Category: My Reviews!


Check out the book review of "When No One Else Would Fly" in the AAHS Flightline Newsletter, 2nd quarter 2014, No. 187, page 8

Check out the book review of “When No One Else Would Fly” in the AAHS Flightline Newsletter, 2nd quarter 2014, No. 187, page 8

This month’s edition of the Flightline newsletter published by the American Aviation Historical Society (AAHS) carries a book review of “When No One Else Would Fly” and I am delighted.

Hayden Hamilton has written a thoughtful and detailed review that highlights what is most important about the book – that it describes the important but little known contribution Col. C. J. Tippett made to aviation during his lifetime.

The review also gives a candid assessment of an aviation expert’s opinion of the way I wrote the book, by interspersing Tip’s own writing with my historical summaries… which he did not hate!

Mr. Hamilton declared the book “an excellent read and reference for those interested in the development of civil aviation in both the U.S. and South America during the 1940s and 1950s.”

The review, and the whole newsletter, are a ten-course meal for aviation enthusiasts – as is the AAHS website, www.aahs-online.org.

Click here to read the review, and I encourage you to click around on the AAHS website as well – it is a rich resource for american aviation history.

The quarterly newsletter is available to anyone clicking through to the site. The organization’s magazine, a full-color beautifully written resource of aviation articles, goes to members. Membership is not expensive and well worth it.

The review appears on page 8 of the 2014 second quarter AAHS newsletter, No. 187.

My thanks to the AAHS!

by Lauren Scheuer and Available Now on Amazon.com!

by Lauren Scheuer and Available Now on Amazon.com!

Lauren Scheuer has written a book called “Once Upon A Flock” about her journey and discoveries in backyard chicken raising, and it is the book I wish I’d had when I was raising chickens.

Lauren is an illustrator, and it is her photographs and whimsical illustrations that gives a third dimension to the book, taking it beyond the world of story telling and information sharing. This is the kind of book that parents and children can enjoy hand in hand as we enter the chicken world.

Lauren and her family went through a chick hatching experience, nursed a sick chicken back to health, and successfully managed adding a new hen to her small flock. We get to go along on all of these important chicken journeys as if we were there, by her side, because of the window she creates with her pictures. Full color, beautifully illustrated pictures.

There were times when I was raising my poultry, before Lauren wrote her book, and usually in the middle of the my coop, in the middle of the night, when all of my pamphlets, and university extension office resources left me feeling very alone.  This was the old way of learning by doing. Lauren’s book is an example of a new age. Books that entertain and warm while they teach and show. Books that show and tell and show some more.

Once Upon A Flock is not only the perfect book to have in hand while starting up a chicken project, it is also a great bedtime story for my daughter… the kind we read while snuggled together, side by side, so that we can see the beautiful pictures! (plus, there’s more to see once we’ve finished the book because Lauren has an excellent blog)

Available on Amazon.com, and in Kindle format, by Atria Books, of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Amanda Hocking Hollowland

Amanda Hocking started as a self published author, putting out her first novels as Kindle ebooks, as well as Nook and through Smashwords. They are well-written and took off like a rocket.

As I began researching successful self published authors, I kept running along the phrase: “… and, of course, there’s Amanda Hocking…”

But I hadn’t heard of Amanda Hocking, so I didn’t appreciate the “of course” – and I saw it several times.

Finally, I read one of her ebooks, to see for myself, of course.

I downloaded the Kindle app for my iPad, grabbed one of her young adult novels pretty much at random, and started reading. And kept reading, and read some more.

Because that is my experience of Amanda Hocking’s writing. I’m not a young adult, and I’m not a big fan of zombie apocalypse settings – HollowLand (The Hollows, #1) and yet I couldn’t put it down. It is very very well written.

She wrote her novels while working full time, and in 2010, she self published them as ebooks. Her ebooks sold so well, she broke every self published record and caught the attention of a major traditional publisher.

Her blog is fantastic and she’s taken some time to write about how it went for her, and it was NOT easy. She did a lot of sticking-with-it, not-giving-up, getting-rejected, and keeping-on-keeping-on. She also worked on making her writing better, and since I didn’t read her “before” I don’t know if she ever wrote poorly. I only know that she writes very well now.

Now, she is a traditionally published author. She made it. Self publishing was her pathway to traditional publishing, as it was for Hugh Howey.

There are a growing number of authors out there who are making a living self publishing and have no desire to go to traditional publishing. I’ll be spotlighting them soon.

In the meantime, there’s Amanda Hocking, of course, and she adds a new bullet to my bullet-list-of-things-successful-self-published-authors-have-done:

  • Her books are very well written
  • Her genre is popular – vampires, zombies, paranormal romance aimed at young adults (that’s the new bullet. Hugh Howey’s book is sci-fi, my favorite, but vampires are currently ruling)
  • She put them out as ebooks, alluringly priced
  • She did it all herself, keeping the costs low, and keeping herself focused on writing more

There are some valuable resources she recommends on her blog for authors planning to self publish, and she makes a really good point about the process. She suggests authors do a lot of research, and if I don’t feel I have the time to do the research, then I probably don’t have the time to self publish.

Bravo Amanda Hocking!  Your rock, of course!

 

 

The Free Rooster by Corinne Tippett at The Westchester Press

Getting closer to my goal of making a book from my blog at www.TheFreeRooster.com by using FastPencil.com.

I’ve just tried FastPencil.com as a solution for turning my blog into a book.
Previously, I tried Blurb.com, and Blog2Print.com, and I’m getting closer with FastPencil.com.

Fastpencil.com is a website offering to let authors produce their own book, or help them produce it with fee-based services. It is free to get started, and they offer an “import blog” function based either on the url feed of your blog, or on an uploaded xml file.

This is uber-cool because I can pull an xml download of my self-hosted wordpress blogs, or grab the published feed.

This means it can work with any blog that can be exported and downloaded. For instance, Blogger.com can be exported. Check your settings to find where to export your blog.

Back at FastPencil.com, once my xml file was uploaded, I had a variety of choices to make regarding book format, size, font, cover, description, and audience.

  • My 89 posts resulted in 296 pages.
  • I went with the suggested “elegance” format,
  • 6×9, both printed book and epub ebook.
  • I uploaded a cover image, and chose my cover colors – making them all simple.
  • Along the way, I had plenty of opportunities to preview the book. It was looking good!
The cover I could make through FastPencil.com is not great, but it’s good enough for this test. There was an option to upload a cover, but I have not yet spent my bizillion hours creating one.
  • I had a choice to keep the project private, viewable only to me.
  • Or, for free, available to the FastPencil.com marketplace – other FastPencil.com users.
  • Or, for $299 ($249 ebook only), available to retail markets like Amazon.com – which is not something I would choose because as a Do-It-Your Self Publisher, I know that I can do that myself for less. But there is always a balance between spending time and spending money.

Still hopeful for my color photo print book, I chose “color photos in the interior.”

The whopping $76 print book cost cured me quickly.

I re-set that checkbox and saw it would be $13.14. Shipping would be an additional $14. 42. This print book shows FastPencil.com as the publisher – even though I haven’t accepted their offer of a free ISBN. Their imprint is in the pdf of the print book, hmmm. So I put aside the FastPencil.com quest for a printed book of my blog. Having already given up on color photos, it simply isn’t an affordable option even though it looks good and was easy.

But… The ebook would be $9.99. Onward with the ebook!
It will be EPUB.

I purchased the ebook – checkout total was indeed $9.99, and included a PDF and EPUB.

I moved my shiny new ebook over to my Nook, and although it gave me an error message the first time I tried to open it, I tried again and there it was. An ebook!  There were a few small formatting issues, but it looks good. Especially since I didn’t do a lick of formatting.

I moved my sparkling new ebook over to my iPad and without any error message, it opened in iBooks and looks FANTASTIC!  seriously beautiful.

In summary, I highly recommend FastPencil.com for turning a blog into an ebook.

It was easy – despite a few minor bugs in their online process – and affordable. The pictures look beautiful, the formatting is clean. The EPUB format is widely useful.

Although I didn’t get a file I can convert to word and work with, I did get a file I could immediately distribute – perfect for mommy-bloggers, food-bloggers, travel-bloggers and more. I’m so pleased with FastPencil.com that I’ve signed on as an affiliate.

My quest is not yet over! Next I’ll look at a program that may give me the workable file I have been jonesing for, but in the meantime – Success!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

review of wool omnibus

I bought the Wool-Omnibus e-book as a nook book, and it was a fantastic read. Hugh Howey is a do-it-yourself self published author, and I am a big fan!

Hugh Howey wrote Wool-Omnibus, which I just finished reading – and it is Really Good. I totally recommend it.
He used e-book technology to self publish a book. And he is on the bestseller list now.

Hugh started Wool as a series, and put it out himself as an e-book on Amazon. The book got a good response. He wrote more and in 2011, the story hit the big time – still as an e-book. Wool – Omnibus is the series, seamlessly pulled together as a full-length book. It sold enough copies to gain the attention of film producers and traditional publishers, and Hugh was able to negotiate a book deal he was happy with.

This is the kind of self publishing success story I have been watching for, where an author self publishes a book and then moves into traditional publishing based on the success of that book. Hugh Howey has done it with fiction, beating even more of the odds – since I think it is harder to sell fiction in any form, especially as a self publisher.

His success stems from

  • a really well-written book,
  • a uniquely intriguing original story,
  • and by having used the self publishing system and technology well.

Congratulations to Hugh, and as a Wool fan, I’m looking forward to more of the story!

Hugh’s website is also very cool – it’s got the kind of info and communication readers want from our authors – and is fascinating for anyone interested in self publishing a book.

In particular, Hugh Howey’s path was through e-books. He underpriced his books, making it very easy for a reader to take a chance, give it a whirl. The list price was not much of an obstacle, and the power of his storytelling gained word-of-mouth momentum. His bio on his website indicates some computer background, and so doing the e-book himself was clearly within reach. Only now, with his consistent presence on bestseller lists, is he coming out with physical books. Those are being produced by Simon and Schuster, the traditional way.

I look forward to adding spotlight authors to this series of posts – Successful Self Published Authors. Writers are making it work, and it isn’t pure luck. It’s about a great story, the right technology, and not giving up…

 

 

A Chicken In Every Yard by Robert and Hannah Lit

This is a GREAT how to raise chickens book, and I’m pleased to have it in my own urban homesteading library now.

The Urban Farm Store in Portland, Oregon has been a leader in the urban chicken movement and they’ve come out with one of the best, most complete, how to books ever.
It is called A Chicken In Every Yard, and I highly recommend it.

Robert and Hannah Lit started their store on Belmont, right in the middle of the city and have become a resource for the backyard chicken farmers all over Portland. Putting out a book was a natural extension of their work behind the counter, answering every question for every bewildered new urban farmer.

Their advice is uniquely suited for the small flocks that make up backyard chicken flocks, but it goes for big flocks too. The coop section is ideal for city chicken raisers. How to raise chickens is answered by “A Chicken In Every Yard,” and I’d say it is a must for an urban homesteaders library.

This kind of how to book is an essential part of successfully raising chickens. I really enjoy the fact that my book, “Just A Couple Of Chickens” sells well in feed stores across the country, because it’s a fun way to learn a lot about the ups and downs of chicken raising, and while I have a lot of chicken raising in there, my book can’t replace the How To available in the Lit’s book. I own the Lit book myself, because I need the information too.

Stores like The Urban Farm Store are a great place to get chicks for a new, or growing urban flock. They order a variety of breeds and you get to choose one by one. Another way to get chicks is to go to a poultry show, and there’s one coming up nearby, or to contact a local poultry association (like the PNPA) to find a breeder raising the kinds of chickens you are looking for. Portland has all of these resources, and not every place does… it’s a uniquely awesome aspect of this city.

If it is an urban homesteader’s dream to have A Chicken In Every Yard, then this book is a step towards making that happen.

 

 

Farewell My Subaru by Doug Fine, My Book Review

Doug Fine’s “Farewell My Subaru” is an excellent introduction to the idea of transitioning from a gas based economy to alternate fuels.

I discovered Doug Fine and his book “Farewell My Subaru” when a man who had read my book, “Just A Couple Of Chickens” emailed me through this website to say that he had enjoyed my book and that I reminded him of Doug Fine.

I was totally delighted to get that piece of fan mail, and even more delighted to be compared to Doug Fine… once I had googled him and come up to speed on what Doug Fine is doing.

“Farewell My Subaru” was obviously required reading that I had so far missed, since my urban homesteading curriculum is self-complied. Because i’m self-taught. Which explains my motto “Learning by doing it… the hard way”

“Farewell My Subaru” was published in March, 2009… right about the time we began to dismantle our New Mexican lives because our local economy had not recovered from the Crash of 2008, so I was late to the party. Doug Fine’s story was about his transition to rural New Mexican life, and his effort to get away from a gasoline based lifestyle.

Doug’s homestead was in Southern New Mexico, and I was in the North, but that didn’t change the similarity of the culture, climate, wildlife, and experiences he described. It was like he was writing about our place. Except that he started out with solar panels and he jumped feet first into biofuel, which we didn’t do. And his chicken chapter was very short, and not only because his chickens kept getting carried off by the wildlife… but because he was already in love with his goats. I’ve raised a goat. I’ve felt that love. 100 plus chickens cannot compete.

His book is an excellent read, and I would place it at the beginning of my growing library on urban homesteading. It’s perfect for someone, like me, who is just beginning to explore the idea of biofuel, and who has heard of solar panels, but not experienced them. For someone who is well along that path, I think it would be too light, but those folks are not the intended audience. This adventure was only the beginning for Doug, who is currently behind a new book delving into the world of legal cannabis and it’s economic effects.

“Farewell My Subaru” was an important book to me in two ways that I’m quite sure Doug Fine did not intend. He described, in his year of homesteading struggle, the difficulties of raising enough crops and food sources to support himself from the land he was standing on, and he carefully detailed the cost – and longterm amortization – of the alternative fuel sources he was using.

One of the reasons I decided to leave my beloved New Mexico property in 2010 was that I had done the math on my farming dreams and seen that, so long as I had to pay for my water (even if it was just the electric bill of the well pump) and so long as I had to pay for the feed, I would not be able to make my farming support itself, much less me. My real homesteading dream had failed. My urban homesteading dream has now begun.

The book is an exploration, not a solution. It’s not intended to be a solution. Doug makes it very clear that the isolation and climate of his remote ranch were problems to an off-the-grid lifestyle. I add that places where solar panels work beautifully are places where fresh running water is scarce. Places where fresh running water is plentiful are places where solar panels don’t work as well as Doug’s did.

Piece by piece, with prudent combinations and community teamwork, we can make progress on issues like sustainable energy, urban farming, local living, and our impact on our environment. “Farewell My Subaru” is an important piece.

And it’s a super easy, funny, fresh read.

 

Copyright 2012 Corinne Tippett & The Westchester Press
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