Saturday, November 30, 2019

18 Ideas for Gifting Books

Christmas gifts top 10 ideas

At times, friends and relatives can be hard to buy for. Some seem to have everything. Due to age or illness, others may be less mobile than in years past. Some don’t really want much. Families scatter across this huge country and selecting a gift, packaging, and shipping can be a chore.

A book is a perfect gift ... and a great way to avoid the crowds. Books provide a great entertainment value, delivering hour upon hour of pleasure. Reading fiction is like taking a mini vacation without leaving home. An engrossing story makes worries fade away. Reading nonfiction can also entertain while learning how-to tips, gaining perspective, adding to knowledge, or finding enlightenment.

If you take the time to match the recipient’s taste in fiction or nonfiction, your thoughtfulness becomes part of the gift. Whether your relatives or friends are interested in the Civil War, literature, romance novels, photography, westerns, paranormal fiction, fishing, railroads, guns, cooking, collecting old comic books, antique automobiles, politics or anything else, there's always a book that will bring a smile to their face.

Top Tips for Book Gift Giving
  1. Write a personal message on the title page that won't get tossed out like last year's Christmas card.
  2. Write surprise messages in the margin of random pages.
  3. There are books about every hobby and interest in the world. Picking a book that fits you’re your recipient’s interests shows you care.
  4. Search out an author signing for your recipient’s favorite author.
  5. Gift an entire series, like a complete set of Harry Potter books.
  6. Gift a collector’s version of the recipient’s favorite book. (I’d like a First Edition of The Virginian.)
  7. Shop at an independent or specialty bookstore to get professional help selecting your book.
  8. With Amazon Prime, gift wrapping and shipping is free and the book can be sent direct to the recipient.
  9. Mail early to take advantage of media class at the Post Office.
  10. Give a book as a piece of art, like a fine print book, unique coffee table book, favorite book as a child, or collectible cover art. (I like early 20th Century Westerns with period cover art.)
  11. Make a highly personal photo book with ShutterFly or Mimeo.
  12. Give a bookseller gift card for e-book and audio book enthusiasts.
  13. Give a new model Kindle or a nice cover to an e-book enthusiast.
  14. College students appreciate gift cards for their campus bookstore. (For fun, I put it inside a trashy novel for them to read on Spring break.)
  15. As a bookmark, tuck in crisp currency.
  16. If your friend or relative already owns piles of books, give a unique set of book ends to hold them in their proper place.
  17. Children's books are great gifts. We search for autographed storybooks for our grandkids. The icing on the cake is that when we visit, we read these books to them.
  18. Coloring books now come for every age.

If you choose to gift one of my books, thank you.  I appreciate it.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Book Review -- How Literature Works by John Sutherland

50 key concepts for writing fiction

John Sutherland is a literary critic and columnist for the Guardian. The sub-title of his book is "50 Key Concepts" and it's organized into 50 4-page chapters. Fancy that. I read a couple books a year on writing and occasionally read books on literary criticism. Literary criticism tomes tend to be esoteric and assume the reader already has broad knowledge about the subject. Sutherland's book is concise and written in clear English any layman can understand. I read these books to improve my writing and most of the time I need to wade through lengthy jargon-laced verbiage to find nuggets that are helpful. Sutherland's clarity, short chapters, and headings make this task relatively easy. I find what I'm looking for or move on to the next chapter.

If you're a writer, reader, or like to study literary criticism, How Literature Works is a fun find. Besides, most academic books on the subject require a new mortgage while Sutherland's perfect-bound paperback is only $11 on Amazon. The Kindle version is $9.50.

If you're interested in writing, be sure to check out my Writers and Writing pages on this blog.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Free Steve Dancy Kindle books, audio books, and short stories ... while supplies last

I have some fun giveaways.

The Steve Dancy Tales include seven novels and two short stories. The short stories were originally published in the Western story anthologies Wanted and Wanted II.

  • Limited Kindle Promo Codes for free copies of The Shopkeeper. (Also the Best Thriller, Deluge.) 
  • Unlimited free copies of “Snake in the Grass, A Steve Dancy Tale” or "Relentless, A Steve Dancy Tale." 
  • Limited Promo Codes for free downloads of any of the Steve Dancy audio books. (Actually, the codes work for all of my books.)

To request any of the above, send a note to First come, first serve. Please put "Free Steve Dancy" in the subject line and remember to specify which items you want. Feel free to request Promo Codes or stories for friends and family. 

Thank you for reading Steve Dancy Tales.
Honest westerns filled with dishonest characters.
A new way to enjoy the Steve Dancy Tales
A Western Story Collection

Best Thrillers
Storms, politics and street gangs pummel California ... and that's not the scary part.