Flash Fiction Month has just ended, which means that (as well as bundling my stories together into a brand new anthology) the task of catching up on everything else that happened during July begins. There’s been a fair bit of news that I would have shared already if there hadn’t been quite so many 3am finishes or 6am starts, and top of the list is probably Kicking and Screaming.
I‘ve gone to a fair bit of effort to spread the word about my crowdfunded novella, Ten Little Astronauts, which was accepted for publication by Unbound at the start of the month. However, somewhat embarrassingly, I completely neglected to mention another book that was released even before that. Kicking and Screaming is an anthology of stories from the Screamprompts group on deviantART.
Look closely at the Table of Contents, and you’ll spot that there’s a Harvest Moon on page 72. That story is one of mine – newsletter subscribers will have already received it by email – and it features one of my more popular characters. To find out who, you’ll just have to buy a copy of Kicking and Screaming (but here’s a hint: it’s not Girth Loinhammer). Screamprompts is a pretty serious writing group in general, and A.T. Douglas has high standards when it comes to stories, so you can expect a solid collection in general.
If that’s not enough reason to get a copy, it’s also worth noting that the proceeds go to Heifer International, a charity that focuses on ending hunger and poverty. As the name might suggest, they’re also focused on livestock (and the skills necessary to keep livestock), which gives the people they help a steady source of food and income. Ideally, the people they help directly will go on to share their skills with the rest of their community.
Since Kicking and Screaming alone didn’t take me up to the minimum spend on books to get free delivery from Amazon UK, I decided to take the opportunity to get hold of a book I’ve been meaning to read for a long time: The Siren, by M.R. Graham. Even though I’ve already mentioned some examples of impressive design in Createspace books, I think The Siren is worth a mention as well. First of all, I just like the cover – the matte white looks good and the subtly different colour inside the hollow letters is a nice touch – but beyond that the interior of the book stands out too.
Open The Siren up to Page One, and you’re greeted with this. The chapter title font (also used on every page for the book title or author name) is striking, but it doesn’t clash with the easy-to-read serif font used for the body of the text. The blank space before the start of a chapter is also quite effective. I know from experience that the recommended Createspace templates include X blank lines at the start of a new chapter as standard, but it’s usually more than this so that suggests either that this was done from scratch or it’s a deliberate change. Either way, it’s nice to see some thought put into the design.
Has anybody else come across some particularly interesting-looking books? I’d quite like to do a post on this sort of thing – Walter Moers in particular does some very neat stuff with his totally unwieldy paperbacks – but so far I don’t think I have enough examples to take the idea any further at this stage.