I subscribe to several sites that share good deals in ebooks and audiobooks and such, and usually that doesn’t mean much. I pick up the occasional book, but it’s not a big deal.
But it’s Christmas and omg, everybody is hurling bargains at me right and left. I bought five or maybe six audiobooks at $3.95 each yesterday. How could I turn that down? Today, they have James Patterson books on sale and fortunately that doesn’t tempt me because–
Today was all about the ebooks, people. OMG, the ebooks. [In answer to a question, I have linked to Amazon but my understanding is that many if not all of these books are on sale for the same prices everywhere, not just there.]
I bought Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union for $2.99.
I bought F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby for $3.99.
I bought Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower for $3.99.
I bought Pamela Morsi’s Simple Jess for .99.
I bought Susanna Kearsley’s Winter Sea for $2.99.
But–tomorrow is another day.
And we’re not going to talk about what I bought yesterday and the day before and last week and…
It’s just too damned bad I don’t have a Nook, because right now if you have a Nook?
You read it right.
Knock yourself out. Tell ‘em Pooks sent ya.
In an attempt to get more than 20 reviews for La Desperada on Amazon, I have devised a contest.
If you have already left a review there, you are already entered if I know who you are, though it would be best if you responded to this blog entry to make sure I know how to contact you if you win.
If you’ve read La Desperada but haven’t left a review yet, feel free to leave an honest review–I’m a pro and I’m not going to cry if you didn’t like it. In a perfect world a negative review would acknowledge that the book wasn’t without some redeeming merit, or at the least if you aren’t the target audience that would be a good thing to note, but honestly those are not requirements. Just give it an honest review and come here and post a reply to this blog entry so I know it’s you.
If you haven’t read it, well, that’s easy to remedy! It’s available for Kindle or any other device on Amazon (see above) or at Book View Cafe.
BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!
There is a second place!
A gift certificate for the Book View Cafe e-book of your choice.
GRAB THE KIDS AND TIE UP THE HORSES! COULD THERE POSSIBLY BE MORE?
There is, there is!
A separate contest for those who sign up as new email subscribers to my blog. [Look at the top of the sidebar on the right.] I will take the names of all the new subscribers, have a drawing, and one of you will also win a gift certificate for the e-book of your choice from Book View Cafe!
So, what are you waiting for? Two ways to win!
One more thing–feel free to also post your reviews on amazon.co.uk. They will not count as extra reviews, but I have sold books in the UK and so having more reviews there would be useful, too! You log in with the same info you use on amazon.com.
I am participating in the Authors4Trayvon community of readers and authors who support Trayvon’s family in their battle to ensure justice is served in this sad case. April 1-7, 2012, participating authors will donate 17% of their book sells (eBook and print) to the Martin family.
An arrest should have been made, a judge should have made a decision about bond, and a grand jury should have determined whether or not the case should be tried. That is the law. That is the American way.
That’s my opinion and I am doing my small part to contribute. Please visit Authors4Trayvon to see the other authors who are participating.
LA DESPERADA (THE NOVEL) AND REDEMPTION (THE SCRIPT)
I‘m very slow to get around to this, but wow, I just checked three books out from the library. The local public library. They will load onto (into?) Hermione’s Handbag automatically (and if I understand this process, will also vanish automatically, which means — no late fines!)!
You’ll hear what I think about them, it’s safe to say!
[Speaking of library books, I have exciting news that I will reveal later.]
And speaking of books and libraries also reminds me–
As you may recall, by eliminating a ton of books from my life and now using my Kindle for most new ones, I’ve freed up space to “build my library,” meaning, buying books I love, usually hardcover, and creating a library of special books rather than just any book I have ever purchased at any time in my life.
I’m loving the process.
And a new one is on the way to me.
A reread is definitely in my future.
Have you checked books out electronically from the library?
Which books would you want in hardcover that you don’t have now?
A few weeks ago Bill Chance reviewed La Desperada.
This is the kind of thing that can make an author nervous, because Bill was not the target audience when the book was written as a romance novel (quite) a few years back. And who knows how a man will react to a sexy genre typically written for women?
His review was thoughtful and gratifying because he picked up on things few people do, so as I responded to him there, I knew I’d eventually want to mention some of these things here.
First, I think I’ll address a question few people ever ask or care about.
“Where did you get the idea?”
I thought you’d never ask!
JK Rowling said the first thing that popped into her head before writing Harry Potter was, “Once there was a ten-year-old boy who was a wizard and didn’t know it.”
Well, in my case, what popped into my head was, “Once there was a woman so desperate to escape that she held a cold-blooded murderer at gunpoint and said, ‘take me with you.’”
That’s all I knew. I didn’t know if it was contemporary or historical, if it was set in London or Acapulco. I just tasted this woman’s desperation, could feel it in my veins, and could only ask a few logical questions in an effort to find out more.
How desperate is she? Well, if the cold-blooded murderer looks like Redford/Pitt/Depp, how desperate does she have to be? Seriously? Take me with you? Isn’t that a no-brainer? So I immediately knew that he was not handsome, and worse, had to be terrifying. Because the more terrifying he was, the more desperate she had to be.
My hero began to take form.
How desperate was she? Well, backing up a bit, why would she be dependent upon a cold-blooded murderer? Story-telling logic told me she had to force herself into his company (and again, if she didn’t have to force herself, what was interesting about that? Not much, so again, I learned more about him, because I learned that he didn’t want her. Truly. Did. Not. Want. Her.) And once forced, they would be forced to stay together.
And thinking of isolation made me think of the Trans Pecos.
Of a town so small, Fort Davis was big in comparison. And Fort Davis is not and was not ever big. Fort Davis in the 1880s was even more isolated than today, when it’s connected by state highways and such to the rest of the world. Because Fort Davis is over 200 miles from the nearest city of size, El Paso and (my research uncovered) only had one mail coach a week. Getting away from Fort Davis would be hard. From an even smaller more isolated town?
Imagine that isolation, that desperation, if someone is in an insufferable situation and is in fear of their very life–
And then I knew even more about the woman.
She was totally unprepared.
She was a lady.
She was from “back East.”
She was fragile.
I chose the location not because I love it. (I prefer green places, the greener the better.) I chose it not because I love westerns. (I’ve read two Louis L’amour and no Zane Grey, though my grandfather loved them.) I chose it because I knew it in that way you “know” a place you’ve visited a few times, have driven through, have peered at through various windshields over the years thinking, “I could not survive here.”
I chose it for logical reasons and for dramatic reasons, and thus, ended up researching places from afar, before the internet was an option, with a two-day side-trip from a tornado chase to nail down some details.
And thus, when Bill Chance wrote about the setting with such understanding and connection, it really, really made my day. And I had to respond, as follows:
You’re the only person I’ve ever known who knew the setting and recognized the details–even McKittrick Canyon, which you recognized even though I didn’t name it. It has been so long, I don’t remember why I didn’t–I think maybe it wasn’t known by that name yet? Or I wasn’t sure if it was? Twenty years ago I decided not to name it but heck if I remember why now. (That is true of most of my research. I research for hours or even days or longer on this detail or that, find what I want, use it, move on, and have no record nor memory of it for later.) Anyway, it’s really thrilling to read your review and see that you knew the area and appreciated it.
The Sierra Diablo is an interesting place to research, too, because I frankly couldn’t find out much about it at all except a few sentences somewhere, and it was all private access so we couldn’t drive into it to look. I finally decided, “There are 18 people on the face of this planet who will know if I get it wrong, and if any of them ever read my book, they are welcome to inform me of my errors.” LOL!
Rooting the conflict in Missouri was another interesting choice, since I didn’t know at the time that my great-grandmother was a James of Missouri. But when it came time to do the screen adaptation, I couldn’t find a way to gracefully work all that background in and make it dramatic and succinct, and I finally resorted to changing it to abolition, which drew a sharp line in the sand between good and bad.
Secondary characters–there is a trend in romance novels to spin off series by writing about secondary characters. I’m not sure why, but I felt obstinate and decided to write secondary characters that were too flawed or unheroic to merit their own books, just to be perverse. Thus I named my young deputy the very unheroic name of Wendell Crutcher, and Obregon was a drug addict. (BTW, today, Obregon would be a perfect hero, romance having changed so much.) Despite the fact that I thought I’d managed to sabotage any desires for spinoffs, I had letters from readers begging for books about Wendell, Obregon, and (yes, really) Doralee. People wanted me to write a book about the whore. Today? Yes. Back then? No. My editor confirmed, no whores for heroines. (And yes, I realize there are other problems with using Doralee for a future book but we won’t go there!)
As for the sex, ah, that’s okay, you weren’t the target audience. (wink)
Thanks so much for this eloquent review. It was well worth a twenty year wait to accidentally find somebody who appreciated the backdrop as much as you did!
[In writing this, I discovered that Bill and I have something in common. The "other" Patricia Burroughs who crops up in google searches is a real estate agent in Canada. When I typed in billchance.com instead of billchance.org, I found a real estate agent in Virginia. We both have careers in real estate in our alternate lives!]
* Originally titled What Wild Ecstasy [Kensington Books], this tale inspired the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences/Nicholl Award-winning screenplay, “Redemption.” The novel [La Desperada],and script [Redemption] are available together for the first time in one download at Amazon and at Book View Cafe.
What is Book View Cafe?
BVC is a small digital publisher with offerings from all genres, science fiction to romance to historical to mystery to mainstream to nonfiction. We are a cooperative of published authors/editors/publishing professionals who share our skills as editors, copyeditors, formatters, cover artists, and site maintainers. We offer both reprints and new books. Our books are DRM-free, can be bought from outside the USA, are VAT-free and there are no download charges.
The ebook is also available from Amazon.com, Amazon.de, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.fr, amazon.es and more, also for $4.99 or the equivalent, and I’m equally happy for you to buy it there. Go buy a lot of them. Make me an Amazon best seller!
What are you waiting for?
“I love the feel and weight and smell of books.”
“Save trees. Read ebooks.”
Finally, in desperation, I shout back at those annoying voices in my head, Can’t we all just get along?!?
And we can, because as you will discover once you own an ereader, too– it’s not a battle between ways of reading, it’s not an either/or, but a brand new “AND” way to read books. A way to read books that allows you to adjust the font to the most comfortable size, that makes an entire library lightweight and easy to take with you, a way of reading where nobody knows whether you’re reading classic or erotica, literature or genre, nobody can judge you by the cover of your book, just for starters.
Which brings me back to the disassembling and new creation of personal library. Paperbacks and hardcovers have gone to Half-Price Books and charities by the boxful. I still have 6 or 8 bookshelves, mind you. And some boxes of books. But as many as I still have, I did have three or four times as many. Today I brought out a box of “keepers” and realized out of 30 or 40, only 4 were true keepers, and those only until I can replace them with something more worth keeping.
One of those books is a battered, five-times read paperback, My Name Is Asher Lev. And in my ongoing effort to build a personal library that truly represents what I love and/or find fascinating (or need for research purposes) rather than every book I’ve ever purchased in my life, I am going to upgrade this paperback to a hardcover, once I find one.
I hadn’t added it to my goodreads library until today. This is what I said about it:
This book grabbed me by the throat with the first sentence, the first two paragraphs:
“My name is Asher Lev, the Asher Lev, about whom you have read in newspapers and magazines, about whom you talk so much at your dinner affairs and cocktail parties, the notorious and legendary Lev of the Brooklyn Crucifixion.
I am an observant Jew. Yes, of course Jews do not paint crucifixions. As a matter of fact, observant Jews do not paint at all–in theway that I am painting. So strong words are being written and spoken about me, myths are being generated: I am a traitor, an aspostate, a self-hater, an inflicter of shame upon my family, my friends, my people; also, I am a mocker of ideas sacred to Christians, a blasphemous manipulator of modes and forms revered by Gentiles for two thousand years.”
As a writer who comes from a deeply religious family, I identified with the issues in Asher Lev’s life, though his struggles were more profound than mine. How many times did I find myself approaching an idea, a scene, an action, even a word, with the voice in my mind, “What is he going to say about this?” or “Wait until she reads this part!” and the 9-year-old girl cringed and the adult writer wrote it anyway. So yes, I identified so totally with the struggles, even as I was fascinated by the world and issues that were alien to me.
I was introduced to Chaim Potok by The Chosen, another favorite. But My Name is Asher Lev touched me in a deeper way.
And now, to find that hardcover.
P.S. It’s not too late to enter and win my contest for a free book of your choice from Book Depository!
A couple of years ago I discovered Book View Cafe. My impression? It was a an ebook publisher and website created and maintained by some very talented, award-winning science fiction/fantasy writers and editors. I had my first introduction to steampunk through their short story anthology, The Shadow Conspiracy. I’ve given copies to several people. I’m not much of a short story reader but I found this alternate history of the 19th Century world fascinating and became hooked on the steampunk notion.
But I was wrong about something. It wasn’t just science fiction and fantasy. There is also romance, mystery, books on writing. There are essays and more. A lot of free reading material, and also the output of Book View Cafe, the publisher, which includes the backlist (previously published) work of the writers, and new titles as well.
And as of January 24, 2011, BVC will officially be my new publisher, too. (Well, they already are. The behind the scenes activity gearing up for the launch has been amazing.)
I’m proud to be a part of this group of amazing and innovative professionals. I have recommended books from BVC in the past, long before I ever realized I’d be one of their number. I will continue to rec more in the future, and in fact, am very excited about some of the upcoming books. (Including mine, naturally!)
Today, Sherwood Smith and Dave Trowbridge are featured on Scalzi‘s Whatever, blogging about their newly revamped Exordium series for BVC. Think Star Wars-style space opera. Go check it out. Now!
I almost forgot to remind you that it’s not too late to enter and win my contest for a free book of your choice from Book Depository!