Category Archives: books

Bad People eBook: Available in the Kindle Store Bad People

Product Description

After a home invasion ends with her husband’s murder, Connie imagines the worse that can happen—already has.

Besides, with a teenage son to raise alone, and an investment business to run, she can’t afford to feel sorry for herself—nor will she.

Connie knows how to survive. She always survives. She’s strong. Besides, she can lean on her best friend and business partner for support. She’s even got a new man in her life. Welcome to the new normal.

Then Connie discovers that her husband kept some dark secrets. Nor is everyone in her new world who he pretends to be. Connie must question everything she knows.

Everything except this: murder was just the beginning.

Evan Cobb, author of Perfect Likeness, Bad People, Exhibit A, and other crime and suspense novels, is the alter-ego of Michael Canfield. Under his own name he writes about monsters, superheroes, couples, babies, astronauts, paranoids, obsessives, and other people. He has published mystery, fantasy, science fiction, horror and just-plain-odd stories on fiction sites including StrangeHorizons, Spinetingler, EscapePod, Daily Science Fiction, in dead-tree magazines including Realms of Fantasy, Talebones, and Black Gate, and other places. “Super-Villains” was also republished in the prestigious Fantasy: The Year’s Best series, edited by Rich Horton (Prime Books). He divides his time between Seattle and Los Angeles, with frequent side-trips to Vegas.

Story: S01E04 “The Language of Monsters”

Posting this free story for a minimum of seven days — probably more, because I usually forget. This one’s a bit longer than most of the freebies I put up on the blog: 7000 words.

I once worried that the story would date quickly. Surely rendition would be long behind us before now? I was overly optimistic. The story, however, does not suffer from the same flaw.


Jason comes to my cell, sets his watch’s alarm. No more than a hour’s exposure at a time, no more than every other day.
In the hour we talk about many things: the world, politics, God—and we talk about light. At opposite corners this cell has two naked bulbs, in sockets screwed into the brick.

“I’ll see the next locale has a window—and natural exposure.”

I thank him. I haven’t felt sunlight in so long. The guards had orders to give me an hour a week here, but didn’t. I don’t trouble Jason with this; he works hard. He holds a responsible position despite his youth; he has more important concerns. Today I leave Egypt for another site anyway, so the matter loses significance.

Instead, I ask about my next assignment.

“You’re worried,” Jason says.

My previous assignment: the black-bearded Saudi, heavy browed, black eyed, yielded no intel. To date none have. I tell Jason I fear if I fail again I’ll receive no more assignments and he will no longer handle me.

“That’s irrational,” Jason waves the notion away. “We’re a team.”

“I doubt my abilities,” I tell him.

Jason frowns, wounded. “You have done everything I’ve asked. It’s on me.”

Before Jason gave me a job, I had no meaningful existence. Meaninglessness make solitude unbearable. I can’t return there. I spare Jason this, but he feels it anyway.

“Look at me,” says Jason. “This is the one. A high-value subject. A driver, from Yemen, detained in Basra. This is the break I’ve … that we’ve waited for.”

Jason checks his watch. He calls it a diver’s watch. It resists water, it shows direction, it does many useful things, and now it tells him our time together draws short. “We should pray,” he says.

Continue reading the whole story free until at least 11/01/11.

Available for purchase at Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Diesel, on iTunes and other sites.

Dear Barnes & Noble: Stop making it so difficult for me to give you my money.

I don’t have a Kindle and I don’t want one. I don’t have a NOOK but might get one. I have a Kobo ereader which reads epub. The reason I didn’t buy a Kindle is I didn’t want to locking into the Amazon’s format or their store. Kobo has a store, but they don’t sell everything I want. In fact what I want right now is eighteen titles by Lawrence Block that are now on my NOOK wishlist. Eighteen books for which I would happily have already given you my money, were it not for one little snag. You don’t have a shopping bag function for ebooks.

And believe me I looked. I couldn’t quite believe this could be true — that the ONLY way I can buy ebooks in ONE. AT. A. TIME. That’s eighteen transactions. Eighteen entries on my debit card ledger, eighteen confirmation emails.


You would have already had my money by now, if you had a way for me to bundle my ebook purchases. I’ve looked for other sites, but so far I’ve only found these particular editions on Kindle and NOOK. If they were on Smashwords, Kobo, or Diesel, etc you would have lost my sale for good. I’m pretty determined to get these books so I will probably go through your laborious process to get them. But you are making me crazy, and I hope this complaint makes someone over there start to wonder how many sales you are losing from potential customer who like to binge on low-cost ebook purchases.

Best wishes,

Michael Canfield

Red Jacket: A Novel with a Superhero

Red Jacket: A Novel with a Superhero by Michael Canfield bookcover

One day you discover your gift, find yourself better than the common strain of humanity—not in some moral way, not in some fair way, or just way, and not because you earned it. Simply better equipped in one, maybe two, measurable ways. You’re smarter. You’re stronger. Or more impervious to injury. Or you can leap, or fly, or talk to birds, or breathe underwater, or run faster than sound. You wonder, you marvel, you exalt. Then, in time, you learn it doesn’t mean much. It doesn’t mean what you thought it meant, anyway. You never asked for it, it came despite your own little desires for life, your small ambitions. Those things belong to yesterday, when you thought you knew yourself. When you thought of yourself as one thing and the ability as something separate.

That stage can go on for years. Some never get passed it, but most do. You are the ability and the ability is you. You have to stop hiding then, stop seeking a cure, because to cure yourself of your power means curing yourself of yourself. You did not ask for the power, but you did not ask to be you either. No one does. The powerless don’t ask for powerlessness, nor do they deserve it—any more than we powered deserve our powers.

So you start to help. Sometimes you mess it up; some superheroes spend their whole careers, long or short, as screw-ups. Those who aren’t that bad, the marginally helpful, the tolerably heroic like me, stick around awhile.
You don’t walk away from what you can do, not in this world. Everyone has a part to play and that’s the story.

New York in the early 80’s. Tough place for a struggling young African-American
superhero like RJ (kinda strong, sorta hard to kill) to fight crime, make the
rent, and hold on to his love life. Tough enough, that is, even before the
city’s mightiest champions enter a trans-dimensional rift, answering a
call-to-arms against alien invaders. Now it’s up to Red Jacket and a handful of
other “rear guardians” to hold the world’s greatest metropolis together.

Or die trying.


Barnes and Noble


419 Memoirs & Other Strange Stories.


My first full length ebook story collection is now available:

An outcast child and a mountain shaman hold the keys to humanity’s survival. A gunfighter steps out of myth and into the twisted realities of the modern personal development movement. One weary universe collapses-and a new one rises. Voices from an all-too real future reach out to one another, desperate to connect. Hamlet celebrates his 40th birthday with an old friend and a to-do list. A television producer descends into madness. The god of sound taunts the god of sight.

Set in impossible pasts, bizarre futures, and skewed-but-recognizable versions of the present, these sixteen stories, and more, from the inimitable Michael Canfield will take you on iconoclastic voyages of the imagination you won’t soon forget.

Includes The Food Processor, Library Rules, They Get Away from You, Once Upon a Time … At the Learning Annex, A Flavor of Quark, The Last Confessions of NinjaBaby, The Whited Child, A Flavor of Quark and nine others. Plus a complete short novel: The Plastic Fruit Museum, excerpts from two forthcoming novels: Red Jacket, and Growing Up Zombie, and many other extras. Continue reading

How To Create a Quick Ebook Cover Using Pages (mac)

Many dedicated graphics programs exist, but writers without a design background find the learning curve steep. Mac users who own the word-processing program Pages already have an easy tool to make an ebook cover themselves.

First, have your art ready. Free and low cost art is available from many stock art sights. Try googling “stock photos”, “royalty free art” etc. Keep in mind that simple artwork without multiple complex elements work best for covers. Much of the art you will choose gets covered by text. Think background image.

In Pages open a document. Choose the “blank” template.

Under the File menu go to Page Setup … > Paper Size.


From the dropdown menu choose “Manage Custom Sizes.” Create a new custom size. Call it “Book Cover Ratio, set the width to 6 inches and the height to 9 inches. Leave the other fields alone and hit “Okay.” This will give you a page size the correct portions of a standard book, which will look professional when displayed on Amazon or other sites.

Drag your art or photograph onto your open document. Resize the art on the page by clicking and dragging any of the photo’s corners or edges. Use the “Lock” icon on the tool bar (or under the “Arrange” menu) to lock your art down and keep it from moving.


Under the “Insert” dropdown menu choose “Text”. This creates a box to type into. Create three text boxes: one for your title, one for your byline, and one for your cover blurb if you want one. (A cover blurb can be anything from a subtitle for the book, a teaser about the contents, or a one-phrase background on the author.) Separate boxes work best, so that you size your various text elements differently. Place the title text box near the top of your cover, and the byline text box near the bottom. Keep the blurb near your title, as seen on most professionally produced book covers. Continue reading

>Fifth story up on Smashwords now.


“Wednesday” from the Stoker-Award nominated anthology Corpse Blossoms.

It’s .99¢ unless you want to get it free on Smashwords using this coupon:

Promotional price: $0.00
Coupon Code: BN94Q
Expires: February 18, 2011 Expired!!

>The most important rejection I ever received.


This wasn’t my first rejection letter; it wasn’t even my first personal rejection letter, but it’s the most significant one. It would be another six years before I sold my first story to Karen Joy Fowler for the Mota: Courage anthology, but one letter with a little praise and some very important criticism from Algis Budrys (whose few novels, which seem unjustly forgotten, I have always adored and admired) kept me going a long long time. This first paragraph was Budrys’s standard rejection template, I have a few other that say the same thing, so it rocked me to see the three paragraphs that followed. Budrys wrote rejections that were turning points in the careers of many writers. Stephen King, in On Writing, wrote about one he received when Budrys edited F&SF.BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

>My rejection slips.


I’m moving, and at the same time, I’m getting rid of a lot of stuff. I no longer feel the need to keep physical copies of old rejection slips. I have about 540 altogether (a ream plus a novelette of paper!) Here’s a pile of them. I’m keeping exactly one, which I’ll share about later in the week. You can see, in this picture, that I submit to mainstream as well as genre markets, though not necessarily the same stories. I have NO idea what I sent to Redbook though,  or when I sent it. Don’t recall that one at all.

>A cover for my short ebook.

>Some of my previously published stories will soon be appearing in various ebook formats. Here’s the cover of one, “Peas and Carrots” which originally appeared in Realms of Fantasy awhile back, and is now available through Smashwords. (The background photo is by weatherbox.)