Tag Archives: Kindle

The Birth Day Giveaway

In the past it was customary to give out cigars to celebrate the birth of a child. However since times have moved on, and since I don’t smoke cigars and don’t know many people who do, I decided to do something else instead.

So for the next few days, my stories A Prairie Home Apocalypse: or What the Dog Saw and The Mulch Pile are available for free from Amazon.

What’s that? Why yes, this does somewhat lessen the incentive to enter and win the flash fiction contest I’ve got going on. I’m just peachy with that. And let me anticipate your next question and firmly deny that this is anything like a veiled attempt to use my newborn son’s cuteness to get you to check out my books.

Just look at the little fella. Look at those cute little duckies on that….cute little sleeping bag with arms? I’m not sure what’s going on with that.

Anyway, what manner of person would dare use the power of such cuteness to suggest you might read his stories and write a nice review (assuming you like them) or maybe click that little “Like” button on the top of the books’ Amazon page? Not this guy. And furthermore I would never stoop to adding that the more books I can sell the less likely it that this innocent little baby will die of malnutrition.  No my friends, I have higher principles than that.

So snap up this offer while you still can. If you need a format other than Kindle, feel free to shoot me an email.

Here’s to you Baby AJ. May you live long and live well. And just between you and me kiddo, I’ve got about as much idea of what I’m doing as you do right about now. We’ll figure it out together, okay?

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The Mulch Pile


You’re not going to believe this story. Maybe that’s for the best. To tell you the truth, I don’t know if I really believe it myself anymore. Maybe it’s just a story I tell myself so that I won’t have to remember the Truth. But Terrence is dead; that much you can believe.

He should have been the one to write this, Terence I mean. He was always real good with this kind of thing. But now he’s gone, and it’s just me left to tell the tale. You probably won’t believe it, but for my sake, for Terrence’s sake, remember.

The Mulch Pile lives! If you’ve been following this blog for very long, you know that this is a project I’ve been working on for a while.

You could say it has its roots all the way back in my childhood when my dad dug into our garden mulch pile and told me to put my hand inside.  I lowered my palm into that cavity and felt waves of heat coming off the rotting vegetables and grass clippings inside. It totally creeped me out.

Years later, in 2009 to be exact, while I was casting about for a concept for my National Novel Writing Month novel, the idea of a monster mulch pile sprang into my head, and I knew that was the story I was going to write.

I had to write it. Because no one else was going to.

But along the way it became so much more. I’m not much a fan of pantsing these days, but in the November of 2009 sitting in Walmart’s parking lot with my laptop, pounding away on this story when I should have been eating lunch, pantsing took me to a place I never dreamed of finding.

And instead of writing a simple story about a monster mulch pile, I uncovered layers of meaning about brotherhood, identity, and the dark side of love.

Consequently, this story is really two stories. One is the story you will read. The other is the story between the lines.

Confused? Think of it like this painting:

On the one hand you can see a normal bowl of vegetables. But hidden within those vegetables is a pattern of something far stranger.

Similarly The Mulch Pile has two sides. One side is about a monster mulch pile. The other side…well let’s not spoil that shall we?

The Mulch Pile is available for all your favourite electronic reading devices. Kindle, Nook, whatever. I’ve got you covered.

The going rate from all those websites is $2.99.  But if you’ve got an ereader that can process .epub files, then I’ve got an extra special offer. The ebook is available directly from me for $1.99. Just click   and save!

I’m really excited about this story, guys. It’s been a long time in the birthing, but I’m thrilled to be finally releasing it into the wild.

And, as always, if you enjoy reading it half as much as I enjoyed writing it, my work will have been worth it all.

In the Land of the Free

Something weird happened this weekend. And I’m not talking about my being attacked by an alien Elvis impersonator in a Gorilla suit. I’ll tell you kids that story some other time.

What happened was this: I was checking the sales numbers for my books in the Kindle store. (I know Bob Mayer says that doing this too often means you’re taking your eyes off the long road, but it’s all so shiny and new right now it’s hard to keep myself from checking at least once a day. And that’s okay because I’m pretty sure I’ll grow out of it, just like I grew out of compulsively checking my blog stats every fifteen minutes.) Anyway, the last time I checked I had sold exactly five of my new scifi/horror short story “Derelict.” But when I checked my numbers on Saturday night that number had shot up to twelve hundred.

I froke out.

I chicken danced right across the ceiling I was so excited. Unfortunately my feet got caught in the fan blades, and I thumped back down to reality. “Wait a moment,” I said to myself. “Did not a wise man once tell me that if something seems to good to be true it probably is? And further was not this wise man my father, who’s noble office I am preparing to celebrate on the morrow? Perhaps this warrants further investigation.”

And what do you know, good old dad was right. Because when I checked my Amazon page I saw that my ebook, which had been listed at the bargain-basement price of ninety-nine cents, had been marked down into the sub-basement of freebies.

At first I was angry. Because hey, this was my story and they were just giving it away? Without my permission?

And then I remembered another wise thing my dad once said: “Always read the fine print.” So I did. And lo and behold, I found out that Amazon has every right to take your story and mark it down to whatever price they feel like.

Gradually my anger faded and was replaced with a heaping dose of pragmatism. I learned two things that night, things that my fellow authors would do well to keep in mind especially if they plan to ever go the indie/guerilla/self/gorilla-publishing route.

1. Amazon is large and in charge.

Seriously people, the Kindle is it right now. I’m sure some of you out there love your Nooks, and for what it’s worth I don’t own either, but from my side of the equation I can tell you that I’m selling way more ebooks through Amazon than anywhere else.

Which means that Amazon can basically afford to do whatever they want to do and you’ve just got to sit there and take it. Sure you can go out and whine and moan about how big they are and how its not fair, but none of that really matters. You’re in the game, and these are the rules. Maybe they aren’t “fair” but that doesn’t give you the excuse to stop playing to win.

2. Free stuff is the best publicity ever.

I want to reiterate something I said at the beginning of the post. Before, my story was in the hands of a total of five people. At this point it’s in the hands of nearly two-thousand.

Now sure, some of those people only downloaded the story because it was free. Maybe they won’t ever even get around to reading it. But now I have two five-star reviews on that story, where before I had none. And the odds are good that if people like my writing, some of them will check out my other ebooks. And having my story move so many copies so fast has done wonders for it’s ranking.

So yeah, maybe I’m just being a Pollyanna here but I see some huge potential upsides to all of this in the long run. And it is a long run. So I’m gonna pace myself, and keep doing my best. Because, honest success doesn’t come overnight.

P.S. You really should go and check out Derelict if you haven’t done so already. You’ve got no excuses now, and I really think you’ll like it. If you do like it, maybe you would be inclined to write a review?

A Prairie Home Apocalypse or: What the Dog Saw

So apparently…good things come to those who wait. And wait.

And.

Wait.

Good things also come to those who hit the refresh button over and over and freak out until they make themselves sick. I’ll let you guess which one I am.

Yes, that’s right A Prairie Home Apocalypse or: What the Dog Saw just went live on Amazon.

A Prairie Home Apocalypse or: What the Dog Saw

It’s possible that you may be wondering: “Is this book really for me?” If you are I have compiled a helpful reference for your edification. The following is a list of the types of people who may find my book interesting.

1. People who like dogs

Come on folks, give it up for man’s best friend. Not only are they kind and loyal, but they don’t look down on you like those uppity cat things.

Seriously. How can you say no to that?

2. People who like zombies

You know the ones. The walking dead, those lovable reanimated rotting corpses that just want to have a little nibble of your brains. They waltzed their way into the popular imagination with George A. Romero’s classic Dawn of the Dead, and we haven’t looked back since (except of course to make sure none of them were following us home).

3. People who don’t like dogs

Because um…maybe things might not go very well for our lovable fury protagonist?

4. People who like me

Maybe you can’t stand zombies. Maybe just thinking about dogs makes you itch. Maybe you don’t want to read a groundbreaking work of literary fiction that reimagines the zombie horror genre in a different light. Maybe you just want to an awesome dude how much you like him. Or you can just show me, and I’ll make sure some sufficiently awesome dude hears about it later.

If you fall into any of these categories then I’d suggest that you check out my book. At this very moment it is available for Kindle only, but I’m working diligently to get it up on Smashwords for those of you who happen to have something other than a Kindle (I’m one of these people so I feel your pain).

Also, if you happen to like the book, please help me spread the word. Tell a friend, tweet about it, “Like” it on Facebook. If you do the blog thing, then I’d love to do an interview. Community is the only advertising strategy I can afford. But I’m betting it’s the best there is.

And again, to all of you who have already been so supportive of me and my project…thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

A Book By Its Cover

A picture being worth a thousand words, I thought I might just post this and be done for today.

A Prairie Home Apocalypse or: What the Dog Saw

It was created by John Hornor Jacobs of atomictomato.com. If any of you are looking for cover work for your selfpub ventures, I cannot recommend John highly enough. He responded to my inquiry quickly and finished the work in an extremely timely manner. Also (and this is the big one for me) his price is accessible for even a lowly Walmart associate like me.

Bottom line, I’m rather pleased with the result.

You can see more of John’s cover work here.

And don’t forget! A Prairie Home Apocalypse or: What the Dog Saw will be going on sale for Kindle (and other eBook device thingies) on Tuesday. Tell your friends. If your friends aren’t interested in reading a book about a dog facing the zombie apocalypse, then club them over the head with a brick and steal their credit cards so you can buy one for them anyway.

Bizzaro Book Review: Persistent Illusions by Joseph Devon

I remember when I was a kid, I would go to the library and max out their borrowing limit. I would come home with a big bundle of books and read and read and read. Back then books sucked me in and didn’t let me go. Books like Aliens Ate My Homework, the Enchanted Forest Chronicles, Frank Baum’s Oz books, I devoured them all in big starving gulps, rushing from one page to the next.

I haven’t been there with a book in a while. But Joseph Devon’s book Persistent Illusions took me right back to that to that place where the story took over my mind and wouldn’t let go.

I should start by telling you that Persistent Illusions is a sequel to another book called Probability Angels that I reviewed several months back. Probability Angels and Persistent Illusions take place in the world of the Testers, a group of human souls who have been chosen to stay on the earth and “push” living humans to live beyond their potential.

That’s the setup in the nutshell. But truly there’s more…so much more. The world of the testers is utterly fascinating to me. It is a place where mathematical equations can be conceptualized into objects like cameras and cell phones, a world where top of Mount Everest is covered with the sleeping souls of Testers, and oh yeah…I almost forgot, there’s zombies too. Sort of.

Beyond the magic of the world itself, Persistent Illusions shines out as a sequel. Many series of books I’ve read adhere to the mantra that “status quo is god” meaning that characters are largely the same from one book to another aside from a few superficial changes. Not so with Persistent Illusions.

The near-godlike Epp from the first book has been reduced to a brooding waste of a man, obsessed with what he once was and can no longer be. Conversely Kyo, the totally awesome Japanese Samurai deals with similar changes in a much more positive way. In a smaller sense, Matthew, Mary, and even the villain Hector have all obviously been moved and changed to some degree by the events of the first book. This kind of change in character give the book a striking feeling of authenticity. In the face of adversity the perfect is revealed to be imperfect, and the imperfect is strengthened, just as it is in real life.

I couldn’t write an honest review if I didn’t tell you that this is not a perfect book. I had a few issues with the opening section where the author used a kind of sliding perspective to introduce the major characters all at once without breaking scene, a sort of literary equivalent to opening a movie with a long steadycam shot. Theoretically I quite like the idea, but in practice I found it to be somewhat confusing each time the focus shifted to another character without warning. There are also a number of places where I felt that fairly clear dialogue was overexplained.

But it’s worth noting that these hiccups didn’t slow me down at all. Somewhere in the back of my mind Ethelberth the inner editor was whining, but I was too busy enjoying myself to notice much.

Bottom line? You need to buy this book. First, because it’s awesome and fun, and it sucked me in like no other book has in a while. But second, and possibly more importantly to my mind, you should buy this book because it stands for everything I love about indie publishing. It’s a fantastic story that doesn’t fit into any of the tiny little holes the publishing industry has created and called “genres”. To me, Joseph Devon is the apotheosis of the indepented author, a man with nothing more than his wits and a website, trying to prove that there is nothing more important to a book’s success than a great story.

I hope that you’ll join me in helping to prove him right.

Persistent Illusions is available for Kindle and as a physical book from Amazon.com. Other formats can be purchased from Smashwords. And if you truly can’t afford to buy it from those places (believe me I’ve been there) both Probability Angels and Persistent Illusions are available for free download from Joseph Devon’s website at josephdevon.com.

Seriously people, you’ve got no excuse not to check this out.