Sunday, March 29, 2015

Final #Free Book Days

Since I have three ebooks still under the Kindle Select plan, I'll use up the free days for them all this month. Here are the freebies for the last days of March. When the KDP expires, these books will join my others on Smashwords for broad distribution:

March 29th-31st:

Faizah's Destiny - The Tales of Abu Nuwas 2

Lemons and Other Kid Tales

Fish Story - A Three Story Sampler

Friday, March 27, 2015

Last #Free Kindle Ebooks Ever

Since I have three ebooks still under the Kindle Select plan, I'll use up the free days for them all this month. Here's the freebie schedule:

March 27th-31st:

Faizah's Destiny - The Tales of Abu Nuwas 2

March 29th-31st:

Lemons and Other Kid Tales

Fish Story - A Three Story Sampler

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Faizah's Destiny Excerpt

The revamp of Faizah's Destiny added the character Abu Nuwas whom narrates Faziah's story to a poor crippled boy. In Setara's Genie, Abu told that story to a young woman being forced into a marriage she didn't want. I liked the idea of the frame story and, since both books are set in the same middle-eastern fantasy world, I thought Abu should narrates them both.

The beginning of the book shows Abu Nuwas trying to get an audience for his story telling. That's how he earns his meager living. Unfortunately, he's finding it difficult to attract a paying customer.

Faizah's Destiny - The Tales of Abu Nuwas 2 is available on Amazon in Kindle and print format.

The Teller of Tales

ABU NUWAS SHADED HIS EYES and checked the position of the sun as it crept nearer the roof of the building across the street. The lower edge had yet to touch the peak. He sighed. Another hour at least before he could gather his sign and offering cup and wrap them in his rug.

This day had dragged more than usual. While the bazaar’s crowds buzzed around the merchant booths, none had stopped to read his sign, “Tales Well Told” and “One Drachma” on the next line. 

He considered if his price was too dear. Perhaps, he shouldn’t specify a price. Of course, he always told a tale no matter what the customer could offer, a piece of fruit or a slice of bread. He fondly recalled the young spice seller, Najda, paying with packets of spice to hear the tales of an adventurous young woman named Setara and her not-so-helpful genie, Basit.

He glanced at his cup and give it a gentle poke. No jingle of coins greeted him. He wouldn’t mind if some harried young mother offered him an orange to entertain a restless child with a short fable. He could always delve into the tales told by the venerable Scheherazade who stayed the hand of the murderous prince by leaving the man hanging in the midst of a story. Night after night, up to 1001, she kept her head securely upon her shoulders. At last, the prince was appeased and promised her love instead of death at dawn.

Abu Nuwas nodded. Yes, he’d tell some short story to capture the attention of passersby. One might stop to listen and be pleased enough to offer a coin in return. The old man picked up his sign and stuffed it into the folds of his robe.

But what story would suit? Everyone and their hound knew of Ali Baba and Aladdin. While entertaining, both were too well known. One of the more obscure tales from the Arabian Nights might be more suitable. Something fresh to listeners’ ears. He began to speak. Loudly, of course. Otherwise, he’d garner no attention and have nothing to eat for supper.

O listen ye! From the annals of Scheherazade, the most blessed one, comes this story titled ‛The Enchanted Horse.’” Abu Nuwas noted no eyes turning his way. Maybe he hadn’t spoken loudly enough. He started again.

I tell you now of a most wonderful creature, a horse looking in every respect exactly like a real horse, but was much more.” Abu cleared his throat, preparing to launch into the tale of the mechanical horse.

It was the Feast of the New Year, the oldest and most splendid of all the feasts in the Kingdom of Persia, and the day had been spent by the king in the city of Schiraz, taking part in the magnificent spectacles prepared by his subjects to do honor to the festival.”

Abu Nuwas glanced left and right. No ears were bent his direction. This was not a good sign. He needed something to catch attention, startle, excite, and be of such a fantastic nature that no one could resist the listening.

He dug through his memories of all the tales he knew. Then, he recalled his good friend, the Magician Wafai, and the very real and dangerous tale Wafai had told Abu years ago. Yes, he would tell the tale of Faizah, a poor farmer’s daughter, who had faced death-defying dangers, had communed with the very gods, and, by her brave efforts, had staved off Armageddon. Now, that was an exciting story. And it had the added benefit of being completely true.

The story teller pondered. He could simply jump into the story at the point the demons of hell attacked the earth spirits. That was certainly thrilling. But that part of the tale made little sense without all the events that led up to the confrontation.

He decided to start with the first event Wafai had related. A trivial thing, a fight between boys, for it was truly where the story began.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Plot Do Over - Faizah's Destiny

New to KindleUnlimited: Faizah's Destiny

I have two books based on middle-eastern mythology. One with lots of humor (bungling genies, star-crossed demon lovers, flying horses who can't fly, etc.). That started life as "The Tales of  Abu Nuwas."

The other is more serious with imminent death, demons, gods toying with people's lives, etc. That was original titled "Quest for the Simurgh." I know, the title left much to be desired.

I offered both books to MuseItUp Publishing and they were released under the titles "Setaras' Genie" and "Faizah's Destiny." They did a great job editing and providing wonderful covers.

One thing that didn't happen was sales. That's not MuseItUp's fault, though. I decided to take them off the hook for all of my books they'd published. When I got back my rights, I liked these titles better, but I had to maintain a relationship to my originals, thus I released them as:

The Tales of Abu Nuwas - Setara's Genie
Quest for the Simurgh - Faizah's Destiny

In thinking it over, I decided I liked the frame-style of  Setara's Genie, so I adapted Faizah's Destiny to that format, adding a few thousand words of Abu Nuwas telling Faizah's story.

Confused? Well, since I've totally bollixed any resemblance of saleability for either book, I feel free to continue to confuse the issue by releasing "Faziah's Destiny - The Tales of Abu Nuwas 2."

Feel free to ignore this new release. Yeah, it's longer than before and has the ever-popular Abu Nuwas the Storyteller doing the honors of relating the tale to a crippled slave boy. So that's it. The new book is only at Amazon in Kindle format for now. Buy it, don't buy it. If you read the original, there's no need to read this unless you're a big fan of Abu Nuwas.

The old version (Quest for the Simurgh) will disappear soon. Too bad. It has twelve reviews I'll never see again.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

#Free #Ebooks - 21st-22nd

Exclusively #free on Kindle Saturday and Sunday March 21st-22nd:

Lemons and Other Kid Tales
Three stories with photo illustrations.
Download a #free illustrated PDF here

LEMONS: Karen is horse crazy. One day, it seems like everything is going wrong. From ripped jeans to dead snakes, she's determined to make lemonade out of the lemons life tosses her way.
 ONE FINE DOG: Pete, the sheep dog, knows his business is to protect his flock. He'll do something downright impossible to make sure the sheep are safe.
 A PRACTICAL CAT: Boots is living the good life, but really really wants to go chase a squirrel. But the Bigs won't let her out of the house!

Fish Story: A Three Story Sampler
Three short stories from the collection, "Mixed Bag II: Supersized." 

FISH STORY: Colonists to a distant planet find salvation in a fish.
THE VISION: Charlie can't get terrifying images out of his head, but why?
CHILPEQUIN 22 Miles: The bartender is big and hairy. Could it be? Nah, it couldn't. Could it?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Bad Books that Sell, Good Books that Don't

The obverse being, of course, good writing that doesn't sell. Often, the latter is simply a matter of marketing, not finding a target audience, not having a killer cover. Sometimes, good stories are passed over for crap because a book can be judged by its cover.

A friend of mine is a professional graphic artist. She's volunteered to help me with some covers, but I have refused her kindness. Why? Because she makes her living from her artistry and deserves to be paid large chunks of money for it. I don't have said large chunks of change, so my covers are my own work, and they will remain that way.

Another reason decent stories don't get traction is editing. At least that's what's passed around as a supposed reason for failure. My books have been professionally edited. I know they have few typos and grammatical errors. On the other hand, I've read books loaded with typos. Usually, I quit reading, but I have not only read the whole book, but have also sent the proofreading notes to the writer. I've done this gratis for several people I know. Yet their books sell even when they appear to be first drafts by written by a grade school student.

Why do these books sell regardless of their sloppiness? I can only surmise three possible reasons:

1) The stories are so good, readers laud them despite the errors. Readers who aren't writers are used to misspellings and grammar errors since that's normal on-line discourse. The story, then, prevails.

2) The author has marketed the living crap out of their work. All the expose somehow convinces potential readers the book is good despite the glaringly amateur writing.

3) Books can become popular with negative press. But, there's no such thing as bad press. I assume you've heard to "50 Shades of Gray." Did poor writing hurt its sales? Didn't hundreds (thousands?) of critics publicly say how bad the writing is? Did people still wolf down this trash? Bad press sells bad books.

Now, I wonder how a good book, with an interesting plot, with minimal to no errors fail to launch? What are your thoughts of why good books ignored?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

St. Patrick's Day

Here's a nice picture for the post display. I suppose a Leprechaun, shamrock, or some other Irish St. Pat's pic should be used, but I'll show you something much cooler than a cartoon character. An ancient Irish castle gives me pause as I think of the history weighing so wondrously on us all.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Dollar Book Days Sale - Smashwords Edition

Smashwords ebooks on sale for $1.00. Catch the bargains while you can.

Witches of Galdorheim Series

   Bad Spelling
   Midnight Oil
   Scotch Broom

The Tales of Abu Nuwas

  Faizah's Destiny
  Setara's Genie


  Missing, Assumed Dead

Kids' Adventure

  Eagle Quest

Science Fiction

  First Duty
  Ultimate Duty


  Tales of a Texas Boy
  Mixed Bag Short Story Collection
  Mixed Bag II: Supersized

Exclusively on Kindle and free in the Kindle Unlimited Program for now:

  Lemons and Other Kid Tales

  Fish Story: A Three Story Sampler

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Support Con Man!

Wray Nerely (Alan Tudyk) was a co-star on Spectrum, a sci-fi series which was canceled -Too Soon- yet became a cult classic. Wray’s good friend, Jack Moore (Nathan Fillion) starred in the series and has gone on to become a major movie star. While Jack enjoys the life of an A-lister, Wray tours the sci-fi circuit as a guest of conventions, comic book stores, and lots of pop culture events.  The show will feature all the weird and crazy things that happen to Wray along the way to these events.

Go to the Indiegogo page at and join the fun remembrance to our beloved and missed "Firefly."

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Ebook Free with Print Purchase

Buy the print book and get the ebook FREE on Amazon. If you EVER bought the print version, then the ebook is free. If you bought a different version of the print book than the one currently advertised, let me know and I'll send you the ebook free.

Mixed Bag - Print (Mixed Bag II has all these stories plus some more adult level reading)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Audio Book Sale - $1.99 with Ebook Purchase

See all my audio books on All of the books except Spellslinger are $1.99 when purchased with the ebook from Amazon. For comparison, I've included the iTunes price. Buying the ebook and the audio book together on Amazon is a real bargain.

Scotch Broom - Book 3 of Witches of Galdorheim.
Audible Only $1.99
Amazon  Only $1.99
iTunes $17.95! See what a bargain the $1.99 deal is.

Bad Spelling - Book 1 of Witches of Galdorheim

Midnight Oil - Book 2 of Witches of Galdorheim
Audible Only $1.99
Amazon Audio Link Only $1.99
Itunes $17.95

Tales of a Texas Boy
Amazon Only $1.99
Audible Only $1.99

iTunes $6.95

Missing, Assumed Dead
Audible Only $1.99
Amazon Only $1.99
iTunes $14.95

Spellslinger on audio

Sunday, March 08, 2015