If you enjoy listening to me read you a story, and you enjoy the stories I write, I have something that may be relevant to your interests…
It’s one hour and forty minutes long, and is available for five bucks at my bandcamp thingy with no DRM because DRM sucks.
Last year, a couple of weeks before Halloween, I had this idea to write a short, supernatural horror story. At the time, I was deep in the first draft of the short story that became a novella that really wants to be a novel (which has since been titled “All We Ever Wanted Was Everything”), so switching tracks to work on something different was intended to be a quick detour that would give me something to release for Halloween. WELP. That short story ended up being about 14000 words, which I guess is called a Novelette. Novelette sounds less cool than both short story and novella, but I don’t make the rules, Dottie, I just break them.
My understanding of the publishing business leads me to believe this length falls into a weird place, so rather than try to find a home for it in the traditional publishing world, I’m just going to publish it myself, today. Seriously. There are links to buy it at the end of this post.
Dead Trees Give No Shelter is about Jay Turner, a broken and lonely man who has been adrift since his brother’s murder when they were children. Now, after twenty years away, Jay has come back to his hometown of Garron, Ohio, to uncover the truth about his brother’s death.
Here’s an excerpt:
12:21 a.m. October 16, 2014
Kenneth Blake strained his eyes, looking past his own reflection toward the room of witnesses on the other side of the one-way glass. He hoped that Jay Turner was in that room, hoped that Jay was there to hear him speak one last time.
Walter Davis looked at the phone on the wall. It had rung only once in the twenty-six years he’d been warden, and it would not ring tonight. Kenneth Blake was as guilty as any prisoner who had been strapped to that gurney, and no governor – reelection campaign or not – was going to pardon a child killer. He checked his watch against the digital clock on the wall above the phone. It was time.
“Mister Blake, it is my duty, under the laws of the great state of Ohio, to carry out your execution. It is it your right, under those same laws, to make a statement if you wish.”
Kenneth nodded his head at Warden Davis. He bore him no ill will. The warden was just doing his job, playing his part in the complex machinery of what passed for justice in twenty-first-century America. That Kenneth was, in truth, innocent of the murder of little Charlie Turner, twenty years earlier almost to the day, was of no account now.
He tried to coax some spit out of his mouth, failed, and licked his lips with a dry tongue.
“I just wanna say that I forgive you, warden. I forgive you and the judge, and the prosecutor, because you think you know the truth but you don’t. Mister Turner, if you’re out there, I want to say to you that I’m sorry I couldn’t save your little brother. I done my best, though, and I’m sorry I failed you.”
Warden Davis stood next to the gurney, hands clasped in front of his belt, stoic.
“Mister Blake, may G –”
“But you know I didn’t hurt that boy, because you was there and you saw it all. I know –”
“Mister Blake!” Davis snapped. He took no joy in this duty, but he would be dammed if he’d let this child killer taunt the victim’s surviving brother.
Kenneth continued to speak over him. “I know they made you think you saw something you know you didn’t see, but I know that you know what the truth is. And I know it’s callin’ you the way it called me, but you can’t go back there to them woods, Mister Turner. If you go back there it’s gonna get you, too, just like it got your brother. You gotta break the cycle.”
The Warden looked at the phone one final time, waited, then nodded to his men.
With mechanical efficiency, they moved as one: a button was pressed to recline the gurney, the needles in Blake’s left arm were checked one last time, a black sackcloth was draped over his head.
Kenneth, resigned to his fate from the moment he held Charlie Turner’s lifeless body two decades ago, nevertheless felt cold pangs of fear as the sack blocked out his vision and muffled the sounds around him. He heard the warden speak, and then sodium thiopental pushed him into unconsciousness, before pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride pushed the life out of his body.
When it was done and the other witnesses had left, Warden Davis met privately with Jay Turner. “I wanted to apologize for how Blake used his last words,” he said. “I can assure you that he did not know you were a witness.”
Jay nodded. “I appreciate that, Warden.”
“If you don’t mind my asking,” Davis said, “what was he talking about?”
Jay sighed. “I don’t know, sir. That’s not really a night that I like to think about, if I can help it.”
“Of course. I’m sorry for asking.”
“There’s no need to apologize. It isn’t the first time he’s said those things, but I’m kind of relieved it’s the last time I’ll hear them.”
Jay didn’t tell him about the nightmares. After all, they were just dreams; they weren’t real. For twenty years, he had reminded himself: they’re just dreams. They aren’t real.
I’m offering this story in both ePub and mobi formats, DRM-free, for $5. If I set everything up correctly, you should be able to download the format of your choice as fast as you can click your mouse.
When I was writing my first book, Just A Geek, I ended up with a lot of stories that just didn’t fit within the narrative. I didn’t know what to do with them, until my friend and editor, Andrew, said, “Why don’t you put them in their own book?”
I was hesitant, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it was a very good idea, so that’s what I did. I asked my friend Ben to draw some illustrations to keep the stories company, and I published it all on my own, before Just A Geek was even completely finished. The book is called Dancing Barefoot.
After I released the audio versions of Just a Geek and The Happiest Days of Our Lives, a lot of people asked me when I was going to do an audio version of Dancing Barefoot, to round out what I’ve just decided to call a trilogy. The truth is, I never intended to do an audio version of it, because I felt like I’d grown as a writer since it was published, and it would sound and feel strange to revisit that book without wanting to rewrite the whole thing.
But something really changed in me when I turned 40 last year, and I stopped worrying so much about things like that. I accepted that it was the best I could do then, and even if it’s a little rough around the edges, it’s because I made it that way.
So about a month ago, I booked some studio time with my favorite audiobook producers, and finally recorded an audio version of Dancing Barefoot.
It felt a little strange to record something I wrote over a decade ago, as I was entering my thirties, and looking into my past in order to understand my future. It was written during a tumultuous and uncertain time, when I was struggling so much just to make it month to month. Reading it now, knowing what my future actually held, both wonderful and terrible, made it a more emotional experience than I expected.
I had this weird sense of nostalgia as I read it, like nesting dolls: I remembered the stories that I told, I remembered writing them down on my blog for the first time, then editing them into Dancing Barefoot for the first time, and then shipping thousands of books around the world, out of my living room. I remembered how excited I felt when Anne and I opened the first box of books when they were delivered from the printer, and how happy it still makes me feel when someone hands me one of those books to sign for them.
Real quick, before I get to the link for the album, I want to say something to those of you who have been here for a decade, especially those of you who bought Dancing Barefoot so long ago: Thank you. Without your support then, I wouldn’t be here now. There’s a straight line between you buying that book from me, and me working on Eureka, Big Bang Theory, Leverage, and everything else. There’s an even shorter, straighter line between me shipping that book to you from my living room floor, to me writing all my other books, magazine columns, and posts of varying quality on this blog.
F. Scott Fitzgerald is credited with declaring that “there are no second acts in American lives,” and before I began this journey a little over a decade ago, I believed him. But because I people like you kept coming back to read my blog, kept coming to see me perform on stage, and bought my books when I published them, I feel like I may be one of the exceptions to that rule.
I’m incredibly grateful for the life that I have now, the life that I worked so hard to build. Every single day, I’m afraid that I’m going to wake up and discover that it’s just a dream, or a cruel trick in some episode of The Twilight Zone. I worked really hard for what I have now, but I didn’t do it alone. People I’ll never meet took a chance on me and made it possible for me to do what I’m doing now, and I can’t thank you enough.
Okay, I’m rambling, so I’ll just get out of the way. Here’s the product information:
It’s available now on my Bandcamp page, you can listen to the entire thing there for free, or you can buy it for $10 though the weekend, before it goes up to $20 next week. It includes a digital booklet with all the illustrations Ben did, scanned by me from my original author’s copy of the book.
Here’s the description:
Available for the first time in audio, read by the author.
In this wonderful Freshman effort, actor and author Wil Wheaton shares five short-but-true stories about life in the so-called Space Age:
Houses in Motion – Memories fill the emptiness left within a childhood home, and saying goodbye brings them to life.
Ready Or Not Here I Come – A game of hide-n-seek with the kids works as a time machine, taking Wil on a tour of the hiding and seeking of years gone by.
Inferno – Two 15-year-olds pass in the night leaving behind pleasant memories and a perfumed Car Wars Deluxe Edition Box Set.
We Close Our Eyes – A few beautiful moments spent dancing in the rain.
The Saga of SpongeBob VegasPants – A story of love, hate, laughter and the acceptance of all things Trek.
For almost two years, the only way to get a copy of Just A Geek: Teh Audio Book was to download it from shady websites, or torrent it. I don’t begrudge anyone who picked it up that way, because I wasn’t doing anything to make it easy to get it in a way that put shiny gold coins in my pocket.
Last night, that all changed. Thanks to the fine people at Bandcamp, you can now get your very own, totally legit, guilt-free copy of Just a Geek: Teh Audio Book.
Here’s the original announcement:
This journey is a fascinating read, made even more intimate and
fulfilling by Wil’s narrative. This is not just an audio book, it’s a
glimpse into the psyche of the man who considers himself…
Just a Geek. NOTE: Due to graphic language, some content may be unsuitable for
A few RFB listeners have commented to me that they picked up the audio book after listening to the podcast, so I thought I’d make it nice and easy for anyone who is interested in checking it out. It’s available as an instantly-downloadable, DRM-free MP3 for just $12.
I’m very proud of the audio book. I’ve talked in the past about what a huge letdown my experience wih O’Reilly was on the print version of the book, and much of the joy I’d hoped to feel with its release has instead come from the recording of the audio version, which ended up being a performance, with asides, commentary, and reflections on the material that aren’t in the print version of the book. I guess it’s like I’m reading the book to you, and occasionally setting it down to give some meta-commentary on various passages.
Here’s all the nifty stuff they put at Amazon about the print version:
“A cleverly constructed and vivid collection of
memoirs with flashes of brilliant wit, this title betters even Dancing
Barefoot.” – Paul Hudson, Linux Format, Nov (top stuff award)
Wil Wheaton has never been one to take the conventional path to success. Despite early stardom through his childhood role in the motion picture “Stand By Me”,
and growing up on television as Wesley Crusher on “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, Wil left Hollywood in pursuit of happiness, purpose, and a
viable means of paying the bills. In the oddest of places, Topeka, Kansas, Wil discovered that despite his claims to fame, he was at heart Just a Geek.
In this, his newest book, Wil shares his deeply personal and difficult journey to find himself. You’ll understand the rigors, and joys, of Wil’s rediscovering of himself, as he comes to terms with what it means
to be famous, or, ironically, famous for once having been famous. Writing with honesty and disarming humanity, Wil touches on the frustrations associated with his acting career, his inability to distance himself from Ensign Crusher in the public’s eyes, the launch of his incredibly successful web site, wilwheaton.net, and the joy he’s found in writing. Through all of this, Wil shares the ups and downs he encountered along the journey, along with the support and love he discovered from his friends and family.
The stories in Just a Geek include:
– Wil’s plunge from teen star to struggling actor
– Discovering the joys of HTML, blogging, Linux, and web design
– The struggle between Wesley Crusher, Starfleet ensign, and Wil Wheaton, author and blogger
– Gut-wrenching reactions to the 9-11 disaster
– Moving tales of Wil’s relationships with his wife, step-children, and extended family
– The transition from a B-list actor to an A-list author
Wil Wheaton–celebrity, blogger, and geek–writes for the geek in all of us. Engaging, witty, and pleasantly self-deprecating, Just a Geek will surprise you and make you laugh.
For everyone going to see the special screenings of these classic episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, here are Where No One Has Gone Before, and Datalore excerpted in their entirety from Memories of the Future, Volume One.
This is released under Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-ShareAlike license; please share and remix it as you wish under the terms of that license.
EPUB (Everything Else):
My eBook titles are now available in the NOOK store!
These are all DRM-free, and are priced exactly the same as their Kindle counterparts.
"There is a monster in my closet. It’s standing in there behind my clothes, and it wants to come out. I don’t know where it came from, I don’t know how it got in there, but I know that it’s been there for a long time, waiting.
"Mum and dad don’t believe in monsters (and until yesterday, neither did I), but during dinner tonight, I had to tell them."
Just in time for Halloween, I wrote one of those short, scary stories that I would have enjoyed when I was in middle school. It's online at my blog, but I made ePub and Kindle versions for those of you who prefer to read on an eReader.
Oh, hi there, Kindle owners!
From Encounter at Farpoint to Datalore, relive the first half of Star Trek: The Next Generation’s unintentionally hilarious first season through the eyes, ears and memories of cast member and fan Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher) as he shares his unique perspective in the episode guide you didn’t even know you were dying to read.
ENJOY snarky episode recaps!
EXPAND your Technobabble vocabulary!
AMUSE your friends with quotable dialog!
BOLDLY go behind the scenes!
LISTEN to the Memories of the Futurecast at MemoriesoftheFuturecast.com!
My very short collection of very short stories, The Day After And Other Stories, is now in the Kindle store for $2.99 (prices slightly higher outside of the US. This is beyond my control.)
It's DRM-free, because DRM makes me stabby.
Here's the description thing I wrote for it:
In The Day After and Other Stories, Author Wil Wheaton explores the tenuous bonds that hold us all together. Also, there's zombies.
The Day After – Tim is an angry and scared 18 year-old, trying to decide if surviving the zombie apocalypse is worth it.
Room 302 – Something is very wrong with this picture.
The Language Barrier – Sometimes it takes someone who doesn't speak your language to fully understand you.
Poor Places – Eddie used to be somebody, but now he's a guy who plays poker and takes a lot of pills.