Tagged: books

Ten Little Astronauts One-Year Anniversary

Ten Little Astronauts was released one year ago today! I’ve got a post about that over on the publisher’s website, and don’t want to repeat too much of that over here, but I think it’s worth just saying – once again – thanks to everybody who helped get the book to where it is today. The book has had a great response and is incredibly close to 100 ratings over on Goodreads: it could well be the first of my works to reach that milestone!

Up until now I’ve tried to post updates about book events and whatnot on Unbound directly as well as over here, but the further Ten Little Astronauts‘ initial launch fades into the past, the more important it becomes to have some other way of reaching people. With that in mind, I’m going to do my best to put out regular newsletters from 2020 onwards.

If you haven’t already heard about them (and it’s not something I’ve ever put a huge amount of effort into promoting), my newsletters are a summary of everything I’ve done in the previous month, sent out (ideally) once a month. You can also subscribe to notifications whenever I release a new work, though in practice I don’t tend to send those out as it usually coincides with a regular newsletter: there’s not a lot of sense sending two emails. I’ve neglected to send one the last few months, but if anybody is reading this and thinking “Hey, I would like to keep up with this sort of thing (but don’t want to have to sift through loads of social media notifications)!” then please do sign up: having a few more people on the list would do wonders keeping me motivated to send them out!

Ten Little Astronauts in Unbound Sci-Fi Bundle

Unbound has opened up a special Christmas Shop of books and bundles that would make good festive gifts, and Ten Little Astronauts is among them! This bundle would be perfect for anybody you know who loves sci-fi so much they’d definitely get through more than one book before New Year.

This is currently the second most ordered bundle, which I realise isn’t saying much as the shop has only just opened and most have yet to see any orders at all, but still seems like a pretty promising start. Most books have an RRP of around £10, so four for £25.99 is a bit of a bargain. Also, if you order before the 17th of December (from within the UK) the bundle should arrive in time for Christmas.

Even if you’re not shopping for sci-fi, do check out the full selection of books and bundles: there’s quite a range on offer!

Girth Loinhammer and the Quest for the Unsee Elixir 33rd in IFComp

The 25th Interactive Fiction Competition is now over, and the results are in! Girth Loinhammer and the Quest for the Unsee Elixir came 33rd in the end, which may not be a Top Ten result but I’m still pretty happy with. There were 82 entries altogether so that’s very much in the top half of the rankings, and apparently high enough to score a small cash prize and possibly some other stuff. (IFComp is pretty generous when it comes to runners-up: if you’re on the fence about submitting something in 2020, I highly recommend giving it a go.)

The range of responses from the judges is interesting: the game attracted more votes than most (I’m guessing because people saw the title, thought “Haha what?” and clicked it), and managed to snag every possible score from one to ten. It didn’t divide opinion enough to earn me the Golden Banana of Discord (which, as you can imagine, I really really would have liked to win), but clearly there were at least a few people out there with strong feelings about it, and quite a few more who got a chuckle out of it. For something I hammered together in about a week, I think that’s a pretty good response.

I’ll be aiming to produce a slightly more ambitious version of the game in the not too distant future, which I’ll hopefully make available as an actual printed gamebook. There should also be an ebook, an online version, and probably a mobile app.

The full results for IFComp 2019 can be found here.

Flash Fiction Month Omnibus – Send Me Your Artwork!

I’m putting together an illustrated omnibus of all my Flash Fiction Month pieces from 2012 to 2017, and I need your help! This thing will include 186 stories – 31 for each of the first six years I took part in the event – and I’d like at least a significant portion to have an image to go with them. Read on even if you’re not an artist: it matters less than you’d think!

This Google sheet lists the full selection of stories, organised by year (as well as a link to each one to refresh your memory). Produce an illustration for any of them – even if it’s just a doodle on a napkin – and I’ll consider it for inclusion in the book. I don’t promise to add in everything that’s sent, but I don’t rule it out either! Here are some tips to maximise your chances:

  • The images will probably be included on their own page, which means it’s preferable for each one to be portrait (taller than it is wide).
  • Colour illustrations are absolutely fine (and people reading on phones and tablets will see them in all their glory), but bear in mind the interior of the paperback will be printed in black and white. Most e-readers will show the images in greyscale too.
  • Bigger is better. I can always shrink or crop a large image to fit the book, but I can’t do anything to conjure more pixels out of a smaller one!
  • Scans are preferable to photographs (if you’re working on paper/canvas/whatever). Each of my #draw365 images is just hastily snapped with my smartphone, and they really suffer because of it. If you don’t have access to a scanner, this blog post offers some handy tips on how to get good photos (even on a phone).

If you’d like to submit an illustration, simply add your name and a hyperlink to the Google sheet. That’s all there is to it, but if you’d like to tell your friends too then that would really help me out a lot!

The goal here is ideally to have one illustration for each of the 186 stories in the book. I’d settle for less, and I might consider more, but that one per story seems like something to aim for. Obviously nobody’s had a chance to ask any questions yet – let alone frequently – but here’s an FAQ anyway.

An FAQ Anyway:


Q: Will I get paid for this?

A: No.


Q: Will I at least get a copy of the book?

A: If I end up using your artwork, I’ll send you a free ebook! I’ll probably send one even if I don’t.


Q: Why should I send you my work for free?

A: Literally the only reason is “Because you want to.” If you don’t, then don’t. Absolutely do not consider doing this for exposure. That’s a terrible idea in general and in this particular case I can’t even promise it’ll get your work in front of a significant audience.


Q: No, seriously, is there any reason I should get involved with this thing?

A: I think it’ll be fun! If you like any of the stories I’ve produced for Flash Fiction Month, this is a chance to engage with them and create something for future readers to enjoy. If you just like drawing and want to get involved with a big project, that’s great too!


Q: What’ll happen if you get more than one illustration for the same story?

A: I’ll probably just choose my favourite and the other(s) will go unused. However, if it’s a long-ish story then I may be able to fit both in.


Q: How should I add my name and link to the spreadsheet if someone else has already illustrated that story?

A: Just stick them in the next available cells on that row. I don’t anticipate that there’ll be too much competition.


Q: What’s stopping me doing an absolutely rubbish scribble just to get a free book?

A: Nothing. Scribble away! But again, there’s no guarantee I’ll use it and therefore no guarantee of a free book. (This is the internet: I acknowledge the possibility that 5,000 people will send me a hastily scrawled dickbutt, but I’m not emailing out books for the privilege.)


Q: Can I submit more than one illustration?

A: Yes, submit as many as you like!


Q: You’ve emphasised that quality isn’t much of a concern, but I’ve got an idea for something really good! Will that look out of place?

A: I certainly hope not! I hope that people will endeavour to produce work of the highest possible quality, much as I did when producing these six years’ worth of stories. However, I realise that people may find they don’t always quite manage to achieve their own expectations, as I did when producing these six years’ worth of stories.


Q: What exactly am I letting you do with my artwork?

A: By submitting an illustration you are granting me the non-exclusive right to reproduce that image for commercial and non-commercial purposes, which is what I need to make, sell, and promote the omnibus. You maintain all the rights you would have if I weren’t using the image at all (which is actually kind of a grey area when it comes to fan art, but I’m not exactly going to sue people for drawing things I’ve invited them to draw!).


Q: I’ve already drawn fan art of one of these stories! Can I submit that?

A: Yes! I actively encourage it.


Q: I’ve already drawn something that wasn’t specifically based on one of these stories, but might as well have been. Can I submit that?

A: Yes, that’s fine too.


Q: Is there a deadline for this?

A: Not currently, though I’d like to be able to release the omnibus sometime in 2020.


That’s it!

If you’d like to submit an illustration (or a few!) then here’s that link to the spreadsheet again. Even if not, I hope you’ll consider sharing this around. I think it could be a neat project, and I’d like anyone who might be interested to have a chance to get involved.

Blunderball Paperback Now Available

There’s less than a month to go until Flash Fiction Month 2019, but I’m happy to announce that Blunderball – my anthology of flash fiction from Flash Fiction Month 2018 – is now available in classic dead tree format!

The paperback is available on Amazon UK, as well as basically any other Amazon store you’d care to look for it. You’ll find it in a bunch of other shops too, and usually somebody in Australia starts offering these things on eBay sooner or later, so basically just get one where such things are got. Continue reading

Ultraviolent Unicorn Deathmatch of Destiny – Physical Edition

I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if fifty copies of a book about unicorns with chainsaws for horns had just been dumped on a doorstep somewhere in Hampshire.

~Obi-Wan Kenobi (who is fictional, and therefore can’t sue me for making up quotes)

Yep, that’s right. This is a thing that exists now. It has been made and cannot be unmade. Continue reading

Three Bits of Ten Little Astronauts News

If you live in Winchester, you might have noticed something on the High Street recently…

That’s right! Ten Little Astronauts is front and centre in Waterstones’ shop window, advertising An Evening With Damon Wakes on June 10th. This is quite a milestone for me, but it’s not the only news! Continue reading

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.

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!