The action in Expiation plays out amid major news events reported by the main character, Dan. Writing for a San Francisco newspaper, Dan became involved in the Vietnam War protests taking place in Berkeley. In Seattle, thirty years later, he is reunited with the love of his life, Katie. The final days of the twentieth century have everyone wondering what will happen when the clock strikes midnight on January 1, 2000. Can Dan and Katie rekindle their love affair as a new century begins?
My Journey Into The E-Book World
I remember the days not long ago when one of my favorite pastimes was browsing the racks of music stores. I not only enjoyed the music but I loved the process of the hunt for new CDs.
Then the technology came along where I could load my CDs and burn my own CD mixes for playing in my car or on my portable CD player when I was running outside or on a treadmill. Wow, burning my own CDs — how could it get better than that?
I bought my first iPod which I could fit into the pocket of my running shorts which contained hundreds of songs. I then discovered iTunes and began downloading music. Then I reached one conclusion — I needed a bigger iPod. Now I had one small one to play music while I was working out and a bigger one to play in my car or home. All of my favorite music could fit in my shirt pocket.
I found that in the process of downloading music I discovered new bands and new types of music. The shelves were never empty at iTunes and the CD or song I was looking for was never out of stock.
Then I found there was really no point to browsing the music stores. My visits to places like Tower Records or the wonderful Music Millennium store in Portland, Oregon became less and less frequent.
Soon these record stores began disappearing. So did the CDs which lined the several shelves in my home. Why do I need CDs? I never just play a CD. If I wanted to hear an album by an artist I could just switch to the album mode on my iPod. I finally let go of the security blanket or having the CDs on the bookshelf at home. I had horded them like they were an endangered species that I must preserve for future generations.
Then I realized the folly of having stacks of CDs from the past that will never be played again.
When my second novel, Expiation, was published I got a call from my daughter who told me “I’ve been listening to Expiation as I drive to work and back each day.
“Really?” I didn’t remember anyone making an audio version of my novel. “How are you doing that?” I asked.
She informed me that she has Expiation loaded on her Kindle and uses the voice reading feature on her Kindle and listens to my book being read to her through the car stereo system.
Oh, yeah. Is it a female voice or male voice? She said she switched it to a male voice since Expiation is written in first person and narrated by the main male character.
I noticed Kindle sales of my books starting to show up on royalty statements from my publisher.
I attended the Los Angeles Festival of Books for a book signing and there was lots of talk about e-books. Suddenly, everyone was talking about e-books. Things seemed to be changing.
On Christmas morning 2010, there were two Kindles under my Christmas tree — one for me and one for my techno-phobe wife. I was dragging her into the new world whether she wanted to go or not.
Since Christmas I’ve read numerous novels. I got into a frenzy of downloading on Christmas day. My Visa card company called me on December 26th checking “an unusual amount” of activity with purchases from Amazon. Well, yeah, guilty as charged.
I have the New York Times Book Review, the Seattle Times and the San Francisco Chronicle delivered each morning to my Kindle for my reading pleasure. I’m also revisiting classics like Crime and Punishment, which I’m reading now. Suddenly I’m starting to wonder why I have all of these bookshelves in my house. I’ve haven’t browsed a bookstore since the first of the year.
I even noticed my wife reading her Kindle in bed with an adjustment made for a larger font so she doesn’t have to wear her glasses. On our nightstands where there used to be stacks of books are now Kindles. Hmmm. This is a familiar pattern.
The Pacific Northwest has been home to Greg Messel for much of his life. He previously resided in Portland, Oregon, but has hung his hat in Edmonds, Washington, on the Puget sound just north of Seattle, since retiring in 2008. He has also lived in Utah and Wyoming. Greg grew up in the San Francisco Bay area of California. After attending community college for one year, he attended Brigham Young University before launching his newspaper career in the rough and tumble town of Rock Springs, Wyoming, where he worked as the news and sports editor of the Daily Rocket-Miner. He won a Wyoming Press Association award for his column, and had several articles published in various sports magazines. In 1981 he left the newspaper business and embarked upon a twenty-seven-year career with Pacific Power.
Greg has always loved writing and returned to it after retiring. His first novel, Sunbreaks, was published in September 2009. Expiation, his second novel, hit bookshelves and e-readers in the spring of 2010. He is currently working on a third novel. Additionally, he has penned two unpublished memoirs.
Like the lead characters in Expiation, Greg and his wife, Carol, were high school sweethearts. They have now been married for forty years. They have three adult children and nine grandchildren. When he isn’t writing, Greg also enjoys running — he has competed in several races and half marathons.
Greg has very graciously provided a copy of Expiation for me to give to one lucky Colloquium reader! So be sure to visit Colloquium tomorrow, Wednesday, July 13, 2011, to read my review of Expiation and enter to win!