Team AlJ Update

Some months ago I shared the story of AlJ and his long struggle with heart disease.  There is little doubt that without a heart transplant … well, let’s just say it didn’t look good.  

He got his transplant and has been been doing very well.   Anything I can say pales in comparison to the following story. In short, there are always two sides to a transplant story. One is upbeat and encouraging. The other story is one of tragedy and nightmare followed by tough decisions. 

Sometimes, those timelines meet, like they did recently with AlJ & the donor family. I’ve long delayed making an update about AlJ.  I saved the best for last. Please click and read this story. 

Donor heart bonds Triangle, Florida families

Can’t Even Give It Away …

img_6284If we were having coffee today I’d admit I was a little depressed this week, because I’ve had a free promotion running all month and although it’s done okay, this promotion hasn’t been nearly as successful as I’d hoped.

“Free?  How can you make any money doing that?”

The truth is, I don’t, but I hoped to get a lot more people interested in my first novel so they’d be ready for the publication of its sequel this fall.

“And you say you can’t even give it away?”

Well, a debut novel is often a hard sell.  Nobody knows who I am, and it is sort of a mixed genre.  People get stuck in romance, mystery, suspense and … well, it has elements of all those things but mostly it is just a good story about a man who’s obsession is his own worst enemy.  Everybody who reads it loves it.  There are twenty-two good reviews on Amazon.  I thought for sure I’d get a lot of downloads when it was free.

“So, what’s the problem?”

I think it is because it is only free on one site … Smashwords.

“What the heck is Smashwords?”

They are a premier self-publishing platform used by hundreds of thousands of independent authors.  A vast percentage of ebooks come from Smashwords these days.

“I thought you had a publisher.”

Oh, I do.  But they also partner with small publishers like mine.  Smashwords converts ebooks into ALL available formats and distributes as well, to the likes of Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks.

“Wow.  So why is the free offer just available at Smashwords?”

They sell direct too; they have a safe online store of their own.  Registration is free and they don’t spam or sell info.  They are very sensitive to that problem.  They are a good deal for authors, too,  because the royalties are higher.  You’ve heard of cutting out the middle man to increase profits?  Well, in this case, they are the middle man.
They have a promotional period every now and then to spread the word about their own retail offers, and I decided to participate this time.  I think people are a little timid to participate because they’ve never heard of it.
It’s too bad, too, because there are thousands of free ebooks available at Smashwords this month, not just mine.  I just hoped people would take advantage of this great offer to give my book a chance. All they need to do is just register and use the code SFREE and download the book … for nothing!

“How do I do they download it?”

It depends on what the user has.  In their FAQ they have instructions for all the major ereader platforms.

“What about the paperback?”

Well, the paperback isn’t free, but it’s available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Createspace.

“Well, this freebie sounds like a good deal.”

Free is always good … but the promotion only lasts until the end of the month.  Time is running out.


Thomas Fenske is a writer living in North Carolina.  And it’s true, his debut novel, THE FEVER, is indeed free for the rest of the month at Smashwords.  Links and more info about the book:


Your Next Summer Read Could Be Free

Someone once told me, “New authors can’t even GIVE their books away.”  Well, I want to prove that person wrong and I need your help!

For the next two weeks, my novel, THE FEVER, will be available as a free ebook download.

Get it today!  Details are available at:

It is available for all ebook formats. 

This deal ends July 31st.  Don’t delay!  

Violating My Own Rule

If we were having coffee today I’d apologize for violating my own rule.

You can see it right on my blog … where I mention that I’ll talk about a lot of things, but not shoes.

But today, I’m sorry, I gotta talk about the shoes!

Our daughter is getting married in a couple of months and my lovely wife  is beside herself with preparations. The happy couple are both dancers and the bride expressed some interest in somehow incorporating her immense back stock of old, dirty, used, pointe shoes as part of the table decoration.

If you didn’t know, ballet dancers save these shoes the way sports stars save memorabilia from their playing days.  Pointe shoes are expensive and dancers grind these things into the floor, day after day, supporting their entire weight on one set of toes then the other, until … finally,  the shoes, as they say, are dead, and they get tossed on the pile with the soiled, frayed, and spent remnants of their sister shoes.

I have often been proud of my wife’s skill at crafts but I must say she has outdone herself this time … enacting a most remarkable transformation on these pointe shoes.  I was absolutely  gobsmacked when I saw the first one and they keep getting better and better.  They will ultimately be  displayed upright in a vase as part of the centerpiece for each table at the reception.
I guess you would say in taxidermic terms … in a more natural state

What do you think?

Thomas Fenske is the author of The Fever and the upcoming release of A Curse That Bites Deep.
Download The Fever for FREE all July … Details
Or even better, buy it and the other book when it comes out. He has a wedding to pay for…

Katzenjammer Kats

 Thomas Fenske is a writer living in North Carolina.  His debut novel, The Fever,  is NOT about cats, but it IS currently being offered for free in ebook form.  Check his web page for details:

Sharing from Blaise the Baker Book Club – The Fever — Blaise the Baker

If you didn’t already know – I have my own book club over at Join us there! And guess what? I have another new selection! This book is huge in detail and great in commentary and descriptive details. You’ll feel like you’re living in this book… “The Fever” By: Thomas Fenske I am highly […]

via Blaise the Baker Book Club – The Fever — Blaise the Baker

Get “The Fever” Free in July

Awesome! Thanks, Kristin. Reminder to new readers, she has a link back to her recent review of the book. Catch The Fever!

Kristin Houlihan, Writer

Author Thomas Fenske is participating in a freebie at this month. For the month of July, all e-book versions of The Fever are free at Smashwords. Read my review from the end of May – it’s definitely worth giving it a read!

Details here. Use code “SFREE”

When you give it a read, please stop by and let me know what you think!


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From My Latest Review

Call it lucky number twenty-one. Here’s a tidbit from the latest Amazon review:  

The ebook is free right now but THE FEVER won’t be free forever, so take advantage of this special offer.

Enter coupon code “SFREE”
Warning:  the sequel is coming soon, if you catch The Fever now you WILL NOT BE ABLE TO RESIST “A Curse That Bites Deep”

Caffeine-fueled Lamentations

If we were having coffee I’m afraid I’d be inclined to perhaps pay a little too much attention to what you were having. 
We humans are funny about our perceptions of what we spend money on. We’ll think nothing of dropping upwards of five bucks or more on a Mocha Latte with an extra shot, sometimes every day.  Sometimes several times a day. 
Look at smokers. To them the cost of cigarettes is a given. It’s automatically on the top of the pile. That’s why you see so many panhandlers who smoke and it is no doubt a part of what keeps them on the street. The first five bucks is not going to go to booze, as you might imagine, it’s going to go to tobacco. Maybe the second five bucks will go to booze.   

Ever watch people in a bakery? You know that old saying, ‘Eating with the eyes?’ Well, that keeps the till full … “maybe one of those, oh, make it two. Oh, and a dozen doughnuts …”

I’d take a sip of my plain, small coffee and tell you, “I don’t begrudge these people their simple pleasures at all … but,” I would ask, “Why do people who have all manner of iPads, tablets, Kindles, and Nooks, balk at paying  four or five bucks for an ebook?” 

Like any artist, an author spends hours, days, weeks, months, and sometimes years sweating over their work. It’s not just books. I’ve seen people balk at the notion of buying music too, usually complaining while enjoying a high-priced coffee drink. 

Don’t get me wrong, I think ebooks should be cheaper than print books and their value should reflect the resources they save. It is an immense savings, so on the other side of the issue … when I see an ebook priced as much as a print book I wince.  

“Overpriced ebooks are part of the problem,” I’d say after another sip.

Then I would confess, “But, I actually like ebooks for general reading.”

Since I got my first electronic reader, I’ve read more books than I’ve read in years. I won’t bore you with the brand, but it’s true. The trick I found is a good case, one that opens like a book, and feels like a book in your hands. I went with a bigger screen once but down-sized because I think a smaller size is more comfortable for reading. There is back lighting for dim light and you don’t have to fold down pages if you forget your bookmark. Email, web access, movie streaming, yeah, there is extra value there, sure, but I always go back to the books.  

Of course, if you’re read any of my blog entries, you know I have my own book out there.  

“Yeah, me and everybody else,” I’d joke as I took another sip.   

It’s in both print and ebook format. I’ve probably sold just as many (or maybe I should say just as few) copies in one format as the other. I make a little less on the print books even though they are $13.95 and the ebooks are $3.99. Voodoo economics I guess.  

When asked how much royalty I make I explain it this way:  

“About the same as the cost of a bag of potato chips; store brand; on sale.”  

After you purchased us each another muffin, I’d tell you the news.  

“I’m giving up.”  

And then I’d react to your startled look.    

“No, no, not on writing,” I’d laugh before explaining, “My ebook is going freebie for a while.” 

Then I’d finish my coffee and the last bite of muffin and add with a chuckle, “so now’s your chance, you cheapskate.”  

Thomas Fenske is a writer living in North Carolina. For information on his book, yes, the free one, check out his web page.  

Next week, you’re buying the coffee.