy, the Malamute mix, is part of my adult mystery set in a diner that I'm sending around to publishers. She's modeled after my real-life dog, Shania, whose picture (the white dog) is on my blog header.

2. When did you first get fascinated by minis, and how do they figure in your books?

I've been collecting miniatures for longer than I care to admit. Ha! I think I've always been fascinated by small things. Once I discovered there were actual dollhouse shows that sold just about everything you use in real life, only smaller, I was hooked. In Searching for a Starry Night, Sam and her friend, Lita, are searching for a lost miniature replica of Van Gogh's "Starry Night."

I also own an actual miniature oil reproduction of the painting, which can be seen at my blog here.

3. Tell us about something that happened at one of your book signings. Anyone ask you where the bathroom was? That seems to be a favorite question. (g)

Yes, I directed some people to the bathroom at Barnes and Noble. Ha! I think my most memorable, funny, and stunning experience was at a dog show. Not a good event choice, it turned out. But this one woman when asked if she liked to read admitted she only read religious nonfiction. When asked about fiction, she said, "No, I wouldn't waste my time." Well.

4. Do you prefer personal appearances over online promotion, or are they equal in your eyes?

I enjoy online promotion, but I've noticed in the last year, especially with Kindle and ebooks, etc., there is starting to be a glut of writers. We all are promoting to each other! I think it may be getting near the saturation point of too many voices in the stream, especially with more and more writers coming online. So a writer will have to make dents in other ways as well.

I also write in other genres, with a nonfiction, how-to book on miniatures coming out next year, so I wear two promotional hats. I hope to attend a miniatures show this fall and in spring which lets me share my handmade miniatures and my books. I also enjoy bookstore promotions and talking to younger readers.

5. Do you belong to any writing groups, in person and/or online?

I belong to a fantastic small critique group in Wisconsin led by science fiction writer Jean Rabe, whom I met at a book signing event. I also enjoy writing groups online through Yahoo groups. I am planning on joining Sisters in Crime in the future.

6. Do you have a set writing schedule?

As a journalist, I'm used to writing every day without fail. I continue to write nonfiction so I work on that besides fiction, short fiction, blog writing, etc. No rest for the wicked. Lol.

7. Tell us how you got involved with Mysterical-e. What do you enjoy most about being part of its process?

I've been involved with Mysterical-e as a columnist for a number of years as part of my own online presence and because I enjoy doing interviews. I like talking to other authors via my Author Snapshot column (as I did with Morgan, see her interview here and giving them another platform for their books and writing.

8. What about ebooks? Are they a good or bad thing for the book industry?

I think ebooks are an interesting innovation and any additional way to get people interested in reading has to be good. Plus, there's a lower selling price, which is also a bonus in our present economy.

9. What else would you like to say? Spill the beans for us.

A new version of Searching for a Starry Night is coming out in print shortly and is being designed as I speak. I'm hoping that readers will try either the Kindle or ebook version, or get the new print version if that is their preference.

Morgan, thanks for letting me meet your blog visitors!

Anyone commenting on any of the blog stops on the tour can win:
* One person who comments on any of the blog tour stops will win a free Kindle copy of Searching for a Starry Night. (You can download Kindle for PC free here.)
* One person will also win a miniaturized dollhouse collector's edition of the first chapter from the first print edition, made by miniaturist LeeAnn Borgia. See myblog for links and photo.

** To celebrate the revised Searching for a Starry Night, one person will win a copy of the new print version when it is available.
* Website
* Blog
* eBooks page
* Searching For A Starry Night on Kindle,

Blog Tour Schedule Next Three Stops:

Tues, 7/27: Killer Hobbies with Camille Minichino - Crafts and Writing, what comes first?
Weds, 7/28: Marian Allen's Blog at - Talking about Writing
Thurs, 7/29: Helen Ginger, Straight from Hel - Getting Kindleized
Full Schedule, including posts you may have missed, can be found at:

Okay, gang, don't forget to comment to be eligible to win a prize! Leaving an email address would be helpful to find you when you win. Think positive, but if you don't win, you can always buy the kindle from the handy Amazon link above. Thanks for visiting Double M today, Chris.
- Morgan Mandel 

Friday, July 23, 2010

E-Book Wars - Another Skirmish

It's official. In case you didn't know it before, the war is on. Here's evidence of one more skirmish among many - this time with Random House and an agency.

Morgan Mandel

Monday, July 19, 2010

You Don't Hear This Much

Celia Yeary's blog post Monday at reminded me of a participation blog I'd been wanting to write, but kept forgetting.

Now that I remember, here goes:

When I grew up I heard so many phrases that were a normal part of speech. I thought nothing special of them at the time.  Now that I don't hear them much any more, and I kind of miss them.

Some of them are:
Don't dilly dally
None of that monkeyshine business, you hear?
That's really icky
Were you born in a barn?

I know there are more, but right now I can't think of them. How about you? Which ones do you remember?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Making Room in My Life

Right now my work in progress is occupying a large part of my free time. I'm going to find one of those meter things and stick it on my blog here so people can see I'm really doing something. It will also be a great motivator for me to get to the end.

I do have some great guests coming up here and at Acme Authors Link. You'll be learning about them soon.

Also, I plan on making some changes to free up more of my time to do things I really enjoy, like blogging, but that will have to wait a few more months until I can set my plan in motion.

Until then, I'll do what I can. You can usually find me on Facebook, by the way, since there's a pretty fast app for it on my Iphone and I can zing in and out of there quite often.

Here's my spot over there -

I've also got a fan page, but that's for just in case my followers multiply twice as much as they are now and turn into 5,000. That one's at


Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Was 4th of July Weekend Busy For You?

Do you sometimes find that Holidays can be more busy than workdays? That turned out to be the case for my 4th of July Holiday weekend which extended through Monday. The time flew by.

One reason is I'm on the committee at our local festival, Frontier Days, in Arlington Heights, so I volunteered to wrap hot dogs for Disability Day, plus be a marshal in our parade keeping kids diving for candy away from moving vehicles.

Two of the days I also signed books at the Frontier Days Marketplace with fellow author friends, Debra St. John, June Sproat and Margot Justes.

Any other free time was spent cooling off at home, until evening came along and I went back to the Festival to enjoy the entertainment. We were very lucky the rain passed us by for the most part. Only one incident where it poured for about half an hour at an off time when I wasn't there. Then it went away the rest of the Fest.

Now I'm back at work, which is not as much fun. The only good thing about returning to work is the air conditioning. It is very hot in this part of the USA lately.

What about you? Were you busy this past Holiday weekend? Or did you use the time to relax or get more accomplished on your WIP?