Saturday, February 24, 2018

From the SHOWCASE archives...

Fiction: • “Under the Shimmering Lights,” by Jamie Lackey •

Kirima’s ice skates hissed as she glided across her frozen pond. Four smooth strokes, then three crossovers, her left foot over her right, then four more strokes. Her skates left gouges and a trail of ice shavings. Her hair clung to her temples, and her breath misted in the cold air.

She hated the cold and the short hours of thin gray sunlight. As a child, she’d dreamed of hot winds and brown mountains and regularly spaced days and nights.

But she had always loved the dancing lights, and she came home when her grandmother wrote to beg her to save them...

» Read the rest of the story »

Nota bene: I’m bubbling this one back to the top because, a.) it has figure-skating in it, b.) it’s a good excuse to put in a plug for Jamie’s superb story, “The Life Tree,” in Stupefying Stories #18, and c.) we just finished reading the galleys for Jamie’s excellent short story collection, A Metal Box Floating Between Stars, which is coming out in April (I think) from Air and Nothingness Press, and we wanted to put in a plug for it.

A little something for the weekend...

Black Panther • Movie review by Sean CW Korsgaard •

Ten years into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, every time you think they’ve peaked, they’ve proved us wrong, and yet with Black Panther they very well might have outdone even themselves. Where delivering the black answer to Iron Man would likely have been enough, instead, they’ve done far more with Black Panther, delivering an Afro-futurist James Bond with the level of mythos and background characters usually reserved for something like Star Wars or Lord of the Rings. It’s grand, it’s great, and brother, let me tell you, it more than delivers on the hype.

Following the events of Captain America: Civil War, Prince T’Challa, the Black Panther, returns to Wakanda to bury his father and assume the throne as the new king. He takes control of a kingdom facing a crossroads, and a decision on which path to take for the future of the isolated African nation: to continue the centuries of isolation, or to open Wakanda to the world, for good and for ill. The path will not be an easy one. With foes like Ulysses Klaue and Erik Killmonger taking shots at T’Challa abroad, and the sins of the father being laid bare at home, one thing is for sure: uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Stupefying Stories #20 Book Release: After Action Report

Thanks to everyone who helped promote last Friday’s release of Stupefying Stories 20.

I’m pleased to report that in the 24-hour promotional period we gave away 968 free ebooks, catapulting SS #20 to the #1 spot on Amazon’s Science Fiction Anthologies bestseller list. Between this and the results of the SS #19 release promotion, I think we can now safely consider the Alice Cooper Theory to be proven. That is, it’s easy to hit the top of the charts. All you need to do is something big enough, loud enough, ridiculous enough,  and expensive enough.

Staying at the top of the charts, though: that’s the next mystery to be solved.

I’m also pleased to report that the hoped-for knock-on effects have materialized, to some extent. These promotions do lift the sales of our other titles. Compared to buying Amazon or Facebook advertising, these free ebook promotions produce a far better return on investment and are a far more effective way of introducing readers to the kinds of books and stories we publish. So if you’re one of those people who wrote to me to say something like, “I almost feel guilty taking it for free,” don’t be. We want you to take free ebooks when we offer them. We want you to like what we’re publishing, and most of all, we want you to tell your friends about what we’re doing and how much you like it.

But if you truly do want to repay our kindness, then here’s something you can do that will really help: write a review.

It doesn’t have to be much. A line or two will do: something as simple as “I really liked [this story]” or “Nice collection. Didn’t totally bore me to sleep.” Amazon, we’ve learned, will cheerfully collect your star ratings, but only attaches them to the listing for a book if there is some written comment.

Reader reviews really do help. It takes ten reader reviews just to get Amazon to notice. At fifty reader reviews all sorts of good promotional things kick in. The whole point of Amazon’s marketing system is to find out what people like and then sell them more of it. Ergo, your comments really do matter, because that’s what Amazon tracks to determine what the marketplace likes, and comments from confirmed purchasers (which includes everyone who’s downloaded a free ebook) matter most of all.

End of sermon. Time to pass the collection plate. If you’ve downloaded any of these ebooks during any of our recent free ebook promotions and enjoyed what you read, please take a minute to rate the book and comment on it.

Bruce Bethke
Stupefying Stories | Rampant Loon Press

Amazon links:
Stupefying Stories 12
Stupefying Stories 13
Stupefying Stories 14
Stupefying Stories 15
Stupefying Stories 16
Stupefying Stories 17
Stupefying Stories 18
Stupefying Stories 19
Stupefying Stories 20

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Book Release / Free eBook Friday


To celebrate the release of STUPEFYING STORIES #20, we’re giving away the Kindle edition FREE for the cost of a click—but only for the next 24 hours, beginning at Midnight tonight, West Coast time.

Tell your friends! Tell your family! Tell people you know who aren’t such good friends but still like to get free ebooks! Share the news!

But share it soon, because at midnight tomorrow night, this book goes back to normal price.


features the gut-grabbing cover story, “Zombie Like Me,” by Clancy Weeks, along with a terrific mix of fantasy, light horror, demons, abominations, vampires, old family secrets, very nasty little fairies, and Bo Balder’s remarkably strange but charming story, “Alien Whispering.” If nothing else, read “Endeavor to Dream on Broken Wings,” so you can someday tell people that you were reading AJ Finley before anyone else had heard of her.
HOW TO BUILD A TRAIN • by Brandon Kempner
LUCKY FIND • by Lance Young
SECRET SEED • by Shannon Norland
ZOMBIE LIKE ME • by Clancy Weeks

But wait, there’s more!

To sweeten the deal, we are also giving away, absolutely FREE for the cost a click, Book #1 in Henry Vogel’s bestselling Fugitive Heir trilogy. Here’s the pitch:

In a galaxy where psychics are hunted outlaws...

Matt Connaught’s parents have vanished. He knows that they are still alive. But powerful people want them to stay vanished, and if Matt reveals how he knows what he knows, his life as a free man is over.

To rescue them, and save himself, he must become…




(The audio books, it’s worth noting, are typically free with an Amazon Audible trial subscription.)

(It’s also worth noting that if I was writing a review of this book, I’d begin by saying, “Imagine if Robert Heinlein had written Slan,” as that really does pin the idea down in one succinct phrase. A pity no one has used those words in a review yet.)

And one more thing....

Authors and publishers really appreciate it when readers take the time to put in a good word for a book they like. It’s not just for our egos: word-of-mouth really helps to sell books. If you take any of these free ebooks, and you like what you read, please, please, please take a moment to give the book a good rating, or put in a good word for it on Goodreads, or maybe even write a quick review. The authors you like will appreciate it, and they will show their appreciation by writing even more great books and stories for you to enjoy!

Thank you.