I have always been an avid reader, a love that was passed down by my dear old Mum. I was always that annoying kid who read books that were way beyond my years, and not because I was some sort of little genius. I just went with what my Mum gave me, and at the start those were Agatha Christie books, that I devoured in no time at all. Miss Marple was my Mum's favourite, and I had a penchant for Hercule Poirot, so we would take turns reading out favorites, and then pass them back and forth. In my older years our tastes went in different directions, with mine very much leaning towards horror. I'd always loved the old black and white fright flicks, and when I discovered Stephen King and Clive Barker, I knew the path I wanted to follow.
We did come together again for one book, or a series of books as they were released at the start, and that was Stephen King's Green Mile. It was first released as a serial novel, and we would take turns buying each subsequent month, with the buyer getting to read the next installment first. My Mum and I bonded over a lot of things, but books was where it all began, and it's a love that has never left me, much like the love for my Mum after she passed. Books have always been an escape of sorts for me, much the way writing has become, and I still think of her when I pick up a really good paperback, so to say that I was less than thrilled when e-readers came out was putting it mildly.
A Change Of Heart
I had seen the Kindle in the store a few times, and was somewhat underwhelmed by what I saw. I found it to be a little gray and lifeless, as well as completely lacking in that new book smell. it wasn't until I paid one of my regular visits to Barnes and Noble. Noticing that a crowd had gathered around a booth that had been set up, I decided to go take a look, and it was then that I decided I wanted an e-reader. The fellow who was conducting the display showed all the great features of the NOOK, and all in glorious color. It was seeing the National Geographic magazine on there that sold me, and I decided I had to have one........well, as soon as I had the money.
That day came a couple of months later when I received a nice little bonus at work. I made sure to get approval from my wife first, always the obedient husband, and then rushed off to Wal-Mart to pick up my NOOK Color. It was love at first power up, that was until i realised that I actually had to pay for the books that I wanted too.
In Search Of A Freebie.
The goal at that point was to try and track down some free reading material so that I could test out my new baby. A quick search at the Barnes & Noble website revealed a couple of great ways to get my hands on ebooks at absolutely no charge. The first is to use the search function on the NOOK whilst shopping. It turns out that all you have to do is type in a price, as well as the genre you desire. A quick 0.00 horror in the search box revealed thousands of freebies just waiting for me to download. Sure there looked to be some horribly iffy titles, but I also found a few gems, and a friendship along the way, which I'll get to later.
I also discovered that Barnes & Noble offer what they call, Free Book Friday, where they put up one NOOK title every week for free download. The titles are usually very good, although not always in the genre you might want. The added bonus of this giveaway is that it comes in the NOOK forums in the B&N website, and other users are very quick to share others great free titles that they found during the previous week. I have scored more than my fair share of free ebooks this way.
A Smashing Discovery.
During one of my 0.00 Horror searches I ran across a book of horror shorts by a writer named, Drew Brown. The stories were fantastic, and as I read the credits at the front of the book, I noticed that it was published at a site called Smashwords. Searching that site led me to a treasure trove of free books by self-published, undiscovered authors. I figured i would try and upload some of my own work there, and was delighted with how easy it was to do. I found Mr. Brown's bio on the Smashwords site and decided to contact him via Twitter. We now keep in touch regularly, and am delighted to announce that a zombie novel that he wrote, called Last Hope, was picked up by a publisher and will be released in paperback shortly. It's a great place to find undiscovered talent, as well as a slew of free NOOK books. You may have to wade through some dogs, but you will occasionally find that gem in the rough.