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Wednesday 30 March 2011

Daily Cheap Reads

If you own any kind of an eBook reading device, this is a site that you probably need to know about. Daily Cheap Reads has been running for a while in the US and has now opened a dedicated British outlet.

The point here is that there's nothing bargain-basement about the cheap reads. Bargains yes; bargain basement no.

I just took a look and Daily Cheap Reads is very impressive - classy design, professional-looking presentation, and a strong sense that you're getting a set of intelligent editorial picks and not just an open crap spigot of self-publication. They're not neglecting the indie market, but they are discriminating in their choices.

Recent listings include Kate Atkinson, Maeve Binchy, and Sebastian Faulks. They've found Ian Rankin at £1.49, Kazuo Ishiguro for £2.44... you could spend your days scouring the net for this stuff, but now you don't have to.

Sunday 20 March 2011

The Top Suspense Group

Exciting stuff - I've been invited to join the bunch of fellow-writers who have founded the groundbreaking Top Suspense Group. It's an online resource for readers in the fast-expanding eBook market.

To mark my debut with the gang I'm launching the Kindle version of my novel Valley of Lights at the rock-bottom Amazon price of 99c, for one month only.

When Phoenix Police Sergeant Alex Volchak discovers the true nature of a predator that has survived among us unnoticed for generations, he puts himself and those around him in mortal danger. "An excellent thriller... a cracking pace... large helpings of deadpan gallows humour... a genuine ability to create a sense of evil." Evening Times "The best fusion of crime and horror since Hjortsberg's Falling Angel." Time Out
This is a significant development, I think. As readers we look for some kind of filtering and guidance to help us seek out the kind of books we might like, and in this brave new world there's not a lot of it around.

From the group's initial press release:
The e-book market is exploding. With over 700,000 e-books currently available and hundreds more added every week, it’s growing increasingly difficult to distinguish quality books from those that are unedited and written by inexperienced authors.

That’s why nine established, professional authors have formed Top Suspense Group, a site where readers are guaranteed to find top-notch, award-winning authors in multiple genres who deliver a great e-reading experience in their dozens of highly-acclaimed books.

"Readers can count on us," acclaimed author Max Allan Collins explains. "Every member of our group has already made his or her mark on genre fiction, whether it's noir, crime, mystery, thriller, horror or Westerns, and in some cases, several of these genres."

Top Suspense authors have each:

* Published multiple novels with traditional publishers
* Won or have been nominated for major literary awards
* Been internationally published
* Received critical acclaim from national publications
The original lineup includes Max Allan Collins, Bill Crider, Lee Goldberg, Joel Goldman, Ed Gorman, Vicki Hendricks, Paul Levine, Harry Shannon, and Dave Zeltserman. They're joined by Naomi Hirahara, Libby Fischer Hellmann, and me.

All of us appear in the group's first anthology of short fiction - call it a taster, if you like - about which, more below.

The Top Suspense Anthology

I've been allocated twenty-five Advance Reading Copies of the Top Suspense anthology to give away, in the e-format of your choice. All you need to do is agree to post a no-spoilers review, positive or negative, on your blog, website, Goodreads page, Facebook page, or the Amazon listing for TOP SUSPENSE in the next 60 days.

Click here or on the Contact tab, and drop me a line with FREE TOP SUSPENSE BOOK in the subject line. Don't forget to include your preferred eBook format and the name of your blog or website, if you have one.
Hold on tight for a literary thrill-ride into the wickedly clever, frightening, and exhilarating world of Top Suspense, a sizzling collaboration of twelve master storytellers at the peak of their powers in thirteen unforgettable tales... Max Allan Collins, Bill Crider, Stephen Gallagher, Lee Goldberg, Joel Goldman, Libby Fischer Hellmann, Naomi Hirahara, Vicki Hendricks, Paul Levine, Harry Shannon, and Dave Zeltserman.

This unforgettable anthology – packed full of cold-blooded killers, erotic tension, shady private eyes, craven drug dealers, vicious betrayals, crafty thieves, and shocking twists – is coming out on APRIL 1 and is only a taste of the thrills you will find in the breathtakingly original ebooks by these authors at www.topsuspensegroup.com.
US Kindle price will be $2.99.

Monday 14 March 2011

The Good Old Stuff

The header comes from the great John D McDonald's title for a collection of his pulp writing, energetic, reader-centred fiction of which he was particularly proud, and it seemed like an appropriate way to introduce this guest post from Lee Goldberg.

I've met Lee in person, so I can testify that there's only one of him. Though you'd never guess it from the sheer variety and energy of his output; novelist, TV writer, tie-in champion, film-maker, blogger, leading commentator on the developing (exploding?) eBook market... Lee is also closely involved with the Top Suspense group, a cadre of experienced writers who have banded together in a branding operation that I suspect is going to become more common as readers seek some kind of guidance and filtering for eBook titles.

More on that subject soon. The venture he describes here is in the McDonald spirit, and sounds like a lot of fun.

The Dead Man: Face of Evil is the first in a new series of ebooks and paperbacks that we like to think of as cross between Stephen King’s The Gunslinger, George Gilman’s Edge, and Don Pendleton’s The Executioner... and a blatant attempt to recapture the flavor of those “men’s action adventure paperbacks” of the 60s, 70s, and 80s.

Those paperbacks were short and tightly-written, with hard-boiled heroes, outrageously sexy women, and gleefully over-the-top plots. Nobody would ever mistake them for great literature, but they were enormous fun to read...and to write. I know, because I broke into publishing in the mid-1980s writing one of those series - 357 Vigilante by "Ian Ludlow" - while I was still in college.

Sadly, the "men's action adventure" genre is virtually extinct now, an early victim of the narrowing of the paperback marketplace. But I’ve never lost my affection for the genre... and the Kindle is the perfect medium for it. So, I figured, why not try it again?

Which is where The Dead Man comes in.

The idea actually began as a TV series that Bill Rabkin & I started pitching around Hollywood over 20 years ago. The pitch went something like this:

There is good, and there is evil.
On November 12th, Matthew Cahill died, buried in an avalanche of snow.
On February 20th, Matthew Cahill came back to life.
Nothing has changed.
There is still good, and there is still evil.
Only now... he can see it.

Each day has becomes a journey into a dark world he knows nothing about...a quest for the answers to who he is and what he has become...and a fight to save us, and his soul, from the clutches of pure evil.

Execs always seemed to love the pitch, but we were never able to clinch the sale, and gave up on it a few years back. But lately I’ve had some success reviving my out-of-print books on the Kindle – particularly The Walk – and it occurred to me that The Dead Man would make a kick-ass series of “men’s action adventure novels.”

It took me 30 seconds to convince Bill to go along with idea...and I even managed to cajole a bunch of other writers to pen future novels in the series. Not just any writers... but some of the very best western, horror, mystery, and science fiction scribes out there, including Marcus Pelegrimas, Joel Goldman, Bill Crider, James Reasoner, David McAfee, Matt Witten, Burl Barer, James Daniels, Matthew P. Mayo, Jude Hardin, and Harry Shannon.

The first book, Face of Evil, is out now in the U.K. and will soon be followed by Hell in Heaven by Bill Rabkin and me, Ring of Knives by James Daniels, The Dead Woman by David McAfee, Crucible of Fire by Mel Odom, Lust for Blood by Harry Shannon, and many more, a new book in the series coming out every month or so.

We are all having a great time writing these books and indulging our great affection for the genre. Hopefully, The Dead Man can be the gateway drug that gets you hooked on it, too.