The Prequel is a free download this weekend on Amazon!

Need a free gift? The prequel is FREE now through Sunday on Amazon! The Walls in the Middle of Idumea is a great place to begin the series–not too long and daunting, and the storyline is accessible to new readers. Pere Shin is one of my new favorite characters–come get to know him. He’s unlike anyone else you’ve read about!

prequel free download

What readers are saying:

“The Walls in the Middle of Idumea is a great prequel and supplement to the rest of the Forest at the Edge series. Trish Mercer is still one of my favourite authors, with her skill for weaving humour, sadness, truth and hope together to create an incredible story. This book works perfectly on its own, but I also really enjoyed the references to characters that become a big part of the rest of the series.”

“. . . like all the books in this series it is entertaining, uplifting, and wholesome. There’s an actual story and it manages to be compelling without anything graphic. Highly recommend all of her books.”

“Pere Shin was a fascinating and, yes, a flawed protagonist. He sensed that a grievous wrong was perpetuating in the mansion and took the steps that his heart and gut feelings pressed upon him. Integrity wins.”

It’s free right now–get it!

Why in the world am I giving away my books for free?

As I’ve done with my other books, I’m offering Book 5, Safety Assured Leaving East of Medicetti for free as a .pdf file on my website.

Book 5 FRONT COVER kindle

Click on the image above to access the .pdf file. Yeah, for free. Seriously. No strings attached. (I’m not that kind of a girl.)

No, this makes absolutely no financial sense whatsoever. It’s the second place I’m offering it for free (Smashwords has the download for free) and when Amazon notices, it too will make it for free (maybe in a week or so; I have no control over that).

So why in the world am I doing this?

Because it’s not about money. Nothing, really, should ever be about money.

It’s because in many ways I feel I was given this book, like a rough blueprint, along with a pile of supplies, and told to “Go for it.”

I’ll be the first to admit I’m a clumsy builder, but for the past few years I’ve been constructing a book series I’ve absolutely loved! Writing and rewriting has brought such immense joy, and I want to share it, with as many people as possible. I don’t want a few bucks to come in the way of someone accessing it, and while the paperbacks cost a bit, I literally do not make anything from them. The prices are set to the barest minimum I’m allowed to set them to. (Even I have to pay to get them!)

You see, years ago the phrase, “Freely given, freely shared,” came to me, and while I’ll average about 30-40 hours a week writing and editing and working on this series and website, I don’t feel right about profiting from them. The reasons why are explained in detail in Book 5, as you’ll see.

But because this blueprint and supplies were “Freely given” to me by our Creator, I feel He wants me to “freely share” them with you. Yes, I’ve put in a ton of labor, but I’ve been compensated in other ways, if not monetarily.

No, I’m not independently wealthy. Our income qualifies us for a variety of social services which we choose not to accept, because we can get by just fine since we’ve learned to temper our desires and we don’t chase after the trends of the world.

I feel deeply, earnestly, about the messages of these books, and Book 5 in particular, which I spent a year studying and researching before I attempted to start writing.

So share freely, enjoy, and get the word out: “There’s this slightly mad woman giving away her books. Snatch them up, quick, before she comes to her senses!” (No worry there; I’ve never come to my senses. I have no idea where they are, and they aren’t too worried about looking for me, either.)

Book 5 IS HERE! Get it in e-book or paperback!

It’s HERE! Safety Assured Leaving East of Medicetti, Book 5 is now available as an e-book ($.99) and in paperback ($13.50) (soon to be as a paperback on Amazon, too).

You can also find it on Smashwords for FREE!  

(Why for free? When you read Chapter 13, I think you’ll understand. “Freely given, freely shared.” And where the heck is Medicetti? You’ll find out . . .)

book 5 published announcementThank you for your patience, and enjoy! (I’m gonna take a nap now . . .)

Book 3–The Mansions of Idumea–is here!

It’s alive! 

(Love seeing those words from Amazon.)
Book 3: The Mansions of Idumea is available on Kindle ($2.99) AND in print ($14.95).

Mansions of Idumea Front Cover

(So pleased with how this cover turned out. I didn’t realize I’d photographed the sun until I downloaded my pictures and this one blinded me on my computer screen.)

Mansions of Idumea BACK cover only

(I love that supporting column. And the angles. And the words.)

And yes–FREE KINDLE DOWNLOAD days are coming: April 28-30, and May 5-6. And even better–ALL THREE BOOKS will be available for free download those five days.

Tell your friends! Tell your enemies! Tell your neighbors! Tell complete strangers! Tell everyone!
(Oh dear; my earlier exclamation mark malady has returned. Just too excited. I need to calm down and go find my old bottles of valium now . . . so I can use them as mini-maracas and celebrate!)

Quit complaining–it’s free!

Once again I’ve been astonished and overwhelmed by the generosity of complete strangers. The world is a marvelous, sharing community, via the Internet.

No, I don’t mean that sarcastically, even though my close friends know what a grumpy cynic I am. I mean it sincerely.

Yes, there are individuals who are greedy—hoaxsters, thievers of data and identities, takers of what they don’t create, manipulators of the trusting, purveyors of dubious knowledge, and creators of questionable websites—

But there’s enough written about them so I don’t need to add to the complaints. And we don’t need to spend any time describing how governments are selfish and greedy.

Because I’ve discovered that individuals are not.  

I want to praise the rest of the community: those who upload useful (and silly) videos to Youtube; those who explain difficult ideas in almost plain English on Wikipedia (and allow me to adjust the grammar of those explanations); those who write blogs that uplift, inform, that share successes and failures that the rest of us can use (occasionally in our own blogs).

It’s truly remarkable, this fantastic sharing of ideas, applications, programs—all for free. Never in the history of the world has so much richness been offered for nothing.

Don’t believe me? Tally in your head how many times you’ve benefitted from someone’s generosity. Honestly evaluate just how much you’ve taken from others via the Internet, and how much others have offered up freely. 

Here’s my list from just the past few weeks: 

    • Downloaded two programs for recording and manipulating audio;
    • watched hours of Youtube videos teaching how to record audiobooks;
    • copied links from a dozen websites for understanding grammar (for my online composition course);
    • gathered countless clever memes and quotes from additional websites to share with high school students to make the course more entertaining;
    • pinned recipes for gluten free cooking;
    • researched strategies for teaching autistic kids history;
    • sought advice on specifics of writing novels;
    • looked up dozens of details about things I don’t really know: from breeds of horses, to how sedation works, to how the ancients made black powder (writers have worrisome search histories);
    • read five newspapers and online magazines a day.

I also joined two online communities where I post naïve newbie questions and am given remarkably kind and helpful responses back.

In the past I’ve asked cooks, parents, writers, carpenters, decorators, and techie types for advice, and these people—who I’ve never met and never will—graciously take a few minutes to offer their ideas and solutions. It’s absolutely remarkable how we can enter nearly any online community or respond to a blog post and are treated like colleagues worthy of attention.

Twenty years ago none of this existed. We have a hard time remembering that.

I love that I found this on Google.
For free.

When I worked on my master’s thesis, I took up second residence in the library trying to track down obscure documents that some other grad student was hoarding.

Just today my daughter, herself in a graduate program, called to say she was doing background reading on Wikipedia to learn about an obscure concept, and found in the footnotes a link to a publication she’d been looking for for weeks.

It’s almost like cheating.

My teenage son, whose computer has developed some issues, chatted with more experienced programmers in various parts of the world, and is now fixing his computer. And none of these experts are charging for their expertise.

It’s almost like stealing.

But it isn’t. It’s offered in the pure spirit of cooperation.

Now, I’m not stupid. I know full well there are many out there not nearly so altruistic, but instead parasitic. But this post isn’t about them. 

It’s about the 99% who don’t fit that profile. I also refuse to listen to the cynics who may roll their eyes and offer me a lecture about how we’ve become a “detached society” more interested in our online relationships than we are our face-to-face ones.

I admit there’s a bit of a distraction there, but likely because we now have entered into a fascinating global community and have discovered that we are not alone in our worries and problems, and that there’s enormous satisfaction in helping someone else along with the solutions we’ve discovered.

With a little discipline we can bring back our awe-struck attention to those physically in front of us, but I think we can also be forgiven for being just a little amazed by it all.

It’s that ease of connection that’s so staggering. I’m tickled when someone messages me on Facebook or via my website asking for suggestions on something I know a little bit about. Quite often I’ve never met these people, or knew them once only a long time ago, but here we are–communicating. I feel an extraordinary sense of satisfaction by being able to help someone else, even if I barely know them.

Such a fluidic society of ideas and sharing has never before existed, although Plato and Sir Thomas Moore wrote about or imagined smaller, idyllic utopian societies where everything was shared communally. The scholar Hugh Nibley researched and wrote extensively about the ancient City of Enoch, and has described how beautifully such a society could function, eliminating the vast majority of problems we experience now.

I’ve also researched attempts of communal sharing and living in more modern times (Brigham Young tried to get 19th century Mormons to establish Zion, and in some ways it was quite successful, until the good old vices of jealousy and pride undermined it). Yet I believe we’re heading in the direction that Gene Roddenberry tried to demonstrate in Star Trek—a community that’s more concerned with sharing knowledge than it is in acquiring money for that knowledge.

Some time ago I read how programming junkies realized they produced better work when they weren’t given a paycheck for their efforts, but instead were going to make that work available for free on the Internet. Working under their own names, instead of a corporation, and knowing the project rested solely on them propelled them to generate far better applications.

I find it interesting that the current trend of so many books and movies is to show a dystopian society, while this utopia of sorts has developed on the web. More interestingly, this sharing movement has been individual-run, not government-inspired.

I’m being more optimistic than this today.
(And again I love that I found this on the Internet.
For free.)

Each person decides on his or her own to start a blog, become a mentor, contribute to a project, or make a video. In fact, it seems that all great social movements begin on a personal level, never a bureaucratic one.

Perhaps it’s fitting, though: this utopian nature on the web just may create a dystopia for government as we know it. (Hey, I can hope.)

The true beauty of this free-for-all attitude is that it’s infectious: I don’t see the trend reducing but growing. I don’t know if there’s any data on this, but I believe that creativity is exploding. More people develop, write, photograph, cook, renovate, recycle, and innovate than ever before. On the Internet we find a forum and a community that we can influence.

On second thought, it’s not infectious—it’s magic!

So much so freely shared encourages others to share as well. Because I’ve benefitted so much from others, I also offer what I have for free as well. While my books are for sale on Amazon, I will always have free downloads on my website, and hope to add free audiobooks via Podiobooks in the next few months as well.

This utopian-style of sharing is a marvelous notion, but certainly not without its drawbacks. Problems with these freebies exist. Directions aren’t always correct, products aren’t always the best, mistakes are made (see the various pinterest-fail sites for evidence) . . . But I think overwhelmingly people are sincerely just trying to help each other.

And they do, in far greater ways than any corporation, government, or agency could ever hope to accomplish.

So I’m disappointed when I hear people complain about changes on Pinterest, Facebook, and other social media sites, or when people whine (yes, whine!) that a program is occasionally glitchy or a download wasn’t quite what they expected. To hear them go on and on, you’d think they’d been bilked for thousands of dollars and then handed a flaming bag of excrement.

I want to shake them by the shoulders and ask, “And how much did you pay for that service? That product?”

Nothing.

That’s absolutely incredible.

Four solutions to Christmas shopping

Because I read that blogs should have lists, I’ve written one about how to get your last-minute Christmas shopping done WITHOUT shopping. (Which is more appropriate than “Four ways to unclog the mess in the toilet,” because I have only three so far.)

So how do you finish shopping? With FREE Kindle DOWNLOADS!
(CAPS and bolding–classic advertising techniques. Yeah, I’ve got this.) Here are the top four solutions to typical holiday shopping problems, most experienced by me (and I’m still trying to get over #2).

4. ‘Tis the last Saturday before Christmas, Dec. 21, and all through the parking lots, not a space is open, not even if you idle your car in the middle of an aisle waiting, grumbling and cursing merrily, hoping for someone to get into their car.
But they don’t, because according to the Universal Law of Waiting, you’ve chosen the wrong row. Cars are moving on the other rows, but not on yours until mid February.

The Universal Law of Cars in the Parking Lot is that you will always forget what yours looks like.

“Crud,” you think. “I hate shopping as it is, and this isn’t even the parking lot for the mall, or Target, or Wal-Mart. No, this is the parking lot for Dollar Tree, and I’m not getting in here either!” That’s when you remember that there are FREE Kindle book downloads today: both of my books are available on Kindle, and it won’t cost you a dime or the last shreds of your temper. So drive home now and download Forest at the Edge of the World and Soldier at the Door for everyone you can think of, because you can also read them on your PC and cell phone. And today, the books even cheaper than plastic from Dollar Tree.

Let’s see–Mom says she always carries a black handbag.

3. It’s Christmas Eve, and you find out that your Great Aunt Martha is coming for Christmas! And you’re not even sure which one of these women she is!
And your budget is shot, because while you had those Kohl’s bucks burning a hole in your wallet, you spent them on your teenage son getting him a sweater the cat will likely use more than him.
So you need something for the sweet old woman (whichever she is) and you realize that a book with adventure, soldiers, a bit of romance, a bit of politics, and even a big drooling dog just might fit the bill. Besides, you know her son bought her a Kindle last year, and while she still tries to turn it on with her remote control (a device she learned to use two Christmases ago) you know she’ll enjoy an escape into a new and intriguing world.

And Grandpa, it didn’t help that you told her you tried it out first.

2. It’s Christmas Day, and your daughter got a new Kindle for Christmas. (Thanks, Grandpa. Much better than last year when you bought the poor 13-year-old an electric shaver. She’s still traumatized that you think she has legs like a male Bulgarian weight-lifter, but at least this is a step in the right direction.)
But now, what to put on the Kindle? Free books! And yes, both of my books will be available today as well, giving your daughter something insightful to read without vampires, werewolves, or broody teenagers (well, ok—there are one or two in there).
And while you’re at it, get a copy for Grandpa, too, because there are swords and fighting and what’s Christmas without a bit of violence?

It may actually have something to do with boxes.

1. Dec. 26th–It’s Boxing Day! Yeah, I’m not sure what that tradition entails either, but in honor of my first UK sale (UK is “England” and “a few other places” to the rest of us), I’m celebrating Britain’s Boxing Day by having my last free download day on Dec. 26. Jolly good and tally-ho and Top Gear. Boxing Day has something to do with rich people giving poor people stuff, but poor people can give other poor people stuff too. And if you didn’t get what you wanted for Christmas, get yourself two free books.

So have a great holiday season, on me! (By that I mean, given by me to you for free; I don’t exactly mean “have a party on top of me,” because I’m rather lumpy so the table would wobble.)