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Defying Fate – An Epic SFF Free Kindle Promotion

Defying Fate – An Epic SFF Free Kindle Promotion

DefyingFateCoverRev15Amazon will be running a FREE Kindle promotion of Defying Fate starting on Thursday 27 August 2015 and running through Monday 31 August. This exclusive Kindle edition includes two full-length novels, The Warden Threat and its sequel, The Warden War. These books tell the exciting and lighthearted tale of a young, naive prince and his quest to prevent an unnecessary war prompted by claims of a mysterious WMD (Warden of Mystic Defiance). Combining epic fantasy with light science fiction, this is a great story for readers of all speculative fiction genres yearning for something fresh and different.

If you haven’t read these yet, now is your chance. Grab a copy for your Kindle while this promotion lasts. Then, check out D.L. Morrese’s other books. You’ll be glad you did.

Happy Reading!

Originally posted in Defying Fate – An Epic SFF Free Kindle Promotion.

Free Book Promotion

It’s Read and Ebook week on Smashwords! From now until Saturday March 8 2014, over 39,000 books are absolutely free. This includes mine. Use the code RW100 at checkout to get these books free during the site-wide promotion!

DogTaleseBook11-13aMO-126 is a dog, or a reasonable facsimile thereof. He is a construct and an employee of the Galactic Organic Development Corporation, which searches the galaxy for primitive sentient species to save from extinction and then creates colonies of them on Corporation agricultural planets where they can live happily and safely. The transplanted species survives, and its members produce some of the most expensive and sought-after food in the galaxy, which the Corporation profitably sells to developed worlds with this guarantee:
Caringly grown, cultivated and harvested by simple sentient life forms. No artificial ingredients, pesticides, herbicides, or mechanized equipment used in processing. Guaranteed 100% organic.

Of course, keeping the primitives primitive enough to ensure the Corporation’s promise of natural purity can be a challenge, especially when they’re like those it found twenty thousand years ago huddling in caves and scraping a meager and precarious existence on a pale blue planet in the Milky Way’s Orion–Cygnus spiral arm. The humans keep trying to change things.

An Android Dog’s Tale is the 15,000-year episodic story of one canine mobile observer android who must make choices about what he wants to accomplish in his artificial life. Does he accept the wisdom of his makers or does he dare to question?

Use the promo code to get your free copy of An Android Dog’s Tale from Smashwords here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/378268

TWT EBookCover12(comp)Prince Donald, the idealistic third son of the king of Westgrove, believes he may be the only one able to protect his country from an invasion spearheaded by an ancient and massive magical stone warrior known as the Warden of Mystic Defiance. Donald, unfortunately, is woefully unprepared. His only real understanding of such things comes from his reading of adventure stories. When he finds an ancient scroll he believes may allow him to take control of the mysterious Warden, he eagerly takes on the task. He dreams of saving the kingdom and becoming a hero like those in his epic adventure stories. To his dismay, his quest turns out to be nothing like he imagined. He finds the stories in his library seriously understate the complexities and hardships involved. He also soon realizes that the real world can be much more confusing than fictional ones, and the hero is not necessarily predestined to save the day.

Use the promo code to get your free copy of The Warden Threat from Smashwords here: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/87730

TWWEBookCover14(comp)The Warden War continues the quest begun by Prince Donald in The Warden Threat. His father, King Leonard of Westgrove, has been told that the neighboring kingdom of Gotrox has discovered a magical means to animate a mysterious and gigantic ancient stone warrior, the Warden of Mystic Defiance, which it plans to use it to spearhead an invasion of his country. Donald is convinced this is a hoax carefully crafted by his father’s chief adviser to bring about a war to gain control of Gotroxian resources. Donald is determined to thwart him. It will not be easy. Chief Adviser Horace Barter has resources, connections, influence, and the almost unquestioned trust of the king. Donald, sadly, has none of these. What the young prince does have is a nominal position with the diplomatic team being sent to Gotrox and the companionship of a few rather unique friends including a pair of 15,000-year-old androids, one of which is a dog — or a reasonable facsimile thereof.

Use the promo code to get your free copy of The Warden War from Smashwords here: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/88548

Pendant Cover ebook 13-2 (comp)AP https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/294488 Amy, the only child of a poor family living in the bustling city of Dolphin Point, is given an amazing and potentially dangerous pendant as a present for her fourteenth birthday. She does not know how amazing or how potentially dangerous it is. If she did, she would cherish it even more. She is that kind of girl.

Through her investigations of the mysterious pendant, she uncovers an ancient mystery—the remnants of a vast alien commercial enterprise buried beneath surface of the planet. Unfortunately, the central computer for the complex is aware of her intrusion and it cannot let her escape with knowledge of its existence.

Use the promo code to get your free copy of Amy’s Pendant from Smashwords here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/294488

ClockworkEbook13-3On a small island called Bob off the southern shore of the great Kingdom of Westgrove, Benkin, a brilliant if somewhat quirky scientist, discovers something extraordinary — clockwork automatons that can obey commands. For Benkin, this is an amazing scientific discovery, one he wants to explore; one he believes may revolutionize mankind’s understanding of the world. For Snyde, a fugitive from the king’s justice, it is something he can use…

This humorous, exciting, and charming story sees the return of several characters from the three previous novels set in this world, plus a few endearing additions. If you were wondering what happened to the thoroughly evil Snyde, or if Trixie and Prince Donald ever got together, this book provides the answers.

Use the promo code to get your free copy of Disturbing Clockwork from Smashwords here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/308615

Defying Fate – Free Kindle Promotion 1 to 5 January 2014

DF Cover13-10Amazon will be running a free promotion for Defying Fate starting New Years Day. This exclusive Kindle edition includes the award-winning novel The Warden Threat and the sequel, The Warden War. They tell the exciting and often humorous tale of a young, naive prince and his quest to prevent an unnecessary war prompted by exaggerated claims of a mysterious WMD (Warden of Mystic Defiance).

I hope you’ll give it a try. If you enjoy the book, I invite you to let the rest of world know. I also would not object to you checking out my other books. Actually, I’d quite appreciate it.

This e-book is available in Kindle format (translated from the original Westgrovian into American English) in the following countries. Click the one that suits you best and enjoy the journey.

(Note: Kindle free promotions start at approximately 12:00 AM Pacific Standard Time on the specified start date. They end at approximately 11:59 PM Pacific Standard Time on the specified end date. Depending on system latencies, these times may be off by a few minutes to several hours.)

Defying Fate – Free Kindle Promotion 2 to 3 November 2013

DF Cover13-10Amazon will be running a free promotion for Defying Fate, this weekend (2 & 3 November 2013). This exclusive Kindle edition includes the award-winning novel The Warden Threat and the sequel, The Warden War. They tell the exciting and often humorous tale of a young, naive prince and his quest to prevent an unnecessary war prompted by exaggerated claims of a mysterious WMD (Warden of Mystic Defiance).

This combined Kindle edition is currently rated five stars on Amazon.

I hope you’ll give it a try. If you enjoy the book, I invite you to let the rest of world know. I also would not object to you checking out my other books. Actually, I’d quite appreciate it.

This e-book is available in Kindle format (translated from the original Westgrovian into American English) in the following countries. Click the one that suits you best and enjoy the journey.

(Note: Kindle free promotions start at approximately 12:00 AM Pacific Standard Time on the specified start date. They end at approximately 11:59 PM Pacific Standard Time on the specified end date. Depending on system latencies, these times may be off by a few minutes to several hours.)

Defying Fate – Free Kindle Promotion 30 April to 4 May 2013

DF Cover5To celebrate the release of my fourth book (Disturbing Clockwork), I’m giving away digital copies of my first two books (but only for five days and only for Kindle).

Defying Fate includes the novels, The Warden Threat and The Warden War.  They tell the exciting and often humorous tale of young, naive Prince Donald and his quest to prevent an unnecessary war prompted by exaggerated claims of the threat posed by the mysterious WMD (Warden of Mystic Defiance). This a character driven science fiction tale in a fantasy-like setting — a parody of epic fantasy with a bit of cultural satire and a lot of fun for readers of all genres who may be looking for something fresh and different.

This combined Kindle edition is currently rated five stars on Amazon.

I hope you’ll give it a try. If you enjoy the book, I invite you to let the rest of world know. I also would not object to you checking out my other books. Actually, I’d quite appreciate it.

(Note: Kindle free promotions start at approximately 12:00 AM Pacific Standard Time on the specified start date. They end at approximately 11:59 PM Pacific Standard Time on the specified end date. Depending on system latencies, these times may be off by a few minutes to several hours.)

Book Review – On Basilisk Station by David Weber

OnBasiliskStationTitle: On Basilisk Station
Author: David Weber
Publisher: Baen
First Published: 1993
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy

I’ve picked up several free e-books from Amazon since I first got my Kindle two years ago. This was one. Most of the others were ‘indie’ or self-published and most were surprisingly well written and enjoyable. This was neither.

When I saw this on the list of Amazon freebies, I grabbed it because I know the series has something of a following. Scanning down the reviews that have been posted, I saw many have raved about this book. I can only wonder why. Perhaps the Kindle version I got was an unpolished draft. It certainly read like one.

This is a pulp sci-fi military space opera, and although these can be fun, this particular book has few redeeming qualities. There is a large cast of cardboard characters and enough techno-babble to choke a Vulcan, but, with a judicious amount of skimming, I found the story engaging enough for me to finish reading (almost). I couldn’t take any more by the end and skimmed the last few pages.

The poor writing style was obvious from the start. The prose is amateurish. The first ten to fifteen percent of the book is primarily backstory and exposition. If this were a self-published book, I would have stopped reading and concluded that the writer needed to develop his skills a bit more. But this book has a traditional publisher (Baen), and it has fans. I kept reading, thinking it must get better as it goes on.

It didn’t.

I almost gave up again half way in because the setting and characters were beginning to strain my ability suspend disbelief. Perhaps the most implausible aspect was that Honor Harrington (the unbelievingly self-disciplined lead character) increasingly appears to be just about the only truly competent commanding officer in the Royal Manticoran (space) Navy. If this were a work of comedy or satire, this would be fine, but it’s not. We’re supposed to accept that this is plausible. Even under an archaic form of monarchy (more on this later), where commissions are handed out based on family as often as they are on achievement, I have trouble accepting that any military organization could accept, or operate with, such a high amount of incompetence. (There is also a dysfunctional political system operating largely behind the scenes, which is, sadly, plausible, although I also doubt such a system can endure long without getting its act together.)

About eighty percent in, I considered tossing it aside again. In the middle of a chase scene, in which Honor’s ship is pursuing a much larger and more heavily armed enemy ship (for which she has no real plan how to defeat), the narrative devolves into a long exposition on the history of the faster than light technology they use. If there is ever a time for something like this, a chase scene is not it.

The battle scenes, especially the naval battles, are competently drawn, although a bit graphically for my taste. The wholesale slaughter of Bronze Age aliens (by the ‘good’ guys) with little remorse or reflection gave me one of those WTF moments. The ‘glory of war’ aspect of these scenes predominates. The ‘tragedy of war’ aspect is largely limited to instances when the ‘good guys’ lose or take casualties. The concept of war, the ethical considerations, and alternatives to it are largely ignored. That kind of underlying message became clearer as the book progressed. If there is a theme to this story, it is something along the lines of ‘duty above all else,’ ‘violence is always a first and best response,’ ‘war is inevitable,’ or ‘might makes right.’

But there really are no ‘good guys’ in this story. No one has a clear claim to the moral high ground. Honor is a citizen of the Star Kingdom of Manticore, a hereditary monarchy with privileged, landed gentry, self-serving corporations, a multiparty political system that seems largely inept, and a culture that feels almost medieval. Their rivals are the People’s Republic of Haven, a star nation of military expansionists with a strained, socialist economy. The book provides little more insight than this into their respective cultures, but I doubt I would want to live in either. I saw insufficient reason to favor one side over the other in their squabbles despite Haven’s particularly nasty effort to foment something like the Boxer Rebellion by supplying drugs to the Bronze Age natives of Medusa. I got the impression that the Manticorans would have few ethical qualms about doing something similar if they found it expedient.

The formatting of the eBook was also poorly done. The text was double-spaced throughout, with forced line justification and missing scene breaks.

Maybe I’ve come to expect too much from a free eBook, but almost all of those I’ve seen had something going for them—a good story, interesting characters, a thought provoking theme, or even just proper formatting. This book fails in all regards.

If books were like TV, this one would be on par with Saturday morning cartoons or professional wrestling. I realize that many people enjoy that kind of stuff. That’s fine. Different people like different things. I, however, cannot recommend this, not even as a freebie. There are far better books available for the same cost.

Defying Fate – Free Kindle Promotion 25 to 29 December 2012

Defying Fate, Kindle EditionIt has been a tough year, and I wanted to give everyone something very special for the holidays. Unfortunately, I can’t find a way to bring about world peace. I can’t end crime, hunger, poverty, or disease. I can’t even help you find a job, but I do have a book you might like, and between December 25th and 29th you can have a Kindle edition of it free.

I know, it’s not exactly a gift of infinite value, but it has gotten some very good reviews. I hope you will accept it as my gift to you.

The book is called Defying Fate. It is a fun parody of fantasy adventure epics, which is actually two books in one, The Warden Threat and The Warden War. They are set on a planet much like earth and follow the exploits of Prince Donald of Westgrove as he discovers that the true nature of the threat to his kingdom is not what his father, the king, believes it to be. With the assistance of his cynical guide, a goodhearted bodyguard, a beautiful messenger, and a couple of ancient androids, he tries to prevent three nations from going to war.

Technically science fiction, Defying Fate is a character driven tale in a fantasy-like setting. It pokes some good-natured fun at the serious tone and dependence on magic common to many epic adventure novels, turning all of these common fantasy stereotypes on their collective heads for readers of all genres who may be looking for something fresh and different. Often insightful and frequently funny, this book is a great way to spend some leisure time.

There are no gimmicks and no qualifications. Just go to Amazon on one of these five days and download a copy for your Kindle, then sit back, read, smile, and enjoy the journey.

 Click your country flag between Tuesday 25 December and Saturday 29 December 2012 to get your gift copy.

Defying Fate, U.S. Kindle EditionDefying Fate, U.K. Kindle EditionDefying Fate, Canada Kindle EditionDefying Fate, Germany Kindle EditionDefying Fate, France Kindle EditionDefying Fate, Spain Kindle EditionDefying Fate, Italy Kindle Edition

My Self-Publishing Adventure Episode Twelve – Is Free Too Much?

How’s this for a business model? An independent developer invests thousands of hours over several years creating a product. He pays hundreds if not thousands of dollars for testing and packaging. When the fruit of his labor is finally ready for the public, he gives it away free.

Insane, right? Yet this is what indie authors commonly do. It has almost become an industry standard. It is, in fact, one of the major selling points of KDP Select. Giving Amazon an exclusive for the digital edition of an author’s book for ninety days allows the writer to give that book away for up to five days — free — for nothing.

Of course, the author hopes that thousands of people will obtain a free copy and love it so much they will tell their friends and write glowing reviews. I mean, who would turn down a free masterpiece? The answer, apparently, is ‘most people.’

But back to the point of sharing my adventure, I’ll tell you what I did and what happened.

I decided to make Defying Fate, the combined digital edition of my first two books, available only on Kindle and therefore eligible for KDP Select. This allows U.S. Amazon Prime members to borrow it free. (As far as I know, no one yet has.) It also allows me to reduce the price to $0 for up to five days as a promotion. I decided to do this because I have taken advantage of these types of promotions when other authors did them. I downloaded several free books that I probably would not have purchased otherwise. Some I liked. Some I didn’t. I wrote reviews on those I did. The reviews were a kind of ‘thank you’ for the free book, and they may help both book and author get more attention. Who knows? Someone might see them.

I planned my free promotion for the first two days of July 2012. They fell on a Sunday and Monday. My thinking was that some people would be planning time off work that week in conjunction with the 4th of July holiday and might want something new to read.

I began promoting my free promotion (yeah, I know) a couple of weeks in advance on my blog, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Each day I’d send at least one tweet telling the world that my free days were coming, and I sent additional Tweets each day it ran. I got a lot of help from Twitter friends who retweeted my tweets to their followers to help me get the word out. They are some sweet tweeters.

The technical part worked well. The free promotion was simple to schedule from the KDP site, and when the day came, the price dropped to $0 on Amazon sites for the U.S. U.K. Germany, France, Spain, and Italy. When the scheduled promotion ended, the price returned to the regular $4.99 (or the applicable equivalent in Pounds or Euros).

There was only one glitch I heard of, and that came from a nice lady in the Netherlands who could not download from any of the Amazon sites. This may have more to do with Dutch law than Amazon policy. I really don’t know. I sent her a copy.

So how did it go? During the two-day free promotion, there were 186 downloads on Amazon.com (U.S.A.), 28 downloads on Amazon.co.uk (U.K.), and 4 downloads on Amazon.de (Germany). That’s it, just 218 worldwide. To be honest, I had higher hopes.

I am unsure what to conclude. For one thing, I don’t know how these figures compare with others who have run KDP free promos. I also don’t know how the promotion affected my book’s ranking. Actually, I’m not a big fan of rankings. It implies that books are in competition. They are not. I am not competing for readers. I don’t want people to read my book instead of a book by some other author. I want them to read my book in addition to books by other authors.

Still, 218 seems like a low number to me. I may be in denial about this, but I’m sure this is a damn good book. Of course, only those who read it will know that, and my promotion just might result in a few more people who will do that. This is a good thing, and the promotion could be considered successful if only one more person ends up actually reading the book.

But why didn’t more people grab a free copy? I don’t know. Maybe my cover sucks. Maybe the book blurb on Amazon is uninteresting. I don’t think either is true, but my opinion on this is hardly unbiased. I simply may be overestimating the number of people who would enjoy a lighthearted epic adventure. I can only speculate about why, but a few things come to mind, two of which have much to do with perception and little to do with reality.

Again, this may be another case of denial, looking for ways to point blame anywhere but at my own work, so let me say once again that I may be dead wrong. My book may suck like a fusion-powered vacuum cleaner. All I can say without qualification is that I like it.

Whether denial or a rational hypothesis, these things occurred to me as possible explanations for why there were not more downloads.

  1. Word of the promotion did not reach enough people. I am not a social media superstar. I don’t have thousands of followers or subscribers, and I didn’t buy any advertising. It is quite possible that fewer than a thousand people ever saw anything about my promotion.
  2. There are some people, perhaps many, who assume that free things have no value. I consider it a sad comment on our society that value is equated with monetary cost. There are many things that I believe have true value, but money isn’t one of them. It is good for buying stuff, but much of the stuff that can be bought has no real value either. Be that as it may, ‘free’ may be a sign to some that the book isn’t worth reading. After all, if it was, I wouldn’t be giving it away, right?
  3. Then there is the indie stigma. There is still a perception that indie published books are not ‘really’ published, that they have poor plots, lousy prose, loads of typos, and a random approach to punctuation. In short, if it’s indie, it’s bad. Even it is free, an indie book isn’t worth the time.

Unfortunately, the only one of these an indie author can influence is the first. I probably won’t. I don’t want to peddle my books or myself, and I don’t think I have much talent when it comes to marketing. There is only one way that an author can avoid all three of these problems — traditional publishing. This is why I have decided to pursue this route for my next few novels at least.

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