Paranormal Romance

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After my previous post about contemporary and urban fantasy, I thought I should do a follow-up on paranormal romance because the genres have much in common. Paranormal romance novels are often written using a contemporary and/or urban setting. Many of the same fantasy elements (magic, witchcraft, telepathy) and beings (vampires, werewolves, fae) are used.

It’s important to note that a paranormal romance is first and foremost a romance novel. The main emphasis must be on the romantic relationship between the protagonist and their love interest. Usually, this involves a woman and man, though LGBT paranormal romances have been gaining popularity.

Paranormal in regard to the romance genre is a catch all word. It includes fantasy, horror, science fiction and their subgenres. Interestingly, it does not include time travel, which is a separate romance subgenre and not considered paranormal. Why not? Usually, such novels involve a hero from the past being transported into the present, or a present-day heroine transported into the past. It’s a convenient plot device and the fantasy element doesn’t venture much beyond that.  Also, time travel is a very popular subgenre that needs its own classification.

As you can imagine, there is a fuzzy line between all these genres. After all, the romantic relationship is a huge part of fiction, whether as a main plot or subplot. How much romance does it take to tip the scales? I would say enough to make the outcome of the relationship more important than any other plot element. We don’t care if the kingdom crumbles as long as the lovers can get married and have babies.

Popular writers of paranormal romance include Christine Feehan, Susan Krinard, Susan Grant and Marjorie M. Liu.

Below are some free-for-now paranormal romance novels, along with a fantasy sampler.

Doorway to Dreams (Fantasy Fiction Sampler)
Angels on Earth. Mermaids, time travel, and messages from beyond the grave. This fantasy fiction sampler will transport you to new and exciting worlds.

Fire Burn And Cauldron Bubble: The Jolie Wilkins Series (Volume 1)  Fire Burn And Cauldron Bubble by H.P. Mallory
Life isn’t bad for psychic Jolie Wilkins. True, she doesn’t have a love life to speak of, but she has a cute house in the suburbs of Los Angeles, a cat and a quirky best friend. Enter Rand Balfour, a sinfully attractive warlock who insists she’s a witch and who just might turn her life upside down. Rand hires her to help him solve a mystery regarding the death of his client who also happens to be a ghost. Jolie not only uncovers the cause of the ghost’s demise but, in the process, she brings him back to life!

Once Bitten  Once Bitten by Trina M. Lee
Alexa O’Brien has never been like other people. A hunter of supernatural rogues, she is a werewolf with unusual but extraordinary power. Power that draws her to Arys Knight, the mysterious vampire who awakens her dark side. What they create together is dangerous and binding, forcing her to question the source of her abilities. It threatens not only her remaining humanity, but her relationship with fellow werewolf, Shaz Richardson, as well.

Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter  Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter by Nikki Jefford
If there is one thing eighteen-year-old Aurora Sky wants, it’s to get off the iceberg she calls home. Being kissed before she graduates wouldn’t hurt either. Then a near-fatal car wreck changes everything. Government agents step in and save Aurora’s life in exchange for her services as a vampire hunter. In Alaska. Basically she’s a glorified chew toy. All thanks to her rare blood type, which sends a vampire into temporary paralysis before she has to finish the job…by hand. Now Aurora’s only friends are groupies of the undead and the only boy she can think about may very well be a vampire. And if he’s a vampire, will she be forced to kill him?

Immortalis Carpe Noctem (Immortalis, Book 1)  Immortalis Carpe Noctem by Katie Salidas
Newbie vampire Alyssa never asked for this life, but now it’s all she has. Rescued from death by Lysander, the aloof and sexy leader of the Peregrinus vampire clan, she’s barely cut her teeth before she becomes a target. Kallisto, an ancient and vindictive vampire queen – and Lysander’s old mate – wants nothing less than final death for her former lover and his new toy. She’s not above letting the Acta Sanctorum, and its greatest vampire hunter, Santino, know exactly where the clan can be found. With no time to mourn her old life, Alyssa’s survival depends on her new family. She will have to stand alongside Lysander and fight against two enemies who will stop at nothing to destroy them.

Below are some free-for-now books that may rouse your interest in the genre.

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Disclaimers and Disclosures

I found these books via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

These freebies are limited time offers, so there is no guarantee any of these books will still be free when you click on the links. Grab them sooner rather than later.

Contemporary and Urban Fantasy

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When you hear the term “urban fantasy,” you might think of a novel that is edgy, hip and urban. When you hear the term “contemporary fantasy,” you might think, edgy, hip and – um – not urban? Not exactly. The two subgenres have certain similarities, but they are separate categories.

Contemporary fantasy is set in contemporary times in the real world. In other words, if you wish to publish such a novel now, i.e. 2013, it must be set on Earth in the late twentieth to early twenty-first century. Another important distinguishing feature is that the fantasy elements, the magic, must be secret from the public at large. For example, in the Harry Potter novels, ordinary people, AKA Muggles, had little or no knowledge of the wizarding world.  Current issues, events and popular culture may be referenced or even affected by magic, but the world at large will never know.

Popular authors that write contemporary fantasy include Charles de Lint, Holly Black and Jim Butcher.

Urban fantasy is just that, a fantasy novel with an urban setting. The city itself is an important element and readers should feel as if they are walking the gritty streets while they read. An urban fantasy does not have to be set in modern times. It can be set in the past, present or future, i.e., London 2013, Rome 213 or New York 2213. Also, the fantasy element doesn’t have to be hidden. Ordinary people may or may not be aware of magic and supernatural beings.

Popular authors that write urban fantasy include Charles de Lint, Holly Black and Jim Butcher. What? No, I didn’t just copy and paste. There’s lots of crossover between these genres and some books can be considered both. Some authors write in both genres.

A popular series that I don’t think fits either genre is Sookie Stackhouse, the inspiration for the TV series, True Blood. The series is set in a small town rather than a large city, so it’s not urban fantasy. Ordinary humans are aware of supernatural beings, so it’s not contemporary fantasy. Well, what is it? Horror? Paranormal romance? A crossover of the two genres? Maybe.

It’s good to keep in mind that labels such as romance, mystery, horror, etc. are important because that’s where your book will go when it’s placed on the shelf of a bookstore or library, or which category it will listed under on Amazon or B&N. Subgenres are less rigid, giving writers breathing space to create a world and write the story they want to tell.

Below are some free-for-now books that may rouse your interest in the genres.

  Bedlam Boyz (Urban Elves) by Ellen Guon
When one of her friends is gunned down, Kayla uses her latent healing powers to heal her friend—and the gang member who shot him—and soon the city’s gangs are eager to use her powers for evil.

  Soul Sisters by Janiera Eldridge
Soul Sisters is an urban fantasy novel about African-American twin sisters Ani and Dana who have a rather unique secret: one sister is human while the other is a vampire. While the sisters have lived peacefully with each other for many years one fateful night will change both their lives forever. When a drunken man tries to attack Dana (the human sister) Ani (the vampire sister) protects her sister with all of her ferocious power. However, when the vampire’s leader Donovan finds out about the public display he calls for the sisters to be assassinated for disobedience. Ani and Dana now are in for the fight of their lives to protect each other as well as the lives of their dedicated friends who have joined them on their mission for survival.

  Earth (Elemental Series) by Shauna Granger
Shayna and her two best friends have the abilities to manipulate and control the four elements, earth, air, water and fire. While learning to hone their growing powers, they discover a new and malicious presence in their sleepy beach town. Someone is performing blood magic and threatens to expose their small magical community. So far only small animals have been slaughtered, but then the nightmares start.

  Just Another Day in Paradise by Katherine Tomlinson
Life in the big city is not for the faint of heart. Shadows lurk in sunlight; blood spills on floors; hope and dread are just two sides of a neon sign; and loneliness is a paper cut on the heart, an invisible wound that eventually kills. In these stories, Katherine Tomlinson explores the dark heart of urban living—the violence that seeps through walls like rancid cooking odors, the paranoia that grows in the dark, nurtured by guilt and grief; the retribution that strikes as suddenly and implacably as summer lightning. And every day brings a new challenge.

  Dirty Blood by Heather Hildenbrand
I killed a girl last night. I did it with my bare hands and an old piece of pipe I found lying next to the dumpster. But that’s not the part that got me. The part that scared me, the part I can’t seem to wrap my head around and still has me reeling, was that when she charged me, her body shifted – and then she was a wolf. All snapping teeth and extended claws. But by the time I stood over her lifeless body, she was a girl again. That’s about the time I went into shock… And that was the moment he showed up. Now, all I can do is accept the truths that are staring me in the face. One, Werewolves do exist. And two, I was born to kill them.

Descriptions provided by Amazon

Disclaimers and Disclosures

I found these books via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

These freebies are limited time offers, so there is no guarantee any of these books will still be free when you click on the links. Grab them sooner rather than later.

Books that I have previously listed will occasionally come up free again. I add those to my current posts for people who didn’t see them the first time.

Dystopia and Post-Apocalyptic

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I feel like I’m on a roll, blogging about different genres, so I thought I’d continue the discussion and associated freebies.

Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic novels can be mistaken for each other. This is excusable because the genres are similar and often cross over. Therefore, a little explanation is in order.

Dystopia is the opposite of utopia. What is utopia? According to Wikipedia:

A utopia is a community or society possessing highly desirable or perfect qualities. The term has been used to describe both intentional communities that attempt to create an ideal society, and fictional societies portrayed in literature.

A dystopian society isn’t simply imperfect or undesirable. After all, all societies are imperfect and possess undesirable traits. To quote Wikipedia again:

Dystopias are often characterized by dehumanization, totalitarian governments, environmental disaster, or other characteristics associated with a cataclysmic decline in society.

Dystopia is a popular Young Adult subgenre, perhaps because there is so much at stake in this kind of dark, futuristic scenario. Consider the popularity of “The Hunger Games” and “Divergent.” Personal freedom doesn’t involve not having a car. It involves not having any choice at all. Adult example of dystopia include “1984” and the science fiction short story series, “Wool.”

Post-Apocalyptic is basically what happens after the bomb drops or the zombies inherit the earth, or both. An event or events occur that causes the destruction of civilization. Chaos reigns and survivors must fight tooth and nail to live. Examples of such novels include “The Stand” and “The Road.”

Notice the difference? Dystopia involves some kind of ordered society. Post-Apocalyptic involves chaos. The crossover occurs when survivors of an apocalyptic event form a society. A good example of that would be the hit TV series, “Revolution.” For an unexplained reason, all forms of energy disappear on a worldwide scale. Electricity goes out. Airplanes fall from the sky. As chaos takes over, cities become deathtraps. Some survivors join forces to live in agrarian collectives. Others, willing or not, become part of militaristic societies.

Many times, these stories involve our own world reimagined. As we read such stories, we can see ourselves trying to survive in a familiar, yet nightmarish scenario. This can seem like grim stuff, but it makes for great adventure.

Below are some free-for-now books that may rouse your interest in the genres.

  Hunger for Dystopian Teen Sampler
Tales of dangerous worlds set in futures both unrecognizable and startlingly familiar. Read sneak peeks of the hottest dystopian books around, including Divergent by Veronica Roth, Gone by Michael Grant, Delirium by Lauren Oliver, Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, Variant by Robison Wells, Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, Eve by Anna Carey, and Partials by Dan Wells.

  Hollowland by Amanda Hocking
“This is the way the world ends – not with a bang or a whimper, but with zombies breaking down the back door.” Nineteen-year-old Remy King is on a mission to get across the wasteland left of America, and nothing will stand in her way – not violent marauders, a spoiled rock star, or an army of flesh-eating zombies.

  Wool – Part One by Hugh Howey
Thousands of them have lived underground. They’ve lived there so long, there are only legends about people living anywhere else. Such a life requires rules. Strict rules. There are things that must not be discussed. Like going outside. Never mention you might like going outside. Or you’ll get what you wish for.

  The Forever Gate by Isaac Hooke
3740 A.D. The ice age has immobilized the world. Colossal walls seal off the cities from the uninhabitable Outside. Humanlike entities called “gols” run society, and force the humans to wear collars that block the innate powers mankind has evolved. One man rises up…

  Darkness Falls by Jessica Sorensen
When the disease spread through the world, people had no choice but to go into hiding. The Colony is hidden deep underground, far away from the vampires—humans that were transformed by the disease. The vampires are hideous, starving, and they will kill any human they come across. Seventeen-year-old Kayla is a Bellator, a warrior that protects The Colony. The Highers run The Colony and accept nothing less than perfection. One slip up can mean death. Kayla has always worked hard to follow the rules and strive for perfection. But during a moment of weakness, she lets her imperfections show. Her punishment is worse than death. She is chosen for The Gathering and is thrown out into a world full of starving vampires.

Descriptions provided by Amazon

Disclaimers and Disclosures

I found these books via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

These freebies are limited time offers, so there is no guarantee any of these books will still be free when you click on the links. Grab them sooner rather than later.

Books that I have previously listed will occasionally come up free again. I add those to my current posts for people who didn’t see them the first time.

Space Opera

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When I was younger, I was a huge scifi fan: books, movies, comics, TV shows, I loved it all. I still do, though I don’t read much of the genre these days. As a writer, I think it’s important to read many different genres in order to improve my own craft. So, today I took a look at Amazon’s science fiction freebies.

I was interested to find several books by a prolific, well-known space opera author, David Drake. What is space opera? To quote Wikipedia:

Space opera is a subgenre of science fiction that emphasizes romantic, often melodramatic adventure, set mainly or entirely in outer space, usually involving conflict between opponents possessing advanced technologies and abilities.

It has been a popular subgenre, not just in literature but also in television and movies. “Star Trek” and “Star Wars” are considered space operas. I would say its popularity has waned in recent years, displaced by super heroes and dystopia. However, the upcoming Star Trek movie, “Into Darkness,” could rekindle interest in the genre.

At its best, a space opera is a cracking good yarn, that is, a story that loses you in its world and keeps your interest from beginning to end. The books listed below look to be such yarns. Enjoy!

All books listed below are by David Drake.

  Northworld Trilogy
The inhuman Rulers of the galaxy sent three fleets to learn what had happened to the world located by Captain North and the Survey Team he led. Neither a soul nor a message returned. The fourth time, the Rulers sent a single man: Nils Hansen. Commissioner Hansen had a mind that saw the shortest path to each task’s completion and a ruthless determination to do what the task required. The cost – to himself and whoever happened to be in the way – didn’t matter. Hanson’s Special Units had kept his planet safe from the most sophisticated and violent criminals in the galaxy. Now Hansen was being sent to penetrate a spacetime enigma which had made gods or demons of the first humans to discover it. He would succeed or die.

Redliners  Redliners
They were the toughest fighters in the galaxy – until they got used up. The mission: redemption-or death. The troops were walking dead already, so there wasn’t much of a downside. Major Arthur Farrell and the troops of Strike Force Company C41 had seen too much war with the alien Kalendru. They had too many screaming memories to be fit for combat again, but they were far too dangerous to themselves and others to be returned to civilian life.

Seas of Venus  Seas of Venus
Earth is a dead cinder beyond the dense clouds. On a terraformed Venus the land is ruled by savage plants and the even more savage beasts that prey on them, while monsters out of nightmare swim though the globe-girdling seas. Mankind huddles in domed underwater Keeps, living a purposeless static existence—dedicated to pleasure but destined for oblivion later if not sooner. Only the Free Companions, the mercenaries who fight proxy wars for the Keeps, live on the surface of Venus. Their warships course the seas, battling one another in struggles to decide victory or defeat for one day, life or death for a few individuals. The Free companions live till they die with the searing thrill of danger, and their deeds bring excitement and color to the bored residents of the Keeps; but Mankind is doomed unless something changes.

Sea Hag (World of Crystal Walls, No 1)  The Sea Hag
FROM PALACE . . . Dennis flees the crystal walls of Emath when he learns the truth behind the city his father rules. TO WILDERNESS . . . The jungle enfolds him, tests his sword arm with monsters and his courage with nightmares more terrible than any monster. FROM LOVE . . . Sword and spirit can win Dennis a princess– TO BLACKEST WIZARDRY . . . But he can overcome the final evil only at the risk of all he has become–and his soul besides.

Descriptions provided by Amazon

Disclaimers and Disclosures

I found these books via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

These freebies are limited time offers, so there is no guarantee any of these books will still be free when you click on the links. Grab them sooner rather than later.

New Adult Fiction – When YA Grows Up

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Move over YA, there’s a hot, new genre in town. It’s called New Adult. Readers and writers may shake their heads and wonder, “What’s the difference?”

I could say, not much, but it’s more complicated than that. The main difference is the age group. To put it simply: Young Adult focuses on adolescents, i.e., teenagers in high school. New Adult focuses on older teens and young twenty-somethings making the transition to adulthood.

Both genres explore themes around young people dealing with new experiences. For example, a YA book could start with the protagonist’s first day at a new high school. A NA book could start with the protagonist’s first day moving into a college dorm or their first apartment.

Both genres appeal to a similar audience. Like many hot genres, YA is beginning to feel over-saturated. NA captures the same market with fresh situations and stories. But don’t mistake New Adult for a YA subgenre. It is its own animal and has a growing fan base. The sexual situations can be more explicit and books may come with a 17+ age group warning. A great website to check out is NA Alley.

For more information, I suggest reading these two articles: New Adult Fiction and Beyond Wizards and Vampires, to Sex. Also, the website, Goodreads, has a list of New Adult fiction.

It will be interesting to see how this genre evolves. Right now, there seems to be a focus on the female protagonist in a contemporary fiction or romance setting. The HBO series, “Girls” appears to be an influence on the genre. Will subgenres evolve, i.e., NA mysteries, science fiction, fantasy, horror, etc.? Time will tell, but given the evolution of YA, it seems very likely.

I’m currently reading a NA novel, “The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden.” It caught my eye because it’s an independently published novel that has remained in the Amazon Kindle top ten bestsellers for a number of weeks. It’s a good read that deals with some hard subject matters, including rape, physical and emotional abuse. It only costs $0.99, so if you’re interested in the genre, this is a good place to start.

I’ve also included a free-for-now novel, which I haven’t yet read.

If you are an author with a novel that fits this genre, you’re in luck! As I posted last week, Random House is starting a new digital imprint called Flirt, which is open to unsolicited manuscripts. Go here for more information.

The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden  The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden by Jessica Sorensen
Cost $0.99
Luck was not on Callie’s side the day of her twelfth birthday when everything was stolen from her. After it’s all over, she locks up her feelings and vows never to tell anyone what happened. Six years later her painful past consumes her life and most days it’s a struggle just to breathe. For as long as Kayden can remember, suffering in silence was the only way to survive life. As long as he did what he was told, everything was okay. One night, after making a terrible mistake, it seems like his life might be over. Luck was on his side, though, when Callie coincidentally is in the right place at the right time and saves him. Now he can’t stop thinking about the girl he saw at school, but never really knew. When he ends up at the same college as Callie, he does everything he can to try to get to know her. But Callie is reserved and closed off. The more he tries to be part of her life, the more he realizes Callie might need to be saved.

  No Way Back (Mia’s Way, #1) by Chloe Adams
The wealthy daughter of a high-ranking politician, seventeen year old Mia Abbott-Renou has everything: designer clothes, wealth, spring breaks in Monte Carlo. She lives blissfully unaware of her family’s secrets, until the night she is raped by the son of her father’s greatest political ally. Her father forbids her from going to the police and threatens to throw her out if she does. It’s a critical election year, one that his party might lose, if the public sours on his doting father image when they realize his daughter is an underage lush and party girl. He can’t risk splintering the party in a nasty court battle that’s certain to draw way too much press, even if that means sacrificing his daughter. Mia’s world is shattered twice, once by the men who hurt her, and once by the betrayal of her family. She does what her father says. But the rapists strike again and beat their next victim near death. With the help of her best friend and a couple of unlikely allies, Mia must decide: does she risk losing everything to do what’s right? Or does she turn her back on the truth and preserve the family name?

Descriptions provided by Amazon

Disclaimers and Disclosures

I found these books via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

The free book is a limited time offer and there is no guarantee it will still be free when you click on the link. Grab it sooner rather than later.

Digital Market News

Two new markets have opened for digital genre fiction. This is great news for anyone who is interested in digital publication and has a completed manuscript.

I found these markets through the Cindi Myers Market News Blog here on WordPress. If you are a writer, you need to subscribe to her blog. Ms. Meyer’s provides publishing market news on a weekly basis (with occasional breaks.) She’s been doing this for years, is a great writer and fabulous person. I’ve shouted her out here before and shall do so again.

Big Six publisher Random House is launching three new digital imprints. From the Random House website:

To the already-existing LOVESWEPT imprint for romance and women’s fiction, RHPG will add the following digital-only imprints:  ALIBI, for mystery/suspense readers; HYDRA, for sci-fi/fantasy enthusiasts; and FLIRT, for the rapidly-growing college-age New Adult audiences.  In addition, this digital-only program will seek out the best and brightest names in the next generation of authors, enabling us to cultivate a team of writers in the publishing world’s most prolific and lively genres.

To learn more about this exciting opportunity, go here.

Submission guidelines are here.

Prime Books, an independent publisher of science fiction and fantasy, is launching a digital imprint called Masque Books. From the Masque Books website:

Masque Books is Prime Books’ new digital imprint. Our emphasis is on both general sf/fantasy, and sf/f romance. We plan on launching with twelve titles in July 2013 and publishing six titles a month thereafter.

Further information and submission guidelines can be found here.

Best wishes to all who submit their manuscripts to these markets! Let me know how it goes.

Gender and Genre

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While browsing the Science Fiction category in Kindle books I noticed two free-for-now novels by science fiction and fantasy writer, Andre Norton. For those who aren’t familiar with this author, here’s the Wikipedia blurb on Amazon:

Andre Alice Norton, née Alice Mary Norton (February 17, 1912 – March 17, 2005) was an American science fiction and fantasy author (with some works of historical fiction and contemporary fiction) under the noms de plume Andre Norton, Andrew North and Allen Weston. Norton published her first novel in 1934, and was the first woman to receive the Gandalf Grand Master Award from the World Science Fiction Society in 1977, and won the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) association in 1983.

That’s right, Andre Norton was a woman. Back in the day, she and other female science fiction writers, such as James Tiptree, Jr., used male or gender neutral pseudonyms in order to be published in the genre.

This got me thinking about my previous post, The Big Bang Theory of Comic Books. A lot has been written about women and geekdom, and all things being equal. Or not. Recently, the Fake Geek Girl meme exploded all over the Internet, due in no small part to the article, Booth Babes Need Not Apply.

The tired, sad trope is this: attractive woman + sexy cosplay costume = fake geek.

There’s been plenty (plenty) of follow-up and debate, even making it to the Forbes website, with two converse articles written by a man (‘Fake Geek Girls’: How Geek Gatekeeping Is Bad For Business) and a woman (Dear Fake Geek Girls: Please Go Away.)

Which brings us back to Andre Norton. Not a fake geek girl at all, yet she had to hide her gender to be taken seriously. Back in the day, right? Yet, what about J.K. Rowling who also hid her gender behind a pseudonym in order to be published?

What is it about gender and genre? And while it’s easy to point an accusing finger at sexism in science fiction, how many male romance writers do you know of? They most certainly do exist and, according to this Publisher’s Weekly article, also tend to use pseudonyms.

My answer to all this is to try not to allow stereotypes to color my judgment. People should be able to cosplay a character they enjoy/admire without the fear of being grilled over every tiny detail of that character’s existence and being called fake. When it comes to literature, what really matters is content: well-written, good stories, such as those authored by Ms. Andre Norton.

Time Traders  Time Traders by Andre Norton
Intelligence agents have uncovered something which seems beyond belief, but the evidence is incontrovertible: the USA’s greatest adversary on the world stage is sending its agents back through time! And someone or something unknown to our history is presenting them with technologies—and weapons—far beyond our most advanced science. We have only one option: create time-transfer technology ourselves, find the opposition’s ancient source . . . and take it down. When small-time criminal Ross Murdock and Apache rancher Travis Fox stumble separately onto America’s secret time travel project, Operation Retrograde, they are faced with a challenge greater than either could have imagined possible. Their mere presence means that they know too much to go free. But Murdock and Fox have a thirst for adventure, and Operation Retrograde offers that in spades.

Star Soldiers  Star Soldiers by Andre Norton
Only as interstellar mercenaries can humans go to the stars; the aliens who already dominate the galaxy allow no other recourse. But when Swordsman Third Class Kana Karr and his comrades-in-arms are betrayed and abandoned on a hostile world by their alien masters, the warriors from Earth begin a desperate but glorious march across a planet whose every sword is against them. Their actions may doom humanity’s future . . . or lead the way to an empire of their own! Four thousand years later, galactic civilization is collapsing, and the underfunded crew of an exploration starship is forced to set down on an uncharted planet: a mysterious, abandoned world that is achingly beautiful-and hauntingly familiar. Ranger Sergeant Kartr, telepath and stellar Patrolman, searches with his crewmates for the source of a beacon which may mean escape for them all. What he finds is far stranger: the first clue to what may become the greatest revelation in galactic history!

Descriptions provided by Amazon

Disclaimers and Disclosures

I found these books via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

These freebies are limited time offers, so there is no guarantee any of these books will still be free when you click on the links. Grab them sooner rather than later.

Doctor Who Cookbook

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I was hoping this would come up free again and it has! Today’s awesome freebie is a Doctor Who-themed cookbook. I found the link on the awesome site, Dining Downloads, so mega thanks to them.

If you love the Doctor, grab this now. Last time it was free, I wrote a post, clicked on the link in preview, and it was full price again. Yep, the freebies can go that fast, so don’t wait!

Dining With The Doctor: The Unauthorized Whovian Cookbook  Dining With The Doctor: The Unauthorized Whovian Cookbook by Chris-Rachael Oseland
Hello, sweetie. Your taste buds are about to take a wibbly wobbly, timey wimey adventure through the 2005 Doctor Who reboot. Megafan and food writer Chris-Rachael Oseland spent a year rewatching all of series one through six and experimenting in her kitchen to bring you a fresh recipe for every single episode. This book is a treat for any Whovian who wants to offer more than a plate of fish fingers and a bowl of custard at your next viewing party. Want to host an elegant dinner party to show off your new Tardis corset? Start the evening with a Two Streams Garden Cocktail followed by Baked Hath, Marble Cucumber Circuits with Vesuvian Fire Dipping Sauce, Professor Yana’s Gluten Neutrino Map Binder, Slitheen Eggs, and some of Kazran’s Night Sky Fog Cups for dessert.

Descriptions provided by Amazon

Disclaimers and Disclosures

I found this book via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

This freebie is a limited time offer and there is no guarantee it will still be free when you click on the link. Grab it sooner rather than later.

The Big Bang Theory of Comic Books

Free Comic Books!

I am a big “Big Bang Theory” fan. I love the characters and how the show sometimes gets geek culture right. However, BBT can also get geek culture wrong. Case in point, last night’s episode, “The Bakersfield Expedition.”

What it got right: the men heading for Bakersfield Comic-Con, all too eager to cosplay their “Star Trek: The Next Generation” characters.

What it got wrong: the women staying behind to puzzle over why the men read comic books.

Back in the day, I was an avid comic book collector. While I particularly liked the X-Men universe, I also enjoyed the more subversive stuff, like “Watchmen” and “Love and Rockets.” On Friday nights, my friends and I, all women, would go to the local comic book store, pick up our weekly supply of titles, then go grab a pizza and head home to make an evening of it. Good times.

The stereotype didn’t hold then and it doesn’t hold now. Women of all ages read, write and draw comics, manga, graphic novels, whatever you want to call them.

Whatever your gender, whether you love comics or are interested in becoming acquainted  with them again, you can find an abundance of free resources online. I’m focusing on what’s available in the Kindle Store and iTunes. Note, many of these books can only be viewed on a computer or a tablet, but not on a conventional eReader like the Kindle Touch.

Both the Kindle Store and iTunes have a nice selection free comics and graphic novels. Some are complete books while others are previews, meaning only a portion of the story is available. For example, Vertigo’s “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is available as a preview. I have both the print and digital copies and think it’s really nicely done. The Amazon version has low ratings because, for some reason, some people thought they should be getting the actual full, written novel. For free. Even though the blurb clearly states this is a graphic novel preview. Don’t be that person.

Getting to the freebies on iTunes can be a little tricky. On your computer, go to iTunes. Go to the store. Go to the search box in the upper right corner and type in “free comics.” This should take you to a screen with different options. The top option should be “books.” Click “See All.” These comics can be downloaded to a computer or to an iPad through the iBooks app.

You can find the Amazon freebies through the Kindle Best Sellers in Comics & Graphic Novels. These can be downloaded to a computer or a tablet with the Kindle app.

I’ve listed a few of the free titles available from the Kindle store. As always, I cannot guarantee these are forever free, so grab them now. Then join me, Sheldon, Leonard, Raj, Howard, and hopefully, Penny, Amy and Bernadette as we enjoy the wonderful world of graphic novels.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Special Edition Preview  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Special Edition Preview
Get an advance look at the Vertigo graphic novel adaptation of the international best-selling thriller, scheduled to hit shelves November 2012, and featuring the work of acclaimed author Denise Mina! Delve into the dark mystery of the Vanger family, as disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist is hired to uncover the truth behind a teenage girl’s disappearance over forty years ago.

Spy6teen #1  Spy6teen #1
The debut issue from Sandbox Comics, Spy6teen– which originally appeared on Zuda, bursts into an on-going series! CallyCalhoon wants to be a model student, but that’s not easy when herafter school job is with a secret government unit called THE QUAD! Hi-Spy espionage before the first bell rings!

Gen #1  Gen #1
Four previously unpublished stories straight from the Tokyo underground.

John Woo's Seven Brothers - Free Preview  John Woo’s Seven Brothers – Free Preview
A free first issue preview of the comic book series created by acclaimed filmmaker John Woo, (Mission Impossible 2; Face-Off; Red Cliff) and written by acclaimed comic book writer Garth Ennis (Punisher, The Boys, Preacher) with striking artwork from Jeevan J. Kang (Nowhere Man, Ramayan 3392AD, H20).

Descriptions provided by Amazon

Disclaimers and Disclosures

I found these books via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

These freebies are limited time offers, so there is no guarantee any of these books will still be free when you click on the links. Grab them sooner rather than later.

Books that I have previously listed will occasionally come up free again. I add those to my current posts for people who didn’t see them the first time.

Healthy and Delicious

Free Today on Amazon

I love food, especially when it occupies the wonderful strata of tastes good and is good for you. I’m not interested in dieting, but I am concerned about how much processed food is in my diet, and how the ingredients in that food affect my health.

Just so you know, this post has nothing to do with New Year’s resolutions on losing weight. A friend recently had a health scare that was related to high cholesterol. This got me thinking about what changes I can make to my diet without sacrificing taste.

My husband and I bought a three-tiered steamer and began experimenting with steaming our food rather than baking or frying. We had mixed results, some good, some gloop. We’ve replaced butter with olive oil or canola oil in many recipes, and that’s turned out quite well.

And, of course, I searched through the Kindle cookbook collection. I’ve found two books that I consider real gems. Neither one is free, but both have great recipes.

One is a short eBook that contains a base recipe for making your own instant oatmeal mix. You might think the price ($1.99) is too much, but for me, it’s been worth its weight in digital gold. I’ve always loved the idea of instant oatmeal, but hated the processed ingredients and the waste of those little bags. Instead, I use the base recipe and have fun at Whole Foods going through the bins and deciding what will go in my oatmeal. Yes, it’s time consuming, messy and more expensive than buying a box off the shelf, but it also tastes a lot better.

The other is a vegan cookie recipe book. It’s informative, funny and has color photos guaranteed to make your mouth water. Download it to a tablet if you can. Most of the recipes have ingredients you can find in your pantry or easily pick up at the local supermarket. Best of all, the cookies are delish! The author, Kelly Peloza, has a blog on vegan cooking and living that makes for good reading.

Today, I found a couple of free-for-now cookbooks that look interesting. My only complaint is that both use the word “skinny” in their titles. Skinny is such a loaded word, but the recipes looked promising so I grabbed them and listed them below.

Here’s to healthy living and tasty eating!

  The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur by Kelly Peloza
Not Free. $0.99
Kelly Peloza started experimenting with vegan baking as a high school student, blogging about her vegan adventures all the while. Her amazing recipes and gorgeous photos drew a crowd of eager readers who have been begging her for a cookbook ever since. Now an energetic, spunky college student, her book is finally ready for her anxious audience. From double peanut butter sandwich cookies and coconut caramel butter cookies to raspberry almond cookies and inside out peppermint patties, these delicious and imaginative recipes are sure to inspire bakers of all ages.

  Make Your Own Instant Oatmeal Mix by Beckett McKay
Not Free. $1.99
With people’s burgeoning interest in taking back control of their family’s food supply, learning how to do things themselves (like they used to do in the old days!) is an important first step. In the “Wait, What?? I Can Do That?” e-book series, Beckett McKay will detail how to make your own pantry staples and other necessities, show you how you can cut out the mass manufacturing middle man, and put the ingredients in your family’s diet back in your own hands.

  Naturally Skinny: 100 Organic Recipes Under 350 Calories by Samantha Brown
Free Today
Many recipes might be under 350 calories, but are they also completely organic and absolutely delicious? The recipes are clearly laid out with an ingredient list, step-by-step instructions, the number of servings, the calories per serving, the total fat per serving and a clever description that will entice you to prepare it. This comprehensive collection of 100 appetizing organic recipes will keep you and your family satisfied and healthy for a lifetime to come.

  Skinny Pizza by Barbara Grunes
Free Today
Starting with easy-to-make (and store) recipes for basic crusts and sauces, Skinny Pizzas shows you how easy it is to top pizzas with fresh, low-fat, high-fiber vegetables, dairy products, fruits, poultry, meat, and fish–everything from zucchini and pears to smoked salmon. From hearty one-dish meals to pizza snacks, appetizers, party dishes, and even desserts–all slimmed down for today’s healthful lifestyle–home cooks can feel good about serving pizza any time and for any occasion.

Descriptions provided by Amazon

Disclaimers and Disclosures

I found these books via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

These freebies are limited time offers, so there is no guarantee any of these books will still be free when you click on the links. Grab them sooner rather than later.