We did it! Ten Little Astronauts has all the funding it needs to make it into print (and then some!). Unbound has just moved it over to the paperback list, which means it now has 131% of its target. That’s pretty incredible, and it’s all down to the people who pledged or just generally helped to get it in front of enough readers to make this happen. Continue reading
Joe Wright just sent over this absolutely fantastic Ten Little Astronauts artwork! It’s based on a scene from the novella that a very small handful of people will have heard me read at the International Agatha Christie Festival.
Chances are you’ll have come across Joe Wright’s work before, as he also produced the image I’ve been using in almost all my promotional materials for Girth Loinhammer’s Most Exponential Adventure. This one’s very different in terms of style, though:
I was trying to make something that was reminiscent of old sci-fi pulp novels, which I understand isn’t exactly the aesthetic you’re going for, but I think it’ll help catch the eye.
It may not be a direct representation what’s described in the book (in which the U.N. Owen is not much to look at), but for the overall tone I think this is a great match. The pulp style harks right back to the time of And Then There Were None, and the image itself certainly captures the tension at this point in the story. But to find out what’s really going on here, you’ll have to pledge for the book!
If you’d like to see more of Joe’s work, one handy place to look would be his profile on deviantART. He’s a writer as well as an artist, and regularly takes part in the same Flash Fiction Month event as I do: you’ll see his stories referenced in a number of my own, typically those written as part of a challenge involving another author’s entries for the event.
Ten Little Astronauts has been making spectacular progress recently. So much so that it’s actually a little difficult for me to keep up: by the time I actually managed to record the 225 supporter book draw, the count was up to 233. That’s a good chunk of the way towards the next draw, which will be coming up at 250 (if we reach 250!). That next draw, by the way, will be for a brand new story written specifically for the winner: quite a prize!
This is the kind of sudden surge of interest that the book needs to reach 100% by Christmas: a tight deadline, but one that’s looking more achievable than ever now that we’re already more than two-thirds funded. Right now Ten Little Astronauts is just a hair away from 70%, and if we can reach that today there’s a chance that Unbound themselves will even step in and start promoting it more.
Basically, whether you’ve put in a pledge or not, doing something to share the book would make an absolutely massive difference to its chances of success. Tweeting it or sticking a link on Facebook helps a little, but actually sending a personal message to someone you think would enjoy a sci-fi murder mystery in particular would help a whole lot more. With so many people behind the book already, I know there must be more out there who would be willing to support it: the only challenge is reaching them in time!
Ten Little Astronauts has now reached 20% of its crowdfunding goal, which means – as promised – the audio version of the first chapter is now available to all my supporters! If that link just takes you to the standard book page, you either haven’t pledged or you’re not signed in: either way, there’s an easy fix. 😉
One thing you might notice (and may already have noticed if you read the excerpt very closely) is that the first chapter of Ten Little Astronauts is in fact titled “Eleven.” This is because the title of each chapter corresponds not to the chapter number, but to the number of crewmembers alive on board. As a result, the chapters count down rather than up.
This is the first recording made using my new equipment – a condenser microphone connected to a mic preamp and voice processor – that I’ve released online, so I’m hoping it’ll hold up favourably to the audio I’ve put out there in the past. I’m still learning how to make the most of the equipment, and I expect that the next few recordings will rely less on editing the sound in Audacity and more on finding the right settings to use on the hardware itself. “Eleven” does feature quite a bit in the way of ambient noise added in afterwards, however. If you’ve already pledged and you fancy having a listen, I recommend using speakers if at all possible: if you’re just using earbuds, chances are some of the detail won’t come through. Continue reading
After days of planning, one of which involved getting up at 5:30am to film on board a WWII submarine, Ten Little Astronauts is now live at Unbound. If you’d like to see a hard sci-fi reimagining of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were none become a thing that actually exists and that you can find in bookshops, now’s your chance to make that happen!
Unbound is a crowdfunding publisher. If you’ve ever organised a project through, supported a project on, or simply heard of Kickstarter, you’ll have some idea how the process works. The main difference with Unbound is that they’ll only take on projects they have some faith in: they already put forward the money to get me on board that submarine with a professional videographer!
However, in most other respects things do work a lot like on Kickstarter, right down to the goodies for supporters. If you just want to support Ten Little Astronauts, the minimum pledge is £10 and you get an ebook to read. An extra £5 gets you a first edition paperback as well. For £10 on top of that, I’ll sign your first edition and throw in every ebook I’ve ever published up to this point. Continue reading
It’s been an interesting morning!
Getting permission to film on board Britain’s last surviving WWII submarine for my upcoming Ten Little Astronauts campaign was actually far easier than expected – the people at the museum were extremely helpful the whole way – but it was still a bit of a rush to get everything sorted on time. Because of that, although I only found out for sure yesterday that I’d be able to film on board, it was actually 6:30 this morning that I set out to record the pitch video.
If you go to visit HMS Alliance as part of the standard tour, you’ll see and hear much the same things illustrated in the video above. My visit to film from 7:45 to 9:45 – in the two hours before the museum opened – was a little different. Continue reading
July 1st, as always, marked the start of Flash Fiction Month, but for me personally there was also some very big news: I’ve had a book accepted for publication!
If you’ve subscribed to my newsletter or have spent some time in the Flash Fiction Month chatroom, you may already be aware of this, but the Winchester Writers’ Festival this year went a little better for me than I initially let on. One of my one-to-one meetings was with Scott Pack, an editor at Unbound. He passed on the manuscript for Ten Little Astronauts, my MA novella, to the rest of the team. A week or so afterwards I found out that they’d decided to go ahead and launch it.
Unbound is a crowdfunding publisher, which is pretty much why I decided to approach them: it is nearly impossible to get a novella published by conventional means. The couple of weeks since they accepted my work have mostly revolved around organising a campaign for it, which alongside Flash Fiction Month and my regular job have resulted in more than a couple of very, very long nights. I’ve been working on a pitch, thinking up rewards for supporters, and – for reasons that will become apparent below – arranging the use of an Acheron-class submarine.
Flash Fiction Month 2016, Day 11
Challenge #5: Write a Mystery in the form of a 369er. The three sections must be written in first, second and third person respectively.
It took you a long time to realise that this was what you wanted. That this—lead pipes, poison, torsos in the billiards room—was what you needed in your life. But having started, having slithered down that slippery slope, you wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s a thrill, finding yourself so caught in the limelight, so much the centre of attention, when nobody even knows your name.
These cases are unlike any that have come before. There are suspects—an understudy here, a supporting actor there—but all have alibis. Whoever did this is good: they only missed one thing. I always get my man, even if it’s not me who gets him.
I dial the number. It rings just once. “I’ve got a job for you. Interested?”
A laugh: “I’ve never turned one down before.”
“Alright!” shouts Nicolas Cage, leaping into the ring of robed figures. “Let’s see who you really are!”
One by one, the circle obliges.
“No…” breathes Nic. “This can’t be!”
“Oh, but it is!” says Kevin Sorbo.
“With no more A-list celebrities,” explains Hilary Swank, “it’ll be our turn to shine.”
The circle of downtrodden actors begins to close in.
“Aaaaah!” screams Nicolas Cage. “Not the ‘B’s!!! Not the ‘B’s!!!”