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Tag: Kindle freebies

Great Free Ebook on Prayer and Holiness

I’ve been writing and revising my novel, which accounts for the long hiatus from this blog, but also reading things that I’ll eventually want to discuss here. Meanwhile, here is a very nice freebie for you that is worth reading: Connie Rossini’s Five Lessons from the Carmelite Saints That Will Change Your Life.

Five Lessons from the Carmelite Saints That Will Change Your Life, by Connie RossiniMany years ago, when I was first beginning to learn about prayer, I was drawn to contemplative spiritual writing: St Teresa of Avila, St John of the Cross, The Cloud of Unknowing (as well as Brother Lawrence — not sure if he counts as contemplative, but I suspect he does). Although it has been quite a few years since I have read much of any of these, I must have absorbed a lot, which became the cornerstone of my spiritual life. I say this because when I read this little booklet, which summarizes insights gleaned from the great contemplative spiritual writers of the Carmelite Order, I recognized each point as the key lessons I’ve been learning for more than thirty-five years.

The overall lesson is that we are all called to holiness. Each. And. Every. One. “Be ye perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” A daunting task? As this little book points out, it’s not something that happens in a day, or a week, a month, but over the course of years, if we persevere.

If you’ve tried reading St Theresa of Avila or St John of the Cross but found them too intimidating, don’t give up. Start over, with this little booklet. You may find that you are already on the way, and farther along than you thought.

Updated! Freebie Redux and a Preview

free Kindle download, freebie
Get your free Kindle download
February 8 and 9

I’ve been doing more writing than reading lately, but I wanted you all to know that my Kindle ebook
on diatomaceous earth, “Mother Earth’s Best Kept Secret,” will be available as free download again for a couple of days, Saturday, 9 February, and Sunday, 10 February. There is also a paperback version available
, but that’ll cost you. (N. B.: Updated dates are correct!)

One book that I am reading — one of the few that isn’t about how to create a great plot or how to make your novel’s characters jump off the page — is Lorraine V. Murray’s The Abbess of Andalusia: Flannery O’Connor’s Spiritual Journey
(Kindle version
also available). I bought it a couple of years ago at the end of a months-long Flannery O’Connor pig-out, and never got it read. I hope to be giving you my take on Murray’s book later this month.

Christmas Kindle Freebie, from me to you

Kindle freebie Christmas present

As my Christmas present to all Kindle owners, especially those who just got a new Kindle for Christmas, I’m running a freebie promotion on my little book on all the helpful uses of diatomaceous earth around the home
. From Wednesday, 26 December, through Friday, 28 December, you can download the book for free!

Those who don’t have a Kindle can purchase the paperback version, which is currently eligible for Amazon’s 4 for 3 promotion (buy four books and get the lowest priced one free).

Anyone interested in having a “greener” home, using healthier products to get rid of bugs such as fleas, ants, even bedbugs, or just “getting back to nature” will enjoy this book. Think of it as my little gift to you. If you like your gift, please post an Amazon review saying what you like.

Merry Christmas! Happy reading!

Dear Self-Published Novelists: Please tell the whole story

Barbara Nicolosi, founder of Act One, a Christian screenwriting school, often complains that her students just don’t seem to understand what makes a story. My adventures in reading self-published novels on Kindle has shown me that even writers of novels seem to have trouble grasping this concept. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that many self-published novelists seem to think they can get by without editors, who would be able to point out when a story is not really a story. I used to laugh at the fact that Aristotle, supposedly so
wise, said something as obvious as “Every good story has a beginning, a middle,
and an end.” Now I see that this is apparently not obvious to everyone.

The Perils of Plotting

Last week I had one of those head colds that knock me out for about three days. My oxygen-starved brain was having trouble just trying to remain conscious, so writing anything was definitely out. So I turned to a freebie Kindle book I had downloaded recently, for something fairly mindless to read in my few, brief moments of wakefulness. I was quite enjoying it — interesting premise (some sort of alternate or prehistory history earth?), promising characters, a developing mystery, an ancient monotheistic religion about to make a comeback.

Snoopy typing Not the endBy the time I reached midway point of this book, my
breathing was starting to improve and my minds was regaining acuity, so I began
to notice that, with only a hundred pages or so until the end, there were at
least four different character plot lines wandering off in different
directions, like a braided cord unraveling. I also noticed that the young boy
being trained to become a secret warrior-priest of the mysterious religion
about to make a comeback was being taught plenty about being a warrior and
nothing about being a priest (he wasn’t even being taught the religion). And
then I got to the end of the book, which was – I’m not making this up! –
literally a cliffhanger. The last scene has the young warrior-priest jumping
off a high cliff to escape the man pursuing him (his mentor, who has become
somehow also his would-be assassin). The End. Not.

Turn the page and there is a notice that Book Two of this
series can be purchased from Amazon. Perhaps you heard my response to that,
dear reader, from whatever far-flung corner of the globe you inhabit – did you
hear a distant roar of outrage and disgust coming from the direction of Texas?
If I’d been reading a physical book, rather than my Kindle, you would also have
heard a thump as the book hit the wall, followed by more thumps and growls as I
jumped up and down on it. I had, once again, been duped into thinking that my
freebie “book” was actually a novel, a story with a beginning, middle, and end,
when it was actually just a fragment.

It’s a good thing I don’t practice voodoo,
or this might have been the fate
of a certain writer!

This writer (whom I will leave in anonymity; die in
darkness, you dog!) evidently thinks that novels of a certain kind should be
written – and sold – in three volumes. However, the word “trilogy” means “three stories” that
are intimately connected, not “one story in three parts.” The writer, undaunted
by the actual meaning of words, might further himself by saying, “But it’s
my homage to J.R.R. Tolkien. He did the same thing! He created a group of
characters, then sent them off in different directions, and he published his
Ring trilogy as three separate volumes! He set the precedent, and it turned out
to be one of the best-selling stories of all time, so don’t blame me for following
his example!” To which I reply, “(GRRRR) Listen, twit, learn history
before you mine it for precedents.” (Sorry, head colds make me irritable.)

Learn from the Master

The fact is, sixty years ago, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien
completed an enormously long romance he entitled The Lord of the Rings. His
publisher insisted that such a lengthy tome could not be contained in a single
volume; with the scarcity of paper in post-war Britain,
a single huge volume would have been prohibitively expensive. (No doubt the
publisher was also dubious that many people would want to read such a long
story and didn’t want to invest too heavily in something that might not pan
out.) At any rate, the publisher agreed to publish the story only if it were
broken into three volumes – not an unprecedented practice, as many early novels
were published in two or three volumes, for similar practical reasons. Tolkien
was not happy with this arrangement, but he went along with the publisher’s requirements. If you read Lord of the Rings, you
can see that none of the volumes even tries to be more or less complete in
itself; the first two volumes just sort of break off, but that’s okay because
the reader knows that the physical end is arbitrary and the story itself goes
on until Sam Gamgee returns to his home in Bywater after waving Frodo off on
his voyage into the West, sits down by the family hearth, plops his infant on
his knee, and says “Well, I’m back.”

Lord of the Rings in a single volume
makes for a hefty and expensive tome.

Tolkien’s publisher wound up publishing all three volumes
because that was the whole story, as the author had intended it, and because
the readers wanted the whole story, not just part of it. There may be readers
who have quit reading after the first volume because they just did not care
what happened next, but there certainly have been no readers who quit reading
after the first volume because they thought that was the whole story.

The practical considerations that, in the past, led
publishers to bring out lengthy novels in multi-volume editions simply do not
apply to novels written today. There are plenty of monster tomes, such as the
lengthy novels of Edward Rutherford, that attest to the fact that modern
printing technology can easily produce very long books in single volumes, even
in economical paperback formats. With digital books, there really is no limit
to the length of a single e-book file.

Now, I understand that there is some market pressure for
writers who wish to attract readers to produce novel series (new novelists are
often advised not to publish a novel until they have already written its sequel),
but there is a big difference between writing a series of stories (with
overlapping casts of characters, settings, and even plots) and writing a single story
stretched out over the length of several titles. The former practice is acceptable, even venerable,
but the latter is deceptive and crass, and no self-respecting novelist should
engage in such trickery. At the very least, writers who do so should warn the
prospective reader that a given volume contains only a fraction of the story,
and that the reader will have to purchase several titles in order to get the whole
story. Failure to do so is a dirty trick.

What this writer (I can’t call him a novelist) may not
realize is that he has lost one reader forever, because he evidently doesn’t
know what a story is. Too bad. He had some good fragments. If only he’d had a good editor, too.

UPDATED My new e-booklet — please read! Free booklet for the asking!

Naturally Healthy Living with Diatomaceous Earth, cover, Lisa Nicholas, Ph.D.
New cover, print version coming!

I’m a reader and a writer. When I write, I try to write things I’d like to read. I’m a bit of a DIY nut, especially when it comes to my health, and one of the things I’m really interested in is finding ways to use more natural products around the house, to avoid toxic chemicals and to save some money by avoiding brand name products (there are a number of large manufacturers that I am always happy not to buy from). I do a lot of informal research on the internet regarding more natural ways to stay healthy, clean my home, etc., but I find that sometimes some really wild claims are made about things like raw honey, boric acid, etc. I find it rather irritating that reasonable claims about the valuable properties of such things are often all mixed up with really wild claims (cures cancer! pulls viruses out of the air!), so I decided to do a little more research and then write a little book about healthy, natural products for the home, with reasonable explanations of why and how they can safely be used around the house.

I haven’t finished the book (many other projects in hand!), but I decided to publish the one chapter already written as a stand-alone publication for the Amazon Kindle. I’ve done this really more as an opportunity to experiment in various ways to market a self-published ebook than for any other reason. But I need some help to learn how to “work the system,” and this is where you come in, dear readers!

You may know that Kindle users can download free samples of Kindle ebooks; the sample is always the first 15% of the book. Since my little booklet is so short, about the only thing in the sample (beyond the title page) is the first couple of paragraphs of the introduction and the table of contents, so I need some help giving potential buyers a better idea of the book. Therefore, I’m looking for some people to read the booklet, then post reader reviews on the Amazon website. (I’ll be watching to see the extent to which reviews affect sales.) Yes, I hope these reviews will say nice things about the booklet, but more important I hope they will mention specific things that seem good or helpful.

The book is called Naturally Healthy Living With Diatomaceous Earth (Simply Smarter Living).
If you would like to be one of my reviewers, and you are already both a Kindle owner and an Amazon Prime member, you can already borrow my book for free on Amazon (if you’re neither, you can purchase it and read it either on a Kindle or on one of the free Kindle reader apps you can download from Amazon.com). If you would like to get a free review copy (with the understanding that you will, in return, post a review on Amazon), please send a request by email to writernicholas [at] gmail [dot] com (put it in normal email address format, please, as in “joebloggs@fakemail.com”). In the subject line, just put “Catholic Reader Freebie,” and in the body of the email let me know if you would prefer Kindle format, epub (works on Nooks and other non-Kindle ereading devices), or PDF format (which you can read on your computer, or print out).

I will send a free copy in the electronic format of your choice to the first fifteen readers who request it, provided you promise to post a review on Amazon. I’ll also give you some specific questions you can address in your review (if you wish), to help you pinpoint specific things that you find helpful (or not). Later, when I finish the full-length book, I’ll give you credit (if you wish) for having helped me with my editing and marketing research. If you find any serious errors, I’d appreciate it if you would let me know privately and give me a chance to fix the problem, rather than just posting a bad review on Amazon.

UPDATE: To post an Amazon review, you must have a registered Amazon account, and have purchased at least one item. If you are not already an Amazon customer (gosh, why not? I do almost all my shopping on Amazon!), you can set up an account and then download a free Kindle book, which counts as a purchase, even though the price is $0.00. You can read the book in Amazon’s Kindle Cloud Reader (no software to install) or using their free Kindle for PC (or Mac, Android, etc.) application, if you don’t have a Kindle device. Click here to see a list of books currently free for Kindle.