Holiday Book Sale!

November 22, 2013

Need the perfect holiday gift for the runner in your life?  Whether your friend or relative is an ultramarathoner or a weekend jogger, they’re sure to find something to enjoy in my books.

From now until December 20th, if you order books directly from me, you can get both a great price AND a custom inscription that turns each book into a unique gift!

Get Chasing the Runner’s High and Overthinking the Marathon for only
$10 each (regularly $12.99).

R is for Running is only $4 (reg. $5.99).


27thcover-220wAnd don’t forget The 27th Mile, the anthology featuring contributions from writers who run like Amby Burfoot, Katherine Switzer, Lawrence Block, Ben Tanzer, Mark Remy, Joe Henderson, Vanessa Runs, and many others – each copy is only $12.99 and all proceeds go directly to The One Fund Boston to support the victims of the bombing at the 2013 Boston Marathon.

Even better, buy multiple copies of Chasing the Runner’s High, Overthinking the Marathon,  or The 27th Mile, and for every $20 you spend, get a free copy of R is for Running!

Shipping and packaging is only $3 per order (within the continental US), no matter how many books you order.

You can pay by check, credit card, or PayPal.

To place your order, send me an email stating how many books you’d like to buy and we’ll go from there.

(If you prefer ebooks, visit my web site, where you’ll find links that will take you to your preferred vendor to place your order.)

New Low Price for Overthinking the Marathon!

August 30, 2013

Overthinking the MarathonOverthinking the Marathon, the book “which may or may not be a marathon training guide, though it is, sort of“, is available now for the new, low price of only $12.99 for the paperback and $2.99 for the ebooks!

One of the nice things about how I publish is that I can revise my books and and get the changes out to readers without having to deal with contractual obligations to various middlemen. In other words, when my costs go down, I can pass the savings on to you.

By reformatting the paperback edition, I was able to reduce the page count. I also fixed a few errors that weren’t discovered until after the book was originally published. A slimmer, fitter book costs less to produce. The ebooks haven’t got any cheaper to produce (zero is still zero), but I decided to lower their price, too.

With the new price, it’s even more likely that Overthinking the Marathon “will actually appeal to more people than you might expect“. Get your copy today!

Arlington Advocate Story on The 27th Mile

July 26, 2013

bookstoreOut there in the world, a bit of attention for The 27th Mile from my local paper.  Spence Buell talked to Ben Tanzer, Amby Burfoot, and I for an article in the Arlington Advocate.

The 27th Mile – buy a copy today!

June 18, 2013

27thcover-220wI’m pleased to announce that you can buy The 27th Mile today! Paperbacks are $12.99, ebooks are $4.99.

Buy a copy for yourself – buy more as gifts for your friends.  All proceeds from sales of The 27th Mile go to The One Fund Boston, to support the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing.

Within the book, you’ll find a mix of fiction and non-fiction contributed by a wide range of talented writers who run. They’re marathon champions and weekend warriors, ultramarathon racers and fitness joggers, running magazine pros and bloggers, best-selling novelists and indie publishing standouts – click here to take a look at the list of names.

You’ll read stories that extol the spirit that first got us out on the roads to run, that brought us to Boston on a sunny spring day, and that will bring us back to Hopkinton next year and in the years that follow. It’s that spirit we celebrate every time we go for a run, whatever the distance.

It’s a great book.  I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.  Buy a copy today!

The 27th Mile

May 3, 2013

I’m pleased to announce The 27th Mile, an entertaining collection of stories and articles by a stellar group of writers who run. The book is inspired by our common passion for running and our desire to help the running community.

The list of contributors includes marathon champions and weekend warriors, ultramarathon racers and fitness joggers, running magazine pros and indie publishing standouts, best-selling novelists and… well, me. I’m also editing the book.

All proceeds from sales of The 27th Mile will go to support the victims of the tragedy on Boylston Street at the 2013 Boston Marathon.

The 27th Mile will be published in the summer of 2013.  Register here to be notified as soon as the book is available.

“Like” The 27th Mile on Facebook

Updates from the Wide World of Web

March 28, 2013

Two items popped up on the Intertubes today:

First, published “Weather a key variable for Boston marathon runners,” my article on the effect that variations in weather, in particular temperature and wind, can have on marathon times. I use Boston as an example, but the facts in the article apply to all marathons. And I get in some fun, referencing Mark Twain, Zeus, and Feng Po (among others).

logo_SSSecond, Martin Doellinger from Soft Star Shoes (makers of RunAmocs) posted his review of Overthinking the Marathon on the company blog.  Martin says, “Unlike running stories in which the main character has all the time in the world to train and do nothing else, Charbonneau’s tale shows what marathon preparation looks like for an average person who actually does more in life than run around the clock. The story also includes its lighthearted quirks, which make the story fun and interesting.” You can read the rest of Martin’s review here.

baa-logoAnd just a reminder – 50% of the proceeds from sales of Overthinking the Marathon before the Boston Marathon go to support the Massachusetts Association for the Blind.  There’s less than three weeks to go before Marathon Monday. If you could buy a copy, or share this link with your friends, that would be great!

Building Quick-and-easy Budget Audiobooks

March 25, 2013

Once upon a time, I looked into what it would take to make Chasing the Runner’s High into an audiobook. I found a service that supports self-publishing audiobooks, but creating the audiobook file turned out to be a challenge. I could do it myself, which would take a massive amount of time to do poorly and even more time to do well, or I could hire it out and spend over $1000 for something that was unlikely to bring in more than a few bucks in income. So I decided to give the idea a pass.

Then I signed up to run Boston as a guide for Team With a Vision. The irony of selling books to support vision-impaired people did not blindly pass me by, so I’ve been investigating some of the tools available to vision-impaired readers.

I found that text-to-speech conversion has come a long way since I first played with it on my Commodore 64. For example, my iPhone comes with VoiceOver, a screen reader that can be used to convert ebook text to sound. It’s not quite as good as a human reader, of course, but it’s more than adequate for most purposes.

Last weekend, Ruth and I were sitting in a coffee shop in Porter Square when Sally, a young blind woman, came in with her guide dog and sat down next to us. She was there to help her friend manage accessibility issues for the graduation ceremony at Harvard. Mild ADHD makes me an inveterate shoulder-surfer, so I saw that Sally had all kind of tools for vision-impaired users running on her laptop and we got into a conversation about them.

It turns out that Sally’s also a runner (coincidentally, she’s been guided on a few runs by Ken Skier, a mutual friend). She told me that she was a little frustrated with the number of sports books available for blind people though, as she put it, “I can read more than I ever want to know about Helen Keller.” She was happy to find that my books were available from Google, because her Android phone has text-to-speech tools that work with Google Play. She also liked that my books were available through Smashwords in simple formats like RTF or plain text that she could feed to her laptop’s screen reader applications.

Unfortunately, because most ebooks from major publishers are defective by design (encumbered with DRM), blind readers are usually stuck with the tools supplied by the ebook vendor. They may not work very well. For example, Sally mentioned that she didn’t like the tools available from Amazon for the Kindle.

balabolkaI did some asking around. Erich Manser, another Team With a Vision volunteer, pointed me at Balabolka, a free text-to-speech app for Windows computers. Balaoolka can read many kinds of text files, including common ebook formats like epub and mobi/azw (Kindle books).

Even better, you can use Balabolka to convert your book to speech and then save the resulting audio as a MP3 file. Voila! Instant audiobook!

Here’s a sample, using the default voice that comes with Windows 7:

Since everything sounds more intelligent with a British accent, here’s another version:

Other voices are available for free, including some foreign languages.

OK, it’s a little robotic, and words like “Charbonneau” are a problem. If I were going to turn my entire book into an audiobook, I’d need to do some editing and perhaps help the computer improve its pronunciation of certain words with a little creative spelling. But for the price and the effort involved, it beats the hell out of the alternatives.

Of course, Balabolka only works with DRM-free files, reason #23,475 to avoid DRM.  It’s a shame there’s no way to remove DRM from Amazon’s ebooks.


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