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Free e-book!

TroubledSouls006

Yesterday I started writing “With this ring”, my new romance novella and the last e-book I’m intending to publish for a while. To celebrate, I’m giving away “Troubled Souls”, my collection of short fiction from the male perspective, for a week starting on the 3rd Feb (Monday!)

Find it at Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/17RZzOH
amazon.ca: http://amzn.to/11dk92A
and Amazon.co.uk: http://amzn.to/14bcozq

Still alive…..

I’ve seen a few headlines in the last couple of days about the potential return of the Black Death. If you’d asked me about that last week, I would’ve told you I was patient zero.

The terrible thing about sick leave is having all this time off work and being completely unable to enjoy it. I have several books remaining in my stack of romances that I thought I might read, and I also had some new Script Appraisals to work through. Unfortunately for me (and my customers) I wasn’t able to raise my head off the pillow for the whole of that first week. The doctor did examine me and confirm I’d had some kind of chest infection, but he was reluctant to administer antibiotics, instead giving me some nasal steroids. “A couple of weeks of that,” he said ” and you’ll be fifty percent better…” And have a terrifically muscular nose into the bargain….

So it’s only now, in my second week of leave, that I’m feeling up to sitting in front of the computer and catching up with my workload. Time’s ticking by, so I’m not going to go on with my reading. I’ve learned from the eight books that I’ve read that there is no magic formula. Romance novels are like any other novel, with the exception of the love story being central and irrevocable. The two romantic leads always end up together (something that doesn’t always happen in other novels).

Thanks to Mrs Dim sacrificing some of her time for work, I’ve been able to rest, and I may be able to start the actual writing this week. We have Tiniest Weasel’s birthday coming up, and there are preparations to be made for that, so I don’t have a lot of time, but I do have a story in mind.

I’ve also decided that, success or not, this will be my last e-book for a while. I think I’ve spent somewhere near two years publishing e-books, and while it’s been fun (and I won’t withdraw the books from sale) it’s proved that selling books is not my strongpoint. Writing the book is only the beginning – you need to package it well, and then you need to sell the book, and keep on selling it, over and over again. That’s not a process that happens by itself, even in this age of social media and mass-communication. The answer is not having a blog, or a certain number of Facebook friends, or reading a particular book. The marketing needs to be well thought out and continuous. Mine hasn’t been.

TLC have started the year with a video conference and agreed we have some ground to make up. Plans are being laid for two pantomimes and other projects have been raised as well. I’m sure there are some plays I can write if I try hard enough, too, and those already have an outlet in the form of Lazy Bee Scripts.

Almost time to try being a playwright again.

The January Lazy Bee Newsletter

I’m working on a new post, but in the meantime, Happy New Year! And here’s the latest news from my publisher, Lazy Bee Scripts:

Miscellaneous Musings

Receipts

When we were able to access the web site again after the January 4th interruption, we finally implemented the “receipts” function (under the Customer menu).  That means that you can get copies of receipts for past orders.  It also does an approximate currency conversion for customers in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Euro zone (particularly useful for teachers who have bought scripts by card and need to claim back from schools who are not familiar with the British Pound).
 

Stitched-up!

We’ve been selling custom-embroidered clothing for a couple of years, and now we’ve finally ordered our own with a stitched version of the Lazy Bee Scripts logo.  (We like it so much we’ve put a picture on the front page of the web site and more on the beewaxing blog.)
 

What’s in a name?

Occasionally authors make changes to scripts after we’ve published them.  We grizzle about this, but we do make changes.  In the case of Giles Black’s murder mystery A Legendary Death we thought it was rather important.  One of his characters is the host of a television archaeology show.  Giles found that he had accidentally used the name of the host of a television history show.  Given that this is a murder mystery, the character is less than wholesome, and we felt that his namesake might consider this libellous.
 

Break a leg?  Be careful what you wish for!

A few months ago, I went to see the opening of Terry Hammond’s black comedy Ten Rods, a show set on an allotment, littered with spades, forks and a wheelbarrow.  Terry popped in to the Lazy Bee Scripts office a couple of days ago to discuss his next projects, and, in passing, told me that during the fight scene, the actor playing Shadbolt, the villain, fell onto the wheelbarrow and cracked a rib.  (Terry had to take over the role for the remaining performances.)
 

What’s a performance?

From time to time, I get into discussions with customers who say “we’re not performing the show, we’re just doing a presentation to parents and friends”.  That’s a performance.  Any show performed in the presence of an audience (people who were not a directly involved in producing the show) other than members of the same class or workshop, counts as a performance for copyright purposes.  So, for example, if you invite an audience to watch your dress rehearsal, then that’s a performance.  For every performance, you need to obtain performance rights from the rights holder.  This is a general point, it applies to all (copyrighted) shows, not just to those licensed by Lazy Bee Scripts.
 

Making Changes

Another cautionary note with respect to copyright is the matter of making changes.  In theory, you cannot make any changes to a script without the permission of the copyright holder (usually the rights agent on behalf of the author).  Making changes without permission is a violation of the author’s copyright.
We take a practical view, and give blanket permission for some minor changes as part of our copyright notice.  (There’s a detailed explanation in the Help section of the web site.)  However, changes that affect plot, character or dialogue need the permission of the author.  If in doubt, ask!
Whilst we were in the process of granting permission for changes to Switched by Frances A Lewis for use in the Scottish Community Drama Association one-act play festivals, David from Carbost Village Drama Group (who used to be David from Selbourne Players) pointed out that last year one group was disqualified from the SCDA finals because they had altered a script and did not have written permission from the rights holder.
 

First Spanish Script

Most of our scripts are written in a recognisable form of English.  However, we have made forays into Latin, French, German and Afrikaans.  We’ve now ventured into Spanish – see below for more about Entre las Lineas.

And now on to the new material which, of course, can be found via the Lazy Bee Scripts web site (from the home page, “What’s New” is a good place to start.)

 

Musicals

  • The Frinton Fryer by Jim Pinnock is really a one-act play, but there are several solo songs that are integral to the piece, hence the musical classification.  Brenda is going for the ‘Silver Star Show’ audition, but Doris thinks she should try a more modern look, name, and song.  Her singing has surprising consequences for her workplace – a Fish ‘n’ Chip shop!
  • We have billed Luke Reilly’s version of Rapunzel as our Version 2.  It’s a full-length family show (rather than a full-blown pantomime treatment).  The original story is embellished, notably with a villain in the form of the evil Dr Grimm.
  • The Spanish script, mentioned above, is Entre las Líneas by Sofía Kin & Pilar Muerza with music by Erica Glenn.  Comedia musical para los niños en un Acto. It’s a translation of Erica Glenn’s ‘Between the Lines’, originally created for a production in Argentina.
  • Richard Cowling’s Zechariah And Elizabeth is a one-act musical based on the story from the first chapter of Luke’s gospel.
  • Working Man by Peter Nuttall was inspired by the paintings of Alexander Millar, set on Tyneside in the heyday of the shipyards.  In addition to backing and vocal CDs, we offer a CD of images of Millar’s paintings, licensed by his publisher, for projection during each scene.  (There’s an example on the script page – well worth a look.)

 

Plays With Music – in this case, all for Children

  • The Alphabet Trip by Sherrill S Cannon does what you’d expect – it takes a trip through every letter of the alphabet in a rhyming script punctuated by (suggested) songs.  Aimed at very young children and very flexible presentation (in principle, 26 characters – for the obvious reason – but they can be shared out in many ways).
  • Debbie Chalmers takes slightly older actors into science fiction territory with A Cloud In Space, a full-length fantasy space adventure for a cast of 20.  (Again, the songs are suggested rather than supplied.)
  • Looking for the Rainbow by Philip Bird (music Isabelle Michalakis) is a fantastical adventure about the meeting of two groups of children living on opposite sides of a mountain.

 

Kids Plays

  • Aliens is a collection of seven short plays for youth theatre by 10 x 10 Writers.  We announced publication of three of the individual plays in our previous newsletter.  Since then, we’ve completed the collection (so you can buy the whole set at a discount) and published the remaining individual scripts.  These are The Landing Party, by Karen Fitzsimmons, Activity Day – Inclusive of Aliens by Dian Donovan, Aliens v Aliens by Sarah Reilly and Tales from the Seventh Galaxy by Mike Plumbley.
  • Nicholas Richards has adapted the Pardoner’s Tale from the Canterbury Tales into a short rhyming play, Hunting Death
  • We’re into a strange dystopia for The Nobodies by Jon Boustead, a twenty-minute play for junior school children.  A place where there are no stories, no reading and no dreaming.
  • Paul Roostercroft – that’s not his name, but his actual name gets his e-mails consigned to my spam folder, so I’m trying to avoid that possibility here – has written Not Another Nativity, a play set in the rehearsals for a more conventional nativity play, and giving the subject a refreshing new slant.  (Written for a cast of 26.)
  • Missing by Sue Bevan is a gritty small-cast one act play for youth theatre, in which Tom has run away from home.
  • Deanna Alisa Ableser also takes us into the world of the homeless (this time with a US setting) for StreetBox, a one act drama.
  • Josh’s Wall is a thought-provoking short play by Ian Elmslie (aimed at GCSE-level students, a comment which will tell you that it’s set in England).  Three boys meet up on Christmas Day to discuss the recent death of their friend.
  • Jeremy Tyburn’s Rhyming Macbeth was originally written as a Reader’s Theatre piece (as an educational introduction to Shakespeare’s play) – on the grounds that the writer wondered whether such a short telling of Shakespeare’s story could be staged.  (It could, but it runs at quite a pace.)
  • For younger children, there’s A Too Naughty Cinderella, by Olivia Arieti.  A short telling of the tale, and not quite the Cinderella we are used to, as this one is so petulant and shallow that her Fairy Godmother has disowned her.

 

Pantomimes

  • Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (our Version 2 of the story) by Julie Petrucci and Chris Shinn comes complete with a camel called Carmel.  A full action show with a ‘modern take’.
  • Dawn Cairns offers two tales for the price of one in Aladdin and Alisha Baba.  We have all the expected pantomime ingredients, plus differences – including two Dames as the mothers of Aladdin and Alisha Baba, as well as Gordon the camp genie, who helps thwart the evil Abanaza, and Mustafa with his four thieves.
  • There are two new pantos from Luke Reilly.  The first is a very modern Puss in Boots (Version 5 in our canon), the second is A Postmodern Pantomime (going beyond the normal panto convention of breaking the fourth wall and into explorations of the boundaries between story, play, characters, cast and audience.)
  • Our next new version of Puss in Boots (our Version 6) comes from Bob Heather, and takes a much more traditional, family audience, approach to the tale of the magical cat who comes to the aid of the poor Miller’s son.
  • Jillian Riches and Lesley Penketh also take a traditional pantomime subject, but give it a twist to create Snow White and the Eccleston Seven where the dwarves are replaced by an Irish gang of rogues.
  • Venturing onto new ground, Matthew Harper brings us Figaro – The Pantomime.  Like the rest of the new pantos listed here, it’s a full-length show for a large cast, but with a very definite renaissance Spanish setting (give or take a guest appearance from Tesco.)

 

Full-Length Plays

  • For Life Imitating Art, Joan Greening takes us to an art gallery, where Dorothy surprises Pete by mistaking him for her tour guide, an experience that ends up enriching them both.  (A cast of 1M, 1F)
  • Frances A.  Lewis has written two one-act plays, Switched and AKA Charlie (of which more below) with (largely) the same characters.  Whilst they function independently, they are also available (at a discount) as a full-length play, Between Appointments (4M, 4F and optionally two others).
  • How do we describe Chicks and Dogs by Clive Renton?  We’ve got it listed as a full-length comedy drama, with bawdy overtones.  Clashes of views, personality and experience – and, indeed, costume. (3M, 3F)
  • Hilary Mackelden presents The Snow Queen (listed as our Version 4) as a family show, rather than the pantomime treatments we have elsewhere.  A new look at the Hans Christian Andersen tale, with 40 roles, but playable by a cast of 28.
  • The Killing Of Richard by Roger Mathewson is set during the casting of Richard III, a process that begins to mirror Shakespeare’s play.  (6M, 3F)

 

One-Act Plays

  • The Melting Sands by Jim Pinnock is a thriller set in a beach house.  Tables are turned as two seemingly innocent and unconnected women seek revenge.  (4M, 3F)
  • Karen Ankers offers us the rather odd mixture of Red Wine And Ice Cream in a powerful, serious play with a simple single set.  Louise is having a lousy night out, she’s abandoned by her date, and now who’s this in the alley behind the theatre?  (2M, 1F)
  • Fancy making an exhibition of yourself?  Try Joan Greening’s Museum Pieces a comedy in which the museum volunteers are dismayed by the prospect of closure and salvation arrives in a most surprising way.  (6F)
  • We’ve got a (non-matching) pair of new plays from Allan Williams in the form of The Last Visitor (for 2M, 1F, in which a retirement-home resident is surprised by a caller who seems to know a lot about him) and Gerald’s Bench (also for 2M, 1F, in which three visitors to a park are tangled in the same story).
  • As mentioned under full-length plays, Frances A Lewis’s new play AKA Charlie uses several characters from her previous Switched.  It also has the same set, split between a living room and a dentist’s surgery where Veronica has to cope with in her job as Dental Assistant and the arrival of her jailbird brother.  (4M, 3F)
  • We’ve published four new plays by Robin Wilson.  There’s Mrs Noah (1M, 3F) in which the building of the Ark is not helped by Noah’s less-than-understanding wife.  All Washed Up (2M, 2F) has the survivors of a plane crash stranded on a tiny island.  A Dummy Run (1M, 3F) is set in a doctor’s waiting room.  Finally, Alright On The Night? (3M, 4F) has a village hall drama group face a fraught dress rehearsal.
  • In Gentlemen Callers, Pam Mackenzie shows how the elderly Lavinia and her friends spend their afternoons.  (A comedy for 3M, 3F)
  • James P Brosnahan & Joseph S Kubu say It’s About Time, and indeed it is – two different times for the same person, and an exploration of choice.  (2M, 1F)
  • A Stitch In Time by Mark Green is also about time – and much more directly, since Alastair, inspired by his late father, is convinced that he has invented a time machine.  (2M, 2F)
  • The title of Dave Walklett’s Custom Shrunk comes from Measure for Measure, the play that his characters have just been performing in this back-stage drama of manipulation.  (3M, 2F)
  • I probably think too much about theatrical genres.  I see No Occasion To by David Weir as somewhere between a drama and a thriller.  Anyway, a play for a cast of 4M set in a bar where a planned celebration is confronted by a gatecrasher.
  • Bob Tucker presents two new plays.  The first, B & B, is a frantic farce, set in a small guest house whose acceptance of pets is challenged by some of the guests.  (5M, 5F)  The second is The Interview (for 2M, 3F and one either), taking an unusual modern view of a scene from David Copperfield.
  • British people of a certain age will be sent in the wrong direction by the title of Bill & Ben by Richard James.  In this case, the Ben in question is Ben Jonson, and he’s in prison on a murder charge, where he receives a visit from a fellow playwright.  As Richard put it, they do what playwrights do best – they bicker.  (2M)
  • Despite the title, the cast of David Pemberton’s An Indecent Exposure remain clothed throughout.  It’s a comedy drama or, just possibly, a surreal thriller!  (3M, 3F, plus 2 to four more)
  • Cell Mates by Mark Seaman takes place, as one would expect in a prison cell.  The question is what will young Terry learn from the resident old lag, the murderer George?  (3M)

 

Sketches, Skits and Short Plays

  • Lorraine Forrest-Turner seems to be making a bid for the longest title award with her sketch Bank Holiday Mondays and Other Ways to Kill a Marriage (a title that needs more explanation for people outside the British Isles than it is going to get!)  It’s one man and one woman and they’re stuck in a car.
  • Grandmother Rita is reminiscing about her life as she looks through her old photographs in Lynda Bray’s monologue A Thousand Words Speak A Picture
  • There are two new short pieces with religious overtones from Howard Lipson in the form of A Cautionary Tale (for a cast of 3M), retelling the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, and Utopian Rhapsody, with a meeting between Charles Dickens and Washington Irving (2M).

 

Interactive Murder Mysteries

  • In A Shotgun Wedding by Andrew Hull, the bride and groom have got as far as the reception before their first major argument.  The assmbled company don’t help, and, later, a shot rings out.  It’s up to the audience to find out whodunnit!  (Ten characters, of which at least 5M and 4F.)
  • Jos Biggs hints at motives from the start of her mystery The Hadleigh Hall Inheritance, but again, it’s up to the audience to sort the clues from the red herrings.  (Nine characters, of which at least 2M and 4F.)

 

Other Things

We are gradually adding to our range of recordings to go with the musical scripts.  In particular, we’re adding a number of vocal recordings (because some people learn songs more easily by singing along!)
As we do this, we’re also putting more recording samples on-line so that you can listen to a snippet before buying.

 

When they are not writing…

…  Some of our writers are writers.  That is to say, people who write plays also write other things – including criticism, blogs, poetry, magazine articles and shopping lists.  Some of them write books.  Recent publications include Bill Siviter’s The Dark Men of Biddulph Moor (summarising Bill’s summary, Dan Brown meets Staffordshire history), Eddie and the Kingdom by Damian Trasler (who seems to be concerned with zombies.  Aren’t we all?)  Julia Lee Dean has recently completed And I Shall Be Healed (about the First World War).  I have no idea what Jim Pinnock’s Sparrows With Vertigo is about.
Other novelists in our ranks include Nigel Holloway (whose sixth should be available soon), John Peel, whose output includes One Man And His Shed and Giles Scott, whose Hook and Peter Pan is a novel for children based on his script for the musical Hook and Peter Pan – How it All Began (which you can find on the Lazy Bee Scripts web site).
(There are many more, but the output is so large that I have lost track!)

 

That’s all for now, but as ever there will be more along soon. 
(Follow us on Twitter – @LazyBeeScripts – to receive updates whenever we publish new scripts.)

The Books of December and the year’s roundup

December is almost over, so I’m publishing the last of my monthly book reviews and totting up how many books got read this year. I won’t be doing this again next year, as I have other projects lined up, but it’s been fun for me to do. What was YOUR book of the year?

Let’s start with the few books of December – the Festive Season meant travel to relatives, and that reduced the reading time (which is a fair trade, to be honest!)

Hard Contact – Karen Traviss

I’ve read all of the clone commandos series by Karen Traviss, and despite her definite anti-Jedi stance, I like them. This is my attempt to make sure I read the whole series in order.

Miss Buncle’s Book – D.E.Stephenson

I picked this from the paperback section of the library, assuming it to be a modern book written in a classic style. The story is light and fun, with the eponymous Miss Buncle writing a book to earn some money when things get tight. An unimaginative lady, she writes honestly about the people she sees around her in the village where she lives, and when the book is published the outraged villagers are out for the blood of the author “John Smith”. I was amazed to discover this book was actually written in 1934.

Death Comes to Pemberley – P.D.James

Reading the book in advance of seeing the tv show, I was pleasantly surprised by the authentic voice of the author. I read “Pride and Prejudice” not too long ago, and thought the writing elegant but still engaging and PD James has done a creditable imitation while bringing her own expertise in matters of murder mystery to bear. Captain Denny has been killed in the grounds of Pemberley, and the dastardly Wickham has been found with bloodstained hands, crouching over the body, Can his guilt be in doubt? How should Darcy proceed? A worthwhile murder mystery, even without the Austen angle.

Hellgoing – Lynn Coady

It’s easy to see how this collection of short stories won a significant award. They’re tight, well written tales that draw the reader in, but stop before the story reaches a resolution. At first I was angry that each tales cut short, but then I realised the genius of it – providing the ending  brings out the differences in readers. Some want an upbeat ending, some a realistic outcome. Few will agree with the writer’s view. By leaving the ending to the reader’s imagination, all are satisfied. Not a trick you can play twice, but the quality of the writing and characterisation proves this author knows her craft.

The Reading Year Roundup:

November

Books read – 16

Favourite book: The 100 Year old man who climbed out of the window

October

Books read – 16

Favourite book: The Purloined number

September

Books read – 8

Favourite book: How to tame an out of control writing project in 20 steps

August

Books read – 11

Favourite book: The Android’s Dream – John Scalzi

July

Books read – 14

Favourite book: Joyland – Stephen King

June

Books read – 9

Favourite book: Warm Bodies – Isaac Marion

May

Books read – 13

Favourite book: Revenge of the Vinyl Cafe – Stuart Maclean

April

Books read – 11

Favourite book: Shada - Gareth Roberts

March

Books read – 11

Favourite book: Zombies V Unicorns

February

Books read – 7

Favourite book: The Ghost Brigades – John Scalzi

January

Books read – 10

Favourite book: I shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett

GRAND TOTAL: 131 books read.

Neil Gaiman on libraries, reading, and daydreaming

Damian Trasler:

This is (I think) my first ever reblog. I always enjoy Morgan’s posts, and anything Neil Gaiman says is worth listening to, but when this includes talking about the value of LIBRARIES….I”M IN!

Originally posted on The First Gates:

Neil Gaiman, 2007, CC-BY-SA 2.0

Neil Gaiman, 2007, CC-BY-SA 2.0

Neil Gaiman visited China in 2007 for the first ever, party-approved, Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention.  He asked a top official what had changed; in the past, these genres had been disparaged.  The official said his government had realized they were good at making other people’s inventions, but they didn’t invent or imagine new things themselves.

“So they sent a delegation to the US, to Apple, to Microsoft, to Google,” Gaiman explained, “and they asked the people there who were inventing the future about themselves. And they found that all of them had read science fiction when they were boys or girls.”

Gaiman told this story while giving the 2013 Reading Agency annual lecture on the future of reading and libraries.  The Reading Agency is a British charity that supports libraries and literacy programs, with the mission of giving everyone “an equal chance in life…

View original 417 more words

The Book Before Christmas

WP_001457‘Twas the night before Christmas
and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring,
Not even a mouse.
They were slumped in the lounge, all watching tv
Some crazy show claiming to be “Reality”
Then a child sneaked a present from under the tree
She ripped off the wrapping with undisguised glee.
Her face fell and she sucked in her breath with a hiss,
She turned to her parents and said “What is THIS?”
They turned from the TV as one just to look:
She held out towards them a beautiful book.
“It’s a book.” said her Dad, “Who on Earth gave you that?”
“I thought Santa would bring you a scarf and a hat…”
“It says it’s from Granny.” said the girl with a frown.
“She always gives presents that let people down.
But what does it DO? Does it play tunes or shows?
I can’t even see where the power lead goes.
There isn’t a screen or some buttons to press.
I can’t think of anything I wanted less.”
Her mother was smiling, her thoughts in a whirl.
“It’s the same book that I had when I was a girl!”
She took the book with trembling hand
And stroked the title “Storyland”
She flipped the pages, smiling wide,
Rediscovered the pictures bright , inside.
“Dad,” she said, not turning round,
“Would you turn off the tv sound?”
When silence fell, but for clock’s chime
She smiled and started “Once upon a time…”
While the TV showed silent, unwatched car chases
They travelled together to distant places.
They escaped the press of the digital age
And lost themselves in words on a page.
And though the book took them far, far away,
They were all home in bed before Christmas Day.
Technology’s great, though it moves on so fast
And tablets and iPods don’t seem built to last.
But consider this Christmas the books that you’ve read
Till the pages were tattered and the words in your head
So familiar to you, you need barely look.
Then give someone you love the gift of a book.

How I learned to love my Kindle Fire again.

I’m well aware that this entire post could be filed under “First World Problems”. There are more important, tragic and sinister things happening in the world than my struggles with my tablet. For more news on that and, more importantly, how you can HELP, visit The Red Cross Website

My Fire was featured on the cover of my first e-book, "Coffee Time Tales" (Now re-covered)

My Fire was featured on the cover of my first e-book, “Coffee Time Tales” (Now re-covered)

I’m not usually an Early Adopter. My family has a bad history with technology, and it’s not safe for me to get the latest gadget until it’s become the household staple for everyone else. However, a couple of years ago, I asked for a Kindle Fire for Christmas.

I didn’t have much need for a tablet (I’m still not sure there is a NEED for tablets at all – they’re essentially fun devices, not work tools) but I had recently added the Kindle app to my phone and was enjoying it. How much better would it be on a bigger screen? The Fire came with the ability to play videos and music too, and access the web, plus there were all the apps and games it promised. This would be better than a regular Kindle, and cheaper than an iPad.

But at that time, you couldn’t buy one in Canada. Lucky for me, my Sister-in-Law lives in the US, and I got my Fire for Christmas. It had all my kindle books waiting for me, and it did access the internet and play videos and movies… But there were some things it couldn’t do. Or rather, it WOULDN’T.

A small selection of the movies and shows I can't purchase...

A small selection of the movies and shows I can’t purchase…

Because I wasn’t in the US, and didn’t have a US billing address, I couldn’t access the “Purchase tv shows and films” part of the Kindle. I couldn’t buy music from the online store. I couldn’t buy apps from the Amazon appstore. I could access third-party apps, but the sites offering these seemed dodgy, and more than one arrived along with a virus warning or something equally shady. I couldn’t go to the Google Play store, because you need to install the Play App, and that comes from the Amazon appstore which I couldn’t use…

"Tribute" looks nice on the Kindle bookshelf, and you can just see "The Great Canadian Adventure" behind it.

“Tribute” looks nice on the Kindle bookshelf, and you can just see “The Great Canadian Adventure” behind it.

None of this stopped my buying new ebooks (including my own!). I used the web on the kindle and took it on holidays as an additional entertainment centre with the pre-loaded movies and songs. I had audio books on it. But time and again I tried to find solutions to the locked areas of the Kindle – could I root it? No, I’m not tech-savvy enough. Could I get a US credit card billing address? No, that sounds too much like fraud. All I could do was wait for the day when Amazon decided Canada warranted an appstore of its own.

When that day came, I eagerly visited the appstore and purchased a few things I had been missing. Angry Birds, Netflix, the important things in life…. But although I got confirmation that I had bought them, and it said they were delivered, they did not appear on my Kindle Fire. I had no idea why.

Eventually, I had enough and risked hitting the “Factory reset” button. I wasn’t sure if this would help, but my various attempts to delete and re-install the Amazon Appstore app had caused all kinds of trouble. Miraculously, it DID work. When I rebooted the Fire after the reset, all the apps I had purchased were available for me to install. I still couldn’t use the appstore app, nor could I buy music or video from the dedicated stores (They’re still the US ones, still require a US billing address, and I can’t find a way to change that), but I could visit the appstore online using the web browser and purchase anything I liked.

It feels like my Fire has got a new lease of life. Though I haven’t gone nuts in the appstore, I’m sure I’ll find some apps that will add to my experience and help me in my work – maybe something for adding notes to pdfs for my script reading. I don’t regret the years without the extra access – I read many, many great books on the Fire, and enjoyed the movies, music and audio books I put on there. It’s been a useful addition to the household tech – but I’m glad it can do more now.

You can download the Kindle app for your PC or phone from HERE and you can find my Amazon author page with all my e-books HERE