Thursday, June 20, 2013

Unicorns Among Us, or God Save the Booksellers


My best experience related to selling books so far has been with actual live booksellers - people who run bookshops.  I have presented myself and my book, rather shyly, at half a dozen.  (Two are in London so the approach was via Internet)  The only place that said flatly, errr, uh, "No" was Barnes & Noble in South Burlington, Vermont.  (I'm not sure if I asked the right person, though - see aforementioned shyness). 

 Each of the independent booksellers were happy to stock a few copies.  The London shops are at least considering ordering a few.  Today I stopped by Boxcar and Caboose Books on Main Street in St. Johnsbury, Vermont.  I had other business in town and just stumbled over the shop as I was headed out.  I happened to have some books in my car,  so I went in and asked if they might have any interest.  

"Sure."  Like, she meant it.

A simple form filled out.  Introductions, a friendly handshake.  Books signed.  Price set.  
In addition to the pleasant transaction, I got that certain vibe from the bookseller in question and her shop that money can't buy and that no computer can deliver.  Bookstore gold. (I also got a cup of hot Colombian French Roast, so there's that).  

It occurred to me as I was driving out of town that bookstores have become a preserve of rare, lovely creatures - human booksellers.  They seem mostly to be women these days, but maybe my sample is to small to generalize. We worry about all kinds of cultures and creatures when extinction is threatened.  What about them?

I know this is not an original observation.  The digital threat to bookstores has been discussed ad nauseam.  I'm not so sure, however, that I had really firmed up my own views til today.  Of course, it isn't the books that we stand to lose if the store goes away, there are more of those than ever - a tsunami, let me tell you.  The risk is to the lovely habitat that of these rare creatures, a habitat that anyone with a beating heart should want to conserve.

I also know that saying you love bookstores is like saying you love baby seals and revere mothers.  Not controversial - but I'm not so sure that everyone agrees these days.  I was listening to the Book Riot Podcast a few weeks ago and the host was complaining about Stephen King's decision not to make a digital copy of his book new book available.  One of the podcast hosts found this unacceptably preachy and sort of bullying.  He was the customer, after all.  He didn't want to be put out, having to schlep to some store.  Where does that line of thinking threaten to take us?  

(Just FYI, in addition to being available on line as a paper back and an e-book, my book can be ordered by any bookshop in the Western world... Selling eventually becomes a reflex, apparently)

Friday, June 14, 2013


I heard that little pig in the Geico commercial when I typed that headline.

Anyway dear people, the BOOK is free to download on your Kindle or Kindle App today and tomorrow (June 14 and 15),  So please get yours and tell your friends.  If you like it, feel freeeeeeeeee to write a review on Amazon.  If you don't, well, you can tell me or maybe just keep that to yourself.  (I'm smiling as I write this but inside I am all steel).

Happy Father's Day.

Here's a link to the freebie for my countrymen.

And here's a link for all my friends in Blighty (

Thank you all.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Favorite Queen Elizabeth Anecdote and A Little Something for HRH's Birthday

Queen Elizabeth in 1967 - the Famous Admiral's Boat Cloak Portrait by Cecil Beaton

Sometime during the last sixty years, Elizabeth II R was introduced to a famous photographer at some official palace do or another.  (The internet has failed me in trying to track down the photographer involved).  The appropriate introductions were made according the appropriate protocols and the Queen, model of tact that she is, began a polite conversation by noting that she knew a great many photographers.  The photographer in question responded, "And I know a great many Queens."

I like to think that she approved that particular quip.

Anywho, HRH E2R has a birthday coming up next weekend.  It isn't her actual birthday, which is on April 21.  The weather is a little too dodgy then for a parade or trooping the "colour" etc. so they move the party to late May or June. 

This year, it is on June 16.  Have you thought what you might get for HRH?  I am happy to say that, for once, I have planned ahead.

Are you sitting down?

I am offering her Majesty, and everyone else with a Kindle and working knowledge of English, a free download of my book, Up, Back, and Away

The giveaway commences at midnight on June 14, 2013 Pacific TIme, and ends midnight June 15.  (With the time delay that covers her big day). 

The book is a time travel adventure story wherein our hero, a fifteen-year-old boy from suburban Dallas, is sent back to England in 1928 (on a vintage English three-speed bicycle) to "find a girl with a gift, a girl born out of her time," and a "secret that was not meant to be" and then return home with them both.

So, if you have a Kindle and the slightest bit of interest wait til next weekend and pounce, or click,  really.  Remember Queen's Birthday = free book.  Queen's Birthday = free book.  Queen's Birthday = free book.  (This is supposed to be like a Manchurian Candidate style trigger for you).

Incidentally, the paperback is on sale now at one third off the cover price so, there ya go.  Also, if you have Amazon Prime you can borrow the book (and other Kindle books) for free anytime.