Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Randomness That Is Me

Today is a fun random post. My friend Faith awarded me for participation in The Sunflower Blogger Award. This means I get to share 11 random facts about myself, answer her 11 questions, and then tag 11 more bloggers to participate and answer my questions. I don't do a lot of these type of things because I never seem to have enough people to tag, but this is too fun. So here it goes.
11 Random Facts About Me
1. I own all six seasons of Daniel Boone on DVD, which is probably worth at least several hundred dollars because they aren't making the later season DVDs anymore, for some strange reason.
2. Over the last 15 years or so, I have found 104 four leaf clovers, and I still have them all. It's a totally pointless hobby, but they're fun to collect, especially when finding them gets competitive with my brothers.
3. Though I do like chick flicks, I don't watch many. I'm much more likely to watch an action adventure or historical movie like Lord of the Rings, Gladiator, or The Avengers.
4. Ever since I was about eleven, I've been interested in cryptozoology (the search for yet undiscovered animals).
5. When pixie cuts first became popular, I couldn't figure out why a girl would want to cut her hair so short . . . Guess what kind of haircut I have now? Yup, a pixie cut. And I love it. I have very wavy, thick, unruly hair (seriously, I should have lived in the 20's), and the less I have to contend with the better.
6. I'm a t-shirt, jeans, and bare feet girl. That's why I love summer and hate winter. It's like Christmas when I get to pull all of my summer t-shirts out of storage in the spring.
7. I'm allergic to wheat . . . and mice. Weird combination.
8. I've had more bad dreams involving tornadoes than anything else. Yes, I'm deathly afraid of tornadoes.
9. I have this weird fascination/fear of dinosaurs. I like watching dinosaur movies like Jurassic Park, but they freak me out at the same time. I used to dream about dinosaurs a lot too.
10. I've gone through some strange phases. I used to hate when my brothers would listen to Christian rock music, and now I'm a big fan of Skillet.
11. Okay, last one...well, like my heroine in Resistance, I get extremely claustrophobic in tight and crowded spaces. It's not very pleasant.
My 11 Answers to the 11 Questions
1.What is your favorite kind of tree?
I don't even know what kinds of trees they are exactly, but I love huge spreading trees like the ones you see in the English countryside on movies like Pride and Prejudice. I LOVE big trees like that and wish we had some in our yard.

2.Do you prefer tea or coffee or neither?
Tea! I love my English Breakfast Tea. When I'm feeling good, I usually have a pint-sized mug of tea every morning. With sugar and French Vanilla creamer, of course. I like it sweet. :)

3.What is your favorite social media site?
Probably Facebook. That's what I'm most familiar with and use the most. Although I have gotten more into Twitter in the last while.

4.What is the last sentence you wrote in a story?
(Ooh, lucky readers get a little sneak peek into book four of Ilyon Chronicles)
When they stepped off the bridge and onto the solid rock of the point, Lord Vallon and a couple of the clan leaders were there to meet them.
5.Who is your favorite historical figure and why?
I've always been fascinated with Jedediah Smith. I have a thing for mountain men and the fur trade era, and I love how Jedediah was so different from the other mountain men of his time because of his faith. I think it's sad he died so young.

6.What is your biggest pet peeve?
When people don't take what I do seriously and don't think it's a "real" job.

7.What’s your favorite dessert?
It used to be cinnamon rolls until I had to go gluten free. :( I still have to find a good gluten free recipe that satisfies that craving.

8.If you could live in any time period (past, present, or future) what would you choose?
I like my modern conveniences, but I think I would have liked the late 1800s.

9.What is your favorite book to re-read (besides the Bible)
Currently, I'd say that's Books of the Infinite by R.J. Larson (okay, that's three books, but you can't stop at just one).

10.What genre do you read most?
I think that's a tie between fantasy and historical. I have mostly fantasy novels on my shelf, but I get a lot of historical from the library.

11.What is the best movie you have ever watched?
I think The Fellowship of the Ring will always be my all-time favorite. That's what started my love for fantasy.
Now for my tagged bloggers. I'm going to have to cheat on this. Most of the bloggers I know and follow have already been tagged, so I only have a couple.
Katie (or Anna, or both!)
My 11 Questions for My Tagged Bloggers (I'm just going to borrow Faith's otherwise this will take me much longer then necessary, lol!.)
1.What is your favorite kind of tree?
2.Do you prefer tea or coffee or neither?
3.What is your favorite social media site?
4.What is the last sentence you wrote in a story?
5.Who is your favorite historical figure and why?
6.What is your biggest pet peeve?
7.What’s your favorite dessert?
8.If you could live in any time period (past, present, or future) what would you choose?
9.What is your favorite book to re-read (besides the Bible)
10.What genre do you read most?
11.What is the best movie you have ever watched?

Friday, May 30, 2014

Product Review - Microsoft Surface RT

I've done quite a few book reviews, but today I'm doing something completely out of the norm and doing my first product review. The Microsoft Surface caught my eye as soon as it came out. The fact that it has a full version of Microsoft Word was the one thing that set it apart from all other tablets in my mind. I always wanted a tablet I could use for writing, and here it is. For over a year, I practically drooled over every one I came across and dreamed about now nice it would be, but it was not something I could fit in my budget. I really didn't think I'd ever get one, or at least not for a long time and only if I had some great book sales. Well, a couple of months ago, I started looking at refurbished ones on eBay, which were much more within my price range. I was kind of iffy on the idea of buying refurbished just because I didn't know what issues they might have had before, but I wanted one too much and finally gave in about a month ago. I got a 32 GB Surface RT for $190, free shipping, off of eBay. Quite a deal, and SO worth it.
Here's my short review: I LOVE IT!
Now to be a little more specific. It is everything I hoped it would be and more. It's perfect for writing. I also have an HP Mini laptop that I bought a couple of years ago for something small to write on, but now it feels clunky compared to the Surface (I will always like my Mini too, though). It's very lightweight and portable, and the screen and colors are so vibrant and clear. Again, I have to mention that fact that it has Word. What more could a writer ask for in a tablet? The whole thing works almost exactly like a laptop, with a few limitations. I just think it's silly when I read reviews from people complaining that they "can't install any programs" on it and give it a bad review. Uh, I think they are all forgetting one key fact--this isn't a computer, it's a tablet. And tablets run with apps, not installable programs. This is why I always do my research so I know exactly what I'm getting.
The fact that I can't install anything on the Surface is no big deal. Being able to write on it was the selling factor for me. I will say Microsoft has a pretty small app store and most apps aren't very good, but it's only going to expand. As long as I have my main apps, I'm good. I can easily check mail, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and read Kindle and Nook books. Everything I need to write and do my publishing business stuff.
I think the only real complaint I have is that, since I can't install Firefox or Google Chrome, I am forced to use Internet Explorer. Yeah, you know how IE is. But I can live with it. If I want to do any heavy internet browsing all I have to do is go my desktop computer.
One of the nicest things is that, being a tablet, I don't have to shut it down unless it needs to update, which means I can just pick it up and start working without waiting for it to turn on. Let me tell you, that is NICE, especially if you want to write down some story notes quick. And battery life is quite good. It lasts about 7-8 hours with regular use. If I do use it regularly, I probably charge it every day or every other day, which takes about 2-3 hours.
Along with the Surface, I also bought a used (yup, I found every way to save money on this that I could ) blue Touch Cover keyboard. Okay, I admit, a big part of what drew me to the Surface besides it having Word was the option of a blue keyboard. What can I say? I'm obsessed with blue. (Even my Mini is blue.) I wasn't sure what I should do about the cover at first. I kind of wanted the Type Cover that actually had keys, but even used ones were a little out of my price range. I was afraid, though, that I wouldn't like the Touch Cover, but I bought in anyway because I knew I need something to write with. It's taken some getting used to. Imagine typing on a surface that has no keys. You're just tapping on a hard surface. It's kind of weird, but it's actually very responsive. I had read people who say they couldn't use it for heavy or prolonged typing. I just hoped I could, and I can happily say I'm not having any trouble with that. It can get a little annoying sometimes when I miss keys or one doesn't register, but it's worth saving the money, and I've already done extensive work with it. (I typed up this whole review on my Surface.)
The only other thing that is not the best is that, unlike a laptop, it won't sit nicely on your lap since it has a flip out stand in the back and the cover/keyboard just snaps in with a magnet and won't help keep it upright. I, however, have an easy solution to this. I bought a small (blue, of course) lap desk and it works perfectly when I want to write somewhere other than a table.
So that is my rather long, gushing review of the Microsoft Surface. I highly recommend it for writers as long as you understand its limitations and don't expect it to do something it wasn't designed to do. It's a perfect portable device for writing. I've even taken it outside and worked on the porch in the shade. It's so easy to just grab quick and write stuff down. I think it's really going to change how I've been writing over the years. I've talked before about how I always write my first drafts longhand. I kind of wished I could do it at my computer to save time, but I found it too distracting and didn't want to be confined to my room all the time. It seems much easier to do with the Surface. I've already written quite a bit with it and intend to continue. Considering the high hopes I had before I even purchased it, I'm very happy to say it met and even exceeded my expectations.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Resistance Release Day Has Arrived!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00026]It's here, it's here, it's here! I feel like a little kid on Christmas. :D After almost three years from the start of writing it through all the rewrites and editing, Resistance is now available for Kindle! I’ve been publishing for quite a few years now, and though I’ve released several books previous to this, this seems so much more “real” thanks to all the awesome people who have been and are a part of it. One of the things that makes it so exciting and special is the awesome blog tour my publicist has put together. You can see the schedule here on her blog: Make sure you check out all the awesome stops through the week.
And now, of course, here is the button to the Resistance Kindle book on Amazon ($3.99).
Buy Resistance
As far as the paperback, I am expecting my final proof copy on Wednesday. Well, I hope it will be the last. Since the first proof was almost perfect, I have high hopes. If I can approve it on Wednesday, it should be available by the end of the week. I’ll also put in an order for my own copies and start accepting orders for autographed books.
As part of the festivities for the blog tour, I’m also excited to share a fun, Resistance inspired giveaway! This was especially fun to put together. It includes an autographed paperback copy of Resistance, a wolf necklace handcrafted by me and inspired by my main character Jace, a Better Homes and Gardens “Warm Rustic Woods” candle, which I have dubbed the official candle of Ilyon Chronicles, and a leather wolf paw bookmark from Lodgepole Leathercraft. So make sure to enter using the form below! (U.S. residents only.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The First Resistance Proof Arrived!

10294426_10203880364718906_8139293772221574586_nAfter what felt like a very long few days of impatient waiting, the first proof copy of Resistance arrived yesterday! Considering the magnitude of this project and that this is the very first time I’ve seen the story officially in print, it was quite momentous. I’m happy to say, I’m very pleased with how the cover turned out. It’s hard to tell in the photo, but it’s a bit took dark, however, the colors really look good. I’ve had trouble with greens before, so I’m happy about that. Hopefully all it will take is to lighten it a bit for it to be perfect. Since I haven’t published anything in a while, this was also my first look at CreateSpace’s matte cover option. I think I really like it. Much better than glossy, for me anyway.

The interior of the book, however, is not quite as satisfactory. Something just isn’t hitting me right. I’m not completely happy with my font/size choice, and the outside margins feel a bit too big. Unfortunately, to change this means to reformat the entire book—all 550 pages worth. But I don’t want to settle for “good enough.” After all, the choices I make now will carry through all six books, so I’ve got to get it right . So, over the next couple days, I will be formatting again to change the font to something a bit lighter and smaller and trim down the margins just a little. I’m actually not too disappointed about it. It’s tiring, yes, but if it goes as smoothly as last time, it will be better in the end.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Resistance Goodreads Giveaway

I wanted to post a quick update to let everyone know that I have a giveaway for 3 autographed copies of Resistance going right now! It runs until June 20th. Make sure to enter and add it to your read list! :)

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Resistance by Jaye L. Knight


by Jaye L. Knight

Giveaway ends June 20, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win