Amazon’s Best-Selling Books of 2014

cbc.ca-suemonkkidd-220‘With the year drawing to a close, everyone from Google to Apple has been posting of their best selling titles for 2014. Yesterday Amazon published their list.

‘Since this is a single combined list for both print and digital, there’s not much of a chance that you’ll find indie titles on it. The market is still primarily print, which is still dominated by traditional publishers. In fact there is but a single indie title on this list: The Fixed Trilogy by Laurelin Paige…’

The first 4: (note that 2 and 4 are crime fiction)
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
Gray Mountain by John Grisham
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Twenty Seconds Ago (Jack Reacher, #19) by Lee Child
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2014 is barbaric for journalists as 66 were slain
‘In its annual report published on Tuesday, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said there was “an evolution in the nature of violence against journalists” with carefully-staged threats and beheadings being used for “very clear purposes.”

‘”The murders are becoming more and more barbaric and the number of abductions is growing rapidly, with those carrying them out seeking to prevent independent news coverage and deter scrutiny by the outside world,” it said.

‘Conflicts also led to large numbers of journalists fleeing their countries. Forty-seven Libyan and 37 Syrian reporters fled their homeland in the past year. A crackdown on privately-owned Ethiopian media drove 31 journalists into exile…’
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The framing-up of Barrett Brown
US Government’s Argument Against Barrett Brown “Should Chill Journalists to the Bone”
‘…Federal prosecutor Candina Heath repeatedly had Smith read transcripts of chats that Barrett Brown had been involved. Using his own words against him, often taken out of context, the prosecution spent the afternoon describing Brown as a “agitator”, “propagandist”, “strategist”, and “spokesman” for Anonymous.

‘In one chat Brown discussed splitting Project Pm into two groups. One would be the “legal” faction and the other, lead by Brown, would do more radical activities. The prosecutions goal was to muddy the waters, and convince the judge that Barrett was neither a political prisoner, or a journalist, but instead a dangerous mind intent on creating havoc. The truth seems to lie somewhere in the middle. Some of the quotes the prosecution used include:
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7 Contract Stipulations All Freelancers Should Know About
‘“Once you realize that you can negotiate on something, then you have arrived,” said K.M. Davis, founding attorney of Davis Law Office. “You are a business owner. You are a journalist. Because the worst that’s normally going to happen is that they’re just going to say no. It’s pretty easy to figure out what is non-negotiable or most important to someone.”

‘However, being aware of what you’re signing means you can make an informed decision if negotiating isn’t as fruitful as you’d hoped. Here is some important background about official contracts and seven concepts freelancers should know inside and out…’
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Girl, 24, Beats Harry Potter Sales in One week

zoella_zoe_sugg_by_loveyounightmare-d6sjzy4Zoella: Zoe Sugg’s book Girl Online becomes fastest-selling debut novel ever
‘The first novel by YouTube sensation Zoe Sugg aka Zoella has become the biggest-selling debut ever. The novel, Girl Online, has become the fastest-selling book of 2014 after selling over 78,000 copies in its first week.

‘The young adult novel follows the story of Penny, a teenager who blogs about her hidden feelings on friendship, boys and her anxieties.
Billed as “a modern day Notting Hill for teens”, the story follows the 15-year-old’s relationship with a US pop star that goes viral as her anonymous blog is exposed to the world…’
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Novelist Isabel Allende on Her Literary Career and Memories of Chile During the CIA-Backed Coup
‘In a holiday special, we spend the hour with Isabel Allende, one of Latin America’s and the United States’ greatest novelists. Just this week she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Allende is the author of 20 books, including “The House of the Spirits,” “Paula” and “Daughter of Fortune.” Her latest is a mystery novel titled “Ripper.” Her books have been translated into 35 languages, sold close to 60 million copies around the world. Allende now lives in California, but she was born in Peru in 1942 and traveled the world as the daughter of a Chilean diplomat. Her father’s first cousin was Salvador Allende, Chile’s president from 1970 until Sept. 11, 1973, when Augusto Pinochet seized power in a CIA-backed military coup. Salvador Allende died in the palace that day. Isabel Allende would later flee from her native Chile to Venezuela. In April, Amy Goodman conducted a public interview with Isabel Allende at the Americas Society/Council of the Americas in New York shortly after the publication of “Ripper.” In this wide-ranging conversation, Allende discusses her literary career and her memories of Chile before and during the coup…’
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From Apathetic Software Programmer to Award-Winning Hong Kong Citizen Journalist
‘He is a post-80s computer engineer who loves computer games, football and dating girls. However, his ideas and his life have changed tremendously in 2014. Enter 511 in any search engine and you find his name—Chan Chak To. He is one of the 511 people arrested on July 2 for taking part in an action of civil disobedience.

‘On the evening of the arrest, Chan recorded in detail his frontline experience—from the moment he was arrested and taken onto a tourist bus, to what he encountered at the Hong Kong Police College in Wong Chuk Han where he was detained, up until the moment of his release. His article is full of humor, but sincere. The readers are transported to the very scene of the protest and are able to comprehend, from a closer distance and from a more realistic angle, how it all started. Chan’s article has won Best Journalism in Hong Kong In-Media’s E-Citizens Award. The day the article was published, it went viral online. It was a surprise for Chan…’
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Something Worse Than Family Not Buying Your Book

goodreads-7327881When Friends and Family Lie About Buying Your Book
‘Well, it happened again. An author accused us of not paying royalties on friends and family book sales…that never occurred. He was unable to provide copies of receipts from the loved ones he claimed had purchased his book. In addition, he refused to provide any information about the purchases, nor the buyers, nor the stores where the purchases had (not) occurred. Even though he had zero receipts, and even though he didn’t forward any correspondence to me from those individuals, and even though he could not or would not give information about even one “missing” sale, he insisted I get the money from Ingram for the (non-existent) sales anyway…’
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The Reader Privacy Act Vetoed
NJ Gov. Christie Vetoes Reader Privacy Act, Asks for Stronger, Narrower Law
‘As previously reported in The Digital Reader, the bill passed in September by wide margins in both houses of the New Jersey State Legislature and would have codified the right to read ebooks without letting the government and everybody else knowing about it.

‘I wrote about some problems I saw with the bill. Based on a California law focused on law enforcement, the proposed NJ law added civil penalties on booksellers who disclosed the personal information of users without a court order. As I understood it, the bill could have prevented online booksellers from participating in ad networks (they all do!).

‘Governor Christie’s veto statement pointed out more problems. The proposed law didn’t explicitly prevent the government from asking for personal reading data, it just made it against the law for a bookseller to comply. So, for example, a local sheriff could still ask Amazon for a list of people in his town reading an incriminating book. If Amazon answered, somehow the reader would have to:…’
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For Publishers, Chat Apps Could Soon Be the Next Facebook
Why Chat Apps May Be the Next Big Driver of Referral Traffic
‘Think all of your social traffic is coming from Facebook and Twitter? Think again. Nieman Journalism Lab just shared a case study about the impact of chat apps—and it may just shed some light on your “dark social” traffic.

‘The mobile messaging app is proving itself to be much more than a free way to text. Nieman Lab reported media outlets like BBC are embracing WhatsApp as a viable platform for sharing news, calling it and its ilk “mobile-first social media sites.” BuzzFeed and Shazam have added a WhatsApp share button to their mobile sites, and earlier this year, BuzzFeed revealed it was getting more taps from its WhatsApp button than from its Twitter button…’
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Source of Great Writers: Real-life Private Eye

twitter-B1h4DGuCAAAPfsZ.jpg largeBlack Man Secretly Helped Great Crime Writers
Ever noticed the character names Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe in crime fiction? The names Sam and Marlowe was a code for Samuel Marlowe who was a real black private detective and a source for Chandler and Hammett.

‘…Marlowe, she said, was the city’s first licensed black private detective. He shadowed lives, took care of secrets, knew his way around Tinseltown. Ransil dropped the names of some Hollywood heavies — Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, Howard Hughes.

‘But it got better. Marlowe knew hard-boiled writers Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, she said.

‘The private eye had written them after reading their early stories in the pulp magazine Black Mask to say their fictional gumshoes were doing it all wrong. They began writing regularly, or so her story went. The authors relied on Marlowe for writing advice, and in the case of Chandler, some real-life detective work…’
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The Hard Truth About Kill Fees
‘…Had it been a less timely feature, I would’ve been okay asking for the extension. Instead, I submitted a draft, seriously stretching the limited information I had to work with. The editor responded with an edit memo—not an actual edit—saying the story had interesting bits but was missing the mark: It was too introductory for their audience, needed a buzzier lede, and required a bit of restructuring. That’s when I realized I hadn’t completely understood the assignment. We both should have verified we were on the same page beforehand. I focused heavily on the development of the models and why they were so important. He felt their readers already understood the importance and that I could’ve skip those sections. The next draft came closer, but still not close enough. He wanted a tighter focus and more details, and didn’t think he’d have enough time to help get it where he wanted. He then offered a kill fee, graciously attaching the edits he had made thus far…’
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Verb Mistakes #1: Didn’t With Conditional
‘One type of conditional sentence refers to a situation in the past that might have happened, but didn’t. The speaker is speculating about what might have happened if things had been different. In this type of sentence, the verb in the “if clause” will be in the past perfect tense, and the main clause will contain the modal would or could.

‘Note: The past perfect tense uses had + a past participle. For example, “had gone.”

‘A common error is to use a didn’t construction in the “if clause.”…’
Here are some examples

Posted in Business, literature, mystery, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

The First Online Animation Program

coreldraw-imagesIn 1989, there was already a graphic design program before the Internet came into being. So it’s not surprising that it was also the first program animators used for designing and creating.

‘When we introduced CorelDRAW in 1989, we knew we had something special on our hands. With the first graphics software for the Windows® platform, Corel changed the way people express and share ideas—and users have been trusting their ideas to Corel products ever since…’
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Incredible Corel Painting Timelapse: A Woman’s Life
‘This is an astonishing time lapse of a constantly-evolving digital painting produced with Corel Painter 11 software by Korean illustrator, Seok Jeong Hyeon (“Stonehouse”) which depicts the image of a woman, developing from infancy to old age, displaying his mind-boggling skill in this medium…’
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The Value of the Ungoogleable
‘In this magnificent Design Matters conversation with Debbie Millman, Ben Schott — who identifies neither with being a writer nor with being a designer but describes himself instead as “a writer who uses design and a designer who uses word” — shares the unlikely, remarkably heartening story of his success. Folded into it are Schott’s reflections on how his father’s obscure scientific papers on the history of the footnote shaped his miscellaneous mind, what Virginia Woolf can teach us about the secret of great design and craftsmanship, and why the art of finding the ungoogleable is of ever-increasing value today…’

“…The point was not to get stuff that was out there — it was trying to find things that no one else had talked about. Which is increasingly hard, by the way — to find stuff that is ungoogleable.” -Schott
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Three Dos and Don’ts After You Get a Bad Performance Review
‘Performance reviews are already stressful, but when you get sat down and told that you’re not doing so hot, it’s even worse. Here are three things you should do after your assessment and three things you shouldn’t.

‘A bad performance review can send you in a downward spiral—especially if you feel like it’s inaccurate—but there are still a few good ways keep your head up and move forward. Carolyn O’Hara at the Harvard Business Review recommends you keep these principles in mind:..’
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How Publishers & Copyright Gave Amazon The Very Power That Publishers Now Hate
‘We’ve been meaning to weigh in some more on the whole Amazon/Hachette battle, because lot of misinformation has been spewed around (including by Paul Krugman). Unfortunately there have just been too many other things to cover and we haven’t had the time to do a more thorough piece. However, Tim Lee, over at Vox, has a good short piece detailing how many of the publishers’ problems are really because of copyright law and the stupid DRM that the publishers themselves demanded — and which now gives Amazon its power over them in the market. The issue? The DMCA and the fact that Section 1201 makes it illegal to circumvent any DRM (even if for non-infringing purposes). End result, all those books on Amazon are stuck on Amazon.

‘The thing is, none of this is even remotely surprising. Almost six years ago, we warned book publishers of this exact scenario. This wasn’t hard to predict, because the same damn thing had happened in music, before Apple finally dumped its music DRM. But no one listens to us…’
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How About a Fact-checking App for Articles?

blogs.rrc-Truth-MythSome computers like IBM’s Watson can store millions of facts and that’s a fact. If Watson could do that, it’s so believable that it could also check if articles are factual and do not contain false ‘facts’.

Free Journalism Ethics Hotline
‘The Society for Professional Journalists just revised its code of ethics for the first time in 18 years for the digital age, and the Online News Association is crowdsourcing a project that allows journalists to build individual codes of ethics on the premise that one standardized code can no longer represent everyone.

‘Lodged in between these contrasting initiatives is a question about whether more standardized ethics codes have become stale in a fast-paced media environment where the working conditions for journalists are ever-changing. Or, do they in fact represent much-needed, objective fix points in a fluid world where far too much is already relative and individual?…’
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A Novel and Forbidden Collaboration Through the Net in Tibet
‘Five years in the making, solely through online communication, a unique music collaboration between a Tibetan musician in exile and a Tibetan poet inside Tibet, was finally released internationally in July 2013.

‘The first collaboration of its kind, the song Lam La Che is an example of how the internet allows Tibetans in exile and Tibetans inside Tibet to reach across borders to not only communicate, but also collaborate.

‘Tibetan musicians making pro-Tibetan art inside Tibet risk censorship and imprisonment for their work. Tibetans diaspora musicians can produce art freely but know that their work might not reach Tibetans living under Chinese control…’
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Following Political Pressure, Citizen-Led Rural Libraries Shut Down in China
‘China’s rural areas don’t receive the same education resources that the country’s wealthier urban centers do. This gap is a widely acknowledged problem, and many organizations have been established to improve the facilities in rural China and ensure that the students there aren’t left behind.

‘However, Chinese authorities don’t exactly welcome citizen-led initiatives with open arms, and recently an independent library project called China Rural Library (CRL) was forced to close due to political pressure…’
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Why investigative journalism is so important

Originally posted on Plato on-line:

salon.com-greenwald_snowden_poitras-620x412‘Bloggers appear to have filled a void particularly in political commentary. A key difference between bloggers and traditional media is that bloggers have little or no reputational risk or editorial objectivity in what they comment on.

‘Apart from libel laws they are largely free to say what they want with little commercial constraint.

‘But real investigative journalism is crucial to a well-functioning democracy. Unfortunately it is a costly endeavour for media outlets struggling to survive. This leads to a tendency towards descriptive reporting rather than investigation. This reduces the accountability of politicians and other powerful entities in our society…’
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Why The Poor Pay $1,400 for Old iPads
‘Would you pay $1,439.28 for an early model iPad? Some who can’t afford it do. In some ways, the predatory lending to the poor that threw America into a tailspin in 2006 has moved on to smaller items like iPads and couches…

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