Monday, November 22, 2010

Countdown to Turkey Day with The Knight Agency: Jenna Kernan

UPDATE: The winner of a signed copy of HIS DAKOTA CAPTIVE by Jenna Kernan is Shoshanna Evers. Congrats! Please email your physical addy to a comment to win a signed copy of HIS DAKOTA CAPTIVE by Jenna Kernan. The winner will be announced tomorrow morning.

Tools to Make Me Thankful

In this season of gratitude, I would like to show my appreciation for an eclectic list of gizmos and software for which I am truly thankful. And though none of them will bring world peace, they bring peace to me and that is a good start.

1. TextAloud Program: This has been a Godsend. This software speaks my words back to me. I guess I’m an auditory learner, because my manuscript can say: He it form Mars. But because I remember writing, He is from Mars, I often don’t see the mistakes. But Crystal and Mike read only what is written. Crystal and Mike are the voices I purchased with the program. Crystal reads my heroines POV and Mike reads my hero’s. Because of Mike and Crystal’s hard work, I have many fewer mistakes in my writing. In fact, when I finish this blog, they will help me proof-read it. They are not perfect, as they can’t tell REED from READ, and they don’t sound exactly human, but I love them both like family and would gladly invite them to my Thanksgiving table if I could.

2. Handheld Dictation Tape Recorder: I’m embarrassed to admit this one as I heard on the radio that Sony has stopped producing the Walkman and the host wondered aloud if anyone in the world still listened to cassettes. I do. I buy books on tape (real tape, mind you) at yard sales, book stores, church bazaars and other odd places. Everyone is getting rid of them, so I have dozens of wonderful stories waiting for me. I also listen to CDs, but I can’t stop them and get back to exactly the same place. Boy, if you pause that cassette, it is there waiting in the exact place you stopped. I listen in the car, in the tub (and since there are no ear buds I don’t have to worry about getting them wet) and when I’m getting dressed. All times when I couldn’t read. This particular cassette player was designed for dictation. The speaker is built in and it has the odd feature of being able to speed up or slow down the speed of the recording. Since I am a New Yorker, I set the speed just a little faster than normal to hear more story in the time I have to listen. Isn’t that pathetic?

3. MP3 Player: For listening to podcasts during the day. The variety of options are endless. I also listen to downloaded audiobooks. In addition, it has become a sleep aid. When I have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep I click over to Joseph Conrad’s, HEART IF DARKNESS. “The horror. The horror!” Yes, I have listened to it awake, but something about the reader’s voice and Conrad’s long sentences makes this a perfect sedative for me and for thousands of students in 10th grade English class. It also makes a nice flashlight in hotels to help me find the bathroom at 3 AM. I know, there’s an App for that, but honestly, I still don’t know how to use my cellphone, so give me a break with the Apps.

4. Post-Its: One more tool I can’t live without then editing or revising a manuscript—Post-its and if you visit my website News page at you will see why. It’s not pretty.

So there you have it. These are the gadgets/software that makes my world a happier place. In this season of thanks, let us not forget the useful tools that aid us in our work, calm our soul and are often much better company than our relatives.
What software or gadgets rock your writing world?


Would you rather spend two hours on Thanksgiving with your laptop or your Aunt Marge?



DREAM STALKER, BBB Award Winner, 2010

Follow me on Twitter at: @jennakernan

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is my favorite what I'm thankful for post I've read this year! I especially loved the sleeping with Conrad idea and speeding up a tape so you can get everything done!

I imagine your Christmas tree decked in part with colorful post it notes and strung with garland made of cassettes linked together!

Happy Thanksgiving!
Mary Beth Bass

Monday, November 22, 2010 at 10:33:00 AM EST  
Blogger Susan said...

I laughed. But you are so right! We do have so many wonderful things in our lives that we take for granted!

By the way, HIS DAKOTA CAPTIVE is inching its way to the top of my TBR pile!


Monday, November 22, 2010 at 11:08:00 AM EST  
Blogger Linda Henderson said...

I'd probably rather spend the time with a laptop. But then I'm not really all that social. I have to admit, I don't know what I would do without my droid phone. It's taken me a while to get used to it and there is still a lot I don't understand, but it's great on car trips where I can check my email whenever I want.

seriousreader at live dot com

Monday, November 22, 2010 at 12:30:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post, that program for reading what you wrote sounds awesome.

Well, I only write emails, reviews, letters and such so I only need a good old word program.

But I am thankful for any gizmo that helps authors get their books out to us faster!!!

in Germany

Monday, November 22, 2010 at 1:51:00 PM EST  
Blogger Taryn Kincaid said...

Walking around now with 2 BBs and 3 ereaders. Still love post-it notes. But the ereaders are now at the top of my LOVE list. Don't know how I lived without them.

Already have a signed copy of the wonderful Dakota Captive, so don't include me in the giveaway. Just thought I'd pop in and say "hi."
(That's a great picture, btw.)

Monday, November 22, 2010 at 2:02:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Jenna said...

I'm listening to Jackdaw by Ken Folliet right now on that little old cassette player. It's awesome. Linda mentioned a phone. Mine is old as dirt and has no camera. I think it's time to upgrade, but I'm intimidated by all they do. Love my iTouch, though. Perhaps an eReader is next for me, too, Taryn.

Monday, November 22, 2010 at 3:05:00 PM EST  
Blogger Liz said...

I totally love my Blackberry. I love my Mac Book Pro which has post it sticky note program!
What software do you use for text out loud?

Oh - and I also have a copy of the book - which I loved - been waiting for her Lucy's story!

Monday, November 22, 2010 at 6:02:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Jenna said...

Liz - A post it sticky note program? That sounds pretty interesting. As to the Textaloud, it's just the older version of the program. I also bought those two voices. Crystal and Mike, my amigos. I considered the Brits voice, but found Audrey sounded to haute for my westerns.

Monday, November 22, 2010 at 6:09:00 PM EST  
Blogger Cybercliper said...

Gads, I'm not much of a gizmo person - I'm more of a pen, paper, and post-it note type. I'm fine with computers, but I don't have a lot of patience with gadgets and I'm know for being able to break a new gadget with just a glance...

Monday, November 22, 2010 at 6:18:00 PM EST  
Blogger Douglas L. Perry said...

That's a really great idea to have a text reader read back your text. I am embarrassed to say that I am a silicon valley software engineer with every gadget ever made, and I hadn't thought of that. In fact all I have to to is transfer my manuscript to my Kindle and I can have it read back to me.

I listen to podcasts all the time on my MP3 player, but I don't use Post-its. I have switched to Scrivener and found its card view to be very useful.
thenextwriter on twitter

Monday, November 22, 2010 at 6:26:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Jenna said...

I didn't know the kindle could read your manuscript back to you. Very cool!

Monday, November 22, 2010 at 6:42:00 PM EST  
Blogger Yolanda said...

Love Post-Its ... all colors and sizes and you can never have enough! Please don't enter me in the contest - already have Dakota Captive - I just wanted to say hi!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010 at 8:03:00 AM EST  
Blogger Shoshanna Evers said...

Great post, Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010 at 10:07:00 AM EST  
Blogger petite said...

I enjoy using post-its since I am old school. The new technology is amazing and convenient which I look forward to acquiring.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010 at 10:18:00 AM EST  
Blogger Janet Lane Walters said...

A bit late but do love the Post-it notes. Hope to see you one of these days but good luck

Tuesday, November 23, 2010 at 11:07:00 AM EST  
Blogger Maura said...

Great post, Jenna! I'm especially intrigued by the text aloud program. I'm always shocked when someone else points out a glaring typo that I haven't caught even when I've read the piece a dozen times.

I just read Jackdaws by Follet a few months ago. It was great. Hope you enjoy it.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010 at 11:29:00 AM EST  
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Friday, November 26, 2010 at 10:42:00 PM EST  

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