I Promise You Won't Learn A Thing From This Blog

The official blog for author Ashley Chappell. Check back every week for a few laughs at my expense or, if you know the love-hate process that is writing, commiseration.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

And The Winner Is....

Well, well, well, after some technology surprises, fails, and slight misdemeanors, my first giveaway is officially at an end! I've had the chance to meet so many new people during this swag event and I've even gotten to know where the pitfalls are in using the internet for things like this. We have so many devices and so many different browsers with which we access webpages now and they all have their own little quirks; some of them are more set in their ways than a little old lady of 110 years. Some blocked the comment form, but let folks email me, some blocked emails and let folks comment or follow me, and some couldn't get to me at all through Blogger and sought me out through Facebook. Next time, I’m going to go even simpler and do it through Facebook – anyone who leaves a comment gets an entry! J

Drum roll, please

And now for the moment you've all been waiting for...
Congrats to the following ladies for being the winners of my first giveaway: 
Diane Carlisle, Shanna Hartwell, and Aubrey Oberlander!

I'll be getting with each of you so I can ship your packages, but in the meantime, go buy a lotto ticket because today is your lucky day! :-)

Monday, October 15, 2012

EXTENDED - Swag Time!!!

Just look at all those goodies!
Due to late interest and a quirk in Blogger that's keeping some folks from commenting, I'm going to extend for 24 hours! NEW DEADLINE: 7:00 PM Wednesday, 11/17. Winners will be announced by 6:00 PM on Thursday. Good luck, everyone!

It's time for me to start giving stuff away! I thought about some different ways of doing this particular giveaway (there will be more down the road), and came up with some pretty creative ideas involving everything from trivia to Twister. Then I decided it might be best to not scare off my readers before I even have any. "Simplify," said Thoreau, and if anybody can be simple it's me, gosh darn it.

The Goods

I'll be choosing 3 random winners per the rules below to win a package with a lovely linen tote, a marvelous mouse pad, and a boss bookmark. Keep in mind I can ship only within the Continental U.S..

The Rules

So, you feel like winning something? (Auburn Tiger fans pay special attention: This might be the only other thing you win all year :-)) As promised, I'm keeping it simple. Follow all three steps listed here and the beautiful gifts in the picture can be yours!
  1. Comment on this post. That's a toughie, isn't it? 
  2. Follow the blog. If you're already among my followers, then you've not only joined my list of favorite people, you've also saved yourself a step. If not, simply use the handy-dandy gadget on the right side of this blog (The "Join this Site" with Google Friend Connect button).
  3. Last but not least: Email me here to let me know you've entered. Don't worry, I won't sell your email address to annoying salesmen, government spies, stalkers, or anyone else for that matter. I'll simply use that email address to contact the winners for their postal addresses.
The entries begin at the time of this posting and continue until 7 PM CST on Tuesday, October 16th  Wednesday, October 17th (tomorrow, tomorrow, and tomorrow).  I'll announce the winners here on Wednesday Thursday, so check back soon and good luck to everyone!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Girl Gone Wild... for Tech.

An era has just ended. No one else likely noticed it because it was such a small era, but it was an era that was all mine and I will miss it even if no one else cares. What I’m mourning is the longstanding era of Low-Tech Ash. Until recently, I've considered myself a born again Neo-Luddite, but I just took another giant step toward Neo- and away from –Luddite.

I like to think that I’m an open-minded person, so my technology aversion hasn't been out of obstinacy even though I can be hard headed over just about everything else. More than anything, it’s been due to the fact that it seems like 90% of the new gadgets are aimed at entertainment and distraction. And god knows I get distracted enough without the extra help (Oooh, shiny!). This is the same reason why I canceled cable and have to ration Netflix to myself. Passive entertainment is my writing kryptonite; if not for all of the hours I've spent playing games and watching Big Bang Theory (non-stop, seasons 1-5) I might be 5 books deeper into the Aevum franchise by now.

Dragonfly Case
The best part about my iPhone? 
My new dragonfly case!
So the last thing a person as easily distracted as I am needed was an iPhone, right? That’s what I've been telling myself every time I had to get a new phone and with smartphones dominating more of the market every year, it was getting harder and harder to find a plain-Jane (apologies to anyone named Jane) low-feature phone without a data plan. And I guess all of this is my long-winded way of admitting that Yes, I finally caved and bought an iPhone. And what’s worse? I’m in love with it and I’m wondering how I ever communicated before Siri.

Don’t think I jumped in all at once, however. I took baby steps toward an app-driven life, starting with the purchase of my Nook Tablet in February. As a writer, I've rebelled against the eReaders for years; I wanted to have a book, a REAL book, in my hands when I read with pages that turn and can be dog-eared to my place and that show the wear and tear that is the love you have for them when you read them over and over again until the binding breaks down. Not to mention the lovely smell they get after years of reading that is somewhat reminiscent of stale milk and nursing home. I mean, really, why would anyone want to give that up all of that nostalgia and authenticity? When I got the Nook I promised myself it was just going to be for convenience when travelling and to help make sure I didn't just completely let the stream of new tech pass me by. Of course, in my luddite snobbery I was also thinking I should be more familiar what I was rejecting so I could be armed with appropriately snarky responses to everyone else who couldn't survive without their iPhones and iPads (Note: Never miss a chance to prepare snark in advance).

The next thing I knew, I was reading almost exclusively on the Nook and I’d spent WAAAAAY more than I’d intended on eBooks. It turns out that my frequent headaches that were due to eye strain (every book lover knows how hard it is to get the pages in just the right light) disappeared almost instantly when I switched to the eReader and the neck aches I’d always gotten when I read were absent when I read on the Nook. Long story short: lesson learned. I put my snark and snobbery aside and admitted that hey, here’s a piece of new technology that actually HAS improved my life in unexpected ways. Even if it did put a dent in my bank account due to the new ease with which I could purchase books. 

So I guess it’s safe to say that the Nook was my gateway tech. Shortly thereafter I discovered that not all apps were the evil time-wasters I’d branded them and now some of them have even changed the way I work and increased my productivity. Evernote, for instance, has virtually replaced my much-loved leather journal for organizing my thoughts on writing projects, and Dropbox has changed the way I store and access my writing. I’m no longer dependent on remembering to back up to my memory stick and constantly trying to remember which version on the 3 machines on which I work is the latest.

This time when my phone contract was up and it was time to upgrade, my next step finally felt more natural and less like a betrayal of my anti-tech nature. It was time for the (insert dramatic music) iPhone 4S. I didn't play with it much during the first couple of days I had it; I felt the same about it as a dieter would have about a box of truffles that showed up on her doorstep. Oh, maybe just one little caramel app for now. And how about this little app here? It’s nougat, it really doesn't count anyway.  And the more I sampled little tastes of what the phone had to offer, the more my iTunes budget looked much like that box of chocolates after a short period of restrained self-denial: Empty.

But the convenience! What did I ever do before without mobile banking? Without Sound Hound to tell me what awesome song is playing at the restaurant AND give me the lyrics? Without Pepperplate to create a grocery list for me based on what recipe I want to cook? Without AllTrails to plan my next back-packing trip? Without Smug Mug to make all of my pictures look like pro shots? And without Siri to type all of my messages for me, compile my playlists for me, book restaurant tables for me, AND keep up with all of the things I would otherwise forget?

And so it goes... While I’m still a DIY fiend, homesteader in training, and staunch reality TV hater, I’m now also an iPhone-toting, eBook reading, tech-flirting hipster chick.

(Is it still hip to say hip?)

Sent from my iPhone (Not really....)