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Wrinkled Shorts – releasing a collection of my short stories in one volume

December 3, 2012 Leave a comment

Huge exciting news! Okay, honestly – not so huge, not that exciting, but news nonetheless. I’ve put together all of my short stories into one collection, with a bonus story added. It’s like getting 20% additional for free! [Insert infomercial voice here.] The new volume, called WRINKLED SHORTS, is now available for Kindle and Nook, and should be out on Kobo and the iBookstore very shortly. It’s also available via Smashwords for online reading or other devices. [Update: Kobo and iBooks versions now available.]

What is Wrinkled Shorts? It consists of my four current short stories – Incursion, Special Delivery, Opt-Out, and The Awakening – plus a new, never-before-released short called Dreamshift. Below are the blurbs. If you felt like spreading the word via social media, bullhorn, or carrier pigeon, whatever, I’d surely appreciate it.

wrinkledshorts600x900Incursion (science fiction): A young boy working on his village’s plantation watches as alien craft scream overhead. His first emotion is excitement… until the technologically superior aliens start shooting. He has no choice but to grow up quickly, becoming one of his village’s most trusted defenders. What does human nature mean?

The Awakening (science fiction): Robert has been running the Monhegan Island-to-mainland Maine ferry for years. This morning, however, he and his boat are greeted by mysterious lights emanating from the small rocky island. No one greets him when he ties up to the dock, and not a structure is in sight – all the houses and buildings have disappeared. All he sees is a curtain of light. Curiosity gets the better of him, and he steps through the curtain…

Special Delivery (horror): Kerry Jensen is nervous about her upcoming blind date, and one glass of wine isn’t doing the trick. Before she has an opportunity to pour a second, there’s a knock at her door. Her blind date is early, but it’s an unexpected package that will change the rest of her night — and possibly her life.

Opt-Out (suspense): A massive global social network announces an initiative to encourage its nearly one billion users to donate organs and body parts with just the click of a mouse. Millions of potential transplant recipients rejoice, but there is a dark side. For a young, newly engaged professional in Portland Oregon, that dark side arrives wearing a smile and designer suit during a chance encounter at a train station.

NEW: Dreamshift (scifi/suspense): Jeremy is a college student, struggling to make ends meet. After hearing of a sleep experiment than pays handsomely he eagerly signs up. The tests seem innocent enough, the reasoning behind them intriguing, but the end result may cost Jeremy more than he’ll ever earn. Can dreams tell the future, or are they in fact the future itself?

And here are some completely made up Frequently Asked Questions of Wrinkled Shorts:

  • Q: Why is it called Wrinkled Shorts?
  • A: Steve has never been very good at ironing. His Author Page/Twitter profile image was taken overlooking a vineyard in St. Tropez, France during a once-in-a-lifetime vacation, but all anyone ever talks about are the wrinkled shorts he wore. Oh, and the bird poo on the light post, but “Bird Poo” was rejected as a title early on in the process.
  • Q: Why is buying a collection of short stories better than buying them individually?
  • A: You save money. Jeez.
  • Q: Speaking of money, why does this collection, which combined isn’t even half the length of a novel, cost three bucks?
  • A: Steve needs a better iron. Plus, each story provides a solid 15-30 minutes of enjoyment, adding up to several hours of intense reading pleasure. How long did the intense pleasure last from your last Starbucks triple-half-caff-skinny-vanilla? And don’t count the burned tongue or acid reflux.
  • Q: Is there anywhere we can donate to buy Steve new shorts? I mean actual shorts, not short stories.
  • A: No, but we’re sure he’d appreciate a download or two… perhaps even a review. And he won’t tell anyone his waist size anyway.
  • Q: Can I return one of the stories if I don’t like it and get 20% of my purchase price back?
  • A: Seriously?
  • Q: I love these stories so much, Steve is so talented, I hope he writes some more!
  • A: Mom, I told you never to post here…
  • Q: Will Steve be writing any erotic shorts soon?
  • A: MOM!

UPDATE: This sucker got a review already, might be a record in terms of quickness…

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steve
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More of my shorts available! Wait, stop…I mean short story. New scifi short released, INCURSION

July 13, 2012 1 comment

You dirty minds… I’ve got a new scifi short story (not an actual pair of shorts) that just hit the various e-book platforms. It was a little idea I had rolling around in my mind for several weeks, finally sat down one day (taking up a valuable table at Barnes & Noble for many hours) and put it to paper.

Without further ado, INCURSION:

A young boy working on his village’s plantation watches as alien craft scream overhead. His first emotion is excitement… until the technologically superior aliens start shooting. He has no choice but to grow up quickly, becoming one of his village’s most trusted defenders.

Incursion is a short scifi story of a people defending themselves against an alien invasion, and shows what human nature may really mean. Approximately 3,200 words (13 printed pages).

I’ve got to go by e-book distributors’ minimum pricing rules and the story is out for $.99, so I also have this available for free download as PDF. Otherwise:

Amazon KindleBarnes & Noble NookApple iBooks

Would love to hear your feedback (and if you wanted to leave a few lines as an online review on the various e-book sites, I’d be forever in your debt…)

What are the dangers with Facebook’s organ donation initiative? New Short Story – OPT OUT

May 3, 2012 Leave a comment

(CNN) — On average, 18 people in the United States die each day waiting for an organ transplant.

Billionaire Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg wants to change that. He announced Tuesday that the social networking site wants to “help solve the crisis” by allowing users to volunteer as potential organ donors in the United States and the United Kingdom.

We think that a lot of people who might just be on the fence about whether or not they want to do this, could be convinced to do that,” Zuckerberg told ABC News. He described widespread acceptance of organ donation as “a shift in society that will probably take a while to fully take hold” until more Facebook users start sharing their experiences. “But I think that if people choose to share these stories with their friends, that can make a big difference over time.

But perhaps all isn’t what it seems… Could there be a pitfall to open-sharing of organ donation status, fueled by the instant global knowledge afforded by social networks? OPT-OUT, my new short story, explores one alternate future, one where the big blue social network has a hidden danger.

OPT-OUT is available for $.99 on Kindle, or free at Smashwords for other devices. Here’s the blurb and cover, hope you enjoy. And if you did, I’d greatly appreciate a few words in an online review.

A massive global social network announces an initiative to encourage its nearly one billion users to donate organs and body parts with just the click of a mouse. Millions of potential transplant recipients rejoice, but there is a dark side.

For a young, newly engaged professional in Portland Oregon, that dark side arrives wearing a smile and designer suit during a chance encounter at a train station.

What are the pitfalls and dangers of socially networking body parts? Should you OPT-OUT?

I got snookered…by a “free short story”

March 6, 2012 12 comments

I just wrapped up a great read over the weekend (plug: Crystal Rain by Tobias Buckell – muy excellente), and was in the mood for a quickie. Stop it…

No, a quick read. Nothing too deep; I’m in the midst of my own writing project, and it’s difficult for me to read and write at the same time (I’m always afraid of someone else’s style/technique/language seeping into my own). I opened up the BN store on my Nook, flipped through the scifi section, and found one by one of my favorite authors. I won’t name names here, since I’m annoyed by what happened, but he shares his first name with the original lead signer of Genesis, and last name with one of the Texas Rangers’ most powerful hitters. (Ready, set, Google!)

I downloaded it (freebie!), and it said 41 pages. Excellent, sounds like 20-30 minutes of relaxation. Starts off well, sounds like an interesting concept, then boom. I hit page 11 in about five minutes, and it’s over. And I’m not talking Nook pages vs. real world page count – this was page 11 out of 41. What happens on page 12? “Read further for sample chapters of [author’s name]’s new book.”

Yep – snookered. Thought I had a 41 page short story, and ended up with 30 pages of “samples” encouraging me to buy the next book. Hey, I totally understand marketing, and I can’t complain (too much) because the short story was free. And I have sample excerpts at the end of my books (though they are a minuscule percentage of the book content). But it just stuck in my craw* that this short story was nothing but a vehicle to sell other books.

* What exactly is a craw anyway?

This wasn’t written to entertain in my opinion, because after 11 pages there just isn’t enough to truly entertain – it did the opposite and annoyed me. It didn’t meet my expectations, and probably turned me off (for now) of buying that other book (I probably will later, because I love that author’s work, but if it were one I wasn’t familiar with? Not so sure).

If it was 11 pages and 1 page of “look what I have for sale”, fine. But for 75% of what I downloaded to be marketing material? Yeah, I feel snookered. I’m in the travel industry, and a lot of the hotels I visit have time share reps disguised as concierges or front desk staff. When I get caught up in a time share discussion when all I wanted was the restaurant opening/closing schedule, I feel snookered – just like I felt when I hit page 12.

Am I looking at this the wrong way? Should I just be happy with 11 pages of a short for free?

Categories: Thoughts Tags: , ,

Book Review: Unspoken Stories by B.C. Young

September 28, 2011 1 comment

REVIEW: 

Want to win a copy of the book? See the bottom of the post for details!

I’m not normally a short story reader; I prefer my time to be spent with full length, involved works, but the concept of Unspoken Stories (according to the author’s blog, named because without some friendly motivation and a new outlook on writing itself, he may never have written them) sounded fascinating. Five separate, unrelated, stories, all based in a different science fiction niche (some more scifi than others), all in one volume. I’m very glad I took the chance.

Unspoken Stories consists of Copy Bird, Going Home, Josie Dorri and the Coffee Ban, The Present, and Running to Keep Her. The author explained he wrote each one in a fairly short time frame; as such there are some minor editing issues, but nothing that would pull the reader from the story. One by one, my thoughts on each:

Copy Bird: A very unique present tense telling of a post-apocalyptic world. A man awakens in a burned out future society, thinking he’s alone, only to hear the call of a bird, speaking to him, pulling him along to an unknown destination. This was probably my favorite of the five. Great emotion and feelings of the protagonist, and a heartwarming ending.

Going Home: A young man has leave from military service against an alien invasion sweeping the human populated worlds, and takes time to visit his family and tries to keep his promise to them. This story started and ran slow for me, but when I completed it, my thoughts on it completely turned around. Looking at it as a whole, knowing the way it ends, made it an excellent tale.

Josie Dorri and the Coffee Ban: A different way of looking at the future Big Brother type society, one where cofee is banned, both for drinking and possessing. Easy to relate to, as well as easy to compare to some of today’s odd rules and regulations.

The Present:  A view on time travel from a personal perspective, and a twist on “what would you do if you could” with the added facet of how it affects others. Good flow, and relatively (no pun intended) easy to follow the timeline.

Running to Keep Her: A touching story about loss and what a man does to remember, and how that affects his life going forward.

Overall I enjoyed the volume. B. C. Young has a knack for storytelling and keeps the reader interested from start to finish. Even though each story was completely unrelated and stands on its own, they all have similarities and common threads that show Young can write. Looking forward to a few more short stories from him (never thought I’d say that…)

Unspoken Stories can be found for Kindle, Nook, and at Smashwords.

More information on the author can be found here:

Web Site/Blog: the-time-capsule.com
Facebook Author Page: facebook.com/authorbcyoung
WIN UNSPOKEN STORIES! Leave a comment below that lists the MISSPELLED WORD I typed above and I’ll choose one random correct guesser to receive an ebook copy of Unspoken Stories!