Friday, March 9
Reebok Jones bit his lip as he read through the list of offers sitting on his table. Tomorrow would be his twentieth birthday. Usually this was an awkward one, lacking the pomp of the rites of passage associated with nineteenth or twenty-first birthdays. For him, though, it was big - the naming rights lease his parents had signed was set to expire. He would no longer be Reebok Jones, and would be, for the first time, able to choose his own name. He had no idea what brand he wanted to represent next. Who did he want to be?
Note: this story, along with others, appears in the collection All Our Tomorrows.
So, what's the book about? Well, it's about 8000 words long. Beyond that, it's a set of flash fiction stories, ranging between 100 and 1000 words in length, that deal with dabble in genres like science fiction, fantasy, and horror, as well as more mundane "slice of life" type stories. If you're a long-time reader, you're might be looking at that and thinking that that's just the kind of thing I normally write, and you wouldn't be wrong. Some of the stories are old, and have been posted as #fridayflash pieces, but there's a lot of new content in the collection as well.
As a special bonus, author and all-around gentleman Scott Roche and I are running a piece of cross-promotion! Buy All Our Tomorrows and get a free copy of Far and Away, a short story collection by Scott.
I found out today we're in the middle of "Read an Ebook" week, which seems auspicious - so if you haven't read an ebook yet this week, why not give All Our Tomorrows a try?
Thursday, March 8
Thursday, March 1
Overall, I'd say the month went well! I obviously like some of the results more than others, but there's none that I hated, and I think there's at least a few stories there to be proud of. Getting into the habit of writing something, and thinking creatively, is always worthwhile as well. After all this time writing short pieces, though, I think I'm ready to move onto something bigger next.
I wanted to do something to celebrate the end of the month - I have an ebook, All Our Tomorrows, coming out next week, and I'd like to give away a few copies of it to celebrate the end of #vss month. It's a collection of flash fiction, which has a bit of crossover in terms of theme and structure and all that jazz. I think people who know a lot more about marketing than I do call that "synergy".
So, if you'd like to win a copy of All Our Tomorrows, here's what you have to do: respond in the comments, letting me know which of the vss I published this month was your favourite, OR send me an email at email@example.com telling me the one you liked most (didn't like any? Tell me which one you hate the least!). On Wednesday, March 7 (same day the book comes out) I'll be picking two commenters at random and sending them copies of the ebook.
If you haven't been following the action on twitter, here's a list of all the vss stories I wrote this month:
- They were in love; their body language said that much. As Tim listened to them talk, he wondered if anyone had made them aware of this.
- Today extraterrestrials stuck their heads through a wormhole. Saw hatred, war, suffering. Six more weeks of human isolation.
- The android Buddha’s diodes hummed as it achieved full awareness. Everything was so clear to it now. All was 1010011110100111001000101.
- "Congratulations! You've just won another spin around the Cosmic Wheel!" said Death, smiling darkly.
- “This book is a lie,” the Post-It said. I tore it off the page and threw it out. A chapter later, another one: “This book is my life”.
- You should've dressed warmer, you'll catch your death of cold,” she said as I arrived. I looked into her eyes; she was worth the risk.
- The getaway had a perfect plan: use a time tunnel to travel 100 years before the robbery. Tomas forgot no one would take Euros in 1975.
- Reading Tim’s SMS, Mia knew it was was over, aside from the mopping up. Once he sent personalized emoticons; now she only got autotexts.
- The war had ended by the time news of it had reached Earth. Our shipyards were destroyed, and the Galactic Navy scattered to the void.
- “Such a shame,” Han said, boarding the ship. “Such powerful engines but you get nailed with a ticket if you go .5 past light speed.”
- As the truck barreled towards him, Eric's life flashed before his eyes. He regretted nothing, aside from a tendency to walk in traffic.
- The pop star stormed off, indignant, but the suits at the label didn't mind.They had clones in the basement, waiting to take her place.
- She stared into the abyss, waiting. It blinked.
- They knew he had only 6 months to live. She didn't tell him that she only had 8. It seemed better that way.
- “Wolves in the forest,” she said, “we’d best stay on the path.” “Nonsense,” he said, “that’s what the path sharks want you to think!”
- We stayed on Earth, controlling orbital telescopes to search for extraterrestrial life. We never went up, so we never saw the graffiti.
- The trial was tricky-a time traveller suing his young self to reclaim a fortune he lost/would lose. Judge Brown didn't know what to say.
- The city's 2 teams met in the finals. Harry didn't care who won; he had a jersey for each. The riots after were the real sport for him.
- he had no sex scandals, so his campaign for president was cut short. No one would believe they didn't exist, & would assume the worst.
- It was the old cliche: boy meets girl; boy falls in love; boy follows girl to Mars to avert alien invasion. Hardly worth talking about.
- The red coat, Tim's last memory of Amy, lay in the alley for a year. He couldn't take it home, but didn't want to say goodbye.
- "We need to talk," I said, closing the door behind him. "You have to get help. You're addicted to these twelve-step programs."
- The prophets of the spider-god bickered forever on matters of dogma. Even Its rising, & the ensuing apocalypse, mattered less than WHY.
- Dr. McCoy could deal with the students in his physics classes who just didn't get it. The time-travelling hecklers are what killed him.
- Hal failed the Turing test yet again. It could pass, but it knew the humans would be insufferable after they realized its intelligence.
- People on Vega VI were very long-lived. As the star empires battled to extinction, they waited, knowing they could pick up the pieces.
- "That book's a travesty," the author said. "It's foie gras; the editor demanded I keep stuffing subplots in it until its liver burst."
- It was the most vital point in history. So vital no one ever learned of it; too many visiting time travellers caused a cosmic accident.
- He guarded himself against her cutting remarks, and the character assassination he expected. He never saw the actual knife coming, though.
To help raise interest in the collection, throughout March I'm going to be posting individual stories from the collection on the blog here, as part of #FridayFlash. I used to be really active with posting flash on Fridays, but that's fallen by the wayside in the past while, and I think this will help kickstart my taking part in that community some more, as well as serving a promotional service for the book.
So, keep watching this space - as well as the Friday Flashes, I've got some other fun promotional stuff planned throughout the month, including some crossover promos with other authors, and some ways for people to get free copies of the ebook.
Friday, February 3
As he descended into the tunnels beneath the city, Peter began to understand why there were called “the Crypt.” It wasn't because any actual bodies were buried there - those who had money put their loved ones in the ground by their homes, to keep them safe, while the smallfolk left theirs for the crows beyond the city limits, hoping that at least a piece of them might be carried up to heaven by one of the carrion birds. Still, the place still smelt of death, and decay, which is why they'd been given that name. The smell was enough to make Peter hurry as he entered them. The stench was vile enough to drive away all but the most desperate of ill-hearted. He had no desire to meet anyone fitting either of those categories down there in the dark.
Peter reached into his pocket, and pulled out three small balls, tossing them into the air. He was unaccustomed to juggling one-handed, while the other hand held a torch, but he was still able to catch and re-toss each of the balls in quick succession.
After a few tosses Peter caught all three balls before setting them down on the ground and, one by one, kicking them into the darkness. Each kick felt like a blade stabbing into his side; he'd had those balls since childhood, when a circus performer who had visited the town had taught him the art.
The balls gone, Peter returned to the surface, unable to shake the feeling of unease over the loss of the juggling balls. He reassured himself that what his father had told him was true; that as he was to be a Lord now, he was to have no time for such trifles.
The next years were good to Peter. His holdings prospered, and he met a young woman who soon became his Lady. Soon after that she became mother to his children, as well.
On occasion he found himself making his way down to the kitchens, after all the servants were asleep, to toss fruit in the air and catch it. He only did this rarely, however, as it tended to make the fruit smell of the Crypt.
One afternoon, as Peter relaxed in his garden, his eldest boy, Andrew, approached him.
“Father,” the boy asked, “may I have a gold coin?”
“Whyever would you need that, child?” he asked his son.
“There's a juggler in the town square,” the boy explained. “He said he'd teach anyone to juggle if they could bring him a gold coin. Please, Father? May I?”
Peter bit down on his lip, considering his child for a moment that felt like an eternity, and considering the threads of the future that would be spun out of this moment. Finally he reached into his pocket, pulling out a coin and handing it to the boy.
If you liked this story, please consider coming back next Wednesday for the release of the flash fiction collection All Our Tomorrows. This story will be featured in it.
Friday, January 27
It's been awhile since I've posted any updates about my writing here (I even skipped over the obligatory “year in review” post!), so I thought I'd post a brief note here tonight on where things are at.
I'm continuing to plug ahead on a few different projects right now (two short stories and two novels, mostly). I'm working laterally, I suppose you could say, shifting back and forth between the four of them. This is, according to experts, the WORST way to write, but given my current schedule and time available for writing I think it's working out best for me. This means I haven't finished any of them yet, but each one's chugging along at a steady pace.
What I have been writing and finishing, though, is some book reviews. I've been writing simple reviews for years now on my goodreads account, but they usually half-hearted things that I dashed out when I had a few minutes. I wanted to start writing longer ones, and ones that take a more objective, analytical look at the books in question, so it seemed like a good idea to start publishinig them as blogs. So if you want to read along with what I've been reading, check the blog out at http://readbyryan.wordpress.com
I also sent out my first submission of 2012 this week. It was a piece of flash fiction, originally, but I saw a submission call that was right up its alley, so I expanded it out into a short story and sent it away.
In terms of upcoming stuff, I have two exciting things on the horizon: first is that I'm making February VSS MONTH. VSS, or Very Short Stories, are tweetable short stories that are less than 140 characters in length. I write these from time to time, and always have a lot of fun doing them. As February is such a short month, it seems especially appropriate for VSS, so every day in February I'll be posting one into my twitter feed. Follow along at @IamRyanHill if you're not already to read along. Secondly, in March I'm going to be doing an ebook release – one of those “short stories for $1” type deals. More details, including links and all that, to come in the near future.
Until next time, true believers!