Today is a special day. It’s Christmas Eve and the air is filled with a magic and excitement that you can practically feel.
As Christians, we’re two cheap chicks who will be celebrating this holiday with special meaning. This is Susan and I wanted to share a little something that happened last year on Christmas Eve, when we went to church. The service was simple and moving, two teenagers portraying Joseph and Mary, gifted musicians singing old carols and new worship songs.
In the row behind me, young Emily started getting restless. It’s hard to sit through a church service when you’re just 2 years old, especially on Christmas Eve. She wiggled down out of the seat and peered around the chair to watch the stage, intrigued by the scene, especially when a doll was laid in the straw.
The pastor read the passage that described Jesus being laid in a manger, the angels who announced his birth and the shepherds who came to worship him. But Emily was not listening. Her dad put her on his lap and shushed her, which only made her squirm and fuss more. Exasperated, she told her dad very plainly about the situation.
“There’s a baby up there and I want to see it.”
Her innocent voice cut through all the extra layers surrounding Christmas and went straight to the point. Why pay attention to anything else when there is a baby?
Emily’s advice has helped me to keep my focus this holiday season. All the presents and cookies and lights are nice, but is my greatest desire to see the Savior and to be near Him? This Christmas, I pray that you can catch a glimpse of the baby and see Jesus for all he is.
e-Ramble is the post where I (Paula) write about whatever I want as long as it is related to books, Kindle or reading. It’s been awhile – the last e-ramble was in January.
As I’ve stated before, I’ve fallen in love with the short story. This literary form has been reborn with e-readers and hurried readers. Fifteen minutes and a story has gone from cradle to grave. A tidy gift in a small package.
I came upon The World’s Shortest Stories Of Love And Death in the Kindle Store. It’s a bit over cheap at $5.23, but every story is only 55 words long and the idea of a 55-word story was fascinating. I purchased the story collection and quickly read through the pages.
The stories are about the general topics of love and death. Some were dark, others poignant, a few were funny, and some I didn’t understand, but that could be a reflection of my lack of life experiences. The story titled Late Charge by Jennifer Saylor is the most clever story. I still chuckle thinking about it.
The idea of a 55-word story so intrigued me that I grabbed a notebook and started penciling my thoughts. After numerous word counts, re-writes, and input from Tiger, here are my first four 55-word stories, one each in the adventure, suspense, contemporary fiction and true romance categories.
Young men. Face to face. Nearly nose to nose. Heavily drawn breath, but no retreats, no flinching. At the signal, they charge, each determined to be victorious. They struggle against each other, muscles bulging, teeth gritted. They stop, step back to do it all over again.
The referee’s whistle has blown. Second down and five.
Jim looked over his shoulder – again. He felt nervous, sweaty, pained in his stomach. Why had he behaved so recklessly? Someone would find out. His career could be over. He had to live with this for forever.
He looked over his shoulder, saw the Harley tattoo, smiled. “Let the congregation talk,” thought Reverend Jim.
In fairness, this story probably should have been labeled Christian fiction, but that would have given away the ending. I apologize for any offense.
“Yes, I’m a doctor.”
“Too early to tell. You hoping for two more girls?”
“Yeah. Emily and Anna are heading off to college in two and three years.”
“I understand,” the doctor said as he pulled off his gloves and stepped out of the barn. “You will need the milk money.”
“Till death do us part.”
He held her hand, grinned at her. She smiled. Guests at the wedding, they had known poorer, now were comfortable. They had weathered sickness, enjoyed years of health.
“You may kiss your bride.”
He squeezed her hand. Newlyweds. They are still today, twenty some years later.
Preparing this post, I realized I had written nothing about the Kindle. Out came the notebook and the pencil. Here’s a Kindle story that I’m categorizing as chick lit:
Kindle + Me = Forever
I bought a Kindle, named it Jason. I love him. Free books? Cheap books? Games? More love for Jason.
Jason is always with me. I said to Mother, “Evenings and weekends, I’m with Jason.”
She misunderstood. She thinks I’m dating a nice young man. Mom’s happy. There’s no more nagging.
I love Jason even more.
Do you have a 55-word story just waiting to be written? Titles don’t count in the word count. I used Word as the official tally on my stories. Have fun and you are welcome to leave a comment with your story.
A long, personal post:
Early next week my husband has an appointment with his surgeon. We anticipate this will be the visit when the surgeon tells us he doesn’t want to see us again; his work is complete. Sweet words we hope to hear.
I firmly believe God led us to this surgeon. He’s an outstanding physician in his area of practice. He literally saved my husband’s life. God’s grace and healing aren’t being discounted; this man was God’s instrument.
At our first appointment, even though it was anticipated, he dealt a devastating blow with his diagnosis. He was direct and to-the-point. He said words I didn’t want to hear. And I didn’t like him.
Perhaps he delivers similar messages to patients every week. In my wonderfully blessed world, I had never before received such life-altering news.
Home from that first appointment, I did what any Kindler would do. I searched the Kindle Store for books related to the subject, bought two and read one that night. Jones and Bartlett Learning publishes books for patients and families to understand medical issues. If you need to read about a medical concern, I recommend Jones and Bartlett’s books. They aren’t cheap reads, but are worth every penny.
After reading the first book, I realized that my husband’s illness wasn’t a death sentence. Thinking back over our visit with the surgeon, I remembered he had spoken only of the actions to be taken. He told us clearly we would do the first step, study the results, go to the second step if needed, study the results, right on down the list, and he ended with “until we have a cure.” I had lost those words in the cacophony of bad news.
Yes, the surgeon was direct. But he also spoke with confidence. Not arrogance, but confidence. I instinctively knew I could trust what he said. Perhaps I could even like him.
When he spoke with me following the surgeries, his comments were always about my husband. He didn’t draw attention to himself. Every question I asked was answered fully and with confidence. When I asked outright about the long-term prognosis, he didn’t hesitate to assure me that he anticipated a full and complete recovery. Before the second surgery, I asked about continued therapy. He confidently said he didn’t think there would be a necessity based on what he saw in the scans. I hugged his words to my heart and planned our future around them. I repeatedly told myself that by Valentine’s Day, this would be behind us.
And I prayed. From the first moment of the diagnosis I prayed that God would heal my husband, and if He didn’t heal him, that God would heal me. During my near-constant conversations with God throughout the next six weeks, I gently reminded God that healing my husband would be the easier of the two options, because healing me would be a long-term project. Mercifully, God answered the cries of my heart.
God sent us to an amazing surgeon with the perfect personality to allay my fears, replenish my hope, and keep my spirits upbeat. I believe the assurances God has promised that He will keep me in the palm of His hand in every situation. I also believe that God provided for me this surgeon who spoke with confidence.
Thank you for allowing me to share my personal journey these last few weeks. You can read about our journey in posts from November 30, December 4 and December 23. Your expressions of concern and prayers were healing balms for our battered souls.
Though this post is about our surgeon, my husband received excellent health care from compassionate professionals throughout his illness. Their combined work and care have brought him to good health today. I respect and appreciate their work and dedication.
In honor of the medical profession, I am re-posting Michael Palmer’s medical thriller, The First Patient, selling now for only $2.99. PRICE UPDATE: $9.99
I usually shy away from books with a fright factor. No more! I have been scared, and there hasn’t been a book written yet that will scare me as much as the monster we just defeated.
The First Patient: Gabe Singleton and Andrew Stoddard were once Naval Academy roommates. Today, Gabe is a country doctor and his friend Andrew has gone from war hero to governor to President of the United States.
One day, while the United States is embroiled in a bitter presidential election campaign, Marine One lands on Gabe’s Wyoming ranch, and President Stoddard announces that his personal physician has suddenly and mysteriously disappeared—and he desperately needs Gabe to take the man’s place.
Now ensconced in the White House medical office, Gabe comes to a disturbing realization: The President is not fit to run the country. Worse, Gabe uncovers evidence that his friend’s illness may not be due to natural causes. Who could have administered such a blow? And why? The President’s life is at stake, the safety of the world is in jeopardy, and it’s up to Gabe to find the answers while time is running out…
Available for only $2.99 today. PRICE UPDATE: $9.99
Thanks to Holly, who sent a note letting us know that on Amazon’s Deal of the Day on Kindle page, there is now a notice that the Deal of the Day (DoftheD) has expired. The site now has links to editor’s picks, bestsellers and hot new releases (most of those books are probably more expensive than $2.99).
The feature was a great idea, but I didn’t see how Amazon could keep it up for long. The books from the agency models probably could not be included in the selection, excluding many popular books. On Sunday, we had a post of Christian fiction books from Abingdon Press that had been reduced to $2.39. I had prepared the post on Friday. Well, when the DoftheD came out on Sunday, I had to remove three books from our post because the DoftheD had increased the prices to $2.99. On this day, customers paid more. (Sorry, the $2.39 price on those books is long gone now, too.)
I read on discussion boards, users comments that they had gotten $15 books for only $2.99 and were tickled pink with the money they had saved. I saw the “digital list price” on those books, too, but Amazon seldom charges the full digital list price on non-agency model books. The actual amount saved compared to the usual price was probably much less.
So, the DoftheD was fun while it lasted and I added books to my Kindle library, too. We will keep an eye out for the feature just in case Amazon revives it. You will be the first to know if it comes back!
Several of you sent us your list of Top Four Reads 2010 and we will feature those lists on Thursday and Friday, January 13 and 14. You can still send us your list and any comments about your selections to us through the Your Two Cents Worth tab.
The week of January 17, we will feature a book review writing tutorial to help you formulate your thoughts if you would like to post a book review on Amazon. All authors and prospective readers of a book want to know your reaction to a book. We will also post the poll results about reviews.
Finally, an update on my husband, the amazing healing man. He is doing great and getting stronger every day. He’s going to try to ease back into a bit of his work next week. He’s tired of just sitting around so we have turned a corner in the recovery process. We had a celebration on New Year’s Day with family from several states joining us. He was exhausted at day’s end – the only time he could legitimately say he needed to recover after being with my family. He’s recovering with a great book he got cheap – that guy knows how to live!
Oh, the irony! I just came across this book: Kindle Effect: A Medical Thriller Special Edition . The book is only available in paperback! To be fair, the book description gives no indication that the Kindle Effect is in any way related to the e-reader from Amazon. To me, the irony is amusing. You can check out the book by clicking on the cover below.
Today has been a hum-dinger of a day for prices at Amazon in the Kindle Store. Three of the books that we posted for today have already gone back to higher prices. More than 50 indie authored books suddenly have been offered free. What’s going on?
Don’t we wish we knew!
Please, always, confirm the price before hitting the one-click buy. All prices for posts that day are confirmed at 6:00am Central time each day and then again through the day. But Amazon could change the price at the same time or shortly after we put up our post. This is frustrating as you miss great books at great prices.
We’ll keep looking for the books and keep putting them out there for you. We would encourage you to visit often, buy a book if it interests you because the price can change anytime, and try not to let the ones you miss upset you. Sometimes books will show up several months later at the cheap price again. We’ll keep an eye out for you.
Once upon a time…
New to the Kindle experience? Thinking about getting one but not sure? Here’s how I got started.
Kindle For PC
I noticed that Amazon was offering free books for the Kindle. The cheapskate in me hated to pass up on free books, but it wasn’t feasible for me to buy a Kindle reader. Then I learned about one of the great features of Amazon – free applications. You can read Kindle books on other formats. I downloaded Kindle For PC to my computer. For free. You could do the same with Kindle for Mac or the iPhone. If you have email and an Amazon account, you can set it up in a minute or less.
Then, I started buying free and cheap books, which are a lot easier to find now with dailycheapreads. Since I work on the computer all day (well, work and facebook) I had no interest in reading books on the computer, so most of them just accumulated in my account. Then, when the price of the Kindle dropped, I was ready and bought one.
Love at First Sight
My long-awaited Kindle arrived the next day with free shipping. The packaging was wonderful, not just secure but creative. I pulled the tab labeled “Once upon a time” and the fun began. With any new electronic comes the labyrinth of set up. Not so with the kindle. I pulled it out of the package and illustrated instructions were right on the screen face. Kindle uses e-ink technology that means the picture will never “burn” into the screen.
Here were the directions: #1. Plug it in. #2. Turn it on.
That’s it. When I turned it on, all 60 books I’d ordered over the last four months were already loaded on it. I didn’t have to connect it to the computer, send an email or anything.
Now, when I find a book I like on dailycheapreads, I follow the link to Amazon, hit the “buy with one click” and the next time I turn on my Kindle, make sure the wireless is on, and the book automatically loads to my Kindle. This thing is easier to use than a library card. And more fun!
Don’t you miss cuddling up with a book? they ask. Sometimes I still read paper books, but I don’t miss them. I knew I’d like the convenience, but what I didn’t expect was how attached I’d get to my Kindle. Opening the Kindle is like opening the door to the library when I was a little kid — all kinds of adventures are waiting inside. It’s a thrill to open it up and have dozens of books to choose from to read, not just the one book laying on the nightstand.
Once upon a time…. And I’m still reading toward the happy ending.
Did you notice the pop-up ad on the left side of the screen? Did you see the advertisement wedged between our posts, asking you to click on the link? Did you get distracted by the voice on the video ad?
That’s because these things are never on our site.
At kindlecheapreads.com, we are two cheap chicks committed to keeping this site all about Kindle. You won’t see pop-ups drawing your attention away from the books. No posts pushing something totally unrelated to Kindle or the e-book in the post. You won’t need to filter out the noise of ads to find what you want on our site.
We are keeping it Kindle: the books you can read on your Kindle, accessories for your Kindle, Kindle in the news; authors who have books available for Kindle, and our random thoughts about Kindle-related topics. We provide Amazon widgets for the Kindle and accessories so you can link quickly.
We may one day feature a small blurb about our great technical-support company, Kerusso Tech. To be honest, the site wouldn’t be here without them; it wouldn’t look this good; and it wouldn’t be this organized. They deserve credit and probably more than we’re paying them.
We are preparing for our month-long event beginning Wednesday, September 1. Each day in September, the spotlight will shine on an independent author and their books, as well as provide links to their websites, blogs, and Amazon author pages. This daily post, above and beyond our normal 5-a-day posts, will appear each day at 8:00am Central (Chicago) time.
I must give a huge shout out to Maria Schneider, independent author extraordinaire. Way back when the
kindlecheapreads dailycheapreads website was just a newborn, Maria sent a comment introducing herself and telling us about her books available through Kindle. In the following weeks, we received comments from other independent authors. Those e-mails prompted the idea of a month-long indie spotlight.
Not knowing where to start, I turned to Maria, asking if she knew other indies who might work with us to feature their books during the event. Maria immediately responded, set about to help us, and has been invaluable in her support. Maria has gone from the faceless author who sent a note on the very first day to a friend.
Which brings me to the purpose of this post, what I learned about indie authors. Simply put: the authors that I have worked with through this event have been down-to-earth men and women, happy to participate, eager to provide what I requested, encouraging, and just plain friendly.
Chatter on the discussion boards and the news has made us aware of big-name authors and their dislike and disdain for electronic readers. The agency model that the majority of large publishing houses has adopted to price e-books has maddened many customers and saddened those who just don’t have the budget to pay the prices.
Indie authors are the antidote. They are fresh voices, not confined by someone’s idea of what the public wants to read. Their works are reasonably priced making them available to anyone who has a computer (Kindle for PC). These folks might live in your neighborhood; work at a business you frequent; or be the parent of one of your child’s classmates. Indies are writing books, making those books available through new avenues, and loving life.
Let’s support their efforts and buy an indie book or two to read in September. Maria will be one of our featured authors in September, but you might want to check out Catch an Honest Thief by Maria. Priced at $2.99, it’s a fun read for the coming Labor Day holiday weekend in the United States.
An Indiana Jones-style caper across the desert of New Mexico; high-tech gadgets, a mystery and a romance. Alexia is trying to protect the crystals that power the city of Haven. Going undercover and stealing the crystals seemed like a great idea–until a real thief showed up.
Bait and switch is suddenly cat and mouse–but who is the real thief? And why is the new security chief spending so much time looking into her background? Confessing her secret plans to protect the crystals might help the security chief narrow in on the real culprit, but it would cost Alexia her job, her freedom, and her status. Of course, if she keeps standing in the way of the real thief, it will cost her a whole lot more.
Click here to purchase Catch an Honest Thief
While searching for the best cheap buys to post on the site, I came across this offering from Kensington Books for well-known author Fern Michaels. I am not recommending you buy this Sneak Peek, but I wanted to draw your attention to this type of publication.
For $3.19, the description states that you will get a special bonus piece from the author relevant to a publication soon to be released – Exclusive, the next book in the Godmothers Series.
Included in this Sneak Peek is a collection of excerpts from two books which have been out of print, but are now available for the Kindle.
Why would a savvy Kindle buyer purchase an e-book of excerpts when we can download samples for free?
The description states it is “the perfect opportunity to find out why everyone always raves about Fern.” We’ll pass, thank you. Free samples from Amazon meet our need for determining if an author is worthy of raves.