I moved my blog

Please visit www.greggebrickman.com and click on blog.

Thank you.

Taking a break

I’m on a blogging break again. Due to changes with my job, I need to spend my available writing time working on my novels.

I’ll be back.

Thank you for your patience.


A Smashwords’ eBook Compared on Various iOS eReader Applications

Having tired of potential readers saying, “But, I only have a Nook, “ I decided to venture forth into the surprisingly friendly world of other eReader applications–as downloaded onto on my iPad Mini (iOS 6).

My entry into the world was through the back door.  Smashwords is an eBook converter-retailer-distributer.  After the carefully formatted (which took me two days!–I have a learning curve.) word document is uploaded, Smashwords’ Meatgrinder Conversion System software spits out formats for Online Reading (HTML), “.mobi for Kindle and Kindle apps, Epub for Apple iPad/iBooks, Nook, Sony Reader, Kobo, and , most e-reading apps including Stanza”–which is where I’ll stop–PDF, LRF (old Sony Readers), Palm Doc, and Plain Text.  The 103 page PDF Style Guide specifies that the formatting needs to be verified.  I didn’t download the Adobe ePub viewer software on my MAC because I choose to not override the security block for App-Store downloads.  TMI.  So I downloaded additional eReaders.

Going through the Style Guide explained several things I’ve noticed in eBooks over my years of reading them.  For example, I’m accustomed to new chapters starting on a new page.  I’ve been surprised a couple of time by iBooks titles that have a blank page after each chapter.  Now I know why.  The style guide recommends–in big print–taking out all page and section breaks to eliminate inadvertent blank pages and using a three return chapter break instead.  There are no new-page chapter starts, also no funny blank pages.

Just a side note.  Way back when, I blogged about eReader features on one of the old iOS operating systems.  My brief review tells me that the playing field is more level now, except of course for Kindle, which looks to me like the only way to access the grandmama of all eBook stores, Amazon.

I got 61 hits at the App Store for eReaders, 47 for eBook readers, and 47 for Kindle.  Lots of choices.  These were mine.


I downloaded my newly formatted Illegally Dead in the following formats and scoped them out.  All readers turn pages with a tap or a swipe, and all offer a suitable reading experience, but some are more functional than others.  In all cases, font selection and lighting work.  The uploaded source document (.doc works, .docx doesn’t work) is single spaced with paragraph indents, functional external and internal links, consistent centering, no page breaks, and no font variations beyond size, bold, and italics.

Kindle:  (My original Kindle Edition stays active and for sale.)  Comparing the Smashwords’ Edition to my Kindle Edition as formatted by Amazon; the Amazon one accommodates paper book style layouts with chapters starting with new pages, and all the expected page breaks and style variations remain intact.  In the Smashwords for Kindle version, there are three blank lines between sections allowing for free-flowing text.  The paragraph formatting is intact.  All my hyperlinks work.  External links open webpages and allow a seamless return to reading, and internal links connect to appropriate targets.  Some of the centering is gone.

iBooks:  The iBooks edition opens to the cover.  It is a bit cumbersome to get back to the front matter with a finger swipe.  The paragraph structure is intact.  All the links work, however external links remove the reader from the application.  Centering appears intact.  The table of contents works as do the features for font selection and book marks.  (I think it looks good. It will be interesting to see if Apple does as well and accepts it into their bookstore.)

Nook:  Again, the eBook opens to the cover.  The paragraph structure has been converted to double-spaced with a space between paragraphs, though the indents held.  The centering, for the most part, is gone.  Internal links are functional for the TOC, but external links do not work.  I compared it to my original upload of Illegally Dead-Nook Edition, and find it to be essentially the same.  I also opened a publisher’s ebook and found it to have similar issues.  Interesting to note is that the Smashwords’ version is not in the Nook library as a book but appears under All Items and My Files.

Stanza:  The Stanza version was more difficult to download, but I was successful when I signed into Smashwords through the Stanza application.  Then the download was smooth and efficient.  None of the links work.  The TOC is non-functional.  The centering of text is gone, and the paragraphs have been converted to block style with an extra line between.  It looks like about 1.5 spaces, or perhaps a generous single space.

Overdrive:  This is most commonly a library application, I believe, but the download was successful onto the iPad.  It opens to the cover.  The centering is intact.  Text is double spaced, and paragraphs are indented.  TOC links do not work, however the return to TOC links in the chapter titles work just fine.  Go figure.  External links are functional but kick the reader out of the application.

Kobo:  The download was clean, and I did not have to create a kobo account.  An interesting feature of Kobo is that the reader can select Kobo Styling, which is double spaced, or not, which returned the text to the original single space layout.  There are also options about page turning style, which are functional.  External links open within the application and give the option to open in Safari.  Centering and layout are intact.   Internal links are functional, as is the table of contents.

Sony:  The download was clean and fast.  The centering, formatting, line spacing, and indents are all intact.  The single-spaced TOC is hard to use, but the Contents within the app work well.  External and internal links are functional.  The external links open within the app, making the return to the reader seamless.

None of the readers automatically synced my iPad downloads to my iPhone.  Obviously, that would have to be done manually, which isn’t a problem with Smashwords since once purchased the buyer has unlimited downloads in all formats.  I haven’t checked, but I suspect the last page read syncs won’t work either.

I’d love to hear your additions or corrections to the above.  Post to comments.


Hero Worship

I’m sitting here being the good wife while my husband watches the Superbowl.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t intend to watch it.  I’m just fixin’ to be supportive and see a few cute commercials.

A conversation started the other day with the mention of the most recent husband-father sports hero cheating episode.  When I heard the news report about it last week, my thought was, Oh no, not him, too.  I suppose I’m naive and should be glad that at least he is supporting the child.  What I really believe is he should have supported his wife and kept things buttoned up–not the new media, his pants.

Once again, I’m astounded by the inability of adult men to put limits on their own sexual behavior.  My father-in-law (he’s almost 97, so he harbors a few dated opinions) thinks that the MAN isn’t to blame.  After all, what can he do when IT is offered to him.  If it is true that money and power make a man irresistible to certain women, then perhaps it’s time the men took the responsibility for setting limits.

Along those lines.  Don’t these women realize that if the man is cheating with her, he will cheat on her.  Cheating leopards, sports heroes, politicians, and superstars don’t change their spots, just their partners and locations.

Today I’m talking about athletes.  I’m concerned that our society makes heroes out of athletes that should be admired for their athletic prowess and perhaps treated as outcasts for their personal morals and outlandish behavior.  They may claim that it isn’t their responsibility to be any more than human.  Perhaps not.  Let’s pay them accordingly.

My friend told me his sons are big fans of the star players on the Miami Heat.  They have posters in their bedroom and named jerseys.  He is wondering about when to have the discussion that being a good athlete does not necessarily equal being a good person, one that’s worthy of hero worship.

Tonight they are making a big deal about Ray Lewis.  Google him.  He’s quite a hero.

Later.  GEB

Puzzling Politics and the Consequences We Face

Last week I got an email from the school telling me my social security taxes increased two percent, which, according to the information, could result in a reduction in my take home pay.

A couple of years ago the Florida Legislature (and Governor Scott) decided that state workers in the Florida Retirement System needed to pay for more of their retirement.  Net cost:  A three percent salary take home pay reduction… that was after about three years of no cost of living or other adjustments because of union and board conflicts at my school.  The Florida Supreme Court just upheld the right of the legislature to retain the three percent levy on worker’s salaries.

I’m glad the politicians and bureaucrats are looking out for my middle class standard of living.  I don’t mean to whine, but I’m just sayin‘.


On April 21, 2011, I blogged about my Sensible-Moderate party idea–S&M for short.

To save scrolling through to find the post, I contended  that the objectives of every elective official appear to be:

  1. Impose my agenda and my way of thinking and get reelected.
  2. Support the most extreme position on my party’s platform and get reelected.
  3. Do my best to discredit the other guy and get reelected.
  4. Impose my moral choices on everyone else and get reelected.

I didn’t see anything during the recent election campaigns to dissuade me from my cynical opinions, nor did I see much of anything that smacks of moderate, rationale behavior by our elected officials.  Bah humbug.  I’d say vote the bastards out except that happened and the tea party obstructionists appeared.


I also have trouble understanding why anyone would vote for people who signed a pledge–in blood, no doubt–to vote a certain way.  Shouldn’t intelligent voters cast their precious votes for strong, independent, thoughtful, and wise candidates?

I recently caught a political commentator mid-comment.  The gist was that the Republican party of today does not resemble the party of yesterday.  As a genetic (cured) North Dakota born Republican, I can’t imagine my free-thinking father being associated with the current far-right philosophy.


Another thing I don’t understand is how putting more guns in schools will keep guns out of schools.  I did hear the NRA’s explanation that guns in the hands of the good guys is the only way to control guns in the hands of the bad ones.  Unfortunately, today’s good guy could slip a gasket tomorrow, or a bad guy could beg, borrow, or steal the the good guy’s legally acquired cache of fire power.

Perhaps we should interpret the right to own guns as one hunting rifle capable of firing a single, individually loaded shot–a bit like the state of technology when the original amendment was written.  It would be enough to honor the intent of the constitution and to protect yourself or, need be, kill some unsuspecting animal, but not enough to empty a classroom.

I’m not sure about the concept of reporting people likely to cause violence.  Wouldn’t we be asking mental health professionals to become fortune tellers.

There a movie a while back where people were eliminated because of their future crimes.  That would be an extension of the policy.

It gives me pause.

Comments anyone?  

More later. GEB

Outhouses and the Fiscal Cliff

The overwhelming response to my question about format was:  Return to the short comments about life (observations, politics, food, inconsistencies, and insanities).  That’s what I’m going to do.  I thank all several of you who took the time to express your opinions.


My father wrote a weekly column called Stuph-n-Junk, which is why that was the original title of my blog.  I received a couple of searing responses that were less than complimentary about the blog’s name.  Okay.  I get it.  Stuph means something different now than it did then–think North Dakota and the sixties.  Also–JUNK means something totally different now–or so I’ve been told. 🙂


We noticed our water bill rising and blamed the two commodes in the house that sometimes didn’t shut off.  So on January 2nd we called the plumber–the same company that installed and services our A/C.  The price to replace the guts on two toilets was $442.  When the plumber, straight faced, handed me the estimate, he didn’t even look embarrassed.

“Why so high?  That’s outrageous.  I’m not begrudging you a profit, but . . . “

“That’s the prices in the standardized rate book.”

“You said RAPE BOOK?”

“Ah, no ma’am.  You can buy a service contract and reduce the price by 15%.”

“If I buy the contract, I will actually have to pay $75 more today.”

You get the point.  Some questions and answers revealed the rates were not standardized with anyone but the company doing the work.

As we slipped over our own personal, post-holiday spending, fiscal cliff, I thought maybe an outhouse would do the trick and be much more economical.

About that time, I glanced at the television.  President Obama was talking about the federal Fiscal Cliff and imploring Congress to move forward.  Seemed appropriate.  Maybe they need an outhouse in Washington, D.C., too.  Or maybe they just need to rip a sheet from the standardized rape book.

More later.  GEB

At a crossroads. What do you think?

I’m at a bit of a crossroads with this blog.

Here’s the thing. I don’t get a lot of traffic with my book reviews, which I also post to Amazon and Goodreads. I’m considering returning to my early format, mainly comments about life, things to cook, and rants about things that get under my skin. I would then post links for the reviews to accommodate those readers who like to read them.

What do you think? What do you want me to write about?


In that vein, my husband and I went to South Beach (that’s south Miami Beach for those of you in the north) for dinner last night with Mark, our oldest kid, his wife Laurie, and her parents. The restaurant, Larios, belongs to Gloria Estefan, and serves upscale and traditional Cuban food.

As is my habit, I texted Laurie and asked what the dress code was for the evening. She said, “Cute-Casual.” Explaining that the last time she ate their, she wore a dress and sandals. My response was to ask if one can use Cute-Casual and over-sixty in the same sentence AND on South Beach.

I wore a white dress and sandals. Laurie said I qualified as Cute-Casual. Of course, she is a nice person and wouldn’t tell me otherwise.

So, do you think there is an age limit for Cute-Casual? And what does it look like to you anyway?


My newest title, IMPERFECT DADDY: A Sophia Burgess and Ray Stone Mystery (#2) is now available on Amazon for Kindle and in paperback from Amazon. I’ll be signing at Murder on the Beach in Delray, 273 Northeast 2nd Avenue Delray Beach, FL 33444 on February 1 at 7 p.m.GEB

I posted the following reviews today:

Crescent City by Belva Plain

Done Deal : A John Deal Novel by Les Standiford

Check them out on goodreads.

or Amazon