Thursday, May 30, 2013

Bad Monkey removed from Apple iBookstore

Bad Monkey cannot be brought in the Apple iBookstore.
[File this post under: Mysteries about the business world I will never know or understand.]

As most of my regular readers know, I write a monthly column for the Hearthstone Community Church ("The OFM people") which I later collect into 99 cent ebooks. One of the collections (the 2011 articles) is called Bad Monkey.

Now, awhile back Bad Monkey was uploaded to Smashwords, and then it made its way though the distribution network. Including the Apple iBookstore. I know--I searched for it--it was available on Apple. Pity, I did not take a screenshot of this fact...

...because it has been removed from Apple.

We have all heard of the difficulties that erotica writers have with the iBookstore. H***, I have experienced them firsthand (under two of the pennames that I wrote erotica under). Now, I am experiencing the same crop of problems as an esoteric/Wicca/pagan writer.

And I will never know why my ebook was pulled from sale by Apple. One of the hazards with using Smashwords to upload my stuff is that I do not get to see the notices that Apple sends out when they remove stuff, or outright reject it. Why am I using Smashwords? Because I do not have an iDevice (yes, you need an Apple computer to upload to the iBookstore directly).

My paranoia says that this is the reason that it was pulled off of the iBookstore. 
But I have a paranoid theory. And it involves another about-to-be published book...also called Bad Monkey. I really hope that I am wrong because if my paranoid theory is right, then if a traditional and very popular writer decides to use a book title that is also being used by an independent (indie) writer, then the indie writer loses part of their stock. Apple would never actually do something like this, right?!

Oh well. Bad Monkey: The Collected 2011 Hearthstone Community Church Articles is still available on Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Year of Little Lesson Plans (Courtney Loquasto)

One of the things that puzzles some people about my library is why do I own parenting and children books when I do not have children of my own...gee, I married a school teacher, and am best friends with someone who writes children stories--of course, I am going to have a certain amount of children and parenting books in my library. There is also the little fact that I occasionally need to remind myself of what certain age groups would know or be learning--it is called being a writer.

That is why I entered a Goodreads contest for the book, Year of Little Lesson Plans: 10 Minutes of Smart, Fun Things to Teach Your Little Ninjas Ages 3-8 Each Weekday (by Courtney Loquasto).

Overall, I agree with the concept of this book. One of my fondest memories is my father teaching me to count change at the dinner table (or was he teaching my sister?). Later in life, working as a cashier, people occasionally were amazed that I can do simple math in my head (in my universe, being able to figure out the correct change without punching it into the register is simple math). And I credit that ability to my father spending time to make sure that I liked learning things. Therefore, I encourage parents to buy books like this.

Now, I did let my wife look at the book (she is a school teacher). She pointed out that a lot of these things were being taught to children in school; she also noted that re-enforcement by the parents was a good thing. But she also spotted something that had made me uncomfortable already--the occasional mention of God and Jesus--please remember that I am a non-Christian; no amount of lessons from my mother changed the fact that my heart belongs to another religion. And the history major in me shuddered occasionally at some of the American myths that were suggested as conversation starters. So with the good things that I see in this book, there is also some things that I feel strongly against.

This book is more good than bad. I think that the lists of subjects and starting points for conversations are good for parents to have. But I do object to the conservative viewpoint (and anything that encourages it) that re-enforces the view that America is the greatest county in the world, and that the only real religion is Christianity--especially for the future generation that has to cope with a global world where America and Christianity are simply one way of looking at things and not the only possible way.

[If you missed it, I won this book in a Goodreads contest.]

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Lady and Her Monsters (Roseanne Montillo)

The book, The Lady and Her Monsters--A Tale of Dissections, Real-Life Dr. Frankensteins, and the Creation of Mary Shelley's Masterpiece (by Roseanne Montillo), is a delightful dance between the history of medicine and the development of one of the best known classics of Gothic and horror fiction, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, and how science informed the writing of a literary classic.

For a long time I have wondered about the extent that the body snatchers (such as Burke and Hare), and the doctors that they supplied bodies for, influenced what Mary Shelley wrote. While I would have liked to explore such things while I was in college, the program that I was in reserved such things for students much later in their studies (and I am not even sure if Master level students are allowed to pursue such ideas). Therefore, I greeted my winning of this volume with much delight.

I knew some of the material covered in this book, in terms of broad strokes, but being able to put it all together was something that I was grateful that the author, Roseanne Montillo, helped me to do. Knowing the history brings a new level of understanding to the novel Frankenstein (which I read four times during the course of my college work, besides reading on a couple of occasions previously to getting my twin Bachelor degrees).

Literary and history students familiar with the names Shelley, Godwin, Polidori, and Byron, will gain new insight of those individuals--who occasionally despite their fame, come across as really petty human beings (personal judgment call there). Plus the whole episode from a medical history viewpoint is just fascinating.

Yes, I won this book in a Goodreads contest, and I am glad that I did. My only regret is that I somehow misplaced it for several weeks which delayed my finishing reading the book in a timely manner.

I am giving this book five out of five stars.