First up: Commercial Announcement.
To be precise, they’re available on Amazon—’Mindbenders,’ ‘Green’ and ‘Howling at Wolves’ are all available in a real book you can drop on the floor or throw at the wall without breaking, use as a doorstop, stick cardboard bookmarks in, read in the tub without fear of electrocution and all kinds of other good non-literary stuff. And the brilliant covers are bigger than the thumbnails on the Web!
Anyway, so this eliminates the ‘I don’t read ebooks’ excuse for those of you who…well, who don’t read ebooks.
Here are the links:
Howling at Wolves paperback
For those of you who do read ebooks, links to Amazon and Smashwords can be had on the individual book pages on this site or the On Sale Now! page (I didn’t make that obvious enough for you?).
In other news:
I’ve been skulking about the digital publishing landscape for a couple of months now and what I’ve found myself keying on is the change this new landscape has made in the writing itself. I’ve already written about the way it’s changed my own expectations for stories (it’s freed me up to write what feels right instead of worrying about pleasing an agent or publisher).
But what I’m seeing now is how it’s freeing us from the tyranny of critics.
I don’t have anything against critics, by the way. I think they have an impossible job. When you read two hundred books a year on deadline (maybe—hopefully—the numbers aren’t that insane, but they might be close), your taste gets skewed. You start looking for something different and who can blame you? That book about the inbred hunchback family in Alice Springs (The Hunchbacks from the Outback! An HBO miniseries in no time!) who suffer when their lizards develop an incurable disease…that’s different!
The problem is, people who read for pleasure are looking to understand the world and themselves better or are looking to get as far from their world and themselves as they can get. Nobody here is wrong—they’re all reacting to their situation—but their situations are quite different.
The other truth—for which I have less sympathy—is that there are certainly critics out there for whom criticism is a rationalization for their advanced writing degree. Which is to say , a way to prove they are smarter or more aesthetically sophisticated than you are. Why we listen to people with this kind of attitude escapes me but we all feel their weight on our shoulders when we decide to buy Harry Potter instead of Jonathan Franzen (I know Harry’s a fictional character but I’m not convinced Franzen isn’t).
Anyway, I was referred to a book in a bulletin board the other day. I looked it up on Amazon and read the free excerpt. I could see it was not beautifully written—but it was heartfelt. My heart sank a bit because I’d gotten to know the writer a bit on the bulletin board and he seemed like a genuine good soul—and I know how harsh the Internet can be at times.
But when I scrolled down on the page to look at the reviews, they were a revelation. After a lifetime of listening to reviewers harp on the perfect sentence and so forth blah blah, I saw comments like ‘the writing could use an editor—but the message was really wonderful.’
Readers—real readers, as opposed to reviewers, English teachers, librarians, you name it—actually put a premium on CONTENT! What an idea!
Don’t get me wrong. I love a well-written book. I can’t read most thrillers because they’re all about plot and action and I care too much about writing and character.
But what I found in those reviews was a (dare I say it? In America?) maturity among the reviewers. They were looking at the big picture and finding the gold among the tin. That’s a fine and encouraging sign. The democratization of a once-elite art form. Makes me kvell.
Just plain funny stuff: Bad time not to lock out your phone. Drug dealer pocket-dials 911
And, because I’ve got to keep my site traffic up (you guessed it):
here’s the MOCKINGBIRD again!
(Averaging 20-25 hits a day)