[Free eBook] The King of Inventors: A Life of Wilkie Collins by Catherine Peters [Literary Author Biography]

The King of Inventors: A Life of Wilkie Collins by Catherine Peters, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, is her biography of the classic Victorian novelist, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Endeavour Press’ The Odyssey Press imprint.

This was originally published in 1991 by Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd. This biography of 19th century author Wilkie Collins, a contemporary and friend of Charles Dickens and the author of the classic and influential early mystery/suspense novels The Moonstone and The Woman in White, explores his life, influences, friends, and literary legacy.

Offered worldwide, available at Amazon.

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[Free eBook] Portrait of a Cavalier: William Cavendish, First Duke of Newcastle by Geoffrey Trease [Biography]

Portrait of a Cavalier: William Cavendish, First Duke of Newcastle by the late British author Geoffrey Trease, who was honoured with a fellowship in the Royal Society of Literature, is his biography of the 17th century historical figure, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Endeavour Press’ The Odyssey Press imprint.

This was originally published in 1979 by Macmillan. This biography of the titular poet, playwright, courtier, and English Civil War military figure is written at a level suitable for both teen and adult readers (according to one of the quoted newspaper reviews), and makes use of letters and poems from the family’s papers, which were previously unpublished at the time it was originally written.

Offered worldwide, available at Amazon.

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[Free eBook] A Chelsea Concerto by Frances Faviell [WWII London Blitz Historical Memoir]

A Chelsea Concerto by Frances Faviell, a pseudonym for the late author and painter Olivia Faviell Lucas, is her WWII home front historical memoir, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Dean Street Press.

This was originally published in 1959 by Cassell. The reprint contains a new introduction by British author Virginia Nicholson (herself a great-niece of author Virginia Woolf), who remembered this fondly in a letter to The Telegraph. This memoir takes place during the early 1940s London Blitz in the Chelsea area, where the author was a Red Cross volunteer, and covers her experiences living with and giving aid to ordinary people amidst the bombings.

Offered worldwide, available at Amazon.

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[Free eBook] Ben Jonson: A Literary Life by W. David Kay [Literary Biography]

Ben Jonson: A Literary Life by W. David Kay, is his biography of the 17th century literary figure, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Endeavour Press’ Odyssey imprint.

This was originally published in 1995 by St. Martin’s Press, as part of their Literary Lives series. This biography of the 17th century English poet, playwright, and critic [Ben Jonson][subject-wiki] not only covers his early beginnings and the highlights and lowlights of his life (which apparently includes the murder of an old colleague), but also provides historical context for his various literary works.

Offered worldwide, available at Amazon.

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[Free eBook] dozens of freebies during Smashwords Read an Ebook Week sale [Fiction & Non-Fiction]

Today is the last day of the annual Smashwords Read an Ebook Week Sale, and dozens of previously-published free ebooks are being given away (alongside thousands more by indie authors). These are all DRM-free, available worldwide, and will require signing up for an account with them (no payment info needed), ending midnight tonight (March 11th), probably Eastern Time (possibly Pacific).

For free, Canadian backlist publisher BevEditions has an excellent selection of Canadian fiction and non-fiction in many genres, including history, biography, true crime, mysteries, historical and literary fiction, mostly previously published during the 1980s and 1990s by major publishers such as Doubleday and HarperCollins, including works by historian Marian Fowler, Arthur Ellis Award-winning mystery author Lyn Hamilton, Jewish-Canadian Order of Canada recipient Morley Torgov (whose works have been adapted into film), and many more. I’ve read several of these in the past, and highly recommend picking up the lot if you can get it.

I apologize for the very short notice on this. My internet has been down, and I’m posting this from the library. NB: Smashwords’ site is currently buggy, so to get the freebies (or purchase discounted books), you’ll have to add the book to your cart by choosing to ignore the expired coupon warning, then manually apply the coupon code (e.g. SFREE) from the book’s product page, to see the discount price appear before checking out. For the most efficient “shopping”, add a bunch of stuff to your cart first, and then copy-paste the coupon code into their respective boxes, and hit “Apply Coupon” at the bottom to have them all discount at once.

To browse the other freebies offered, start here at the Smashwords Read an EBook Week Sale dedicated promo page, then you can pick a genre category from the sidebar, and use the price/coupon categories to refine your results. I advise checking the SFREE 100% off category first, as the regular Free page will pull up things which are not necessarily part of the limited-time promo, but offered free as their usual price.

Also, if you are interested in reprints of 1980s/1990s science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mystery, the following imprints are offering 50% off previously-published works by authors such as Craig Shaw Gardner (humorous light fantasy formerly out from Ace Books), Elizabeth Ann Scarborough (Nebula-nominated, and one of my favourite fantasy authors), Bill Pronzini, Melissa Scott (John W. Campbell Best New Writer winner, and also a Lambda Literary Award-nominee), World Fantasy Award winner Robert Holdstock, and many more: Crossroad Press, Untreed Reads, Infinity Plus, Gypsy Shadow Publishing

If you happen to miss something, many of these publishers also participate in the Smashwords July sale, and will probably also do Read an Ebook Week next year as well.

[Free eBook] Murder, Suicide or Accident: The Forensic Pathologist at Work by Bernard Knight [True Crime Professional Memoir]

Murder, Suicide or Accident: The Forensic Pathologist at Work by Welsh author Bernard Knight, who has also written the popular Crowner John mystery series, is his vintage non-fiction professional overview cum memoir, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Endeavour Press.

This was originally published in 1971 by Robert Hale using the Bernard Picton pseudonym. This is a combination of Q&A and true crime memoir about forensic pathology in Britain in the decades leading up to the 1970s, drawing upon the author’s own personal experience, which he would later incorporate into his bestselling mystery novels. Although this has not been updated to cover developments in the years since, the original information about investigative procedures and medical knowledge still provides a nifty snapshot of everything you might want to know about what could be detected from potential crime scenes and how it was handled back then.

Offered worldwide, available at Amazon.

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[Free eBook] Looking for Strangers: The True Story of My Hidden Wartime Childhood by Dori Katz [Holocaust Survivor Travelogue Memoir]

Looking for Strangers: The True Story of My Hidden Wartime Childhood by poet and translator Dori Katz, a Holocaust survivor who is also a professor emerita at Trinity College, is her memoir cum travelogue concerning her childhood spent in hiding during WWII, free for a limited time courtesy of the University of Chicago Press.

This is her personal memoir about rediscovering her half-forgotten childhood spent in hiding in Belgium during the war by reconnecting with the persons and places in her life during those years and afterwards as she travels back to them to find out more about what really happened from an adult perspective. The narrative is done in a series of interleaving chapters which jump through time as chapters which follow the author’s period era reminisces are interspersed with the modern-day (circa the 1980s) search for more information and her thoughts about the memories she has uncovered.

Offered worldwide, available through January.

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[Free eBook] A Report from Winter by Wayne Courtois [Family Illness Memoir with LGBT]

A Report from Winter by Wayne Courtois is his personal memoir about his family relationships in a time of difficulty, free for a limited time courtesy of LGBT specialty publisher Lethe Press.

This is an introspective and retrospective memoir about the complicated and intertwining relationships in his family, past and present, as they come together during his mother’s terminal illness, with the help of his long-term partner Ralph, who is meeting them for the first time.

Offered DRM-free worldwide, available at Amazon.

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[Free eBook REPEAT] Someone Gay: Memoirs by Don Clark [LGBT 1930-1980s Memoir]

Someone Gay: Memoirs by Don Clark, a clinical psychologist and author of a ground-breaking LGBT acceptance self-help guide , is is his autobiographical memoir spanning the many decades of his life, free again for a limited time courtesy of LGBT specialty Lethe Press.

This contains the author’s personal reminisces of his childhood during Great Depression in the 1930s, through his military service in WWII, being a post-war student in Europe in the 50s, and eventually coming to terms with being gay and writing his self-help guide in the 70s and 80s.

Offered DRM-free, available worldwide @ Amazon.

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[Free eBook] Hundreds of Free Books from Open Road Media [All Genres Fiction & Non-Fiction]

As a special holiday treat, publisher Open Road Media is making free literally hundreds of ebooks in every genre, for a limited time.

ORM was founded by ex-Random House editors, and has made a specialty of bringing back into print older works by well-known authors in their fields, as well as publishing newer works by them as well.

The freebies in their catalogue includes authors such as Howard Fast (author of Spartacus, the novel which the movie was based upon), Alice Walker (author of The Color Purple, also the basis of a film), Pearl S. Buck (Nobel Prize winner), and many more.

A very brief sampling of the genres and authors available (there’s literally probably something for every taste):

  • For non-fiction: history (Walter Lord, author of A Night to Remember, which a film about the Titanic was based upon); political history (Rebecca West); literary & arts criticism (Mary McCarthy); travel writing (Laurence Durrell); cookbooks (James Beard); biographies (Marion Meade); autobiographies (Candy Darling, a celebrity involved with Andy Warhol); author advice (Richard Curtis, a former literary agent)
  • For fiction: science fiction & fantasy (Andre Norton, Jane Yolen, Robert Silverberg, Poul Anderson, all SFWA Grandmasters); historical fiction (Cecelia Holland); westerns (Paul Lederer); murder mystery novels (Susan Dunlap); suspense thrillers (Geoffrey Household); LGBT novelists (National Book Award-winner Paul Monette, Jane Rule, and more); romance (Elizabeth Chadwick); YA suspense (Caroline B. Cooney); YA fantasy (Bruce Coville); YA horror (Diane Hoh); childrens’ picture books (The Berenstain Bears series)

Offered in the US only, at Amazon only, through December 20th or 21st. Unfortunately, it looks like the promotion was withdrawn early on the 19th. Nice while it lasted, though.

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