Dead Trees Give No Shelter (eBook)

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.

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.


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!

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.