Friday, September 15, 2017

Help! The President is an Alien!

Part 2

Imagine traveling the 27 catrillion million light-years to earth without a single problem, then turning on the landing lights way too early and scaring the inhabitants of several major cities – already the people of earth were talking up a storm about those ‘strange lights in the sky’.
Not the best way to start a stealth interplanetary mission.
But this was exactly what Gryx had done. And he’d done it just before parking his spaceship rather permanently inside something that other pilots, better pilots, commonly referred to as: the ground.
Yes, he had miscalculated the elevation of the landing site and crashed the ship, but he had a good reason. It had to do with the 50.000-year-old whisky he’d opened to celebrate his first inter-dimensional jump precisely on the edge of the ionosphere of a planet. That was like hitting a bulls-eye with your first dart, when throwing it from five blocks away, standing on a balance ball, in a hurricane.
How often did that happen?
Well, probably quite often with other pilots, but that didn’t count. They had their fancy academy degrees and had logged the required flight hours. There wasn’t much honor in doing a good job if you knew exactly what you were doing.
In fact, to Gryx that had always seemed like cheating.
What he did, traversing dimensions without a clue as to what was actually happening, now that took skill.

After a modest countdown the emergency return capsule detached itself from the crashed craft and shot up into the thin, earth atmosphere. There was a momentary shudder as the capsule reoriented itself, looking for the perfect angle out through the firmament and back into space.
Gryx settled back in his seat. He couldn’t wait to get off the crappy, overheating, overcrowded, prehistoric planet. But he struggled to get comfortable. The capsule was little more than an egg-shaped hull surrounding a single seat, and whatever space was left was crammed with tech.
And this was the bad news.
Although the available space had been used to a degree of efficiency never before seen in the universe, it still couldn’t accommodate anything near the size of a dimensional drive. The capsule was conventional propulsion all the way, which meant the journey home would take over four hundred years.
Gryx peered out the viewport to see if he could still make out the broken remains of his craft. It proved impossible. Already the desert was shrinking, looking more and more like a child’s sandpit.
Somewhere in there had to be a tiny spec denoting his passenger, Grzq. A little dot that was the researcher who had contracted Gryx to take him to earth so he could study the humans.
Well, Gryx, thought, I did get him there.
Whether the poor bastard had actually survived the ‘landing’ was still somewhat of a mystery, but Gryx would definitely send for help as soon as he got home. Using dimensional drives the rescue team should arrive in approximately four hundred years and an hour.
True, he hadn’t actually discussed this plan with his client. He hadn’t even looked for the fool to make sure he was alright, but what good would it have done? If Grzq was hurt in any way, Gryx wouldn’t be able to help. Not only did he have no medical training, the sight of blood, even a tiny drop of it, made him hurl violently. How much fun would that be for a client? Gryx assumed that any client, no matter how crazy, would prefer his wounds hurl-free. That was just common sense.
As the view of the planet below became obscured by cloud cover, Gryx switched on the in-flight entertainment system. It was time to plan out his next four hundred years.
He could finally learn some alien languages.
Get that ever elusive engineering degree.
And figure out a way to stop drinking.
Then again, was that really the best way to start an extended vacation? Perhaps not, after all, there would be plenty of time for all of that later.
For now, maybe he should just watch some instructional videos about making babies. He’d always felt it was in his species best interest if he kept abreast of the latest techniques. You never knew when they might be needed.
As he browsed the capsule’s extensive electronic library, though, he experienced an unexpected twinge of guilt. Which made no sense. In no way was Grzq special. The man was just as annoying as any of his other clients. All he’d done was complain.
Why are you activating the landing lights already?
Why are you flying so erratically?
And why are we so close to the ground?
It was always something with his clients. It was either ‘we’re nowhere near close enough’, or it was, ‘we’re too darn close, pull up you cross-eyed moron we’re going to crash!’ It was never, ‘what are you doing? You’re flying too darn fabulously. Too perfectly distanced from the planet’s surface. Stop being so amazing.’
Nope. That never happened.
Granted, Gryx could have started drinking a little later. All things considered, he was ready to admit, but only to himself, that the results of his early partaking of his celebratory whisky had led to somewhat regrettable results.
Suddenly, Gryx was awoken from his musings. The onboard entertainment system was beeping. Some kind of alarm.
He browsed hurriedly through the menus, trying to locate the source of the problem.
A sudden pocket of dense air rocked the capsule and Gryx bounced in his seat. The ground below angled away precariously.
Gryx frantically checked the systems, pushing back horrible images of crashing a second time and spending the rest of his life on the miserable planet below.
Then he found it: one of the automatic scanning systems had discovered something interesting. He examined it closely. There was a strange signal coming from the planet below. A signal that couldn’t possibly come from down there. Not from a planet of barely upright chipmunks. But there it was, clear as day, emanating from somewhere deep within one of the mountain ranges.

Get the unabridged chapter and read ahead here

Part 1
Part 2

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Male Invisibility - As Explained by Leverage

Let's talk for a moment about the curious case of Male Invisibility. You probably don’t realize that, even though you’ve made eye contact with The One, and you’ve talked to her, it’s still likely you’re completely invisible to Her. For the girl of your dreams that was just eyes crossing paths. It happens to her all the time.
And that delightful conversation you had? If she even remembers it, she won’t be able to recall the specific details, such as whether she was having this conversation with a girl or a guy.
The reason for this is a difference in the way men and women perceive the world. Subconsciously, men divide everything in their field of vision into two categories:

1. Women
2. All other objects

We’re very aware of the women around us. We could be on our way to hospital with a broken leg, a punctured lung, and one eye poked out, and we’d still notice The One sitting somewhere in the distance. We’d still find the time to admire the way she read her book and ignored us. All the other objects around us we’re only aware of to the point of making sure we don’t crash into them.
Women, on the other hand, divide their field of vision into a multitude of categories:

1. Shoes
2. Other women
3. Assorted elements of clothing
4. Shoes, again
5. All other objects

And this is the problem men face: women group us in the all-other-objects category. This means that if we don’t do anything to stand out, we’ll register as brightly on their mental radars as old ladies, lamp posts, and dogs. They won’t exactly crash into us, but they won’t remember us either! If we want to be noticed, we have to drop our cloaks of invisibility.
Here’s what we need to do…

Continue reading...

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Help! The President is an Alien!

Part 1

“You know,” the businessman said, “I never actually wanted to be president.”
He looked over at the stacks of campaign posters, the streamers, the flyers. “Believe me,” he said, “I just thought it would be good PR to run. I’d go on the trail for a few weeks, drum up some extra business, then announce I’d no longer fund my own campaign and that would be it.”
He seemed to have lost his fight. His eyes were dull and unfocused, his shoulders bore the weight of the world, and even his hair, normally rebellious and fiery, looked lackluster.
“No one in their right mind was going to fund this thing for me, right? And if they wanted to, I’d just say something racist and the deal would be off. This country can’t stand racism. Or at least public racism.”
“Your plan did appear to be foolproof,” said his trusted advisor, topping up the man’s thirty-year-old scotch.
“Are you kidding? It was an amazing plan. A terrific plan. A great plan!”
“Still, somehow, it failed.”
The businessman nodded. He’d never admitted defeat before. In fact, he was a master at reframing any kind of defeat as a victory. But today, with no other witnesses than his trusted advisor, he simply sighed.
“I’ve attacked every minority. I’ve threatened the people with the harshest policies. I even promised to take away basic human rights, like health insurance and that other thing…” he trailed off. Policies, especially his own, weren’t his strong suit. He liked simple words like Deal and Profit.
“You threatened to squander what little prosperity the current president coaxed back to life out of a failing economy on an impossibly large construction along the southern border,” the advisor chimed in. “And, if I may say so, that was a brilliant move.”
The businessman straightened his shoulders. “The border wall was actually a reference to the pyramids and the slavery used to build them.”
“It was?” The advisor looked baffled. “That was very subtle. Perhaps a little too subtle.”
“Maybe. All the voters saw was a plan for a spectacular structure. They never even looked at the calculations, the ones I commissioned and then leaked to the press. No one cared about the cost, or the fact that it’d wipe out half our economy and still leave our borders virtually unprotected.”
“No, they didn’t, sir.”
“So I had no choice but to reverse-robin-hood them.”
The advisor raised another eyebrow. “That’s a pretty big word, sir. Is it one of those things you’ve overheard and started using without knowing the meaning? Or is it one of those things you make up just to confuse people?”
“Actually, it’s neither. Reverse-robin-hooding is an actual thing. It’s when you steal from the poor,” he paused for effect, then continued, “and give to the rich.”
“Ah, reverse– Yes, pretty smart.”
“It’s like the smartest, greatest plan ever. Tell people you’re going to take something from 99% of them and give it to the remaining 1%, you’ll get 99% of the votes against you.”
“That would seem the obvious result, yes.”
“But again, it didn’t work. So I announce some idiotic plan to revert back to coal.”
“And you received even more support.”
The businessman shook his head, topping up his own tumbler. “I mean, what more do I have to do to get out of this thing?”
The advisor handed the businessman his cell. “It’s still five more weeks till the election,” he said. “Why don’t you try another tweet? You know how vicious the internet is against stupid tweets.”
The businessman sighed and typed out a tweet, read it back, changed a few words to make it even more ignorant and more offensive, then sent it off.
This was prime stuff, he decided. He’d just reached previously unknown levels of offensiveness with a mere hundred and forty characters.
He looked back at his advisor, “This better work,” he said.
“I hear you, sir.”
“And what if I really do become president? Did you ever think about that?”
“I try not to, sir. But, don’t fear, it will never happen. I have one more ace up my sleeve.”
The businessman looked up, cautiously hopeful. “An ace?”
The advisor handed over the file he’d been carrying. “If all else fails, we’ll spread the rumor that you’ve being compromised by the Russians. No presidential candidate could ever survive that. It’s foolproof.”

Get the unabridged chapter and read ahead here

Part 1
Part 2

Monday, June 26, 2017

The New Novel

Sometimes I'm so smart
I almost feel like a real person...

• Ever wondered why you can’t call a girl the next day?

• Or who invented the friend-zone, and what it’s really for?

• Or why the divorce rate has mysteriously tripled since the advent of deodorant commercials?

Severe introvert by day, misguided dating guru by night, Harold starts a Youtube channel to workshop his elaborate strategies for seducing Emma, the girl of his dreams. But when he finally works up the courage to ask her out, he discovers that Emma is only using him to get fodder for her own dating blog – the one she’s set up to test ways to seduce Leopold.

As it turns out, Leopold is actually one of Harold’s dedicated followers. When he savagely misunderstands and mis-applies Harold’s advice, he suddenly finds himself hugely successful with the ladies, Emma included.

Faced with this strange new problem, Harold comes up with what he believes to be the strategy to end all strategies.

$̶6̶.̶9̶9̶ $3.99 Kindle
$̶1̶1̶.̶9̶9̶ $8.99 Paperback

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Quotes from Sometimes I'm So Smart...

"Looking into my past lives. Am convinced some of them still owe me money."

"You'd think they'd have invented an apple with smokey bacon flavor by now."

"Forget about hunting and gathering, killing alphas who covet our females, warring with tribes who worship the wrong deities. These days our survival skills are reduced to finding the path of least resistance when communicating with other humans."

"I'm very polite by nature, even the voices in my head let each other finish their sentences."

"Work has been slightly less of a bare-ass slide down the cheese grater lately."

"I’m like moss; you might not care for me at first, but when you’re not looking, I’ll secretly grow on you."

"I read somewhere that all girls pee in the shower, is this true?"

"Do you think people can sneeze in their sleep?"

"Apparently there’s something about shoe-shaped objects that activates the pleasure centers of the female brain."

"There are over 6 billion people on the planet. That’s 6 billion people, give or take a few, who don’t like me."

"By my estimations things that don’t really matter take up about 90% of our time."

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Get my Twitter Freebies

A lot has happened in the last few months.
Actually, three things have happened, but to me that’s a lot. Come to think of it, more than three things have probably happened – the world, I’m told, is a fairly large place – but only three things I feel I have the insight to talk about right now.

First, the screenplay version of No Hope for Gomez! has won several awards. Second, the paperback and kindle versions have a new cover, and thirdly, I’ve finally been able to get the twitter handle I wanted. So, to save myself the embarrassment of having a near negative number of followers, I’m going to shamelessly raffle off a few copies of my novels to people who follow me on twitter this week ;)

Start Twitter-stalking me here for free goodies.

Of course, chaos theory more or less states that even tiny, random events like following me on twitter can easily cause the world to become a much, much better place, so, when you think about it, you’re just doing your bit to save the planet ;)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Kindle Fire HD raffle for Charity

“I'm very polite by nature, even the voices in my head let each other finish their sentences.” – from Completely Flappable

As you may know, I hold an event each year during which I give away free books and raffle off some prizes. This year I thought it would be fun to donate the proceeds as well.

A while ago it occurred to me that it’s probably not governments or big corporations that wield the world’s greatest financial power. I think it’s us. All the little people together. Then I started wondering what could happen if we all decided to set 1 month of our incomes aside towards fixing this place up a bit. How many of the world’s problems could we actually solve permanently? Half of them, maybe? All of them? That's a pretty cool picture.

But I’m a pretty dim light when it comes to implementing even small ideas, never mind the big ones. So I’m not sure how to get that ball rolling (heck, I'm not even sure where we keep the balls). But I can certainly start with myself. That’s easy enough (I’ve been in close contact with myself for years; I didn't have much trouble convincing myself.)

So, this December, all proceeds of all my novels will go to Child Helpline International. The CHI is pretty cool because they support toll-free child helplines worldwide and they help highlight gaps in child protection systems. They do all this on donations (click the image below for more information.)

But what does all this have to do with you? Well, I'm raffling off some prizes and giving out some freebees to boost the donation (expenses out of my own pocket, not the donation :P )

So what's in it for you, besides that warm, fuzzy feeling you'll get knowing the Xmas presents you’re buying include an automatic donation? Well, how about I give you the new edition to the award winning No Hope for Gomez saga completely free?
And how about a Kindle Fire HD raffle ticket with every purchase while we’re at it?
Simply forward your receipt emails to to participate.

And now, on to the pitch. This is the bit where I try to convince you, using only my words, that my novels don’t suck (or at least, not too much.) That they won’t only tickle your brain, but they’ll actually make your life better, if only marginally. That they are, in fact, worthy donation material. Here goes (fingers crossed)...

Paper: $6.08
(uk paper, kindle)

No Hope for Gomez!

Winner of the Forewords Book of the Year Awards, featured on Kirkus Best Indie List 2011, IBA and USA Book News Award nominee.
It's the age-old tale:

  Boy meets girl.
  Boy stalks girl.
  Girl already has a stalker.
  Boy becomes her stalker-stalker.

We've seen it all before, many times, but this time it's different. If only slightly.
"Extremely witty writing containing keen insights into human nature." --California Chronicle
"Challenges the way we think about, and interact with, the world around us." --Kirkus Discoveries
"The antics in this book will leave the reader laughing. Graham Parke is a genius."--Reader's Favorite

Unspent Time

Warning: reading this novel may make you more attractive and elevate your random luck by about 9.332%*
(*These statements have not been evaluated by anyone of consequence)
Permeating the cracks between the past and the present is the realm of Unspent Time. Time that was allotted but never spent. In this realm we find the stories that could have been true. Such as the story of the designer of the color scheme used inside your shoe, or the story of Goki Feng Ho: the Chinese art of decoding the secret meaning of car license plates.

Paper: $6.08
ePub : $2.99
(uk paper, kindle)
“Captivating. Each story fired up my imagination.” – Alan H. Jordan, author.
"Delightfully mad. Graham's vibrant characters shine from the first page." --Tahlia Newland, author.

Free with this event

Completely Flappable

“He’s completely flappable!”
“Don’t you mean he’s unflappable?”
“Not really. He can very easily be flapped.”
Gomez has never been on a date. In his 27 years on the planet he’s never been able to quite close the deal. For some reason, circumstances always conspire to make his meet-ups with women less than official dates. But now a blond German girl with freckles has moved into his building and he decides it’s time to get his act together.

If you've read this far, you're already my hero ;)
I hope you like my idea enough to join me in this fun adventure. Let's see how much we can raise this Xmas ;)

Kind regards,

Graham Parke