Book Release – Red-Headed Stepchild

I have nothing today. Feel slightly better, but other than that – meh. So, how about a nice plug for a writer friend?

Jaye Wells has a book out today. It’s called Red-Headed Stepchild. Here’s a description:

In a world where being of mixed-blood is a major liability, Sabina doesn’t really fit in. And being an assassin – the only profession fit for an outcast – doesn’t help matters. But she’s never brought her work home. Until now.

Her latest mission is uncomfortably complex, and threatens the fragile peace between the vampire and mage races. As Sabina scrambles to figure out which side she’s on, she uncovers a tangled political web, some nasty facts about her family and some unexpected new talents. Any of these things could be worryingly life-changing, but together, they could be fatal …

This time, it’s personal.

Buy it!

Google and Sony Reader

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Did any of you hear yesterday that Sony and Google announced a deal that brings 500,000+ books for free to Sony Reader users in Reader format? Here’s a quote from the press release:

Sony and Google announced today the launch of a partnership to bring upwards of 500,000 public domain texts from Google’s Book Search collections to Sony’s line of electronic Readers at no cost to the user.

What does this mean? It means Paul has got some readin’ to do!

These books were previously available from Google anyhow and it was possible with some software and some time to make files you could read on the Sony Reader. This just makes it much more accessible and easy. All I have to do is go to my Sony Reader software, find the book I want, and click “Download”.

There is some great stuff there. Edgar Allen Poe, Charles Dickens, L. Frank Baum (all of the Wizard of Oz stuff is there), as well as non-fiction books. Here’s a link to a book I downloaded yesterday titled The Life of Abraham Lincoln (written by Henry Ketcham in 1901). Note you don’t have to have the Sony Reader to read this online.

This is such excellent news for me as a book lover and a Sony Reader owner. Anyhow, just thought I’d share.

Weekend Plans

Well, the movie The Watchmen comes out this weekend. It seems to be getting positive reviews from fans of the Watchmen graphic novel. That’s usually a good sign. I finally read The Watchmen this past Fall, and enjoyed it. It was well written, although dark.

I will not be watching it in the theater this weekend, or likely any weekend. For one, it’s not a movie my wife would particularly enjoy. As I said, the story is very dark. Secondly, of course, is we have a week and a half old baby in the house.

It’s funny, people don’t really ask me anymore what my plans are for the weekend. It’s pretty much self-explanatory. Not a whole lot we can do right now, with such a small little guy in the house. That’s OK, though, because we still find ways to have fun here. It will be even better once the weather turns warm. My daughter is already itching to play tag outside.

In conclusion: Watchmen – no, Plans – no, Fun – Most definitely.

Free Random House Books

Random House has made available a bunch of Science Fiction e-books for free today in .pdf format. Head on over to Suvudu.com and check them out. Here’s the list of books available:

• His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik
• Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb
• Settling Accounts: Return Engagement by Harry Turtledove
• Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
• Blood Engines by T.A. Pratt

In addition to that, tor.com has published a story by Rachel Swirsky. You can read that here.

Baum’s Wizard of Oz

I’ll try to keep this baby free today, other than to say he has been sleeping very well and I may even start to do some writing again. Fingers crossed!

I will tell you about the book I’m reading. I’m reading The Wizard of Oz, the classic by Frank L. Baum. I downloaded a copy of the book a few months ago, from I don’t remember where, and I’d figure I’d give it a go. So far it has been a pleasant read.

I’m about 30 pages in and have found some differences from the movie already. For example, the shoes Dorothy wears in the book are silver, not the iconic Ruby Red from the movie. My wife tells me they made that change in the movie to show off “Technicolor”.

Also, Glenda in the book is described as “tiny” although it also mentions she is not a munchkin.

Anyhow, I’m enjoying it so far. If I like it I’ll have plenty more to read as there were 13 sequels.

Hogfather

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I’m currently reading Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather. So far, it’s been really cracking me up.

I’m about 100 pages into the book, after starting it last Sunday. This may not seem like much, but is a torrid pace for me. Basically, I read when I have time. This is mostly when my wife is reading to our daughter to get her to go to sleep (the daughter only wants Mommy if available). I’ll lay on the floor near the bed and read whatever novel I’m reading on my Sony Reader, always mindful of the falling book they have finished. My job in the process is to fetch a new book, without getting knocked out of course.

Anyway, Hogfather has a few of my current Favorite Discworld characters. You have Death’s granddaughter Susan, you have Death posing as the Hogfather (Santa Clause of the Discworld), and you have The Death of Rats (the Grim Reaper for rats). The Death of Rats is my favorite favorite, as he’s this little skeleton rat. I picture Stuart Little without any flesh and whose only word is SQUEAK (Death always speaks in all caps).

Anyhow, typical silly Pratchett.  I highly recommend this one.  I’m 1/5th into the story and I already am thinking “I don’t want this book to end.”

Free Range Chickens

As you may know, I’m one of those people who have one of those e-book reader thingies. I have the Sony Reader (thanks Mom and Dad). Yeah, I still like having a real book. Still, you do get used to reading on an electronic device. Honestly.

Anyway, I was skimming the Sony ebook store the other day, and came across some excellent books Random House is giving away for free. One of these books is by an author named Simon Rich and is titled Free-Range Chickens. It’s only 176 pages but it is an excellent book. I read it in a day. I never do that.

Basically, the book is a collection of funny anecdotes by the author, who I’m extremely jealous of. The guy has been published in the New Yorker, has published two books, and writes for Saturday Night Live. Oh, and he was born in 1984!

Jealousy aside, I so recommend this book to anybody who likes to laugh. Check out this excerpt from Free-Range Chickens:

A conversation between the people who hid in my closet every night when I was seven

freddy krueger: When do you guys want to kill him?

murderer from the six o’clock news: How about right now?

dead uncle whose body i saw at an open casket funeral: I say we do it when he gets up to pee. You know, when he’s walking down the hallway, in the dark.

freddy krueger: What if he doesn’t get up?

murderer: He’ll get up. Look at how he’s squirming. It’s only a matter of time.

dead uncle: Man, I cannot wait to kill this kid.

murderer: Same here.

freddy krueger: I’ve wanted to kill him ever since he saw my movie.

dead uncle: Hey, do you guys remember that night-light Simon used to have?

murderer: Man, that thing scared the heck out of me.

freddy krueger: It’s a good thing his mom got rid of it. Now there’s nothing to stop us from killing him. (Everyone nods in agreement.)

dr. murphy: Hey, guys, sorry I’m late. I was busy scheduling an appointment with Simon, to give him shots. freddy krueger: No problem.

(Freddy Krueger and Dr. Murphy do their secret handshake.)

murderer: It’s getting kind of crowded in here. Chucky, can you move over?

chucky: I’m over as far as I can get.

murderer: I need more space than you’re giving me. I’m a lot bigger than you.

chucky: Are you calling me short?

dr. murphy: Hey, guys, relax, all right? We’re all here for the same reason: to kill and possibly eat Simon.

murderer: (Sighs.) You’re right. I’m sorry.

chucky: Yeah . . . me too. I kind of lost perspective.

dr. murphy: It’s okay. Just remember: we’re all in this together.

dead uncle: Hey, it looks like he’s getting up! Wait a minute . . . where’s he going?

chucky: I think he’s running into his mom’s room!

dead uncle: Maybe we should follow him?

chucky: Are you insane? I’m not facing that kid’s mother. That woman is terrifying!

murderer: Seriously, there is no way I’m going in there.

freddy krueger: (Sighs.) I guess tonight’s a bust. Let’s try tomorrow, okay? Same time, same place.

So yeah, I got to read this book for free. I think it works from a publisher’s perspective as well. I had never heard of this author, and now I know about him. I’ll probably check out his other books and probably books he writes in the future. Everybody wins!

So, have any of you read Free-Range Chickens?

Free Comic Book Day May 3

Tomorrow is Free Comic Book Day, a day in which, you guessed it, you can get free comic books. Amazingly, this is the 7th year for Free Comic Book Day, which I swear just started last year. I feel old now.

Here is a list of some of the comics that will be available for free. Some that may be of interest are an X-Men comic, a Simpsons comic, a Superman comic, a Daffy Duck comic, and a really cute comic called Owly (this is the one I most look forward to).

Here is an explanation of Free Comic Book Day from the web site:

As the name implies, Free Comic Book Day is a single day when participating comic book specialty shops across North America and around the world give away comic books absolutely free to anyone who comes into their stores.

Free Comic Book Day almost always coincides with the launch of a superhero movie, and this year is no different. As you are probably all aware, Iron Man starring Robert Downey, Jr. comes out today. There has been good buzz about the movie, which I’m sure comic store owners hope will spill over to their shops. So, if you like the movie, why not pick up some of the source material at your local comic book store (and not at one of the big book chains).

I will be bringing my daughter and wife with me to the locally owned comic store, The Comic Swap. They treat me very well there, and hand me my comics when I walk in the door. You see, they make it a point to know me and the other customers by name. I guess they should, as I’ve been a customer for over 15 years, having seen them grow from a musty Book Swap in the basement, to a clean, friendly comic book store.

Anyhow, head to your local comic swap and pick up some free stuff to read. Maybe you’ll become hooked, like me.