Exclusive Excerpt #2: “A Love Story for a Nation” (99 cent sale day three!)

In this excerpt. We are introduced to the bigger-than-life revolutionary figure Horace. And the wife of our protagonist finds out that he actually used to be a writer.

Exclusive Excerpt:

As the raucous fun and stories continued, a loud call from the street rang out clearly—a familiar voice and a constant barrage of laughing and yelling made its way through the house and onto the river bank.

“Well, well, well. A bunch of rabble-rousers.”

Gomez and Gerald stood to see a large elderly gentlemen, accompanied by three young adults.

“Horace? Is that you? Look everyone, it’s Uncle Horace!” yelled Gomez.

Everyone stood to greet the legendary Reoux figure, who used to live right across the street from Gomez until the regime arrested him during the revolution nearly two decades ago.

“Horace, it’s been so long.”

“I was thinking that myself the other day. A year, I think. I haven’t seen you in a whole year. And Gerald, good to see you.”

“And my wife,” said Gerald, pointing to Rosia.

“Married? Gerald, the old scholarly bachelor married? To such a pretty young wife. What’s wrong with her?”

“I ask myself that every day,” grinned the father-to-be.

Horace grabbed Rosia in a convincing bear-hug.

“Careful. She’s going to have my child.”

“You don’t say!” said Horace. “God in Heaven, please allow the poor child to look like his mother.”

Everyone roared in laughter as Gomez escorted the new arrivals to the blanket area and handed them some cold drinks.

“Oh how I’ve missed this view of paradise. A city on a hill cannot be ignored, right Antoine?” yelled Horace into the black of the evening. “I’m sorry; I haven’t introduced my entourage. See that? You live long enough, you too might have an entourage that follows you wherever you go.”

“Uncle Horace always had a vivid imagination,” said Gomez with a smile.

“I’m not imagining anything. I can’t get rid of these characters. They follow me everywhere.”

“From what we hear, a lot of people follow you,” said Gerald.

“Oh for sure, those damn spies would take up residence in my arse if I let them. Ladies, please pardon my French. I hope the British word somewhat softened the blow. But don’t worry. I gave them the slip when we entered Reoux. This place makes their skin crawl, but it makes me feel alive. Sorry. I still haven’t introduced my friends. This is Hobart, Tana, and Jonah. All students at the National University, if you can believe that.”
The three college students nodded and shook hands with everyone.

“Gomez is my nephew,” continued Horace. “This is his wife, Cecilia, and this, my friends, is Gerald Sanpatri, former author and lecturer at the National University.”

“Oh, so you’re the famous Sanpatri,” said Tana. “My father told me about you.”
Gerald almost shrunk in embarrassment as his wife looked over at him inquisitively.

“Please, no. Where did you hear such nonsense? I’m just a security guard.”

“A guarder of hearts, I say,” said Horace. “Are you writing yet?”

“I haven’t written anything in twenty years. I’m no writer. I just stand on my feet and protect the bank all day.”

“Nothing wrong with saving the greenbacks. Don’t be too hard on Gerald,” Horace said to the three young students. “Survival is the key to happiness. It’s hard to be happy in a pine box.”

Rosia continued to look over at Gerald as if something wasn’t right.

“I’m sure I don’t know what you’re talking about. And my poor wife seems to be the most in the dark,” said Gerald.

“You were a writer?” Rosia asked him.

“Ooops! The cat is out of the bag,” joked Horace, who took a swig of his drink.

Only 99 cents on Amazon.com

Only 99 cents on Amazon UK

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2nd Novel Sale! “The Recluse Storyteller” – 99 cents – Limited Time!

The Recluse Storyteller HERE

My mysterious and interesting 2nd novel is having a Kindle sale. Only 99 cents through January 5! You can check out the blurb below. Also, don’t forget about the concurrent sale of my debut novel “Beauty Rising” – also on sale for 99 cents for just a couple more days. Beauty Rising HERE

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The twins, beckoned by an ominous streak of light across the sky, climb Harper’s Hill to encounter an apparition of their missing father.

The reverend stands on a muddy ridge, the barrel of a rifle in his neck, looking down on a Vietnamese village, scarred by war and regret.

The brash terrorist, Red Hat, desperately tries to walk away from life unscathed and unattached.

The stories haunt Margaret every waking moment, but they are anything but random. A fractured view Michael Cheevers’ red hat through a discreetly cracked door sends her off on adventure. A glimpse of the Johnson twins from apartment 2D transports her mind to the lonely hill on a Midwestern prairie in 1887. The regular letters from Reverend Davies bring her to the brink of exhaustion as she stares intensely into the heart of war, deep in the jungle of Vietnam.

Margaret is not insane, at least not in a clinical sense. She’s like a midnight raccoon, painfully aware of her surroundings, gleaning crumbs of information at every turn. Her eyes peer incessantly in the night, stealing glances of the neighbors through partially opened doors.

But the tales she weaves were not meant to merely hold empty court to the receptive dead air of her apartment. Her stories were meant to embolden the lives of the inhabitants of that drab apartment block because her story is also their story–and everything would be different if they could only hear the prophetic words of the rambling recluse.

The Recluse Storyteller weaves five stories into one as the loner, Margaret, not only searches for meaning from her reclusive life, but also gives meaning in the most unexpected ways to the troubled souls of her apartment complex. Part adventure, part tragedy, and part discovery, The Recluse Storyteller bridges genres, bringing hope, life, and redemption to the broken relationships of modern society.

 

Is it worth it to offer your book for free?

I used to say “yes” – unequivocally. But now I’m not so sure.

After I published my first novel in December 2012, I went the free route a few months later having nothing at all to lose. The results astounded me. I had more than 14,000 downloads over a three day period and the book peaked at #11 on the Amazon free charts. I was ecstatic. Within a matter of days, 14,000 people had my book on their Kindle. There was no greater marketing method around.

But since then, things have changed – for the worse if you’re an independent author. My subsequent free campaigns with my first and second novels never again came close to those numbers. Bloggers have accused Amazon of changing algorithms that affect sales. (That doesn’t exactly make sense to me since Amazon wants to promote sales. But, okay.) New Amazon rules forced affiliates to reduce the amount of free books they promoted lest they be dropped as affiliates. From that point on, it became much more difficult to find websites who would promote your book for free. They still exist, but many of them have moved to asking authors to pay for promotional services, and so the broad avenues of promotion of 2013 have narrowed considerably.

Now as my third novel will be reaching it’s one year anniversary of release within the next couple of months, I have to decide how to continue to market it. I have never offered “The Reach of the Banyan Tree” for free. I have had several sales promotions at $0.99 and they have been successful to varying degrees, but the number of books that I have gotten into the hands of readers is significantly less when compared with my first novel.

It must also be pointed out that putting a book on someone’s Kindle does not mean that they will ever read it. My wife is a great example of this. She still has 100+ free books on her Kindle which she may or may not ever get around to reading. What benefit does an author have when a book is deadended on a Kindle? Not much.

On the other hand, a large number of downloads can lead to some traction. My first novel ended up garnering 85 reviews, many of those came from the free downloads. My second and third books have definitely lagged behind in reviews, even though the reviews they have received are better than my first book.

Now it’s decision time. Should I offer “The Reach of the Banyan Tree” for free one time only prior to releasing my new novel?

Or should I continue with periodical $0.99 cent promotions?

I’m open to advice.

Last Two Days – “Banyan Tree” Novel @ 99 cents

Here’s your last chance to pick up “The Reach of the Banyan Tree” at the super-cheap price of only 99 cents. Lots of 5-star reviews, so if you like history, historical fiction, Vietnam, romance, adventure or just plain-old good story-telling, then you should absolutely check it out. Not much to lose in this deal.

BUY IT HERE!

Like paperback? No worries. It’s also available at the link above for only $10.68 including free second-day air shipping with Amazon Prime.

Grab the Kindle for 99 cents by March 2 or it will be going up to its regular price.

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New Excerpt from “Banyan Tree” in honor of 99 cent Kindle sale!

The Reach of the Banyan Tree – only 99 cents on Kindle. Now through December 7. Pick up your copy HERE!

And to celebrate this sale, here’s a fun excerpt from one of my favorite characters, the loud brash C.R. Carson. Enjoy!

All the Air Sucked out of the Room

Charles Regal Carson II, CEO and majority owner of Carson Oil Subsidiary, never talked. He yelled everything; a troubadour announcing Christ’s second coming, or so everyone around him had to act. He stood a caricature of every loud-spoken American who ever lived. He had a red, chubby face, with a large beer belly that took up the half of the room not already occupied by his ego. His silver-gray hair, parted on the side and slicked back like a greasy car salesman’s, would have made him seem regal if his ego would have let him stoop that low. A half-chewed cigar would have felt at home in his mouth, and he had the aura of a master black marketeer, comfortably sitting in a dimly lit room at a table with stacks of cash on it. But he made his billions the legal way—paying off cronies and cuddling up to lobbyists. A force of nature who always wore a blue sports jacket with a white collared shirt, unbuttoned at the top, with no tie.

C.R., as everyone called him, had no idle, whether walk, talk, or do. Everything was full-tilt in overdrive. His administrative assistant had been taking stress counseling for three years now, and her therapist insisted that she quit working for the human hurricane. She would have quit, too, if he didn’t pay her so handsomely and piled her perks high enough to offset the abuse she had to endure. Billie went everywhere with C.R., as did his accountant and publicist, Fuller, who had learned to just keep his mouth shut and try not to ruffle the feathers of a bird already engaged in a daily war of survival. It was the oil business, after all, the greasiest of them all.

C.R. and Chip had had their share of disagreements; everyone knew that. When Chip left the company two years ago and ended up in Vietnam, C.R. threatened every sort of banishment and exile possible from a father to a son. He didn’t mean any of it. He rarely meant anything he said; he just talked like he breathed, in and out, not knowing up from down or left from right. He could charm the fur off a malevolent cat on the same day he could coax a frown out of a bride during the processional. He had rare verbal magic, the kind that most people avoided, except for Billie and Fuller. And so it was no shock when he cursed his son for quitting the company. But when he heard that Chip was in prison, he was on his private jet as soon as visas could be secured, ready to take on the Vietnamese bureaucracy and legal system with nothing but a loaded mouth and a pile of cash.

The jet landed without incident at Hanoi’s Noi Bai Airport, and C.R., Billie, and Fuller whisked through immigration to meet an assistant of the chief minister of the Department of the Interior, which had sent a car to pick up the three. A young professional, Nguyen Thi Thanh, charged by the minister to ‘handle’ the ugly American on his visit to his son in prison, waited patiently for them outside the exit. She had no idea what she was about to encounter as she greeted them politely as they walked through the immigration doors and into the airport’s small concourse.

“Mr. Carson, welcome to Vietnam,” she spoke in proper and clear English.

“If you want to be welcoming, you can release my son from prison. He didn’t do anything, and you have no idea what you are dealing with.” C.R. charged right past her. “Where’s the damn car?”

Thanh, completely taken back, drew a complete blank and couldn’t say anything.

“What kind of translator are you? Do you speak English or not? Fuller, what the hell kind of arrangements are these?”

Fuller came up to C.R. and spoke in his relaxed, accommodating manner. Billie introduced herself to Thanh and told her not to mind C.R. and that he didn’t mean any offense. It was the first of many lies that Billie would have to tell about her boss in Vietnam.

Thanh finally composed herself and pointed over to a black Lincoln sedan sitting by the curb.

“The car is over there, sir.”

“Well, it’s about time. Do you think I’m on vacation here? I’m here to save my son from the antiquated, communist legal system that shot the hell out of all the G.I.s I ever knew that were stuck in places like this.”

C.R. made his way towards the car as Fuller and Billie scrambled behind with the suitcases. Thanh looked on the scene in a bewildered manner.

“I’ll never understand how my idiot son could be stupid enough to walk away from his responsibilities and come to a third-world country. Vietnam. A country that killed over 58,000 of our soldiers. I should know. I was here. Right, Fuller?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Which car is it?”

“Here, sir,” spoke the intimidated Thanh.

“Black Lincoln? Well, I am impressed. Somebody got the message.”

“I informed them, sir, that an American car from the airport would show their grace and goodwill towards you and your company.”

“Good job, Billie. It’s about time somebody does something right. Fuller, if it was up to you, we’d probably be in a Yugo.”

“Yes, sir. I’ll try better next time, sir,” said Fuller, juggling the suitcases.

Thanh stood in shock. She had translated for numerous Americans before and had found every single one of them courteous and friendly. She couldn’t understand the vulgar man who put his nose down at everything he saw. The forty-five minute trip to the hotel was a complete rant and rave from C.R., who was on a jet-lag high, wound tighter than usual. Billie and Fuller felt great sympathy for the milquetoast Thanh, who sat in the corner of the limo, sulking and nodding politely at the force of nature.

Eventually, they walked into the lobby of the Hanoi Opera Hilton. All eyes seemed to be on the man who pronounced the supremacy of American neo-colonialism with every foot forward. Charles Regal Carson II was exactly the type of person Vietnamese immigration would have been happy to deny a visa to, except for one important fact: he controlled one of the largest oil companies in the world, the same oil company that in the last year had secretly signed multiple agreements with the Ministry of the Interior to build a dozen oil platforms off the coast of southern Vietnam in the disputed territory of the Spratlys. They had dug their heels in deep with a man who could give the Sicilian mafia a run for their money. Carson Oil had huge investments in China, so the Vietnamese government thought that C.R.’s leverage might be to their benefit as they explored the oil capacities of the disputed territories off their coast. They had not anticipated a personal matter getting in their way. Now they had a mad dog inside their borders, cornered and ready to attack.

PICK UP your Kindle copy for only 99 cents! Very limited time offer! ON SALE HERE!

Featured All Over – One more day at 99 cents!

Featured All Over – One more day at 99 cents!

The first ever special pricing for The Reach of the Banyan Tree was featured on EReaderNews:

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And here it is on Bargain eBookHunter:bargainebookhunter

 

We got about 24 hours left at $0.99 and then it will head up to $1.99 for 72 more hours until settling back in at its normal price after that.

I do hope you pick up a copy and forward the deal onto anyone who likes a good and inexpensive read.