Category: Updates

An Evening With Damon Wakes – June 10th

I’ll be at Waterstones in Winchester (the High Street one) 6pm on June 10th to talk about Ten Little Astronauts.

If you missed the launch last month, this is the perfect opportunity to stop by and celebrate the publication of the book! Tickets are just £2.00 and refreshments will be served.

Do feel free to come along even if you did make it to the launch too! This event is organised as a sort of interview, so it’s likely to be a little different to the last one.

Advertisements

Ten Little Astronauts BookBub Promotion

If you get your books from Apple, now’s your chance to grab Ten Little Astronauts for just 99p!

This is down to a BookBub deal that, surprisingly, has also seen the novella reach its highest ever sales ranking on Amazon, despite it not actually being on offer over there as far as I can tell. It’s also seen a sudden influx of ratings on Goodreads, so if you’ve read it but not left a review (on Amazon, Goodreads, anywhere else) then this would be a great time to do that.

Ten Little Astronauts is getting a lot of attention at the moment – a few words from you would do wonders to help people decide whether it’s something they want to read!

Ten Little Astronauts Launch Party Video

here’s the video from the Ten Little Astronauts launch party, very kindly recorded by Alex Carter (Lexica Films). It all went smoothly in the end, and it was great to see so many people who supported the book while it was crowdfunding, as well as so many who’d only discovered it since!

I had quite a lot of help getting this together, primarily from Crispin and the staff at P & G Wells, but also from Lynda Robertson and (again) Alex Carter who were kind enough to lend a hand on the evening. A huge thanks to everyone who helped make this happen, even if it was just by being there!

Open Mic at the Winchester Writers’ Festival – June 14th

I was recently invited to put together a blog post for the Hampshire Writers’ Society, so here it is! This one covers the free evening events running as part of the Winchester Writers’ Festival on the 14th of June, with a particular focus on its excellent open mic.

Simon Hall at the Winchester Writers’ Festival open mic. He’s also due to appear as the Hampshire Writers’ Society’s guest speaker on the 11th of June, just a few days before this year’s festival!

Whether you’re making a trip to Winchester for the whole festival or live close enough just to drop by for an evening, I can’t recommend the open mic enough. The HWS post includes details of some other similar local events, so be sure to check it out even if you won’t be able to make it to this one in particular.

And if you are coming, let me know – it would be great to see you there!

Flash Fiction Tips from Tonya Thompson

You might be aware that I write flash fiction. A lot of flash fiction.

However, I don’t think I’ve ever really written a how-to on it, which seems like a bit of a missed opportunity given that people seem to be finding my Twine for Beginners series pretty helpful.

Someday I might get around to doing that, but in the meantime do have a look at Tonya Thompson’s How to Write Great Flash Fiction: 10 Things You Need to Know. Someone at ServiceScape actually got in touch inviting me to share it,* and having had a read through it really does tackle a lot of the points I think new flash fiction writers – particularly those who are new to writing in general – tend to struggle with. It’s also a handy introduction to the format, listing some of the reasons you might choose to write it.

The main drawback of the advice in this post is the same as the drawback to most writing advice: good fiction involves more than simply checking items off a list, and plenty of bad fiction ticks all those boxes. I’ve seen people absolutely butcher a sentence to get rid of an adverb! However, there’s a difference between choosing to ignore advice and simply being unaware of it, and if you’re writing for a competition then dropping a dozen adverbs can be the safest way of trimming a 1,012 word story down to the 1,000 word limit.

*ServiceScape aren’t paying me for this. I don’t even claim this is the best guide to flash fiction out there, it’s just the one that was put in front of me and it covers the topic well.

Flappy Bard

Here’s my first HTML5 game – Flappy Bard! You might be wondering why you’re hearing about this one after April 1st’s Cookie Cracker. Well, there are two reasons:

  1. I made Flappy Bard as a birthday present for my sister and wanted her to have a chance to give it a go before it went out to the general public.
  2. I thought that Cookie Cracker would make a better April Fool’s joke if people weren’t already aware that I could create this sort of thing.

Flappy Bard is essentially a clone of the classic Flappy Bird, but with some small changes to the way in which obstacles are spawned and an overall Shakespearian theme. Continue reading

Ten Little Astronauts Launch Party – April 25th

The launch party for Ten Little Astronauts is coming this month! It’s 6:30 – 9:00pm at P&G Wells on April 25th. It’s a lovely independent bookshop a literal stone’s throw from Jane Austen’s House (though probably not the house you’re thinking of).

I’m hoping to get an idea of the numbers before the event (and a guest list, in case there are more people interested than will fit into the shop), so send an RSVP to the email address in the image above if you want to be sure of a space. I’ve also set up a Facebook event, if you’re one of those people who needs Mark Zuckerberg to send you a reminder before you’ll turn up to anything.

If you’re reading this but have somehow never heard of Ten Little Astronauts at all so far, it’s a hard sci-fi murder mystery inspired by Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. It’s got a promotional video filmed on board Britain’s last surviving WWII submarine, a cover by the same designer behind Barack Obama’s paperback memoir, and has gone down well with just about everybody who’s taken the time to review it.

So do come along! It’s set to be a fantastic evening.

Cookie Cracker

Depending on how closely you follow my work – and in particular whether or not you’re subscribed to my monthly newsletter and all the goodies therein – you might be aware that I recently began supplementing my Twine projects with simple HTML5 games. For the moment these tend to revolve around well established (and thus easily replicated) mechanics, which is why the latest is…

Cookie Cracker!

If you’re familiar with incremental games (and especially if you’ve played Cookie Clicker specifically) then this will look a lot like what’s already out there. While I’m still getting the hang of Gdevelop5 – the tool I’ve been using for HTML5 games – it only makes sense to follow a tried and tested recipe (to keep things cookie-themed). However, even while aiming for a fairly safe format, I like to think that I’ll inevitably work in some new ingredients. Continue reading

#draw365 – a Drawing a Day

I’m not a big fan of New Year resolutions, but January 1st is a handy time to start a new project just for ease of keeping track. This year, I’ve been producing one drawing every single day (and this’ll likely be old news if you follow me on Twitter). It started – as so many fun things do – with Satan trying very hard to play the trombone.

I should probably mention at this point that I am not an artist. I sort of lucked out in that this first sketch of Satan pursuing his dream of playing in a jazz band was both amusing at a glance and not too poorly executed. It’s also kind of a nice frontispiece to the whole project, with the begoateed Prince of Darkness attempting an artistic endeavour despite a lack of any real progress to build on (though doesn’t work the other way around, as I’ve already been in a jazz band). Continue reading

Ten Little Astronauts Review by Michael J. Ritchie

Another brilliant review of Ten Little Astronauts, this one by Michael J. Ritchie. Here’s a sample:

Trapped in interstellar space, trillions of miles from home and with no chance of rescue, the ten astronauts must deal with the fact that one among them is a murderer. With no way of being sure who it is, they agree that they can’t go back to sleep until they’ve worked it out. But then more of them die, and as the bodies pile up, so does the tension. They just have to hope that the little grey cells work just as well in space…

As a premise, it works wonderfully. The original novel is of course one of the finest examples of mystery writing in history, with ten people isolated on an island and killed off one by one. The “closed circle” plot is common in the murder mystery genre, and here it’s dialled up to eleven, with the characters entirely isolated from everything and everyone else. Although occasionally erratically paced, the tension ramps up perfectly and you begin to question your own thoughts, because as soon as you think you’ve worked out what’s going on, the rug is pulled from under you and things prove to not be as they seem. A stellar retelling.

Find the rest on Fell From Fiction: “Ten Little Astronauts” by Damon L. Wakes (2018)