Saturday, December 20, 2014

Final Free Book Days on Amazon 1

The ebooks I have enrolled in the Kindle Select program will be free for the final time. After this sale, all of the books are being pulled from the program. If you take one or more of these books (or already have), I'd appreciate a brief review.


 December 20th - 24th Free
Fish Story: A Three Story Sampler

Lemons and Other Kids Tales


December 22nd - 24th Free
Quest for the Simurgh-Faizah's Destiny

Tales of Abu Nuwas-Setara's Genie

Missing, Assumed Dead


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Not Too Late To Give Audiobooks for Christmas!


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

NEWEST: Scotch Broom - Book 3 of Witches of Galdorheim.
Audible Only $1.99
Amazon  Only $1.99
Tales of a Texas Boy
Amazon Only $1.99
Audible Only $1.99

iTunes $6.95

Missing, Assumed Dead (KindleUnlimited Ebook)
Audible Only $1.99
Amazon Only $1.99
iTunes $14.95

Spellslinger on audio - Listen on SoundCloud Free!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Truth About Santa Claus

Yes, I can use a movie still without
copyright notice.
I know, I know. Yule (you'll--get it?) have dozens of posts related to the inception of Santa Claus, Kris Kringle, Father Christmas, Pere Noel, Joulupukki (yes it is, look it up), Ded Moroz, Sinterklaas, Julenissen, and even Odin, etc. Many cite Saint Nicholas, the Greek Bishop who supposedly gave gifts to the poor. All this is set around the time of the winter solstice (also called Christmas, Solstice, Midwinter, Saturnalia, Letha, etc.).

It really doesn't make any difference since, of course, Santa is a delightful fiction for children to believe until their six or seven (some are duped for longer periods, some less).

When writing my Witches of Galdorheim series, I envisioned Santa as "that fat elf at the North Pole." the witches' complaint being that the dive bombing sleigh left reindeer manure all over their houses on the arctic island the witches made home. The result was a war between the witches and the Fat Elf until a truce was asserted.

Other than the mention of the fat elf, none of this side story made it into the series. Since I believe deeply (as much so as I believe in fairies), I wanted to resurrect this missing piece of the manuscript. It's too late to include in "Bad Spelling," since it's been published umpteen times. Still, I like it and I want to share it with you as a Holiday Gift. My writing unsullied by an editor's hands.

From the original (almost lost) text of "Bad Spelling"

The fat elf living at the North Pole flew his reindeer-driven sleigh over the island once too many times. Aunt Thordis had enough of reindeer manure sprinkling the rooftops.  The fertilizer mixed with the grain the reindeer ate sprouted a fine crop of grass on their traditional thatched roofs.  It was almost impossible to clean off.  Magic could clean up after real reindeer, but the enchanted ones left droppings that the villagers had to remove by hand.

The supposedly jolly elf just sneered at Aunt Thordis when she asked, ever so politely, if he’d take a different route. She returned to Galdorheim swearing revenge.  She got it on the next December’s flyover.  Blasting the sleigh, the elf, all nine reindeer, and a huge bag of gifts out of the sky gave the witch tremendous satisfaction.  She chased the red-suited little twerp all the way back to the North Pole and the coven got a good supply of reindeer meat.

The fat elf retaliated, of course.  He’d fly his reindeer sleigh over on the off season and encouraged them to let loose right over the village. The war escalated for several months.  Finally, each side sent emissaries to settle for peace.  Fatso (who went by a variety of aliases), promised to take a different route and not fly over the island.  Aunt Thordis promised she wouldn’t kick his fat butt to the South Pole: an equitable agreement in Thordis’s eyes.

* * *

You can get your very own copy of "Bad Spelling" for only 99 cents on Amazon. The rest of the books in the series are also on sale. You can find them by clicking on the Series link on the Bad Spelling product page.

BAD SPELLING - Book 1 of The Witches of Galdorheim Series
A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?

In Paperback

Audiobook



Sunday, December 14, 2014

Holiday Gift Ideas - Free and 99 Cent Ebooks

My entire stock of ebooks are on sale for 99 cents at Amazon (one exception is the 3-book volume which ends up costing 99 cents per book + 2 cents to reach the $2.99 mark for 70% royalty).

Several of these books are on the Kindle Unlimited program, thus are free to subscribers.

At Smashwords, a few of the same books are free (because they let you do that on Smashwords).

At Barnes and Noble and Kobo, the same free ebooks at Smashwords are free on these sites as well.

These prices will be good until the end of the month. At that time, they'll be raised to something reasonably within the parameters for ebooks, mostly $2.99 for the 70% royalty point on Amazon.


All the books are also in print with very low prices on them all. To keep the price point at minimum, the sale prices are only available on Amazon.

Oh, and several of the books are also in audio format and sale priced at $1.99. You can get them through Amazon or directly from Audible.com.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Holiday Gift Ideas - Science Fiction

Without a lengthy explanation, I'll just get to the gist of the matter. I have two science fiction books available in ebook and print. They are the same plot. The difference is that the shorter (first published) book is PG-13 and the longer book is R.

First Duty is approximately 38K words; Ultimate Duty is approximately 60K words. If you have read First Duty, you'd recognize the plot of Ultimate Duty. Names are changed. The longer book has some additional space battle scenes and a rescue not in the shorter book.

I don't feel like I'm trying to fool anybody here. I even put a note in the Ultimate Duty description on Amazon so people would buy the longer book with full knowledge the plot was essentially the same as First Duty.

The paperback editions are available only through Amazon this month since I wanted to keep the price as low as possible. The ebook editions are $1.99 and $2.99, respectively.

FIRST DUTY
Print Edition on Amazon ($5.99)
Available in Ebook Format at Amazon and Smashwords

Nyra Hutchings, a young woman born into a life of servitude on a repressive factory planet, is desperate for a different life. When she's accepted into the Space Service Academy, run by the organization that enslaves her planet, she discovers the truth behind generations of rebellion. Now, she must decide what to believe, where her first duty lies, and fight for more than her life against impossible odds.


ULTIMATE DUTY
Print Edition on Amazon ($7.99)
Available in Ebook Format at Amazon and Smashwords

Remy Belieux, a woman born into a life of servitude on a repressive factory planet, is desperate for a different life. When she's accepted into the Space Service Academy, run by the organization that enslaved her planet, she discovers the truth behind generations of rebellion. Now, she must decide what to believe, where her duty lies, and fight for more than her life against impossible odds.



Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Holiday Gift Idea - Murder and Mayhem

MISSING, ASSUMED DEAD
Prejudice, murder, insanity, suicide: Every small town has its secrets.
Kindle Ebook
Audiobook
Paperback

When Kameron McBride receives notice she's the last living relative of a missing man she's never even heard of, the last thing she wants to do is head Oregon to settle his affairs. En route, she and her rental car run afoul of a couple of hillbillies and their pickup in an accident that doesn't seem...accidental. Especially when they keep showing up wherever she goes. Lucky for her, gorgeous Deputy Mitch Caldwell lends her a hand, among other things. With Mitch's help, she peels away the layers of prejudice, suicide, murder, and insanity.

Multiple Points of View Using Flashback

One multiple POV method not mentioned is called the Rashomon effect because of the excellent way it was used in the Japanese film, Rashomon. A Wiki article lists several more examples of the technique used in popular culture.

This quote from Wiki is quite good: The Rashomon effect is the effect of the subjectivity of perception on recollection, by which observers of an event are able to produce substantially different but equally plausible accounts of it.

In "Missing, Assumed Dead" several characters are telling the main character, Kam McBride, what had happened in the past (a flashback). To avoid simple telling, I switched to another character's POV. I delineated these flashbacks into scenes, and even made them italic to set them off from the narrative.

The fun part is that the characters are relating the same incident to Kam, but each one has a slightly different view of the events, usually making themselves a bit more heroic than the other people in the same scene. This allows the reader to be suspect of the truthfulness of the characters.

It's not my original idea. That's why it already has a name, Rashomon Effect, in honor of the great Samurai movie of the 50s, directed by Akira Kurosawa and starring the wonderful Toshirō Mifune.

In the film, a crime occurs, and the film maker presents it four times, each from a different character's POV. Needless to say, the versions of the events vary, sometimes wildly, from each other. By the end of the film, you still don't know exactly what happened since none of the characters can be fully believed.

In addition to the contradictory retelling of the events by the different characters, there are two additional flashbacks. By the time they appear in the book, I hope the reader will be looking at everyone with suspicion.

Here are a couple of excerpts from "Missing, Assumed Dead," illustrating the Rashomon Effect in action. Two characters, Ray and George, describe their meeting to discuss the disappearance of Salvadore Vasco, the missing man of the title. Same event, but a big difference in the perception.

Ray's Story:

Ray went up the three steps into the Courthouse and turned left into George’s office. The self-appointed police chief sat behind his desk with his boots propped up on it. He raised his eyes from the Zane Grey novel he’d been reading.

“Hey there, Ray. What can I do you out of?” The fat man’s belly jiggled when he laughed at his own stale joke.

“I come about Salvadore.”

“Vasco?”

Ray shifted his weight from one foot to the other and glanced at the chair on his side of the desk. His legs ached, but he didn’t want to settle in for a long chat. George tended to run on some. “Only Salvadore in these parts far as I know. Anyways, has a habit of comin’ to town once a week, but he didn’t come last week nor this ’un.”

“So, what do you want me to do about it? Man’s gotta right to come to town or not.”

“True thing, but you know us old fellas like to stick to a schedule. It ain’t like him to not come in. I think someone oughta go up there and check on him.”

George glanced at the copy of Riders of the Purple Sage on his desk. “Why don’t you go, Ray? You’re his friend.”

“Yep, but he’d think I was buttin’ into his bizness if he’s okay. If you go, you can say sumthin’ about looking for someone else or what not.”

“So, I should lie to him but really just be checkin’ on his welfare, eh?”

“Yep. That’s what I’m thinkin’.”

George's Story

George sat in his office reading the latest statewide all-points bulletins for wanted criminals and stolen vehicles. Old man Ray from the Jack and Jill’s came in looking worried.

“Chief, I ain’t see Salvadore in a couple a weeks. I thought I’d better tell ya, since you’re the police and all.”

“Now, don’t get yourself all worked up, Ray. Old Salvadore prob’ly just don’t want to eat no more of your burnt burgers.”

Ray shook his head. “I don’t know what to do, George. Can you go check up on him?”

“Why sure, Ray. I’ll head up tomorrow morning for a welfare check.” George stood and walked around his desk. He patted Ray’s shoulder to comfort him. “You go on home and don’t fret. George is on the job.”

Monday, December 08, 2014

Holiday Ideas - Oregon Teen Adventure

Did you know that Oregon's official state song was written by Woody Guthrie? Pretty classy, eh? Here are a few lines to get you revved up about exactly why Oregonians love their state song:

Roll on, Columbia, roll on.
Roll on, Columbia, roll on.
Your power is turning our darkness to dawn,
Roll on, Columbia, roll on.

Other great rivers add power to you,
Yakima, Snake and the Klickitat, too,
Sandy Willamette and Hood River, too;
Roll on, Columbia, roll on.

We don't burn coal to make power. We use our amazing waterways to produce hydroelectric power. My home city's electric company (EWEB, a publicly owned entity) also offers wind power as an option. Costs a few cents more, but wind is a good thing, eh?

In honor of Oregon's commitment to clean energy and just being an all-round cool place to live (yes, I was born here), I've got a couple of Oregon-based books to give you a tour of a some of those really cool places, or really hot if it's summer. If you're a fan of Oregon-based books, try out:

Eagle Quest - MG/YA Adventure Listed $5.99 at Amazon for Print, $1.99 for ebook

Set in the Klamath Wildlife preserves in Southern Oregon, this book is about the Bald Eagle flyout area in Bear Valley. Yes, we have Bald Eagles like they were pigeons in the park around Oregon. And we're danged proud of our big birds. The cover shot was taken by Coralie, a professional wildlife photographer and my long-time friend. See her work on her website at http://mrsroadrunner.com/

Book Blurb:

Fiona, Hap, Billy, and Mitch make an odd set of friends, as different from the usual high school crowd as they are from each other. Mitch, the oldest of the four, is a half-breed Native American, adopted by white parents. Troubled that he doesn't know his tribe, he avidly studies Native American history and lore. 

Learning the nearby Bear Valley Wildlife Refuge is a bald eagle nesting site, he wants to add an eagle feather to his medicine bag and explore the refuge as a site for his Vision Quest, a Native American rite of passage. He and his three friends get far more than an overnight campout as they encounter a black bear, an old man living in the refuge, and a pair of eagle poachers. Bringing the poachers to justice, they test their courage and gain confidence in themselves and each other.


Want an excerpt to get an idea of the style?

“Hey, you guys!” Billy called out, “Look up ahead.”

“What is that?”

“It looks like feathers. Maybe they’re eagle feathers.”

As the kids walked nearer the pile of feathers, their smiles dropped away as they could discern the body of the large bird. There were feathers scattered around the body, but someone had removed the wings and cut the talons from the legs.

“Oh, man. That’s disgusting. Did something get it, like a bear?” Billy said as he looked down at the remains of the large bald eagle.

“No, it wasn’t an animal. Look at how they removed the wings. Done with a knife,” Mitch said through teeth gritted in anger at the desecration of the beautiful bird.

The stood in silence, looking down at the pitiful remains.

“Should we take some feathers?” Billy asked.

“No. It wouldn’t be right. That’s not how you’re supposed to get your feathers. You find one on the ground because the eagle has left it for you. To do this...this is horrible, just wrong,” Mitch said, feeling tears brimming in his eyes. He gave them a quick swipe, but saw that Fiona’s cheeks showed rivulets of the tears she was shedding.

“Poachers. It has to be poachers,” she said through her tears. “We’ve got to do something.”

“We could go back to the old man’s place. He must know the people in charge and can contact them,” Hap suggested.

The others were nodding, ready to turn around and head back to the old man’s cabin.
Mitch stopped. “No. We should find the poachers first. The eagle hasn’t been dead very long. 

Look,” he said as he pointed toward the pitiful bird, “Blood is still seeping from where they cut off the wings. I think the poachers are close by. If we can find them, we’ll have more information to give the people in charge.”

The others didn’t look too excited about the idea of tracking down poachers.

“I think it’s enough just to tell them about the eagle,” Hap said.

“That’s fine. You guys go back to the cabin, but I’m going to find the poachers.” Mitch began looking at the ground around where the eagle lay.

“Footprints. They head off in that direction,” he said and started following the trail. The others looked at each other, then one by one followed Mitch.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Holiday Ideas - A Little Down Home Nostalgia

*This book is not being sold for $7.64 at Amazon as it had been. Instead, they are selling it for $8.49 and paying me royalties on its real price of $7.64. If you have purchased this book for $8.49, let me know and I'll give you a free audiobook and ebook of this title.*

Have an elderly or sight-impaired relative who could use a little Holiday Cheer? Consider this Large Print book as a gift.

Tales of a Texas Boy - Large Print (discount priced at only $7.64 right now) makes a really great Christmas present for those who are still spry, yet their danged glasses don't work as well as they should. My mom's like that. With her progressive lenses, the world in general is more or less clear, but the tiny spot left to the reading part of the lens is difficult for her to find.

The 18Pt type is eyesight-impaired friendly. I can even read it without my glasses.

The trim size (dimensions) is an easier-to-hold 9.7 x 7.4 x 0.3 inches with 138 pages. It's discount priced at only $7.64 (regular price $8.49), which is a freaking bargain for a print book these days. And it's eligible for free shipping and handling from Amazon Prime.

The big news for Tales of a Texas Boy is that it's in audio book now. It's discounted to only $1.99 at Audible.com (also through Amazon).

Here's the blurb for the book:

How do you handle a crazy jackass? Eddie knows. If you ask Eddie, he'll tell you pigs can fly and show you where to find real mammoth bones. Take his word for it when he tells you always to bet on the bear. These are things he learned while dreaming of becoming a cowboy in West Texas during the Depression. Through Eddie, the hero of "Tales of a Texas Boy," we find that growing up is less about maturity and more about roping your dreams. Hold on tight. It's a bumpy ride. A wonderful read for anyone who enjoys books like "Little House on the Prairie" or "Tom Sawyer." A great bit of nostalgia for seniors, too.

How about an excerpt to give you an idea of the style?

Here's an excerpt to give you an idea of what you might expect to find in "Tales of a Texas Boy." In this story, ten-year-old Eddie is left home with only his sister. Without Ma and Pa around, Eddie usually finds some way to get into mischief. This story is titled, "No Angel."

I noticed a flock of blackbirds lit on Ma's clothesline, so I went in and got the shotgun. I loaded it with smallshot and snuck around the side of the house so's not to scare the birds. I figured I could get the whole flock of birds if I shot straight down the clothesline from one end to the other.

I had to be real quiet, so's I thought I'd sneak up on 'em like I was a Comanche. I got down on my belly and rested the shotgun across my arms. The grass was high enough so I'd not be seen. I dug in my elbows and pulled myself real slow around the corner of the house. When I got to the lilac bush, I got up behind it and checked if the birds had a notion I was there. They just sat on the line and didn't even look my way, so I hunched over and ran lickety-split to the oak tree. From there, I was right at the end of the line and no more'n ten feet away.

I leaned around the tree trunk and eyed the line. Yep, I could see right down it. My hands aren't big enough to span both triggers, so I pulled them one at a time. I figured I'd shoot the first barrel and then real quick-like, fire off the second. That way, I'd get to hit the flock twice.

I eased the shotgun up to my shoulder and pulled back slow on the left-hand trigger. The first shot blasted off and knocked me back a few feet where I landed on my rear end real hard. I still held the shotgun in my hands, but I wasn't in any position to fire off the second barrel. When I sat up and looked to see how many birds I got, I was in for a shock. All that noise and not one feather to show for it. But Ma's clothesline...now that's a different story. The durn thing looked like a dead snake layin' there.

I knew right away Ma would not be pleased with this.

I got myself up and was wonderin' what to do next when I looked up and saw the blackbirds flyin' in a circle like they were waitin' for the clothesline to be put back up for 'em to light on.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Holiday Ideas - Middle-Eastern Fantasy?

Why would books based on middle-eastern myth be appropriate for a Christmas present? First, let's just change that "Christmas" to "Holiday."

Because any book is a great gift, and  my middle-eastern books are far more Disney than bin Laden.

Before Mohammad, the Aramaic people had a variety of religions. Within these religions, a pantheon of gods were worshiped, placated, begged of, and permeated the hearts and minds of those who lived in Persia, Mesopotamia, Canaan, Sumeria, Phrygia, Egypt (the most consistent of kingdom names), and many more which rose and fell.

Two of my books, I consider to be my middle-eastern cycle. Will there be more to come? It all depends on whether you, dear reader, let me know it's worth my time to continue. How will I know that? First, you could buy the books in ebook or print format. Second, you could review the books you have read (whether getting them free or by purchase). Third, you could tell me here, on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, or by email whether I should or not.

While researching various mythologies, I was reminded of Scheherazade's 1001 Arabian Nights.  I liked the idea of the frame story to contain the seven adventures of a girl named Setara. I wanted a story teller sitting in an ancient bazaar telling tales for a few coins. I discovered the poet Abu Nuwas and borrowed his persona to be my storyteller.

The frame story contained the telling of the seven adventures of the adventurous girl and her genie. I'd made up my original character names, but I now wanted them all to have proper middle-eastern names. Thus, my original Cadida became Setara, Bascoda the djinn became Basit, and so on.

This compilation became "The Tales of Abu Nuwas - Setara's Genie." Available in print and ebook.

Since I had some left over demons and deities, I wrote another novella based on middle-eastern mythology. It became "Quest for the Simurgh - Faizah's Destiny." Also available in print and ebook.



Monday, December 01, 2014

Paperback Sale on Amazon

To provide the best deal I can on my print books, I have set their prices to rock bottom through the holidays. All books are available through Amazon only. Amazon discounts the base price further on many (if not all) of the books, e.g., a $6.99 book sold for $6.29. If you have Amazon Prime, the shipping is free.

Best Seller:
Tales of a Texas Boy-Large Print: $8.49 (usually discounted to only $7.64)

How do you handle a crazy jackass? Eddie knows. If you ask Eddie, he'll tell you pigs can fly and show you where to find real mammoth bones. Take his word for it when he tells you always to bet on the bear.

These are things he learned while dreaming of becoming a cowboy in West Texas during the Depression. Through Eddie, the hero of "Tales of a Texas Boy," we find that growing up is less about maturity and more about roping your dreams. Hold on tight. It's a bumpy ride. A wonderful read for anyone who enjoys books like "Little House on the Prairie" or "Tom Sawyer." A great bit of nostalgia for seniors, too. Bonus story included.


The Witches of Galdorheim Series: Individual books only $6.99 each
Bad Spelling
Midnight Oil
Scotch Broom
Spellslinger (prequel short story only $3.49)


The Witches of Galdorheim Boxed Set: All of the above books in a single volume for only $11.99. That makes them only $4.00 a book when bought as a set with a short story thrown in free.

The Tales of Abu Nuwas - Setara's Genie: $5.99

Quest for the Simurgh - Faizah's Destiny: $5.99






Eagle Quest: $5.99


First Duty (YA, kid-friendly SF): $5.99

All of the books here and above are kid-friendly.





Most Popular For Adults: The following two have some explicit material.

Missing, Assumed Dead: $6.99 (Murder Mystery)


Ultimate Duty: $7.99 (Adult SF)


Saturday, November 29, 2014

#Free Book Days: November 29th-30th

GET TWO FREE EBOOKS THIS WEEKEND ON AMAZON


LEMONS and Other Kid Tales
Three stories with photo illustrations.
  
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 TALES: 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?

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Have a great Thanksgiving or a decent Thursday the 27th if you're not in the US.

Also, Happy Birthday to my mom on her 91st birthday.