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Sunday, January 5, 2014

New Things for the New Year: Kindles and Cards and Nanos, Oh My

I've started off the new year by getting myself a couple of new pieces of technology that I've been resisting for some time--a Kindle eReader and an iPod Nano. I also have a great new set of Oracle cards, thanks to the lovely Rebecca Elson (who always knows which ones are best, because she reviews them for her fabulous blog The Magical Buffet).

I confess, I'm a bit of a Luddite. I'm not big on gadgets (I still don't know how to text on  my new cheapo cell phone, although in part that's because I can't get reception at my house, so I only use it on rare occasions), although I do have three computers (a desktop and two laptops, one huge old one for editing and the smaller one I'm typing on right now) and a 4 or 5 year old Galaxy tablet (which I got for when I travel, and mostly use to play Words with Friends...).

My old stereo died years ago, and I have mostly been playing music on my computer, since that has the best speakers--Altec Lansing, which I discovered thanks to my father, who is NOT a Luddite--and my portable CD player which is huge, has crappy speakers, and eats D-cell batteries like they were M & M's.

In truth, I don't listen to music a lot in the house, although the car won't move unless there is some kind of tune playing. I blast fun music while cleaning, and I like to have music on outside when I'm gardening, but otherwise, I like the quiet. Still, it was getting frustrating to move to parts of the house where I could barely hear the computer speakers, or drag the portable battery-eater out to the garden. And *any day now* I am going to start going to the gym. So the iPod Nano seemed like a good idea.

Also, my new Honda Fit has a place to plug one in, which seemed like it would be a lot easier than carting tons of CDs around. Ill let you know how it goes, since I'm still figuring out how to download music onto it, and I haven't even tried to play it yet. [See Luddite, above.]

The Kindle came about for two reasons. One, lots of my favorite authors and writer pals are putting out some of their books, novellas especially, only in eBook form, and I was missing out on them. I have a Kindle app on my computer, but I really don't like to read on the computer, since I spend so much time on it anyway, and the laptop is banned from the bedroom. I have downloaded some things onto the tablet, but I never did end up reading them there (among other things, you can only adjust the type to four different sizes, and to change pages you have to swipe the screen with your finger, which eventually aggravates my tendonitis).

The other reason I finally broke down and got the Kindle is because I've been having problems with my eyes for months, which despite all efforts by my wonderful eye doctor (including multiple prescription changes and an attempt with extra reading glasses) has resulted in major eye pain whenever I read or use the computer. [Yeah, I know. That's only about 90% of my day.] I was hoping that being able to adjust the print size would help, and that meant getting some kind of an eReader.

I didn't want to spend a lot of money, since I would still much rather read in paper form, and I wanted something lightweight, for when I was lying in bed. The basic Kindle seemed to fit the bill.

I've only been using it for a week or so, and I have mixed feelings about it. It is definitely pretty easy to use, even for the technologically challenged like me, and I can make the font as large as I want to. But I really don't like the grayish background, which I find difficult to read against at any time, but especially at night in bed. Dammit.

Has anyone else had good experiences with other eReaders they can suggest? I don't particularly want to spend the money on a new tablet, since I only need something to read on.

The last new--thankfully LOW tech--goodie is my Conscious Spirit Oracle Deck, a Yule gift from my pal Rebecca. Written and beautifully illustrated by Kim Dreyer, this deck is one of the coolest ones I've seen. I've been using it as a daily guide of sorts, pulling a card every morning and saying out loud whatever is on it as an affirmation. I also try to be mindful of whatever comes up, as I walk through my day.

For instance, today's card was #24 (Third Eye Chakra), which says: I see the wisdom of my higher self and apply this wisdom to my life. How cool is that? [I liked them so much, I immediately ordered a set as an early birthday present and sent them to my friend Skye.]
I've also been thinking a lot about this blog, and what I want to do with it in the coming year. I've considered making it a bit more personal...obviously, I spend a lot of time talking about writing and magical work, usually in the context of my own life. (And y'all get to hear about fun stuff like rat incursions and kitchen floods.) But I tend to be a fairly private person, so while I often share my life, I don't usually talk much about how I feel, or more personal issues.

And to be honest, I'm not even sure it that is something people would even be interested in reading about. (Seriously--I'm BORING.)

So you tell me: what do YOU want to read about here in the coming year? What are your favorite bits? what do you want more of, or less of? After all, I really write this for you, my readers.

Oh, and before I forget! The new Llewellyn book, The Witch's Broom is ON SALE now, and available for preorder. Once it comes out, it will be $15.99, but Amazon has it priced at $11.99, in case you want to get your copy ordered now. *happy author dance*


  1. Yay, yay, so glad the book is on sale now! I hope your sales skyrocket! They should only on the strength of the cover alone, it's so cute.

    And thank you for the cards. They are gorgeous. As soon as I set up the table in my bedroom to be an altar of sorts, with candles and stones and stuff, I'm going to put the Oracle cards and the box containing my tarot cards on the table so I can do things like a daily card draw and remind myself to occasionally read my cards for clarity.

    I like pictures of the cats, and knowing what latest problems and solutions with the house are occurring. I like the stuff you post on your blog. Beware about getting too personal: whatever you put on the internet stays there forever!

    As experts say: don't show the outside of your house or anything else that would make you identifiable. Of course, we've seen your barn and know what small town you live in, but don't go any further. Why yes, I am paranoid. But just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get me!

    Be safe (physically and virtually) and stay warm.

    And thank you so, so much for the cards!

  2. Thanks for the warnings Skye, although I'm not sure what I could say that would cause problems...it's not as though I will be talking about my sex life. Har. You will note that all the pictures tend to be of the barn or the back of the house, although since you can't even see it from the street, it would be pretty hard to find anyway.

  3. Re the e-reader: I'm sure you tried this, but just in case…did you adjust the background light? Like you, I'm not all that well-versed in computer stuff, and you might have missed that part in the instructions…I have the Kindle PaperWhite for the same reasons you got yours. I love how it synchs. I also have the Kobo which is better for reading and easier on the eyes, but drives me insane with synching, so I've stopped gushing about it. But I can get library books on it so I'm keeping it for that purpose only. The screen is very easy on the eyes.

    In general, the e-readers have been very helpful in keeping things tidy in the book department :)

    Happy New Year to you.


  4. I'm like you, I prefer the feel of a real book most of the time, but I do enjoy my Kindle Fire. I feel like it reads easily even in the dark because it is more backlit that the first generate Kindles. They're a bit more spendy but I feel like the functionality and convenience of the newer Kindle is worth it.

    As for your blog, I enjoy reading what you post. It's awesome to see pictures of things like your altar, your cats, and other things in your life. I love your books and read them for magical stuff, but always enjoy the little tidbits you put here. My personal opinion is that you can either have a professional blog where you post only things related to your career, or you can have a personal blog, but it is difficult to mesh the two together. I would love to learn more about you as a person, but I think there will be those fans who only want to read a blog that reads like one of your books. So it's up to you, and you should write in your blog whatever makes you happy, or maybe consider splitting it into two blogs. Whatever you choose to do, I hope to keep reading and I wish you the best for your blogs and your coming year!!

    1. Thanks for all the kind words! I suspect I'll continue to keep it mostly professional, but if you ever have any questions, feel free to ask!

  5. Try fiddling with options while you are inside a Kindle book, there might be an option to change the background to black with white text. It's very crisp and easy to read, especially in the dark. I have a Kindle Fire so I'm using that as a basis, your mileage may vary.