The Reading Room

Free Ebooks | Writing Advice | Short Stories and Poems

Free Ebooks (PDF downloads and links)

Spellbent book cover
Click on the image to the left read the first 50 pages of my urban fantasy novel Spellbent over on Scribd (you can also download the excerpt).

"A fun, action-packed adventure."
— SF Site

"Apprentice wizard Jessie Shimmer breaks a lot of rules to get her boyfriend/teacher back from hell in this quirky and fast-paced dark urban fantasy, a very impressive first novel."

Chimeric Machines book cover
CGP recently allowed me to post an abbreviated version of my 2009 poetry collection Chimeric Machines. This 42-page PDF version contains Tom Piccirilli's introduction and a dozen poems (about a third of the print book).

"(This) may be the best collection of poetry I've read in years ... There is not one poem in Chimeric Machines that doesn't fit in place like a delicately carved piece of a complex and consuming puzzle." (read more)

Blood Magic book cover
Blood Magic was my first collection, published as an ebook in 2001; it contains four dark fantasy/horror stories: "The Dogs of Summer," "Flesh and Blood," "...And Her Shadow," and "Soul Searching". I revised all of the stories for my 2007 book Sparks and Shadows.

Blood Magic is still listed by Amazon and other vendors, even though it has been out of print and unavailable for years, so I decided to put the unchanged original PDF here for free reading. The publisher is no longer around, so many of the links in the back matter are dead (I don't recommend clicking on them).

Sparks and Shadows book cover
Sparks and Shadows was my first "real" book, published as a limited-edition trade paperback in 2007 by HW Press; it contains seventeen short stories, seven poems and four humor essays. The PDF extract contains Nalo Hopkinson's introduction and the first three sections of the book (about 20% of the entire collection).

Sparks and Shadows won the 2008 Editors' Choice Black Quill Award for Best Dark Genre Collection.

Writing Advice

People often ask me for advice on getting agents, getting their work published, etc. I've written a fair number of articles relating to writing and publishing; I think these are probably the most useful:

· How Do You Find Time to Write? — time is a problem for every writer
· Getting Your Work Published — basic information for new writers
· Advice to beginning fiction writers — a few things I wish someone had told me when I was starting out.
· More on why self-publishing is (probably) a bad idea — read this if you're considering going with BookSurge or AuthorHouse.
· Secret (Literary) Agent Man — general information on getting an agent
· How I Got My Agent — my personal story; includes details about my novel deal and the sale timeline
· Finding or Creating a Writer's Workshop Group — the title says it all
· How To Make A Living Writing Short Fiction — yes, it can be done!
· Manuscript Tracking Tools — a few tips for keeping track of what you've been sending where.
· Is the Publisher Just a Middleman? — questions to ask yourself if you're considering self-publishing
· Book Promotion: Part 1 — mainly intended for small-press authors
· Book Promotion: Part 2 — the importance of Amazon and Worldcat
· Shy Writers and Crunchy Numbers: An Author's Introduction to Advertising — the pros and cons of print ads
· An Author's Introduction to Advertising - Part 2 — a basic introduction to web advertising

People sometimes ask me why I write what I write, and the answer is really pretty simple: I write about what interests me. You can find more information about how I got started as a writer in various interviews.

Short Stories and Poems

You can read a few selections of my published fiction and poetry at Apex Magazine, Nightmar Magazine, Strange Horizons, Raven Electrick, and The Town Drunk:

· "Magdala Amygdala"
(winner of the Bram Stoker Award for short fiction in 2013) · "Antumbra"
· "Installing Linux on a Dead Badger: User's Notes" (Honorable mention, Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 18)
· "Your Corporate Network and the Forces of Darkness"
· "Graveyard Shift"
· "Authorities Concerned Over Rise of Teen Linux Gangs"
· "In the Shadow of the Fryolator"
· "Faery Cats: The Cutest Killers"
· "Uncanny Valley Girl" (poem)
· "Flyboy" (poem)
· "Trepanation" (poem)
· "Sympathy" (poem)

You might also be interested in reading a couple of science articles I've had on this site for a long time and which get a lot of hits from Google visitors:

· "Natural Substances Power Perfume"
· "Kirkwood Observatory Has Long History At IU"