Hearts of Ice

You know, the day after I posted that last blog post, I kinda regretted it – it was a half-baked mess of ideas that didn’t really get across any point I was trying to make.

And yet it’s getting more comments and discussion than any other post I’ve made on this blog.¬†Go figure. Anyway, I’m going to come back to that topic on Sunday and try to say something more coherent.

Tonight, though, something completely different – free short fiction!

Once again I’ve taken one of the stories I’ve written over the last few years and uploaded it to the internets for free download. This time it’s ‘Hearts of Ice’, a story about you – yes, you, you reading now, you right there!

More precisely, it’s a story written in second person that makes you the subject whether you like it or not; a story about need, addiction, choices, loss, love and the way white smoke pools like liquid in the bowl of a glass pipe, pools in a way you could watch for hours because it’s so much more engrossing than the rest of your life. You know, stuff like that.

If you enjoyed Hotel Flamingo or Godheads, this is, well, completely different. But it’s a cool story nonetheless and I hope people will dig it.

Like my other free stories (details on the Downloads page), ‘Hearts of Ice’ is available in a number of formats. Smashwords can give it to you as a MOBI or EPUB file, or as a pretty crappy PDF. Alternatively, you can download it right here as a PDF with better formatting.

I was all set to upload this story, along with my other free short stories, to the Kindle Store tonight, but was brought up short when I realised that you can’t upload a free file to the Kindle Store. The lowest you can go there is 99 cents; the free ebooks they offer are either special promotions or (I think) public domain works specifically published by Amazon themselves.

I can get where they’re coming from, I suppose; Amazon’s Whispernet delivery service for Kindle book is free to customers but still racks up costs, and there’s not much return in them spending money to help authors give their stuff away. And setting a 99 cent minimum has some benefits to writers too – specifically, by setting some kind of lower limit on the race to the bottom on ebook pricing. Bad enough that so many consumers demand a 99 cent price point; I don’t really feel like competing with a 49 cent or 10 cent price point.

That said, it’s still annoying that I can’t put these stories up on the Kindle Store; there’s no way I can get sales at 99 cents for a single story when I’m also selling a novella and an anthology at that price. Giving them away is the only practical option – and hey, not something I struggle with or grumble about – but I can’t do so in the biggest ebook market, and nor can anyone else.

Ah well, such is life.

Speaking of cheap 99 cent ebooks, the change in price for Flamingo and Godheads is paying off, at least in terms of sales numbers. Sales returns… meh, not worrying about that so much. Let’s be honest here, I still haven’t received any payments from Amazon (who pay by cheque), and I’ve asked Smashwords to hold off on payment until I get a US tax number sorted out. So no matter how many books I sell, I’m not seeing any cash any time soon, so I may as well not stress about it.

Anyway, hope you like the story. Going to put some more up in the next couple of months.

Come back Sunday for some more focused and (hopefully) useful thoughts about extrapolation versus invention. And maybe some swearing.

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