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Hang A Crooked Number: Now At Insultingly Low Prices!

cover_art_insideHey there, cheapskates! Perhaps you’ve considered purchasing a copy of my book Hang A Crooked Number—guaranteed to be the year’s best novel about baseball, spies, and failure—but balked at its retail price. Personally, I believe $2.99 is more than reasonable for a full-length novel written by one actual human, but I also recognize that ideas about what constitutes “reasonable price” has changed considerably in our modern age, what with all the computers and hula hoops and fax machines. I also recognize that nobody knows who the hell I am and thus may need extra incentive to drop any amount of cash on my weird ideas.

So, for a limited time, I am slashing the price on my novel. From now through November 15, Hang A Crooked Number can be yours for the frankly insulting price of 99 cents. This is literally the least amount of money I can charge for it without making it free altogether. (I have just enough dignity to not do that.)

If you want a better idea of what 99 cents buys you, check out excerpts of the novel at Stymie Magazine and The Classical.

If that does it for ya, you can purchase Hang A Crooked Number for the low, low, insanely low “price” of 99 cents at Amazon, Apple, Smashwords, or sort-of direct from me in either epub or PDF form.

Remember: If you likes what you read, I’d sure appreciate it if you’d leave a star-filled review on Amazon or Goodreads. I know, I’m asking you to leave a review after you paid a whole 99 cents for this book. A thousand pardons, sirrah, but I need the scraps from your table to survive. Please take pity upon me, a lowly beggar.

Hang A Crooked Number: Available Now

cover_art_inside
Cover art by Tony Morais

I wrote a novel called Hang A Crooked Number. It is about a world where baseball is an elaborate front for the operations of a domestic intelligence organization called The Moe Berg Society. It is narrated by a minor league recruit who is mired in a horrific slump on both sides of his work, unable to work his way to the big leagues as either a hitter or a spy, while being caught between rival factions fighting for control of the organization. It’s about some other things, too, but we’ll start there. And it has serious parts and funny parts (parts I intended to be serious and funny, anyway). I’m letting you know about this because I think some people might like it.

As this novel made its final steps to becoming a Real Live Book, my first impulse was to write a huge post detailing its journey from idea to reality, why I took so long to write it, commentary on those Other Things alluded to above, the evolution of my thoughts about fiction in particular and writing in general…

I wrote this very lengthy post, more to remind myself of the journey this novel took from the time when the idea first came to me. Then I crumpled up that post and tossed in the trash, because it would be of no interest to anyone outside of my head. Maybe you’d care about how long it took me to write this novel or what I went through in the intervening years if I was Some Important Author, but I ain’t. Last time I checked, I was known (if at all) as a semi-pro enthusiast of Edgardo Alfonzo, Action Park, and Steampipe Alley. You are well within your rights to not give a shit about my “process.”

Furthermore, I shouldn’t attempt to explain a piece of work whose primary function is to explain itself. I’m reminded of something Elvis Costello once said during a live show: “People are always asking me, ‘What does that song mean?’ If I could have said it in a way other than how I said it in the song, I would have written another song, wouldn’t I?”

So, though brevity is not my strong suit, I will keep this as short and sweet as I can:

Hang A Crooked Number is now out in the world, available to eyes that might enjoy a novel about baseball and spies and some other things. If you believe you own such a set of eyes, it can be purchased at Amazon, iTunes, or Smashwords for the ridiculously low price of $2.99. (Other retailers to follow.) I figure that’s plenty cheap for anyone to take a chance on a novel about spies and baseball written by Some Dude. If you are fortunate enough to own an ebook reading device yet consider $2.99 too much to spend on an ebook, all I can say is good luck to you, sir or madam.

If you do take a chance on this novel and find you like what you read, leave a nice review on Amazon and tell a friend. Leave something nice up on Goodreads, if that’s a thing you do. Tweet or Facebook about it. Every little whisper helps. I’m just one person without any sort of machine working for me, so this is how more eyes will get a chance to read it. That is all I want and all I can want.

Thank you.

Yells For Ourselves Available at iTunes

Last week, The Classical published an excerpt from Yells For Ourselves, an alternate history of the 1999-2000 New York Mets. Once again, if you’re curious what “alternate history” means and why this subject warrants one, I direct you to the introduction posted at the book’s official website here.

When the excerpt was posted, I also put up a link that would allow you to download a preview of the book for the iPad containing animations, functionality, and other goodies that will be found in the full product. I really want to get this preview in lots of peoples hands–or devices, I guess–but as you can imagine, that’s difficult to do when I’m the only person distributing it.

That’s why I am now proud to announce that this preview has been accepted by the iTunes Store, which means you can totally, officially get it for your iPad. And it is totally free, so click here to download it, review it, and spread the word.

I can’t stress these last two items enough. iTunes’ arcane algorithms give a lot of weight to reviews, so the more reviews this thing gets, the more attention it will get. If you know anybody with an iPad, let ’em know about this. Grab people on the street if you have to. They’ll be cool about it, probably.

Any and all feedback welcomed on this preview (provided it’s more constructive than YOU SUCK). I hope to have a Kickstarter thingy set up for this project within a month or so and will keep everyone posted. Until then, download it, love it, review it, share it. Deal?

Ebook Seeks Readers for Touchscreen Fun

For the past few forevers, I’ve been working on an ebook called Yells For Ourselves, a multi-volume alternate history of the 1999-2000 Mets. For more info on exactly what that “alternate history” means, you can glean more details at this here link. The reason it’s taken so long is because I’m trying to make a spiffy, enhanced thing that’s somewhere between a book and an app, something that aims to be both a work of research and fun to interact with. It’s taken a lot of trial and error–mostly error–to figure what I could and could not do, what was feasible, and in what format it was most ideally presented.

My initial plan was to take a regular ebook, crack it open, and add spiffy enhancements to it–primarily, audio and video. That plan fell through when said A/V enhancements proved prohibitively costly to license, and I was forced to rethink exactly what I wanted to do with this thing.

So I started from scratch and created a more design-oriented book using Apple’s iBooks Author tool. I had the iPad primarily in mind for my original plan–it remains one of the few devices that can handle enhanced ebooks–so this was a natural step to take. Apart from allowing me to include all kinds of animations and other goodies, iBooks Author enabled me to create an ebook that actually looks good from a design standpoint, whereas design is not even a remote concern for most ebook interfaces. There are issues with this program, as there are with any Apple product (it definitely reflects their “it’s our way or the highway” approach), but it also necessitated the least amount of compromise between my ideal vision of this work and what was feasible. I do plan to produce a no-frills version of Yells For Ourselves for other devices, but I found the possibilities of producing an iPad-centric enhanced ebook too intriguing to pass up.

Now, I finally have a sample that I’m ready to show to the world. When I say “sample,” I mean that I have an introduction and one chapter that demonstrate what the complete book will look like and be able to do. I’m still not 100 percent decided if I will use Kickstarter initiative to fund this. The biggest costs involved with making this dream a reality are incorporation (so I can sell it), ISBN purchase (so I can sell it at all ebook retailers), and image licensing, which is the really big one. For the moment, most of the artwork in Yells For Ourselves is just that: artwork of my own creation. But I would like to include some for-real iconic imagery from these seasons, and that, friends, runs into money.

If I do Kickstart Yells For Ourselves, I need a tangible slice of it to show the world and say “This is what your money will help make.” If I don’t Kickstart it, I still need to entice potential purchasers. Whichever route I take, I still have to make sure that this thing works and reassure myself that people might actually want it–and will be accepted on the Apple Store. Since I can’t learn these things on my own, I’ve made this sample available for your perusal and beta-testing enjoyment. I am interested in any and all feedback, but I am primarily looking for notes on the interactivity in the ebook.

If you’d like to check out this sample for yourself, it is available via Gumroad at the button below. Before downloading, however, please keep two things in mind:

  1. This book is designed for the iPad, so if you don’t have an iPad, it ain’t gonna work for ya. It’s an iBook file, so there’s a slim chance it’ll work on an iPhone, but I can’t vouch for that and wouldn’t recommend it anyway.
  2. The Gumroad button below brings you to a separate web page where you can download the sample. It will ask you to “name a fair price.” This is FREE. Enter 0 and you’re good to go. Don’t send any money, I beg of you!

Yells For Ourselves: Sample

Again, any and all feedback is welcomed, and you can send that feedback to yellsforourselves at gmail dot com. If you do not have an iPad, that is your right as an American. But if you’d still like to see check out the book’s content, you have a couple of options. First off, over at the book’s blog, you can read its full introduction, which serves as a sort of manifesto/statement of purpose for the larger work. You can also check out an excerpt from the book that at The Classical. The excerpt is a condensed version of a pivotal chapter in the book, the same chapter that’s contained in the sample.

If you’re more the visual type, I’ve provided some screenshots from the ebook after the jump.

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