Brown River Queen cover art

Friday, August 3, 2012

Snug Nugget Open for Business!

As a long-time resident (some would say nuisance) of the Amazon Kindle discussion boards, one of the complaints posted most frequently is that e-books cost too much.

I'm not one of the people posting these price complaints. E-books are almost always cheaper than their paper counterparts, and if they aren't, factors such as portability, accessibility, and zero-shelf-space more than make up for a few pennies in cost.

But if you do feel that e-books cost too much, I'm happy to announce you now have the chance to set your price! A new publishing venture opened this morning, which means when you buy from Snug Nugget, you pay whatever you feel is fair.

Better still, Snug Nugget sells e-books by the bundle, and a generous portion (nearly 15 percent) of each purchase price is donated to Book Aid International, which supports literacy, education, and development in sub-Saharan Africa.

So you get good books at a good price and you do good. Which is good. And a blatant over-use of the word 'good.'

If you're curious as to why I'm touting Snug Nugget's new business model and you decided Frank is enthused over this pay-as-you-want strategy because Frank is a forward-thinking philanthropist, well, I'm afraid you're dead wrong. Frank has a small role in this enterprise, in that the three Wistril stories included in Wistril Compleat are a part of the bundle.

So you get Wistril Besieged, Wistril Afloat, and Wistril Betrothed as part of the bundle.

The other four entries are novels in genres ranging from mystery to SF to fantasy, which allows you to visit the Mars of the future (Mankind's Worst Fear, by David L. Erickson), confront a saber-tooth cat on the loose in the present (Smilodon, by Alan Nayes), solve a mystery in Florence (Intrigue in Italics, by Gayle Wigglesworth), and visit an alternate Earth during a very different Renaissance (The Plight of Angels, by Ian Hodge).

All for the low, low price of whatever the heck you wish to pay.

So browse on over to and grab a bunch of e-books. And remember a portion of the purchase price goes to some genuinely deserving people in a hard-hit part of Africa, so pat yourself on the back as you click that buy button.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Writing Olympics!

As everyone on the planet knows, the Summer Olympics are underway.

I didn't see the opening ceremonies. From what I've managed to piece together from assorted tweets and bits of Facebook postings, the Olympics opened with Doctor Who and Mary Poppins joining forces to defeat James Bond. Or the Queen. Frankly I'm a bit fuzzy on that bit, although I do think the same little old lady who stared Hitler down back in the day could probably shove Mary Poppins' umbrella in an entirely undignified spot.

You may have surmised that the Olympics hold little interest for me. And you'd be right, because at the risk of posting heresy, it all boils down to people running, people chasing balls, or people running while chasing balls. They don't have cheerleaders. I can't even pretend interest in any sporting event that lacks cheerleaders.

No, if the Olympic committee wants my viewership -- and let's face facts, they lie awake at night hatching plots to get it -- they'll have to include events that appeal to me, Frank the writer.

And that will have the happy benefit of attracting my surly circle of fellow writers, many of whom last saw the outdoors (or even an image of the outdoors) the last time they changed houses.

So here is my list of suggested Olympic Events for Writers. Olympic Committee Members may direct their checks and adoration to my email address.


1) The Fifty-Yard Coffee and Sandwich Run -- Look, if we had time to prepare real food we'd be cookbook authors. But we've got people to kill, worlds to ravage, forgotten subplots to tie up. Check bread for mold, smear one slice with peanut butter (if any), smear the other with whatever we can scrape out of the jam jar, nuke seven-hour old coffee, balance the cup, saucer, and sandwich in one hand while running through a darkened room toward the dim glow of a flat panel display. That's our life. So make it an event -- with a timer, horns, and of course a couple of dogs running underfoot. Oh, and make the coffee an unstable, explosive fluid. We've got ratings to worry about.

2)  The Just A Quick Email Check Relay -- This one will be a hit. Put two computer workstations one hundred yards apart. One station is set up for word processing, no net, nothing else. The other station, one hundred yards distant, is equipped to check Twitter, Facebook, email, Fark, Cracked, and various other sites. Authletes (that's my word for 'author athletes', and I get $1500 PER WORD, Olympic Committee) must compose a brilliant paragraph of prose, race to the social media station, and return within an allotted and ever-shrinking time. Naturally a few authletes will die trying to beat the buzzer after a marathon session of defending their paragraphs from critics on Twitter, but hey, this is the big time.

3) Query Letter Hide N Seek -- Fiendishly simple, yet endlessly entertaining. A fit young runner is handed a blank sheet of paper in the middle of a circle of authors. When the pistol sounds, the runner chooses any author at random and dashes toward him or her. If the runner manages to touch the author with the blank paper, that author MUST sit down and, in one pass, create the perfect query letter, or be lampooned mercilessly by a panel of New York literary agents.

4) Rejection Selection -- A modern-day reboot of a gory Roman favorite. Authors are placed into the arena. Each author may defend themselves only with the printed copy of their current work in progress. From the stands high above, editors and first readers take aim with finely-honed harpoons, while Strunk & White's timeless classic 'The Elements of Style' is read aloud over loudspeakers. The last author standing is awarded a gift basket filled with moist towelettes and a complementary copy of the current 'Writer's Market.'

5) The Dangling Participle of Death -- Authors and their grammar skills are put to the ultimate test within this maze of boobytraps and deadly machines.  At every turn, authors must use state-of-the-art graphic displays to correctly diagram complex sentences. Once the sentence is diagrammed, a door opens -- but is it the door to freedom, or death? Was that a gerund? Was that a dependent clause? Do you feel lucky, punk?
Correct answers lead the way to the next sentence. Incorrect answers result in amusing but gruesome spectacles. Don't you wish you'd paid more attention to Mrs. Fitzgiggens now, Mister All Knowing Author?

Add some of those events, and I'll watch. Otherwise, I'll stick to reruns of South Park.