I love books. Hardcover, paperback, trade paperback, feckin’ board books, I don’t care. I love the feeling of a book in my hands and the look of them on my shelf.
What I really love is reading, and that is why I am in love with my Kindle reader. It’s the Touch, not the Paperwhite, which didn’t exist when I got my Kindle, and it’s also not the Kindle Fire, which I got for my daughter and she loves it, but e-ink is incredibly easy on the eyes (just like me, ahem) and is wonderful and if you don’t like it then <raspberry> on you. In addition to reading, I also love supporting midlist and independent authors, who often have their books on offer for the Kindle on Amazon.com for not much money. Because these are also the books that very frequently would not be stocked by even the most comprehensive bricks-and-mortar bookstore, Kindle is THE way to get ahold of these little books that never would have seen the light of day otherwise.
Inside my Kindle.
I include my own UTTER MASTERPIECES among those books. Although they are available as actual books and I love when people buy my books, they are much less costly and are instantly available to people with e-readers anywhere in the world. (Except maybe China, which is still angry over my best-seller, Shove It Up Your Ass, Mao “Stupidhead” Zedong.) People who love books only in the form of paper with a cover on it certainly have their standards and I respect that, but when you just want to read and read and read and you don’t have a lot of money, an e-reader is your best friend.
A word about the Barnes & Noble e-book device, for some reason called the “Nook.”
I want to love the Nook. I really do. Since Borders self-immolated and left us with just the one major bookstore chain, I want Barnes & Noble to prosper even though they obviously hate readers and resent that they want to buy reading material. (The B&Ns here in the Las Vegas Valley don’t even have those cozy chairs because, as I was told, people kept having sex on them. This sounds a bit dubious, but browsing is very difficult when you gots to stand all the time. End rant.) I heard a while back that B&N might spin off its Nook business because it was creating huge losses for the company. Their book sales have actually been up in recent years, but the Nookbatross hung around the company’s neck is killing it. Why is this? Well, not only is the Nook Tablet marketed essentially as an Android device for people who still use rotary phones, but also any purchases made of Nook books don’t get credited to your local bookstore. In essence, buying a Nook and keeping it supplied with material means that your B&N has lost all of those sales. It’s idiotic and I therefore do not like the Nook. That said, my books are available if you got one as a gift or you worked there and got a discount or something. But really, I must agree with the wag who said, “If I wanted a Nook, I would already have bought a Kindle.”
The goal of Barnes & Nobles executives, apparently.
Anyway, back to my Kindle love. Where this is coming from tonight is that tomorrow, even though people are no doubt still recovering from their Imbolc debauches (I’m looking at you, Pagan Patricia and her Waccy Wiccans), is THE BIRTHDAY OF YOUR FAVORITE WRITER IF YOUR FAVORITE WRITER IS ME. (And I certainly hope it is.) I received the Holy Grail of birthday presents, an Amazon Gift Card <angels sing>, and promptly stopped doing anything productive and hit Amazon like a home-schooled kid left alone for the first time smacking his genitals like a party favor. I was thinking of getting a print book or two that I had my eye on (thanks, Wish List), but then I happened to order one Lovecraftian Mythos book for the Kindle. And you know where it says, “Hey! People what bought dat also bought dis”? OMG, so many booooooooooooooks that I could order for cheap right now and have on my Kindle literally within seconds! No shipping fee, no dead trees, just eldritch goodness! MMMMM! So I went crazy and got a BUNCH of stuff. Let’s examine the spoils together, shall we? I’m including the authors and links to buy BECAUSE I AM A GIVER.
Arkham Horror: Ghouls of the Miskatonic (The Dark Waters Trilogy) by Graham McNeill for $6.99! This is a series sorta kinda based on the Arkham Horror RPG, but you don’t have to be a playa in order to read and enjoy the fiction. I want to do RPGs, but my Annie is like, “You wanna play a role? How about ’employed man’?” She’s such a card.
The Mythos Cycle by Josh Hilden for FREE! This is another thing I love about the Kindle — through one of their marketing programs for less-well-known authors, their books get all sorts of good promotions in exchange for being FREE for three days each month. I might have bought this one anyway, but for free it was automatic to add it to my reader. The next couple of “purchases” all didn’t cost me anything, but may turn out to be fantastic, which means I will buy their other works. It’s just a win-win situation.
Gears of a Mad God: A Steampunk Lovecraft Adventure by Brent Nichols for FREE! Oh, Steampunk, how you vex me — you are so rarely done right. The addition of a Lovecraftian element only increases the chances for disaster. However, at the low, low cost of zero dollars and zero cents, why not give it a try? Maybe this will be that rare jewel among the gears, corsets and turds!
Madness Under The Tracks by William Vitka for FREE! This looks crazy. I don’t have any idea if it will even be readable. That’s why more under-served authors benefit from the three days a month of their book being offered gratis.
Strange Versus Lovecraft by Kevin Strange, D.F. Noble, Kyle Noble, Adam Millard, Craig Mullins, Tim Finn, W.H. Pugmire, Jesse Wheeler, Jason Allen, Frank Edler for $2.99. That is a lot of pulp magazine fiction for not much money. This collection has fun with the ’20s and ’30s serials and adventure stories in magazines of the time and mashes them up with Lovecraftian elements, which were in magazines such as Weird Tales during the same period. KISMET!
Bibliotheca Fantastica by David Sklar, Michael J. DeLuca, Ray Vukcevich, A.C. Wise, George S. Walker, Trevor Shikaze, Tina Connolly, Gord Sellar, Andrew S. Fuller, and Don Pizarro for $4.99. Being a fan of Carrie Cuinn’s Dagan Books (which is publishing the forever forthcoming anthology Cthulhurotica 2, in which I is gonna be), I had heard about this collection featuring books that really would probably be better left unread. Unlike this one!
The Altar In The Hills and Other Weird Tales by Brandon Barrows for $2.99. I knew nothing about this book except that people what liked spooky stuff I liked also liked this. That’s the magic of a book that sells for $2.99 and has no shipping and won’t even take up shelf space if I don’t think it’s a keeper.
Forbidden Texts by David Bain, James Newman, Rick Kennett, Bryce Stevens, Christine Cornell, and Nicholas Knight for $2.99. This is thematically similar to Bibliotheca Fantastica above, so I figured I’d go for it and stock up on eldritch tomes about even more eldritch tomes.
Nightmares from a Lovecraftian Mind by Jordan Krall for $2.99. This one had been on my Wish List for a while, and I figured it was time to either get it or delete it. I chose to get it after reading some of the excellent reviews on Amazon. (By the way, that is a major consideration to keep in mind when looking at these books from small publishers, “micropublishers,” or even no publisher except the author putting the work out there. If every review is bad, or most of them are bad with plausible complaints, or if they say “It was good but they should have copy-edited it,” I stay away. Even 99 cents is too much to pay for a piece of garbage.
Dreaming In Darkness by Adrian Chamberlin, Aaron French, Jonathan Green, and John Prescott for $4.00. Yes, you read that correctly: FOUR DOLLARS. Not $3.99 like a milquetoasty trickster — it’s FOUR GODDAMNED DOLLARS. I respect that. So man (or woman) up and buy it already. It looks good.
Interlands by Vincent H. O’Neil for 99 cents. Yes, 99 cents. Less than a dollar for some spooky-looking stuff. Maybe it’s great, maybe it’s crap. Either way, I supported an author who had good reviews and is essentially selling his sweat and blood for a song.
Shotguns v. Cthulhu: Double-Barrelled Action in the Horrific World of HP Lovecraft by Larry DiTillio and Nick Mamatas for $6.49. This was the most expensive book of my birthday spree, but I couldn’t resist a book that follows the history of the shotgun (for realz) while also showing how the weapon has been used time and time again to defeat the Old One.
The Hand That Feeds: A Horror Novel by Michael W. Garza for FREE! Another promotional freebie. Tell me that cover isn’t freaky and I will tell you that your life is a LIE.
So there you have it: TWELVE books, mostly from authors that are entirely new to me, and I still have like eleven bucks left on my $40 Amazon gift card. This tells us two things: One, that new and unknown authors deserve our support and it’s easy to give it to them, especially when the books are free (it still counts for their “copies sold,” which is something publishers consider when looking at a possible acquisition of a writer’s next book). And second, since tomorrow is My Birthday™, you should definitely send me an Amazon gift card because you know I’ll do you proud by it. Operators are standing by. (Well, my e-mail is open, same difference.)
Why all the Lovecrafty goodness? Why don’t I read some real books, punk? All will be explained in an upcoming post. Stay tuned …