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Mar 5, 2014

The War Against Reviewer Anonymity

UPDATE: It might not mean much in the grand scheme of things, but I created my own petition asking Amazon to protect the privacy of its users. Feel free to check it out if you agree.

There’s been a bit of a blow-up in the past few days regarding a new petition on asking that Amazon disallow reviewing and posting within their forums anonymously.  Further gasoline was poured on the proverbial fire when bestselling author Anne Rice spoke to the Guardian about this - endorsing the petition and offering her own tales of being bullied on the Amazon forums.

In the past, I've touched upon the concept of bullying. If you haven’t read it, please feel free to take a look. Needless to say, I have problems with the above on so many levels, that I’m not sure I’ll be able to cover it all in one blog post.  So let me try to dissect it a piece at a time.

For starters, I fully admit to being a participant in the forum discussion referenced above  - the one Ms. Rice spins her tale of woe from.  It’s a very long forum thread, 400 pages / 10,000 posts in all.  While I wouldn't expect any sane person to try to wade through all of that, I would recommend that one take at least random sampling through it (beginning, middle and end) before automatically jumping onto the bully bandwagon. My perspective from that discussion is quite different - agreeing that while the debate did get quite heated at times, it wasn't nearly the one-sided fear-fest it is being made out to be.  To be perfectly honest, if one can take off their starry-eyed glasses long enough to read this objectively, I think one may in fact question whether this was a case of bullying or a best selling author simply not being overly fond of any who dared to disagree.

I encourage you to at least take a look. Afterwards, if you disagree with my conclusions I welcome the discussion. There is no censorship here (outside of spammers, maybe ;).

Next up is the question of anonymity.  I don’t think anyone will disagree with the concept of the proverbial “internet tough guy”, that person who feels free to be as nasty as can be while hiding behind a username of SeXXXgod69.  They’re out there and they’re often pretty damn annoying. At the same time, there are plenty of valid reasons to not want one’s identity known.  Should someone going through a rough divorce from an abusive spouse have to put their real name on a simple product review and invite potential harassment?  Should any reviewer have to debate against putting a one-star review against a bestseller’s newest novel, for fear of their fans descending upon them in droves?  Heck, should someone have to worry that their next employer might pass over them simply because they enjoyed Fifty Shades of Grey? And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Is it not foolish to punish the many for the sins of the few?

I will also offer the simple logic of author pseudonyms to the equation. It’s a time honored tradition that writers have the option of publishing under an entirely fictitious name (heck, even I have one).  Is it not hypocritical for one side to enjoy that luxury, while the choice is removed from the other? Food for thought.

Then there is the idea of this petition itself. I have no qualms about saying that I love the opportunity that Amazon has given me.  I love book websites such as Goodreads, in which readers can come together and discuss what they loved or hated about the latest big (or small) seller.  I love the current market and what it represents.  What I don’t love is any attempt to massage or game the system in one way or the other, all because a vocal minority has an issue with it.

This is disturbing because it shows a distinct lack of foresight.  Attempting in any way to control the conversation could very well be a step toward destroying that very opportunity we celebrate. Why? Well, where does it end? I certainly know of at least a few authors who wouldn’t mind banning any reviews below five stars. Ridiculous isn’t it? Perhaps not if we consider the ripple effect - that point where self-publishing becomes less an opportunity and more a liability for companies such as Amazon.

Now don’t get me wrong on any of the above. I am entirely against criminal harassment.  I don’t feel anyone should be afraid to be online in any capacity. I’m also not suggesting that this hasn’t happened.  It has. The thing is, only a fool would believe it’s a one-sided affair. I have no doubt there have been authors unfairly targeted. At the same time, I’ve seen reviewers fall into the cross-hairs of less than professional writers for daring to think their book was less than a masterpiece.

To think that authors are unique in being some sort of protected class is silly.  If anything I would worry more about the potential harassment of reviewers. I’m selling a product. I have stake in this game. They don’t. Which one can more easily take their ball and go home with it? Who will ultimately be more hurt in the exchange?

All of that being said, my fear is that this petition will solve little except allowing a select few to abuse the  system - taking an overly liberal view of the concept of bullying and screaming about it until their naysayers are silenced. Poor review? That’s bullying! A snub on social media? That’s harassment! Being placed upon a do-not-buy list? That person’s account should be deleted!  Rather than grow up and put on their big boy / girl undies, they’d rather ruin the system for everyone.  And make no mistake, they will ruin it - even if it is one petition at a time.

As I said, I love this industry and the opportunity if affords me and other aspiring writers. As such, no matter the outcome, I will strive to compete based on my ability to spin a good story. I will not be party to silencing my critics, playing the victim, or doing anything else to put this industry in jeopardy.

Jan 22, 2014

Double Book Review: Project Nemesis and Project Maigo

Project Nemesis and Project Maigo

Been a while since I've done one of these. I'd say it's about time to play catch up a bit...

I don’t make it much of a secret that I’m absolutely in love with giant monster movies.  I've been waiting with barely contained enthusiasm for Legendary’s 2014 Godzilla film to open, hoping for the best yet dreading it might be another heart-breaker like the 1998 Tristar Godzilla.  I've had the Blu-ray of Pacific Rim for just a few weeks and have already watched it multiple times (despite having seen it in the theaters). Suffice it to say, I have seen every single Toho Kaiju movie - most of them several times.

Thus it was with great excitement that I was casually browsing my Amazon recommendations last week and saw Jeremy Robinson’s Project Nemesis appear in the list. This was a pleasant surprise in two ways.  One: obviously a novel about giant monsters smashing shit caused the ten year old kid in me to scream out in joy. Two was that I've read Robinson before and know him to be a skilled fantasy/adventure storyteller so I felt absolutely no trepidation when it came to hitting the purchase button.  I don’t mind taking a leap of faith, but I think it’s occasionally nice to forgo those first date jitters and hop in the car with someone you know can drive.

Project Nemesis is a fascinating read from several levels. The story itself is both unique while still being a loving homage to several Kaiju movies, perhaps the two that come most to mind being the original Godzilla and Frankenstein’s Revenge.  Another unique aspect is the perspective. Robinson alternately tells the story from a first person present perspective from the eyes of the main protagonist, Jon Hudson, to third person past for all of the other characters.  At first this was a little jarring as well as worrisome.  I’m not a fan of first person present, primarily because so few authors do it well.  I find it to be, more often than not, a painful experience.  Yet I was pleasantly surprised to find that Robinson makes it work.  I actually found myself enjoying switching back into Hudson’s eyes after reading what the monster or other characters were up to.  It doesn't hurt that Hudson is a flawed, but ultimately likeable fellow.

The story itself follows your basic sci-fi plot of an experiment gone horribly wrong - resulting in a rapidly growing monster, Nemesis, that’s horrifying yet sympathetic at the same time.  Hudson is at first scoffed at, but then by the time he's finally believed it's too late. The monster has grown too strong and the nation’s military...well, if you've ever seen a Godzilla movie you know how that ends.  The science is ultimately a bit goofy with references to DNA combination, aliens, and ancient gods, but that, too, serves as a loving nod to the genre from the old Ghidorah movies with their invaders from Planet X to newer fare such as Jurassic Park.

The only real downside to the entire experience is the human antagonist, General Gordon, who is given some backstory, but ultimately comes across as a cookie cutter military bad guy - Eeeevil for the sake of nothing more than being evil.  This is minor, though, because every time you meet Gordon you can be sure some violent action in on the horizon and that’s really what one is probably reading a book like this for: tons of city-stomping, gun fights, missiles, and big-ass monsters.  In that aspect, Robinson most certainly does not disappoint.

I had such fun reading this that I immediately bought the sequel, Project Maigo.

If Project Nemesis is Jeremy Robinson’s Godzilla, then Project Maigo is his Destroy All Monsters.  True monster movie fans will also recognize aspects of the original proposed story for GMK: Giant Monster All Out Attack here. It was considerably different than what was eventually filmed (in of itself an awesome monster movie) focusing on the drama of a monster with a human heart.  In true sequel fashion, we’ve gotten all the intros out of the way and jump right into the action - barely ever pausing for a breath.

The action in this one is even more fast and furious than in Project Nemesis.  How could it not?  There’s not one, but six monsters (possibly eight if you count some of the other characters) stomping about causing mayhem.  The  only difference here is that the scale is larger, but less emphasis is given to the human casualties.  Project Nemesis  was heavy on showing the aftermath of the monster’s attack - how real human lives were destroyed.  Project Maigo focuses instead on big explosions and leveled cities. This serves to make the overall tone a bit lighter, which will probably be more in line with those coming for the monster battles.  I can understand this as it once more follows the formula I laid out above. The original Godzilla put a heavy emphasis on the monster’s aftermath.  By the time we reached Destroy All Monsters, though, we just wanted to see shit blow up real good.  This book delivers on that in spades. If anything, I plowed through it even faster than the first.

In this book’s case the only downside is the inclusion of some secondary characters. Robinson has created a shared universe, similar to Stephen King's, and as such characters in one book exist in others. In this case we meet up with Hawkins and Lilly from another of Robinson's novels, Island 731.  Don't get me wrong, I will certainly be picking this novel up to learn about their fascinating back-story. At the same time, though, they don’t really work here. The character of Lilly in particular comes across as a bit of a Deus Ex Machina.  Once again it’s a minor thing, masked by some very nicely laid out action scenes, but their presence still feels a bit like an e-commerce website’s upsell - albeit, one that works as I mentioned above.

All in all I highly recommend both of these books. They make an excellent companion for a long weekend - serving as either the appetizer or dessert for the entree of a monster movie marathon.  If you've ever enjoyed Godzilla, Gamera, or Gorgo stomping across the screen, you would do well to pick up these books.

Project Nemesis for Kindle
Project Maigo for Kindle

Dec 30, 2013

A Tale of Two Tablets: Double Review - Kindle Fire HDX and iPad Air

Another holiday season is rapidly coming to a close. That means a bunch of you probably opened nice shiny new electronics in the past week or so. Likewise, another group is most likely playing the waiting game - deciding what to spend all that Christmas money on.

Allow me to help - with my thoughts on two such items that you may have crossed paths with: The Kindle Fire HDX 7” and the iPad Air.

Now, most gadget reviews focus on specs which are, quite honestly, useless for most people.  For starters what does it matter how many gigahertz something runs at, if you have no freaking clue what a gigahertz is? Secondly, all of the spec-porn in the world is pretty meaningless as long as something works correctly and is priced fairly.  So my goal is to stick with that criteria and hopefully give you some useful advice you don’t need a Rosetta stone to understand.

So onward to the tablets...

Tablet-type devices typically come in 4 flavors: Phone-sized, phablet, small tablet, and full-sized.  We’ll skip those first two. A phone is more of a personal choice anyway I find.  As for phablets (phone/tablet), like the Samsung Galaxy Note, well fuck them - because I really can't stand the word phablet. Seriously, who comes up with this shit?

Small tablets are typically devices in the 7 - 8 inch screen size range. They’re not quite pocket-sized, but they do approximate paperback size. They fit quite nicely into a handbag or backpack and are often comfortable to hold for long periods of time with one hand.  The Kindle Fire HDX 7” not only falls into this category, but as far as I’m concerned it owns it.

I consider small tablets to be mostly consumption devices.  Their small screen size is ideal for reading books, surfing the web, social media, games, and even the occasional movie - in short, leisure activities.  Personally, I find them to be too small to do any real work on, though, outside of maybe email.  That’s okay because Amazon’s device fits that bill perfectly.   It’s the very definition of a consumption device and it’s tied to one of the biggest content repositories out there (duh!).  With but a few taps of the screen you can access movies, games, and quite literally millions of books (hint hint).

That’s not all it is, though. All of the content in the world is going to suck if it’s on a device that sputters along at a maddeningly slow pace. Fortunately, Amazon really knocked it out of the park with this - their 3rd generation of Kindle Fire devices.  The HDX is a solid device with a ton of power and great battery life. You’ll be hard pressed to bring this tablet to its knees.  Best yet, it can all be had for an incredible price.  Seriously, nothing even comes close to touching this at $229 (and Amazon has been running several sales, so you might find it for even less).

It’s easy to use, but alas not quite as easy to use as an iPad.  Fortunately, though, Amazon has this potential weakness covered.  They included what’s known as the Mayday Button onto the HDX.  This is a virtual button that instantly connects you to Amazon’s customer service.  This is a move that’s nothing short of brilliant on their part.  I have dealt with Amazon reps many times over the years and have found them to be nothing short of phenomenal.  Most other companies, be they manufacturers or retailers, are simply not in the same league.  For Amazon to include direct access to their support staff is a major plus in the Kindle Fire’s already sizable arsenal.  What it means is that as long as you have a connection, you never have to worry about being lost in your device. Help is always one tap of the screen away.

There’s only one downside to the HDX 7”.  If you’re not already an Amazon Prime member or otherwise heavily invested in their ecosystem, the HDX might be of less use to you.  The two really are joined at the hip.  However, if you are a Prime member (like me), the two together make for an awesome buy.  It’s hard to go wrong with such a powerful device at such an appealing price.

The Good:
- Great battery life
- Excellent price
- Awesome screen
- Powerful internals mean that very little will slow you down
- Help is available whenever you need it
- A huge content ecosystem of movies, books, games, etc

The Less than good:
- Less intuitive than an iPad for the technology challenged
- Not nearly as useful if you’re not a heavy Amazon user
- All the buttons are located on the back, which can be a little clunky until you learn where they are

iPad Mini:  A good device, but crippled by price or power depending on your choice.  The most recent mini, the one with the retina display, is over a hundred and fifty bucks more than the HDX.  It has a slightly larger screen and a lot more apps, which is nice, but unfortunately I don’t think it’s $150 nicer. Your other option is the older mini, but what you gain in price you lose in power. The original uses what is essentially outdated technology and it’s starting to show.

Google Nexus 7: Another awesome device and likewise at a great price.  You get access to all of Google Play, but I personally find the overall size of their content ecosystem to be inferior.  Still, if you’re not an Amazon fan and don’t want to be glued to them, the Nexus 7 is a good alternate choice.

So called full-sized tablets are usually larger than 8” in screen diameter. Here’s where I change my tune a bit, because I find at this size you can gain the added advantage of a device which is large enough to be comfortably productive on.  A tablet of this size can be used quite well for a full-suite of office applications, making them good choices for both personal and professional use. This is where the second device of this review, the iPad Air, shines.  At $499 for the basic model it’s not a small investment, but I personally feel you get a goodly amount for your dollar.

The iPad air offers a large screen in a small package. It’s thin and light, yet boasts both a powerful processor and all-day battery life. It also has access to Apple’s huge content ecosystem, which quite possibly trumps even Amazon’s.  Even if it doesn’t, the Apple App Store contains apps for everything you’d ever want to use at Amazon: shopping, Kindle books, Prime movies, etc.  In short you can get the best of both worlds on the iPad. As an added bonus, Apple also made some of their core productively apps free this year including: iLife and iWork. You get a full professional office suite, a movie maker, and a great music composition program all included in the price of the tablet.

The iPad Air runs IOS, which personally I feel is the easiest tablet operating system out there for a new user to learn.  Seriously, I’ve seen people give iPads to their toddlers and grandparents and have both surfing the web or playing games within minutes.  IOS also includes Facetime, which is probably the easiest to use video caller out there. It’s a great way to stay in touch with those relatives you stuffed back onto a plane right after the presents were unwrapped.

It’s not all rainbows and unicorns, though. Apple, alas, can be their own worst enemy.  While their customer service is often fast and courteous, they are sticklers for the rules.  While I've found that Amazon will often bend over backwards to make sure their customers are satisfied, Apple will do so only as long as you fall within their guidelines.   Do otherwise, and you’re looking at a potentially costly repair. This is not to say it’s unfair, but it’s still inferior to the experiences I think you'll find with Amazon support.

That being said, I still love the iPad air.  When I’m not parked in front of my desktop, it’s my go-to device for just about anything - including writing my next book.

The Good:
- Possibly the best screen available on a tablet
- Feels a lot smaller than it is
- Great battery life
- Powerful internals
- A huge ecosystem of apps, including Amazon’s
- Pairs nicely if you also have an iPhone
- Can be a legitimate laptop replacement for some

The Less Than Good:
- Pricey
- The warranty is written in stone. Thou shalt not break it and expect to be forgiven.

Kindle Fire HDX 8.9”:  All the same plusses as the Kindle HDX 7”, including the great price, but with a bigger screen.  Regardless, I don’t favor it at this size because, same as with the 7”, Amazon seems to embrace the HDX as primarily a consumption device. In that regards it’s somewhat more limited than the iPad.  Sometimes I actually want to get some work done, and if that’s the case then the HDX is probably not my first choice.

Samsung Galaxy Tablet 10”: Samsung is a popular player in the tablet space, but I’ll be honest I have yet to see a large tablet from them I like. They lack Apple’s or Amazon’s content ecosystem, I find their build quality to be a bit questionable, and frankly I despise Samsung’s customer support.  Just my opinion, but I find their attitude to be “just buy a new device.”  Their aftermarket support isn’t at the top of my favorites list.

Microsoft Surface: Maybe in a couple of years these could be great devices, but not yet.  While I love their typing covers, the tablets themselves are a bit chunky for my tastes.  THey also doesn’t have the app ecosystem of the others yet.  This year’s Surface tablets fixed a lot of the issues with the original generation, but it still seems you’re paying a premium just for the Microsoft name.  If the Surface was $100 cheaper or included their awesome covers (currently a separate purchase) I might think different, but for now I don’t have any reason to recommend one over an iPad air.

There you have it, two devices that you really can't go wrong with.

So what are your thoughts?  I’d love to hear them as well as answer any questions I can.

Dec 16, 2013

Here Be Pirates, Matey!

I'm honored to be guest blogging today about the problem of ebook piracy - or lack thereof - over at the GENXPOSE blog.

Feel free to pop on by and let us know what you think.

Hopefully it's an insightful debate for both authors and readers alike.

Click Here to check it out.

Dec 11, 2013

The Tome of Bill Compendium (volume 1) is released

I am pleased to announce the release of The Tome of Bill Compendium (vol 1). This box set includes the first four novels in my horror/comedy series, offering over 1200 pages of adult-themed horror comedy at a discounted price - just in time for the holidays (purely coincidental, I assure you :).

There are reasons people fear the dark. Bill Ryder isn’t one of them.

Gamer, Geek, and Legendary Vampire - The Tome of Bill is the tale of an unlikely hero who finds himself dragged kicking and screaming into the world of the undead. Despite awesome supernatural powers, loyal allies, and an attitude the size of Brooklyn; the odds are still stacked heavily against him. Bill must fulfill his destiny and save the world from the ancient horrors that threaten it - all while trying to work up the nerve to finally ask out the girl of his dreams.

The Compendium edition (vol 1) contains the first four novels of this best-selling series, over 1000 pages of foul-mouthed horror hilarity in one collection. Big box set savings for even bigger laughs.

Bill Ryder was a dateless dweeb, then he died. Unfortunately for him that was just the beginning of his troubles. He awoke to find himself a vampire, one of the legendary predators of the night. Sadly, fangs or not, he was still at the bottom of the food chain. Now he finds himself surrounded by creatures stronger, deadlier and a whole lot cooler than he is. Worst yet, they all want him dead...permanently this time.

One of the most powerful vampires on the planet has given Bill a death sentence. Meanwhile, an immortal princess wants him for an entirely different purpose, one which makes his first issue seem almost preferable. All the while, new and powerful forces have begun to emerge from the shadows around him. Are they friend or foe? Knowing his luck, do you even have to ask?

A war is brewing between ancient enemies from the dawn of time. If it can't be stopped, the veil will be lifted and all of humanity's darkest nightmares will be unleashed to wreak havoc. The vampire nation dispatches Bill to a faraway land to broker peace, but it's not going to be easy. His enemies want him dead. Hell, some of his allies do too. Danger lurks at every turn and in places where he least expects it.

On the eve of war, The Icon - ancient foe of the vampire race - has arisen. Panic is about to break out within the undead ranks and Bill is caught smack dab in the middle of it. Destiny has placed them on a cataclysmic collision course, but there's just one small catch: he's in love with her. Now he finds himself in a race against supernatural assassins to save the person who's fated to destroy him. Talk about being damned if you do.

Also includes bonus Tome of Bill short stories and character interviews

Join Bill in these full-length tales of monsters and bloody mayhem that don't pull any punches when it comes to action, gore, or snarky banter.

The Tome of Bill Compendium (vol 1) is over 360K words of undead insanity by Rick Gualtieri.
Release Date December 2013 – Freewill Press LLC.
Available for $9.99 in all major ebook formats.

Currently available for
Google Play

Oct 15, 2013

Sunset Strip: A Tale From The Tome Of Bill is now available!

I am happy to announce that Sunset Strip (A Tale From The Tome of Bill) has been released!

That means that you can now win a chance to
Get Killed With Bill.

Double Woo!

My name is Sally.

For over thirty years I've prowled the night, one of the undead. In that time I've walked amongst you - a wolf in sheep's clothing - doing unspeakable things, killing countless people.

Now, on the eve of Armageddon, a chance for redemption presents itself. My past has come looking for me, beckoning me back to the city of my rebirth.

Those who killed me the first time are intent on finishing the job. I'm outnumbered and outgunned, but they've got another thing coming if they think I'm outclassed.

Unspeakable horrors, both old and new, await me in the City of Sin, but in the end they're all going to learn one very painful lesson:


Sunset Strip (A Tale From The Tome Of Bill) is 60k words of paranormal fantasy with attitude by Rick Gualtieri, author of Bill The Vampire and Holier Than Thou.

Available now for:

Coming soon to iTunes, Smashwords, Paperback and Audio Book.

Oct 1, 2013

It's your big chance to...Get Killed With Bill

Announcing The Get Killed With Bill Sweepstakes!

Halloween season is looming, Sunset Strip is almost ready for release, and I need some help letting the world know about it.  However, I've never been entirely comfortable with just asking people to do things for me without offering something in return. Thus, I am pleased to announce the 2013 Get Killed with Bill Sweepstakes.

Why? Because I want to do horrible, terrible things to you!…

...figuratively of course.

You could win a brief cameo in the upcoming Tome of Bill book 5, Goddamned Freaky Monsters - brief being the operative word.  Why?  Because your tenure in Bill’s universe will be short, but spectacularly bloody.  You’ll get to meet the star of the series, Bill Ryder, then meet a fittingly gruesome fate. How will you kick the bucket?  Will you be disemboweled or dismembered?  Will you implode or explode?  Will your face become intimately acquainted with an industrial blender set to frappe?  Who knows?  All I can say is that your end will be one to remember.

But that’s not all:

1 Grand Prize winner will:
  • Appear as a character in Goddamned Freaky Monsters, in which "you" will get to meet both the star of the series and your maker.
  • Be offered a role as a beta reader for the book so as to get an advance view of the story as well as provide feedback on your own personal ending
  • Receive a free copy of the ebook upon release
  • Receive autographed copies of all the Tome of Bill paperbacks to date, including Goddamned Freaky Monsters upon its release
2 First Prize winners will:
  • Receive an autographed copy of the Goddamned Freaky Monsters paperback upon its release
4 Second Prize winners will:
  • Receive an autographed copy of Bill The Vampire, the first in the Tome of Bill series
The winners will be chosen by random dice roll.

How to Enter:

Entry into the contest is simple: Help me promote the launch of Sunset Strip: a Tale From the Tome of Bill once it is released and then let me know about it via email, or direct message on Facebook or Twitter.

How can you help spread the word?  That’s entirely up to you.

Some examples:
  • Sharing the news on Facebook, Twitter, or with your email buddies
  • Dressing up as a Tome of Bill character for a convention like ComiCon (despite that most people will have no idea who you are)
  • Tattooing “BUY BILL THE VAMPIRE” across your torso and then streaking naked onto the field during the next Giants game.*
You get the idea.

*Note: please don’t actually do that last one or anything else that would get me arrested as an accomplice.


Q) When does the contest start and end?
A) The contest is open now. It will run through Nov 15th, 2013.  

Q) That name of the contest...that's not a spoiler for book 5 is it?
A) Nice try, Columbo. No.  I was just looking for a cute contest name and liked how it sounded. It has no bearing on the plot of book 5.

Q) So if I win, I get a piece of the pie, right? I mean, that's me in your book isn't it?  Don't I deserve proper recompense?
A) No, what will appear in the book will be a character, not the real you. I will retain full copyright of your name and likeness as it pertains to appearing within the Tome of Bill series. This is just a fun cameo, not a get rich quick scheme. Go sell Amway products if that's what you're looking for.

Q) I'm pretty fond of my own ass, but what do you say about me bumping off my inlaws / stupid cousin / dipshit neighbors instead?
A) Save that stuff for your therapist. I'm not your personal literary hitman.  You can only enter yourself and you must be 18 or over to commit to your ultimate Bill-related fate.

Q) What if I win then decide it's a bad omen to let you skin my avatar alive and let it be devoured by mutant cockroaches?
A) If I any point prior to publication you decide to call it quits, I will respect that.  It's easy enough to change a name....although we'll both know the truth, wuss.

Q) What if the method you choose to off "me" is totally and utterly fucked up to the point where I'll be in therapy for the rest of my life? 
A) This is supposed to be a fun contest, not a way for me to traumatize my readers. That's why you get to be a beta reader.  If you feel what I'm doing is in bad taste (well okay, really bad taste) let's discuss. The point of this is for you to have something neat to show to your friends, not totally creep you out. I'm willing to be flexible for those who have been cool enough to support me.

Q) Can I enter more than once?
A) Yes. I'm all for a little extra promotion. Thus each different way you can help me spread the word will count toward another chance to win (note: sharing on places like Facebook and Twitter will still only count as one entry....just to keep people from abusing the system by creating sockpuppet accounts or anything like that).

Q) Are there any limits?
A) Of course.  Doing anything illegal, morally reprehensible, or downright stupid will get you disqualified. I don't want anyone appearing on the 6 o'clock news because of this. Creation of fake accounts, reviews, or anything else of the sort will likewise be an automatic DQ.  When in doubt, ask.

And now for the cover my ass legalese...

Sweepstakes Official Rules
Purchase does not increase chance of winning.

The prizes:
1 Grand Prize winner will:
  • Appear briefly as a character in the novel Goddamned Freaky Monsters (the Tome of Bill, part 5) **.
  • Become a beta reader for the book so as to get an advance view of the story as well as provide feedback on your own personal ending
  • Receive a free e-copy of the book upon release
  • Receive autographed copies of the paperbacks of: Bill The Vampire, Scary Dead Things, The Mourning Woods, Holier Than Thou, Sunset Strip, and Goddamned Freaky Monsters
2 First Prize winners will:
  • Receive an autographed copy of the paperback novel of Goddamned Freaky Monsters (the Tome of Bill, part 5) upon its release
4 Second Prize winners will:
  • Receive an autographed paperback copy of Bill The Vampire (the Tome of Bill, part1)
No cash or other prize substitution permitted except at Sponsor's discretion. The prize is nontransferable. Any and all prize related expenses, including without limitation any and all federal, state, and/or local taxes shall be the sole responsibility of the winner.

How to enter: You may enter the Sweepstakes through the following means:
Direct Message via:

Alternate means of entry: Mail a 4" x 6" card with the following information:
  • Your full name 
  • Your complete address 
  • Valid email address (if you do not have an email address, print "no email address") 
  • How you helped promote Sunset Strip
Mail entry to:
Freewill Press LLC
PO Box 175
Dunellen, NJ 08812

Only one entry card will be accepted per person. All entries become the exclusive property of Sponsor and will not be acknowledged or returned.  You must enter your own name for the Grand Prize. No substitutes, including but not limited to: family, friends, spouse, or children, will be allowed.

Terms and Conditions 

1) By submitting an entry, you fully and unconditionally agree to and accept these Official Rules. 

2) Sweepstakes entries are limited to the United States and District of Columbia and is void where prohibited. All federal, state and local laws and regulations apply. Subject to any governmental approval that may be required, Sponsor reserves the right to, without prior notice and at any time, terminate the Sweepstakes, in whole or in part, or modify Sweepstakes in any way, should any factor interfere with its proper conduct as contemplated by these Official Rules. Sweepstakes will begin on the announced release date of Sunset Strip and will continue until Nov 15 2013. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion, to cancel the sweepstakes in its entirety, or only the online portion, if it becomes technically corrupted or because of non-authorized human intervention.

3) Eligibility. Must be at least 18 years old to enter. Employees, officers, characters, or directors of Sponsor, its parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, and their children, parents, spouse, and members of their household are ineligible to participate. No purchase or online entry necessary. Sweepstakes is open only to legal residents of the United States. A purchase does not enhance your chance of winning.

4) Effective date of entries. Entries made online will be effective on the day received. Entries submitted by mail will be effective on the date Sponsor receives and processes the entry. All entries become the exclusive property of Freewill Press LLC and will not be acknowledged or returned. You are responsible for your costs of entering, including online access charges, long distance telephone charges, and postage.

5) Selection of winners. Winners will be determined by random drawing from all eligible entries received. Drawings will be held as soon as is commercially reasonable. Winners must agree to the use of their names, voices, and/or likeness for the purpose of advertising, trade, or promotion without further compensation, unless prohibited by law.

Notification of winners. Sweepstakes winner will be notified by email or direct message.  A message will be sent to the winner within one week after the monthly drawing. All decisions are final and binding. Should the email be returned to the Sponsor as invalid, two more attempts will be made via email and one by regular mail if applicable. Winners must contact the Sponsor within 5 calendar days from the date the notification is sent by Sponsor to claim their prize. Failure to contact Sponsor within that 5 day period will result in immediate disqualification of the selected entrant and a new winner will be selected. No exceptions will be made to this rule. Sponsor is not responsible for and shall not be liable for late, lost, misdirected, or unsuccessful efforts to notify winners.

6) Odds of winning. The odds of winning any drawing will be determined by the number of eligible entries received.

7) In the event of a dispute regarding who submitted an online entry, the entry will be deemed submitted by the authorized account holder of the email account.

8) Other conditions. Sponsor, its agents and representatives, its parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising, promotion and fulfillment agencies and legal advisors are not responsible for and will not be liable for (I) late, lost, damaged, misdirected, incomplete, unintelligible or postage due entries; (II) telephone, electronic, hardware or software program, network, Internet or computer malfunctions, failures or difficulties of any kind; (III) failed, incomplete, garbled or delayed computer transmissions; (IV) any condition caused by events beyond the control of Sponsor that may cause Sweepstakes to be disrupted or corrupted; (V) any injuries losses or damages of any kind arising in connection with or as a result of the Sweepstakes, or from participation in the Sweepstakes; or (VI) any printing or typographical error in any material associated with the Sweepstakes.  

Freewill Press LLC will retain sole copyright to the grand prize winner’s name and likeness as they appear in the Tome of Bill series of books, ebooks, and audiobooks. Grand Prize Winner must agree to the use of their names, voices, and/or likeness for the purpose of advertising, trade, or promotion without further compensation, unless prohibited by law.

9) Indemnification. You agree to release and hold Sponsor, its employees, officers, directors, shareholders, agents, representatives, parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising, promotion and fulfillment agencies, and legal advisors, harmless from any and all losses, damages, rights, claims and actions of any kind in connection with the Sweepstakes, including without limitation, personal injury, death and property damage, and claims based on publicity rights, defamation or invasion of privacy. This sweepstakes is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You understand that you are providing your information to Freewill Press LLC and the sweepstakes sponsor, not to Facebook.

10) Choice of law. All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules, or the rights and obligations of you and Sponsor in connection with the Sweepstakes, will be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the substantive laws of the state of New Jersey.