News and Notices from the Writing Trenches #146…

Summer reading. Vacation or staycation, you can get some good R&R by reading a good novel or two. Also short story collections which portion out good tales in bite-size chunks even when your days are full. In fact, even if your days are hectic with different activities related to work or play, a good book can be a rich dessert to top everything off. It’s a good time to catch up on those books you’ve been meaning to read too!

There are many book sales for summer and holidays. Avid readers watch for them, and any reader can take advantage of them. (For the Smashwords site-wide sale, see below.)

Watching for classics. I’ve recently purchased some “classics” (fiction and non-fiction) on sale as ebooks. Some I have in paper version, but I wanted a copy for my Kindle; others are “new” to me—books I missed or originally found to expensive to buy. Take advantage when you see one available for $5 or less. New purchases of these classics will encourage authors and publishers to recycle these great books. Who knows? I might encourage Big Five publishers to drop all their ebook prices!

Literacy. David Baldacci is a great promoter of literacy and takes time to promote it while other writing superstars just count the money rolling in, although they wouldn’t be against it, that’s for sure. While I’ve yet to see an entire book written in social media’s acronyms—Ann w LOL: “OMG! WITW? TACP!”—I worry that internet communication will destroy literacy. When I worked in my high-tech day-job, I found many technical people who struggled to express themselves clearly, but this is becoming generalized. The next decades could be interesting.

“Steve’s Bookshelf”. I’ve always been an avid reader (speed-reading ability helps). Even now, as a full-time writer, I take time for reading and reviewing. The list of books on this webpage are just a few that have impressed me over the years.

Book piracy. I hope you read my blog post on this topic. Authors and publishers are discouraged from writing and publishing more books because of this prevalent practice. Support your favorite authors and publishers by buying their books. Reading for free shouldn’t be some vicarious turn-on (free copies in return for honest reviews are exceptions, of course).

First five-star Amazon review for Rembrandt’s Angel. I receive some reviews for my books, but this is the earliest I’ve ever received. Here are excerpts:

“If you lean toward mysteries that entertain as well as intrigue, this title is for you. …successfully couples history’s fascination with the still-missing master artworks that disappeared under the Third Reich with a pair of intercontinental sleuths who are more than a match for the cast of neo-Nazis they choose to tangle with. I say choose because 60-something Esther Brookstone of Scotland Yard and her somewhat younger partner and paramour Bastiann van Coevorden (Interpol) are clearly in command as they pursue a missing Rembrandt canvas across borders….”
“As the story unfolds, the pair maintain a delightful banter centered as much around their sex life as their pursuit of artworks and the crooks who would trade them for enough cash to finance a new and even more nefarious Nazi regime. Read it to find out which side triumphs and how they do it. Then join me in hoping there are more stories ahead starring this clever pair.”—Amazon Customer

Reviewers who would like to review this book for free in exchange for an honest review can query me via my contact page. Supplies are limited, and delivery of the ebook is speedier than the print version (which comes to you via snail-mail from Penmore Press). Reviews are important for any author because they let other readers know about readers’ opinions—what they liked and disliked and why—as well as giving the author useful info.

Rembrandt’s Angel is available in ebook version on Amazon and Smashwords and at the latter’s affiliated retailers. The print version is available at Amazon and B&N or your favorite bookstore (if they don’t have it, ask for it).

The Last Humans. My new post-apocalyptic thriller will soon be sent to beta-readers, and then I’ll be querying publishers and agents. I’m happy with Penmore Press, publisher of Rembrandt’s Angel, so they’ll get first dibs. Carrick Publishing and I have a great working relationship too. The staffs at both are great people too. We’ll see how it goes. Publishing queries are almost as stressful as PR and marketing for authors these days…just part of the process, though. Here’s a blurb for The Last Humans:

Foes of the U.S. attack with a bio-engineered contagion that spreads around the world. Some survive, among them Penny Castro, who does forensic dives for the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department. One of those dives is interrupted. When she surfaces, she finds all her colleagues dead. She is alone, but not for long. While dead bodies abound, other survivors, hordes of feral humans, hunt for victims. She makes it to a refugee camp at USAFB Edwards where she struggles to create order in her life. A post-apocalyptic thriller for our times, Penny’s adventures will entertain and shock you into asking, “Could this really happen?”

The title is tentative, by the way.

Smashwords sale. There’s a big book Summer/Winter Smashwords site-wide promo from July 1 – 31. You have be a member to receive the email catalog. Join Smashwords—it’s free, and it provides a large universe of reading entertainment. Almost all my ebooks are on sale with price reductions from 25 – 50 %. That includes the first six books in the “Detectives Chen and Castilblanco Series.” Load your e-reader up for summer (northern hemisphere) or winter (southern hemisphere). Great summer and holiday reading! (This sale doesn’t apply to Gaia and the Goliaths nor Rembrandt’s Angel—sorry.)


In libris libertas…




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