Friday, June 25, 2010

One Week of Free Downloads; People Like "Free"

Wow.  My download count is climbing fast.  "On The Gathering Storm" has proven to be a popular novel since it became a free download last Friday morning.  After only one week as a free download, not only is the book a Highest Rated novel at, it also sits as one of the most downloaded books for the Literary and Suspense Thriller genres.  Again, I'm certain this will change as other books come online and get splashed with the attention of fresh downloaders.  Life is all about change, isn't it?

But in the meantime, thanks to everyone who has grabbed hold of their free copy -- and to those of you who shared the download link with others.  Plus, I've received loads of positive feedback about the story itself.  People are really digging it and that's a great feeling.  And hey, we all like getting a good deal, right?

*(Hurry, this good deal won't last forever!)*

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Carriers of Civilization

Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill. I think that there is nothing, not even crime, more opposed to poetry, to philosophy, ay, to life itself than this incessant business. 

- Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

E-publishing: Why Now?

I had a friend recently ask me why I've decided to place my novel into the realm of ones and zeros at this particular time in history.  I answered his question in a rather off-handed way, but the truth is that the answer is a more involved one than I had time or inclination to articulate just then.

On a micro level, I've always personally felt that digital would offer the avid reader (and writer) a whole new level of experience. Since I was a young reader in my teens, I believed that a digital reading device, if done correctly, would make carrying and sorting books and magazines very easy.  I waited.  And fifty years on, behold a whole generation of great reading devices have emerged at a cost that the average person can afford.  (Just kidding, it hasn't been fifty years since my teenage years.  It's been closer to sixty ;-)

I'm a fairly spastic reader.  If something doesn't catch fire in my interest right away, I will put it down for a while and go to something else.  I may then read in short bursts and often have a few things on the go, magazines, pop fiction, perhaps a lengthy non-fiction, maybe a classic.  But I don't like to carry all that with me.  In fact, I like to carry nothing at all, and would welcome something to replace my wallet and keys if the tech existed.  Thus, I'm often caught in one of those in-between moments of life with nothing to read.  Enter devices like the Nook, the Kindle, the Sony Reader and now, bless their hearts, the Apple iPad and iPhone 4.  These gatchets are easy on the eyes and carry all my books in their innards, all organized, bookmarked and with flawless reproductions of the cover art and author photos so I can recommend them to friends with a visual hint for when that friend gets to the book store himself.

There's a certain part of me that enjoys the idea of a big old mahogany room with green felt accents and dim task lights plus rows upon rows of leather-bound books.  But, in a practical sense, life is too busy to maintain and organize such a library. Plus, where would I put it?  To have a room dedicated to simply reading is a luxurious and pricey thing for most so to instead have literally millions of books and magazines wherever I go?  That I see as a revolution.

And, on a more macro level, that is why I decided to jump on the e-book bandwagon at this juncture.  When I heard that indie authors would have a chance to get their stories available on the iPad, sitting in that digital library along with the Stephen Kings and the Stieg Larssons, I believed that we were standing on the precipice of a new way for people to keep reading.  And I wanted to be a part of it.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Free For a Limited Time

Great news for all you readers out there!  Until the last day of June, 2010, "On The Gathering Storm" will be available for free at  The promotion is intended to get the book in the hands of readers quickly and in time for the summer reading season.

So, what are you waiting for?  Click on over there and get your copy before the promotion is over.

Just remember -- when June is over, so is the freebie!  I hope you enjoy your reading!  And, please, if you enjoy the book, share the free link with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, wherever.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

On The Gathering Steam

L. Frank Baum published his classic book, "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" in 1900. He had few, if any contemporaries.  Nobody else was publishing older children's stories at that time and, thus, Baum was able to churn out 13 Oz-related stories over the next many years with nary a creative equal.  No one else even had a chance to catch up and try to mimic the fictional world he'd created.  The Chronicles of Narnia, for example, didn't surface for another fifty years.  In a manner of speaking, Baum's Oz franchise had the market cornered on his particular kind of magic.

Today, however, creative markets seem saturated. There is simply so much good music, literature and film. It makes it really hard to cypher out the good from the bad.  In Baum's time, there weren't many others trying to do what he was doing during that period and if there were, the publishing industry was too slow to allow it to happen: entirely based on paper and the printing press.  Advertising and marketing of these commodities, as we know them today, didn't exist yet.  Now we have publishing as very big business, assisted by digital design and layout, advanced retail distribution channels, the ability to buy books online, and now the advent of a much more powerful version of the Internet which brings marketing of books to the grass roots, but on a global spectrum.

You have entire revolutions of content cropping up overnight, pushing non-readers into reading because of their popularity in mass media and in other forms of entertainment.  Look at the Twilight series or the Harry Potter books. There are suddenly a million vampire and young hero/heroine stories with a touch of magic or mythos that all pretty much look and feel exactly like Bella and Edward and Harry and Hermione.  They are less original but some are quite well-written.  And they all ride the wave of the greater trend towards popularity and some level of financial success.  Gads, I've seen some websites that now classify novels in a genre called "Vampire Romance".

The web is good for so many things but it has really sped up the life cycle of creative products.  Trends in fiction don't seem to stabilize for very long before a new one takes its place.  And secondary markets like movies based on the books or products derived from the characters are nearly a requirement to keep the momentum moving.

A hundred and ten years after its publication, "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" has created a set of genuine household terms.  We all know the Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow and Dorothy.  You even know the name of Dorothy's dog without me having to mention it.

My only hope is that, in all of today's noise, bother and lightning-fast trending, the quality content will gather its own steam and become available to everyone who wants to enjoy it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Getting Positive Reviews

My eBook, "On The Gathering Storm" has been up at Smashwords for a little over two weeks now and has received positive reviews from readers who have stopped by to share their thoughts.

Plus, my novel is currently the 5th top rated book in the "Thriller and Suspense" and "Literary" genres if you sort them by "Highest Rating".  And it's the 15th top rated fiction book overall!  This, of course, will change as new ratings and new books are added.  But it's still exciting!

If you haven't checked out my book, please accept this invitation to do so.  Smashwords offers a huge preview (the entire first two chapters) of the story so you can literally try before you buy.

Smashwords is a well-organized site and it showcases some strong independent talent. If you haven't already, and you like to read, browse through their collection of fiction and non-fiction.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Behind the Words

The "Bigfoot" trailer holds time in a bottle

Every so often, I hope to post short anecdotes about the impetus behind some of the characters, backdrops or ideas expressed in my writing.  Today, it's a look at one of the lasting and nearly silent "characters" from the novel "On The Gathering Storm".  Without being too 'spoilery' for those of you who haven't finished the story yet, I'd like to say a little about the Bigfoot trailer and what it means for Hannah.  If you'd rather not have ANY spoilers of the story, then you might want to skip this post entirely. 

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If an island is a literary metaphor for being isolated, then the Bigfoot trailer in "On The Gathering Storm" must be the ultimate symbol of solitary confinement.  Imagine it.  The tiny, cramped quarters of a dirty old camper, a steel and plastic case, capable of being wheeled all over the continent, but made immovable by time, named for a mythic beast that lives in the woods and is only ever seen when his food source is scarce.  

When I think of the Bigfoot trailer, I can't help but be reminded of the lyrics to "Time in A Bottle".  It's the words I'm looking at here, and not the lovely melody or Jim Croce's voice which is loaded with heartfelt meaning.  Apart from the music, the words are ripe for interpretation and game play.

Years ago, a good friend told me one day that his middle-aged parents had bought themselves a used trailer to tow out of the city on weekends and go for camping trips.  Having yet to see it, I imagined it as one of those large thirty-footers you see with their four-ways on, tilted at the shoulder of the highway while the hefty truck that was towing it has its hood lifted and steam pouring out.  Big and comfortable, all the amenities, enough room for my friend's brother, mother and father and maybe even the family dog.

But no, theirs was a little Boler, not too different than the Bigfoot revealed in "On The Gathering Storm".  I asked how the whole family would ever be able to take that on a vacation and he replied that his parents didn't intend to even take their two sons with them out in the trailer.  It was a purchase made in nostalgia, reminding them very much of the trailer they had before their kids were even born, before they were married and had responsibilities, long before the trappings of their current lives and all that comes with them.  No, they bought the trailer to remind them of the timeless nights spent with each other alone with no one to bother them, no cares in the world.  No doubt, they had parked their trailer under a moonlit sky in the woods, perhaps even next to a lake.

With that image in mind, read a few of Jim Croce's lyrics to "Time in A Bottle"
If I had a box just for wishes
And dreams that had never come true
The box would be empty except for the memory
Of how they were answered by you

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do once you find them
I've looked around enough to know
That you're the one I want to go through time with
Kind of a touching moment there.  But before I get a tear in my eye, let's juxtapose that mental picture with the one in the novel.

Try reading the lyrics now but don't ascribe them to two young lovers who are enjoying each other in the time warp of their little wheeled oasis in the woods, full of bottled-up time, rich with emotion. And don't lay the intent of these words on the older, grown-up versions of those two, now with their mortgage and their car payments and their retirement funds, all nostalgic as they sit together once more in the old trailer remembering their youth as though it was yesterday, as though the trailer was a magical bottle that had stored all the time up and kept it safe for them.

Instead, give the lyrical meaning to the mind of a confused and violent man like the one in "On the Gathering Storm". Mr. Mean Man is, in a very literal way, having his own brand of timeless romance.  He's under a moonlit sky, out in the woods by a clean, cool lake--trying to do just exactly the same thing with the woman at the centre of his attention: our young Hannah.
If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I'd like to do
Is to save every day 'til eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you

If I could make days last forever
If words could make wishes come true
I'd save every day like a treasure and then
Again, I would spend them with you
The trailer is a little glass bottle in the midst of a dark world, corked and full of his kind of endless days and nights, and our Mr. Mean Man is--though in a very unbalanced way--trying to live and relive the same moments inside that bottle over and over again.

Have a read, and see if you agree.

Friday, June 11, 2010

New Book Trailer is Online

A new video book trailer for "On The Gathering Storm" is available for your viewing pleasure. The video weighs in at just under two minutes so you won't be throwing your life away if you decide to click the play button. Ever been to one of those weddings where they show you a twenty-five minute video or slideshow presentation of the happy couple leading up to their nuptuals? At about four or five minutes in, everyone starts shifting in their uncomfortable wooden dance hall chairs and you think, "How long can this movie possibly be?" Well, this ain't like that. One minute, fifty-two seconds. Dat's it.

Hopefully, you'll enjoy it and it might make you want to check out the lengthy free sample of the story. Or, you can check out a slightly larger version of the trailer at YouTube. It's work-safe but you'll want to turn your speakers up as the soundtrack adds quite a bit, I think.

Let me know what you think! And thanks for tuning in...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

On The Gathering Storm: The Novel Has Landed

"On The Gathering Storm" the debut novel by Jason McIntyre, is now available from You can download a lengthy story preview to read online, and soon, the ebook versions will be available for the Apple iPad, iPhone 4, Sony Reader, Amazon Kindle, Palm and Barnes and Noble Nook e-reading devices.

To learn more about the novel, please visit

Currently, you can read an excerpt or purchase the novel in the popular epub format for your reading device or simply read it online.
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