Lilly Hawthorne’s adoption five years ago is a rags-to-riches dream come true, complete with movie star mother and mega-producer father. But shortly before her eighteenth birthday, Lilly’s fairytale is destroyed when brutal attacks nearly kill her and threaten everything and everyone she holds dear.
Regardless of promises, Lilly quickly learns no one can truly protect her or her new family. She seeks expert training from a mysterious and deadly Russian woman, and prepares for what she fears will be a battle of life and death.
FBI Special Agent Kaden Hunt saved Lilly once, and he can’t forget his instant attraction to the young woman. Now on the trail of a cross-country serial killer, Kade and his team are closing in. But the closer they get, the more he fears the sadistic killer is targeting the one person for whom Kade will risk everything.
The longer I worked on this story (and it was an embarrassingly long time!), the more I fell in love with Lilly and the way she attacks life. Nothing about her eighteen years has been easy, but that’s what turns her into a kick-butt young woman. I’m excited for you to read her story!
Perilous Cove – Perilous Safety Series, Book 1, is now free!
– James Scott Bell, author
“Rich Bullock knows how to spin edge-of-your-seat suspense that lingers long after the story ends. With more novels on the horizon, he is an author to watch.”
– Cathy Elliott, author of Medals in the Attic: An Annie’s Attic Mystery
Interview with John Vonhof
I recently spoke with John Vonhof, a long-time writing acquaintance, and he asked me a few questions about my writing and my path to publication. You can read the interview here at the Writers & Authors on Fire website: http://www.writersauthorsonfire.com/007-rich-bullock
A Podcast of the interview will be available on iTunes soon.
Learning a new OS
Okay, so in yesterday’s post I explained about losing my iPhone 5s and needing a replacement for the weeks before the new iPhones come out. I began with the iPhone 3s, then got the 4s, and—until Wednesday of this week—the 5s. (insert sad face here). I could have gotten a cheap basic phone, but decided to go with AT&T’s Avail 2 Android Smartphone. Here’s a good review link.
I immediately used the Google Play Store (similar to Apple’s App Store) to download anything that wasn’t already installed on the phone. I can’t remember which items were already there, but I configured: Kindle reader, Facebook, Evernote, Audible, and Chrome browser. I set up the email app with my email accounts.
Then I began reading posts on Apple’s forum about syncing Calendar events and Contacts. It’s too bad there is such technical polarization between the Apple and Google worlds. They could make this a whole lot easier if they wanted to. Some forum posters said syncing couldn’t be done, but another person said he’d been using Smoothsync successfully. I purchased the two Smoothsync for iCloud apps developed by Marten Gajda (one for Calendar, one for Contacts – about $5 total), and also downloaded two free “JB Workaroud” apps—by the same developer—which evidently solve some problems with the Android Jelly Bean OS.
Once installed, I launched Smoothsync for iCloud Calendar and gave it my Apple/iCloud login and password. Then the same for Smoothsync for iCloud Contacts. The apps sync directly with iCloud, not the Mac, so there is no cable-to-Mac connection required. All my Calendar events soon showed up, including a new invitation for a dinner. The only thing I have to remember is when creating an event on the phone, the calendar defaults to my Google Calendar, which I don’t use, and which doesn’t show up on my Mac and iPad. I have to change the calendar before saving the new event (it can’t be changed after).
While Calendar seems to be working, Contacts are a little weird. I have 637 contacts in my Mac’s Address Book, but 874 on the phone. Some of the extra contacts appear to be coming from my Gmail contacts, and others seem to be from my email history on Gmail—people I’ve mailed to, but not added to my Contacts. Not sure, but so far not a big deal. I have what I need—and more!
I haven’t yet figured out how to transfer music from iTunes onto my Android phone. iTunes is at least partially proprietary, and it doesn’t play well with Android. Still, if I wanted to badly enough, I could get most of my music transferred. Since my main goal is to survive until the next iPhone release, I’m not sure I’ll bother. After all, that’s why Marten Gajda named two of his apps “…workaround.” Syncing an Android (developed by Google) phone to the Apple universe is a series of kluges. They work…sort of. It would be far better to use only Google for contacts, calendar, photos, music, etc., and be out of the Apple world entirely.
Another thought: If I change my Apple ID/Account password, I’ll have to re-login with these syncing apps. No need to do that on an iPhone. A little thing, but something that allows me to keep working instead of fiddling.
As for the phone hardware part of this, the review touches on a lot of things, and it comes down pretty heavy on the inadequacies. However, I’m not planning to live with this phone for months or years; if I was, I’d have bought a more expensive and powerful model. Personally, I find the phone slow. Apps take up to 15-20 seconds to launch sometimes, and any background process such as an app update slows everything to a crawl for a bit. Email downloads of the latest messages take the longest, and Facebook sometimes never opens at all.
The camera is a barely adequate 2 megapixel model (the salesman told me it was a 5 megapixel) with video. A practice shot in my garage under good overhead lighting showed a lot of graininess and lack of detail on closeup. See below. I’ll have to think twice whether I’ll use this. Probably will dig out my point-and-shoot Canon instead to document the progress on my old Ford. Also, connecting the phone to the Mac with the USB cable produces an disk error message, and doesn’t give you the option to treat the phone as a camera so you can just transfer the photos. I’m sure there is a way to do this—perhaps with additional software—but I simply emailed the photos to myself and opened them on the Mac.
Bottom line: If you need an emergency fill-in for your lost iPhone, this inexpensive smartphone might meet your temporary need; it certainly will do for me. But I wouldn’t want to live with this long term. The box included a pretty good manual, wall charger with separate cable (USB to micro USB), and the SIM card if the phone is used for the no-contract, pay-as-you-go plans. It would help if you’re at all familiar with Android phones, but I had never used one and, with the manual and a quick search on Google’s android central.com, I did fine. If you run into trouble, just ask any twelve year old for help.
PS: Yes, this is a photo of my 1932 Ford Roadster Pickup in my garage. It’s been in our family since about 1939, and is in the final stages of restoration.
I admit, I’m one of those Apple iPhone diehards. But there’s a reason: we have Macs and iPads at home, and we sync our Contacts, Calendars, Bookmarks, Photos, etc., through iCloud. For years I struggled with Palm Treos, trying to get basic sync to work. It DID work at times for a few months, then I’d have a 6-8 hour day trying to get it to work again. I switched to an iPhone and never looked back.
But this past Wednesday brought disaster. Okay, nothing like hurricane Sandy, mudslides, floods, or earthquakes, but certainly a wrinkle in the smooth fabric of life: my year-old iPhone 5s sank to the bottom of Whiskeytown Lake. Kayak accident—”I swear it wasn’t my fault, officer.” The lake has a max depth of 145 feet and we were crossing the middle, so Find My iPhone couldn’t help me on this one.
I depend on my iPhone for many things: writing ideas, medical history, email, website accounts, audio and e-books, my music library, calendar, contacts, reminders, shopping lists, and a host of less important but still useful things, such as my Starbuck’s account, Fandango, Facebook, weather, maps, and Wikipedia. Oh, yeah, almost forgot phone calls and texting.
So, what to do. The new iPhone 6 model(s) are rumored to be announced around September 9th and released a couple weeks later, about 6 weeks from now. I didn’t want to get a replacement for the 5s model when I could wait for the new, shiny, faster one, but I really didn’t want to be off the grid that long. So, off to the AT&T store to explore my options.
Found out I qualify for the AT&T Next program. I can use that to get one of the new phones when they are available. I’m not a big fan of that program (it’s a little more expensive than the standard upgrade plan), but it will work for me in this case. Then the helpful store rep suggested I purchase a no-contract, Go Phone at Target, Best Buy, or Walmart, and use that during the gap. Off to Target.
At Target, I could choose a plain phone, but I could also get an AT&T Avail 2 basic smartphone running the Android OS for only $55 (plus a micro SD card for more storage). There were more expensive options as well.
I zipped back to the AT&T store with my new smartphone and, in only a few minutes, I had a new SIM card installed (for an existing account, you can’t use the one that comes with the no-contract phones), tested voicemail, and was on my way home.
My next task was figuring out the phone and Android. Could I get my Macintosh Contacts and Calendar to sync or at least download? Solutions for that and phone review in tomorrow’s post.
I miss buying books.
Oh, I still buy books. These days, I prefer reading e-books, so about 99% are digital. In fact, I have a very difficult time finishing a printed book. It gets left beside my bed or someplace else where I don’t think about it. The best books are those I have with me all the time on my e-reader of choice: my iPhone.
However, I went into a Barnes & Noble last week and stopped right inside where the tables of new releases are set up. Stacks of new mysteries, suspense, and thrillers beckoned. A table of young adult reads screamed Buy me! And I experienced a sudden nostalgia for my youth when I would enter a bookstore every couple of months searching for any new releases by my favorite authors. I devoured books, and the wait for the next story was interminable, building a deep longing until I found a new Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, Robert A. Heinlein, or Edgar Rice Burroughs. Or in my middle-grade days, a new Tom Swift Jr. or Mr. Bass book.
What I miss is that anticipation. The wait. The hunt. The success!
And the anticipation didn’t end with the buy. It built all the way home, until I could finally find a quiet place, open my newest possession, and fall into a new and utterly fascinating world. Television couldn’t compete with the images these authors painted with words.
It’s just not the same with online buying, whether print or digital. Getting a new book in 60 seconds is great, but it comes with a price—a loss.
I stood in front of that table at Barnes & Noble, thumbing the gleaming covers, taking in the stimulating smell of ink, paper, and imagination, and felt the loss that it isn’t like it used to be.
Love to hear your thoughts on the changing world of buying books and reading.
Perilous Cove Free on Kindle, Feb 8, 9, 10!
Perilous Cove will be available as a free download for Kindle reading devices and apps Saturday through Monday on Amazon. Please tell your friends! The goal is to have as many downloads as possible so the book’s ranking increases in the Amazon search pages.
Here is the final cover for Desperation Falls, Book 3 of the Perilous Safety Series.
The ebook will release on January 31st for Kindle. A print version will be available in February.
I wish I’d had this cover done when I was writing the book. Very inspiring! Great job by graphic artist, Rob Henslin.