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Read an ebook week – free and discounted ebooks available

It’s the 9th annual READ AN EBOOK WEEK. It’s an event I’ve posted about numerous times before and I’m pleased to continue to support the initiative. I’ve been an advocate of ebooks right from the beginning – those pre-Kindle days where I’d email Word, pdf, Mobipocket or lit (remember Microsoft Reader?) copies of AUTUMN to anyone who showed interest. It worked a treat, with more than half a million free copies of AUTUMN being downloaded between 2001 and 2008 when the series was acquired by Thomas Dunne Books.

Ebooks haven’t proved to be the print killer that everyone initially feared. To me, they’re something that compliments but doesn’t replace the physical version. I travel a lot at the moment, and my trusty Kindle has been a godsend on many recent plane and train trips.

So please join me in celebrating the humble ebook by sharing this post and other READ AN EBOOK WEEK articles. To mark the occasion, I’ve got a number of titles on special offer:

Read an ebook week

I don’t know if you’re aware, but it’s Read an Ebook Week this week. This is something I’ve talked about in previous years… an annual campaign to get more folks reading ebooks. The ebook market has exploded since the event first appeared (I remember posting about back in 2007 or 2008, I think), but I’m always happy to lend some support. I don’t favour ebooks over print or vice versa, I just want people to keep reading, so the more ways there are for folks to get hold of books, the better!

If you’ve never read an ebook before, might I offer up TRUST and STRAIGHT TO YOU, the ebook editions of which are available for half-price through this week via Smashwords (use discount code REW50 at checkout). There are also literally hundreds of other novels available at a special discount from Smashwords this week – click here for the catalogue. Or, if you’ve yet to try the AUTUMN books, why not pick up the AUTUMN COLLECTION from Gollancz (which they’ve brilliantly taken to calling the ZOMNIBUS!). Five AUTUMN novels for just £12.99. Bargain!

Read an ebook week (and a few suggestions)

Yes, I know I’m late with this – I should really have written about it being ‘Read an ebook week’ on Monday, not Friday, but it’s been one of those weeks (one of those months, actually). It’s an initiative which was originally designed to get people to try ebooks, but it seems slightly less relevant now given the advent of the Kindle and iPad etc. and the rapid increase in ebook consumption. Nevertheless, I think it’s a good (and long overdue) opportunity to mention a few ebooks I read and enjoyed recently, and to help promote a few indie authors.

APEXOLOGY: HORROR

The Apex Book Company is a small press that’s well known for its Apex magazine. This ebook collection was designed as a cut-price introduction to its impressive range of authors, and you get a lot of bang for your buck here. The past, the present, the future, Nazis, Werewolves, Vampires, body snatchers, deformed creatures, twisted realities, obsession, lust, sex… the scope of the collection is very broad and, to its credit, it succeeds on many levels. There’s huge variety between the stories, with something to satisfy even the most ardent horror fan. Okay, so some tales invariably encroach into familiar genre territory from time to time, but they’re all handled with real skill and enthusiasm. I defy anyone to read this collection and not be haunted by at least one of the stories. Personally, quite a few of them got to me, in particular Jennifer Pelland’s grotesque (but never sensationalist) story of sibling envy and hatred, Big Sister/Little Sister, and Guy Hasson’s spiralling mind-f**k, The Dark Side. From Cthulu to Dracula, from the surreal to the downright disturbing, from the ends of the Earth to the cold depths of space, this is an excellent collection and a fascinating introduction to the many worlds of the Apex Book Company. Click here to get the book.

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I should be working (but instead I’m reading)

I really should be working, but it’s been a while since I got hold of a copy of SCREAM and, as usual, it’s packed with good stuff.

Should be working (instead I’m reading). Finally got my hands on the latest #screamhorrormag

Having recently sat through the film again, I particularly enjoyed the comprehensive feature about FREDDY’S DEAD: THE FINAL NIGHTMARE. Also noteworthy were the articles about PIRANHA, the career of JOE DANTE, and oft-overlooked sequel EXORCIST III. And that’s why I love SCREAM, and why I post about it whenever a new issue lands on the doormat – it’s a magazine for true horror fans who’ve lived and breathed the genre for years. It focuses on the classics as well as the contemporary. Long may it continue!

You can get hold of SCREAM from www.screamhorrormag.com/store. It’s also available from BARNES & NOBLE and BOOKS A MILLION stores in the USA, CHAPTERS/INDIGO stores in Canada, EASON stores across Ireland, and in the UK you can pick up copies from WH Smith, HMV, FOPP and FORBIDDEN PLANET.

My friend spent last week sealed inside a nuclear bunker

You might have heard of my friend Sean T. Page. He’s an all-round good egg. He’s also the hugely successful author of the Zombie Survival and Alien Invasion Haynes Manuals (which he recently followed up with the Zombie Survival Transport Manual). Not only that, he also contributed the brilliant, and not a little disturbing, 1975 to last year’s Infected Books YEAR OF THE ZOMBIE project.

Trawl the archives of this site, and you’ll discover that there’s another side to Sean. A few years back he had himself sealed into a decommissioned nuclear bunker for a week (check out my report here), then followed that up with a week alone in the Sinai desert.

Sean, cunningly disguised as Shaun, with his invaluable guide (photo: Grace Elkin - www.graceelkinphotography.co.uk)

Last week Sean went back down into the bunker for another stint and, as before, he filmed a video blog each day. I’ve a couple of connections with that bunker which I wrote about here and here, and it was also the inspiration for parts of THEM OR US. Knowing what I know about the place, I can’t decide whether Sean’s incredibly brave or just plain crazy. Whatever the answer, I present his most recent video transmissions for your viewing pleasure.

One Of Us Will Be Dead By Morning – read the opening chapter

“She gasps for breath, her mind in overload, struggling to work out what, who, how, and why? and at the same time trying to cope with the most horrific pain imaginable. It fills her whole body, hurting so much it steals her breath from her lungs. Her arms give way and she hits the deck and rolls over onto her back, looking up into the rain and spray. She’s numb and slow to move, and the chain lashes down again and again. She instinctively raises her hands to protect her face, but it does her no good. Busted fingers, split skin, broken teeth, more blood, and so much more pain that it almost stops hurting.”

Less than a month now until the new HATER novel – ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING – hits the shelves. You can read the gruesome, tone-setting first chapter right here.

In the meantime, don’t forget that signed copies are exclusively available to pre-order from this link. They’ll be shipping shortly, so please get your orders in quick.

Recommended Reading – THE DARKEST HAND trilogy

I recently had the pleasure of reading TARN RICHARDSON’S THE DARKEST HAND trilogy. The final book in the series – THE RISEN – was released earlier this year. This is an excellent series of books which deserves to find a wide audience. Set in Europe in an alternative twentieth century against the backdrop of World War I, it’s the story of Inquisitor Poldek Tacit. Tacit is sent by the Catholic Inquisition to investigate the murder of a priest in France, and finds himself neck deep in a battle between demons, werewolves, and heretics to prevent the world spiralling into oblivion. Don’t get the impression that Tacit is a quiet little fellow in robes wandering around Europe dispensing words of wisdom to placate the opposing sides – he’s anything but. He’s a battle-damaged, emotionally scarred, vicious, ruthless bastard, and one of the most entertaining protagonists I’ve read about in a long, long time.

I had a blast with these books, and I’d like to encourage you to do the same. Here’s the spiel for book one, THE DAMNED:

1914 – the outbreak of war. In the French city of Arras, a priest is brutally murdered. The Catholic Inquisition—still powerful, but now working in the shadows—sends its most determined and unhinged of Inquisitors, Poldek Tacit, to investigate: his mission to protect the Church from those who would seek to undermine it, no matter what the cost.

Yet as Tacit arrives, armed forces led by Britain and Germany confront each other across No Man’s Land. As the Inquisitor strives in vain to establish the truth behind the murder and to uncover the motives of other Vatican servants seeking to undermine him, a beautiful and spirited woman, Sandrine, warns British soldier Henry Frost of a mutual foe even more terrible lurking beneath the killing fields that answers to no human force and wreaks havoc by the light of the moon.

Faced with impossible odds and his own demons, Tacit must battle the forces of evil, and a church determined at all costs to achieve its aims, to reach the heart of a dark conspiracy that seeks to engulf the world, plunging it ever deeper into conflict.

This is the perfect time to pick up THE DAMNED and work your way through the trilogy. The first book is the next novel to be featured on the excellent IN THE SHEETS podcast, hosted by Brendan Cooney. Head over to the site and join the discussion. And while you’re there, there’s still time to take part in the HATER re-read. I’ll be joining Brendan later this month to talk about HATER and answer questions about the novel, the rest of the series and the film adaptation etc.

THE DARKEST HAND trilogy – THE DAMNED, THE FALLEN and THE RISEN – is available now. Find out more about Tarn at his website. You can also pick up THE HUNTED, a free ebook prequel, and dive into Richardson’s bloody and brutal world. Highly recommended!

Free ebooks

I was sorry to hear that SHELFIE closed down last week. You might remember me posting about the service a couple of years ago, back when the company was known as BitLit. The premise, I thought, was brilliant: you took a photo of your bookshelf with your phone and the Shelfie app scanned the spines and gave you links to download free or discounted ebook copies of the titles you already owned. I immediately made all Infected Books titles available via the service, because it seemed to fit perfectly with my ethos that a reader should only ever have to buy the same book once, and if you buy a paperback, the ebook version should come bundled (because you can rip a CD and get mp3s for your phone, but you can’t buy a paperback and rip the text for your Kindle, can you?).

I thought now would be an ideal time to restate the Infected Books ebook philosophy:

  • if you buy a ebook version of an Infected Books title, I’ll give you a discount equivalent to the price you paid on a signed physical copy purchased from www.infectedbooks.co.uk
  • if you buy a print version of an Infected Books title, you can get a free download of the ebook version:
    • If you purchase from Amazon, all IB titles are available under the terms of their Matchbook programme
    • If you purchase from IB, you’ll automatically receive a download link to get your ebook
    • If you purchase from elsewhere, you just need to complete a simple form on www.infectedbooks.co.uk to receive a download code to get a complementary ebook version

Thanks for your ongoing support of Infected Books and independent publishing as a whole. It’s the future! (and on the subject of the future, it’s worth pointing out that my next release, THE FRONT: RED DEVILS will also be a part of the IB print/ebook deal).

Recommended Reading – Stiff

I’ve only ever seen two dead bodies – those of my father-in-law and my father. Regardless of the emotional attachment, it’s always a sobering experience. I’m not a religious man (in fact, I’m as far from religious as you can get – anti-religion, if you like), so I don’t believe any part of a person survives past the point of death. My belief is that once you die, you’re done. You immediately stop being you and become, well… nothing.

But what about your shell? What about the husk you leave behind? What happens to that?

It’s a sensitive and often taboo subject, but it’s one journalist and writer Mary Roach tackles head on in 2003 book, STIFF: THE CURIOUS LIVES OF HUMAN CADAVERS. Written in a hilarious style which feels at once both keenly respectful and also cheeky and impertinent, Roach looks at a large number of ways the human body is used after death. Let me give you some examples of the subjects of her chapters:

  • human crash test dummies
  • studying the process of decay
  • what the bodies of the victims can tell inspectors after a crash
  • the scientific search for the soul
  • human head transplants…

…and it goes on. It sounds grotesque, I know, and Roach often writes with an unflinching eye, but she achieves something remarkable with this book: in talking about death and decay, she somehow leaves you feeling happier about life and your inevitable end. I originally picked this book up for research purposes (you think I make this stuff up? I’ll have you know the decay of my zombies is medically researched!), but by the end of a couple of chapters I was just along for the ride.

My dad died just under a year ago, and I was with him at the end. I’d had STIFF part-read on my shelf for a number of years, but losing Dad gave me a surprising incentive to pick the book up again and finish it. And I’m glad I did. It helped put things in perspective. Highly recommended.

The Black Fang Betrayal – now free to read

Black Fang BetrayalYou might remember THE BLACK FANG BETRAYAL, a really interesting project I was involved in a while back. The book is a collaborative novel, coordinated by James Thorn and written by myself alongside TW Brown, Michaelbrent Collings, Mainak Dhar, J.C. Eggleton, Glynn James, Stephen Knight, T.W. Piperbrook and J.R. Rain. I’m excited to tell you that the book is now free to read.

Levi Phillips is a warlock living in the woods of rural Ohio. With his apprentice, Matthew, Levi operates one of the most ferocious covens in the world, known as The Black Fang. Managing the coven like an international corporation, Levi controls its enormous wealth while running a moonshine operation as a front. But when a plot to assassinate Levi is exposed, the warlock decides it’s time to destroy The Black Fang and the destruction could create a new beginning.

The Black Fang Betrayal features today’s best horror, dark fantasy and thriller writers collaborating on a unique and fascinating novel. Armed with nothing but a prompt and a character name, each author became a warlock of The Black Fang and wrote a first-person account as a member of the coven. Using themes and sequences woven throughout the complete narrative, a cohesive page-turner emerges.

Grab a copy for Kindle at getbook.at/blackfang and get all other formats here: books2read.com/u/38DPd6.