Dancing Barefoot (audio)

Dancing Barefoot by Wil WheatonWhen 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.

 

Houses_in_motion
From Houses In Motion

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.

The Return of Just A Geek (audio)

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:

Hey, if you’ve enjoyed my Radio Free Burrito podcasts, I think you may like the audio version of Just A Geek:

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
younger audiences.

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.

So if you liked the print book, my PAX keynote, my performance of The Trade, or if you like the podcasts, I’m pretty sure you’ll dig the audiobook.

Here’s all the nifty stuff they put at Amazon about the print version:

Review
“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)

Product Description
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.

FREE ebook: From Memories of the Future Volume One: Where No One Has Gone Before and Datalore

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.

MOBI (Kindle):

Download Where No One Has Gone Before and Datalore from Memories of the Future (MOBI) – Wil Wheaton

EPUB (Everything Else):

Download Where No One Has Gone Before and Datalore from Memories of the Future (EPUB) – Wil Wheaton

 

The Monster In My Closet: eBook

"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.

Enjoy!

Memories of the Future, Volume One – Kindle Edition

Oh, hi there, Kindle owners!

At long last, Memories of the Future Volume One is available in the Kindle store!

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!

The Day After and Other Stories – Kindle Edition

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.

You can grab your own copy in the Kindle store.

Hunter – a short pay-what-you-want SciFi tale

Hunter is a short Sci-Fi story set in a dark and desperate world. Here’s a small preview:

Pyke chased the girl down a street still wet with the afternoon’s rainfall. A thin sliver of moon was glowing behind the thinning clouds, but it wasn’t bright enough to pierce the darkness between thefew street lamps that still worked. The girl was fast. He had to stay close, or she’d escape. 

Pyke had let the girl put about 500 feet between them when she ranthrough a bright pool of light and was swallowed by darkness. When she didn’t reappear, Pyke knew he had her, for there was only one place she could have gone. He followed her through a once-ornate gateway into the old city, where the colony had been founded a century before.

Her footfalls echoed off rows of empty windows down narrow streets that seemed to turn back on themselves, an ancient trick intended to confuse invaders. When the Gan arrived, they solved this puzzle by simply bombarding most of the buildings and walls from low orbit until there weren’t many places left to hide. Hunters like Pyke—a second-generation Goa colonist who’d grown up in the old city—knew every twist, every turn, every blind alley and every hidden basement.

It wasn’t the first time Pyke had pushed a rebel into the avenues. In the six months he’d been working for the Gan, he’d let dozens of terrified patriots think they were making their escape into the old city’s maze-like streets, only to trap them in one of its countless dead ends, where he’d have a little fun before turning them over to his masters.

He heard a splash just down the block, followed by a yelp. She must have fallen in a puddle, Pyke thought. Shallow craters were everywhere in these streets; filled with water, they made quite effective traps. Pyke slowed to a jog and grinned. It was only a matter of time now.

Hunter is a short story, just about 2500 words. I figure that’s about the length of a story you’d read in a magazine, but I’m not really sure what the appropriate cost is, so I’m experimenting with the Pay What You Want model that seems to be working really well for a lot of artists I respect and admire.

If I sold it to a magazine, I’d probably get around $125 or so (assuming I could get the SFWA professional rate of five cents a word. I figure that at least 125 people will want to read this, so if all of them donated a dollar, I’d feel really good about this, and I’d be able to do it again in the future.

So here’s what you do: click this big ugly button and decide what you want to pay for this story. Then, choose your format and download it. Or, download it, read it, and then decide what you want to pay; it’s entirely up to you. I just ask that, if you like it, you tell your friends about it.

If you prefer to use Google Checkout, you can do that, but it won’t let me set up a pay-what-you-want button, so I set it at $2.00, which is right in the middle of what people seem to be paying for this story.

READ THIS BECAUSE IT’S IMPORTANT: After you’ve decided what you wish to pay (from the low, low price of FREE to one billion dollars in pure diamonds), choose the format you want by clicking on one of the links below. Your download should begin automatically. Some mobile users may have trouble. I’m trying to fix the issue, but until it’s resolved, you should be able to get a copy from any non-mobile browser. I apologize for the inconvenience.

Hunter is available in DRM-free .mobi format for Kindle, .epub for other eReaders, and .pdf format for printing.

Hunter is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-ShareAlike 3.0 license.

I’d love to hear your feedback. If you’d like to comment about Hunter, you can do that on the Hunter post at my blog.

The Day After and Other Stories – eBook

Day_after_ebook_cover tl;dr: The Day After And Other Stories is once again available for download. It's $4.99 at Lulu. Yay!

In December of last year, I released a very short collection of very short stories for a very short time – just ten days, actually – as an experiment in releasing short fiction. It sold fairly well, wildly exceeding my expectations. I got very good feedback from readers, but I'd committed to pulling it off the shelf in its print version at the end of ten days, so that's what I did. I'd always planned to keep the eBook version on sale, but I got busy after I pulled the print version offline, and didn't get around to republishing just the e-version until today.

So, for those of you who want to read a very short collection of very short stories for a very small price ($4.99! Cheap!), now you can.

If you're wondering what this is all about, here's what I wrote back in December:

Last year, I collected a few short stories I'd written and sold them as a chapbook at PAX. It was a scary thing for me to do, because while I feel confident as a narrative non-fiction writer, I am paralyzed with terror whenever I think about releasing something I invented out of nothing more than an idea to the public, and before I actually release it, I hear Carrie's mother screaming at me, "THEY'RE ALL GOING TO LAUGH AT YOU!"

A couple of things have happened recently, though, that gave me the courage to actually release this short collection of short stories to anyone who wants to buy it. First, Project Do Something Creative Every Day is making me feel less and less afraid of sucking. Like I said recently, the goal isn't to be perfect; the goal is to be creative. I don't think The Day After and Other Stories is perfect, but it is creative, and the few people I have shown it to told me they liked it.

Second, over 400 people expressed an interest in buying an autographed copy of The Happiest Days of Our Lives over the last couple of days. That really blew me away, and made me think, "Well, maybe there aren't as many people out there waiting for an excuse to laugh at you as you think. Also? It's adorable that you think you're that important to anyone, jackass."  

I've had these files ready to put on LuLu for over a year, and it wasn't until this morning that I screwed up the courage to actually do it. I'm sticking to my original plan, which is to sell the paperback for a limited time (10 days) and then just offer the PDF version. I'm not quite sure why I wanted to do it that way, but it's nontraditional, and a little weird, so there you go.

Here's the introduction:

Every year, before the summer convention season gets underway, I pull a few excerpts from whatever I plan to release in the fall, take them to my local print shop, and make a deliberately lo-fi, limited edition chapbook to take with me on the obligatory summer convention circuit.

I’ve done previews of Dancing Barefoot, The Happiest Days of Our Lives, Memories of the Future, and in 2008, I pulled together a sampler that eventually became Sunken Treasure.

While Memories of the Future is 2009’s “big” fall release, it didn’t make sense to me to release a Memories- based chapbook this summer, because one already exists.

It looked like there wasn’t going to be a 2009 entry in the traditional Wil Wheaton Zine-like Chapbook Extravaganza, until I realized that I have several pieces of unpublished fiction sitting in my office, just waiting to be published.

“Hey,” I said to myself, “people keep asking me to write and release fiction, and I’ve been waiting until I have an actual novel to give them. But these things totally don’t suck, and I bet readers would enjoy them.”

“That is an excellent idea, me,” I said. “And have I mentioned how smart and pretty you are?”

“Oh, stop it. You’re embarrassing me,” I said.

Together, myself and I collected some of my (mostly unpublished) fiction and put it into this chapbook, for safe keeping.

Even though this is limited to just 200 copies, it represents a significant step for me in my life as a writer, because it’s the first time I’ve collected and published stories that I made up. (You know, like a writer does.) I hope you enjoy it, and thanks for your support!

The more astute among you may have noticed that this says it's limited to 200 copies; that's because this was originally offered as a limited chapbook at PAX, and we're using the same files. Think of it as a delightful legacy issue, or something like that, if you must. I don't know how many of these books I'll actually sell, but I doubt the number will be exactly 200. When the paperback goes to the Land of Wind And Ghosts, though, I suppose I can check to see how many were sold, and you can use your very own Red Pen of Doom to put the actual number into your copy. Hey! Look! It's interactive!

I hope I can get this available in .mobi and .epub sooner than later, but I don't have conversion software at the moment (Clibre and Sigil barf on the .pdf, so I have to start over with a .rtf file when I have the free time).

Also, because it's a FAQ: If you want to print it out and make your own book from it for your personal, non-commercial use, you have my permission to do that.

Wil Wheaton's Virtual Bookshelf