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.

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