Merry Kindlemas!

Harlequin/Mills&Boon rock the freebies on Kindle

Hey folks! ūüôā

If you’re looking forward to getting a new eReader or tablet this Christmas, either as a gift or when out shopping for yourself, I thought I’d share what it’s possible to get free from Amazon Kindle – not just in the occasional promotions, but as regular items.

Like many tablet-owners, even though my very basic Wi-Fi Android colour touchscreen was a steal at only ¬£44.99, I have¬†the Kindle app installed, and I do browse the store for free books. Buying a Kindle, after all, is about spending a hefty chunk of cash, on what is essentially an empty bookshelf that you then have to buy books for. So I’m not going to cough up print list prices when I can wait a few months and buy those print editions for a penny, just¬†the same as¬†usual… ūüėČ

Those of you who know me as a reader/writer will know I have a soft-spot for romance fiction (even though I generally write about hit-men, zombies and psychos myself), especially Mills&Boon. What I’ve recently discovered is that you can get a great many of the books in their recent back catalogue, completely free on Kindle.

This is a fantastic idea for M&B books. Especially for readers like me, since my local supermarket no longer stock them.

Being category romance, set up for subscription readers, their turnover of new books is possibly the largest of any publisher. Keeping them available in the Kindle store as free books is no loss on the company’s part.¬†It may round up many new readers,¬†plus supply fans of their current authors with access to a hot and professionally-released backlist.

The best way to find these freebies is to type one of these titles in, or a favourite author name, and look at the ‘Customers also bought…’ list on the product page.

It’s worth noting that although the books I’ve included here are the usual novel-length M&B books, which you can currently find free in the Kindle store, you’ll also find Harlequin/M&B short stories and novellas, in both paid and¬†free sections. A useful guideline is that anything under 200 KB file size is¬†a shade short for a novel – some may say ‘short story’ or ‘novella’, while others are given away by customer comments, who perhaps didn’t realise the book wasn’t the expected full-length read.

If you’re new to Kindle books this Christmas, it’s worth looking at the file size to figure out if it’s your kind of read length¬†– for example, some may be as short as 90 KB, while my own special extended ebook of¬†Death & The City: Heavy Duty Edition, is a whopping 1277+ KB. Some ebooks have a ‘print length’ in the details to give you an idea, while others show from the ‘Look Inside’ 5% preview feature how short they are. (My Look Inside of the¬†Death & The City¬†leviathan is four and a half chapters!) I have seen previews of stories so short that the preview was only the title and copyright pages –¬†invest a bit of time¬†learning your way around.

Other books I’ve recently downloaded as free, include A Little Bit Of Everything For Dummies by the reknowned ‘For Dummies’ collection, and Alice In Wonderland. You’ll find every classic you could possibly want for free on Kindle, from Jane Austen to Bram Stoker.

You’ll find promotional offers on ebooks as well, in short freebie slots, so you’ll find¬†different books in the Top 100 Free every¬†week – so worth checking back in for surprise treats. These short slots¬†can be¬†anything from 24 hours to 5 days, depending on the author or publisher’s schedule.

You don’t need any special Amazon membership to ‘purchase’ (download) books listed as free to buy. If you want to borrow books from Amazon, the current scheme is for Amazon Prime membership US customers, where¬†Kindle readers can borrow one title per month. I imagine if I was there, I’d be looking at the NYT bestsellers, listed at that controversial print price for my library loan borrowings ūüėČ

Death & The City: Book One

On that note, you’ll be able to download Death & The City: Book One and Death & The City: Book Two by yours truly (check to see whose blog you’re reading, that’s a clue), both free from Amazon Kindle on the following dates:

25th and 26th December 2011 (48-hour free promotion, PST)

1st and 2nd January 2012 (48-hour free promotion, PST)

Death & The City: Book Two

Lara Leatherstone ‚Äď not her real name, she got it from an internet Porn Star Name Generator‚Ķ
‚ĶAnd Connor Reeves, also not his real name, as it turns out ‚Äď how he came by his, is less clear‚Ķ
Both are obliged to work their way through the To Do List of ‚ÄėHollywood Hit-Men‚Äô ‚Äď a breed mostly preoccupied with gold chains, impressing barmaids, and shady contracts ‚Äď erasing these unwanted pests with the minimum of paperwork. Or pay.

Both books will be completely free in both promotions scheduled. No catch, just Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from me!

And enjoy those Harlequin/M&B freebies – let me know how many more you come across!

ūüôā xxx

Today, I will mostly be reading…

Hot Island Nights

Sarah Mayberry, for Harlequin (UK) Mills & Boon

…This one above, in paperback from Tesco’s, special promotions inside the cover. Wow. I’m only up to Chapter 5, and will probably have gone blind by the end, so luckily it’s one of their shorter books. It’s definitely taking my mind off food anyway.

Nice weather to read in the last couple of days, out on the hammock between gardening and hula-hooping and diet shakes. Saw the doctor, who was able to show me that last time I was weighed at a check-up in December 2010, I was 5kg less than now, so it was as I suspected Рgradual re-gain of weight lost previously.

I super-glued the incision where the keloid scar was and it’s started healing up in a nice neat line instead of a ropey random-shaped blob like before. As I said, don’t do this at home. If you must fidget while watching TV, do knitting or something. Not DIY surgery. I’ll probably still need to get it checked afterwards at some point, unless God is in a good mood and the whole mark vanishes without trace. I was lucky to have already had it biopsied – just sorry they didn’t take the whole thing out at the time.

So I’m dieting, hula-hooping, catching up with the housework gradually,¬†and started on writing my own straight romantic fiction efforts. Yes!! Finally, I came up with two ideas which have potential. I think giving up on the idea of dating in real life helped. Gave me licence to be totally inventive, and not worry about being judged (not until submissions time, at least). Mills & Boon are running their New Voices contest again next month, and I’m debating whether or not to enter a competition with a public vote (I don’t have that many friends to round up!) or just go for the straight submissions route. I’m tempted to¬†go with¬†the latter. Maybe because it would be the real response when it came, that I could work with immediately on whatever the feedback is. I have a feeling about it of ‘start as you mean to go on’ in the working professional writer sense.

In the meantime, thinking of putting together my ideal hula-hooping playlist. So far, the best of Santana, and Justin Timberlake are getting me going, and have also found remixes of¬†Depeche Mode, Marilyn Manson, the Beastie Boys, the Noisettes,¬†and Faithless are great stuff to hoop along to. I have a need to test out the hooping potential of De La Soul. My instincts tell me there is something very hoopable in those tunes. Oddly enough I couldn’t get anything out of Madonna. The rhythm was all wrong. She’ll have to incorporate it into her assimilated repertoire of fashion crazes to come up with the right beat.

For custom hoops and jamming, wiggle your way over to Hoop Express and get inspired! ūüôā

Now that’s what I call a cover…

This one broke my world speed record for deciding whether or not to buy the book when I saw it in the bookstore. I think my exact decision-making process was “FWORRR!”

It’s staying where I can see it while writing. I might even read more than those pages in the middle when I get time…

Send him round. I’ve never had a real live muse before ūüôā