Monday, May 19, 2014

Footnotes Now Included

Thank goodness I read the latest KDP newsletter (Kindle Direct Publishing). They included an article about how to embed footnotes into your Kindle book.

When I first uploaded my book, BLOOD MOON, to the Kindle store, I was so disappointed that all the footnotes I had worked so hard on (1000 to be exact) would not be allowed in my Kindle book. The footnotes were very important to my readers because they contained the definitions for the 1000 SAT words embedded in the story. Without the footnotes, a reader would have to click on the word and use the dictionary function on her Kindle to get to the definition. Not as user-friendly, if you ask me.

The inability of Kindle books to display footnotes had something to do with the kind of file type used on Kindle books. As I understand it, Kindles use HTML as the basis for its Kindle file type, and footnotes were not supported in HTML coding. (Please correct me in the comments, if I understood this incorrectly. I'm no HTML geek!)

There must have been a coding update to HTML, because now you can upload a Word document with properly formatted footnotes, and they appear in the final Kindle book! The Kindle program turns your footnotes into clickable links, so you can click on the footnote number in the text, and your Kindle will open up a new 'page' that displays the footnote. You click on the number again in the footnote to return to your place in the book.

I am not sure how long this feature has been available for Kindle formatting, but I am so glad it was added. Now my book can be read as intended.

Just a few minutes ago I uploaded a 3rd edition of BLOOD MOON to the Kindle store, and it should be available in the next day or so. If you haven't had a chance to get a copy, you can now buy a new-and-improved version.

Although the book is intended as study materials for the SATs and other college prep exams, even adults can build their vocabulary while enjoying a fun read.

BLOOD MOON in the Kindle Store

Monday, May 12, 2014

Fix #1 from StitchFix - May 2014

What a fun day!  I received my very first Stitch Fix box in the mail today...a little gift to myself for Mother's Day. I don't do a ton of shopping in any given year. I live pretty far from a decent mall and find the whole process exhausting. Generally, I whip through the clothes on a rack looking for a certain pattern, color or style. I usually get through a store pretty quickly and like to maximize my time. Nothing is more tiring than roaming a huge mall, sorting through the piles and piles of clothing available and heading home with nothing or maybe one new clothing item for my trouble.

I like getting new clothes, don't get me wrong, but I don't particularly like the process. I have a hard time buying stuff for myself (I'm cheap!) and will typically only shop 3 or 4 times a year. I don't consider myself super stylish, nor do I have a clue how to pair things together in my wardrobe to get maximum use of all the clothes I have.

Stitch Fix is a great solution for someone like me. For a $20 'styling fee' they give me a stylist. The stylist picks out the clothes based on a questionnaire I filled out and my comments on each of my Stitch Fix deliveries (I have signed up for the once-a-month option to see how it goes). For me, the $20 styling fee would be less money than driving to and from the mall (about a 2 hour round trip) and the food I would inevitably buy. This may end up being my main source of clothing, if all works out as hoped.

My first box was full of a lot of stripes. I was a little disappointed that I didn't have other patterns in my box, but once I looked at each item, I got over that pretty quickly. Here is what came in my first Stitch Fix (from top to bottom in the picture):

1) Adorra Skinny Jean. The sizing did not work. I do not fit well in skinny jeans. That was an instant no. It might take a few tries before my stylist can find pants that work with my figure and the right sizing.

2) Addison Striped Knit Cardigan. Instant love. I wore it right out of the box. I actually had almost everything on the styling card for the casual look, so it blended right in with my wardrobe. It was also one of the most inexpensive things in the box, so that was a bonus!

3) Cloverdale Striped Short Sleeve Blouse. Loved the sheerness of it, but it was a boxy top that was unflattering for my figure type. Big old no.

4) Vita Boat Neck Stripe Knit Shirt. Loved it! It fit perfectly and was very flattering. Since I live in a cooler climate, I appreciated a thicker fabric this time of year that I can wear for another month or so. The only issue I have is price. A little expensive. Not sure if I'm going to keep it. Waiting to get my husband's opinion on it.

5) Kahlo Racer Back Striped Maxi Dress. When I pulled this out of the box, I really did not like it. I thought it looked a little blah and wasn't sure I liked the massive neckline decoration. However, I have read numerous times to "try it on before you say no." I'm glad I did. The dress was incredibly flattering, the cut was great, and the decoration added some interest to an otherwise plain striped dress. The only problems: the fabric is a little thin and the price. If I can find the appropriate undergarments to wear with this, I might pull the trigger as it really looked great when I put it on. I am very tempted to keep this one.

All in all, I loved the experience. I actually wished I could get a box once a week, as it was that much fun to receive and open. I could get addicted to this service before too long! The style cards are fantastic for someone like me who doesn't know how to put things together very successfully and, therefore, sticks to a lot of solid colors and blue jeans. Stitch Fix amps up my wardrobe and gets me thinking differently about my clothes.

I've been waiting for about 2 months for this first box and have been obsessively watching YouTube videos and reading blogs about other women's experiences with Stitch Fix. I'm very happy to now have had my own Stitch Fix experience and will report back every month with my newest 'fix' because it is just too much fun NOT to share!

I am also interested to see how this elevates my style and my self-image. Feeling good about how you look is so important and resonates through the rest of your day. Looking forward to being the best me I can be. Thanks, Stitch Fix!

If you feel so inclined, here is a link where you can try out Stitch Fix yourself and I can receive a credit:

UPDATE: I re-read this blog entry after my 2nd Stitch Fix box. I am kicking myself for not listing prices of any of these items. Anyway, since I never cleared up what I kept and what I returned, I will let you all know: I only kept the Addison Striped Knit Cardigan, which was $48. When I tried on the Kahlo Racer Back Striped Maxi Dress again later in the day, I realized that I did not want to have to wear specific underthings (nor shop for said underthings), so I returned it. If my memory serves me correctly, I believe the dress was $78 or $88. It really is too bad, because that dress was really comfortable and very flattering. :-(

I also am suffering from Stitch Fix Regret. I ended up returning the Vita Boat Neck Stripe Knit Shirt even though I loved it. My family convinced me that I could 'find something just like it in a regular store for less money.' But, have I looked or found such a top? NO!  I will never, ever do that again. If I really truly love something, I should keep it (unless it really is crazy expensive--this top was not. Wish I could remember the exact price, but that escapes me at the moment.)

Just FYI, I think my Stitch Fix posts will get better and better. I am zoning in on what I like to read in a blog post regarding Stitch Fix and am getting more comfortable with taking photos of myself wearing the items. Even if they are headless shots with ugly background stuff cropped out. I have realized how much better it is to see the item on an actual, normal woman's body, rather than laid out on a bed!  So, Stitch Fix number 3 should be arriving early next week (around July 8th). Keep an eye out for a better post when that box arrives.