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Once upon a time, in a land far far away, it was a dark and stormy night. This is not that story. Nope, this is the story of how I wrote a book, one that I got some people to read, and then used their helpful insights to polish. The experience was fun and enriching. I learned a lot. Mostly I learned how not to blow a hole in the solar system and how there are geneticists today thinking about chimeras.
That last part should scare the hell out of you.
If you want to know more about that just click here to read Eric Klein’s interview of me. Lots of science and some profanity.
Anyway, like I said, I wrote a book. Specifically THE BRITTLE RIDERS. It’s a fun look at human hubris, genetics gone wild, and the death of all things.
And, much to my surprise, I found a publisher, Azoth Khem, who liked it, offered me a contract, and set it on the path for human enjoyment.
Now the fun began.
I had commissioned a cover from Jiba Molei Anderson. It’s the image above and to the left of this article. As you can see it’s a dystopian succubus. As you may not have noticed, it signals that my book is porn.
You didn’t notice that? Well, neither did I, the publisher, or anyone involved, until Amazon flagged it and moved it to the erotic ghetto.
I have nothing against erotica. But if that’s what you’re looking for you were doomed to be disappointed by my book. And if you were looking for sci fi you weren’t poring through the copious amounts of mommy porn and dino-erotica (yes, that’s a thing) to find it.
Suffice it to say sales sagged.
Then, after almost a year of screaming at clouds, it got moved out of there and into … you know what’s coming, don’t you? …. African Women’s studies.
While I tend to wear black, and do like funk, I am not now, nor have I ever been, an African woman. I’m so pale I’m nearly translucent. Once again, this was a bad fit. And, once again, I wasn’t in the right search categories.
Obviously I didn’t belong there either. Nice people, amazing authors, but not really what I do or am. And I doubt they would want to be associated with my dubious ilk.
After another round of screaming at clouds I finally got moved into the sci-fi dystopian categories.
And then my book disappeared. On my Amazon page I was now credited with books on golf, a sport I loathe, tennis, one I know nothing about, and a country song. Oh, and a treatise on the Bible. That last one has since disappeared forever, but for one brief shining moment I looked like an author with wildly different interests and no way to tie them together.
A quick run through their search engine showed there are multiple people named Bill McCormick and Amazon had somehow, despite different account info for each, mixed them up.
This time I wasn’t going to yell at a cloud. I wanted a fucking human I could unleash my wrath on. So I called Amazon, found a human, he turned out to be nice, and we were off to the races.
He quickly understood the problem. So he started ticking off the titles into categories so he could straighten them out online. Bill McSports, Bill McCountry, and so on until he hit Bill McSciFi. The light bulb that went off in my head, when he said it, could have been a beacon in a dust storm.
I had the domain name within a week.
Now, with the books on the correct author pages, and me in the right categories, we were off to the races again …… right?
You see, Azoth Khem doesn’t just publish on Amazon. They deliver to stores, multiple online sites, and so on. And some of those nice people, finally able to see what I hath wrought, thought the cover was too racy.
So I said FUCK, loudly and often, and got Brhi Peres to do a new cover for me. She’s wonderful to work with and tends to create images without people. Scandalous or otherwise. Using silhouettes created by Brian “Bigger Lion” Daniels, she designed a pleasant dystopian hellscape that made everyone happy.
Yeah, this time it is.
Nearly two years to the day from when it was originally published it is now headed to brick and mortar stores in the U.K., some in the U.S., and being added, internationally, in as many places as they can find to take it.
So there’s hope yet.
Now, if you buy me a drink sometime I’ll tell you the story about how a Russian site snagged a Kindle copy and sold 35,000 copies of it over there before we could stop them.
Yeah, that was entertaining. And, no, we never saw a penny.
Being an author is fun.
That’s the deadline for submitting your short story. Details at:
Send us your best short story, poem, flash fiction or piece of an experimental nature.
“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”
– Zig Ziglar
Submissions are invited for a short story anthology to be published by the Writers’ Co-op. No theme is set but stories should broadly fit into the genre ‘weird’ – to be interpreted as you wish.
Maximum word count is 5000 (we’re not strict on that). No minimum word count. Deadline: 31st March.
Entries to be sent to curtis.bausse(at)outlook.com with the subject heading ‘weird story submission’. All entries will be acknowledged and decision of acceptance or not will be notified as soon as possible after the deadline.
More details at:
(Just for fun Flash Fiction, 384 words)
“There be some what say Master Beadle here is naught in his right mind.” Old Geeze glared defiantly at the crowd gathered in the town Bar & Grill & Bar.
“Bat-shit crazy, you mean.” Fat Stockton, the town butcher, was not to be intimidated by man nor beagle. “That dog ate just enough of my cow to not kill it!”
“Poor thing.” Mavis Beth shook her head. “I seen her. Reminded me o’the time those Aliens camped outside a’town and traded in their dung for cow parts.”
Several in the crowd nodded. “I still got some of that,” said one. “It’s sealed it in a Mason Jar ’cause o’the smell.”
“Sold mine on eBay,” another said.
“Well, it weren’t Master Beadle here what ate on your cow, Fat. Ask him.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean don’t take my word for it. Ask him for yerself!”
Fat snorted. “He talks?”
“Of course he talks. And he’s for sale, too. Twenty dollars.”
“That true?” Mavis asked.
“Yup,” said the dog. “It’s true. Unfortunately. Old Geeze here is tired of me always prattling on about things he doesn’t know and places he’s never going to see.”
There followed a hubbub of astonishment at the unbelievable that eventually faded into awe. Master Beadle looked every man and woman, one by one, in the eye before continuing.
“I ran with Alien traders for years. We traveled the galaxy, buying and selling all manner of goods. We carried crap to third-world worlds, ran guns to the Farside Raiders, even sold Mind Flowers to the ladies on Heavenly.” He paused, a dreamy look coming into his eyes as his head lifted a little. “Ahh, the bitches I have known, the adventures! The smells of alien markets! All that food… did you know,” he looked directly at the butcher, “That if well fed, I can occasionally glimpse the future?”
“No,” said Fat Stockton, slipping a twenty-dollar bill to Old Geeze with one hand and with the other taking the dog by its collar. “You’ll have to tell me all about that.” He led Master Beadle to the door, paused and turned. “Geeze? This dog is amazing! Why did you sell it for only $20?”
Old Geeze pocketed the money. “’Cause. That damned dog’s a liar! He never did any o’that shit.”