Fiction Friday – Winking Existance Part 2

I know this is early, but I will probably be busy tomorrow. My son turns 5, so here we go!

If you missed part one, go here, then come back.

Bright lights, white walls, the safe room. I could hear my assistant shouting.

and then I was back in the store. Had I just dreamed that? Was is a hallucination brought on by stress? My bracelet glowed yellow now, the dim glow indicating that I had some connection with the device, a weak signal. Not enough to get me home safe. But it was nice to know that people were trying.

I discovered that my idea was not original, the bikes had been ransacked, only the smallest of child’s bikes remained,tumbled on the floor and crushed underfoot by an earlier stampede.I managed to find a bike in the back of the store. It was not a display model, it was banged up, with a warped wheel, but it would have to do. I dragged it outside and set off along the street, following the path of abandoned cars.

In a little over an hour, this city was going to go up in a wall of flames. The mortality rate would be low, people had enough of a heads up and got out of the city early enough, but if I wasn’t gone be then, I would be one of those statistics. I pedalled on, zigzagging between cars. My knees screamed at me with each turn of the pedals, my hands throbbed as they held the handlebars, but I knew I had to push on.

At least there wasn’t much traffic.

The downtown streets had a numbing sameness to them, void of people they were void of personality. The stores were empty shells, without purpose or meaning. I grew numb, desensitized, watching only the pavement just ahead of the wheel, scanning for glass or other detritus that would ruin my fragile transport. A dull sound made me look up, just in time to see a bat swinging at my head.

I spun the handlebars of my bike and ducked, deflecting much of the force of the blow, but it was still enough to knock me from my seat. I sprawled on the ground, knees and hands once again taking the brunt of the pain.

I rolled away from the bike and got up quickly to spot my attacker advancing. He was dirty and dishevelled, long hair matted and tangled,twisted into his beard. His clothes were filthy and torn, his shoes were held together with tape.There was a cold, calculating look in his eye, though. I had a bike, he wanted a bike. He also had a weapon.

The bat swung through the air at me. I ducked backward, feeling it the wind of it on my face.

“You should just walk away, man,” my attacker said to me. “Just walk away and you might live. I just want the bike.” He twitched and juddered as he spoke, shoulders jumping and popping, the bat danced in his hand.

“I give you my bike, I’m as good as dead. Why didn’t you leave with everyone else?” I took a careful step back, trying to get out of the range of the bat in case he tried to hit me again.

He stepped forward, not letting me go far. “Didn’t know to go, was underground.  In the subways. More of us there. Lots and lots. But now I know. Gotta go.”  He held the bat over his head and swung down, I just managed to dance out of the way.  His face flashed with pain as the bat crashed against the pavement, the impact must have hurt his hands and wrists. I lashed out with my foot, kicking at the bat.It hurt a hell of a lot, but the bat went soaring out of his hands, I could hear it clatter and roll away behind a car. He grunted in surprise, but spun on his heel and aimed a punch at me. It wasn’t hard, but in my condition with was enough to knock me down. My head cracked against the pavement. Everything lost focus. The man was on top of me now, I could feel his weight on my chest, his rotten smell filled my nostrils.

“Stupid fucking prick,” he shouted, pushing his face into mine. “All you had to do was give me the bike. Just the bike. But no, you had to be a prick!” He started punching me, blows smashing into my face and head. I could feel blood pouring out of my nose.

And that’s when I winked out of existence.

Lost Gods eBook Deal!

More and more of my friends and fellow podcasters are selling their work at Smashwords.com, and for good reason. When you purchase a book there, you are getting it in any eBook format you want. Your story is readable on every eReader that I know if. There is no DRM, so you can have a copy on your home computer, your laptop, your smart phone, hey, even your iPad if you got one of those.

It’s a good deal is what I am saying.

I’d have been buying a bunch of eBooks there, but I would like to do more to support my friends. So here is the deal, if you buy a Smashwords book from the following list of authors, email me, and I will send you a coupon so you can get the Smashwords version of Lost Gods for only 99 cents, and I will throw in my short story Double Deal for free!

So, buy any story, email me, get a novel and another story for only 99 cents.

Here are some people you can check out:

Scott Roche – Pulp Horror and Fantasy meet and have children that are Scott Roche’s stories.

James Melzer – Canada’s OTHER greatest podnovelist – UPDATE – James reminded me his stuff is all free, so to take part in this deal, just leave him a review. That’s right, get HIS STUFF FREE, review it, and then get MY STUFF FREE (or greatly reduced). What could be better than that?? Free CANADIAN fiction!

Jennifer Hudock – Urban Fantasy, Zombies, what more could you want?

John Mireau – Canada’s OTHER OTHER greatest podnovelist, SF master.

Paul Cooley – the Feindmaster himself.

Nobilis Reed – He brings the spice to the party. Spice is a euphemism for erotica, just so we are clear. UPDATE – Nobilis has a whole page at his site dedicated to where his stuff is for sale, so if you get ANYHTHING from him from ANYWHERE, let me know and I will include you in the deal! Check it out here:  http://nobiliserotica.com/site/book-index/

Xina Marie Uhl – The book is called Necropolis. What else do you need?

Cheryl Dyson – This one has a gauntlet. A THROWN gauntlet. Go check it out.

Made In DNA – He lives in Japan.  JAPAN, people. And he writes about Hyperviolence and Sex. At the same time.
So, support your friendly hardworking neighbourhood author, and get some fiction from me! Just drop me a line at drewbeatty at gmail dot com, and I will send you your coupon code!

The joy of editing

Share photos on twitter with TwitpicOne of the least pleasant tasks for most writers is editing. Once the story or novel is finished, authors are done with it. But editing a finished work is an important part of the process. It’s not enough to run a quick spell check, a manuscript takes careful and thoughtful consideration. One thing I do to help me with the editing process is to print out a copy and break out a trusty pen.

I know some people will be shocked by this. Yes, I understand the advantages of editing on a computer, and believe me, i do a lot of that as well, but there are specific reasons that I use the printed page as well.

The first reason is that I find more mistakes this way. The human brain is trained to process information in different ways. While I can correct the majority of my errors on the computer, there are some that slip by. The majority of the reading I do on the computer is scanning, and that is how I process information. Editing is not scanning. You need to look carefully and slowly. Paper helps accomplish this.

I also find that the story becomes more alive for me. I grew up with paper books, and while I love eBooks, the physical nature of the paper helps me to make the worlds I create more concrete, more real. I find that I can not only find basic grammar and spelling mistakes, but I can also find blocks of dead or dull writing, and make them stronger. There is an immersive quality to writing on paper that just doesn’t exist on the computer.

There is an environmental concern, yes. I try to purchase recycled paper,  and it goes into the blue box. I also try to reuse pages, printing on the other side, or finding another use for the pages to help offset the expense, both financial and environmental.

So, when will you be able to see the fruits of this editing? Stay tuned for some announcements soon.

If you have any editing techniques that help you, feel free to share them in the comments.

Zombie Awareness Month

Hey people.

May is Zombie Awareness Month. Why is that, you ask? Well, apparently a hell of a lot of Zombie movies take place in May. I don’t know why, perhaps people think that the beauty of spring contrasts thematically to shambling corpses so nicely. Or the rebirth of animated corpses mirroring the rebirth of of nature. In the northern hemisphere, anyhow.

So, here are some things to help you celebrate Zombie Awareness Month. You can send your friends a witty postcard to let them know the joy of Zombie Awareness Month. You can deck out your Twitter and Facebook Avatars with these handsome Twibbons. Finally, you can buy Zombonauts, the anthology in which my “Zombies in Space” story appears.

Other cool Zombie related media include The Zombie Chronicles by Canada’s own James Melzer, The Zombie Doubleshot stories by Jennifer Hudock, and the Lost Zombies project. Have fun, and if you see any shambling corpses, call the authorities! They won’t listen to you or anything, but it can’t hurt.

But call them as you are running away from the zombies. That’s just good sense.

Edward G. Talbot is rocking the shorts

Ebook shorts, that is! This Mayday, May 1, 2010, Edward G. Talbot is releasing two ebook collections of short stories. A Funny Pair of Shorts contains three humorous shorts, while  A Horrifying Pair Of Shorts has three horror stories. Each set is only 99 cents!

Being the upstanding writer-type he is, you can read a sample of the stories, so you know what you are getting into.

For all of the details, including a groovy contest, go to Edward G. Talbot’s site right now!

A conversation about eBooks

Recently I had the opportunity to join fellow podcasters Scott Roche and James Melzer in a Skype discussion about eBooks. We talked about different distribution models, Smashwords, how to publicize our efforts and more.

James had a lot of interesting things to say regarding the free model, and it seems that the conversation has helped focus his thoughts, because today he announced that he will be giving his short fiction away for free.

Scott has posted the discussion on his website. I hope you find it interesting.

She’s at it again!

Jenny Hudock is an unstoppable force of fiction. This week she has not one, but 2 stories for sale. I know what you’re thinking “She’s just trying to milk us for $1.98. I see what she’s doing there!” Well, you couldn’t be more wrong.

It’s 2 stories, for 99 cents. I bet you feel like a bit of a tool now, eh? Wanna know more? You can also get a podcast version free with purchase of the eBook.

So, get yourself over to Smashwords, and check this one these two out. Here’s a little taste:

Treed

I know it’s stupid, but I wish I had a backpack full of brains instead of a week’s supply of granola and dried fruit. Unfortunately when you’re packing for a big hike, the last thing you really worry about is how you’re going to fend off the walking dead. I’m more or less convinced that a backpack full of brains would be a good distraction, allowing me to climb down from this tree while they were feasting and run away.

So far, the tree has been a pretty safe haven. The dead aren’t smart enough to climb trees; they’re clumsy. These last two hours though, their focus seems to have gotten sharper, and I know it’s because I’m the only meal within a ten mile radius. And that is where the brains would come in handy. I’d only need to throw one or two of them and then watch them all stumble after it like broken dogs fighting over a bone.

Instead of brains though, I have granola bars and banana chips and enough water to choke a horse in the desert. I don’t even have a gun, and even if I did, I wouldn’t know the first thing about how to use it. I’m just a girl, and before you say, “Well I guess that was your first mistake,” I’ll have you know that I survived the first attack. I swung my way through a wave of hungry, dead campers while my boyfriend Keith was overwhelmed and torn limb from limb like a Thanksgiving turkey at a homeless shelter.

The last thing I heard him say was, “Run, Laura! Run!” That second “run” was wet, and it gurgled in his throat like hair in a clogged drain.
I didn’t ask questions. With a heavy branch in my hand, I picked up my feet and booked outta there Olympic-gold-medal-track-runner-style.

Keith’s garbled screams echoed off the canyons, and I ran until I couldn’t hear them anymore. By the time I stopped to catch my breath and shed a couple of tears, I was lost.

When we were attacked, we had already hiked about two days from the state park parking lot. Silly me left Keith in charge of both the compass and the GPS, which meant I was more or less screwed, and I wasn’t going back for either one. I didn’t even realize just how badly I was screwed until I circled back around the same rock formation the fifth time, stifling my own screams of frustration.

That was then I saw them. There were five of them staggering toward me in dusty clothes, their gore-crusted mouths gaping, innards strewn like gutted trout. Three of them were pretty badly decomposed from the smell of them, and the other two looked more like recent victims. Possibly even victims of the rotting corpses leading the way.

For a second I was scared that Keith was right behind them, but so far there’s been no sign of him.

Hey, I have a story up at Smashwords!

Hey all you beautiful people,

I know what you are saLasVegasCoverBlogying right now. “Drew is being awfully complementary, he must want something.” If that is what you were thinking, shame on you. I don’t want anything from you.

Well, now that you mention it, there is one thing.

I have a short story up at Smashwords.com. It’s called Double Deal. It already has 1 four star review, and Patrick Pillars says:

“Double Deal is a very good story with a protagonist you’re pulling for, right from the beginning. With excellent description and crisp language, the reader is right there, right in the story. I look forward to more titles from Mr. Beatty.”

So that is pretty cool.

Here is the other cool thing. You can buy it for just 99 cents! I mean, 99 cents, less than the cost of a cup of coffee, and you can have Double Deal in a variety of eBook formats. Take it with you on the go. Read it on your phone, computer, laptop, or iPad thingie.

You can buy it here. I hope you like it.

Jennifer Hudock’s “Call of the Selkie” now available!

Those of you that already know Jennifer Hudock know at least two things: She’s awesome, and she’s a hell of a writer. She is doing a cool, empowering thing – selling her short fiction online through Smashwords. Her most recent selection is now available, here is a sneak peak:

Call of the Selkie

Sure, I had memories, golden days in the park when he couldn’t push me high enough on the swings, summer afternoons wading through the creek catching crayfish, and how his knowledge of the stars could easily turn a sleepless night into adventure. He sang me ancient lullabies in a language I never learned, and his bedtime stories came from the heart, not the pages of a book. I knew that I got my green eyes from him, the red sheen of my hair from his mother’s grandmother, and the freckles from his brother, Owen, whom I had never met. Yes, I had more than enough memories to carry me through, but it was his paintings that lingered on after he was gone.

Despite living in the middle of farm country Pennsylvania, all of my father’s paintings were of the sea in its many guises. Each painting was a tiny piece of him that he’d left behind, the only goodbye note before he mysteriously disappeared that afternoon while I was at school. Every night after he left I sneaked into his studio, stood in the half-dark of the setting sun and tried to decipher the messages he’d left me. Orange slices of sunset slanted through the blinds behind me as I watched the raging sea roil inside the canvas. Alive and overwhelmingly real, in the silence I could hear the distant call of gulls as the waves smashed like fists upon the shore.

Eventually my mother put a lock on the door and gave me a stern lecture about putting the past behind us. She did it just to punish me. She was jealous that the paintings spoke to me, but more afraid that I might discover some hint about where he’d gone. Maybe she worried that I would follow and forget her just like he did. She hid the key so well that entry was impossible. I didn’t cry, or fight her though I needed to. I wanted to scream and tear the smug look from her face, but instead I acted like I didn’t care. She took away from me the last physical connection I had to my father, and for that I could never forgive her.

It wasn’t long after she locked the door that I began to dream myself inside the paintings. Drifting from wave to wave, surrounded by a host of sleek, grey seals, whose joyful song soared high above the waves. Around and around the seals swam in an ancient spiral dance, and then my father appeared from the edge of the circle, young again, younger than I’d ever seen him even in photographs, but his eyes always gave him away. He smiled, and it was a real smile.

“It’s time to come home,” he said.

He held out his hand, and I grasped his fingers, but as he disappeared beneath the water, the waves pushed me upward every time I tried to follow. No matter how I tried, I couldn’t follow where he went, as though the sea itself kept spitting me out. One by one the seals all disappeared and darkness drew the sun away. Alone, buoyant, wave over wave of salt musk and hundreds of miles between me and dry land, I laid back and floated beneath the endless stars while moonlight rippled silver sheets over my ocean bed.

Get the rest at Smashwords!

In Space, Nobody Can Hear Them Eat Your Freaking Brain

ZombonautsI got a great early birthday present this weekend, my contributor copy of Zombonauts: Undead in Space! This is a fantastic Library of the Living Dead production, combining Zombies and Science fiction. That right.

Zombies. In Space!

My meagre contribution is a little tale called “Firebird”, but there are 30 OTHER stories in this anthology. 31 Zombie stories.

Excuse me, 31 ZOMBIES IN SPACE stories!

You can pick it up from the fine people at Amazon, if you are into that sort of thing. It’s a seriously fantastic, twisted grouping that I think a lot of people will enjoy. If you have read it, let me know what you think!