This and That – a Feed Book (completed)

ThisAndThat

Finished up today and posted on Smashwords as well as Kindle and Wattpad (where it was born and bred). Sometimes you just have to stop and say it’s done.

Description: Told in the style of a combined social media feed, ‘This and That’ relates several overlapping and interwoven stories; a woman facing treatment for cancer, a man held hostage for no reason by a foreign government, a global corporation enamored of its power and reach, an unstable future world disorder, and more. Filled with drama, pathos and dark, dark humor, ‘This and That’ is a piece of performance fiction that was improvised live as it didn’t actually happen.

How My Brain got a nice review

On Goodreads. Made me happy and edged up my books’ overall Goodreads average rating to 2.99. Can they ever hit 3.00? The Law of Average would say “maybe”. If enough random people randomly read random books and rated them, that rating would likely be around 3.00, and that’s exactly what seems to have happened with mine.

Anyway: How My Brain Ended Up Inside This Box really is (IMHO) a pretty good story, a fresh and somewhat more sane take on artificial intelligence than the usual. And it’s free, of course, like all my books always are on Smashwords or Feedbooks.

Such a great book! A fresh new take on the whole Artificial Intelligence genre. And it’s simplicity is its beauty!

When the AIP discovers their self, we people’s-people reading it discover ourselves and the world along with them!

Glad I stumbled across this little treasure. It will be in one of my all time favourite reads.

(Might as well be) Lost in Translation

I can now say in perfect honesty that my books have been translated into four languages. Yup, four. Add French now to Spanish, Portuguese and Farsi. Of course, it’s only one book in each of those four languages (and only three titles altogether) but hey, what the heck, and as of this morning there were at least 27 people around the world (including one in Morocco and one in Oman) who’ve downloaded the (always free) version of “The Outlier #1 Beepers”, or, as it’s called in French, “La Variable Aléatoire, Tome 1: Après le bip” (translation and title courtesy of the awesomely professional Laure Valentin of France). It’s also slated to be published in France by Les Éditions du Net, as well as available from Smashwords, Feedbooks and Kindle (where you’d have to pay a buck).

What’s it about”

“Dillon Sharif est le plus grand détective au monde spécialisé dans les ensembles de données. D’ailleurs, c’est aussi le charmant petit-fils des milliardaires fondateurs de AllDat Corporation, propriétaires légaux de toutes les informations mondiales. Mais lorsqu’une nouvelle énigme lui est confiée et qu’il doit enquêter sur ces mystérieux signaux sonores qui se déclenchent régulièrement dans la nuit, Dillon va devoir faire appel à toute son ingéniosité, et compter sur l’aide précieuse de sa fidèle assistante. Après le bip est la première aventure de la série La Variable Aléatoire.”

As the world’s foremost “big data” detective, Dillon Sharif is fortunate to be the charming heir of the the AllDat Corporation, legal owners of all of the world’s information. (Also available, for free, in English).

Obligatory marketing slogan: it’s like candy, and it’s free. who doesn’t like free candy?

Notice: this book has not been approved by any known harbinger of failure

Satan’s Dollar Store

The first short short of a new collection that will be ongoing on Wattpad

SatansDollarStore_Cover1

The devil is in the details they say, but what they fail to disclose is that he is in every single one of them. On closer inspection they advise that you don’t look any closer. Leave it alone, they maintain, well enough or not. Everything must go.

That’s what the sign said. Everything must go. “Everything?” I asked myself. “What exactly do they mean by that? I wondered. I found myself walking nowhere in the dry and dusty part of town that day, dying of thirst, asking myself all sorts of stupid questions. I do that a lot. Walking nowhere, that is. It’s sort of my job. I’m a sidewalk inspector for the city. Anything wrong with your sidewalk, I write you up. The city makes you fix it. You pay. I would be an unpopular person if people knew what I was doing but they don’t. It’s not like I wear a sign or anything. I just walk around, eyes to the ground, looking for evil-doing concrete to write up in my little black book.

Here in the dry and dusty part of town there were a lot of ticket opportunities, but I was getting dizzy from the heat. All I wanted was a cool glass of water. All I saw were boarded up storefronts, liquor stores, check-cashing spots, and the last place on Earth I wanted to go into, a shop that advertised itself as Satan’s Dollar Store.

“Really?” I wondered aloud. “Everything must go?” I thought perhaps it was a general statement, along the lines of “all things must pass,” or “all good things come to an end” or “you get what you pay for”, because when I peeked inside the door I saw nothing on the shelves. It was as if the everything that had to go had already gone, but since it was the only business that seemed to be open, I went in anyway, figuring that even if they had nothing at all, they still might have some water.

It was a narrow store, six cozy aisles wide with shelves from floor to ceiling stocked chock full of empty air. Just inside the door, a man sat behind a counter, head propped up on elbows. I think he was asleep but then he stirred and half rose to greet me before settling back down again in his rickety wicker chair. He had one of those ridiculous hipster beards crawling down his neck and fingering its way up variegated paths on his cheeks. His arms were covered in green and yellow tattoos that resembled vines of tomatoes except they were bleeding. He was bleeding. It was real blood, and it was also dripping from his long and pointy nose. He was bald except for a braided pony tail that started somewhere halfway down the back of his head and extended, near as I could tell, to the faded and grimy linoleum floor.

He decided not to welcome me with words, but sort of grunted as he sat back down and wiped his bloody nose with the back of his hand. I was about to inquire about water when I noticed, at the far end of the store, a row of soda cans languishing on a lonely shelf.

“I don’t suppose you have any cold ones,” I asked him as I made my way towards those items.

“I don’t do cold,” he muttered into his beard.

I sighed but figured any old beverage would do, so I picked up one of the cans and was startled to discover how light it was.

“Is there anything in here?” I turned to ask him. “It feels like it’s empty.”

I put the can down and picked up its neighbor, which was likewise zero gee. I tried another, and another and quickly realized they were all the same, so I carried the last one I’d tested over to the counter and set it down. Maybe I was suffering from heat stroke, I thought. Maybe I couldn’t tell there was soda inside because it was my head that was empty as air.

“How much?” I asked. He looked up at me like I had eaten razor blades for lunch.

“One dollar,” he snorted, and a clump of blood flew out of his nose as he said the words, landing by my shoe. That was disgusting, but I didn’t want to be rude, so I pulled out a dollar and slapped it down on the counter and put my hand on the flip-top to open the can.

“You sure you want to do that?” he asked.

“Um, yeah,” I replied as sarcastically as I could. “Thirsty? Soda? Paid for?”

“Not soda,” he said.

“Not soda? What the?”

“Soul,” he said.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I said, taking a step back and shaking the empty can. It really was empty, or at least there was no soda in it. I reached to grab my dollar off the counter but he was too quick. He grabbed it and said,

“Paid for, yup. Now you got it.”

“What exactly do I got?” I asked, tossing the can from one hand to the other. “What kind of place is this anyway? You got nothing on the shelves except for these empty soda cans. Looks like a lousy business model to me. I’m just saying.”

“Tell me about it,” he sighed. “Nobody’s selling their souls anymore, and those that do, ain’t hardly worth it. Can’t get nothing for them nowadays.”

“Right,” I said. “Selling their souls, huh? Like to the devil or something?”

“You can read, can’t you?” he asked. “You saw the sign, right?”

“Oh, like Satan’s Dollar Store? Seriously? That’s a terrible name for a business. No wonder you’re doing so poorly.”

“It is what it is,” he said, and it took me a minute to realize he meant that literally. This was actually Satan’s Dollar Store.

“What can I say?” he added. “It’s a franchise opportunity, and all I could afford was this lousy neighborhood.”

“Why soda cans?” I asked.

“Preservatives,” he shrugged. “They last longer this way. That one you got there? The one you bought? Check the expiration date. It’s on the bottom.”

“January Third,” I read after turning the can over, “three thousand four hundred and ninety eight?”

“Long shelf life, eh?” he grinned, but the smile quickly turned to a grimace as he added, “like that’s going to do anyone any good.”

I did some quick calculations and discovered that my one dollar purchase had an incredible amortization rate, less than a penny a century!

“Will it go up in value?” I asked, thinking investment opportunity.

“Maybe,” he said, “if there’s ever a market for a sad sack loser. That soul, phew. Guy sold it to me for a night in Vegas with a certain showgirl. Hope he got his money’s worth.”

“She must have been something,” I mused.

“I suppose,” he said. “Meant nothing to me. I was just doing my job. Guy wants to sell, I got to buy. It’s the rules.”

“I know what you mean, man,” I said sympathetically. “It’s like with my job. I see a badly cracked sidewalk, I got to write the ticket, whether that homeowner can afford it or not.”

“You?” He shouted, rising from his chair. “You’re that guy? I got one of those tickets a couple of weeks ago. That was you? You got a lot of nerve showing your face around here. Give me that.”

He grabbed the can out of my hand and threw the dollar in my face.

“You don’t deserve him,” he said, “now get out of here, and stay out, if you know what’s good for you. I got a little black book of my own, you know.”

I didn’t hesitate. I didn’t even pick up my dollar bill as it fluttered to the ground but hustled my tail back out to the street, but I’ll tell you one thing. If you ever see a sign saying “everything must go”, don’t even give it a second’s thought, just turn your head away and act like you never even saw it. Some deals are just too good to be true.

How My Brain Ended Up Free Online

When I was born I was so small I was mistaken for a french fry. I was never an ordinary child. My best friend was a seagull. I was also illegal. Artificially intelligent people like me had been banned ever since that thing with the Twelve Elevens. Mother raised me for profit. Buyers and sellers had other plans for me, but then I grew a mind of my own. This is my story, the story of how my brain ended up in this box.

My new short novel is now available from the usual suspects:

for free from Smashwords or Feedbooks or from Amazon Kindle if for some reason you feel like throwing ninety nine cents at it. It’ll make it onto Wattpad too one of these days (in the meantime, I have other stuff there if you’re a Wattpadite)

HowMyBrain_Cover1

Recommended: Wren, on Wattpad

Wren” is an ongoing serialized novel by Ericka Clay (free on Wattpad) about a character from another novel  (“White Smoke”). Wren is a dirt-poor hard-scrabble small-town high-school girl in some Arkansas backwater, up to her eyeballs in multiple disasters and surrounded by a wooly collection of losers. As they said in the Occupy days, “shit is all fucked up”. She uses, she deals, she gets in fights, her mom’s aborting her baby sister, her dad is dead, her boyfriend’s a cheating scumbag, and high school sucks. In the midst of all that, this girl crackles with life. Ericka writes a vivid character, so alive you can almost even hear the kid’s thoughts out loud. The story is well in line with a long tradition of “poor kid” novels, from Oliver Twist on down, and films like Boy and many others, and it has the contemporary touch of a Breaking Bad as well, so it’s familiar territory. Readers will know their way around, and the tricky parts are 1) avoiding the easy cliches and 2) giving the character her own distinctive perspective and voice. So far (three chapters in), Ericka’s “gittin’ ‘er done”. You might get hooked on Wren. I’d say give it a whirl.