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UPDATE: I’ve taken the price lower. See below for details …

UPDATE NO. 2: It’s now available for the Nook. Go here!

Something new for you e-book devotees:

Available now at the Kindle store and in a variety of formats at Smashwords is a three-short-story bundle called This Is Butte. You Have Ten Minutes. Cost: $2.99 99 cents.

(The bundle will eventually work its way to B&N Online and the Apple store, but that rests with factors beyond my control. When it’s up in those places, I’ll post an update.)

Here’s the lineup:

This Is Butte. You Have Ten Minutes.

A traveling salesman, stranded by a broken-down car, hops a late-night bus home and learns hard truths about himself and his life as he rides along with a motley group of fellow passengers, among them a woman with a mysterious past.

Alyssa Alights

A teenage runaway lands in an unforgiving city far from home and finds an unlikely friend in a homeless, self-styled vigilante.

Star of the North

Ray Bingham subjugated his own dreams when he beat a man to death. Imprisoned for twenty-three years, he imparts hard-won lessons of living with regret to a young fellow inmate, until his act revisits him in a most unexpected way.

These stories are part of a larger collection that I hope to release in the next year or so. I wouldn’t go so far as to call them linked; a better description is that they have relationships — some casual, some direct — with each other. All try to dig at the central notion that we’re not alone. Even if we deserve to be. Even if we want to be.

I hope you’ll take the opportunity to check them out.

Thanks for your consideration.

The prolonged absence from this here blog was due to one thing, and one thing only:

I took a vacation. I went to the Seattle area for a week, mixed in a couple of bookstore appearances, but mostly I lounged around in book-induced bliss. Hung out with friends. Ate breakfast at a bowling alley every morning. Rode ferries. Met new folks. It was as good a use of a week as I’ve had in a long, long time.

Meanwhile, The Summer Son continues to chug along. In fact, if you’re a proud Kindle owner, you can now get it for just 99 cents. That’s a hell of a deal, I don’t care who you are.

And now you’re saying, “Great, Lancaster, but what’s in it for me? I mean, besides a 99-cent e-book.”

This could be yours.

I’ll tell you what’s in it for you: I attended the Jonathan Evison launch party in Seattle and absconded with a signed hardcover copy of his new novel, the much-celebrated West of Here. And I’m giving it away, right here. That’s right: Signed hardcover. Giving it away.

You want it? Just leave a comment below and you’ll be entered. To really gin up the competition for this one, I’m going to leave the contest open for a week. Next Wednesday (Feb. 23), I’ll choose a winner by random drawing.

For the sake of my finances, let’s confine this one to people in the U.S. and Canada.

UPDATE: Just drew the winning name: It’s Brett Kruger. Congratulations!

I'll be at the Billings Barnes & Noble this coming Saturday.

Honestly, I wondered if it would actually get here — which immediately strikes me as an ill-advised thing to say, seeing as how I signed a contract in June and saw the book released just seven months later, the publishing equivalent of warp speed.

So let me try that again: What? The book’s out already?

I’ve been living with some final copies of the book for a couple of weeks now, and I can tell you that my publisher, AmazonEncore, did a beautiful job and created a lovely book. I’ve been living with the manuscript, in some form or another, since late spring 2009, and I can tell you that I wrote the best book I could. I’m proud of this one. I’m eager to see how it does. I am, I must acknowledge, a bit nervous, and I wouldn’t trust my feelings if I weren’t.

So, you want one, yes?

You have many options:

If you’d like to order from Amazon, either a paperback or a Kindle download, you can go here.

If you’d like to throw your name in for a giveaway copy, I’ll be handing several out over the next couple of weeks on guest blog posts. Go here for a schedule of my stops.

If you’re going to be in the vicinity of Billings, Montana, this weekend, there’s a launch party at Travel Cafe (313 N. Broadway) from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, and I’ll be at the Billings Barnes & Noble the next afternoon from 2 to 4 for a reading/signing. As ever, my schedule is available at CraigLancaster.net. Events are being added all the time.

You can walk into your favorite bookseller and find it either on the shelves or available by order. Your bookseller will happily get a copy for you, and perhaps even add a few more to the shelves.

And here’s one more option. For the next two hours, anyone commenting on this post will be entered in a drawing for  a signed copy of the book. Get in there!

Update, 10:12 a.m.: The book goes to Laura Lambeth. Congratulations!

My holiday-themed short story, which I’m selling for $1 with all proceeds going to Feeding America, has just about finished its migration to a multitude of e-book platforms.

If you’d like it in a book-style PDF: Visit my website and follow the links to pay through PayPal.

If you’d like it for your Kindle: One-click purchasing is available here.

If you’d like it in rich text, PDF, html, epub, etc.: Get it at Smashwords.

In the next day or so, it should start showing up on other online retailers, such as Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Diesel, iTunes and others.

I hope you’ll consider throwing in a buck and picking up a holiday read.

Here’s what the production side of books has come to for this independent publisher:

After months of toil by Carol Buchanan on her new novel, Gold Under Ice, and weeks of toil by both of us in getting it just so for print, we’ve been celebrating its arrival as a real, honest-to-goodness book that anyone can buy.

The champagne (well, virtual champagne — she’s in Kalispell, I’m in Billings) had scarcely been consumed when the work began anew. We have e-book editions to get out there!

I’m proud to say that the work is nearly done. I uploaded the Kindle version to Amazon this morning, and it should start showing up live on the site in the next couple of days. We’re also queued up with a Smashwords version, which is available as a standalone at the site and will eventually make its way to other e-retailers and reading devices, among them Barnes & Noble’s Nook and the iPad.

I say it a lot, but it’s worth repeating: It’s a fascinating time to be involved with publishing, as an author and as a publisher. Scary and intense and all-consuming, yes, but fascinating and fun, too.

Just in the past few hours, 600 Hours of Edward has become available in a variety of e-book formats. Through Smashwords, the publisher is offering 50 percent of the book as a free sample, with a price of $5 for the whole thing. Check out the list of formats and see if one fits that snazzy new e-reader you got for Christmas.

Eventually, the e-book version will migrate to Amazon.com (for Kindle readers) and BN.com (for Nook readers), so if you’d rather buy there, be on the lookout. I’ll put up links when they go live.

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