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Found this article on the LA Times website today, thought some of you might find it interesting...,0,3343534,full.story

The mystery writer has moved to Florida, but he returns to help his fictional detective, Hieronymus Bosch, fight evil in the City of Angels.

By Thomas Curwen, Los Angeles Times
May 1, 2010

Michael Connelly is looking to stage a kidnapping. The writer wheels his rented SUV through the streets of Hancock Park. He turns right at 5th Street and Windsor Boulevard, and a two-story villa set back from the street catches his eye.

The trash cans are out. A woman in a bathrobe, standing on the front porch, turns to stare.

He pulls out his iPhone and takes a picture. He lifts his foot off the brake and idles ahead. He's pleased with what he found: a waist-high bush on the corner, the Hollywood sign in the distance, palm trees angling overhead, a little crack in the sidewalk edging toward the lawn.

He likes Hancock Park. "The islands of wealth in Los Angeles are often protected by mountains and by the sea," he says. "There is no protection in Hancock Park."

For nearly 20 years, Connelly has prowled the streets of L.A., quick to expose their contradictions and cruelties. At age 53, he's written a shelf full of books, and he's here today to research the latest, due out in October. He's 342 pages into it.

He came to L.A. for a mystery writers' convention and added a day for himself. The agenda: Find a house for a kidnapping and an alley for a body drop, tour Mulholland Drive, check out a sinkhole and poke around Franklin Canyon for a spot where … well, he's not entirely certain how the book will end.

He pulls onto Wilshire Boulevard, westbound. The welter of L.A.'s Mid-City streetscape slips by: billboards, super graphics, office buildings, a few bungalows, power lines and traffic signals, corporate logos and mom-and-pop signage.

Since 2001, he has lived in Tampa, Fla., and writing about a city 2,000 miles away forces him to be diligent about details that a local might skip over.

"Connelly is a skilled urban geographer. Like Raymond Chandler, he gives us Los Angeles in a prosaic, very realistic manner," says Kevin Starr, professor of history at USC. "A lot of Southern California mystery writers give us an overwrought, symbolic landscape from the beginning, but in Connelly, the ominous and dangerous creep up upon you out of the ordinary."

Details matter to Connelly, and although he is a fiction writer, he isn't about to make everything up. He'll joke and say it's his lack of imagination. Truth is: He enjoys collecting even the smallest elements. They help him connect to the story once he has returned home, and he uses them to build atmosphere.

A crack in the sidewalk, "like a scar on the face," is suggestive of past violence; a street called Windsor, just like the castle, is nicely ironic for a kidnapping.

Just before the El Rey Theatre, he heads up Dunsmuir Avenue, puzzled that there's no alley, just a large parking lot for the His and Hers Hair Goods Co. He circles the block and parks on Burnside Avenue. He can't find coins for the meter. He'll risk it. He shuffles across the street, blue shirt untucked, dark glasses on, carrying himself with a bit of a slouch.

From the day he arrived in the late 1980s in the city of his literary hero, Raymond Chandler, Los Angeles has provided him with plenty of leads. A crime reporter for The Times in the Valley, he filed away material from his beat and, after publishing three novels, left the paper in 1993, eventually moving east.

He now lives in a quiet Tampa suburb called Davis Islands, and his office looks out on a bay with a dock and a 23-foot Boston Whaler that he'll tell you gets too little use. When he writes, he pulls down the black-out curtains, and nothing gets in his way — except his own sense of what works and what doesn't.

Last spring, after the tour for "The Scarecrow" and before the publication of "Nine Dragons," he was trying to get up to speed on a book whose central crime borrowed from the Bernard Madoff scandal, but after 140 pages, neither he nor his lead investigator, protagonist LAPD Det. Hieronymus Bosch, could get any traction.

Then one morning during a rundown of the usual websites — LATimes, LAObserved, LAPD, DeadlineHollywood, LAdowntownnews and losanjealous — he read a headline that stopped him. "Child abduction survivor lives with fear and guilt," it read. "When she was 8, Opal Horton escaped from a kidnapper. Her friend wasn't so lucky. Now 32, she testifies at a man's sentencing in the slaying of another girl."

Connelly felt a shiver of recognition. He put aside the Madoff story and, following his gut, began to write the kidnapping scene, making a few changes from the news account in order to turn up the emotions.

Friends became sisters. It was a game of hide-and-go-seek. "One, two, three...." A tow truck passes by. "Four, five, six...." Sarah Ann hid, then there was silence, a stranger's words, a struggle. In an instant Melissa Landy was gone, and Sarah Ann saw it all through the bushes.

Writing for Connelly often combines a flash of inspiration with a slower, more patient orchestration of scene and character. Once a draft is well underway, he begins researching and editing, cutting away anything that diminishes or obscures the tension and layering in newfound elements.

Now if he could just find an alley for the El Rey. He follows a beat-up driveway sandwiched between the parking lot and an apartment building. Fifty yards in, it right-angles to the stage door. It will do. He takes a shot with the iPhone.

Back in the car, no ticket on the windshield, he drives up Fairfax Avenue, past Canter's, Sunset and Hollywood boulevards. The road steepens and narrows into hillsides where homes perch over the city like cantilevered aeries. He threads the SUV between parked cars and turns onto Fareholm Drive, where he and his wife once lived.

The new novel is called "The Reversal." Half police procedural, half courtroom drama, it features Bosch, attorney Mickey Haller and Jason Jessup, a tow truck driver who has spent 24 years in prison for the kidnapping and murder of Melissa Landy. DNA evidence, however, put the conviction into question, and he's out on bail awaiting a new trial.

Connelly created the plot not just from the Chicago kidnapping story but from the case of Bruce Lisker, the Sherman Oaks man who as a teenager was convicted of murdering his mother and in 1986 was sentenced to 16 years to life before being released in September (thanks partly to an investigation by The Times).

Connelly's especially intrigued by the intersection of past and present — it's one reason he assigned Bosch to cold cases — and in a city with 6,000 unsolved homicides, his detective will never want for work.

He slows at a bend in the road. From the street level, his old house is nothing fancy, just an excuse for a deck with views toward Century City and, on clear days, the Pacific. He and his wife sold the place when their daughter was born. He's now set up Haller here.

When he visits, he stays at a hotel in Santa Monica and doesn't bother to reset his watch. It's a habit that keeps him in synch with his family and gets him up early to write or out on the boardwalk for a stroll. Dawn coming over the city reminds him of working the late shift at The Times when he would drive home, indulging the illusion that he knew something about L.A. that no one had quite yet realized.

He turns onto Laurel Canyon Boulevard and winds his way to Skyline Drive and Mulholland Drive. At the crest of the hill, he comes upon detour signs for the 10-foot deep sinkhole that opened up at Deadman's Curve in February. Bosch — who lives in the neighborhood — isn't going to like this, he says.

Connelly found Bosch's home in 1989. There had been an ambush killing just off Mulholland on Woodrow Wilson Drive, and after visiting the crime scene, he drove around the block and discovered some pylons and I-beams of a burned-down house that had jutted over the canyon.

In his imagination, he rebuilt it for his detective. The views of the Valley, "creased by the freeway," were just what Bosch needed. Twenty years later, the pylons are still standing.

His requirements for Franklin Canyon are minimal: a tree and a rock. He parks above the upper reservoir and walks across the gravel lot to a trail head. Halfway up the Chaparral Trail, he comes to a small promontory with a modest overlook that can be seen from a distance, and on the other side, hidden from view, there's a hollow shaded by oaks, a nice place to bury a body — if that's how the novel plays out.

If Connelly is troubled by the lack of an ending, he doesn't show it. "You are expected in a crime novel to make it all fit together at the end," he says. "But reality is all about loose ends, and I do my best to subvert the need to solve everything."

Four weeks later, with a draft of "The Reversal" completed, Connelly is back in town to attend a memorial. He uses the occasion to meet with Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Judith Champagne. They go back several books. As she oversees the morning procession of attorneys and their clients, he sits in the audience taking notes.

The cases don't interest him so much as the trappings of the court: the defendant in the pressed T-shirt, the space heater under the court reporter's desk, the rolling file bin next to the prosecutor's chair, stuffed animals and a bowl of candy on a clerk's desk.

At noon, he and Champagne go out to lunch in Union Station. To the right of his burger is a pad of paper with a few words — "decorum," "contempt in open court," "mistrial" — scribbled on it. They start talking, and an hour later, he's crossed off each.

By 2, he's back at the courthouse. They say goodbye, and he turns down Spring Street, disappearing into the traffic. He has changes to make before delivering "The Reversal."

Kindle Accessories / Oberon and Decalgirl --- a match made in heaven?
« on: April 25, 2010, 07:24:15 pm »
Just curious if Oberon has ever thought about contacting Decalgirl to become one of their "artists" or form some sort of association?

I would think you could sell a lot of matching skins if they had the same colors and art as your beautiful covers...

I've been drooling over the Canon 5D Mark II for more than a year, mainly due to it's amazing high-definition video capabilities. I just stumbled across this article about how the director of the hit Fox TV series, House, used the camera exclusively for filming the season finale that will air next month. Side note, it was also the first digital camera used to shoot the official Presidential portrait.

This is the camera:

This is the article:

House Season Finale Filmed Entirely with Canon 5D Mark II

This is a sample short-film shot with the camera:

The Last 3 Minutes

If you have high-speed internet, switch to the HD version.

The Book Corner / HBO greenlights 'Game of Thrones' to series
« on: March 03, 2010, 09:19:34 pm »
HBO greenlights 'Game of Thrones' to series

Winter is, indeed, coming.

HBO has greenlighted highly anticipated fantasy series "Game of Thrones."

The premium network has picked up the project for a first season debut next spring (below is the first released photo from the series). Nine episodes plus the pilot have been ordered. Production will begin in Belfast this June.

From the moment the project was first announced in development, the series based on the George R.R. Martin novels has generated enormous, perhaps unprecedented, online interest for a series at such an early stage.

The sprawling tale set in the mythical land of Westeros tells the story of the noble Stark family who become caught up in high court intrigue when patriarch Eddard (played by Sean Bean) becomes the king's new right-hand man. The four-and-counting books in the series would each be used as one season of the series.

Unlike many fantasy novels, the "Thrones" series largely avoids relying on magical elements and instead goes for brutal realism -- think "Sopranos" with swords. Martin, a former TV writer ("Beauty and the Beast"), writes each chapter as a cliffhanger, which should lend itself well to series translation.

Let's Talk Kindle! / Kindle on Facebook
« on: February 28, 2010, 03:11:09 am »

Show your support! =)

I have nothing to do with this, just saw it posted on Twitter and figured some of the KB resident authors might find it useful...


Live today (2/16) at 1pm Eastern / 10am Pacific

A free WEBcast, presented by Digital Book World.

Formatting eBooks in the Kindle and ePub formats can be a challenge for the uninitiated, and outsourcing solutions still require an internal QA process to ensure publishers are offering readers the same level of quality in eBooks as they do in print.

In this free Digital Book World WEBcast, “eBook 101: Designing for Kindle and ePub“, Joshua Tallent (owner of eBook Architects and author of Kindle Formatting: The Complete Guide), and Matthew LeBlanc (Mgr of Production and Prepress, Adams Media), will offer insights on the major formats and the conversion process, and tips on modifying and optimizing a traditional print workflow:

    * An introduction to the Kindle format
    * An introduction to the ePub format (NOTE: The Nook and iPad support ePub)
    * An overview of typical conversion processes
    * Modifying an existing Adobe Creative Suite PDF print workflow

This free, live WEBcast takes place on Tuesday, February 16th @ 1pm EST // 10am PST, and will include a Q&A session, and all registered attendees will receive a PDF handout of Best Practices for eBook Design.

Register today.

I just ordered the black one... looks pretty cool. There's a review on the silver one that says it works good with the Kindle. I'm also thinking that since it's only a 1/2" thin it might fit inside my Oberon cover... I'll let you guys know how well it works when I receive it... in the meantime would love to hear any reviews if anyone already has it. The prices seem to vary greatly, but so does the shipping. For instance, I paid $12.99 but got free shipping. Other stores sell it for under $10 but then add several dollars for shipping.

The reviewer on the black one also pointed out that Amazon sells a 25-pack of the Lithium batteries for $5...

Not Quite Kindle / Did anyone buy the Windows 7 family pack?
« on: February 11, 2010, 04:39:05 am »
The one that came with three licenses? If so, do you have an extra license you don't need? I'd like to buy it if so...

Not Quite Kindle / Today's WOOT deal - decent looking luggage for under $40
« on: February 10, 2010, 03:54:17 am »

If you don't know about Woot, they post a different deal every night at 10pm (Pacific Time). It's always $5 shipping whether it's a CD or an HDTV.

Archives / Everything sold - thanks all
« on: February 07, 2010, 03:38:32 pm »
I've added my black Kandle booklight to this deal to see if I can get rid of it all.

Love my Oberon so much, I can't bear to remove my K2 from it for even a little while to use it in the stand, and I obviously don't need the case anymore.

The iZel unfolds and can lay flat behind your Kindle inside the Belkin case. Quite handy for keeping them together.

<a href="" target="_blank"></a>

<a href="" target="_blank"></a>


When docked, it runs Windows 7 on a low-power Intel Core2Duo processor, when undocked runs a lightweight version of Linux on it's own ARM processor. Starts at a $1,000, supposed to be available 3rd quarter 2010.

Here are the specs, broken down into tablet and dock portions:


    * 1.6 pounds
    * 1GHz Snapdragon processor
    * 512MB DDR1 RAM
    * 16GB SSD


    * 3.8 pounds (with tablet attached)
    * Intel Core2 Duo U4100 processor
    * 4GB DDR3 RAM (max)
    * 128GB SSD

It also won C|Net's Best of CES Award (for Computers/Hardware).. their article is more recent then the above info and mentions that the base dock can still be used when undocked, with an external monitor attached... Cool!

Not Quite Kindle / Woot Off -- this time on kids.woot too
« on: January 26, 2010, 03:04:32 pm »
It's woot off time again!


For some reason I can never get the KB search to find threads I'm looking for... sorry for not reviving the old thread, I didn't want to page through the 80+ pages of Not Quite Kindle...

Not Quite Kindle / Firefox 3.6 and Personas
« on: January 26, 2010, 04:40:40 am »
So how many of you guys are using the new Firefox 3.6? Have you found a really good persona (theme) yet? They're really cool and easy to try out by just placing your mouse over the sample...

I'm using this one at the moment, it's kind of boring, but nice...

You can also make your own... I'm thinking about making a USC themed persona. Any interest in a KB-themed one? =)

Kindle Accessories / Poll: Oberon -- Corners or Velcro?
« on: January 26, 2010, 04:29:16 am »
So, I've finally decided to buy an Oberon after seeing this picture...

C L I C K  F O R  F U L L  S I Z E

I think I want to get the corners version since I also use an iZel bookstand to hold the Kindle upright while I'm reading at work, and I'd need to take the Kindle out for that purpose. I'm not sure if the velcro along the bottom would interfere with the iZel. The reason I started the poll was that I seem to see quite a few people who don't like the corners and I'm wondering why...

Video demonstrating corners design
<a href="" target="_blank"></a>

Video demonstrating velcro design
<a href="" target="_blank"></a>

All input is appreciated... thanks all!

Let's Talk Kindle! / Convert any website into a PDF for your Kindle
« on: January 15, 2010, 05:46:34 pm »;subj=news&amp;tag=2547-1_3-0-20

PDF enthusiasts have a new Web converter tool at their disposal with PDFmyURL, a simple, one-function site that converts any live Web site into a static PDF file--something handy for offline reading, long-term archiving, and sticking on PDF-friendly e-book readers like Amazon's Kindle. It can also be a lifesaver, if you're on a computer without PDF-making software that would otherwise enable you to "print" a PDF copy of your own.

In every way, PDFmyURL, which launched on Tuesday, is the exact opposite of one of our favorite PDF sites, PDFMeNot (currently down), which takes hosted PDF links and turns them into HTML-friendly Web pages--the big difference, of course, being that when PDFMeNot is done, you have a lean, mean Web page to tear through, whereas PDFmyURL leaves you with, well...a PDF. Not quite as sexy.

The tool does a phenomenal job at maintaining formatting, including correct font sizes and in-line images. Advanced users also have a number of tweaks they can add to the end of whichever URL they drop in that can change how the PDF is created, my favorite being the size of the paper on which you may intend to printing it. This let me turn the front door of CNET News into something that would fit on an 11x17-inch tabloid print. All this without any software required--except that is, to read the finished product.

The Book Corner / So, what are you reading (2010)?
« on: December 31, 2009, 10:47:33 pm »
Just finished:

Great story written in the late 80's about a team of commandos taking over a nuclear missile silo in the U.S. and attempting to start World War III. However, the apparent OCR scan they used to create the e-book was TERRIBLE!!! About 10 times in the book, God was COD, WWIII became WWHI, among numerous other errors. I asked for, and received, a refund from Amazon.

About to start:

Let's Talk Kindle! / Random House titles now available internationally
« on: December 28, 2009, 04:02:12 am »
Random House titles go international on Kindle

Until now, Random House English-language books were only available to Kindle customers living in the United States, but now Amazon has announced that they will be available across its international Kindle Stores.

The titles will be available in the Kindle Store for download in any area where Random House has the digital rights, such as the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. 

"Customers around the world will be thrilled to download bestselling English-language titles from Random House, such as Dan Brown's 'The Lost Symbol', all in less than 60 seconds", said Russ Grandinetti, vice president, Kindle Content.

Random House joins the likes of Atlantic Books, Bloomsbury, Canongate, Faber and Faber, Hachette, Harlequin, HarperCollins, Lonely Planet, Penguin, Profile Books, Quercus, Simon & Schuster and Wiley in international availability.


Henrico Medal of Honor recipient, 90, ordered to remove flagpole

Col. Van T. Barfoot, a local Medal of Honor recipient, is under the gun from his Henrico County community's homeowner association.

In a five-paragraph letter to Barfoot that he received yesterday, Barfoot is being ordered to remove a flagpole from his yard. The decorated veteran of three wars, now 90 years old, raises the American flag every morning on the pole, then lowers and folds the flag at dusk each day in a three-corner military fashion.

In a priority mail letter, the Coates & Davenport law firm in Richmond is ordering Barfoot to remove the pole by 5 p.m. Friday or face "legal action being brought to enforce the Covenants and Restrictions against you." The letter states that Barfoot will be subject to paying all legal fees and costs in any successful legal proceeding pursued by the homeowner association's board.

Barfoot's daughter said this evening that news reports about the association order have prompted an outpouring of sympathy and offers of help from people following her father's ordeal.

Tonight, the Sussex Square Homeowners Association issued a statement reiterating its position that Barfoot directly violated the association board's denial of his request to erect a flagpole.

"This is not about the American flag. This about a flagpole," the statement reads.

Barfoot lives in the Sussex Square community in far western Henrico; its board of directors rejected a plea from Barfoot in July to approve the pole, disallowing the fixture on aesthetic grounds.

There is no provision in the community's rules expressly forbidding flagpoles, Barfoot's daughter said. But she said the board ruled against her father's fixture and ordered it removed in July, deciding that free-standing flag poles are not aesthetically appropriate. Short flag stands attached to porches dot the community.

"Dad sort of feels like this is the end," said Margaret Nicholls, Barfoot's daughter, who lives a few doors away. But she said this morning that she and her husband are attempting to generate support for her father's cause, a flag-raising rite that he has undertaken for most of his life.

Barfoot received the Medal of Honor on the battlefield during World War II in Italy and fought as well in the Korean and Vietnam wars. A portion of a highway in rural Mississippi, his native state, was named in his honor this fall. A building at McGuire Veterans Hospital in Richmond also carries his name.

Barfoot began regularly flying the flag on Veteran's Day this year despite the Sussex Square board's decision.

He said in November that not flying the flag would be a sacrilege to him.

"There's never been a day in my life or a place I've lived in my life that you couldn't fly the American flag," he said.

For more on this story, see tomorrow's Richmond Times-Dispatch.

-- Bill McKelway

Let's Talk Kindle! / Really cool etched Kindles from Engadget
« on: December 02, 2009, 07:50:51 pm »

Here are just a few of the images, there are 15 in the gallery...

Let's Talk Kindle! / Amazon offering $100 off Kindle 2 or Kindle DX
« on: November 27, 2009, 10:45:44 pm »
Save $100 on AudibleReady Products and Accessories

Save $100 on any of these AudibleReady® products when you agree to join's AudibleListener® Gold plan for 12 months at $14.95/month. If the product or accessory that you choose is less than $100, you will receive the product for free. Click here to join the AudibleListener Gold program. See further details.

Here's the page with all of the products eligible for this discount.

The KBoards Photo Gallery / A cool use of space...
« on: November 09, 2009, 03:07:22 am »
...also why many of us bought a Kindle! =)

Turn your stairwell into a library!

Wal-Mart slashes DVD prices to $10, potentially spurring price war

In an unprecedented discounting move that could signal a price war that would benefit the major movie studios and cash-strapped consumers, Wal-Mart has slashed the price of a number of the upcoming DVDs of big-budget summer movies to $10 on its website.

That appears to be the lowest price ever offered by a major retailer on highly anticipated new releases, according to people at studios' home entertainment divisions. Among the films on sale for $10 are "Star Trek," "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian," "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" and "Terminator Salvation."

The big discounts are only for the top 10 pre-ordered movies on the site. Recently released hits like "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" and "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" cost $13.98 and up. In addition to the price cutting, is also offering free shipping on all of its DVDs.

A link on its website indicates that Target is moving to match Wal-Mart's discounting. There isn't yet any indication whether will follow as well.

The price cuts are good news for movie studios, because they will spur demand in a year during which DVD sales are down more than 13% thus far. The wholesale price paid by Wal-Mart and its competitors remains unchanged at about $18, meaning studios will make the same profit on each disc.

It's normal for retailers like Wal-Mart to price DVDs below their wholesale cost at physical locations and online to draw customers who often spend more money on other items.

The deepest discounts usually go to about $14, however. $10 marks a big loss that Wal-Mart and Target will be taking on each movie, especially with free shipping.

The move comes as and are in the midst of a book price war that has seen the price of some new-release hardcovers fall as low as $9. If Wal-Mart's discounting spurs a similar price war over movies, it could provide a significant boost to holiday movie sales and the studios' bottom lines.

-- Ben Fritz

Let's Talk Kindle! / Spring Design seeks injunction barring Nook sales
« on: November 02, 2009, 08:37:39 pm »

We knew something was up with the Spring Design Alex dual-screen ebook reader the instant we saw its hastily-prepared web site published the night before Barnes & Noble's Nook launch, and it appears that our hunch was right: Spring Design just filed a trade secret lawsuit against B&N, alleging that their designers showed the Alex to the bookseller's execs before the Nook was developed. According to Spring Design, the two companies had been in contact with each other over ereader designs since the beginning of the year, with various executives exchanging calls, meetings and product details under NDA -- which would certainly explain why there are suddenly two Android-based ereaders on the market with dual electronic ink and capacitive LCD touchscreen displays. Definitely suspicious, but we'd also note that the Nook and Alex actually work quite differently: users browse the web on the Alex's touchscreen and then "print" the content they want to read to the electronic ink display, while the Nook doesn't have a browser and the touchscreen is only used for navigation, not content. We're digging for as much info as we can, and we'll hit you with more info as soon as we get it -- stay tuned.

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