Friday Bargains and Freebies

I’ve been posting a lot of writer news lately, but this is also a blog for readers. I love to read and I have an eReader packed with all kinds of good stuff from both traditionally published and independent authors.

The reason I usually post Kindle freebies is because I have a Kindle and the Kindle app is available for all kinds of devices. I don’t want people to think I’m Amazon biased and I do look for other eReader resources. Part of the problem is that Amazon is nicely set up for bargains and freebies. They’ve made it part of their business model. Barnes & Noble, not so much. It’s hard to find the cheap thrills on their website. Apple has gotten a lot better in that regard, but it’s hard to include those links since iTunes isn’t web-friendly.

So, eBook retailers, if you’re out there, please note: free and bargain books have made me purchase more books than I ordinarily would have. They have pointed me at authors I might not have noticed. If I like a book, chances are I will buy that author’s next book. If I really, really want a book, I will probably buy it at full price.

Today, I have two websites to share for readers and writers, but particularly readers.

The first is Indies Unlimited. This is a website for readers and writers of independently published books. Every Thursday, they host Thrifty Thursday. In the comments section of that day’s post, independent authors can add links to their books costing $0.99 or less. Every Friday is Freebie Friday. In the comments section of that day’s post, independent authors can add links to their free-for-now books.

The links for this site are below. The links for Thrifty Thursday and Freebie Friday are only good for those dates, i.e., 3/14/13 and 3/15/13. You must visit the main site each week and click on the new posts for that week.

The second is BookBub. This is a free service that sends daily emails containing lists of free and bargain eBooks. You can choose which genres you want to receive and you can also choose the format, including Kindle, Apple, Kobo, B&N, Sony, etc. If you don’t want to receive an email, you can also find book deals on their website. I’ll have to say that while I don’t like retail email, I do look forward to my daily BookBub message. The links are below.

To receive information and deals throughout the day, you can like Indies Unlimited and BookBub on Facebook and follow Indies Unlimited and BookBub on Twitter.

Camp NaNoWriMo

You probably know about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month,) an annual event that takes place every November. It’s a competition, a challenge to write 50K words in 30 days. You may not know about Camp NaNoWriMo. Think of NaNoWriMo in a low-key setting where you set your goals. To quote a message from Chris Angotti of the Office of Letters and Light, the good folks who bring us NaNoWriMo:

We want to invite you to a writing retreat—a serene, supportive place you don’t have to move a muscle to get to… Okay, well, maybe your link-clicking muscle:

Camp NaNoWriMo, now in April and July 2013!

We just reopened the gate for next month’s session, and whether you’re a canoe kingpin or tenting tenderfoot, we’ve got a few new things to show you:

Flexible word-count goals. Your choice, from 10,000 to 999,999.

Rebel- and script-friendliness. Write a memoir, blog series, frenzied script, or anything your creative heart desires.

Looking for that push to start your novel or finish it? Have you always wanted to participate in NaNoWriMo, but were put off by the 50K challenge? This could be for you. You can sign up for the April session on the Camp NaNoWriMo website.

Whether you’re planning to join a cabin at the camp or are saving up energy for the November frenzy, I found a couple of free-for-now writing guides that could help with both events.

  30 Daily Tips for NaNoWriMo: No Fail Formulas To Finish Your Novel by Tara Maya
NaNoWriMo is National Writer’s Month, when writers from around the world sit down and try to finish a novel (at least 50,000 words) in a month. There are many books and blogs with Daily Prompts for NaNoWriMo, and they’re good books, but they contain a high percentage of Cheerleading to Content. I’m not bashing a good cheer (Go, Team Writer!), but these prompts include a higher ration of Grit to Goodwill. These are my best No Fail Formulas, most of which I’ve shamelessly stolen from all the best authors I love.

  2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love by Rachel Aaron
Expanding on her highly successful process for doubling daily word counts, this book, a combination of reworked blog posts and new material, offers practical writing advice for anyone who’s ever longed to increase their daily writing output. In addition to updated information for Rachel’s popular 2k to 10k writing efficiency process, 5 step plotting method, and easy editing tips, this new book includes chapters on creating characters that write their own stories, practical plot structure, and learning to love your daily writing. Full of easy to follow, practical advice from a commercial author who doesn’t eat if she doesn’t produce good books on a regular basis, 2k to 10k focuses not just on writing faster, but writing better, and having more fun while you do it.

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.

Sword and Sorcery

Sword and Sorcery is a genre of action, adventure and magic. Readers expect heroes and villains who can accomplish feats of amazing physical and supernatural abilities.

For a novel to be considered Sword and Sorcery, it requires conflict that will be resolved by the use of blades and magic. Therefore the setting must be in an actual or alternate time period before the use of gunpowder, unless gunpowder is being used as a sort of combustible magic potion rather than in guns.

There are obvious similarities between Sword and Sorcery and Epic Fantasy. So, what’s the difference? Epic Fantasy usually involves a high stake quest that will either save or destroy the world. Sword and Sorcery involves smaller quests, such as rescuing a kidnapped prince or retrieving a lost treasure. A kingdom can be at stake, and sometimes a whole world, but the protagonist is primarily concerned with her personal quest.

A common trope for the genre is bulky, heroic swordsman versus slinky, devious sorceress. While there are books along those lines, there are many others that deviate from that tired stereotype. Even Robert E. Howard, creator of the Conan series, liked strong, heroic swordswomen, such as his characters Red Sonya and Agnes de Chastillon.

Sword and Sorcery books featuring strong female protagonists include the Tiger and Del series and many of the books by Tamora Pierce.

The antihero is a common protagonist in this genre, which makes sense since the stakes are personal rather than universal. This type of character may do good despite himself, but will also walk away after causing a lot of harm. Sword and Sorcery antiheroes include Elric of Melniboné, Corwin of Amber, and Magiere of the Noble Dead Saga.

Interested in reading Sword and Sorcery? I don’t blame you. It’s fun stuff! Popular authors include Lynn Flewelling, Terry Goodkind, Poul Anderson, C. L. Moore and R. A. Salvatore.

Genre fans may also want to check out these websites:

Below you’ll find a few free-for-now Kindle books to give you a taste for the genre. Among these includes “Stone of Tears,” the second in Terry Goodkind’s Sword of the Truth series. I checked and the first book isn’t free.

  Stone of Tears (The Sword of Truth #2) by Terry Goodkind
With Darken Rahl defeated, Richard and Kahlan head back to the Mud People to be married. As they wait for their wedding day to approach, they discover three Sisters of Light are pursuing Richard, intending to take him back to the Old World to be trained as a Wizard. Additionally, unbeknownst to Richard and Kahlan, the veil has been torn and the Stone of Tears has entered the world. According to prophecy, the only person who has a chance at closing the veil is the one bonded to the blade, the one born true.

  Dralin by John H. Carroll
There are many cities in the world of Ryallon that know the touch of despair and evil, but none like Dralin. Towers of wizards rise high into the air, shrouded in the mists of magical smog. Poor sleep in the alleyways, becoming deformed by pollution. Life is short for many. Throughout all of it, the cunning and dangerous members of the City Guard do their best to keep evil and crime from destroying the citizens of Dralin. Trained to fight in streets that make no sense, they keep wickedness from taking over completely. A young woman fleeing her past makes Dralin her destination. A young Guardsman with his own dark history hopes to make a difference in a city that is without hope. Are sorrow and despair their only destiny, or can love redeem them? Two young girls raised in this city learn life’s hard lessons early. Will they be defeated by its evil?

  Demonsouled by Jonathan Moeller
Banished for fifteen years, the wandering knight Mazael Cravenlock returns home at last to the Grim Marches, only to find war and chaos. His brother plans a foolish and doomed rebellion. His sister hopes to wed a brutal and cruel knight. The whispers speak of living corpses that stalk the night, of demons that lurk in darkness, and a sinister snake-cult that waits in the shadows. Yet Mazael’s darkest enemy waits elsewhere. Within his own tainted soul…

Product Details  Pale Queen’s Courtyard by Marcin Wrona
Kamvar, a soldier, has lost his way. Leonine, a thief and sorcerer, has forgotten that he had one to lose. When the daughter of a High Priest finds herself exiled and hunted across the entirety of conquered Ekka, both men will remember who they are, and the country’s invaders will learn that memories, unlike temples, are not so easily torn down.

  The Darkslayer: Wrath of the Royals by Craig Halloran
When recklessness provokes a Royal household, Venir and his friend Melegal the thief are forced to flee the city. In pursuit, the Royals soon unleash some unusual powers against them and start to close in. Can Venir and Melegal survive the impending doom that is about to befall them? Only Bish knows, but Venir has been secretly keeping evil forces at bay for years. He is the Darkslayer, a man possessed by a mantle of power he cannot let go.

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.

Alternate History

Alternate history is a genre encompassed in two little words: what if.

What if the Confederacy won the Civil War? What if the Roman Empire never fell? What if the Chinese colonized America? What if the Axis Powers won World War II? What if John F. Kennedy survived the assassination attempt?

The list goes on and on because there are as many “what ifs” as there is history. This makes for a rich and varied genre. But what kind of genre is it? Science fiction? Fantasy? Literary? Historical fiction? The answer is yes. Alternate history fits into a number of genres.

For example, “The Yiddish Policemen’s Union” by Michael Chabon imagines a world where the state of Israel was crushed in its infancy. Jews instead take refuge in a portion of Alaska allotted them by the United States. As the book begins, that arrangement is about to come to an end. While this situation propels the novel forward, the heart of the story is a murder mystery with a hardboiled detective protagonist.

Philip K. Dick, a scifi master, wrote an alternate history novel, “The Man in the High Castle,” that contains very little science fiction, aside from mention of the Nazis colonizing Mars. He creates a world 20 years after the Axis powers have won World War II. Those living under Japanese rule on the west coast of the U.S. consider themselves lucky not be under the iron fist of the Nazis, who, having killed all the Jews, have extended their final solution to the inhabitants of Africa. In a neat twist, a forbidden novel has been published; one that imagines a different world, in which Franklin Roosevelt had never been assassinated and the Allies had won the war.

As a fantasy subgenre, alternate history’s “what ifs” are of a fantastical nature. In “His Majesty’s Dragon,” author Naomi Novik writes of a world where the Napoleonic Wars were fought with dragons. Susanna Clarke’s “Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell,” also set in Napoleonic England, has wizards influencing the outcome of historical events.

In all these examples there is a “what if” that changes history and the world. According to Steven H Silver, as quoted by Wikipedia:

Alternate history requires three things: 1) the story must have a point of divergence from the history of our world prior to the time at which the author is writing, 2) a change that would alter history as it is known, and 3) an examination of the ramifications of that change.

It’s both fun and frightening to imagine what might have happened if… fill in the blank. Which is part of what makes alternate history such an appealing and enduring genre.

A good example of alternate history is the Belisarius Saga by David Drake and Eric Flint. Set in the sixth century, a real historical figure, Byzantine general Flavius Belisarius, is pitted against the Malwa Empire of India, with interference by far future factions wanting to alter history. The second book in the series is available for free from Baen eBooks. It is listed below.

  In the Heart of Darkness
The Malwa Empire has conquered 6th century India and is forging the subcontinent’s vast population into an invincible weapon of tyranny. Belisarius, the finest general of his age, must save the world. Guided by visions from a future that may never be, he and a band of comrades penetrate the Malwa heartland, seeking the core of the enemy’s power. And when Belisarius leads the forces of good, only a fool would side with evil.

Description provided by Baen eBooks

Disclaimers and Disclosures

I found this book via Baen eBooks. I make no guarantee that this book will remain free.

Mythic Fiction

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Moving on to one of my favorite subgenres, mythic fiction. This type of fiction retells or uses elements from fairy tales, folklore and mythology. Since all the cultures of the world have their own unique folklore, there is plenty of material to draw from.

Mythic fiction crosses over with many other genres, including fantasy, horror, science fiction, romance, literary fiction, mystery, the list goes on. One of my favorite examples is the “Snow Queen” by Joan Vinge. This science fiction novel, set in a distant galaxy in the far future, borrows liberally from the fairy tale of the same name.

So, what is the appeal? Familiarity could be one aspect. A fairy tale such as Beauty and the Beast can be retold faithfully with a few twists, like Robin McKinley’s novel “Beauty,” recreated as a romance novel, such as Christine Feehan’s “Lair of the Lion,” or placed in a contemporary setting and told from the point of view of the Beast, like the YA novel, “Beastly” by Alex Flinn. In all these novels, we recognize the story while enjoying the variations.

Mythology is also a popular resource to borrow from. Myths of divine beings interacting with humans are among the oldest stories known. C.S. Lewis put a fresh take on the tale of Cupid and Psyche in “Till We Have Faces” by telling the story from the older sister’s point of view. Placing the Greek pantheon in modern times is a popular concept used by a number of authors, including Rick Riordan and Sherrilyn Kenyon. Kylie Chan does the same with Chinese gods in her “White Tiger” novels.

Some mythic fiction simply has the feel of a fairy tale rather than actually being derived from one. “Silver Metal Lover” by Tanith Lee tells the tale of a young woman who falls in love with an android.  The torment of loving a beautiful object incapable of affection is evocative of Pygmalion, but doesn’t retell the myth.

The undeniable appeal of mythic fiction can be seen in the popularity of recent television shows “Grimm“, “Beauty and the Beast” and “Once Upon a Time.”

Interested in knowing more? Why not go to the source? Many collections of fairy tales and myths are in the public domain and available for free. I’ve listed a few below.

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.

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
Free-for-now
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.

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.