Here’s a newsletter that went out earlier today to subscribers:
Oh dear. Just the other day I got an email from a fellow who wanted to be restored to the newsletter list. I checked, and he was never off it. But it’s been so long between installments that I can understand his concern. I was away for a while, on a small-ship cruise of the North Atlantic, and I’ve been working on a pair of book projects, of which more in a moment. So I haven’t prepared a newsletter, nor have I done much lately in the way of blogging or tweeting or Facebooking.
If this were a magazine with paid subscriptions, you’d probably want your money back. And I wouldn’t blame you. I can’t offer you a refund, but I’ll do the next best thing. To celebrate this ever-so-Orange Wednesday, I’m giving away a pair of Kindle eBooks.
But we’ll get to that.
First, some news. Over the years, I’ve written occasionally about Martin H. Ehrengraf, a dapper little lawyer who never loses a case—and never has to show up in a courtroom, either. For a while now, my Ehrengraf stories have been Kindle Select titles, available exclusively through Amazon. I was thus able to give them away on Orange Wednesdays, and Kindle Prime members had a chance to borrow them.
That’s still true for the individual short stories. There are eleven of them—a Thief’s Dozen, as Donald Westlake would put it. They’re all priced at $2.99 except for the first, “The Ehrengraf Defense,” a loss leader at 99¢. If you bought them individually, you’d pay a total of $30.89.
One of the hats I’ve worn from time to time is that of anthologist. I’ve been especially happy with Opening Shots and Master’s Choice, each of which ran to two volumes, and happier still with my two entries in Akashic’s seemingly endless Noir series, Manhattan Noir and Manhattan Noir 2. The latter volume, for which I collected dark Manhattan stories clear back to Edith Wharton and Stephen Crane, has been a source of great satisfaction to me, tempered only by its unavailability as an eBook—because Akashic was unable to clear eRights to a couple of the stories.
Well, there’s more than one way to skin a virtual cat. Akashic simply left out the unobtainable stories, and while it would have been nice to have them all, the book’s still a good deal. It got a starred review in Publishers Weekly, and as far as I know it’s the only Akashic Noir title to include poetry—by Edgar Allan Poe, Horace Gregory, and Geoffrey Bartholomew. Available for all platforms, including Kindle and Nook.
Didn’t you say something about a pair of book projects?
Oh, right. I’ve done a fair amount of nonfiction over the years. Aside from my books for writers (Telling Lies For Fun & Profit, Spider Spin Me a Web, Write For Your Life, The Liar’s Bible, The Liar’s Companion, Writing the Novel) I’ve written more than enough magazine pieces to fill a book. Much of the stuff was written pre-computer, so I’ve been busy rounding everything up and cobbling it into shape, but sometime later this year I should have two books ready to go. One will be about crime fiction and some of the people who write it; the other will be more of a miscellany, with travel pieces and such. I’ll be publishing both volumes as eBooks, of course, but suspect I’ll bring them out as trade paperbacks as well. When I know more, so will you.
Meanwhile, Subterranean Press is teaming up with Hard Case Crime to bring out my new short story collection, Catch and Release. If you know this small press, I don’t have to tell you what a high-quality job they do; if they’re new to you, here’s a great opportunity to make their acquaintance. Booklist had this to say in a starred review: “Block’s short stories are intelligent and respectful of the reader yet often take an unexpected turn. He plays fair. If you reread the story, you’ll find that he left you little clues about the final destination but didn’t connect the dots. Block is a master of the long-form mystery, and this collection proves he’s got the short form locked down as well.” Subterranean sometimes sells out an edition in a hurry, and doesn’t always go back to press, so pre-ordering might be a good idea.
I don’t know how many of you may have read Step By Step, my memoir centered on running and racewalking. (Damn few of you, if the publisher’s royalty statements are to be believed.) I mention it because there’s an excerpt in the just-published collection, The 27th Mile, an anthology my friend Ray Charbonneau spearheaded to benefit the victims of the Boston Marathon outrage. There are some real runners here, and it’s safe to say that my contribution is probably the least interesting of the lot. Check it out.
Enough already. When do we get to the free stuff?
Oh, right. First up is Beyond Group Sex, free to Kindlers through June 23rd. It’s the work of the ineffable John Warren Wells, whose case-history collections walk the straight and narrow path between fact and fiction. I ePublished my eighteen JWW titles as Kindle Select titles, so that I could use them now and then to brighten your Wednesdays. Now it’s time to make JWW available to a larger audience, and over the next several months I’ll be offering the books at Nook and Smashwords.
For now, Kindlers can snap up Beyond Group Sex, and Amazon Prime members can make a JWW title your monthly choice for borrowing.
Next up is a short story, Headaches and Bad Dreams. It was written for The Best of the Best, Joe Pittman and Elaine Koster’s anthology, and appeared as well in EQMM’s December 1997 issue. It’s about a psychic with a gift that keeps on giving. As I write these lines it’s still on sale at $2.99, but as of 3am Thursday, June 20, it’ll be free as a phalarope for the next five days.
If you’re ordering one of the freebies from outside the US, no problem—but you’ll want to go to the appropriate Amazon site—amazon.br, amazon.ca, amazon.co.uk, amazon.de, amazon.es, amazon.fr, amazon.jp, amazon.it, etc.
There are new ones every day, aren’t there?
It seems that way, doesn’t it? And each and every one of them is selling my books. Isn’t it wonderful?
And what else can I tell you? Well, after a long silence, I did manage a couple of blog posts since we got home from the cruise. Here’s Bernie Rhodenbarr, Lost and Found, a newspaper op-ed piece you’re unlikely to have read before. And here’s My Buddy Akalitus, posted just yesterday. If you follow my blog you’ve already seen them; if not, enjoy.
Finally, but for the distinct orange tint it bears, today may seem like just another day. But my friend Marilyn emailed me this morning to remind me that it’s Keller’s birthday. She’s a right wonder at keeping track of these things. If you want to celebrate, well, HarperCollins has the first four books on special at $3.79 apiece, and Mulholland has the new book, Hit Me, reduced to $8.89. What better way to wish your favorite philatelist a happy birthday?
PS: As always, please feel free to forward this to anyone you think might find it of interest. And, if you’ve received the newsletter in that fashion from a friend and would like your own subscription, that’s easily arranged; a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org with Newsletter in the subject line will get the job done.