We hit Poland today, of all places, where British ex-pat and Roman Dalton creator Paul D. Brazill hosts me at his blog, You Would Say That, Wouldn’t You. I talk about how Road Rules came to be written and why I published it as an ebook.
Where’s Winter? Taking Road Rules on the information superhighway. He’s here in Texas, hanging out at Bill Crider’s blog and talking about MacGuffins. What’s a MacGuffin? Find out here.
Yes, it has returned. Road Rules is now easily downloadable for your Kindle, Nook, or other favorite ereader via Smashwords. And it only costs you 99 cents. Where else can you get so much for a buck?
You may ask, “What happened to the free version?”
This is the same version, with maybe a couple of spots cleaned up for readability. I’ve also added a forward from JD Rhoades, author of the Jack Keller series.
As for the free version, let’s just say it was a pain for people to get at. The html version never materialized. The audio version fell victim to my having a life beyond writing, not to mention the need to keep writing. And whereas for 99 cents, you can plunk it on whatever ereader you like from whichever site you want, the free version required you to do some acrobatics with your USB cable and hope that you can transfer it from one machine to another. Plus, Kindle and Nook at least let you read on multiple devices.
I had a lot of fun with this one. It was written with an energy I don’t think I can duplicate again.
“But,” you say, “aren’t you just shifting this over to make money off of it?”
Let’s not kid ourselves. I like getting paid for my work. However, Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords are all bigger platforms for a work than some odd web site out in the middle of cyber-nowhere.
The question now is whether I would entertain a print version. Of course! Like anything else, it would have to be under the right circumstances. If it moves enough copies, there’s Amazon’s CreateSpace. For a traditional publisher, however, I would have to negotiate. Print is now a subsidiary right, and since I have a good day job and day career, I really can afford to say no to deals most people might jump on.
That is neither here nor there at the moment. This is about Mike Blake looking for a new life when a stolen holy relic gets him fired. This is about Andre Koradovich trying to move the hottest of all hot properties under the radar. It’s about Sharon Harrow trying to prove herself to her private eye uncle.
Most of all, it’s about a dollar, less than the cost of a cup of coffee. And unlike the guy on the hungry kids commercial, I’m not going to make you feel guilty for changing the channel.
I mean I’m sure we’ll find some way to fund AJ’s college education. It’s OK.
Tomorrow, catch the Road Rules Cyber-Road Trip at Bill Crider’s Pop Culture Magazine.
JD Rhoades, writer, political columnist, lawyer, and all around good guy, was kind enough to write the foreword for the new edition of Road Rules. You’ll get to see first hand what he’s talking about in four more days. For now, here’s what Dusty had to say about the book.
A lot of thrillers these days feature various avatars of the generic hero I’ve dubbed Bolt Studly– the mavericky, two-fisted, fearless ex-Navy Seal/CIA Agent whose only flaw is that he rushes headlong into the action, fired up on patriotism and loaded down with a whole catalogue of lovingly described weapons and tac gear as he goes about battling evil Rooskies/Mooslims/Latino Drug Lords trying to destroy the US and/or the world.
This is not that kind of book.
Then there are the multitude of crime thrillers featuring the hero I call the Brooding Knight. Soulful, tarnished but still inherently noble. the Brooding Knight (usually a cop or PI) cruises the mean streets of the city he loves, solving crimes, philosophizing, and protecting damsels in distress while listening to jazz, or blues, or something cooler than talk radio or the latest Ke$ha recording. Occasionally, the BK does all this in the company of some genial psychopath who’s taken an improbable liking to him and who can be counted upon to do whatever wetwork that needs to be done but which might make said Hero unlikable if he had to do it.
This is not that kind of book, either.
Not, I should hasten to say, that there’s anything wrong with those sorts of books. I actually really like those. Well, some of them. Hell, I’ve even written similar stuff.
But every so often, I want to read about bad people doing bad things, and doing so with the kind of dark, twisted humor that shows us, not the banality of evil, but the absurdity of it.
Jim Winter gives us all that, and more, in ROAD RULES. There are some unforgettably and hilariously venal people here, all out to make a buck off a holy relic stolen from the Catholic Church. They chase each other up and down the Interstate. They collude, they collide, they lie and backstab one another, and if goodness prevails, it’s because of the bad guys getting tangled up in their own and each other’s schemes and falling on their asses, not the heroics of Bolt Studly or the Brooding Knight.
In short, it’s more like the way evil gets taken down in real life. But funnier.
– JD Rhoades
Author of the Jack Keller series and Lawyers, Guns, and Money
September 1, 2011.
That which I once called EVIL YET AWESOME will invade your ereader, assault your eyes, and slap your brain around silly.
And it will leave you begging for more.
I speak, of course, of Road Rules, now coming to Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords.
What is Road Rules?
Said JD Rhoades, author of the Jack Keller series,
…Every so often, I want to read about bad people doing bad things, and doing so with the kind of dark, twisted humor that shows us, not the banality of evil, but the absurdity of it.
Jim Winter gives us all that, and more, in ROAD RULES.
And that’s exactly what it is. As the city of Cleveland reels from the theft of an important relic for the Catholic Church right out from under the mayor’s nose, a luckless insurance drone and a hapless repo head for Florida, thinking the delivery of a collectible Cadillac Coupe DeVille is the perfect side job to help them bury their problems. Little do they know who else wants that car – Cinnamon, the truckstop hooker who is more than she appears; Tim Mason, the shift claims manager who engineered the theft of the holy relic; and Julian Franco, a Cuban drug lord from Miami who has a raging coke habit, an insatiable appetite for bimbos, and a faith in the Catholic Church that even the Church finds a bit disturbing. The trip will lead them from Cleveland through the wilds of West Virginia and the Blue Ridge Mountains, into a Confederate themed BBQ joint in South Carolina, and finally on a wild, climactic chase through sleepy Savannah, Georgia.
Said Gerald So, editor of The Lineup and former fiction editor for The Thrilling Detective Web Site, said
Reading the novel again brings to mind discovering a book I hadn’t heard about by a favorite author, not a series book, but a standalone in which the author stretches himself creatively. It’s the kind of novel you may not have gotten to read before ebooks, precisely the kind I download in a snap.
Just in time for Labor Day gift-giving and the fall leaf season.
Because you deserve better if I’m going to take your 99 cents.
On sale by Labor Day. Hurry if you want it for free. The cheesy free version web site goes dark in two weeks from today.
Since making changes in the brand that is Jim Winter a couple of months ago, I decided that Road Rules will go up for sale after all. But I’m leaving it free until June of 2011, since I originally said this was a free novel. But now the big question. If you have a Kindle, how much is Road Rules worth to you?
So, Roadies, you tell me. If Road Rules goes up on Amazon, how much should I sell it for? $2.99? $3.99? $4.99? Not the $9.99 the big publishers (except Macmillan) sell it at. That’d be madness! Leave your preference in the comments section.
Of our three heroes in Road Rules, Stan Yarazelski is the dimmest bulb. And it goes back all the way to Mike Blake and Tim Mason’s days at Buckland High School. During their student days, Stan made history by having what could be politely termed as inappropriate contact with a snowman.
Not surprisingly, Stan’s career path isn’t as spectacular as Mike or Tim’s. He’s a repo man, and not a very good one. But one of his jobs sets the events of Road Rules in motion. And a flat tire along Ohio’s I-77 escalates them.
Stan was not inspired by any one person. He just sort of evolved. My beta readers had to help me edit out some of his more TSTL moments (“Too stupid to live”). The snowman incident actually happened, though the kid who did it in real life had a more responsible adulthood and has a much more interesting job than most of us. Stan?
Not so much. I needed someone gleefully ignorant and unambitious to haul the Chest of St. Jakob to Florida. So did Andre the Giant, but Andre wanted someone just dim enough to follow orders without question. I needed someone who would blunder off the path and set things in motion. So Stan actually was the first character of the three heroes. Mike Blake came second. Sharon Harrow was last.
What I like about Stan is he’s an unlikely hero. His ignorance reaches its peak in Columbia, South Carolina, when he insists on dining at a barbecue joint (based loosely on the real-life Maurice’s) festooned with Confederate paraphernalia. He can’t quite understand why Sharon, whose ancestors likely tried to flee the South, would be offended.
But Stan steps up in a big way in the novel’s final act. When grilled by police and kidnapped by gangsters, Stan finds hidden reserves of cleverness and honesty. Frankly, it scares Stan, who starts out the story as an unwitting Neal Cassady to Mike’s unwilling Jack Kerouac.
Find out what Stan does to redeem himself by visiting the Road Rules web site.
Become a fan of Road Rules on Facebook.
At the beginning of Road Rules, I thank someone for introducing me to the real Tim Mason. Now the devious claims rep in Road Rules is not a real person, but he was inspired by one. What does Mason have in common with the man who inspired him? Well, I’ve accused both of looking like Ronald McDonald. And they both are major goofballs. Beyond that?
While Mason’s real-life inspiration was a lech and a bit of a schemer, I doubt he’d steal another man’s wife as revenge for shabby treatment in high school. Nor do I think the real person has the ambition to screw an insurance company out of several million dollars.
Tim Mason, though, existed before I came up with Road Rules. His real-life inspiration was one of those guys whom a writer couldn’t resist basing a character on. Originally, I thought of making Tim Mason a goofball coworker of a Cincinnati lawyer named Anne Ripley, who appears in the stories “Annie” and “Standoff.” That series never took off, and so I had characters I wanted to use with no place to use them.
Then came Road Rules. I needed someone to broker the theft of the Chest of St. Jakob. He would have to be an insurance man working on the inside. And he’d have to be, if not likeable, at least entertaining. Well, there was Tim Mason, a character with no story. And there was no reason he couldn’t be a villain. Once I made him the hapless member of the trio of Mason, Andre the Giant, and Julian Franco, torturing him became fun.
So how far do I go in making his life miserable? Why download Road Rules to your Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader, or iPad to find out?
Become a fan of Road Rules on Facebook.