Notorious Angel - a novel by Jennifer KokoskiPublished by Hard Shell Word Factory 

"Beware the Angel of Death... She holds the key."

Cryptic words scrawled in a dying man's missive to his son are the only clues to murder, treason and romance in Regency England.


!NEWS Flashes!



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Jen's E-Book Primer

E-Books - You've probably heard the term and scratched your head wondering what new geek toy the dot com kids dreamt up. Or said it can't possibly be something for you.

Books are things you dust on shelves or splay across a coffee table to impress your friends, right? Wrong. E-books are for everyone and are just as diverse as their paper cousins.

What is an E-book? The "e" stands for electronic meaning instead of letters displayed in ink on paper, e-books are letters displayed in light on a screen. The first e-books were made and transmitted some 20 years ago to be viewed on monochrome computer monitors, usually in universities. These books were digital files that contained all the words of a book for instantaneous transport and viewing on computer screens across the world. Some 10 years ago, some enterprising folks began the infamous Gutenberg Project that transcribed all the text of classic Public Domain novels in freely traded e-books. Today the classic works of Shakespeare, Dickens, A.C. Doyle and even Victor Hugo among others are some of the first e-books read by new readers.

Since the early days of e-books, the technology for viewing these digital cousins to ink-and-paper tomes has evolved leaps and bounds. Screens for viewing have improved to color as well as monochrome. Portable reading devices and handheld computers (what is commonly called a Palm or PDA) allow folks to carry and read their e-books as they would any paperback.

So too have the digital forms e-books changed. Plain text books now come with pictures, links and in their most commercial form searchable pages. You've probably heard the term Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft Reader, and PalmDoc format. These are fancy terms that refer to which reader program you use to display your e-book. Most often your reader program will be defined by what device (i.e. screen) you use to read your e-books. When buying an e-book, it helps to pick a format that works with your reader device of choice.

ASCII Text (.txt) The very first e-book format contains just text (letters and numbers) with no formatting (bold, italics, underlines) or pictures. Project Gutenberg e-books were done in this format. PC, Mac, PDA Handhelds
Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) Adobe's Portable Document Format called Acrobat. It's viewed with the free Acrobat Reader for PCs, Macs, and now PDAs. Acrobat files are most like your regular print books, can have embedded links, pictures and be printed out with your printer. PC, MAC, PDAs
AportisDoc / PalmDoc Palm Pilot (the PDA maker) format for text documents. Viewable on all Palm handhelds. Palm PDAs (Palm, Handspring Visors, Sony Clies)
MS Reader Microsoft's E-book Reader format viewable on PCs and PocketPC handhelds. Files contain text, graphics, embedded links and search functions. PocketPC PDAs (iPAQ, HP Jornada, Casio Cassiopeia, etc.)
MobiPocket MobiPocket E-books are viewable on PCs, Macs, and handheld devices with the free MobiReader program. MobiReader also reads PalmDoc files, HTML and plain text documents. PC, MAC, PDAs
HTML (.htm or .html) Also known as web page format, e-books written in this format are basically dressed up text files with special hidden codes to mark italics, bold lettering, font sizes, as well as embedded pictures and clickable links. No matter what reading device you own or e-book reading program you use, an HTML file is all you need to convert to your reader program file of choice.

How to convert an HTML file to MS Reader ebook.

GEMstar (Rocket) The first commercially-traded e-book format on the market, Rocket E-books were viewed on portable reading devices called Rocket Readers. These palm-sized gadgets stored e-books in internal memory and displayed them on monochrome screens. The company GEMstar was sold and restructured to use a proprietary content distribution system which never caught on with the buying public. The highly promoted RCA E-book device is the defunct Rocket Reader. Some diehard Rocket Reader owners still use their trusty devices, converting Text and HTML content to a readable format. RCA E-book, Rocket Reader

Many people ask me why do I bother with e-books when the paper ones work just as well? Here are my top 5 scenarios that have me reaching for an e-book version over its print cousin. See if any of these situations apply to you. If so, then an e-book could be just the solution you're looking for.

Ultra- Portable - You're heading out to the beach for a whole week, packing up the car while the kids grumble "Are we there yet?" and just remember there are at least 5 books you'd like to finish while the kids build sandcastles. Trouble is you only have room for 1 in your pocketbook. But if your books were in electronic form, you could take all 5 and then some and still have room for those all important Cheerios snacks for the baby. An e-book is usually less than 1 megabyte (the storage size of a floppy disk). You could carry 5 - 20 on your PDA, 20-100 on a Flash card, 600-1200 on a cd-rom and a few thousand on your laptop computer. Imagine being able to transport your entire library in your pocket with as little effort as it takes to check your e-mail.

Quick Purchase & Delivery - Between work and dinner, the only time you get to yourself all day is the few minutes stolen to read e-mail or look up recipes on You're dying for a new book to read but all the stores around you have closed up for the night and there are no babysitters to watch the kids. Or maybe you've visited ("the World's Largest Bookstore") and found a few treasures you can never seem to find in the mall. Trouble is by the time you receive your precious book a week has passed and the time for reading with it. Now imagine you read about the same book and learned there was a convenient e-book form available for instantaneous download. You can find your book, read a sampling, purchase a copy, download and be reading your book all in 5-10 minutes without ever having to find the keys to the car or slip on your tennis shoes.

Searching & Indexing - You remember a really good quote or need to look up directions for a recipe in a book. Print books require you to leaf through a few hundred pages in the vain hope of stumbling on the kernel of information. If they're very advanced, paper books have indexes pointing you to the pages a limited set of words are displayed. With an e-book, you pull up the FIND function, type in your word or phrase and in moments you're instantly transported to the right page.

An E-book Never Forgets - How many times are you right smack in the middle of a book when the phone rings, a child demands attention, or you fall asleep? You've suddenly lost your page and have to spend precious minutes leafing through to catch up. But e-books are so smart now, they remember where you stopped reading even if you forget.

Smaller Than A Breadbox - It doesn't take many purchases to load your bookshelf and coffee table so much you're 3 layers deep in books. Unless you have a mansion to store those tomes, those beloved books become space hogs. But e-books take no shelf space. In fact, you could fit your library's entire children's section on one cd-rom. Imagine 600-1200 novels as easily at your fingertips as your daughter's latest Britney Spears cd.

These are just some of the reasons e-books have become my preferred reading method. Like most of you, I still buy print books time to time. Usually as keepsakes for my coffee table or when they are just not offered any other way. Fortunately, more and more, books today are available in a choice of format so every reader has an option. If you haven't tried an e-book before, now is a good time to give it a whirl. Here are a few places of my favorite places to download a free Classic e-book:

University of Virginia's E-Text Library
Project Gutenberg Library

BONUS ITEM: Myths About E-books and E-Book Publishing
BONUS ITEM: Transferring and Reading E-books on Your PDA
BONUS ITEM: Converting an HTML File to an MS Reader E-book

On Sale from Hard Shell Word Factory 
e-Book ISBN: 0-7599-0326-3 | Paperback ISBN: 0-7599-0472-3

Copyright 2002 by Jennifer Kokoski
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