“Melancholy Jack” and the Miracle that is Smashwords

Today, I discovered the awesomeness of Smashwords. If you don’t know, Smashwords is basically an online distributor of ebooks. Why am I excited about finding it? Its massive collection of free ebooks. No matter what stage of life you’re in, “free” will always be music to the ears, especially in a world where the prices for the smallest of things are quickly shooting through the roof. So, this Smashwords is now my latest obsession. I just finished reading a post that turned out to just be a 15 page sample for a book that is to be coming out this fall. It is titled “Melancholy Jack” and is by teacher, author, and blogger Diane Bixler. I’d never heard of her before reading this sample so I checked out her website/blog at http://www.DianeBixler.com. According to that, she only has one other book titled “Murder in D Minor” (not particularly sold on the title, but I’m kind of loving the cover art). Will I read it? We’ll have to see. Let’s get into this weirdo, Jack for now.


So, “Melancholy Jack” appears to be about, well, an oddball named Jack (the sample reveals his full name to be Johnathon Daniel Ardon). He’s introduced as a shy, highly intelligent and socially inept 6 year old by his mother, Nina. He doesn’t seem to have any friends and, for some reason, the adults in his life have a pretty big problem with this. With a mother as overbearing as Nina seems to be in her section of the sample, I probably wouldn’t want to talk to people either. But, what’s really wrong with him is not given. He just seems to be the average awkward intellectual until you get to see him from the perspectives of his best friend, Jason, and his therapist, Dr. Ellen Foster where they talk about him in later stages of his life. It’s clear that there’s something not totally “right” with Jack, which slowly bubbles up to the forefront in the therapist’s section of the sample. There’s a section of the sample that is told from the perspective of his wife Allie, but, in my opinion, it’s the least important of the four sections given. Actually, I think the curiosity that this sample builds up about this Jack character would be more strongly developed if the therapist’s section was presented first, followed by Jason’s and the mother’s, without Allie’s even being included unless it’s changed in a way that really moves the story along (like, if she were pregnant – read the sample and you’ll see why I think this would work better – not dishing any spoilers here). I, personally, think he’s got a violent streak that boils just below the surface as to go unnoticed by other people (maybe something along the lines of a Dexter kind of crazy). Either way, there’s definitely an interesting story brewing here, and despite the occasionally awkward wording in the sample, I expect that the final product (scheduled to be released this Fall) will be a pretty good read. Check out the sample for yourself and share your thoughts in the comments below!



Here’s the link to Smashwords for the reader on a budget: