A Wonderment of Winners

The contest is done! The free book codes have been distributed, I have learned the meaning of Aspidochelon. And here are some of my favorites, any one of which could lead to a new Ebenezum book:

A Surplus of Spells
An Ambush of Apprentices
A Pocketful of Prophecies
A Drove of Damsels
A Night Out with the Necromancer (bending the rules, but funny)
A Cornucopia of Charms
A Scarcity of Satyrs
And one that hardly followed the rules at all, but wins for being an in-joke:
A Passion in Pittsford!

Some day, I’ll talk about Pittsford.

All the winners now have (I hope) 30 new E-books on their E-readers! And what books are these? I thought you would never ask.


In summary: 30 books, including the first three Ebenezums, all for only 18 bucks! If you’re interested, act fast, since the sale only lasts TWO MORE DAYS!

My work here is done.

Yes, amazingly enough, the cover for the audio book looks exactly like the one for the e-book!

Yes, amazingly enough, the cover for the audio book looks exactly like the one for the e-book!

I blame Christmas

Okay, so I’ve been running this contest for 30 free e-books (a storybundle) for a few days now. I’ve gotten entries thru my blog and thru e-mail, but I’ve gotten no entries from Facebook. This could, of course, be because Facebook didn’t bother showing my post to many people (as it sometimes does) or it could be because it’s too close to the holidays and people are busy doing other things. Whatever the reason, I thought I would remind people one more time. 30 BOOKS! ABSOLUTELY FREE! SIMPLE CONTEST! Come up with three new Ebenezum titles (with titles like a Difficulty with Dwarves or an Excess of Enchantments!), post them on my blog or below this Facebook post. If your titles are funny enough, you win! Contest ends tomorrow, Monday, December 28, at 9 pm EST. Here are all the potentially free books!


Be there or be square!All Covers Large

Free books! Valuable prizes! Free books!

Those of you who have been following along here know that three of my books are currently part of the New Worlds Storybundle, where you can get thirty (count them – 30!) e-books for a mere $18. This is a pretty great deal, but how much better would the storybundle be if you could get the books for FREE?

That’s right, FREE. The kind folks running this particular bundle have given me a number of codes, which will automatically download the storybundlle to the device of your choice. And I’ve decided to give these codes away!

So how, I thought? How about a contest? A number of years ago, I ran a contest over at Twitchfilm (a wonderful site) where I gave away some actual, physical books -the kind made of paper and stuff- in the Cineverse Cycle (Slaves of the Volcano God, Bride of the Slime Monster and Revenge of the Fluffy Bunnies). The challenge in this first contest was to make up new movie-based titles for further books. We got some great entries (The best of them sounded like absurd chapter titles to forgotten serials) and the books were duly distributed.

So why not do the same sort of thing with the Ebenezum trilogy? The three books of mine included in the bundle are A Malady of Magicks, A Multitude of Monsters, and A Difficulty with Demons. You get the way these titles work. Every book and story in this series has a title A Blank of Blank where the first and third word start with the same letter. (Other titles in the series include An Excess of Enchantments, A Drama of Dragons and An Embarrassment of Elves.)

To win the contest, you need to come up with new titles for future books in the series. They can encompass any aspect of fantasy, but keep away from references to the modern day. “A Simmering of Stew” would be acceptable, while “A Prism of Proctologists” would not. You can post your entries (no more than three at a time, please) in the comments section of my blog or this Facebook entry, or, if you really want to make sure I see them, you can e-mail them to craigshawgardner at the web address comcast.net. In case of duplicate entries, the first posted will be the one chosen.

How will the winners be chosen? I’ll pick the first five titles that really make me laugh. The contest ends a week from today (Monday, December 28) or when I have found the five winning entries, whichever happens first. I’ll announce the end of the contest on my blog. If your title wins, I also reserve the right to use it for a future Ebenezum story, but if I do so, I will do my best to give the creator of that title a signed copy of the book or magazine in which that story appears.

So, to summarize: FREE BOOKS! Contest! Silly Titles! No more than three titles at a time (but you can enter as many times as you want.) You have five chances to win! And did I mention FREE BOOKS?

I have no idea whether or not this will work, but let’s give it a try. The contest starts NOW.

You can look at the New Worlds storybundle http://storybundle.com
If you want to go straight to my blog: “https://craigshawgardner.wordpress.com

Ebenezum Trilogy

Return of the Curse of the To-Be-Read Pile!

So, a couple of weeks back, I decided to dig deep into my “to-be-read” pile and read some books that had been sitting there, unread, for years. Looking at these books, some a couple of decades old, had a strange side-effect. I started to remember all the bookstores I used to haunt to find these books. Wordsworth in Harvard Square, the original Harvard Coop (before it became a Barnes and Noble), the slightly crazed and somewhat overwhelming New England Mobile Book Fair (before its recent organization, Reading International, Kate’s Mystery Books, the many branches of the Paperback Booksmith in its prime, and on and on. Before the age of Amazon, Boston was full of bookstores. I remember there were a couple dozen of them in Harvard Square alone (they actually printed a map in the early 1980s so that you could find them all.) And book hunting was a great way to spend my free time.

Back before the age of Amazon, IK had also learned a lesson: That if you saw a book you really wanted, you should pick it up NOW, or you might never see it again. So it was that I picked up the first two Hap and Leonard books by Joe Lansdale in a SUPERMARKET (true story.) And so it also was that I collected about twice as many books as I could ever read.

But I just read one of those books now; DEAD SILENT by Robert Ferrigno. from 1998. I really liked the author’s earlier book, THE HORSE LATITUDES, and picked this one up when I came across it in some bookstore’s mystery section. This is the type of book I’ve bought lots of over the years. I guess you’d call it contemporary crime fiction, the sort of book that sold lots of copies in the heyday of mass market paperbacks. The book is cleverly written and well plotted. I found it particularly interesting since the central mystery hung on what was then contemporary but what is now obsolete technology. The protagonist is a rock and roll producer, and reel to reel audio recordings and the dawn of cell phone technology figure prominently in the plot.But the characters are well developed (including an enigmatic hitman who always dresses in bright blue) and the ending actually surprised me; something that doesn’t always happen to somebody who writes as much as I do.

All in all, a suitable beginning to my bookcase exploration. I’ll now move the other three Ferrigno books up closer to the top of the pile.

Next up (I think), a seasonal horror novel. I should ramble on about that in a week or so.

Look at the size of that thing!

I blogged a couple of days back about the New Worlds Story Bundle that I’m a part of, where you can get dozens of e-books for a mere $18. The folks running this promotion sent out a jpeg with all the covers squished together, which I’m reposting here. Holy E-Reader, Batman! That’s a lot of books.

All Covers Large

The promotion is running for a couple more weeks. I’ve also gotten some codes so that I can give away a couple of bundles for free! I sense a contest in my future.


Don’t look now, but I’ve been bundled!

Ebenezum Trilogy

The fine folks at Crossroad Press have recently packaged all three of my Ebenezum novels for one low price. But wait! There’s more! This new trilogy package is, for a limited time part of a “story bundle,” and can be yours for one almost-as-low price as part of a 30 book (!) deal. The New Worlds Bundle is mostly groups of trilogies and the beginnings of longer series, almost all of which are new to me (I’ve read the Manhattan Ghost story trilogy from T.M. Wright. The books are very good.) But all 30 books sound like an interesting mix, and the whole bundle cost $15! So if you’ve ever wanted to add A Malady of Magicks and its two sequels to your e-reader, now is the time to buy!

Whoo hoo! Bundle away!


Curse of the To-Be-Read Pile

Nothing matches the triumph of optimism over reality than that To-Be-Read Pile over at the side of the bed. I’m sure many of those reading this have something similar — a stack at your bedside of recently purchased books (or, these days, a kindle filled with same), all of which you are going to read Real Soon Now.

What do you do when this pile gets too high? I “solved” this problem when we moved into our new house, and replaced the pile with a To-Be-Read bookcase! Of course, having a whole bunch of books in your To-Be-Read stack only delays the decisions of someone who buys more books than he can actually read (I imagine one or two of those reading this might have a similar problem.) What books on the pile am I actually going to read? What books am I hoping to read soon? And (sigh) what books I have finally decided I am not going to read anytime soon? This last group of books migrate to the Book Room upstairs. (Don’t talk to me about the Book Room.)

Every couple of years, when the pile (or the bookcase) becomes unmanageable, it is time to do a Purge, as I did last month. And when I do a Purge, I repeatedly come across a number of books that I have always told myself I would read; books by authors whose other books I have liked, books recommended to me by folks whose taste I trust, even a few books written by those very friends. Do these books stay, or are they doomed to go upstairs forever?

In this most recent Purge, I decided to do something different. I would pull out a dozen books from the To-Be-Read-Real-Soon bookcase that had been there for at least TEN YEARS (and I have a few of those.) I would further pledge to read at least ten of these over the course of the next few months, and write up my thoughts about them on this very blog. Do the books still hold up? How mad am I that I didn’t read them sooner? Or why did I even buy these books in the first place? I may even come up with some conclusions about the nature of modern genre fiction? Who knows?

First up (expect a review in a day or two), from the fabulous 1990s, DEAD SILENT by Robert Ferrigno.

An Excess of EnchantmentsBut, in the meantime, let me show you the new, improved cover for another of my newly released e-books, AN EXCESS OF ENCHANTMENTS. I’ve got to get these covers out there somehow.