Thursday, 18 August 2011

Great Kindle Deals Newsletter - Thursday, 18th August 2011

Hi everyone, welcome to this week's edition of Great Kindle Deals. This week there's some news, an interview and some great books too.

1. Amazon clamping down -  "Amazon has announced that it will begin cracking down on authors who upload so-called "private label rights" e-books via the Kindle Direct Publishing service. According to an email sent to the authors of titles that were removed, Amazon is now filtering and deleting "undifferentiated or barely differentiated" e-books submitted for publishing on the Kindle store because they "diminish the experience for customers."

2. Kindle Cloud Reader - Amazon "now have an alternative Kindle option for iOS users interested in stepping away from the whole “downloaded app” situation. Readers can now load up the Kindle Cloud Reader in their internet browser and get on with their reading. No fuss or input from the device manufacturer required.
To get any use out of the new service as it stands right this minute, you’ll need to have either Google Chrome or Apple Safari installed on your system.
Read more:"

This week we're speaking to another indie author - Darcie Chan. The full interview follows:
0. Introduce yourself to us please, and tell us one fun fact about yourself.
I was born in Wisconsin, and I lived there until I was about six.  After that, my family moved around quite a bit – we lived in Indiana for a year, then Colorado for five years, and then back to Indiana.  In most of these places, I lived in small towns…in fact, the town where I attended middle school – Cheraw, Colorado – is so small that that the kids there attend public school only four days per week.  (It’s cheaper for the school district to have a longer school day for four days than it is to operate buses, pay staff, etc. for a five-day week!) 
The fun fact:  I actually met my future husband at a national science competition right after my senior year in high school.  We each won our respective divisions at the national level and got to know each other during a two-week trip to the London International Youth Science Forum during July and August, 1991. (Tim was representing California and I was representing Indiana.) We went off to different colleges after that, but we kept in touch and eventually became good friends, got engaged, and then married during graduate school. I haven’t been back to England since that time, but London will always be a very special place to me.  Moral of the story -- you never know how your life will change in the future because of someone you meet today!

1. How did you get into writing?  Had you always wanted to be a writer?
I remember writing letters and poems when I was very young.  In middle school, when I was either 11 or 12 years old, I entered a one-day writing contest and ended up winning the short story category and placing third in the poetry category.  I came home and announced that I wanted to be a writer, and I think that that was the first time that it really occurred to me that writing was something I wanted to do -- if not as a career, then at least as a serious hobby. Writing fiction for my own personal enjoyment went on the back burner for several years, through college and law school and for the first several years I worked after finishing my education, but I have been able to get back to it during the past few years. 

2. And is writing your full-time job?
In my “day job,” I draft environmental and natural resource legislation for the U.S. Senate (which is one of the two houses in the American Congress, the other being the House of Representatives), so I am literally writing or editing almost all day, every day. BUT – writing legislation is very different than writing fiction.  Legislative drafting is formulaic and technically demanding and requires adherence to certain conventions.  After working on bills and amendments all day, it is refreshing to be able to write fiction, where the only limitations on what and how I can write are imposed by my own imagination.

3. What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
First, I think I would ask someone to understand that learning to write is a lifelong process.  My advice would be to read widely, including in areas or genres that you might not normally read.  Write for yourself first, and gracefully accept as much constructive criticism as you are able to get.  Read your writing aloud to yourself to hear how it flows, how realistic the dialogue sounds, etc. Research your subjects carefully, because there will almost always be readers out there who know more (much more!) than you do about them.   Above all, believe in yourself and never give up!
I really enjoyed the book On Writing by Stephen King.  It’s part humor, part autobiography, and part writing tutorial.  I think it would be a very helpful and entertaining read for anyone who writes.

4. How have you found the kindle has worked out as a business model for you?
I originally made my novel available for the kindle because I wanted to see how it would fare in the marketplace.  I am a completely new, unknown writer, and the The Mill River Recluse is the first novel I’ve written and the first fiction that I have made public.  I wanted to know whether people would actually buy and enjoy something that I had written.  It is an amazing thing that one can just put a book out there now and have that book be immediately available to millions of readers.  I never dreamed that my novel would become an Amazon bestseller, and I have been thrilled and humbled by readers’ responses to The Mill River Recluse.My primary interest in having my novel “out there” is still to build a readership and get feedback, and not to make money (hence the low price for my novel)…but I suppose as a business model it is fair to say that the kindle has been an enormous help in achieving those goals.

5. What projects are you working on now?
Currently, I am working on my second novel…I hope to have a draft of it complete in about a year.  With my (demanding) day job and an (equally demanding but adorable) 18-month-old son, the novel-in-progress takes up almost all of the little free time that I have.

6. Is there anything else you'd like to add?
I would like to extend a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has read or who plans to read The Mill River Recluse.  As a new writer, it means the world to me that people are giving my first novel a chance and that so many have responded so positively to it.  I greatly appreciate all constructive comments on my novel – feel free to visit me in cyberspace at to let me know what you think of it!

I would also like to extend my appreciation to Great Kindle Deals for this interview. Your giving new writers exposure in the marketplace is an amazing service and crucial to helping writers and readers connect!

Cheap books:
Rated 4.5 stars average from 59 reviews (in the US)
Synopsis: "Disfigured by the blow of an abusive husband, and suffering her entire life with severe social anxiety disorder, the widow Mary McAllister spends almost sixty years secluded in a white marble mansion overlooking the town of Mill River, Vermont. Her links to the outside world are few: the mail, the media, an elderly priest with a guilty habit of pilfering spoons, and a bedroom window with a view of the town below.
Most longtime residents of Mill River consider the marble house and its occupant peculiar, though insignificant, fixtures. An arsonist, a covetous nurse, and the endearing village idiot are among the few who have ever seen Mary. Newcomers to Mill River--a police officer and his daughter and a new fourth grade teacher--are also curious about the reclusive old woman. But only Father Michael O'Brien knows Mary and the secret she keeps--one that, once revealed, will change all of their lives forever.
The Mill River Recluse is a story of triumph over tragedy, one that reminds us of the value of friendship and the ability of love to come from the most unexpected of places.

2. Solom by Scott Nicholson - £1.71
No ratings
Synopsis: "Katy Logan wasn’t quite sure why she left her finance career in the big city to marry religion professor Gordon Smith and move to the tiny Appalachian Mountain community of Solom.

Maybe she just wanted to get her 13-year-old daughter Jett away from the drugs and bad influences. Maybe she wanted to escape from the memories of her first husband. Or perhaps she was enchanted by the promise of an idyllic life on the farm that has been in Gordon’s family for 150 years.

But the move has been anything but stress-free, because the man she married seems more interested in the region’s rural Baptist sects than in his new wife. The Smith family secrets run deep: Gordon teases Katy and Jett with a story about a wicked scarecrow that comes in from the fields at night to slake an unnatural thirst. Gordon’s great-grandfather was a horseback preacher who mysteriously disappeared while on a mission one wintry night, and some say a rival preacher did him in."

Free books:
1. Guns by Phil Bowie
Rated 4.5 stars average from 2 reviews
Synopsis: "Sam Bass is tall and lanky, loves old western movies, wears cowboy boots and drives a beat-up Jeep Wrangler. He has a gorgeous girlfriend, Valerie, a Cherokee widow with a young son, and he’s a hot shot pilot. A hot shot pilot with a past. And when Sam makes a daring and dangerous rescue of a couple lost at sea in a storm, he gets publicity he definitely doesn’t need. The Cowboy, as he’s known in certain circles, has finally been located and a hit team is dispatched to take care of unfinished business. A bomb is planted in the beat-up Jeep. But it isn’t Sam who drives it that day. Grief stricken, Sam visits Valerie’s grandfather in the North Carolina mountains to tell him he plans to avenge Valerie in the ancient Native American way of members of a wronged family seeking justice – with no help from the law. With only the old man’s help, Sam trains his mind and body for the task ahead. And then the bloody hunt is on."

2. Grammatically Correct by Annie Stilman
Rated 4.5 stars average from 3 reviews
Synopsis: "How does good writing stand out?
If its purpose is to convey facts, findings, or instructions, it need be read only once for its content to be clear. If its purpose is to entertain or to provoke thought, it makes readers want to come back for more. Readers of this book will never break the rules of language again—unintentionally."

That's it for this week. See you next week for more great kindle deals.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Great Kindle Deals Newsletter - Wednesday, 3rd August 2011

Hi everyone, and welcome to the latest edition of Great Kindle Deals. If you noticed a lack of a post last week, I'd like to apologise but I was outside the country with little/no access to the internet. Nevertheless, we're back to our regular weekly emails as of now.

1. - rent textbooks
Amazon has come up with an ingenius solution for US ollege students who usually have to buy textbooks for hundreds of dollars - to allow people to rent them on their Kindle and get up to 80% off. This is an interesting idea and I'm sure university students in the UK would appreciate something similar. Since textbooks are mainly colour this really does lead credence to the idea that a colour Amazon tablet will be arriving in the coming months. This could also mean that we'll be able to rent regular books at some point in the future.

2. Is Kindle saving newspapers?
The Kindle could be the newspaper industry's saviour, new figures have revealed. Boston Globe" being the owner of the New York Times, reported that "Digital advertising revenues rose 2.6 percent." In the UK, "The Times says paid digital subscribers totaled about 224,000. Meanwhile, ... it has 57,000 paid digital subscribers to e-readers like Amazon’s Kindle. Overall, ... 281,000 paid digital subscribers."

Free books:
1. Maddy's Oasis
Rated 4 stars average from 3 reviews

Synopsis: " With an ill mother in need of expensive surgery, Madeleine flies from NYC to the west Texas desert to take on the doomed Desert Oasis resort project in hopes of earning the bonus attached to finishing it on schedule. She soon finds there's only one thing hotter than the desert sun: Jake, the infuriating Texan whose dislike of the fast-paced city puts them at odds at everything from her high-heels to her to-do lists. When the Oasis reveals its dark secret, Maddy finds she must choose between money and those she cares about."

2. Stress Proof your Life!
Rated 5 stars average from 5 reviews
Synopsis: " Elisabeth Wilson looks at the sources of stress – occupational, genetic and environmental – and reveals 52 brilliant techniques for creating a stress-free zone. When your batteries are blown and burnout is imminent these top tips can help you regain control."

Cheap books:
1.Cold Kill by Neil White -99p
Rated 4.5 stars average from 31 reviews
Synopsis: " Every breath you take, he’ll be watching you…Every breath you take, he’ll be watching you…When Jane Roberts is found dead in a woodland area Detective Sergeant Laura McGanity is first on the scene. The body bears a chilling similarity to a woman –Deborah Corley –murdered three weeks earlier. Both have been stripped,strangled and defiled.When reporter Jack Garrett starts digging for dirt on the notorious Whitcroft estate, he finds himself face-to-face with Jane’s father and gangland boss Don who will stop at nothing until justice is done. It seems that the two murdered women were linked in more ways than one and a dirty secret is about to surface that some would prefer stay buried.As the killer circles once more, Jack and Laura must get to him before he strikes again. But his sights are set on his next victim and he’s watching Laura’s every move… "

2. That summer in Ischia by Peeny Feeny - 99p
Rated 3.5 stars average from 31 reviews
Synopsis: " In the long hot summer of 1979, best friends Helena and Liddy travel to the beautiful island of Ischia to be au pairs to the children of two wealthy Italian families: the Verduccis and the Baldinis. From the opulent hillside villas and sun-drenched beaches the girls plan their great adventure to find romance and excitement, whatever the cost, on the sleepy island. But when a little boy in their care goes missing, the spell is broken and the girls find themselves under suspicion from police. Under pressure, the cracks in their relationship begin to show and one will betray each other, changing the course of both of their lives forever. Twenty-five years later, Liddy, walking her dog on an English beach, spies a figure oddly reminiscent of her estranged friend. And so begins a startling quest to the villa where it all went so wrong for Helena and to the heart of the mystery of what really happened that summer in Ischia."

3. Witness by Cath Staincliffe
Rated 5 stars average from 11 customer reviews
Synopsis: "

Four bystanders in the wrong place at the wrong time. Witnesses to the shocking shooting of a teenage boy. A moment that changes their lives forever. Fiona, a midwife, is plagued by panic attacks and unable to work. Has she the strength to testify?
Mike, a delivery driver and family man, faces an impossible decision when his frightened wife forces him to choose – us or the court case.
Cheryl, a single-mother, doesn’t want her child to grow up in the same climate of fear. Dare she speak out and risk her own life?
Zak, a homeless man, offers to talk in exchange for witness protection and the chance of a new start.

Ordinary people in an extraordinary situation. Will the witnesses stand firm or be prevented from giving evidence? How will they cope with the emotional trauma of reliving the murder under pitiless cross-examination? A compassionate, suspenseful and illuminating story exploring the real human cost of bearing witness."

I hope you enjoyed that, we'll be back next time with more great kindle deals, including very soon with a special interview we've got lined up.