I am super stoked to inform you of our newest book release, our proudest achievement, and our most precious baby of all the books…
Introducing “Blown Away”, the 3rd and final book in the ‘Life’ Series! Not only has this book been a huge labor of love for us (over a year in the making), but it is the first book of its kind to feature Fifty Words or Fewer Stories! Yep, that’s right: each one of the fifty stories in this collection are at least fifty words, or often less. This is flash fiction at its tightest, challenging form. Here’s more:
“Blown Away” rings in the 3rd and final installment of the best-selling ‘Life’ series, in its slicing examination of one of the most delightful and likewise, challenging portions of life: the unexpected. Using characters in inventive new ways (water and fire fall in love in “Fiery Dance”), examining people in surprising – and often, devastating –circumstances a soldier returns home to find an unforgiving country, (“A Soldier’s Story”), and serving up twists in every tale (a schoolchild reveals a little too much in “Show and Tell”, with hilarious results) Blown Away seeks to do just that – blow you away – all in fifty stories, fifty words or fewer. Life is run on the unexpected, and Blown Away recreates and reveals the wild ride it often gives us, and where it takes us. In the first ever, short story collection series, author Paul Worthington powerfully demonstrates the joy and despair of the unexpectedness of life, and all the beautiful colors in between. Prepare to be blown away…
It is currently available for pre-order, and will be released on February 14th, 2015. (We will release it on Valentine’s Day because we’re sure you’ll love it so much.) The stories range from heartfelt to thought-provoking, hilarious to deeply powerful, every one of them with an unseen twist. Here’s one story at this blog post, but continue reading below for an extra two stories to get a glimpse into “Blown Away.”
But, where to get it, you ask? Click any of the buttons below to go to your preferred place of purchase, and pre-order now!
After challenging ourselves to writing 300 words or fewer stories in the 2nd ‘Life’ Series book, “Dusty Remains,” we decided to go a little crazier and try out 50 words or fewer stories. We wrote and wrote, and after perhaps some 75 stories, we whittled it down to 50.
But nope. We had to give you the best of the best. Only 25 out of that fifty survived the cut, and we went writing again. Fifty word stories might sound easy, but yeah, it’s a little tricky. One of our key processes were to choose three random words, and construct a story out of that. For example, from the story “Ashes to Ashes”, we chose the words: dust, counselor, and keys, and this what was formed:
Ashes to Ashes
As the dust cloud covered the horizon, Mr. Henderson with wide eyes rushed us back into the van.
The pack of wild dogs sprung from the dust and tore into our camp counselor…just as I saw the van keys laying in the grass.
We finally got to fifty great stories (out of a pool of probably 150+), and put together “Blown Away.”
But why not give you an extra treat? We contacted one of our favorite artists, Peter Underhill, to create a series of beautiful pen illustrations to accompany fourteen key stories. Our book cover designer, Moe Pike Soe, created a slamming book cover for us, and then it was time for it to hit the presses. And now, that’s where you come in:
The Worthington Challenge
You have the option to pre-order the book now, and receive it on February 14th, 2015. But meanwhile, tell all your short story-lovin’, rabid-readin’, need-a-break-from-the-daily-hustle-and-want-a-good-short-entertaining-book friends to check out “Blown Away.” Moreover, we’ve also introduced something new – a good, fun challenge – so you can win something extra as well. If you can read one Blown Away story a day, for fifty days, and then e-mail us your experience to firstname.lastname@example.org, you will win a free copy of our latest, soon-to-be-released short story, “Three Sheets to the Wind.” But be aware…there’s only fifty winners. (We really like the number fifty, as you can see.) Pre-order, read, and review as soon as possible!
Every one of these stories are God-inspired. Without Him, they would not have been possible. And we thank you for being a part of this process with us. Your support encourages us every day, and we truly wrote these stories just for you: whether you simply love short stories, are intrigued by flash fiction, or are looking for a book that gives you a great read without taking you months to read it, “Blown Away” is for you. Pre-order at the available places below, and get ready to be blown away…
It was time for a transformation.
Along with our general sprucing up around the ole’ Packed House Publications corner, we’ve decided to update one of our most special books with a spanking-new book cover.
Dusty Remains is an awesome collection of 300 words or less stories, but unfortunately, a year ago, with the innocence of new kids on the block, we unintentionally gave Dusty Remains a textbook-looking book cover.
And, we came up with this.
Yeah, this is a little embarrassing. We eventually figured out a crazy skull head being pierced to death with a screw bit from the heavens doesn’t exactly convey heartfelt stories like Dusty Remains has. It just looks…gothic, and pretty weird.
So, we contacted another artist, Anil Saxena, (thanks Anil!), and made this:
Looks pretty great, doesn’t it? It actually represents the whole “fragile as dust” theme in the book, and has a more eye-grabbing effect than the last tries.
So, how did we do? Leave a comment below on what you think of the new cover!
And, as a complimentary gift for our guests, here is the first story from “Dusty Remains.”
She stands there alone, by the gate, with her usual big smile. She smiles even more when he approaches. There by the gate they talk. She shyly tilts her head downward. He knows she’s reluctant, but even so he holds out his hand.
She steps around him, he cuts off her exit. Like a game she’s played so many times, she tries to dart around him; unable to do so, she shrugs her shoulders in defeat.
Once again he holds out his hand. She lets her soft hand fall into the cradle of his majestic one.
They walk away, the sun on their backs, the gate disappearing with each step.
She pauses, so does he. He looks at her, then nods his head. “It’s okay.” His gentle tone, so reassuring.
A few steps from the corner, she pauses once more. Now he wipes the tears from her eyes.
“How did you know my birthday was today?” Her faint voice is strained under the weight of her tears.
“I know everything about you, Sara. I’m a magician.” His eyes lock on hers.
“Is that how you found out I like ponies?”
“And you will keep your promise to let me ride my pony every day?”
“And my mom won’t stop you?”
“Your mom won’t stop me. I promise.”
“What’s my pony’s name?”
“Whatever you want it to be.”
“Is my pony a boy or a girl?”
“Why, it’s a girl, just like I promised you yesterday.”
“Where is she?”
“Right around this corner.”
Sara’s face lights up. She skips with delight and anticipation.
SARA! SARA! WHERE ARE YOU! SARA, SARA!
“Ma’am, we’ll find her, trust me.” Nancy’s eyes drown in tears.
A stiff wind blew through the window. Whoooooo! Out went the five candles.
Congratulations to Eva King of the UK. She is the first prize winner of our short story contest. She has written a wonderful short story. Thank you Eva for sharing your work. Without further ado, her story. Enjoy.
I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to have found such a good man to spend the rest of my life with. My sinful, criminal past threatening to come back and haunt me, but I wouldn’t let it ruin it anymore, if I could help it.
On a wonderful, frosty morning, the love of my life proposed during breakfast, giving me the dreams I always wished and wanted. He made my life worthwhile, and without hesitation I agreed to be his wife. Finally the things the other people took for granted were going to be mine.
Against all my wishes, he had to go to work; I walked with him not wanting to let his hand go. I knew that as soon as he left my side I would miss him. It terrified me that if he wasn’t next to me something terrible would happen and my fragile bliss would break.
I kissed him fervently, lingering in his arms as I brushed the paranoid thoughts of my mind; letting go of him reluctantly. He walked away from me, smiling; his beautiful blue eyes twinkling with mischief, his cheeks rosy; either from my kiss or from the cold wind.
As soon as he started to cross the road, I saw it at the corner of my eye. It was my Judgment day, red car sped on the icy road, going over the speed limit. The driver lost control of the wheel and it skidded towards him. As my heart stopped, his athletic body flew in the air like a ragdoll, slamming against the concrete floor.
I ran towards him, my legs full of lead as the driver left unharmed. My knees gave away at the side walk, right beside him as my happiness and my only wish were ripped away from me.