Here’s a newsletter that just went out to subscribers:

The first day of Wednesday

…and, wouldn’t you know it, it’s an Orange Wednesday. And it’s my pleasure to mark this glorious occasion by giving away not one but two eBooks to the Kindlefolk among you.

bigstock_how farThe first freebie is a one-act stage play, How Far. I’m not widely known as a playwright, perhaps because this is the sole play I’ve written, and it’s  been staged only in Australia, where an amateur theater company made it a part of an evening of one-act plays. How Far started life as a short story, “How Far It Could Go,” first published in Ellery Queen and included in my omnibus short story collection, Enough Rope. A producer in California noted that it was virtually a play in prose form, and wanted to adapt it for stage performance; I said I’d do the adaptation myself, and did, and she liked it and thought she might produce it, and didn’t. I don’t remember how it found its way to Australia, and can’t report on the performance. I seem to recall that it earned me $100.

A year or two ago, I ePublished the play, and once every third blue moon someone downloads it. Sales, I must admit, are about what I’d anticipated. I didn’t publish it with dreams of eRiches, but with the thought that somebody might read it and be moved to stage it. It is, as you’ll note, a remarkably easy play to mount—three characters (a man, a woman, a silent waiter), one simple set. If enough of you read it, perhaps one of you will be daft enough to Make It Happen. And so toward that end I’m giving the thing away.

Most of you, I’m sure, will be content merely to read the work—and I hope you enjoy it. If you’ve got a Kindle, or a Kindle app for your iPhone or pop-up toaster, just click here anytime before 11:59pm Pacific Time on Saturday, January 5. Anyone who wants to stage it need merely get in touch with me.

And now for something completely different.

sex&stewardessI believe it was Faubion Bowers who observed that sex is the one interesting thing that boring people do. John Warren Wells, who spent much of the 1970s chronicling the sexual case histories of his contemporaries, would probably appreciate the sentiment, if not the second adjective; if Will Rogers never met a man he didn’t like, JWW seems never to have met a tedious man or insipid woman.

A few weeks ago I gave away JWW’s Sex Without Strings, and upwards of 650 of you scooped it up. This time around the free title is Sex and the Stewardess, a great success when Lancer published it back in the day. (It sold so well that the publisher requested a sequel, compelling the hapless Mr. Wells to go out and interview another batch of stewardesses. Alas, the sacrifices a writer makes for his art…)

The John Warren Wells titles have been catching on in the few months since I began making them available for Kindle. If you haven’t sampled them yet, click before 11:59pm Pacific Time Saturday for a free download of Sex and the Stewardess.

The sequel is Come Fly With Us, but it’s not free; like JWW’s other titles, it’ll set you back $4.99. But if you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can borrow any of the Wells titles free. You can do this once a month, so I wanted to let you know about it early in the month, before you could make the mistake of borrowing some other writer’s book. All 18 John Warren Wells titles are available in this fashion, as are the collection of Ehrengraf stories (Ehrengraf For the Defense), several Matthew Scudder stories, and the newly-eVailable Keller’s Adjustment.

Speaking of Keller, Mulholland’s publication of Hit Me is fast approaching; the book’s on-sale date is February 12, and you can pre-order it almost anywhere—Amazon, B&N, or your favorite online or brick-and-mortar bookstore. I’ll be going to the publisher’s warehouse in a couple of weeks to sign copies for the mystery booksellers who’ve ordered them, so an autographed copy shouldn’t be hard to come by. (Aside from local NYC appearances, and one or two signings in L.A., I won’t be doing any touring.)

And, of course, come February 12th, the Hit Me eBook will be readily available wherever eBooks are sold. And there’ll be an unabridged audio version as well, though I don’t as yet know the designated narrator or release date.

If you don’t want to wait another month, and if you’d like something special, we still have copies left of the Limited Philatelic First Edition of Hit Me. You know the drill: it’s the book’s true first edition, limited to 500 signed and numbered copies, produced by a quality small-press printer, di dah di dah di dah.

And it’s accompanied by the special souvenir sheet, “Stamps from the Keller Collection.” You get two copies, one mint, the other marked with a custom cancellation. (You can see the sheet, and the book’s limitation page with its own special stamp as well, at LB’s eBay Bookstore.)

The newsletter that went out to the Philatelic list ten days ago reported that we had 142 books remaining unsold. Well, the number’s down to 117 as I write these lines, and may be lower by the time I hit the Send button. The book’s not cheap at $75, but the folks who’ve received copies seem to be pleased with their purchases. And our supply won’t last forever…

Please note: The two freebies are available worldwide; just go to the Amazon website (.com, .ca, .br., .it, .es, .de, .fr, or appropriate to your location.

Oh, and the title of this post? Many years ago I read several novels by Honor Tracy, one of them The First Day of Friday. I remember the title, and that I enjoyed it, but very little else. Ms. Tracy was good with titles; The Straight and Narrow Path, good enough all by itself, gains a little something when one of her characters, a clergyman, admonishes his parishioners to walk always upon “the straight and narrow path between good and evil.”

And what better moral instruction can any of us want for 2013? Happy New Year, everybody.