Books

Kirkus Reviews Reviewed Concussion Is Brain Injury

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As I entered the creative halls of NaNoWriMo, Kirkus Reviews shot me an email saying the review on Concussion Is Brain Injury is done. Nervously, I clicked the link and read:

“A brush with a life-threatening accident spurs a writer to investigate the “hidden epidemic” of debilitating brain trauma.”

Nice first line! I like that they identify me as a writer. When I wrote my first book Lifeliner, people enthusiastically received it — as a one off. The idea that I would write more books seemed . . . well, foreign. But I now have several under my belt, and a mainstay of the publishing industry recognizes me as a writer. Cool!

“In this revised version of her original 2012 publication, Canadian novelist and biographer Jeejeebhoy (Aban’s Accension, 2013, etc.) enhances the text with expanded personal detail, creating an immersive, multifaceted memoir.”

I noticed they chose the second novel I wrote as the one to name. I wondered why, then remembered that was the last one I published in paperback. Makes sense. The etc. is weird but OK. I mean, the number of words is limited; better to have the words go into the review then listing all my books!

I read on and came to —

“The author painfully describes the toll that her injuries took on her relationship with her husband, Mistral; her panic at losing the ability to read; and other cognitive impairments.”

I was temporarily confused over the name. Memory kicked in. Oh yeah, I gave everyone pseudonyms and, as usual, had fun with names when I did.

“Desperate to return to her normal life, she became intensely motivated to find a reason and resolution for her injury through determined research and treatment alternatives.”

Yup, they got that right. I was desperate. Very desperate.

“She’s uniformly candid when writing about a year of devastating setbacks, which she says felt like “a massive plough that trenches through your established networks.””

It’s been seventeen years, almost eighteen (gulp), since I was the person who would never have been this candid. Even this year, as I wrote these scenes, I wondered about it. It’s one thing to write it; another to put it out there. But it’s done, and I just hope that it makes a good difference in other people’s lives.

“Toward the end of the book, she delves even deeper into the scientific neuropathological data of her treatment plan and further developments of her “labyrinthine recovery.””

Another memory hiccup and then, oh yeah, based on everything I learnt, I put forth a theoretical treatment program for brain injury, since rest and strategies aren’t treatment, and a reading rehab program that would do more than make people settle for the new-normal of crappy, effort-full reading; it would hopefully restore a significant amount of reading skill.

I got to the final summing up and read it, holding my breath.

“Perhaps overly expository for casual readers, but the intricate details of the author’s experience are riveting and enlightening.”

OK, OK, first part maybe a little bit of a downer, but the main point — wow! Reading that was an upper. My mother was very very pleased!!

Read the entire review of Concussion Is Brain Injury: Treating the Neurons and Me on the Kirkus Reviews website here. Or just go straight to Amazon and purchase it!

And if you would like to support my writing, please consider becoming a patron. I’m on Patreon, the website that lets ordinary people do the extraordinary action of supporting the artists that they love.

Books

Orangeberry Tour of TIME AND SPACE Wraps Up

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It’s hard to fight for home when you’re dumped into an alien future with a pack of three boys gunning for your death.

Today, August 31st, is the last day of the 2013 Orangeberry Book Expo, in which I participated with my time travel novel. Time and Space is in row 7 of their Booths. Click on the cover, and you’ll be taken instantly to the Amazon buy page. One-click shopping! Even after the Expo ends today, Time and Space will remain in the Orangeberry bookstore. Check it and their bookstore out today!

And so ends my book tour of Time and Space. Between my exhaustion trying to keep up with daily life, leaving no room for flogging the life out of my tour, and the gods, the sales dived deep under my expectations. I think I need a new cover. But I’m feeling right out of ideas. Or maybe I could use the same concept but different colours or something. Well, I’ll keep that stuffed down deep in my mind where the creative neurons can chew on it while I take the next nine days off. It’s staycation and digital detox time! For those who’ve yet to come across that nugget of a term, a digital detox is when you go offline and off computer and re-enter the analogue world of papers and pens. I’ll be reading or photographing what passes my fancy.

Except for hosting #ABIchat on Monday, September 2, I’ll be back Monday, September 9. Have a great Labour Day holiday everyone! And enjoy your first week back at work or school. I’ll be thinking of you as I lounge around!

Books

Virtual Book Tour: Ten Writer Tips on Author’s Friend and a Review

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Today I have three events for my Orangeberry Book Tour!

First up, a guest post on Author’s Friend.  I offer ten tips on becoming a better writer, and I throw in a bonus tip too.

Even if [writing] comes naturally, spilling out like a thunderous waterfall, there are things you can do to make that waterfall of prose better.

Check out my ten tips on just how to make that waterfall of prose better on Author’s Friend.

Next is a new book review on She. Four of five stars!

Does reading this book change the way you think? In more ways than one.

Read the entire review on Author’s Friend or on Amazon.com and Goodreads.

And the last event is the Orangeberry Pick of the Week and Sidebar exposure.

Essay

Amazon, Apple, Big Publishers Frustrate Readers

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I’m a writer, but I’m also a reader. My favourite format is the mass paperback — until recently.

I received my Sony Reader (touch model) a couple of Christmases ago, and then when I bought the iPad, I loaded on several ebook reading apps: iBooks, kobo, Bluefire Reader, Stanza, Kindle. As a person with a brain injury, I was surprised and chuffed to find reading ebooks is easier than print books. There’s less text on the “page,” and on Sony and in iBooks, it’s easy to highlight and write notes (kobo is a close second), all strategies to help the reader to absorb, process, and synthesize the text. Still, at first I remained wedded to my favourite, familiar mass paperback. But after I became a member of Goodreads and began borrowing ebooks from the Toronto Public Library, I read ebooks more and more often. Before I wrote this post, I last read a print book months ago.

Most ebooks I read are borrowed. Until Overdrive finally created an eReading app, I used Bluefire Reader to read them on my iPad. I wasn’t interested in highlighting, printing, looking up words, or writing notes on these ebooks, so the rudimentary and restrictive practices of the apps and publishers didn’t impinge on me. But this week I wanted to buy three books for my background reading as I begin dreaming up my next novel. I wanted to buy them in ebook format. I wanted them to be as flexible and convenient to read as the mass paperback.

Apparently, I wanted the moon.

Traditional publishers are so scared — and seemingly ignorant of how readers use, lend, give away, sell print books — of what readers can do with ebooks that they insist on DRM (Digital Rights Management) locks. The idea is that they protect copyright.

The reality is they frustrate law-abiding readers and provide no deterrent to thieves.

The real result is that the publisher controls how, when, where the law-abiding reader can read the ebook and do nothing to thwart the pirates. Although ePub is an international standard, DRM locks are not. Everyone but Apple iBooks uses one standard. Apple uses another. An ebook readable in iBooks is not readable in any other app or Sony Reader. And vice versa. And Amazon is outside the ePub universe entirely. Consumer friendly, eh? Not.

Book #1 was available in Kindle format for about $4 cheaper than the ePub version. But I can only read Amazon’s mobi format ebook on my iPad’d Kindle app, which is rudimentary to say the least, lacking the features I need for background reading. I also wanted to be able to read it on my Sony Reader. To compound the insult to the international ebook standard and non-Amazon readers, the ePub version was more expensive than the mass paperback. If I bought it through the kobo bookstore or Sony bookstore, the ePub version would not be readable in iBooks, yet iBooks did not list their ePub version in the Canadian store.

Book #2 was the only book in that author’s arsenal that was not available in ebook format. What gives with the discrimination?

Book #3’s situation was totally ridiculous. It was available in ePub but only in certain territorial markets. So if I was a US customer of iBooks, I could’ve bought it in iBooks ePub. But as a Canadian, I was barred from buying it. My only option was mobi through Amazon’s Kindle store. Territorial rights in the global digital age are not only obsolete but an obstacle to reading. Given I resent buying an ebook I can read in exactly one place, I decided not to purchase the mobi ebook.

I wanted to buy all three in ePub. I could buy only one at an inflated price with limitations on which apps I could read it in. If this ebook did not have a DRM lock, I could’ve read it the way I wanted to on the device I wanted to in the app I wanted to. The upshot is that I’m reminded why I don’t buy traditionally published ebooks beyond what I must, why I prefer buying ebooks by indie authors that are DRM-free, why I will continue to mostly borrow ebooks — and why I will never put DRM locks on my ebooks. I don’t want to annoy my readers before they even load one up.

To check out what I’m reading currently and my Goodreads Author Page and bookshelves, please visit my Goodreads profile.

Marketing

A NaNo Sale to Remember

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As you know, I’m a novelling Wrimo, one of over two-hundred-thousand people around planet Earth writing 50,000-word novels in the month of November as part of National Novel Writing Month. It’s my third time.

In honour of my third NaNoWriMo, I’m putting the ebook and Kindle versions of my highly rated and very first NaNoWriMo novel She on sale on Amazon US, Amazon UK, and Smashwords (with coupon code PZ44G) for only 99¢. Read a sample and download it today before November is over!

News

Eleven Shorts +1 is Out!

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Eleven Shorts  1 Shireen Jeejeebhoy 600px 20 Aug 2011

I’m pleased to announce that I’ve just published a new ebook! But to backtrack a bit…

I wrote short stories and poetry all the way back to elementary school and up until my brain injury. In the 1980s and 90s, I got serious about writing shorts. Poetry not so much. After my brain injury, that flipped. Anyway, back in those days, there was no digital publishing and much of the mainstream press had long since stopped publishing short stories in their pages. A short story writer submitted stories to small literary magazines for the most part and to contests. If you were lucky, an anthology may publish an unknown. Established short story writers also had a chance to be published in the big American magazines or papers like The Atlantic. One of my stories received Honourable Mention in the 1988 Hart House Short Story contest and appeared in WORDSCAPE 3 in 1997. Another was accepted by the editor of a local literary magazine but nixed by the publishers. Not sure who was more upset by that. I developed a system of sending out, recording rejections, sending out again. They were usually rejected for “not the right time” reasons and “please submit again.” Give me a break. And though it’s taboo to say, after having a racist run-in with a publisher (you know how racists look through you) and attending a bookseller’s convention, I started wondering if my “foreign” name was getting in the way of me being published in Canada. That convention was rather like stepping back into 1960s Toronto where I was the darkest person around. (For those who’ve never seen me, I ain’t that dark. My skin tans deeply but is deceptively fair.) It was all rather disheartening. After my brain injury, I stuffed them away.

And then I published Lifeliner on Smashwords. I followed up a year later with She, A Nibble of Chocolate, and The Job Sessions. And I got to thinking: I could package those short stories into an ebook. I could make them available directly to readers. There’s something rather freeing about going around capricious publishers and getting your work into the public realm at last. All I had to do was go find the files (easier said than done as most were still on floppies) and shoot a photo for the book cover.

I trotted down to Sugar Beach, shot hundreds of pictures, looked up into one of the pink umbrellas, and thought, simple is best, and clicked. That became my cover.

I then formatted it for Smashwords and discovered that their Meatgrinder — which converts Microsoft Word docs to ebook formats — now includes an ePub Check, which failed my book. Although I always use their nuclear method, as I know how sneaky Word is in introducing codes that muck up documents, I had made the mistake of copying Author info and other standard text into the document after nuking out all the codes. At least the second time around went quick. And while I was at it, I uploaded it to Kindle publishing too.

Eleven Shorts +1 is now available on Smashwords as a multi-format ebook and Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, and Amazon.de as a Kindle ebook.

I am awaiting approval for distribution to other retailers, and distribution can take a few days to a few months, depending on the retailer. I will be uploading it to Goodreads too in due course and creating a page for it on my website.

These stories are unlike my books. Several are literary, a couple are creepy, some have funny bits, and they’re all a nice-sized bite for a quick read. I have also included a bonus, a romance short story that my grandmother wrote back in 1919. I hope you will check it out!

News

Receiving the Proof of Aban from Amazon CreateSpace

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Aban CreateSpace Proof Cover Mosaic Shireen Jeejeebhoy 2011-06-23One of the nice perks of winning NaNoWriMo is that you get a free proof copy of your manuscript from Amazon’s CreateSpace. One of the downsides is you have only until the end of June to get it. I suddenly realised that last week. Eek! So I prepped my text, uploaded it, and after some hemming and hawing, decided to use their free online cover creator, using my own photo for the background. I had used a similar photo to represent this novel while I was writing it during National Novel Writing Month last November, and I thought the imagery still applied. They emailed to say the proof copy would take until the first week of July to arrive. It took two days!

Here it is: front, back, and spine. Way cool! Flipping through it, I already found my first sentence to rewrite. Needless to say the manuscript needs revising, feedback, and editing. So this won’t be the version I’ll be publishing, and it will be awhile before it’s available to the public. But it is rather nice to have a book version of the first draft!

Bookstores

My Ebooks Are Going Out Into The World

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She Cover for Website Page Shireen Jeejeebhoy I’m pleased to announce that my newest title She is now available at the awesome price of $2.99 in the Amazon Kindle store, along with my first book Lifeliner. Purchasing a Kindle ebook on Amazon is fast and easy with the 1-Click Buy button. You can also give She or Lifeliner or both as a gift. And as in any ebook store, you may download a generous sample to check out either book before you buy.

But that’s not the only place you can find She in. So far, Apple’s iBooks and iTunes now lists all four of my ebooks in ePub version in its store: She, Lifeliner, The Job Sessions, and A Nibble of Chocolate. The latter two are available for only 99¢. And in a bizarre twist, the Canadian ebook retailer kobo, hasn’t listed Lifeliner, a biography on a remarkable Canadian woman who made medical, world-changing Canadian history, yet they have listed A Nibble of Chocolate, a nice bite-sized look at the nutrition of chocolate with a recipe included because nutritious food should always taste yummy.

If you’re a Goodreads member, you can now purchase and/or read both Lifeliner and She right on the site, as well as fan my author profile.

And as always, all four of my ebooks are listed and available on Smashwords (and through the ebook app Stanza) for instant download in your preferred format to your favourite device.

I hope you will enjoy my ebooks and be inspired to make a donation towards the substantial cost of She’s editing, by clicking the button in the right sidebar. No good novel appears in public without first going under the critical eyes of an editor. And you can be assured that mine have and always will. I hugely appreciate all those who have already donated and helped me afford this necessary step. Will you not join their number? Regardless, as always, I wish you happy reading!

Marketing

The Soft Launch of SHE

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She is out. She is published. Yay! It’s rather unbelievable that my fantasy novel finally is.

Right now, I am doing a soft launch of the eBook. I had read about this method of launching a book awhile ago and thought it a good idea. Basically, I upload the final DOC file to Smashwords, which converts it to all the eBook formats, creates a book page for my urban fantasy novel, and lists it on all their appropriate shelves. I tweet about She a little and tell a few close people and my Beta Readers, increase the small announcements once I’ve had a chance to check and fix it for errors, but I hold off on doing the big announcement and marketing push until everything else is in place, like ISBNs and retailers stocking it. A soft launch gives me a chance to see it in its final eBook form on my Sony Reader, on the computer, and on my iPad in the various apps — kobo, iBooks, Stanza, Bluefire Reader, Kindle. That’s the best way to find formatting errors, like a title not fully italicized, or minor punctuation errors, or typos that would’ve been missed in the DOC file. After several readings of the same file, your eyes tend to see what is supposed to be there instead of what is actually there. Looking at the ePub is like seeing it for the first time, and errors pop out at you. With Smashwords, it is easy to fix the file and re-upload it. Anyone who has bought the original version will also be able to download the newer one.

The soft launch also means I have time to create a Goodreads page for She and a page for it on my website (yet to do!). Yet I can still get the eBook out into the public while doing that and while waiting for the Canadian agency that issues ISBNs to process my registration and to issue me a block of ISBNs. Canada does not charge for this service, unlike other countries, but you have to wait. I also have to wait for Smashwords to distribute She to retailers. Some won’t take it until I have assigned it an ISBN; others will. And, as well, I want to assign the Kindle version an ISBN before I publish it in the Amazon Kindle store. In a couple of months, I hope to have the print book out.

But you don’t have to wait to read it: just head over to Smashwords, buy it for the low, low price of $2.99, and download your preferred format to your computer and eReader and smartphone and iPad. Once you’ve bought it, you can download it as many times as you like without paying again. You can also read samples of and buy my other eBooks. Enjoy! And if you can spare a moment, please leave a review on Smashwords!