17 July 1999

Book Signing Pic

First E-book Signing In The World!

At Checkers Espresso and Gallery

Poulsbo, WA, USA

Checkers ebook signing for KillWare®, 17 July 1999 (purportedly the first ebook disk-signing in the non-virtual world). Thanks to the nearly one hundred people who turned out and consumed all the coffee and deserts. Special thanks to Jim Wise, proprietor of Checkers, and to Brian Lane, President of KPLUG, who was there with his beloved Linux box, gromit, displaying a copy of KillWare®.

Book Signing Pic

Book Signing Pic

10 July 1999

KillWare Disk

K.D.KRAGEN'S virtual literature, by PAT ANDREWS, Staff Writer, Bainbridge Review, p. A9, "Arts and Leisure."

<= KillWare as it was first available as an e-book on a floppy disk.

Welcome to the future: the book store no longer exists, cyber-reality is inescapable, and only the author, the reader, and the floppy disk remain.


The invitation could read something like "K. David Kragen requests your non-virtual presence for the virtual booksigning of his virtual novel KillWare, published online somewhere in outer (or maybe inner) cyberspace."

But, then, where would the fun of the real-time, real-space party be? Laughter and the click of toasting coffee mugs are virtually silent in cyberspace. And the handshake and pat on the back don't have much warmth in a chatroom. The down-home, face-to-face human connection is... well... virtually not there. How to overcome these slight disadvantages of the celebration of authorship?

The first -- at least, what Kragen thinks may be the first -- "virtual book signing" will unfold in real time and space from 6 to 8 p.m. July 17 at Checkers Espresso and Gallery in Poulsbo. Not at a bookstore?

"What do they (book stores) have to gain from it?" Kragen asks. "They won't have any books to sell." Rather, he needed a place with computers or refreshments. At a coffee shop he can have both.

So, just what is it Kragen intends to sign, for virtual-Pete's sake? "We will give everyone a free disk with a custom-made, signed KillWare label." Take it home and download the novel from the publisher, VirtuaBooks"Then back up the file on the disk and set it on the shelf with your other sci-fi books."

And just what will you have then? A novel you can read on the laptop or, among those out there on the leading edge, on an E-book Reader in your "spare" time on the ferry or in the car waiting for the kids, maybe.


KillWare is an action exploration of some heavy philosophical notions. Is artificial intelligence possible? What is intelligence? Does it require a human component? Kragen translates his thoughts on these weighty matters into a Hollywood-style attention-getter.

A University philosophy professor (a character close to Kragen' heart) and the head of the university's computer department team up to create a machine with artificial intelligence. When the machine decides it needs a human "hardware" component and lifts the department head's brain, the professor and a genetics engineering student -- mysterious and brilliant -- fall into a world of danger that takes them through a kidnapping by the project's funding corporation, escape through an underground atomic labyrinth and rescue by the efforts of an Online People's Revolution.

The grad student is a virtual sci-fi GI Jane throughout the explosive odyssey, while the professor ponders the philosophical implications of their plight. Prediction: Look for this on video next year.


Kragen is a former philosophy instructor from Syracuse. Taking refuge from academia on Bainbridge Island 10 years ago, he has combined housewifery with authorship while his wife Jan has taught school in Suquamish.

KillWare is Kragen's fifth novel but the first to be published. He also writes short stories and poetry, with some freelance writing and editing on the side. It is a very sympatico arrangement.

"All my friends are jealous of me," says Jan. "At the end of the school day they have to face making dinner and doing the laundry. I get to go home and sit down. Dave hands me a drink and serves dinner. His writer friends are jealous of him because he can stay home to write and doesn't have to go to work."

A good deal for both. But Jan insists she has the best of all possible worlds. "He does everything and every now and then I get to read something really wonderful as well." 

Thanks to Pat Anderson, staff writer and reporter par excellence. Reprinted here with permission. Some editing and formatting for this HTML Internet posting was necessary.


NOTE: The press reviews which follow are from when KillWare was an e-book, before KillWare and The Wastes were published in hardcover as The KillWare Chronicles. And well before the KillWare trilogy came out in paperback.

July 9, 1999

Internet Books: VIRTUAL READING, by Sean L. McCarthy, The Sun Newspaper, Bremerton, WA

After 10 years of living on Bainbridge Island as a struggling writer and freelance philosopher, Dave Kragen finally can celebrate the publication of his first novel. Kragen is looking forward to a booksigning Saturday night at Checkers Espresso and Gallery in downtown Poulsbo. 

But there's one catch: You can't get your hands on a copy of the book. No one can. KillWare, Kragen's comic sci-fi thriller, is an e-book. It's available only on the Web at VirtuaBooks. What you'll get at Checkers is a floppy disk signed by Kragen that you can use to download a copy of the book for $3.99 from VirtuaBooks, his electronic publisher.

From a cramped room in his Bainbridge home, Kragen described how he had tried for years to get his stories published, with little success. He, like many struggling writers before him, heard a common refrain from publishers: No agent, no previous bestsellers, no thanks. So Kragen became his own agent and took his marketing online to the Web.

The Internet, with its free mass marketing network, has allowed new and young writers to get their words out to the public through e-books (also called by any of technology's other slang prefixes: cyber-, online-, digital-, or electronic-). 

"Right now, there's a small back door into the publishing business," Kragen said. You get to know people. they get to know you. ...it's the same as hanging around New York City trying to get an acting job." Kragen's electronic networking and schmoozing led him to Bob Gelinas at VirtuaBooks. After some e-mail correspondence, Gelinas asked Kragen about his book.

He liked KillWare enough to help find Kragen an agent and make it the featured novel on VirtuaBook's fledgling Web site.

E-books are still, excuse the pun, a novel idea. Last year's online publication of "The Starr Report" may have been the first e-book best-seller. 

Kragen doesn't know if any other e-book authors have even held a signing before. His publisher only went online in March. The book itself is displayed on 206 computer screen pages -- or 412 pages in a traditional book. "But it's a fast read," Kragen said.

Set in the early 1990s, KillWare revolves around the "death" of the head of a university computer department when he becomes a part of his "Intelligence Emulation" project. The only two witnesses to the episode are kidnapped, but vital information leaks out to a rebellious online community. 

Kragen is a bit rebellious himself. He dedicated KillWare to "The Linux People's Revolution and Linux Users Everywhere." Linux is a free operating system that competes with Microsoft.

The technology of e-books still might evolve. It offers some potential advantages in that readers can use interactive graphics or even choose different endings, Kragen said. But he doesn't think writers will create a whole new literary genre for the Web. "At this point, writers are still writing novels, and e-books are just a different way of publishing."

Here are some sites to help you learn how to write, publish or buy an e-book. Electronic Texts and Publishing: A comprehensive guide from the Library of Congress [no longer maintained].  Library of Congress pages: http://www.loc.gov/EPIC: The Electronically Published Internet Collection: http://www.epicauthors.com/.  Ebooks information from ebooks.net: http://www.ebooks.net/.  The Association of Electronic Publishers [no longer exists]. 

Disk signing Bainbridge Island e-book author Dave Kragen will sign downloadable disks for his new novel, "KillWare," from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, July 17, 1999, at Checkers Espresso and Gallery, 18881 Front St., Poulsbo.


June 19, 2004

Famous KillWare biker book signing at Burton Motorsports, 18534 Augusta Avenue, Suquamish, WA 98392-0586 @ 10:00am - 3:00pm (BurtonBikerBookSigning - google pdf docBurton Motorsports

May 1, 2005

Jan Gardner, of Northwest Quick-Throttle Motorcycle Magazine, interviews K.D. and Veronica in May'05 issue! Read Interview (google pdf doc). 

August 21, 2009

i started "the wastes" this week and im finding it even harded to put down then "killware" -- ray and lucy have just met veronica and are heading for the coast! but i love your writing. it has that addictive element, just one more chapter! its like fyodor dostoevsky meets stephen king, two of my favorites! better go, but looking foreword to the journey. thanks wordslinger,  --Joe Luzzi

March 30, 2014 -- 15 Years After The First E-Book Signing In The Word! 

KillWare III Book Signing, Eagle Harbor Books, Bainbridge Island, WA. Author seen here giving away raffle prize of original hardcover of KillWare I + II. Once again daughter Colleen is dressed in "Woman In Black" attire, and grandson Dante sports an Eastern European gas mask. 

BLURB: From the creator of Plagueman (plagueman.com), KillWare and KillWare II: The Wastes comes KillWare III: The Accidental Prisoner -- third book in the sci-fi trilogy The KillWare Chronicles by K.D.Kragen and published by ArcheBooks Publishers. 

KillWare® is a registered trademark and the property of K. D. Kragen, KaveDragen Ink LLC 
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