You can download Red Herring for your Kindle here, and you can download Bionic Punchline for your Kindle here. OCR is Not the Only Font is available in exactly the same way. These links all point to Amazon UK, as that’s where the majority of my followers are based, but the ebooks should be available free indefinitely in all territories from now on. If they aren’t where you are, let me know and I’ll do my best to sort it out.
I may write a post on how to organise this at some point. Amazon pushes their (highly inadvisable) KDP Select programme so hard that I didn’t realise there was any other way of offering books for free until I got a tip-off from someone at a Writers’ Guild networking event. Ultimately, however, the process boils down to “ask Amazon nicely, then wait a long time and hope for the best.”
If you’d like to thank me for the free books, the best way of doing that would be to leave a review. Alternatively, the majority of my flash fiction anthologies are not (quite) free, so you might also consider treating yourself to one of those too. Blunderball, the seventh in the series, just came out yesterday. If you fancy something more substantial, there are also Ten Little Astronauts and Face of Glass, both of which have gone down very well with just about everyone who’s read them.
I figured I’d get my 2018 flash fiction anthology out while it was still 2018. Blunderball is now available on Smashwords for $0.99 and should soon appear at other non-Amazon retailers. I’ll aim to get it on Amazon as well before too long, but until then Smashwords also has a Kindle version available so if that’s your device of choice then I recommend getting it there. It isn’t hard to do. A paperback version is in the works as well.
If you’ve read any of these (or a significant number of the individual stories that make up Blunderball), please do consider leaving a review at your retailer of choice (or Goodreads). It makes such a difference.
If you’ve been following my work for a while, you’ll likely be aware that the first of my flash fiction anthologies, OCR is Not the Only Font, has always been available for free as an ebook (as have Red Herring and Bionic Punchline – nearly 100 free stories altogether). However, anyone using a Kindle e-reader (or the Kindle app) would have had to pay 99p on Amazon or download the Kindle book elsewhere and manually load it onto their device.
That’s now changed for OCR is Not the Only Font, which is free on both Amazon UK and Amazon US (and Amazon Japan and probably others, but I expect any one of these pages will probably point you towards your local site). This means you can download the book directly through your device’s built-in storefront without having to pay a penny – essentially bringing Amazon into line with every other retailer out there. Continue reading
Things are really moving along with Ten Little Astronauts, and the book is expected to release on December 13th: less than a month from now!
There’s more information about this over on Unbound, but since the people reading here are probably familiar with my work beyond this one book, I’d like to focus on something else entirely and ask if you could do me a massive, massive favour.
I don’t normally go chasing people for reviews, which is probably part of the reason my books don’t have many. However, with Ten Little Astronauts set to go off to the printers any day now, it’s likely that a fair number of new readers will come across my older work and I’d like for it to make a good impression when they do. Continue reading
Flash Fiction Month 2018, Day 31
Challenge #14: Write a story that includes a criminal character and is not set on dry land. It may be a 369er, an epistolary narrative, or a work of interactive fiction.
You are Wishes O’Houlihan, top agent of the International Leprechaun Police. Riding atop your mighty steed – a unicorn with a chainsaw for a horn – you are unstoppable.
Your mission is to take down Captain Blokebeard, the most notorious pirate of the North Specific.
Parachute in! 2
Speedboat chase! 3
Launch yourself from a cannon! 4 Continue reading
Flash Fiction Month 2018, Day 30
“Come on, Squat Runt!”
“Can we rethink my nickname, Doctor James? I feel as though it crosses the line from affectionately disparaging to actually hurtful.”
“There’s no time! We have to reach the Sistine Chapel before that albino monk gets—”
A hooded figure stepped out from the doorframe. “My ears are burning,” said the monk.
“Well, I’m not surprised,” said California James. “It is an exceptionally sunny day.” Continue reading
Flash Fiction Month 2018, Day 29
EXT. SAINT SWITHUN’S HOME FOR EXCEPTIONALLY BIG-EYED ORPHANS – MORNING
We see the sun rising over St. Swithun’s Home for Exceptionally Big-eyed Orphans, which is prominently signposted. Birds are singing. Peaceful flute music – you know the music I mean – plays.
Record scratch. The music stops.
INT. SAINT SWITHUN’S HOME FOR ETC. KITCHEN – CONTINUOUS
MRS. WITHERSPOON continues screaming, hands clasped to her face. She screams for some time, eyes wide with horror. Finally, we see what she was screaming about. There is a plate on the kitchen table covered with the smeared remains of a cake. Icing is splattered liberally all around.
MRS. WITHERSPOON: Who can possibly deduce who ate the orphans’ precious cake?
Tyres screech outside.
Brutal guitar solo plays.
TITLE CARD: “SATAN AND HIS ROBOT BUDDY PAUL” Continue reading
Flash Fiction Month 2018, Day 28
Challenge #13*: Write a story that involves an original fictional religion, a moral quandary, a language the protagonist can’t understand and a crisis of faith. The story must be either 555, 666, or 777 words in length.
“Thank you for coming, Father 73.”
The priest gave a dismissive wave of his nylon-gloved manipulator. “What sort of example would I set if I didn’t? ‘Render help to thy neighbour, except where such help would violate the first or second of my commandments.’ But also, I am curious to see what you have found.”
Surveyor 6359 lifted the tarpaulin from the object in the trench. Until it was understood and documented, the excavation could not continue and no more magtrack could be laid.
“A precursor relic,” she explained. “I think a container of some sort. We thought it best to send for someone to decipher the ancient script upon its surface before any attempt to move it.”
“This is wise.” Father 73 nodded. “The precursors set forth many trials and tests of faith: some of their devices will detonate rather than yield up their mysteries.” Continue reading
Flash Fiction Month 2018, Day 27
“Little pigs, little pigs, let me come in!”
“Not by the hair on your chinny-chin-chin!”
“Guys, seriously, could we not do this right now? The delivery guy called while I was in the bath and when I ran out to try and catch him the door swung shut behind me. I’m wearing nothing but a towel and it’s not even a particularly big towel. Could you please just let me in off the street? It’s freezing out here.”
The pigs conferred with one another.
“That sounds like a lie,” said the first little pig.
“People do tend to throw in a lot of extra details when they lie,” offered the second.
“How do we know you’re not going to eat us?” asked the third.
There was a sigh from the other side of the door. “Look, your house is made of straw. If I wanted to eat you, I could knock it down just by breathing on it. But obviously that wouldn’t help me get out of the cold now, would it?”
“I dunno…” said the first pig.
“Come on, guys! What reason could I possibly have for asking you to let me in if I could just smash right through the wall like the Kool-Aid man?”
“Yeah?” said the second pig. “Well what reason could you have for coming to our house out of all the houses on Lollipop Lane? We’re not exactly on good terms, you know.”
“You think this is the first place I’ve tried? Humptey Dumptey was cracking up, the old woman who lives in the shoe just ogled my butt the whole time, and Wee Willie Winkie wouldn’t stop making dick jokes. Happy now?”
“Yeah, fair enough,” said third little pig, “come on in.” And he unlocked the door.
“Hang on,” said the first pig. “Does the wolf even wear clothes?”
“Actually, now that you mention it…”
“Oh, shit. It’s Dracula.”
“Haha!” shouted Dracula as he bounded inside. “Who’s the sucker now?”
If you’ve enjoyed this story, you can find my work from previous Flash Fiction Months collected in these books:
Click any cover to find that book in your choice of format.
Flash Fiction Month 2018, Day 26
Challenge #12: Write a story that includes a powerful janitor, incompetent guards, and a substance with miraculous properties. One of these elements must be inverted.
“Intruder is in air vents. Please advise.”
“Do not deviate from patrol route. I repeat: do not deviate from patrol route.”
“But he’s banging around in there and it’s super obvious and the boss is just down the hall.”
“Look. Which of these sounds better? ‘Gee, the Pandora Virus is missing! The guy who took it must have been a total ghost because literally nobody noticed him,’ or ‘Hey, about that dude who got all the way into the bioweapons lab before anyone raised the alarm. He must have been super quiet right up until he started trying to cram his entire body through a flimsy metal duct.’ Because—”
“Oh God,” the guard whispered into his collar mic. “He’s stopped. I think he knows I can hear him!”
“Okay,” said Tim. “Stay calm and repeat after me: ‘Man, I can’t believe that creaky old vent’s acting up again.’”
“Man. I can’t believe that creaky old vent is acting up again.”
From the safety of the broom closet, Tim heard the unmistakable sound of knees mangling sheet metal start up once more. It really was loud: like RoboCop trying to hump a wobble board. Continue reading