Reviews of “CL3ANS3”, my cyber/Mythos story in Chaosium’s ELDRITCH CHROME

From Amazon:

Coming towards the end now, bear with me. “CL3ANS3” is a beautiful story from Carrie Cuinn. Ms. Cuinn’s voice and the picture she was able to weave inside my mind was absolutely amazing, her prose was top-notch.

By Brian Murphy (Texas)

“CL3ANS3” by Carrie Cuinn: This story has a really cool concept about a future where all data has to be organized and that organization is done through a kind of virtual reality (it is cyberpunk after all). Carrie Cuinn does a great job of building a great world of CHARACTERS here, like Orson Scott Card did in Ender’s Game (yeah, the guy’s politics suck but he can write some amazing characters). I bring up ‘Ender’ because there are scenes in the story where the protagonist sits down and interacts with other ‘sorters’ in a kind of cafeteria and it just has this realistic feeling to it. The writing is very solid and when the virtual world starts to become tainted by Eldritch happenings the story delivers.

By D. Anderson (Arizona)

The anthology had been described to me as ‘Cyberpunk Cthulhu’, which threw me off originally, until I sneaked a peek at Carrie Cuinn’s CL3ANS3, which is, in my opinion, the pivotal point in this anthology and its biggest sell.

By Konstantine Paradias

Paradias wrote a full review elsewhere online, which says in part:

CL3ANS3 took me by surprise. Primarily, because this is one of those stories that make excellent material for experimental animation short films that have this rarely-seen alienating feeling to them. The world outlined by Carrie Cuinn in this short story is clinical, sterilized and strange beyond belief. Its main character might be an antisocial, objective narrator but the rest of the people occupying the setting aren’t all that better off.

This story forced me to do a double-take to pinpoint exactly what bothered me about it so much and guess what: it’s not the Lovecraftian Horrors, not in and of themselves. I think that this was perhaps the point that Cuinn was trying to make: the scary, strange future that waits just around the corner, its people distant and antisocial, scared more of each other than the things lurking just beyond the world.

Read the rest here.

Want to buy the book? Amazon has it on sale for only $14.32 with free Prime shipping. Get it here!

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Bringing Lovecraft’s Mythos into the future, again. (Or, hey, I wrote a story!)

A handsome boy delivered glasses of chilled water to our table, singing out, “Hydration!” as he slid one in front of each of us. They were always lovely, the ones who served our food and smiled as they took our coats.

I watched him walk away as Marc sighed heavily.

“You do look feverish,” Hassa said, concerned. “You’re sweating.”

“You should notify medical,” Elda added.

“Yes, I think …” Marc paused, putting a hand to his forehead. “I think I’ll go there now.” He lurched to his feet and left, bumping into our handler as he passed her. She looked shaken but managed to get our meal on the table in the right order. Her long hair was brushed straight and bound behind her head with a black bow. I thought about my own hair, cropped close to my head, the way it had been for years. Data processor chic; we all wore it this way.

“He’s gone to medical,” I said when I realized she was still standing at our table, Marc’s food on her tray, a lost look on her face. “You can take that back to the kitchen.” She smiled then, brightly, and retreated.

Mid-shift break never feels as if it’s long enough.

I settled into my couch, removing the cover from my data jack and slipping the transfer cable inside. The world fell away, and my real life came back into focus.

As I was unpacking the last file for the day, a vid with partial frame loss, a message flashed: my Architect advising me that I was needed on the University project. Marc’s project. I put the vid aside and sent her a reply, questioning.

“We have two processors out with illness,” she answered back. “Is anything in your queue a priority?”

“No, I’m clear to transfer,” I thought back at her, and she changed my queue with a quick “Thank you.” File attached. Info for the University. I put it aside for the next day, cleaned up my video, and placed it with the rest of its mates.

I wish I could say that I had some premonition of what was coming, but I slept dreamlessly and woke up refreshed. We have pills for that.

My cyber-Mythos story, “CL3ANS3”, is now available as part of the Eldritch Chrome anthology, out from Chaosium. This is one of two stories I sold to the same pair of editors in early 2012 (the other, “No Hand To Turn The Key”, is a clockpunk/Mythos mashup I wrote in January 2011, which will appear in Steampunk Cthulhu. I don’t have a release date for it but it should be out sometime this year).

I love getting to use Lovecraft’s universe and monsters to make something new, without the racism, misogyny, or Protestant morality endemic to his writing. Sex, especially, seeps into my Mythos tales – I can’t seem to stop making them naughty and exciting in a way poor old Lovecraft would certainly not approve of. “CL3ANS3” is definite dirty; it’s meant to be wrong, the kind of sexy that makes you want to scrub off your thoughts after you have them. It’s been long enough since I put the words down that I think I’m a better writer now, but this story was fun to write. I hope it’s still fun to read, in a creepy sort of way.

Taking out the bad parts of Lovecraft isn’t enough, though, and I tried to go further. The narrator of this story is as featureless as possible, without identifiable race or gender, to allow all readers to find a little of themselves in this character. In this future, anyone can be tempted by the darkness seeping in. I’d like to think the Elder Gods, should they ever come for us, wouldn’t discriminate at all.

Buy a signed copy of WOMEN AND OTHER CONSTRUCTS in print, get the ebook free!

I love my print books, but I read on my tablet more than anything else, because it’s portable, less likely to rumple than a printed page, and carries hundreds of books at once. This means that I read more ebooks than print, but I haven’t quite gotten over the need to own the physical artifact as well as the story. Lately, I’ve been buying ebook copies of the print books sitting on my shelves (just to get through my To Read pile), or buying print books knowing I won’t find time for it unless I get the ebook too… but why should I have to pay extra for a digital copy of a book I already own?

Why should you?

Now, if you buy a signed print copy of my short collection, Women and Other Constructs, you get an instant download of a DRM-free epub or mobi file along with it, free! Check out what’s been called “a varied, powerful collection of stories that showcases the range and talent of an author who will hopefully continue to rise in exposure in the SFF community.” (SF Signal, July 12, 2013) Only $10 plus shipping.

Bundle of signed print book + free instant download of a DRM-free epub file click here

Bundle of signed print book + free instant download of a DRM-free mobi file click here

If you don’t need the print book, you can also get a bundle of three ebook formats $2.99, here, or purchase them individually: ePubMobi, or PDF, for just $1.99

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Self publishing stats: Women and Other Constructs, First 30+ days

When I published my first collection of short fiction, I said I would add up the stats after 30 days. The highlights:

  • The book cost me $0 to create. I did every bit of the work myself: writing, editing, page layout, cover design, and art. Ebooks and print-ready PDF, too. I also did the distribution, setting up for a variety of ebook sales, and print via Amazon. I chose methods that didn’t have any up front cost at all. The only thing I paid in advance was $10 a month for the online shopping cart.
  • The fiction in the book was worth $462.21–based on a $0.05 per word minimum pro rate for the new writing, and the standard $0.01 minimum reprint rate.
  • I published the book on June 28, and calculated income for the end of June/all of July; that’s about 33 days.
  • I made a total of $195.31 over that time. I haven’t been paid for all of it yet, but that’s the calculated income.

Doing the math

The stories were six reprints I’d previously published, and two stories I hadn’t sold before, along with an intro and notes at the end. Continue reading

Print copies of Women and Other Constructs have arrived!

Look what I had delivered while I was at Readercon:

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5″x8″ trade paperback, 84 pages, with a color cover and b/w interior.

Anyone who’s already ordered one will get the numbered (x/30) “Readercon 2013” inscription; I’ve got about 5 left of those. Order today before they’re gone!

The bundle of signed print book + instant download of all ebook formats is only $12.99 + shipping, or just the signed book, $10 + shipping. You can choose from a couple of shipping options, and you can have them shipped anywhere. (If you order after the Readercon books have run out, you’ll get a nifty something else written in your book instead.)

You can also get PDF, ePub (suitable for your nook, tablets, and more) and Mobi (for Kindle) versions are available for instant download, so you can read it across any of your devices, or on your computer.  Just $1.99! Or, a bundle of all the ebook formats is only $2.99.

CLICK HERE TO BUY MY BOOKS

Did you see the great review at SF Signal? Or the interview with AC Wise? Do you want a review copy of my collection, or to interview me? Sure! Contact me and we’ll set it up.

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Results of the ebook experiment and an update on pricing “Women and Other Constructs”

I ran a brief experiment–for about 32 hours, part of July 3rd and all of July 4th–where I let buyers choose the amount they wanted to spend on a bundle of Women and Other Constructs ebooks (ePub, mobi, PDF). I suggested the price of $3.99 but allowed the buyer to put in whatever amount they wanted, even $0. I advertised it around, got it listed on SF Signal under the day’s “Free Fiction” (they noted that it was a pay-what-you-want deal, so no one would feel tricked about having a suggested price), and waited.

The average price readers paid? $2.90

Some paid $0, one reader paid $1, and some the suggested price. A few others paid more: I got $4, a couple at $4.99, one at $5 and one at $5.99.

After looking at this data, my sales so far, and deciding that using this book to get me readers was more important to me than the individual price paid, I went back and lowered the prices on all of the buying options (except print*). You can now get the book for:

Bundle: Signed print book + instant download of all ebook formats $12.99

Bundle: all ebook formats $2.99

ePub $1.99

Mobi $1.99

PDF $1.99

Signed print book $10.00

I think that sales have been good, especially considering that I am not a well-known author, and most of what’s in this collection can be found for free on my website, in a different format. I appreciate that my fans want to support my work, and that there are readers who have been waiting for a book to come out before reading the individual stories. I’ve heard from people who never read the fiction they can get here for free, because it was one story at a time. Some readers still hold on to the idea of a “book”, even when they’re digital.

I hope these production notes are useful. I’ve already learned a lot: I have now set up an online shop to host all the different formats, instead of individual Paypal buttons; I added PDFs because a reader requested it. After 30 days, I will post the full stats–total sales, pricing, costs, etc–for this collection, for anyone interested in self-publishing their own work.

Please note: I don’t want anyone to feel as if they lost out on a better deal because they bought early. If you paid a higher price for any of these items, and would like an additional ebook format–for example, you bought the $2.99 epub and would also like the PDF–email me, and I’ll send it to you for free.

* Because I’m using Amazon’s PoD, I’m limited to a certain minimum price. I can raise it, but can’t lower it.

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Pay what You Want Ebook Bundle: Women and Other Constructs (32 hour sale)

Part of my goal in self-publishing my short fiction collection, Women and Other Constructs, was to gather information about what sells, at what price, and so on. Already I’ve learned to offer PDFs of the book, and I’ve created an online shop to make buying easier… so, let’s try an experiment:

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From now until 12 am, EST, July 5th, I’m running a sale. You can buy the ebook bundle of my book–which includes ePub, mobi, and PDF–and you can decide how much to pay for it. When you’re ready to check out, the screen suggests $3.99 (what I think it’s worth) but you can change that to any number you like. More than $3.99? Sure. Less? Okay.

Nothing at all? That’s fine, too. If you think it’s worth nothing, read it for free.

But hurry… time is running out. You’ve got less than 32 hours now.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE EBOOK BUNDLE

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