Pages Penned in Pandemic: A Collective is now available!  Follow the link to find out how you can get your copy.  It is available in print or as an ebook.  To sweeten the deal, proceeds from the sale of Pages Penned in Pandemic will go to 826 National, a nonprofit that helps young writers.  My contribution is a story titled “The Elves and the Shoe Designer,” and I’m thrilled to be part of this collective.  Heartfelt thanks to editors Kayla King and Justin Maher, who managed this huge project beautifully.  Watch my blog next week for a guest post from Kayla King! 

“The Elves and the Shoe Designer” is a story that is auxiliary to my novel-in-progress, which is (currently) titled Wash Away.  The story is not part of the novel, but without giving away any spoilers, a peripheral character in the novel features prominently in this story.  It was helpful to me to write this side-item to learn more about one of my characters.  (Yes, as a writer I learn about my characters by making up things about them in my imagination.)

The protagonist of Wash Away is named Zenna and she’s a chemist.  Right from the start I realized how unfortunate it is that I did not ever develop any aptitude or interest in chemistry, and never learned anything about it past the eighth grade.  I resolved to do something in a structured way to gain some chemistry knowledge and be able to use chemical terms correctly.  So I read Chemistry for Dummies by John T. Moore, which is designed to accompany any college Chem 101 course.

I borrowed Chemistry for Dummies from the Buffalo-Erie Public Library using the Overdrive system to send the ebook to my Kindle.  Not surprisingly, there was no waiting list for it.  Everybody knows how to borrow books using Overdrive, right?  Your public library is here to help you!

A handy thing I learned about Kindle is that you can highlight text in a book you’re reading, and your highlighted notes remain on the Kindle even after you return the book to the library.  Even better, you can download the notes to your laptop and make it a real working file.  (Search “download Kindle notes” if you don’t know how to do this.)  My highlighted notes from Chemistry for Dummies became a tremendous vocabulary resource for me when I was writing scenes of Zenna in her lab.

As long as I’m writing Kindle love lines here, I’ve found that many people don’t know you can email a book to your Kindle.  It accepts several file formats including doc and pdf.  I’ve used it to proofread some of my friends’ unpublished manuscripts.  Find your Kindle’s email address through your Amazon “Manage content and devices” page. 

My final pro tip for Kindle users: go to Project Gutenberg to get classic works of literature that are no longer under copyright.  The very first book I put on my Kindle was Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.  This month I’ve been reading both Treasure Island and Frankenstein.  One of those two titles is dull enough to put me to sleep.  I’ll leave it a secret which one.

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