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Monthly Archives: March 2013

Divorcing B&N – Reclaiming my Nook Classic

I was an early adopter of the nook. That’s what they used to call it. nook with no capitals. Now it’s known as Nook Classic. But about a year ago, I gave up on it and got a Kindle Touch.

I actually think the nook is a better e-reading device. The page for the Kindle is blueish, whereas the nook is a nice off-white. The Kindle complete refreshes the page ever 3 or so page turns, resulting in visual noise, and the nook refreshes it every time (although this can be adjusted to do so on the Kindle).

Clearly, the nook is still a worthy device.

But using it often feels dated. There has not been an update since 1.7 and my nook was no longer getting an updated issue of The Daily. I felt cheated. After all, I was an early adopter of the nook and they abandoned me. Felt that my investment wasn’t worth their effort in keeping it up-to-date.

So I decided to declare a divorce between my nook and Barnes and Noble, and then refurbish it for use by my daughter. Here’s how I did it.

Step 1: Root your Nook

If you have a Nook Classic, you are never going to get another B&N update again. So you may as well get the extra features that the folks at NookDevs provide. And they even keep their stuff updated. Imagine that.

To root your Nook Classic, go to and find the section on softrooting your nook. Before you even get started, read through the instructions thoroughly and gather everything you’ll need (which includes a microSD card). Then follow the instructions for your serial number (found in the nook settings) step by step.

What you get once you root is a handful of extra features, most importantly an easier-to-use version of My Library, and the ability to hide features. Since I was intending to give the nook to my daughter, I wanted these extra features so I could turn off the WiFi and then hide it, and then hide the settings and a bunch of other stuff. More on that in a few.

Step 2. Divorce Barnes & Noble

Before you do this, you’ll want to do a few other things. First, make sure all the books that you purchased from Barnes and Noble are backed up onto your computer and installed on your Nook. Of if, like me, you intend to give your nook away, delete the books from the nook. Look in all the nook folders and make sure they have the books you want there.

Then, I unregistered my Nook. This involved resetting my B&N password and other unfun tasks, but I got it done. Last step was selecting the option to deregister from my nook Settings panel.

Once the divorce was final, I went to Project Gutenberg and installed a bunch of free ebooks from there, especially public domain young adult book series that I had never heard of, such as Grace Harlowe. I spent hours doing this.

Step 3: Set Up Adobe Digital Editions

Much as I hate DRM, it is a reality of life until all publishers finally abandon it for good. Yay to Harlequin and Tor for paving the way!

Once you divorce B&N, you’ll still be able to get to your B&N books, but you’ll need some way to unlock all those other ebooks you’ll be buying from great online bookstores like Diesel Ebooks and All Romance/Omni Lit. Many of these will have DRM.

(You could also download software to hack your DRM’d ebooks, but I don’t know anything like that because I don’t trust any hack software not to install viruses on my computer. Yes, I admit I looked into this. I have DRM’d copies of The Millennium Trilogy that I no longer have an ereading device to read it on because I have given my nook to my daughter. Since I really don’t feel compelled to read the second two books, I can live without them.)

So to get set up, first download Adobe Digital Editions. When you set it up, you’ll have to join the dark side activate the software using an email address. Then you’ll have to authorize your computer. Finally, plug in your nook and authorize it. Afterward, you will be able to transfer your books to your nook.

I just tested this, and ADE didn’t seem to care that I was authorizing a rooted nook. Mega-cool!

Optional Step 1: Turn Off Wifi

Once you are divorced from B&N, you no longer need WiFi except for the occasional update from the tireless folks at NookDevs. It’s just draining your battery, and the browser isn’t worth using. Turn it off.

Once I turned it off, I used the NookDevs supercharged menu to hide the WiFi on/off settings. I also hid the Settings panel while I was at it. In fact, the only apps that now show up on the color screen are My Library (the nookdevs version), Reading Now, Chess, Sudoko and View Notes. I really only wanted My Library and Reading Now, but had to have five on the screen so I selected applications that were harmless and that didn’t need the web. My daughter can get destructive when she can finds a Setting menu!

Optional Step 2: Install Calibre

Calibre is an ebook library program that can perform flawless (as far as I can tell) conversions from ebub to mobi and back again. This is useful for getting DRM-free Kindle books at a bargain, converting them to epub, and zapping them over to your nook.

The Drawbacks (Few!)

This method requires that I remain divorced from B&N, so when I buy more ebooks I have to buy from somewhere else. I can even buy them from Amazon and convert the mobi files to epub, as long as they have no DRM. My options aren’t limited. There are a lot of ebookstores out there, and your converted nook is now fully versatile.

The only one who loses out is Barnes & Noble, who lost a customer through their abandonment of the customers who were dedicated enough to take a chance on the ebook reader. Too bad for them.

Question: which ebook reader do you use? Or do you eschew them altogether?

My Book Has Been Cattified!

Come check out the new cover for THE MANXY MIRROR AND THE STUPIDEST DOG, plus the rewritten blurb, courtesy of MeanKitty!

A story of Accidental En-cat-ments. Because every story needs a good cat. Even if one has to be rewritten into it.

Here’s a snip of the blurb:

… Slinking around nearby, Ri-Ri is instantly smitten with Princess the Purebred Persian and recognizes in her the ability to launch a new generation of blue ribbon, prize winning offspring…with him as the stud. Oh, yeah….

Great catty fun! Go forth and read, and leave some comment luv for my host, Jody, who worked so hard on this cattification, at the behest of her cat masters.

The Terrible Fail of Ebookstores

Recently, I wanted to read an epic fantasy. I eventually found one (Nicole Lukien’s Gate to Kandrith), but I didn’t find it by browsing.

When I went to Amazon to browse for an epic fantasy, I was presented with a list of bestselling authors. As you guys know, I very rarely read bestselling authors. Some of us just don’t follow the popular crowd.

I decided to start looking around at other sites to see who had the best book browsing experience. I won’t get into the specifics of what I saw. What I want to talk about is what I want to see.

I want a shelf-browsing experience. Except at some experimental sites, I mostly saw lots of lists. Sometimes they were arranged in rows, which was nice. But the sort order was frustrating. Sometimes you could sort by price, sometimes by bestselling, sometimes by release date. But almost never could you sort alphabetically.

Why would I want to sort alphabetically? Two reasons. One, is that it gives me the closest thing to a random arrangement of authors on a shelf (other than a “random” option). Sometimes I want random when I am browsing. It’s a great way to discover books. And book discovery at online bookstores is unnecessarily difficult. Hence my difficulty in finding a decent epic fantasy to read. (In the end, I decided to see what Carina Press had to offer lately, which is how I discovered Nicole Lukien. My next stop would have been Tor; more on that below.)

Another reason is to be able to find that elusive author who’s name I can’t recall, but I THINK it starts with a G. Give me a page with nothing but Gs and let me scan ’em all.

Therefore, I would love a “shelf” webpage that shows me nothing but book covers. For years, publishers have had to pay for the privilege of having their books face out on the shelves. Well now they can all be face out … but hardly any bookstore arranges them that way. Just in neat rows from left to right, one row on top of the other, and with as little text as possible.

I want publisher sections. You just can’t beat Tor Books for epic fantasy. When I want an epic fantasy, I’m looking at Tor. If I can’t find their books at Amazon, I actually go to their website and start browsing around. I would love for bookstores to have publisher sections to browse. And they could probably make lots of money off of publishers by having such sections.

And why the heck have they not done this? At the bookstore, you can actually go to the Harlequin section and see row upon row of nothing but this month’s Harlequin Romances. Why can you not do that at online booksellers? It makes no sense. Did they try it and it just didn’t work? If so, how did I miss it?

AmazonFailDon’t try to sell me dresses. Why in the heck Amazon would think I would want to buy a dress from them is a complete mystery. If I want a dress, I go to Penny’s or Belk. I don’t go to Amazon. So why oh why is the top page on Amazon trying to sell me dresses? Amazon knows who I am. I am a Prime member and I have been shopping from them for years. They have, to quote the Terminator, “detailed files” on me. And yet they try to sell me dresses.

I realize that this is probably a placement paid for by some retailer. But they have just wasted their customer’s advertising dollars on me, completely and utterly. And they have ignored the needs of me, one of their valued Prime customers.

The very first thing it should be doing is trying to sell me the sequel to the book I read last week. Which it does, but you have to scroll down to find it. I should be grateful that they finally stopped trying to sell me a Kindle. Maybe they figured out from my recent purchases that I already have one. Nope, the Kindles are back.

At least they FINALLY got on board with gifting ebooks. Because giving ebooks as a gift is a wonderful thing.

What about you? What would you like to see at online booksellers, that you are not seeing? Got any bookseller recommendations?

Review – Balance of Terror by KS Augustin

Balance-of-Terror-K.-S.-AugustinBalance of Terror
by KS Augustin
Ebook – 5.99

Science Fiction Romance

A while back, I read In Enemy Hands, a science fiction romance by KS Augustin, and I absolutely loved it. I never forgot it, so every once in a while I would look up the author’s site to see if the second book had been published.

Now it has!

I promptly bought a copy and immediately started reading. I finished in just a few days despite the fact that it is over 100,000 words.

Although the initial novel in this series was published by Carina Press, this novel is self-published. While I don’t really get the cover, the editing and pacing in the novel is superb, and it is well laid-out and professional.

Here’s the blurb:

Save one man? Or save billions? It’s Moon’s choice.

Stellar physicist Moon Thadin and amnesiac savant Srin Flerovs are on their way to possible sanctuary with an old research partner of Moon’s. But between them and safety lie a cunning arms dealer, a suspicious pirate captain, and a universe of unfamiliarity.

Refusing to turn her research into a weapon, Moon and Srin outran the Republic in IN ENEMY HANDS, only to find that the anti-Republic rebels they’re heading for want her knowledge for the same reason, and they’re willing to trade critical gene therapy for it. Withhold the therapy and Srin will die. Share the research and billions will die.

Can the needs of one ever truly outweigh the needs of many?

When we left our heroes, Srin and Moon were fleeing from Srin’s former keepers, the operatives of the Republic who tampered with his genes and kept him amnesiac for over 20 years. They fled with the help of Moon’s former research partner, Kad, who is a member of a resistance movement. They are now on a backwater of a world and Moon has, with the help of some friendly doctors, concocted a cocktail of drugs that keep Srin alive and his memory intact.

After his health is finally stable, Moon finally takes a chip that Kad gave her and plays the recording that is stored on it. Following the directions on the recording, she withdraws a large sum of money and they travel to another town to make contact with the man who will bring them to Kad and his rebellion.

But it turns out, everyone has an agenda.


What follows is an epic journey across an inhospitable planet, and then across the galaxy. All along the way they have hard decisions to make, including at one point a decision on whether or not to join the crew of a very intriguing ship owned by a man named Quinton, who is the subject of a followup novel. Sometimes I wondered why Moon and Srin kept on going where they were going since they knew the decisions they would have to make once they got there–and that it would likely not go well for them. However, they really did have few other options. As a reader, I genuinely didn’t see there was any way they could get their happy ending.

But a good author leaves at least one door ajar a teeny, tiny bit.

If you like science fiction romance, this ought to be a great read for you. I’ll be giving it five stars!

Featured Author at Fiction Vixen

I’m featured author today at Fiction Vixen. Come on by and read an exclusive scene from The Magic Mirror and the Seventh Dwarf.

Fiction Vixen Weekend Feature

Tomorrow regular blogging begins again with (hopefully, if I get it written) a science fiction romance review, and the guest posts will be more sporadic.

I have been working on a home for my newly imagined Debuts & Reviews. Right now, the leading option is something here at this site, like a content management system. I’m just trying to find the right one for my idea. Right now, I’m looking at BuddyPress. More to come on that!

Six Paragraph Synopsis Method – The Infographic!

A while back, I wrote about my Six Paragraph Synopsis Method. I still use this method to this day because it takes synopsis-writing from a dreaded task to something I enjoy, along with query letters. I shared it with you because I remember struggling with synopses not so very long ago.

Inspired by an infographic I saw on GalleyCat, I decided to do an infographic of my own.


Click to enlarge.

Here’s the full-sized PDF:

Six Paragraph Synopsis Method

Enjoy! Linkage, tweets and shares appreciated!