Friday, June 24, 2016

Red Warp Print Edition Is RELEASED!

I am pleased to announce that Red Warp print edition is now available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your favorite bookstore!  And the ebook edition is still available for FREE on Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iBooks, and Smashwords.

I also wish to thank everyone for their support.

The air swirled as a bolt of pure energy stuck and a red rip into the fabric of space and time opened in its wake.  A moment later James fell out onto an iron plated deck with Red landing a second later right on top of him.  The warp closed behind them leaving no trace as usual.

"We really need to stop meeting like this."  James said giving Red a squeeze.

"Will you cut it out! Now where are--"  A incredible bang ripped through their ears and they smelled old fashioned gunpowder, as a cannon shell whizzed over their heads.  "Holy! They are shooting at us!"

"Not us!  That other boat over there!"  James pointed to a strangely shaped ship.  Most of it was pyramid shaped, very little else could be seen except for the large anti-ship guns sticking out at different angles and the large smoke stack in the center.  Then another explosion as the other ship fired a shell.  It whizzed over top of them and bounced off the metal covered turret right behind.  They covered their ears against the extreme audio assault.

"Where the heck are we?"  James shouted still trying to keep his ears covered.  "You landed us in the middle of a war zone!"

"I did not!  You know how tricky--" Red shouted back, but didn't dare uncover her ears.

"Well you are the one driving!"  James shouted as another shell went wild and bounced off the decking nearby.  They both were very grateful the shell did not explode or it would have killed them instantly.

"Well my driving has got a lot worse since you tagged along!"

"What kind of ships are these?"  He said pointing with his elbow to the unusual craft they were on.  "I don't recall seeing these before.  There isn't anything to this ship above the water line other than a gun turret and a smoke stack!  It certainly isn't a submarine."  He said as they uncovered their ears.

"Oh my Lord ... do you see the flag on the other ship?"  Red said pointing.  "It is confederate! ..."

Don DeBon is the author of Red Warp, Time Rock, and Soulmates.  Currently available on Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, and other retailers.  

Thursday, June 23, 2016

What If Barnes and Noble Evaporated?

What would happen if Barnes and Noble went out of business? There has been a great deal of discussion flying though the interwebs the last few days. It started with an article on New Republic and snowballed from there. New Republic thinks it would be a disaster, and they give a lot of stats to back up their claim. However, a lot of their data is skewed to back up said claim, rather than giving real information. For example they compare book buying orders with a small single independent store with the entire Barnes and Noble chain. To do a realistic comparison you would compare one single store to another. I would suspect they would be about the same (buying one box of a particular title or two). They also don't talk about returns (which I will cover below).

Yes I agree it would be sad if B&N folded, any reader loves to go into a book store. It is like being a kid in a candy store, and surfing a website just isn't the same. However, it would not be a huge surprise if they did close.  Back when the first nook came out (still my favorite ereader ... well after I hacked it) it was great.  But even then they didn't listen to their customers.  We wanted better indexing and sorting methods.  And what did they give us?  Games!  Eventually B&N did give us "shelves" which helped somewhat.  But then they came out with Nook Color and firmware updates for the original Nook was abandoned.  Even though they were still selling them in the stores.  If you hacked it, and used an alternate library app, WOW you could find things so much easier and could even add tags.  It would have been simple to add these features yet B&N never did.  And they abandoned the hardware right after a newer model came out.  Look at Amazon, they are STILL supporting almost every Kindle model they ever made.

Then right after the Nook Color came out, B&N borked the website. People complained, they ignored, and borked it even more.  It always seems like they do the exact opposite what their customers want.  And they wonder why they are losing money?  Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that one out.

B&N customer service has fallen on its face and keeps trying to walk, pushing its face further into the sand. There are other cases of people calling in and either asking for help or better yet, asking for the reduced price of a book when the did a pre-order and B&N could only say "we don't price match".  But this was THEIR price they promised yet charged full price instead and wouldn't budge.  Amazon by contrast would say "oh sorry, here is your money".  Or "Broken Kindle?  Gosh that is terrible, here is a new one."  They get it.  And I wish B&N would.  It is a real shame too, because I would like to see them succeed not go into chapter 11.  But something will fill the gap eventually, if they do. Before Walmart there was Wards and Sears. Both in their heyday, the largest retailers in the country. Now both are struggling to survive. Markets change, and you either adapt or die. The death knell is always "we know better than our customers." Amazon knows that the customer is king and is how they are burying their competition.

And now about returns.  Most publishers give up to 90 days to return a book for FULL credit.  So while a publisher may make a big sale with B&N, three months later most of it may go poof (and cost you more in shipping to get the books returned it they are hardbacks).  While publishers can specify no returns, most book stores will not buy no return books unless they are known best sellers.  I don't know of any other industry where you can return a product (or even just PART of the product aka just the front cover of a paperback book) for 90 days if it didn't sell.  Yet that is the core of the book industry.

I really wish B&N would wake up, but after so many CEO's and other management changes, the same behavior remains. Perhaps they can pull a rabbit out of their hat, but first they would need to find a rabbit. It is funny in a way, they are bumbling around in the dark with a flashlight they refuse to turn on because they think they know what is in front of them. But paths change and one needs to learn from mistakes not continue on blindly. Regardless, if they do evaporate something else will take their place. It may not be the same, but readers, and the industry will survive.

Don DeBon is the author of Red Warp, Time Rock, and Soulmates.  Currently available on Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, and other retailers. 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Pre-order of Red Warp print edition is now live!!

I am pleased to announce that Red Warp print edition is now available for pre-order at Barnes & Noble and other retailers!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Castle got the axe ... what took so long?

Castle finally got the axe, and my question is WHY didn't the producers know sooner? How could a team of mystery writers not know that their series was being canceled? All the clues were there. The first big one was the MONTHS long break in the middle of the season. Which meant no traditional Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas episodes. No network does this, unless they plan on killing the series (or seriously thinking about it). The only way they could have been more obvious is if they moved Castle from the normal Monday night to the Friday night death slot.

Then you have the episodes for the past two seasons, with only rare exception ("The Nose" for example) were terrible. I couldn't help but think "this is absolute garbage" especially for the last 3 or 4 episodes for this season. My impression was the writers WANTED the series to die, it is the only reason they would put out such terrible content. The Castle character was 'off the wall' crazy. Granted he always had a bit of a crazy streak, but it was tamed by his other qualities. However, it seems that this season they wanted to release all the bad qualities of Castle onto the world unabated. And I can tell you, if they did this the first season the show would not have lasted past 5 episodes let alone all the years it has been on the air. I know I wouldn't have watched it.

I have been a fan of Castle for quite a while. A well done show about a successful writer? What writer wouldn't want to watch? But I think it started its downward spiral when the writers married the two main characters. After that they didn't seem to know what to do with them. Almost as if they had a meeting "okay, we married them now what?" And everyone said "I have no idea." And this is odd because there have been so many great books, and shows staring a married couple. Seriously, do these writers not read or watch older content to see how it is done? If that be the case, they deserved to be fired. Granted there were a few good episodes since they married Castle, but that was the exception rather than the rule. They lacked the spark of the earlier seasons.

I can't blame ABC for the last episode, instead I blame the writers/producers of Castle. For this fiasco is solely their mess. The only thing you could blame ABC for is they took so long to make the official announcement (the Thursday before the final show aired). They should have done that at the start or middle of the last season, when it was quite obvious they didn't care about the show anymore. But like I said, I can't blame them for that, why continue pay for such garbage? I know I wouldn't.

The part that really steams me: why in the world did the writers not plan the last episode better? As I said all the signs of cancellation where there. What more did they need? God writing on the wall "You are going to be canceled!" There have been many shows in the past where the future was uncertain, and they were top rated shows. So what did they do? While they did have a season ending cliffhanger (which is a personal pet peeve of mine by the way), they DID film both halves of said cliffhanger. Therefore if they were canceled, they ended the show on a good note. If they weren't, then the second half was the first episode of the next season. It is a simple concept and done several times in the past, so why didn't they do it?

Two shows that I can think of that did an excellent job of this is Star Trek Next Generation, and Star Trek Voyager. Both shows not only filmed the second half of season cliffhanger episodes in case they were canceled, but also did a wonderful job of wrapping up the show when it was canceled. Nothing half baked about the ending of these two. Castle by contrast, wasn't even a quarter baked.

I also have heard they were planning to write the Kate character out of the show due to budgetary reasons, hence her getting shot in the end. Seriously? How can you write out half of the show and expect it to survive? Another obvious example that they knew what was coming. Although I suppose you could have Castle continue with his PI work, but it would take careful balance. Something the show lost awhile back.

And now we come back to my main gripe, they knew all of this yet did nothing about it. The ending was a total joke. I am sorry but any writer worth their salt could do better in a COMA! They are both shot, the camera flies off to show the loft with kids, then a few voice overs repeating past dialogue giving the impression they survived and had a family? The ending felt forced, a last second copout, but I will admit it is better than if they left the two characters looking as if they both died as was originally planned.

Also, the previous season's episode 'felt' like a series ender. Kate was being promoted, things looking up for Castle, etc. I have to assume the writers were not sure if Castle was going to be renewed. That is fine, and that IS the way one should do it. And HOW they should have done this year. Instead they planned a cliffhanger episode??? I am sorry but if you were unsure and almost canceled last season why would you think that this year would be any different? And if they couldn't afford to shoot an extra episode, how about doing a separate ending? One where Kate takes down the bad guy, almost gets killed in the process and they both are there being thankful to be alive? Then if canceled, they show the alternative ending. This isn't rocket science people.

It is a real shame considering that there are very few good shows being produced these days. And honestly, they should have stopped last year at the train station, before having the disastrous wreck that was this season.

Don DeBon is the author of Red Warp, Time Rock, and Soulmates.  Currently available from Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, and others.