Monday, December 2, 2013

Red Warp Released!

Red Warp is now available at iBooks, Kobo, Barnes & Noble Nook, Kindle, Oyster, and Smashwords!

-In a race against time the casualty could be your life-

If you could travel through time with just yourself and no machine needed, would you? Meet Red, a woman with a amazing gift, the gift of passing though time and space without the need of any bulky equipment. The places she has seen, the people she has helped will blow your mind.

Now meet James, just your average newly minted FBI agent minding his own business until he is thrust headlong into Red's world. A world he didn't ask for, but one that hit him in the face full force. Can they get along long enough to survive?

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Red Warp Excerpt 3

Red Warp launches on December 2nd and it is available for pre-order now at Apple iBooks, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble Nook.   It will be released to Kindle, Sony, and everywhere Smashwords distributes to on the 2nd.

 -If you could travel though time without any bulky equipment, would you?-

And here is the last excerpt of Red Warp:

Pulled through time and space, their senses were awash in color and light.  Then after what seemed like an eternity, they crashed out landing with a thud.

James shook his head trying to clear his vision.  Finally the ground resolved.  "Wood?" he muttered.  He got to his feet hearing sea gulls in the distance.  Red was dazed and half asleep next to him laying on the wooden decking.  Looking around James finally saw the ship they were on for what it was, with the large black pirate flag flying above his head there could be no mistake.

He grabbed Red.  "Red!  Red!  We have to get out of here!"

"I ... am ... too ... tired.   Must ... sleep ..."

"You can sleep later, we need to get away, now!  If you can't I will carry you."

"Hmmm?  Okay ..." She barely mumbled before falling sleep.  James picked her up and started moving forward to try and get off the ship when suddenly, there was a lot of commotion from below.  Including several loud voices.

A moment later several large men surrounded them wearing various types of clothing.  Some were barefoot, others had well made boots.  It was obvious their look was by choice rather than something forced upon them.  All of them held their swords drawn pointing at James making him feel as though he was in the middle of a deadly cage.  One false move and they were done for.

All the men sneered at the two people in their midst, and talked among themselves when they suddenly parted reveling a tall man with long black boots.  The rest of his clothing was dark except for the brightly colored coat that looked to be made of silk.  He had pistols on either side of his belt and a sword in its holster.  He stroked his thick black beard.  "Well well well.  What have we here?"

"Who are you and where are we?"  James asked but then quickly regretted the question.

"Who am I?" The tall man laughed which caused the other men to join in.  After a few minutes he raised his hand for silence.  "I am Edward Teach and you are aboard the Queen Anne's Revenge!"

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Red Warp Excerpt 2

Red Warp launches on December 2nd and it is available for pre-order now at Apple iBooks, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble Nook.   It will be released to Kindle, Sony, and everywhere Smashwords distributes to on the 2nd.

In a race against time the casualty can be your life
And here is excerpt 2:
Red awoke to someone shaking her violently.  She blinked trying to clear her vision.  Then she saw the glint of a gun shoved into her face.  "WHO are you!  And where are we?"  The man waved his gun around and shouted.  "Answer me!  I am not in the mood for games.  The building is gone, everything is gone!  Where are we!" 

Her vision finally cleared and she recognized him as one of the agents that came into the room right before she jumped.  He must have traveled with her.  This was a first.  She looked around then back at him. "I ... I ... I don't know," she stammered.

Suddenly they heard a sound.  An alien sound of something very large nearby.  Her blood turned to ice.  She went back all right, but far far too much.

The man looked around momentarily forgetting Red entirely.  "What in the world was that?!"

Red quickly shushed him.  "Shut up you moron or we will be a meal.  Now get off of me and put that gun away.  If it goes off we are dead."

"I want to--" he said with confused look.

"Okay let me try this again.  Do you want to live?"

He looked blankly at her for a second in a state of shock.  "Of course, what kind of question is that?"

"Then stop asking me stupid questions and do as I say and you might live to see tomorrow!  You got that?"

He nodded slowly and got off of her and she leapt to her feet.  She had been here before, and that was trying to see how far she could go.  Dang them!  If it wasn't for their interference in her concentration, the jump wouldn't have thrust them this far back!

The earth shook slightly as they felt a tremor.  A small one, almost imperceptible, then the next one ... stronger ... the then the next even stronger yet. 

"What is--"

Red covered his mouth.  "Shut up!  Do you want to get us killed?" she whispered.  "Now follow me and for goodness sake try to be quiet!"  He holstered his gun, she grabbed his wrist, and they moved as quietly as they could to a thick patch of very large foliage she could just make out in the dim light.  She jumped into the large ferns and pulled him in with her.  Their noses wrinkled as the ferns strong scent covered them.  Red just hoped it would be enough.  The earth shook again more violently this time as a giant foot of a Tyrannosaurus rex landed very close to them.  The beast looked around sniffing the air then leaned down to where they were hiding and sniffed again, looking confused.  His head bobbed up again as he looked around.  Then he put his snout down and began to push into the ferns when a loud sound froze him into place.  He raised his head and gave an angry retort to the air and took off in the direction of the challenge.

"That was--"

Red slapped her hand over his mouth.  "Do you ever shut up?" she whispered.  "Give it another minute or two then we can move."  After a few minutes, which seemed like hours in their cramped location under the ferns, she stood up.  "Should be clear now.  I am sure he took off after the challenger at full speed and won't be back now."

The man stood up his face glistened in the dim moonlight wet from sweat or the ferns, Red couldn't tell which.  "What was that?"

"Tyrannosaurus rex.  I am sure you have herd of them."

"Of course I have heard of them!  But they are long dead.  So are we on some kind of movie set?"

Red snorted.  "Don't I wish!"

"Well then where are we?"

Red glared at him as she sat down on a large rock nearby.  "Isn't it obvious?"

The man looked blank.  "No."

"Okay let me try this again, really really slowly.  That was a real dinosaur.  A Tyrannosaurus rex, now think for a moment.  What does that mean?"

"We went back in time?"

Red raised her arms looked to the sky.  "Thank you God, yes he can be taught!"  She lowered her arms and jabbed a finger in the man's face.  "Now if it wasn't for you I wouldn't be in this situation."

"Because of me?" He said placing a hand on his chest.  "I didn't do this to you!"

"You did!  You broke my concentration!  I came to try and help save your president, and what do I get?  People calling me insane and think I am a terrorist.  If I was a terrorist would I have been warning people?  You government types have no sense at all."

"We broke your concentration?"

"Yes YOU!  I should have normally spent a hour preparing for that jump, instead I had to do it blind.  I only wanted to jump a little bit not this freaking far!"

"And why do you keep saying we did this?  I didn't do this to you."

"You are with the FBI aren't you?"

"Well yes--"

"Well then, who are you?"  Red felt the idiocy of the question the second after she said it.

He stiffened.  "Agent James Moknkin!"

"Oh full agent eh?  And where is your access badge?"  She said pointing at his chest.

James looked down to see a ripped spot on his sport jacket where his badge once hung.  "Well looks like it was taken off by a whirlwind that someone else made!"

"And how long have you been there?"

"My first day, I--"

Red snorted and shook her head.  "Just great.  All the agents in the world and I get stuck with a trainee in the distant past!"

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Red Warp: Excerpt 1

Red Warp launches on December 2nd and it is available for pre-order now at Apple iBooks, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble Nook.   It will be released to Kindle, Sony, and Smashwords on the 2nd.

In a race against time the casualty can be your life

And as promised, here is a excerpt:

She looked around the room and sighed flicking her long red hair over her shoulders as she stood up.  She knew that it would drain her beyond normal limits, already being so very tired, but there was little choice.  They would be back soon and then her time would be up.  They wanted her power, or thought her insane.  While most didn't really believe, they would soon!  And to think she came to help them!  She looked around the small room again.  She picked up the four heavy wooden chairs and placed them on the table that took up almost the entire space.

She sighed again and pulled the zipper of her skin tight black bodysuit all the way up, past her neck.  She hoped there was enough room.  She had never done it in such a small space before.  Looking off into the distance and with great concentration she began to run.  In a circle ... faster and faster.  Air began to swirl around picking up several papers that were on the table and flung them into the wind.  Faster and faster she ran.  "I must DO this!"  She muttered and increased her speed again.  One of the chairs flew off and were now following her swept up in the whirlwind.  A storm had formed.  A storm of her own making.

And with the crack of thunder a bolt shot from the center and the room reeked of ozone.  She increased her speed once more but began to feel the storm's draining effect and knew she was out of time.

With a loud KABOOOM that shook the whole building, a warp had formed.  A rip in the very fabric of space and time.  She knew there were only seconds before they came running in here.  The table cracked, splintered, fell in upon itself, and disappeared as the warp grew gaining strength.  A microsecond later the door burst open with armed men ready to do battle, but with the storm all they could do was hang on to the door frame as the great forces pulled them horizontal.

The warp was smaller than usual, but she could not go any more.  It was enough.  She ran for it and jumped into the angry swirl of color.  With a loud CRASH it closed in upon itself and instantly the wind died.  People and the chairs fell to the floor with a thud.

Stars in a multitude of colors streamed past her vision.  She knew they were not real stars but she was beyond what her mind could comprehend, making them look like stars.

As quick as it started, it stopped.  She fell to the ground on a soft patch of grass.  Gazing around she saw trees, lush streams and heard birds chirping in the background.  She knew it was not a matter of where she was but when.  She closed her eyes and muttered "I must rest" and fell into a deep sleep.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Red Warp Launches December 2nd

Red Warp, my latest novel is finished and launches in December.  It will be available for pre-order on Apple iBooks, Barnes and Noble, Kobo!  On December 2nd it will also be available on Amazon's Kindle and Smashwords.

In a race against time the casualty can be your life

If you could travel through time with just your self and no machine needed, would you?

Meet Red, a woman with a amazing gift, the gift of passing though time and space without the need of any bulky equipment.  The places she has seen, the people she has helped will blow your mind.

Now meet James, just your average newly minted FBI agent minding his own business until he is thrust headlong into Red's world.  A world he didn't ask for, but one that hit him in the face full force.  Can they get along long enough to survive?
 I will be posting small excerpts from now until Launch Day!  Be sure to sign up for updates!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Red WARP Nears Release!

My next novel Red Warp has entered the final editing phase.  A few tweeks and I hope to have it published soon.  The cover is all done, and the ISBN is secured.  More details to follow.  :)

In a race against time the casualty can be your life

If you could travel through time with just your self and no machine needed, would you?

Meet Red, a woman with a amazing gift, the gift of passing though time and space without the need of any bulky equipment.  The places she has seen, the people she has helped will blow your mind.

Now meet James, just your average newly minted FBI agent minding his own business until he is thrust headlong into Red's world.  A world he didn't ask for, but one that hit him in the face full force.  Can they get along long enough to survive?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Oyster is poised to become the pearl of ebooks

As anyone keeping up on recent news in the ebook sphere can tell you, something very interesting has developed recently.  Oyster is a new subscription service for iOS (iPhone or iPad) that allows one to download and read as many books as you want for a flat monthly fee.  Very similar to the movie service Netflix or music service Spotify.  Although with those you need a internet connection to play the media.  Oyster allows you to download the books and read them even if you are not currently connected.  For example you could still read the book you just downloaded on a airplane.  Apparently they have over 200,000 currently published books (in other words not freely available elsewhere) in their library which will only grow from here on.

Amazon's Kindle lending library has something similar but only for those in Amazon's Prime service.  Also they are only allowed one free book per month.   Authors that do allow their book in Lending Library get paid every time their book is borrowed.  The amount varies, but in general about $2.00 USD.  The downside of this is you must be in the KDP Select program and therefore your book is exclusive to Kindle.

Oyster is also paying authors royalties with the same premise, however without requiring any exclusivity.  If anyone reads more than a sample of your book, you get paid.  If this catches on, it could change the entire publishing industry.  From content you purchase up front, to a service you subscribe to.  Now I don't see the whole thing changing over night, and it does have its downsides.  Personally I like owning my books instead of subscribing to a service, but I wouldn't be apposed to using the service to check out new authors.  Similar to going to a library first, then buying later what I like.  Either way this is a great service to readers and authors alike.

And for those already published though Smashwords: They signed a distribution agreement with Oyster.  Books should be shipping to Oyster by the end of September!  For those authors that want to be in on this great new service, they don't have to do a thing, just as long as they are Premium Catalog-approved.  Of course if you don't, then it easy to turn off sending your book to Oyster with the catalog settings.  But I don't see why anyone would want to.

While only for iOS, the app is coming soon to other platforms.  Which is interesting since Oyster said at launch they were only planning for iOS.  Apparently the large outcry for Android (and Windows) changed their minds.

In short keep a eye on Oyster, they are posed to become the pearl of ebooks.

Don DeBon is the author of Italian Fever.  Currently available on Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Kobo.

Friday, September 6, 2013

To Library or not to Library

One of the interesting topics lately floating around is the situation of ebook libraries.  Corry Doctorow (a long time advocate against DRM and what many large publishing companies are doing) had a conversation with the American Library Association about the problem of unfair practices the publishers are forcing on libraries.  You can read about it here

In essence they make libraries pay $60-$80 per book and force them to invest in complicated proprietary collection-management systems (overdrive).  And of course they can only lend one copy at a time.  While this does make sense, in a way, since that is what a normal library does with physical books, the other aspects do not.  Also a library cannot sell the books later on if they wish.  And some publishers would like to have a book self destruct after it has been borrowed 26 times!

This is truly sad and the reason is simple: Publishers view libraries as a loss of sales.  Which is far from the truth as you can get.  They should view it as a wonderful low (to none) cost advertising venue.  Consider this: Most people that barrow from a library either can afford to buy the book, or they read so much they don't have the space to store all the books they read.  Now yes the publisher didn't get a sale from this person, however this person tells several other friends that do buy books on a regular basis and do so based on this persons recomendation.  In this example (which is more common than you might think) the publisher actually makes MORE money than if they had just the one sale.  And over the course of the library books life, there is a potential for quite a bit of income for the publisher.

In the end supporting libraries is a win-win situation as the publishers get more sales, and readers get access to wonderful books they wouldn't have otherwise.  And isn't that what a library is all about?

Don DeBon is the author of Italian Fever.  Currently available on Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Kobo.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Italian Fever has been published for one year!

Italian Fever has been published now for one year, and in honor of this I have decided to mark the book as free for a limited time on Smashwords and Kobo!  And for .99 on Kindle and Nook.

Italian Fever has a little bit of everything: Romance, Action, Sci-Fi so it has hard to place in just one category.  Also the Sci-Fi aspect doesn't show itself for several chapters leading one to think it isn't actually Science Fiction.

I am pleased with the sales and I thank everyone who purchased my book.  And for those that have been asking, YES I am hard at work on my next novel.  I still have a few chapters to finish and editing to do, but it is mostly complete.  I hope to have it out before Christmas.

And until then, here is a little excerpt from Italian Fever:

"Ok," Riccardo said his fingers poised over the keyboard. "Here goes." He began keying in the long number sequence then added the unicode sequence as Crystal described.

A moment later they were greeted with "Passcode Accepted. Would you like to retrieve your account now?" Riccardo pressed "Yes" and the screen flashed "Thank you. Please stand by." A few moments later the four foot square door slid up and a robotic arm placed a three foot box on the platform under it. Then the arm retracted and the door closed.

The box was white except for the large black Z emblem on the top. Riccardo tentatively felt its weight, while heavy it was not extreme and placed it on the table. Upon opening the overlapping plastic cover flaps they found a cardboard shipping box almost as large. The second box contained large but thin stone tablet, a notebook and a small digital device of some sort. All were carefully packed.

"What is this?" Crystal asked picking up the small digital device. It was almost six inches long but very thin. Definitely something designed to be hand held.

"It is a small holographic video recorder he was working on. I know Terrance often made notes with it as well." Riccardo said as he looked at the device then frowned after gazing at its now lit screen. "There is only one file here, and it had to be right after I met with him." He pushed play and light flashed around the room slowly resolving above the table into the image of Professor Terrance Croorlheart looking very haggard and as though he had not slept in weeks. He spoke in heavy rough accented Italian voice.

"My friend, if you are seeing this then I have failed to bring to the world the greatest discovery mankind has ever seen. It has the potential to rewrite everything and change the course of human endeavors. I had hoped to show you this in person and have you help me, but due to people that want this discovery for selfish reasons I found myself needing to take flight. I can't get into the details of my discovery here as I do not have time. Nor do I trust that this location is that secure. I suspect I am being watched. I have been watched for weeks. Everywhere I go there they are. I can't seem to loose them. His reach is too great. I only hope you can do better than I."

"Wow." Crystal said in a hushed tone and Ricardo quickly put a finger by his nose for silence.

"I am sending my notes, this recording and the center item that started all of this to Zero." The Professor continued. "It should be secure there until you can retrieve it. I will get the key to you somehow. Please take good care of this. I know you will. I am only sorry I couldn't show and explain it to you in person. God Speed my friend." And with that the hologram dissolved into random light beams before disappearing entirely.

Crystal picked up the thick notebook with its well used cover and carefully leafed though its pages. Many of its pages had seen heavy use. "It is all in Italian." She said handing the book over to Riccardo.....

Like what you see?  Then head on over to Smashwords, Kobo for your free copy.  Or Kindle and Nook for .99 but keep in mind that Smashwords does carry formats that will work on a Nook Or Kindle device.  You can also download the books directly using a web browser on a tablet device such as the Kindle Fire or Nook Color, Tablet, HD or HD+

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Thoughts on Barnes & Noble

Yes it has been a while since my last post.  Too long actually.  I am sure some of you thought I had disappeared.  Sadly as it happens to many writers, life got in the way, and I got behind in my writing.  The good news is I am back at my typewriter (figuratively speaking) and I hope to have the manuscript of my next book done soon.  I will likely go the self publishing route again so you won't have to wait years for it to see the light of day.

But now on to the subject that this post is about: Barnes & Noble.  I have no doubt you have seen the headlines recently.  First B&N announce that they didn't make a profit this past Christmas season like they expected, with the CEO announcing they will be making changes.  Then a announcement that they are giving up on developing Nook tablet hardware in house, and would seek third parties that would be interested in rebranding their tablet with Nook.  Shortly after the CEO, William Lynch, who had been there since the start of Nook resigned.  Now B&N say that they are not giving up on Nook tablet hardware as it would be hard to sell ebooks without their own in house development. Quite the roller coaster indeed.

What do I think?  Well lets go back to the beginning of the Nook.  I think they made the right move to go into the ebook business, to just ignore it would have been foolhardy as that is where the majority of book sales will be eventually.  Their first device I think is their best, for reading.  The Nook Classic (also called Nook First Edition) was mainly a e-ink device with a color touch screen on the bottom and two paging buttons on either side of the screen.  You could easily side load books (plug the device into your computer to add or backup books), replace the battery if needed, barrow ebooks from your local library if they used the overdrive system, and it even had a sd card slot for increased storage.

Later on they added other features such as a couple of games, a web browser, and a few others.  But those weren't the best uses for the device, as many others can do the same much better.  However for what it was designed for: reading it was still one of the best readers of the time.  Mixing the best of both worlds with a color screen allowed for full color views of covers (which being a very visual person, was a great asset to me).  I also liked how you could barrow or even buy ebooks elsewhere and use them on the Nook.  Therefore the device had longevity.  And later on they added shelves, for better organization (it helps but they didn't give us what we really asked for).  The system still lacked in that area but there were ways around it (I will get into that in a bit).  I bought mine because it could be used even if B&N shut down their ebook store.  And I had been burned several times in the past due to such a situation.

I know it isn't a perfect device, but for me it is still what I use most to read books on.  Yes I know it doesn't have a light but I use a regular book light clipped to the corner that works well.  My eyes like this situation rather than a backlight glowing into my eyes.  I also liked that the main reading surface doesn't get fingerprints all the time.  Later on I rooted mine to use a 3rd party app that allowed for better searching and display of the library on the device.  This fixed the only real issue I had with it.  I could live with the way it was, but this was still a great improvement.  And why B&N never made these changes always surprised me.

Next the came out with the Nook Color, which is more of a android tablet aimed at readers but could do more.  The book reading app had many new features, but the organization was still limited to shelves only (which takes a LONG time to set up if you have a sizable library).  And they allowed installing of other 3rd party apps via their apps store.  One of the problems with Nook Color was that it was a little under powered for what people wanted.  It was more of a android tablet yes, but watching movies or other content were lacking at times.  But it was still great for its main use of reading books, magazines, and newspapers.

Shortly after this came the Nook Simple Touch.  A e-ink touch screen based reader.  Gone was the dual screens, but the device was smaller and lighter.  The reading app was improved over the Nook Classic but it did have a few downsides, the more notable was the lack of a user replaceable battery.  It also lacked any sort of audio book or music ability.  But it could last a month or more on a charge.  The newer version with glow light doesn't last as long (well if you have the light on).

The Nook Tablet came out as a successor to the Nook Color.  It had a faster processor and larger internal storage.  It fixed a few other downsides of the Nook Color and basically was what the Nook Color should have been in the first place.  But it was still limited to the B&N apps store and you couldn't side load apps unless you rooted the device (which is fairly simple).  For reading, or mostly anything you wanted to do with a tablet, this device could do.  I have not even really had a reason to root mine, although I may do so in the future for a couple of apps that are not in the B&N store.

Then last fall the Nook HD and HD+ were released.  These were higher resolution screens, and later on had Google Play installed making them full tablets as they were no longer limited to the B&N apps store.  Another benefit is these (like all B&N devices) have a SD card slot allowing for the expansion of storage.  Most other Android tablets do not have a expansion slot.  If you are looking for a Android tablet, you really can't beat the Nook HD or HD+ (if you like the larger screen).  It is good to see that they have decided not to give up on the hardware, and to be honest if they did I don't think their ebook section would survive.  It is how Amazon has achieved 60% of the market share, almost give away the reader and make money on the content.  I don't think B&N can do otherwise and still be competitive.

Now where did they go wrong?  I would say there are several reasons.  First off not listening to customers with the original Nook Classic.  Many of us begged for better organization of their libraries, and while they did give us shelves, it could have been so much better.  The current implementation just took too long to add a lot of books to the shelves.  And if you ever had to change devices, that organization was lost.  We also asked for bookmarks in the audio player since it was very easy to loose ones place in a audio book, instead we got games.  Don't get me wrong, they did do some wonderful additions to the Nook Classic before it was abandoned, but not listening left a lot of bad tastes in customers mouths.

Then the charger fiasco of the Nook Color.  The original charging cords had a defect that could damage the device, cord or both.  And while the port is a normal micro USB port, the charging cord is slightly longer and you couldn't use a normal micro USB cable.  Well you could, but it would charge the tablet very very slowly.  And they had a shortage of replacement chargers.  This was fixed by the time the Nook Tablet was released, but it was another stain on the platform.

They also dropped 3g connectivity.  Nook Classic had it, but every device since has been WiFi only.  Considering that many other competing devices do have a 3g option, I find it odd that B&N no longer offer it.  Another problem was the lack of releasing Nook world wide from the start.  Or at least shortly after its US release.  Amazon's Kindle has been world wide for a while now and this has proven very difficult for B&N to try and make up for that lost time.

One of the biggest mistakes I think B&N did was with regard to its tablets.  Rather than trying to create a separate app store, they should have just used Google Play from the start.  It would have allowed development to center on the devices and bookstore.  And they would really have competed with the other Android tablets.  B&N tried to market them as Android tablets without the resources of competing products.  As a result people wanting a Android tablet went elsewhere and downloaded the Nook app to their device of choice.  B&N did finally come around with Nook HD and HD+, but is it too late to save the company?  I hope not.  B&N is about the only real competitor to Amazon left.  To loose them would likely result in a near monopoly in the business, which is never a good situation.

B&N maybe on the road to improvement and we all can see they are fighting for their existence.  If they listen to their customers from now on, (adding Google Play was certainly a step in the right direction for example) and be quicker in adapting, they may just survive.  I hope they do and continue to be around for a long time to come.