Tag Archives: kickstarter

Support Kickass Rachel Caine’s Kickstarter!

  I’m so late to the game that I nearly missed it, but one of my very favorite authors, Rachel Caine, has a Kickstarter active now for a new book in her fascinating, wonderful, brilliantly creative Weather Wardens series.

Go back it now (only one day left!!!) and then come back here to read more about why this is amazing. I’ll wait…

This Kickstarter amazes me, not only because backing it means I’ll have more personal(ish) contact with one of my writing idols, but that it exists at all.

She says in her video that publishers have told her that the Weather Warden genre, urban fantasy, won’t sell right now, and that’s at least part of why she has decided to self-publish this book. But that amazes me–mostly for sad reasons. Ms. Caine is an established, highly respected author who has written at least three immensely popular series. She’s a known brand. And the story she wants to write is part of an existing universe that has already spawned a fun three-book mini-series. And yet…a publisher wouldn’t back her?

It’s hard to know if there may be more to the story, but I fear there isn’t. Perhaps Caine just leapt at the opportunity to self-publish and thought this would be a good way to try–and considering her Kickstarter has already far exceeded its goal, it’s a worthy cause.

But it does worry me about the industry as a whole. Has there ever been any inherent stability, or is it all an illusion?

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‘Radio’ for the Elderly: What’s the Next Step?

I have an idea for a product that needs to exist. It sounds like it is perfect for a Kickstarter, and I know it would help a lot of people…but I have no idea how to get it produced. So–I’m hoping someone out there can help me?

I want to make a “radio” for elderly patients.

Here’s the story: my grandfather has Alzheimer’s and has been getting worse lately. The retirement home he and my grandmother live in is far from family (they picked it, years ago) and especially far from my family. Whereas other family members could just drive over and visit, it’s a long, expensive flight for me. But I still want to do something to help.

I decided I wanted to buy him a music player, load it up with music from his youth, and give it to him. Music has incredible powers, helping access parts of our memories that we otherwise can’t find.

You’ve probably seen the video of Henry on YouTube. If you haven’t, it’s here below. Careful, it’s a tearjerker:

My grandfather isn’t as bad off as Henry was, but he will be soon. He gets confused and doesn’t know where he is. He gets afraid. I thought music, even if it didn’t bring him back to us, would at least lift his spirits.

But I was missing a crucial ingredient: I can’t go to his nursing home, put the headphones on him, turn it on. And the nursing staff can’t be relied upon to do that; they have other jobs. My grandmother is there, and could help, but the new technology is too confusing for her, and the buttons are small.

This is what I needed:

  • something I could pre-load with music
  • large volume controls and an on/off switch
  • speakers, and maybe a headphone jack for over-the-ear headphones
  • a cord that plugs into the wall
  • relatively inexpensive (we have some fears about his belonging being stolen)
  • preferably something that looks superficially familiar to him, like an old-style radio

I’ve looked and looked for months, but I can’t find something that met those requirements. I’ve found a lot of “almosts,” but most radios have a lot of extra buttons or settings, and I am afraid he would accidentally switch or change my presettings and not have music.

I think this is a product that needs to exist; I’d have paid a lot of money to buy one if it already did. I don’t know how to produce a product like that, but it would bring such comfort to the families of Alzheimer’s patients, and joy to the patients themselves. For people in private rooms or apartments, like my grandfather, a little stereo clearly labeled “on/off” that he could potentially work by himself would be ideal.

My grandfather turns 89 this weekend. I would love to give him the gift of music.

Can anyone help? If you know of how to get something like this, please let me know. If you have suggestions to build one, heck, I’ll learn to solder if it would help me give this gift to my grandfather.

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