Hot off the heels of my 30 day short-story-a-day challenge, I’ve compiled all of them into a book called, “Short Stories While Brushing Your Teeth”. You can download the ePub file completely for free right here:
These two stories were written for artists on DeviantArt, as a personal challenge to create a story for their favorite piece of art. They are both shorter (~250 words), but just as wonderful.
Em D’s Eyes
She was use to long days and strange outfits, but Emily could not have imagined today’s gig. She had been modeling all over New York for a few months now, and when her agency said that there was a photo shoot just off of Times Square, she knew it was going to be big. When she walked into the studio, the large windows overlooking the square had the drapes pulled back completely, letting the room fill with the light of all the electronic billboards. The room had mirrors, prisms, and all sorts of colored glass dangling in front of the window.
She was handed a vibrant pink coat with small mirrors covering it and instructed to put it on while they, “finished setting up the room”. When she walked out again, the room was awash with every color of the rainbow. “Just stand on the X over there and let’s get started,” said the photographer.
Emily moved from the darkened hallway to the spot, and immediately her outfit exploded with color. I’m a professional. I can make this work. She tried to ignore everything and focus on just the camera man, moving in and out of the shadows with every click. She grabbed a bit of her sleeve and put it between her teeth and stared at him, the blue of her eyes resisting the room’s fragmented colors. The camera clicked three times in rapid succession, and in that set of pictures, Emily had moved from struggling model to Em D, supermodel.
My Wings II
The apartment tiles were small on the patio, leaving marks on his heels as he pressed his weight against them. It had been 6 years since he had been back at his parent’s place, and it brought back ill memories.
He stood on the other side of the railing, his toes dangling over the edge. As he glanced down at the world below, he could see the courtyard was empty, save a few trees and many more stark white tiles. His hands were gripping the railing behind him as he leaned forward, shifting his weight out into the open air. He thought it would make him nervous, but instead he was content. It was 6 years ago that he stood at this exact same spot and thought about ending his life.
Today wasn’t going to be the same. Some words a friend shared with him that day had brought him inside, and today he wanted to come back to the same place where so much pain had gathered and let it free. He could feel the weight of it lifting away from his body, guilty wings soaring into the open air. He tightened his muscles and pulled his body back toward the railing, his heels bearing his full weight on the edge.
“When you can’t run, you crawl, and when you can’t crawl, you find someone to carry you,” he said to himself as he looked out on the sunset falling behind the opposite building. He had found someone to carry him for a while, and now he could run again.
I wrote a <600 word short story for NPR’s ThreeMinuteFiction, and since it didn’t win, I get to publish it for FREE. Download it or read it below and let me know what you think! The cover is a photo I took a year ago in Australia.
Jaryn squeezed his eyelids tightly; everything was still washed in a bright white glow, but it was slowly improving. He couldn’t say the same about his stomach, which was churning at an uncomfortable pace. Jaryn had managed to keep from evacuating the contents of his stomach on the last test run by sheer force of will, but his eyesight and disorientation made it much harder to focus his mind.
A piercing tone echoed around the chamber, causing Jaryn to rear his head into the thick glass side. He winced and groaned, “Maybe this wasn’t a good idea.” The tone rang out again, and Jaryn let his weight lean against the glass as he slid his body down to the ground, groping along the floor with his unpinned hand in search of the screeching source. His hand grazed the smooth surface of the device and clamped down around the small disc, his trained instincts flipping it over in his palm and depressing the small button on the bottom, interrupting the third tone mid-chime.
He squeezed and opened his eyes again, peering around at the dark shapes scattered along the landscape: the structures of the colony. There was an eerie quiet to the place and no movement that he could make out. Between the pained expressions, Jaryn looked confused. He had expected a welcoming party, a team of scientists, somebody to receive him when he arrived. These were the rules of beam transportation for living creatures: both sides needed a person in the chamber for the transposition to be successful. He had left the station with a team around him, and if he was here, then the man he replaced must be back at the station.
He tried to focus his eyesight, flipping the device back over in his hand as he peered at the small green readout: 71h,58m. On schedule, as expected. His focus widened for a moment and noticed a smudge of color on the fingertips of his middle and ring fingers. His brow furrowed as he concentrated his gaze.
Jaryn quickly released the device to the floor, landing with a metallic tin and a dull splat. His body slid up the glass quickly, as his hands began checking every inch of his body from toe to neck, trying to find the source of the blood. His breathing quickened as a mild panic took over his mind. He exhaled forcefully in relief, as he found all of his parts were intact and he lacked even a mild scratch. His eyes were mostly clear now, and as he looked at the chamber around him, he wasn’t sure if he would be standing here, alive, three days from now.
After a successful launch promotion (2000+ downloads of the novella), I wanted to talk more about book marketing. First and foremost, the version downloaded during the promotion had a special note before and after the story. The note was a personal note from me recommending a few different methods for the reader to reciprocate if they enjoyed the story. This included purchasing a copy, adding a review on Amazon or other online bookseller, and spreading the word to other fans. If the fans enjoyed the story, they will want to reciprocate, and the only way to get that message across is within the book itself. Continue reading Book Marketing – The Multiplier Effect
Today I have officially launched my third book, first fiction, My Zombie Body. I started it during National Novel Writing Month in 2009, affectionately known as NaNoWriMo. After getting through part of the story, I went away from it for too long. I finally picked it back up, wrote the rest, edited it (over and over), and passed along to others for feedback and some editing. Today, October 18, 2011, it is now released on the world in digital form. The paperback will be coming in November (those take a little more work). Continue reading Book Launch with 24 Hour Giveaway – My Zombie Body
When doing my second round of edits for my latest book, Trapped in My Zombie Body, I needed to attack from a different angle. The first round was a straight reading (out loud) for continuity, flow, spelling, and grammar. It took 15 minutes a page, which was 16 words per minute. The next round was to find simple mistakes for words that were commonly mistyped:
Update 8/30/12: For those interested in simply writing an ePub file from scratch in a clean editor, Check out the free project Sigil. While it creates a fantastic ePub file, the Table of Contents does not carry over when Amazon converts it. However, Sigil simply creates HTML and this tutorial will give you some additional information regarding how to manually create a Kindle ready version.