Free Fiction by Me – Random Play All and the League of Awesome

CoW promo 279

I am delighted to announce that my story “Random Play All and the League of Awesome” is now available in audio on the Cast of Wonders podcast!

To quote myself from a different blog post:

I can not overstate how much I love trivial superpowers. As anyone who knew me growing up could tell you, I’ve always loved super heroes. From dressing up as one as a kid (or, er, as an adult), to collecting comic books, to apparel, movies, and video games, to the absolutely embarrassing number of times I’ve listened to Dr. Horrible.

But I never liked the idea of guys like Superman or Thor. I don’t want an unstoppable goody-two shoes. Show me a guy who doesn’t have it so easy. Show me a guy with just a *little* bit of power, and the wit and courage to use that little bit at just the right moment to make a *huge* difference.

This is one of my all time favorite stories, and I’m so glad it is available for free (it has appeared twice before previously in “paper book” form).

Go give it a listen!

It’s here! It’s here!

I have right now in my hot little hands a copy of the Year’s Best Young Adult Speculative Fiction, 2013.


This book includes my story, “Random Play All and the League of Awesome”.

Seriously, you guys, I’m only about half-way through the book, but so far it is amazing. These really are the best stories of 2013. I greatly enjoyed 57 Reasons for the Slate Quarry Suicides by Sam J. Miller and Selkie Stories Are for Losers by Sofia Samatar the first time around, but they were even better than I remember. Additionally, I’ve discovered excellent stories that are new to me, such as The Minotaur Girls by Tansy Rayner Roberts.

The more I read, the more honored and humbled I am to be included among such amazing stories.


I would especially like to draw your attention to the back cover, where I am only a comma and a space away from Neil Gaiman.


I think I will use that as my new cover blub: “Shane Halbach is on par with Neil Gaiman! (alphabetically)”

You can chose print, e-book, heck, why not choose both?

I’m going to be in a year’s best!

So, the table of contents for “The Year’s Best YA Speculative Fiction 2013” was released today…guess who’s going to be sharing a TOC with Neil Gaiman?

That’s right! My story “Random Play All and the League of Awesome” from OOMPH: A Little Super Goes a Long Way was selected as one of the best young adult stories printed in 2013. Obviously that feels pretty good (especially receiving the email out of nowhere), but now that I see the full table of contents, it’s a little overwhelming! People I know, people I admire, and people I didn’t think to have my name alongside.

Did I mention Neil Gaiman? I am *literally* listening to The Ocean at the End of the Lane RIGHT NOW.

Here’s the full table of contents:

Selkie Stories Are For Losers  –  Sofia Samatar
By Bone-Light  –  Juliet Marillier
The Myriad Dangers  –  Lavie Tidhar
Carpet  –  Nnedi Okorafor
I Gave You My Love by the Light of the Moon  –  Sarah Rees Brennan
57 Reasons for the Slate Quarry Suicides  –  Sam J. Miller
The Minotaur Girls  –  Tansy Rayner Roberts
Not With You, But With You  –  Miri Kim
Ghost Town  –  Malinda Lo
December  –  Neil Gaiman
An Echo in the Shell  –  Beth Cato
Dan’s Dreams  –  Eliza Victoria
As Large As Alone  –  Alena McNamara
Random Play All and the League of Awesome  –  Shane Halbach
Mah Song  –  Joanne Anderton
What We Ourselves Are Not  –  Leah Cypess
The City of Chrysanthemum  –  Ken Liu
Megumi’s Quest  –  Joyce Chng
Persimmon, Teeth, and Boys  –  Steve Berman
Flight  –  Angela Slatter
We Have Always Lived on Mars  –  Cecil Castellucci

I am so excited right now, you have no idea. I guess you’re supposed to act all gracious, like you’ve been there before and whatnot, but screw that! I’ve got over 300 rejections, I’m savoring the wins for all they’re worth.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be over here, shouting from the rooftops.

Regarding Giveaways

So, it’s not Sunday anymore (or even Monday when you get right down to it) so it’s time to announce the winner of the double giveaway!

The winner of the custom headband from ThreadAbell is Anna, which just goes to show you, enter early! Random number generators take notice on that sort of thing.

The winner of the copy of OOMPH: A Little Super Goes a Long Way is none other than my mom! This is not surprising, because my mom was the *only* entry for the book giveaway.

(As a reminder, OOMPH is available in paperback, as well as for the Kindle or Nook. If you’ve already read the book, please leave a review on Amazon!)

I’ve never really had a giveaway here on the blog, so this was a bit of a learning experience. Twitter is the social network in which I interact with the most writers, so I was thrilled to see the link retweeted and retweeted again, by people with *many* more followers than me. I was sure the response was going to be huge, but none of the people who saw that link ultimately registered for the giveaway.

Some of it just might be the nature of the beast. The blog didn’t register a significant amount more traffic than normal that day, which means most people didn’t click on the link at all. I should say that going into it, I didn’t expect a lot of interest. I know a lot of writers who try to give away books that are pretty unsuccessful (if any of you out there are interested in getting free books, you could seriously make a killing entering these drawings).

However, I think at least some of it was that perhaps it was a little too complicated (read this, go there, do that, come back here, etc.). Lots of text. I think that would be my big takeaway: if I ever did another giveaway, I would try to make it as simple as possible. I don’t know how to solve the apathy problem (people not clicking on the link), but if they do click over, I can perhaps at least solve the second part of it.

Oh well, it was interesting at least, I’m glad I tried it. Anybody have any thoughts on the matter? Do you like the giveaways? Is there a reason you entered/didn’t enter? Did anybody even read this far?

Is this thing on?

Double giveaway!

What’s better than a free giveaway? How about TWO free giveaways?

My good friend Alexis runs an amazing sewing business out of her home. She can make all kinds of things, but I’m telling you right now, this is your go to shop for homemade muppet merchandise. You heard that right, homemade muppet merchandise. If, for some reason, you’re not in the market for muppet merchandise, she can work with you to make pretty much anything you want (she’s that good!)

To celebrate our individual awesomenesses, Alexis and I are doing some cross-promotional giveaways.

Over on the ThreadAbell facebook page, I am giving away a free paperback of OOMPH: A Little Super Goes a Long Way, which contains my story “Random Play All and the League of Awesome”.

OOMPH is an anthology of the tremendous potential of trivial superpowers. From the promo copy:

Oomph: A Little Super Goes a Long Way explores what it takes to be a superhero with just a little bit of power, where heroes and heroines use their small gifts to great advantage.

Sometimes you don’t need a big lever to move the world.

Sounds amazing, right? Dare I say…super?

All you need to do to enter is to “like” the ThreadAbell facebook page and then leave a comment on the ThreadAbell facebook page about a favorite post from my blog (and there are SO many awesome posts to chose from!).

So easy, right?

But wait, there’s more!

Alexis is giving away a headband here on my blog. I can personally certify the awesomeness of her headbands, since she’s made some for Sara:

Sara ThreadAbell Headband

ThreadAbell Headband

(Note: this is just an example headband, impromptu selfie-style, not the headband that is up for grabs!)

All you need to do to enter is to “like” the ThreadAbell facebook page and then leave a comment on THIS BLOG POST telling me what your favorite item is from the ThreadAbell Etsy shop (and there are SO many awesome items to choose from!).

Just to re-iterate, comment HERE to win the headband, comment THERE to win the book. And in any case, like her page!

A winner for both drawings will be chosen randomly from the respective comments on Sunday, January 26th (6 p.m. Central time). For those entering the drawing for the headband, make sure to leave your email address in the comment form so I can contact you if you win.

(And, for those of you who don’t win, OOMPH is available in paperback, as well as for the Kindle or Nook. If you’ve already read the book, please leave a review on Amazon!)