I stumbled across The Hugh Howey Booktrack Competition after receiving an email from Booktrack. The name sounded familiar, and sure enough, I had already checked out this unique website when Hugh Howey had mentioned it in one of his posts. Booktrack is actually really cool. It’s a platform that lets you upload your book and add cool effects, ambiance, or music to your story. You can add those sounds by the line or by an entire chapter or even as small as a word. You have complete control over it by setting volume, fading in and out, and overlapping sounds.
When I checked out the website, I saw this awesome competition. I won’t go into all the nitty gritty of the rules and stuff. You can find that here. But needless to say, I jumped all over winning some prize money! Publishing books is expensive, and I need some extra capital to get my next sci-fi series out.
So the entry for the writing competition has to be a fanfiction piece from Hugh Howey’s Half Way Home. Now obviously I admire Hugh Howey just as a fellow self publisher, but this was the first book of his that I’d read. And I LOVED it. So writing the fanfiction piece was easy-peasy. Next, I had to design a unique cover for my story, which you can see below.
After doing all that, I just uploaded my story to Booktrack and started adding sounds! At first, it was a little overwhelming, but I got the hang of it and really enjoyed the process.
Anyway, if you’re still reading this, it would be amazing if you could head over to Booktrack and read my story. Maybe rate it and leave a comment too if you’re feeling extra generous. Finalists are picked based on the number of reads, ratings, and comments they have so I would really appreciate it! If you’re reading from your phone, you’ll probably need to download the app. If you’re on you computer, you can click here and it will take you to a popup with my story.
Here is an excerpt from my story to get you started.
“All for the glory of the colony. All for the glo…All for th…”
The voice drones to a grinding stop along with the flashing reel of images that skip across my vision. I blink. Am I awake?
At fifteen years-old and only halfway through my incubation, I realize I am indeed awake in a vat of goo and wires. Instantly, I know something is wrong as the drain at my feet starts to inhale the fluid around me. I watch the fluid level slowly sink downward in a tight swirl that makes me slightly dizzy. I sway in my vat, placing my hands against the glass to steady me as I try to lower myself with the water level. I breathe under the water until there is none left.
I collapse on the floor of my vat, hacking and choking up the mucus in my lungs. I brace myself against the door of my vat as my back contorts and heaves up the fluid and vomit in my throat. Water tries to tear itself up as air crashes in. It’s a wrenching tug-of-war that makes me feel like my torso is about to explode and spill out my lungs, where they will flip around on the ground like fish out of water.
The sealed door to the vat releases and I tumble out and onto the floor. My naked skin is slick with moisture. The clinical air in the module chills me to the point where my teeth begin to chatter. I wrap my arms around my bare chest and force myself to take a shaky breath. The air burns all the way down and makes me cough until I see spots.
More vats around mine open, and other naked colonists fall indelicately to the floor. We look at each other in confusion. Then we all hear for the first time, the sound like a klaxon screaming inside our sculls. Everyone grimaces as the AI tells us to stay calm, to make our way to an exit.
Then we hear screams, and someone shouting, “Fire!”
At first I think it’s another virtual simulation from my training. The AI settles my nerves even as more people start to scream. But the rational part of my brain recognizes that this is wrong. This isn’t supposed to happen. I clutch my naked chest, rubbing the skin above my aching sternum, and try to make sense of the chaos around me.
We are colonists born fifteen years too early. This is not Earth. We are not your typical humans. We are programmed to perform duties to inhabit this new planet and prosper on it. That was the plan, and I know this is fact because of my training videos and simulations that taught me not only how to be a human but how to be a colonist as well.
All for the glory of the colony.