Saturday, December 17, 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


I don't give my books away for free, or I haven't before, because the public, and rightly so, perceives "free" as rather worthless. But since I have three titles in the Prime Select program at Amazon on the Kindle, I will now and then make a story or book free. If a person has a Prime account they can get those titles for free, but for those who do not have that special account I thought it would only be fair to offer a book to them free now and then.

It's almost Christmas so before the truly big rush, I thought I'd offer my readers a free copy of INTERVIEW WITH A PSYCHO on (See link to your right.) It was written when I lived in Ft. Lauderdale, FL and the editor of the anthology PSYCHOS was alive. I was in the Horror Writers Association and they had luckily talked Mr. Bloch in looking over and editing an anthology for the organization. Many members submitted stories. INTERVIEW ended up being one of the chosen stories, along with a new short story (at that time) by Stephen King. 

During the compilation of this anthology, Mr. Bloch died. I was devastated. I had become pen-pal friends with Robert Bloch and we had written back and forth to one another a few times. I don't know why he bothered with me, a pretty unknown writer, but that was the sort of man he was--kind, good-hearted, a wonderful man. I wrote him in my excitement when I'd been nominated for the Edgar Award for my novel, NIGHT CRUISE. He was sincerely happy for me and mentioned, just as a side remark, that he'd never been nominated or won the Edgar. I sat reading his letter in stunned silence. The man who wrote PSYCHO that was turned into one of the most iconic movies ever, never was even nominated for mystery/suspense's highest award? How could that be? Who had made THAT mistake? I wrote back asking that, how could that possibly be? If anyone ever deserved that award, it was Robert Bloch. I felt bad about my own nomination because why would I deserve it, if even the inestimable Mr. Bloch hadn't received it? I knew that when the committee overlooked Robert Bloch, they really messed up. Not that it matters--the man was great and a terrific writer and he didn't need any nomination or award to prove that.

The last I heard from him was a postcard he sent me that arrived only days before his death. I have that postcard now and it's one of my possessions that I'd never part with. It was a private little message, a quip, what he was famous for with his tremendous sense of humor, and it made me smile. I stopped smiling when I discovered he'd passed on. RIP Robert, my old buddy.

So this story I'm offering for free download for three days has this kind of history behind it and that's one of the reasons I published it newly in e-book format. Catch the read and enjoy your Christmas present from me to you. It's not as good as what Robert Bloch did in his famous novel, PSYCHO, but it does pay him homage.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas for Writers and Readers

It's easy to know what to give a writer or reader for Christmas. Books! Now that many people own e-readers, it's easy to go to a site online and give the gift of a book. You can choose from novels, biographies, histories, even children's books.

If you're really feeling generous, give an e-reader. Now that tablets have come out, the best one around appears to be the Kindle Fire, with the Nook tablet as runner-up. Other tablets cost more and don't do much more so I'd consider those two the best bargains for the bucks. Do you know someone who is single or lives alone?  Give him an e-reader that will browse the web, let you read books with hundreds of thousands of titles to choose from, watch streaming movies, listen to any music ever created, and play a few games when bored. That's what the new Kindle Fire and Nook tablet do. What more could we ask for as writers and readers?

I have a Kindle 3rd generation that has the lifetime 3G for downloading books when I buy them. It has changed the way I read and cleared up a lot of room in my house. I also travel a lot and have little storage room for physical books, but with my Kindle I have hundreds of books at my fingertips.

When I was a child of 13 who wanted to grow up to be a writer, it could not have possibly occurred to me that one day instead of a library in my home with shelves of books, I would be reading on an electronic tablet. If someone from the future had told me that's what was in store for me, I wouldn't have been able to even grasp such a thing. Today so many people read this way that it's become normal. What a long way we have all come, baby!

I also offer nearly all of my books, back list and new, as digital downloads for e-readers. You can find them on the Kindle site, Barnes and Noble site, the Apple store, Smashwords, Diesel, Sony, and so many other places for sale on the internet. As a writer this has freed me and given me total control over my work and my rights to the work. I think it is a brand new world and it's a good one.

For the next three months I've even joined the program with Amazon where I'm offering two of my titles for free when you have a Prime account. That's the $79 a year account where you get free shipping on everything, streaming movies, music downloads, and now one free book a month. Amazon has become the biggest player of all when it comes to e-books and in some ways that's a good thing and in others it's a bad thing. No one wants to see the competition crushed. I will always want my work available for the Nook and the iPad and other e-readers and tablets. It's never good to put all of one's eggs in one basket, is it? But in other ways all writers want Amazon to do well because they are the ones running the big poppa show and if big poppa were to lose money or fail, then that would definitely hurt writers everywhere. It's amazing what Amazon has done in only a few years and you do have to give them credit where it is due in how well they know what people want and then making it easy for those customers to get what they want.

So if anyone wants to give me anything for Christmas, I'll take an e-book, and if you're feeling generous I'll take the Kindle Fire. Thank you, Santa!