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    Nonfiction Father's Day

    Most dads and husbands like to fancy themselves experts on one topic or another. Be it history, music, technology or movies, fathers love being “buffs” on a subject. What better gift could you give on Father’s Day than the opportunity to regale the family with trivia for another year? Surely nothing could give him more joy than sharing his wittiest Churchill anecdotes or theories on how the Internet has changed the world.

    Let your dad play professor with non-fiction ebooks from Open Road Media. They’re fast, easy, and any knowledge-thirsty man will love them. Never given a book of the “e” persuasion? Click here to find out how it’s done.

    Dinner with Churchill

    Dinner with Churchill by Cita Stelzer

    A friend once said of Churchill: “He is a man of simple tastes; he is quite easily satisfied with the best of everything.”

    But dinners for Churchill were about more than good food, excellent champagnes and Havana cigars. “Everything” included the opportunity to use the dinner table both as a stage on which to display his brilliant conversational talents, and an intimate setting in which to glean gossip and diplomatic insights and to argue for the many policies he espoused over a long life. In this riveting, informative and entertaining book, Stelzer draws on previously untapped material, diaries of guests, and a wide variety of other sources to tell of some of the key dinners at which Churchill presided before, during and after World War II.


    Overconnected by William H. Davidow

    In Overconnected, Bill Davidow, a former Silicon Valley executive, explains how the almost miraculous success of the Internet Web has also created a unique set of hazards, in effect overconnecting us, with the direst of consequences for our political, economic, and day-to-day lives.

    The practical applications of this new medium—not least among them the ability to borrow money, invest in the stock market, or buy a new home—have made it a force unequaled in scope or impact in our daily lives. But the luxuries of the connected age have taken on a momentum all of their own, ultimately becoming the root cause of the recent financial meltdown from which the world is now still struggling to recover. Original, commonsensical and historically informed, Overconnected indentifies problems we live with that are now so large, omnipresent, and part of our daily lives that few people have even noticed them.

    Albert Einstein

    Out Of My Later Years: The Scientist, Philosopher, and Man Portrayed Through His Own Words 
    by Albert Einstein

    An inspiring collection of essays, in which Albert Einstein addresses the topics that fascinated him as a scientist, philosopher, and humanitarian. Divided by subject matter—“Science,” “Convictions and Beliefs,” “Public Affairs,” etc.—these essays consider everything from the need for a “supranational” governing body to control war in the atomic age, to freedom in research and education, to Jewish history and Zionism, to explanations of the physics and scientific thought that brought him world recognition. Throughout, Einstein’s clear, eloquent voice presents an idealist’s vision and relays complex theories to the layperson. Einstein’s essays share his philosophical beliefs, scientific reasoning, and hopes for a brighter future, and show how one of the greatest minds of all time fully engaged with the changing world around him.

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    “I’ve never gotten a fellowship, I’ve never gotten a grant, I’ve never gotten anything.” —Hubert Selby Jr. 

    The author of nine renowned works of fiction, Hubert Selby Jr. was noted for his gritty portrayals of addiction and urban despair. His books have influenced generations of authors, artists, and musicians. 

    Aronofsky and Selby Selby’s Requiem for a Dream is widely regarded as one of the best novels ever written about substance abuse—and the tragic and captivating tale caught the eye of Darren Aronofsky, who directed the film adaptation in 2000. In this photo, Selby (right) poses with Aronofsky. After seeing the film at Cannes Film Festival, Selby burst into tears. “It was so moving,” he explained. “It is such an emotional film, so powerful.” 

    Unflinching and unrelenting, Selby’s work brilliantly exposes the raw, grim, and disturbing aspects of humanity. In The Willow Tree, he captures the pain and hardship of twentieth-century urban life through the story ofThe Willow Tree an extraordinary bond between an African-American teen on the hunt for revenge in the wake of tragedy and an old man who guides him toward redemption. Like many of Selby’s works, the dark tale is tempered by hope, and is ultimately a story of love, death, rage, and violence.

    Selby’s profound understanding of salvation came from his own personal struggles with addiction. The month before he passed away in 2004, his doctors offered him morphine to help relieve the pain—but he refused. He wanted, he said, to retain his clarity. 

    Other Ebooks Available by Hubert Selby Jr:

    Song of the Silent SnowSong of the Silent Snow: Fifteen stories of love and despair, destiny and dumb luck, and the small tragedies and poignant victories of the unremarkable inhabitants of a heartless city 

    Waiting Period

    Waiting Period: A blood-chilling excursion into the twisted mind of a serial killer

    Requiem for a Dream Requiem for a DreamTragic and captivating, Requiem for a Dream is one of Selby’s most powerful works of four people trapped—and ultimately destroyed—by their addictions

    Last Exit to BrooklynProstitutes, drunks, addicts, and johns desperately search for a moment ofLast Exit to Brooklyn transcendence amidst the decay and brutality of New York City’s underbelly—though none have any real hope of escape

    The Room The RoomA viscerally affecting portrait of an incarcerated man who loses himself to dark fantasies ofThe Demon revenge

    The Demon: A womanizer’s struggle for self-control spirals into crime, madness, and murder

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    Open Road Media Young Readers’ list of eclectic young adult novels has bolstered its ranks with the release of Kate Thompson’s fantasy books. Thompson is an acclaimed British-Irish author whose works have won numerous awards and captivated the hearts of British readers for years. Her novels are imaginative and heartfelt coming-of-age stories that unfold in vivid fantastical worlds inspired by Celtic mythology and an Irish milieu. 

    kate thompson

    Annan Water

    Michael feels completely alone in the world until he meets Annie, a girl who, like him, seems to want to escape something . . . a girl who has some dark secrets. Michael desperately wants to be with Annie. But she lives on the opposite side of the treacherous Annan Water river . . .

    The Alchemist’s Apprentice

    The year is 1720, and Jack, a London blacksmith’s apprentice, is fleeing from his master’s punishment. Now a runaway, Jack’s wanderings take him to the Thames River, where he plucks a curious little pot out of the water. Hoping that his find will prove valuable, Jack discovers that the pot belongs to a practitioner of the forbidden art of alchemy. The alchemist agrees to take Jack on as an apprentice and teach him his secret art. But what the alchemist offers will not lead to shelter or security—instead, it’s something far more wonderful and perilous. 

    The Beguilers

    Everyone in Rilka’s village knows about the beguilers: the golden-eyed, wailing creatures that come out after dark and lure people to their doom. Rilka astonishes her fellow villagers when she reveals that her “Great Intention”—her first act as an adult—is to capture a beguiler. During her dangerous quest to the cloud mountain, the rumored lair of the beguilers, Rilka discovers truths about the beguilers—and herself—that will change her life and her village forever. 

    The Fourth Horseman

    Laurie is worried. Her father refuses to discuss the vision they have seen lurking by his science lab: glowing, dangerous-looking horsemen bearing bows and swords. Laurie is sure the horsemen are portents of doom. Are they somehow connected to her father’s mysterious genetic research? The recent bombings in Birmingham, England? The unrest in Shasakstan, a country ruled by a dictatorship and armed with nuclear weapons? And if these horsemen do pose a threat, is it too late for Laurie to stop them?

    The Switchers Trilogy

    switchersThis epic trilogy is now available in one volume. Switchers,Midnight’s Choice, and Wild Blood follow the adventures of thirteen-year-old Tess, who is a Switcher—able to change into any animal at will. After meeting Kevin, a fellow Switcher, Tess learns how to stretch her power to its very limit. On her adventures, she battles deadly snowstorms sweeping down from the Arctic; dark forces that have gained a sinister hold over the rats of Dublin; and kidnappers lurking in the woods bordering her uncle’s farm. Along the way, she meets other Switchers—some help her, while others lead her into even greater danger. But when Tess turns fifteen, she will lose her ability to Switch, and be forced to remain in one shape forever. She is about to face the hardest decision of her life. What shape will she choose? Human or animal—or something else entirely?

    Switchers by Kate Thompson [Excerpt] by OpenRoadMedia

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    Elliot: He’s a man from outer space and we’re taking him to his spaceship.
    Greg: Well, can’t he just beam up?
    Elliot: This is reality, Greg.
    —From “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial”

    Today is World UFO Day, and, to celebrate, we’re sharing a list of great ebooks about unexplained phenomena out there in the universe. 

    Odyssey of the Gods
    By Erich von Däniken

    Erich von Däniken tackles the history of Greece and again challenges our beliefs about how our civilization arose. Using painstaking archaeological research and evidence from the writings of Plato and Aristotle, he suggests that the Greek "myths" were, in fact, very much a reality, that the Greek "gods" were actually extraterrestrial beings who arrived on Earth many thousands of years ago.


    Nature of the Beast

    By Adam Mansbach

    When the world is threatened by an alien force, a Florida gator wrestler is all that stands between survival and total annihilation. Though humans have never heard their name, mankind’s greatest enemies are called the Zawa. A race of alien zealots, they crisscross the stars on a bloodthirsty crusade, destroying life on other planets in service of their sinister galactic god. And Earth is next on their list.



    By Octavia Butler

    Lilith Iyapo has just lost her husband and son when atomic fire consumes Earth—the last stage of the planet’s final war. Hundreds of years later Lilith awakes, deep in the hold of a massive alien spacecraft piloted by the Oankali—who arrived just in time to save humanity from extinction. They have kept Lilith and other survivors asleep for centuries, as they learned whatever they could about Earth. Now it is time for Lilith to lead them back to her home world, but life among the Oankali on the newly resettled planet will be nothing like it was before.


    By Timothy Zahn

    Throughout the universe, space horses are among the most coveted of species. They are starfaring creatures with telekinetic abilities, tamed and controlled by the Tampy aliens—who aren’t willing to share their understanding of the creatures. Despite diplomatic government intervention, human poachers are determined to capture and control the giant beings. With a tenuous peace treaty in place between the Tampy and humans, the first jointly helmed space horse will undertake its first mission. But will the two races be able to work together—or will their peace break down into all-out war?

    Playing God
    By Sarah Zettel

    For two centuries, the planet of the Dedelphi has been riven by war. Though delicate, swanlike creatures, the planet’s natives are fierce in battle, and their ceaseless conflict has reduced their world to a wasteland. To save themselves and their world, the Dedelphi have forged a fragile peace and called for outside intervention. The Earth corporation Bioverse constructs a plan to heal the shattered planet. It’s the most ambitious engineering project the universe has ever seen, and if it backfires, the result will almost certainly be genocide.

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    With more than three hundred books to her name, critically acclaimed author Jane Yolen has solidified her status as one of the most renowned authors in the science fiction and fantasy genre.

    Yolen was born in Manhattan in 1939 and shuffled between New York and Los Angeles before settling once again in Manhattan after World War II. Growing up in New York City, Yolen founded a family newspaper with her brother and discovered her penchant for writing—which led to her becoming a published poet as an undergraduate at Smith College in Massachusetts. Not long afterward, Yolen would go on to publish the children’s book Pirates in Petticoats in 1963—the beginning of her illustrious career as a fiction author.

    In Cards of Grief, winner of the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award, the year is 2132, and there’s no love to be found on the planet Henderson’s IV—or L’Lal’lor, as it’s known to the native population—where grieving and sorrow are the basis of life. Told from the alternating viewpoints of alien and human characters, Cards of Griefputs Yolen’s imaginative writing on full display as the main character, Anthropologist First Class Aaron Spenser, is tempted into committing an inconceivable act in the name of love—or lust.

    With a spellbinding catalogue of futuristic works such as Dragonfield and Sister Emily’s Lightship, brilliant spins on classic myths and tales with works like Merlin’s Booke, and hundreds of other first-rate novels, it’s no wonder Yolen has been referred to as “the Hans Christian Andersen of America” for her unparalleled mastery of storytelling. An artistic pioneer, Yolen’s works showcase her creative genius in its prime. Her accolades include the Caldecott Medal, two Nebula Awards, the World Fantasy Award, three Mythopoeic Awards, the Kerlan Award, two Christopher Awards, and six honorary doctorate degrees from colleges and universities in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, among other impressive accomplishments.

    Jane Yolen, the mother of three and the grandmother of six, currently divides her time between Massachusetts and St. Andrews, Scotland. To learn more about Yolen and her works of speculative fiction for all ages, visit her author page here

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    Jack Higgins is typically thought of as an author of thrillers; he’s written over seventy of them! However, in 1989, he made an exception with Memoirs of a Dance Hall Romeo. This coming-of-age story follows a pathetic, meek fellow by the name of Oliver, who has recently left the army in exchange for a life devoted to writing—but more importantly, to women.

    Each chapter is named after a different lover and is devoted to that affair. In total, there are seven. Each one teaches him a different lesson about life, love, and happiness. Oliver goes from being a shy, awkward, inexperienced young man to one who makes love to women (several of whom are married) in the woods in the late-night hours and in the pool at the school where he teaches.

    Higgins may not be well known for coming-of-age novels, but his intriguing and believable voice can be heard on every page. Oliver is easy to root for as he embarks on various eye-opening adventures, including an affair with a ferocious and sexually selfish woman named Ava whom Oliver meets on a bus. But you will have to read the story yourself to meet the six other women he writes about—and trust me, you will want to meet them all.

    Although the plot revolves around his provocative activities, it’s not all fun and games for Oliver. For starters, his women are a mash-up of married, crazy, leaving the country, and sometimes a bit unfortunate-looking if you haven’t just had a glass of whiskey. In addition, Oliver is a struggling writer, inspired by one of his “companions”—and he is really struggling. He also spends time teaching a group of boys who have serious behavioral issues.

    Nonetheless, the ending is one you will cherish and nod your head with in approval. But you wouldn’t want that to be given away, and neither would Jack Higgins! So if you need a break from detectives, dragons, ghosts, and aliens, read Memoirs of a Dance Hall Romeo. It has the familiar touch of everyone’s favorite thriller writer. 

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    book christmas treeIn 2001, immediately upon graduating from high school and looking to leave her small town behind, author Jessica Goodell enlisted in the Marine Corps as a mechanic. Three years later, believing that in order to be a "real" marine, she needed to go to Iraq, Goodell volunteered for the Marine Corps' Mortuary Affairs unit—tasked with recovering and processing the remains of fallen troops. One of her responsibilities was to sort through the pockets of those lost in combat and in doing so, she found all manner of things: pictures, letters, candy wrappers, gum, sonograms of soon-to-be-born children.

    Now stateside, the experiences she had in Iraq continue to haunt Goodell, who notes with great clarity: "Our generation doesn't know what war is like and I think that's a real awesome privilege of our country."

    For more from Jessica Goodell on her time in Iraq, Mortuary Affarirs, and the importance of freedom, watch this exclusive video from Open Road Media.

    Click to learn more about Goodell's book, Shade it Black: Death and After in Iraq. 

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    book christmas treeIn J.W. Stone's debut novel, Duty to Investigate, successful trial lawyer, Mike Beck uses his personality and his skill with the letter of the law to win in the courtroom. As a marine reservist ordered to Iraq on an unexpected deployment, he finds himself in a different world where the law of war often conflicts with common sense and his own feel for what’s right and what’s wrong.

    When an embedded female correspondent reveals what appears to be an illegal killing of Iraqi civilians by a US marine during the battle for Fallujah, Beck finds himself faced with a case that challenges both his legal skills and his conviction that something is very wrong with what seems to be a clear violation of the law of land warfare. Devoted to finding the truth about an ugly incident and keeping an innocent marine from being convicted in a court-martial, Mike Beck defies orders, purloins evidence, and leads a combat team that must fight its way through a fanatical enemy force....

    Download an excerpt ofDuty to Investigate by J. W. Stone {Excerpt}

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    Today, Open Road celebrates the birth of one of America’s most masterful storytellers, Shirley Ann Grau. Grau was born on July 8, 1929, in New Orleans. A few years later, her family moved to Montgomery, Alabama, where her father was stationed with the army. She returned to New Orleans for her senior year of high school, then attended nearby Tulane University, earning a BA in English in 1950. 

    Shirley Ann Grau Release Her first published story appeared in 1953, in the university quarterly the New Mexico Review. Soon, another was printed in the New Yorker. Encouraged by these acceptances, Grau began a series of short stories set in her familiar world of the Deep South. That collection, The Black Prince, was published in 1955 and earned great critical attention. Grau kept an announcement of its initial publication (pictured at left). “No book is ever as exciting as the first,” she notes. “I found this in my flood-wrecked house in New Orleans, dried it out with a hair dryer.”

    Her public profile rose during the civil rights movement, when her novel The Keepers of the House (1964), which deals with race relations in Alabama, earned her a Pulitzer Prize. Grau’s novels and stories often track a rapidly changing South against the complex backdrop of regional history. 

    Grau reflects, “I hope that when people read my books, they will see that people are endlessly interesting, and despite all the evil in the world, that people are still capable of some breathtaking goodness.” 

    To learn more about Grau and her ebooks, visit her author page here

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    It’s easy to see why summer is the most popular season for weddings. The verdant fields, lush and ripe, seem to explode in the countryside as cicadas murmur their sweet and endless song; sunshine kisses bare shoulders and romance fills the air while old lovers, new lovers, and would-be lovers twirl under bright stars; killers lurk in wait, stalking young brides to be.

    What? Oh, that last one? I guess we’ve been reading too much Dorothy Eden these days as we get ready for the digital reissue of sixteen of her classic books this month. And if you, like us, are a little worn out from the annual hubbub of June nuptials,Sinister Weddings, our new ebook bundle of three of Eden’s novels, is just the thing to cure you of your summer wedding fatigue.

    Eighty Days of Pleasure

    This special three-in-one ebook contains Bride by Candlelight (originally published in 1954), Cat’s Prey (1952), and Bridge of Fear (1961). Each story centers on an impending wedding—yet amid the cheerful fanfare, nothing is exactly as it seems. Set in the atmospheric terrain of the New Zealand and Australian countryside, this bundle showcases Eden’s masterful storytelling; each tale is a brilliant example of the Gothic romance genre.

    In Bride by Candlelight,Julia Paget has just arrived at the New Zealand sheep-farming estate of her betrothed. However, after receiving a number of ominous anonymous notes, she begins to doubt that her fiancé is really who he says he is.

    In Cat’s Prey, Antonia Webb is a guest at her cousin’s wedding in a remote seaside resort in New Zealand. Yet evil seems to lurk at every corner. Will a handsome solicitor’s warning be enough to protect her?

    In Bridge of Fear, Abby Fearon arrives in the Australian outback to find her new husband irrevocably changed; he’s as foreign as the strange and wild land she now calls home. Is Abby paranoid—or is someone trying to kill her?

    Check back throughout the month for updates from our Retro Readers on this month’s pick and find us on Goodreads in theRetro Readers Group. Or,sign up for our romance newsletter and we’ll send you a monthly roundup of everything romance at Open Road, including Retro Reads updates and info on new releases, bonus content, giveaways, special offers, and more.

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  • 07/09/13--05:00: 150 Summer Steals
  • It’s everyone’s favorite time of year again—summer! Open Road is excited to tell you about our Summer Stealspromotion, with 150 titles at up to 75% off. 

    Discover ebooks from bestselling authors including Dorothy L. Sayers, Barbara Pym, Robert R. McCammon, James Salter, and many more.

    Whip up a snack from one of the great cookbooks included in our sale. Or, if you’re lucky enough to be by the water, take your ereader to the beach and relax with one of our reader favorites, such as Ellen Jones’s The Fatal Crown. Can’t make it to the shore? We’ve got lots of fictionandnonfiction for the perfect staycation.

    Don’t miss this fantastic savings opportunity from Open Road Media, from July 9 to July 22. Stock up for summer with prices starting at just $1.99.

    Visit the Sale Now

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    In August of 1957 I answered a blind ad, took a test, and landed a job as an assistant editor at the Scott Meredith Literary Agency, where I spent my days reading amateur work and writing encouraging rejections. (Encouraging because we wanted the authors to submit more material, accompanied by more reading fees; rejections because the stuff was, by and large, terrible.) It was a great learning experience for a writer-in-training and by the time I left there the following May, I had sold a slew of short stories and articles. The first thing I did when I got home to Buffalo, New York, was write a novel, and I wrote a batch more in the months that followed. I was by then back at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and was supposed to be writing papers for my professors. Instead I was writing soft-core sex novels for Harry Shorten of Midwood Tower.

    Around this time, Don Westlake answered the same ad, took the same test, and landed the same job. And he, too, began writing for Harry Shorten at Midwood; I first became aware of him when I read his first Midwood title,

    All My Lovers, by one Alan Marshall. I remember a scene where the brothers of a slum girl, who’s been led astray by a young executive type, go to the rotter’s luxurious apartment and beat the crap out of him. Then they leave and the scene closes with these lines: “They did not take anything. They were not thieves.”

    I thought that was pretty damn good and wondered who’d written it.

    A few months later Don got his first look at me, although it might have been through a one-way mirror for all I saw of him. I was in New York City on Christmas break and had gone to the Scott Meredith office, where I was now a client—though not the sort whose picture they put on the wall for all to see. There was a sliding window in the antechamber where they hadn’t put my picture, and my agent Henry Morrison and I talked through a book project. And Don was in the bullpen office on the other side of that window and saw me, although I did not see him.

    And this was the conversation he overheard:

    “That last book I delivered.”

    “A Strange Kind of Love. What about it?”

    “Is it too late to change the dedication?”

    “I’m afraid so. Why?”

    “I’m not seeing that girl anymore.”

    Well, I went back to Yellow Springs and the academic year finally ended, and in June I came back to New York and got a room at the Hotel Rio on West Forty-Seventh Street. I turned up at Scott Meredith one afternoon to pick up a check or drop off a manuscript, and I ran into a young fellow on a similar errand. It was Don, of course, who had quit editing and was freelancing, and who lived nearby himself, in a railroad flat on a very nasty block in the West Forties between Ninth and Tenth avenues.

    We introduced ourselves, and walked out of that office and into a friendship that lasted for fifty years. And that is why A Girl Called Honey, the first book in this triple volume and itself our initial collaborative effort, bears this dedication: “For Don Westlake and Larry Block, who introduced us.”

    I had one year to go at Antioch College, but it was not to be. Sometime that summer I got a letter from the school saying they’d come to the conclusion that I’d be happier elsewhere. And I knew they were right. I was already doing what I wanted to do, and I figured I’d keep on doing it.

    But by the end of the summer I’d decided against doing it in New York, at least for the time being. I moved back to my parents’ house in Buffalo, and I went on writing books for Bill Hamling of Nightstand Books and Harry Shorten and writing crime fiction for magazines. Don was doing much the same in New York. He and his wife and infant son were living in an awful block in Hell’s Kitchen when we met and moved to the upper flat in a two-family house in Canarsie, Brooklyn, a ten minute walk from the Rockaway Parkway stop at the end of the Canarsie Line.

    We stayed very much in touch. I don’t think it ever occurred to either of us to pick up the phone; long-distance calls were for emergencies, or when somebody died. We wrote letters and probably put more creativity into that correspondence than into our work.

    And somewhere along the way we discussed the possibility of collaborating. I wrote the first chapter of A Girl Called Honey. I sent a carbon copy to Don, and he wrote chapter two and sent it to me, and we continued in that vein until the book was done. We never discussed the plot or the characters. At one point I tired of a character he’d introduced and killed him off, whereupon Don retaliated by getting my character arrested for murder.

    Damn, that was fun.

    The lead’s name was Honour Mercy Bane, and Don thought we should call the thing Piece without Honour, and maybe we did. Who knows? We sent the manuscript to Henry, who sent it to Harry Shorten, who published it with the title it bears now. We split the money and decided we’d have to do it again sometime.

    And did, before too long. The second book turned out to be So Willing, and Shorten published that one, too. I don’t know what we called it, but it may have been The Virgin Hunt, or something like that. This time Don wrote the first chapter, and we tossed it back and forth until we had a book. I may have moved back to New York by then. Or not.

    One of Don’s chapters began, “Oh well, what the hell, there was always Adele.” But when the book appeared some idiot at Midwood changed Adele’s name to Della. God knows why. My best guess is that his mother’s name was Adele, and he took umbrage.

    If he were here, I’d tell him what he could do with his umbrage. And one of the first things that occurred to me when Bill Schafer proposed reprinting these books was that good old Adele could have her name back. She wasn’t even my character, it wasn’t even my line, but I’ll tell you, it’s very satisfying to have it the way it was supposed to be. The third book was Sin Hellcat, and it was brought out by our other mutual publisher, Bill Hamling at Nightstand Books. The first two books we wrote together were published “by Sheldon Lord and Alan Marshall,” and that’s the byline we tacked on Hellcat. But Hamling was having none of it. The book was published “by Andrew Shaw.” I’ve no idea what our title may have been, but I’m sure it wasn’t Sin Hellcat—not that there’s anything wrong with it...

    I blush to admit it, but I’m uncommonly proud of Sin Hellcat. If one writer had produced it, it would qualify as a tour de force; as the work of two pairs of hands, you could call it a tour de force majeure. As you’ll see, it’s a first-person narrative telling one story in sequential order, with other episodes of the narrator’s prior life recounted one per chapter along the way.

    What I like most about it is that it’s no mean trick to tell which of us wrote a particular chapter. If I flip the book open and start reading, I can’t necessarily tell myself. Somehow, without ever talking at all about the book during its writing, we matched our styles to a remarkable degree.

    Oh, I could tell you now who wrote which chapters. But then I’d have to kill you. . . .

    {Excerpted from Afterthoughts by Lawrence Block}

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    Summer is here—and what better way to pass the long, balmy days than with a lusty, romantic read? Honestly, is there anything better than relaxing poolside/beachside/AC-side with a book? To make it even more tempting, we are offering 150 of our best ebooks at up to 75% off, now through July 22. Not sure where to start? Here are some of our favorite romance reads, each just $1.99.

    Highland Fling

    Highland Fling by Amanda Scott

    Scotland, 1750. In the aftermath of the Jacobite rebellion, Maggie MacDrumin vows to keep fighting to liberate her people. But the intrepid Scotswoman is risking her life for a dangerous cause. When her latest mission lands her in a London courtroom on a trumped-up larceny charge, she has only one hope of survival. Enlisting the aid of Edward Carsley, the powerful fourth Earl of Rothwell, is a double-edged sword. The seductive aristocrat who awakens treacherous desire is her clan’s mortal enemy—a man she can never trust.

    Fatal CrownThe Fatal Crown by Ellen Jones

    Against the seething political intrigues of twelfth-century Europe, two royal heirs will surrender to passion as they vie for the most glittering, treacherous prize of all: the English throne.

    At nine, Maud, an English princess, was sent to Germany to become the bride of the Holy Roman Emperor—a political alliance with a man her father’s age. At twenty-five, the widowed Maud must marry once again, this time to fourteen-year-old Geoffrey Plantagenet. But it is with Stephen of Blois, Maud’s fiercest rival for the British throne, that the headstrong princess discovers the true meaning of desire.

    Garden of Lies

    Garden of Lies by Eileen Goudge

    In Goudge’s blockbuster classic, a new mother’s desperate decision sets in motion a dramatic series of events leading to an epic romance.

    Sylvie wants to be a good wife to Gerald, who offers her the privileged life she could only dream of when she was growing up. When they were wed eight years ago, the country was in the throes of the Depression, and she thought she’d made the right choice. She wants to please her new husband, and bear his children. But no matter how hard she tries, she cannot give him her whole heart.

    She thinks something is wrong with her until Nikos, the earthy Greek handyman, shows her what real passion is—and gives her a child. Sylvie knows Gerald will never accept the newborn girl, with her black eyes and dark hair, and she despairs until a fire in the hospital gives her a way out. In the confusion, she switches her daughter with that of another, a bold act that resonates through the decades and culminates in one of the most passionate love stories portrayed in contemporary fiction.

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    Wolverine Cirque

    Wolverine Cirque—one of the steepest and most dangerous ski runs in North America—is the eponymous backdrop of this brand-new original short debuting on Tuesday, July 9, by award-winning author of nine novels Joseph Olshan. 

    Sam and Mike, top-notch skiers, hike miles off path to face a harrowing headwall of snow, a sheer descent that challenges their skill, their endurance, and ultimately, their ability to survive.

    At the heart of the story are Sam’s painful and poignant memories of a complicated and doomed love affair with Luc, a Division I soccer player struggling with his identity. Sam begins to realize that his attempt to master Wolverine Cirque is nothing more than a fruitless effort to preserve his youth. 

    Wolverine Cirque by Joseph Olshan {Excerpt} by OpenRoadMedia

    Other ebooks now available by Joseph Olshan:

    Clara's HeartClara’s Heart: Originally published to international acclaim and the basis for the beloved film starring Whoopi Goldberg, the novel charts the profound, rare friendship between a wise Jamaican woman named Clara and David, a twelve-year-old boy adrift in the wake of his parents’ broken marriage

    In Clara's Hands

    In Clara’s HandsIn this follow-up to Clara’s Heart, the unforgettable Clara, a tough and deeply caring Jamaican housekeeper, returns to help a troubled friend solve a mystery and deal with tragic loss

    NightswimmerNightswimmerA brilliant literary mosaic centered around a love affair exploring the intense pressures and passions of gay life in New York City during the AIDS epidemic

    The Sound of Heaven

    The Sound of Heaven: A powerful novel of family secrets, doomed passion, and the fragile love between a bisexual man and an emotionally damaged woman

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    zvr diplomacyOn a chaotic post-apocalyptic Earth, human civilization is on the brink of collapse and relentless warbots are once again at odds with heinous brain-eating zombies in the latest addition to the Zombies vs. Robots collection, ZVR Diplomacy, an enthralling take on a grisly battle of dominance gone global.

    From the United States to the United Kingdom to Russia, an overwhelming plague of zombies has set the dystopian world ablaze. While the undead attempt to eradicate a dwindling humanity, merciless robots are simultaneously hellbent on annihilating the mindless creatures. Caught in the middle of the colossal barrage, desperate for survival, humans can only hope that in a world in which the failure to communicate could mean the difference between life and death, diplomacy will prevail. The fate of mankind depends upon it.z-boyz in the robot graveyard

    Edited by World Fantasy Award nominee Jeff Conner, ZVR Diplomacywill bring you right to the harrowing frontlines of a zombie apocalypse while skillfully capturing the aftermath of the ensuing worldwide pandemonium. Not to be missed, the previous installments of the storied Zombies vs. Robots anthology are just as compelling. This Means War!,the first book in the series, features eleven original stories that redefine zombie and robot fiction with a gripping, action-packed storyline. The second installment, Z-Boyz in the Robot Graveyard, written by Bram Stoker Award–winner John Shirley, is a two-part novella that continues the fiendish worldwide zombie/robot conflict with stunning illustrations and details that flow effortlessly throughout. Women on War, the graphic anthology’s third volume, takes a different spin on the zombie terror and robot menace to show that in the battle of a lifetime, the greatest asset might just be women.

    To learn more, check out Jeff Conner's page and John Shirley's page.

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    Do you crave stories that will quicken your pulse? Something that will leave you breathless for more? With these thrillers, you can indulge your passion for suspense without ever leaving the couch. From a blackmail scandal that rocks Palm Beach’s high society to murder on the dusty plains of a country town, our picks will get your adrenaline surging. The best part? Each is a steal at less than $3.99 a pop.

    McNally’s Secret by Lawrence Sanders 

    McNally's Secret

    New York Times bestselling author Lawrence Sanders introduces his most disarming detective in this powerhouse novel of passion, murder, and unabashed greed.

    Inveterate playboy Archy McNally gets paid to make discreet inquiries for Palm Beach’s power elite. But keeping their dirty little secrets buried will take some fancy footwork in McNally’s latest case.

    They Don’t Dance Much by James Ross

    They Don't Dance MuchIn this classic country noir, featuring a new introduction by Daniel Woodrell, a small-town farmer takes a job at a roadhouse, where unbridled greed leads to a brutal murder.

    Jack McDonald is barely a farmer. Boll weevils have devoured his cotton crop, his chickens have stopped laying eggs, and everything he owns is mortgaged—even his cow. He has no money, no prospects, and nothing to do but hang around filling stations, wondering where his next drink will come from. As far as hooch goes, there’s no place like Smut Milligan’s, where Breath of Spring moonshine sells for a dollar a pint.

    A bootlegger with an entrepreneurial spirit, Milligan has plans to open a roadhouse, and he asks Jack to run the till. The music will be hot, the liquor cheap, and the clientele rough. But the only thing stronger than Milligan’s hooch is his greed, and Jack is slowly drawn into the middle of Smut’s dalliances with a married woman, the machinations of corrupt town officials—and a savage act of murder.

    Slipping into Darkness by Peter Blauner

    Slipping Into DarknessWhen a twenty-year-old murder case comes back to life, a detective must race against his failing sight to unravel the mystery.

    When Allison Wallis was beaten to death, Detective Francis X. Loughlin found the killer—Julian Vega, a teenager with a crush on the murdered girl. Using his natural sense of empathy, he cozied up to young Julian, convincing him to give a confession that would put him away until he was thirty-six.

    Twenty years later, Julian is finally out of jail, attempting to remember how to live in a world without bars, and Detective Loughlin is still on the job, his sight fading, though his instincts are still sharp. But when Allison’s blood appears at a new crime scene, everything he thought he knew about that long-ago murder is called into question. Was it really Allison they buried? Was Julian actually the killer? And if he wasn’t, who else is in danger now?

    This ebook features an illustrated biography of Peter Blauner including rare photos and never-before-seen documents from the author’s personal collection.

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    For DIYers, the long days of summer are anything but lazy. These ambitious folks put the extra hours of daylight to good use as they indulge in some quality crafting time. Whether you are a fulltime DIYer or just looking to pick up a hobby for the summer months, these craft and cooking ebooks make diving into a new project easy. And at prices as low as $5.99, there’s no excuse not to get in touch with your craftier side.

    Weekend Knitting by Melanie Falick

    Weekend KnittingWeekend Knitting was first published in hardcover in 2003, a modern generation of knitters was just starting to discover this “hot new hobby.” Since then, knitting has grown wildly popular and Melanie Falick’s book has gone on to become a knitting classic and a huge bestseller. Weekend Knitting brings together unique, innovative, and still-fresh projects for beginning and more-experienced knitters, many of which can be completed in a weekend or less. Every project is presented with clear instructions and beautiful photographs that celebrate idyllic weekend settings. Quotes from diverse sources about knitting, creativity, and balanced living—along with favorite recipes, lists of books and movies with knitting scenes, and other extras—complete the weekend knitting experience. 

    Jacques Pépin New Complete Techniques by Jacques Pepin

    New Complete TechniquesJacques Pépin is universally hailed by professional chefs and home cooks as the grand master of cooking skills and methods. Now, his classic seminal work, Jacques Pépin’s Complete Techniques, is completely revised and updated with more than 1,000 color photographs and 30% new techniques.

    Knitted Socks East and West: 30 Designs Inspired by Japanese Stitch Patterns by Judy Sumner 

    Knitted Socks East and West

    In Knitted Socks East and West, author Judy Sumner compares knitting a sock to writing a haiku: Both challenge you to create something beautiful and original within a sparse, strict format. In this, her first book, she recounts how she came to study hundreds of exquisite Japanese stitch patterns and then apply her new knowledge to the sock designs showcased here.

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    ModiglianiArt is a highly valued commodity. Iconic paintings are often valued at hundreds of millions of dollars. Some of the most famous works of art are portraits like the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, or Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer. No matter the focus, a portrait captures a specific subject and that subject’s emotions—and serves as an interpretation of the artist at a specific moment in time.

    Have you ever been to a museum and come across a portrait that has taken your breath away? When Ben Contini, the star of Joseph Hone’s latest spy thriller, Goodbye Again, first sets eyes on a portrait by Amedeo Modigliani of a beautiful naked woman reclining on a sofa, he is mesmerized. This enchantment follows him throughout his life and inspires him to become an artist. Ben’s mother, however, doesn’t see why he is so taken with the Modigliani, and she is scandalized by the nudity—or so Ben thinks. It is not until his mother dies that Ben truly understands why the piece made her so uncomfortable: She herself had a nude Modigliani piece hidden in her attic. And it made an astonishing journey to get there.

    The discovery of his mother’s Modigliani pulls Ben into a dark world he never knew existed—the world of underground art dealing. But how did his mother, the widow of an Italian refugee, get her hands on a portrait of such striking beauty and undeniable worth? Through a whirlwind investigation, Ben uncovers an unsettling connection between the painting and Nazi Germany. But what else would you expect from Hone? After all, the New York Times and the Washington Post rank him among the best fifty spy thriller writers of all time.

    Goodbye AgainInterestingly enough, in 2011, the same year that Goodbye Again was first published, a Modigliani painting that was stolen from Parisian-Jewish art dealer Oscar Stettiner by Nazis during World War II was discovered. Although it is not a nude, Modigliani’s Seated Man with a Cane (1918) is worth $25 million. The Nazis auctioned off the painting in 1944, and although all Nazi art sales were declared null and void following the war, Stettiner had no way of tracking down the piece. Helly Nahmad Gallery in New York recently made headlines when it announced its plan to sell Seated Man with a Cane at auction. The lawsuit between the billionaire Nahmad family and Stettiner’s grandson regarding the painting’s rightful owner is still under way.

    So you finished Goodbye Againbut can’t get enough Joseph Hone? You’re in luck! Open Road Media has just released four novels in Hone’s Peter Marlow spy series, available where ebooks are sold.

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    Summer travel is typically a planes, trains, and automobiles affair. But what if your thirst for adventure surpasses even the farthest reaches of the globe? This summer, explore uncharted territory with science fiction and fantasy ebooks. From post-apocalyptic landscapes to a world in which John Lennon leaves the Beatles before they are catapulted to success, your journey to an alternate reality starts now. And the best news? Your ticket starts at just $1.99.

    Winterlong by Elizabeth Hand

    Winterlong by Elizabeth Hand

    Elizabeth Hand’s dynamite debut novel is a sensual dystopian journey through a world unburdened by moral taboos. Set in the surreal, post-apocalyptic City of Trees, Winterlong centers on Wendy Wanders, a girl who can tap into the dreams and emotions of the people around her, and her long-lost twin brother, Raphael, a seductive sacred courtesan to the City’s decadent elite. During their voyage, they encounter manmade and godlike monstrosities—both hideous and gorgeous—in their effort to stop an ancient power from consuming all.

    Snodgrass and Other Illusionsby Ian R. MacLeod

    Snodgrass and Other Illusions by Ian R. MacLeod

    As seen on Sky Arts’ Playhouse Presents: Imagine there’s no Lennon . . . In the reality-altering novella “Snodgrass,” John Lennon sidesteps his musical destiny and instead becomes a civil servant.

    After spending his adolescence like so many others have, playing in a band with friends, John Lennon knows it’s time to grow up. Skipping out on the Beatles before they would go on to become one of the greatest rock groups of the twentieth century, John moves to Birmingham. As he watches the exploits of friends Paul, Ringo, and George, John grows older and lives an ordinary life . . . and he is left wondering “what if?”

    With “Snodgrass” as its anchor, this collection of eleven stories also includes “The Chop Girl,” inspired by the infamous Dresden bombing raids; “Past Magic,” a futuristic account of parents cloning their children who have passed away; “New Light on the Drake Equation,” inspired by a man’s journey as he searches for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence; and seven more tales that showcase MacLeod’s breadth as a writer.

    Reclamation by Sarah Zettel

    Reclamation by Sarah Zettel

    Winner of the Locus Award for Best First Novel: With mankind spread thinly across the galaxy, two refugees must find humanity’s home.

    Eric Born knows his way around the universe. He’s a quick-thinking merchant blessed with natural telekinetic skill. He’s also that rarest of creatures: a human being. Humans have been scattered across the universe, powerless and oppressed, dispersed so widely that no one knows what planet they first came from. Eric survives by selling his talents to the mysterious galactic tyrants known as the Rhudolant Vitae, but has never forgotten he belongs to the human race, and the distant world, the Realm of the Nameless Powers. The Realm may be a backwater, but Eric will do anything to protect his home from the merciless and powerful Vitae.

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    “We live in a fantasy world, a world of illusion. The great task in life is to find reality.”
    —Iris Murdoch

    Today, we are celebrating what would have been the ninety-fourth birthday of one of the most influential British writers of the twentieth century, Iris Murdoch (pictured below). Over the course of forty years, Murdoch wrote twenty-six novels. Her writing is known for its rich characters, intellectual depth, and controversial topics such as adultery and incest.

    Iris Murdoch and John BayleyIn 1954, Murdoch published her first novel, Under the Net, about a struggling young writer in London. The Modern Library would later select it as one of the one hundred best English-language novels of the twentieth century, and Time magazine would list it among the one hundred best novels since 1923. Two years after completing Under the Net, Murdoch married John Bayley (pictured at right), an English scholar at the University of Oxford and a burgeoning author, himself. In a 1994 interview, Murdoch described her relationship with Bayley as “the most important thing in my life.” Bayley’s memoir about their relationship, Elegy for Iris, was made into the major motion picture Iris, starring Judi Dench and Kate Winslet, in 2001.

    After her debut, Murdoch published a new book almost every year. She won the Royal Society Literary Award in 1987, and was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1987 by Queen Elizabeth.

    After a long struggle with Alzheimer’s, Murdoch passed away in 1999 at the age of seventy-nine.

    In 2011, Open Road released a commemorative video featuring John Bayley. Watch as he recollects the emotional and intellectual life of his beloved Iris in this commemorative video.

    Learn more:

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