Are Reading Subscriptions the Future?


Maybe it’s a good thing that I discovered a trove of library ebooks so vast, I can’t keep up with my checkouts, because Amazon just launched Kindle Unlimited. For $9.99 a month, you have unlimited access to, according to the info on the site, 600,000 titles.

For a reader, that’s mighty tempting. But like Netflix DVDs and other entertainment subscriptions, if you don’t keep up with them, they’re not doing you any good. You have to make sure you’d get your money’s worth.

As a writer, however, it offers an added layer of plus-side to the KDP Select program. By making your book exclusive to Amazon, it’s already collection, and you get paid when people borrow it.

Overall, though, it’s Amazon, yet again, finding a way for wins all around. There aren’t really any losers in the Amazon publishing model. Readers will come out ahead as long as they read three books or so a month; fewer if they stick to the major publishers. Writers could see a bump in inncome from the service.

Me? I still have a bunch of library books on my Kindle. I’m practically drowning in books.

What a way to go.

Want to get started? Check out  Her Cousin Much Removed (read for FREE with KindleUnlimited),  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management (also FREE with KindleUnlimited) and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only) (you get the idea).

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Borrowing eBooks is Addictive


I may have over-borrowed ebooks from the library. Hmm. Strike that, I definitely over-borrowed ebooks from the library.

When I first got my Kindle, I wasn’t able to put library books on it. Besides, the library didn’t have much to offer then. Well, that’s changed.

It’s like discovering the magic of a library all over again, only better. I can sit on my couch and browse books. If I put something on hold, and it becomes available, I don’t have to go down to my local branch to pick it up.

I took out a book on the 4th of July. That’s a hair shy of miraculous.

Unfortunately, though, the pull is great. It’s not like I have to lug them all back again, awkward ballast in my Chicago Public Library tote. Nope, they all weigh absolutely nothing, all nestled in my Kindle until my time runs out or I finish them, whatever happens first. I don’t have to hold them as I browse, the hard covers digging into my arms as the load gets heavier.

So I possibly, perhaps have more books right now than I can read before they expire., Does it matter, though? The magic of the internet as the most convenient return box of all.

Need a little mystery in your life? Check out  Her Cousin Much Removed, or sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Get Cozy with Her Cousin, Much Removed


I haven’t plugged one of my books in a while, so today’s as good a day as any. I love the term “cozy mystery,” it makes murder sound so warm and fuzzy. I’m pretty sure Venetia Shipman doesn’t feel that way, though she may not be all that sorry her cousin, Delenda O’Brien is dead…

Her Cousin, Much Removed by I. L, Wolf. Amazon for $2.99. When Venetia Shipman quit practicing law and took up urban gardening, she thought she had nothing ahead but calm days watering plants. Then someone murdered her cousin(ish), Delenda O’Brien.

So much for that.

Turns out Delenda had some plans of her own for Venetia, none of them good. Now Venetia’s in it up to her eyeballs thanks to her, and, to make it all worse, Delenda died without even returning Venetia’s platter. Now she may never get it back.

Detective Cadby James is on the case, and while he may not be too bad looking, Venetia isn’t so sure he can solve the murder without her help. Whether he wants it or not.

H.G. Wells and the 21st Century


In my experiment of bringing back regular reading, I started H.G. Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau, which I found in an awesome electronic collection of 25 of his novels for just $1.99. (Here it is if you’re interested: The Collected Novels of H.G. Wells: 25 Books in One Volume (Unexpurgated Edition) (Halcyon Classics)).

Think about that. 25 novels and no broken wrists from trying to hold the volume. My love affair with ebooks continues. And I’d already purchased it, was out somewhere and thought, “I’d like to be reading,” and then I was. It’s magical.

Anyway, I’d always wanted to read it, but it was mentioned in the context of “Orphan Black,” and I figured now was as good a time as any. What struck me in the little bit I’ve read so far is, like Dickens, even with the stiff language, his writing immediately pulls you in.

Which got me thinking. Word choice is important, of course, because you cannot convey what you mean without the right parts. But construction can override the words themselves, making the formal Victorian language propel you forward.

Poor construction can also stop you dead while reading.

It’s not only the cement and the mortar and the trowel when you’re writing. It’s the scaffolding. And if the scaffolding collapses, so does the story.

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Just When I thought Paper Books were my one true love


So I have a confession, and it’s one I never thought I’d make. I’ve been a book lover from the time I first discovered the magic between two covers, before I could read them myself. I come from a family of readers. My place is crammed with books, it’s nearly impossible to cast your eye in any direction but out the window and not see some.

I have a stack of books that have patiently waited for me to read them. And yesterday, I plucked one of them, and settled down on the couch to read it.

It felt heavy. It was awkward in my hand, keeping it open as I read. The facing page, which once I viewed as my enticement to keep going, distracted me.

I wanted to read it electronically.

So with hope, I checked Amazon’s Kindle Matchbook program, to see if it was included (if you click the link, you can find out if any of the books you’ve purchased are eligible). It was not. Then came the moment of truth.

As an aside, the book is Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the FloodI own it in hardcover, from when she did a spectacular show/book tour for its release. I bought it in paperback to actually read, and I’ve been hoarding it like a treat to savor. And now I was contemplating buying it a third time to have it electronically.

“What the heck,” I thought. “At least she’s one of my favorite authors.”

It has happened. I actually preferred an electronic version over a paper book, enough to buy it again. The times, they are a’changin’.

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Murder Makes the Front Page


More mystery of the cozy variety this afternoon. Yes, there are many other forms of mystery, but none other makes murder sound so snugly. And besides, the shoes on this cover are killer. See what I did there?

Front Page Fatality (A Headlines in High Heels Mystery) by LynDee Walker. Amazon for $2.99. Crime reporter Nichelle Clarke’s days can flip from macabre to comical with a beep of her police scanner. Then an ordinary accident story turns extraordinary when evidence goes missing, a prosecutor vanishes, and a sexy Mafia boss shows up with the headline tip of a lifetime.

As Nichelle gets closer to the truth, her story gets more dangerous. Armed with a notebook, a hunch, and her favorite stilettos, Nichelle races to splash these shady dealings across the front page before this deadline becomes her last.

More cozy mystery? Try Her Cousin Much Removed, and sign up for my cozily mysterious newsletter.

Tempting Fate this Afternoon


I enjoy Jane Green, and I don’t care who knows it. Are her books likely to change the world? Probably not. But they will take you out of your world for a bit, and that is, in essence, the power of a book.

Tempting Fate by Jane Green. Amazon for $10.99. From Jane Green, the New York Times bestselling author of such beloved novels as Jemima J, The Beach House, Another Piece of My Heart, comes an enthralling and emotional story about how much we really understand the temptations that can threaten even the most idyllic of relationships….

Gabby and Elliott have been happily married for eighteen years. They have two teenaged daughters. They have built a life together. Forty-three year old Gabby is the last person to have an affair. She can’t relate to the way her friends desperately try to cling to the beauty and allure of their younger years…And yet, she too knows her youth is quickly slipping away. She could never imagine how good it would feel to have a handsome younger man show interest in her—until the night it happens. Matt makes Gabby feel sparkling, fascinating, alive—something she hasn’t felt in years. What begins as a long-distance friendship soon develops into an emotional affair as Gabby discovers her limits and boundaries are not where she expects them to be. Intoxicated, Gabby has no choice but to step ever deeper into the allure of attraction and attention, never foreseeing the life-changing consequences that lie ahead. If she makes one wrong move she could lose everything—and find out what really matters most.
A heartfelt and complex story, Tempting Fate will have readers gripped until they reach the very last page, and thinking about the characters long after they put the book down.

Tons of Free Books on Read an eBook Week Friday


Forget Free Book Friday this week. It’s Free Books Friday. As Read an eBook Week at Smashwords heads into the final weekend, now’s a great time to check out a bunch of titles that are 100% off with coupon code RW100. Here are just a few; more this afternoon.

Revisit The Skirt and the 90s with 2000 Deciduous Trees


If you get nostalgic about the ’90s and grunge culture, take a quick time trip back to the days when dark literary magazines were plentiful (and fleeting). The Skirt only ran for four issues, but lives on through the magic of ebooks.

2000 Deciduous Trees: Memories of a Zine by Nath Jones. $4.99 from
2000 Deciduous Trees is an exploration of individual experience selected from Nath Jones’s ‘90s zine, The Skirt. The writing resists losing its balance during a time when gas was cheap and no one drove slowly on the cusp of a new millennium. The voice yearns for change. But nothing can be done in a twenty-something world where one-night stands get forgotten with execution-style murders.