Tag: mobileapps

Sleeping bookworms

This Writer Makes Serious Money Putting Readers to Sleep

As a writer, the most important thing is to hold the reader’s attention… unless you’re paid not to.


In an era of deeper intersecting of technology and consumerism, even sleep has become a business. Sleep app Calm aspires to be the best in that business, offering audio libraries of music playlists, guided meditations, and relaxation classes. (Sounds fake, say the students, who do not find class at all relaxing.) But its most popular feature is its Sleep Stories: twenty to forty minute audio stories read aloud by comforting voices, including that of Stephen Fry. Calm asks: “we loved having bedtime stories read to us as children, so why should that stop now that we’re all grown up?”


Calm's 'Sleep Stories' promotional banner

Image Via Calm


When travel writer Phoebe Smith got a call from Calm founder Michael Acton Smith, she wasn’t sure whether or not to feel insulted. She reacted: “should I be really offended that he thinks my writing has the effect of boring people to sleep?” As a travel writer, there’s a particular incentive to be exciting—yours is the story to take people around the world on their vicarious vacations (a vacation on which there need not be overbooked hotels or unpleasant airplane passengers). P. Smith thinks that travel writing and ‘sleep writing’ aren’t necessarily opposites, citing her primary goalas “encouraging [listeners’] imaginations to play.” Her most popular story, “Blue Gold,” offers a “soothing tour of the lavender fields and sleepy villages of Provence.” It has around 15 million listens.


Lavender fields of Provence

Image Via Traveler Comments


No one is sleeping on Calm—the app recently hit a staggering value of $230 billion. Calm launched some of its profits into the world’s first “sleep story tour,” which may be one of the only events at which it’s ruder not to fall asleep.


Preview for "Blue Gold," narrated by Stephen Fry

Image Via Byrdie


Is there anything about sleep writing that isn’t a dream? Smith admits there is one problem: “people say to me, ‘I really love the stories, but I never get to the end!'”



Featured Image Via Healthline.com


The Best Apps for Every Step of NaNoWriMo

So it’s the beginning of National Novel Writing Month, and you only have time to do things like go to school for eight hours, sleep for an inconvenient five or so, and occasionally eat. Writing does take time, but you have more time than you probably think (unless you thought you had twenty-four hours in a day, which is technically accurate but unlikely for a functioning person). While there are some circumstances where you can’t whip out your laptop, there are far fewer cases where it’s unusual to take out your phone. So instead of lamenting your wasted time, use the moments you do have to chip away at that 50k on iPhone or Android… with some (all free!) apps to help you with every step of the process.


1. The research process 



Charlie Kelly from 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia'

Image Via Imgur.com


Evernote, free for iPhone and Android, is perfect for keeping track of all your research and inspirational quotations. Its Web Clipper feature allows you to incorporate your source material directly into your notes, so you don’t crash your computer (again) with your 22 dubiously-useful open tabs.


2. The outline 



Millie Bobby Brown Gif

Gif Via Tumblr.com


Go Writer Lite for iPhone incorporates note-taking into the writing process with the draft board feature, a temporary storage space for text fragments (like that one sentence you just can’t figure out). As a bonus, the app will read your text aloud to you, so you can hear for yourself what sounds the way you imagined it.


Workflowy for Android is perfect for complicated outlines, allowing users to see any heading and its subheadings in isolation to prevent distraction (to the extent that it can). The app also includes searchable hashtags, so you can mark problem areas you want to remember for later—and then actually remember them.


3. The first draft



'Tom and Jerry' Gif

Gif Via Github.com


Writer for iPhone is more powerful than your typical word processor, saving all drafts of your product so that you never lose any material. In addition to your usual built-in spell check, this app also comes with a built in thesaurus to help you find the right (write?) word. On top of that, the app has simple yet varied table of contents formatting to help you and (and your eventual readers!) stay organized.


4. The editing process 



Frantic Typing Gif

Gif Via Gfycat.com


Unlike your typical sticky note phone app, Jotterpad for Android keeps track of your word count, paragraph count, character count, AND reading time. With a built in dictionary and thesaurus, this app is already better than many word processing computer programs. Jotterpad is especially good for your second and third drafts, as its snapshot feature allows you to revert to earlier versions of your story.


With any luck, these apps will help you put your (relatively few) moments of down time to work writing the novel of your dreams (or occasionally your nightmares).


Featured Image Via WeScreeplay

We Read Too

New App Allows Readers to Find Writers of Color at the Tap of a Screen!

Software engineer Kaya Thomas designed an absolutely awesome app called We Read Too. It lets readers easily find children’s books by writers of color featuring characters of color. It’s not always easy to find diverse children’s literature, and Thomas noticed this growing up. We Read Too should help future generations read from a wider array of authors.


The app is sleek, colorful, and easy to browse. It allows users to filter by picture, chapter, middle grade, and young adult books. With over 600 books included, the simple browsing system allows parents, teachers, tutors, guardians, and basically all adults help children find books by writers of color, featuring, hopefully, characters that look a little more like them.


Thomas is an Associate Engineer at Slack Technologies (yes, the site you use to send funny memes to your coworkers), but We Read Too is her passion project. It’s available to everybody for free, and that’s how Thomas wants to keep it. Speaking to Apple, Thomas said, “I wanted We Read Too to be accessible to everyone, regardless of whether they could afford to buy a $1 app. I have no intention of ever charging anyone for access to the information.”


We Read Too gives us a reason to be optimistic, as more young readers will now be able to read books by writers of color. Thomas hopes to partner with libraries in the future. If that pans out, then it will help ensure the information she’s gathered is going to the right people. Pick up We Read Too on the App Store and Google Play today!


Feature Image Via We Read Too


Mobile Role-Playing Game Lets You Enroll in Hogwarts Minus Tuition!

Are you a Potter fan who’s been waiting for their Hogwarts letter for years? Yes, us too. Must’ve gotten lost in the mail, or some owl dropped it at the wrong address. So while you’re waiting for your acceptance letter, you should seriously check out this announcement…unless you don’t want to role-play in Harry Potter.


Jam City

 Image Via Google Play


Pottermore has confirmed that game developer Jam City has created a magical mobile game where you can recreate yourself as a character in the Potter World and live the student life! From classes like Duelling and Potions to Dark Arts, players will be taught by professors we’ve seen time and time again. Pretty good for a first semester, I’d say.


Harry Potter

Image Via Wizards and Whatnot


Chris DeWolfe is the co-founder and CEO of Jam City and he knows how important and spectacular this is for fans.


As Harry Potter fanatics ourselves, we have great respect for the millions of people throughout the world who have followed the Harry Potter stories for more than 20 years… This game is a labour of love for our developers and artists, who are dedicated to creating the most magical entertainment and game play experience for everyone who adores J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World.


All Pottermore could say right now is that the terms for the game start in September, but it will most likely be available some time next year.


Hang in there guys; this is going to be wicked.




Feature Image Via Wetpaint


6 Mobile Games Every Book Lover Needs

As much as we love reading, sometimes our brains need a break. Next time you storm through a book and need to take your mind off the drama, you may not want to leave book world. If that’s the case, you’ll need a mobile game that brings you into the world of a book. No reading necessary! Wait, that’s not a good thing. In any case, check these games out.


1. Alice in the Mirrors of Albion


Cats Albion

Image Via Facebook


Alice in the Mirrors of Albion is a Lewis Carroll-inspired game where you’ll have to solve challenging puzzles and meet crazy characters along the way. Perhaps you’ll even meet a version of a Jabberwocky!


2. Hidden Objects: Detective Sherlock Holmes


Hidden Objects

Image Via CrispApp


Remember those I Spy books? You’d stare at the nice images for hours trying to locate the little red ball of yarn. Is that it!? Nope, not it. Well you can recapture that childhood sense of curiosity with Hidden Objects: Detective Sherlock Holmes. As the name suggests, you’ll be tasked with uncovering, ya know, hidden objects. Get your deerstalker cap on and fill your pipe: you’ve got a mystery to solve!


3. Middle-earth: Shadow of War



Coinciding with the release of Middle-earth: Shadow of War on consoles and PC, a mobile game dropped as well. You can choose your champions and heroes and run around the world of Middle-earth whacking orcs in the head. Sounds like fun!


4. Fantastic Beasts: Cases


HP Mobile game

Image Via Google Play


Like the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Fantastic Beasts: Cases will have you solve mysteries in the Wizarding World related to magical creatures. You’ll have to track them down, find hidden objects, and interview people. Are you up to the task?


5. The Hunger Games Adventures


Hunger Games adventures

Image Via Google Play


If you’ve been aching for a reentry into the world of The Hunger Games, you should check out The Hunger Games Adventures. Katniss, Peeta, Haymitch, and your other favorite characters populate this mobile world while you explore Panem. You may be the next champion.


6. Willy Wonka Slots Vegas Casino


Willy Wonka slots

Image Via Zynga


Something about mixing Willy Wonka and gambling just seems right. If I knew nothing about Wonka and you showed me a picture of him and told me he owned a casino, I’d say, “Yes, sounds about right.” This mobile game will walk you through a digital casino of candy, oompa loompas, and Wonka himself creeping around.


Feature Image Via Google Play