5 Reasons to Go Buy The Birdcage Heart & Other Strange Tales This Week

So this book I’ve been banging on about is finally out in all it’s digital glory. For those who have just arrived on this blog, or keep losing to goldfish when challenging them to memory games, I’m referring to this book:

“Only Peter M. Ball’s fiction makes falling down the rabbit hole feel like flying. Funny and surprising, with moments of extraordinary grace.” Angela Slatter, Author of the World Fantasy Award-winning The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings

Click Here To Purchase From Your Preferred Digital Retailer

It contains twelve short stories, all in the slipstream/magic realism/fantasy line, all of them written by me. If that’s enough to convince you that it’s a must-have item, you can go ahead and click on the link above to acquire your copy. If you’re still up in the air, I’m going to dedicate the rest of this post to convincing you that The Birdcage Heart & Other Strange Tales is worth parting with your hard-earned bucks.

Without further ado:

Five Reasons You Should Go Buy The Birdcage Heart & Other Strange Tales This Week


Ten of the stories in this collection have been previously published. A large chunk of those were published online, and thus remain available for reading if you are willing to spend some quality time Googling my name and hunting down the stories one-by-one. This is the nature of short story collections, which is why authors do evil things like sneak shiny, brand-new stories that no-one has ever read into the collection. This collection contains two: one is a tale of wizards and government bureaucracy, and the other is an short story I wrote to entertain Alan Baxter that draws its influences from Lovecraft, 80s action movies, and one of my favourite short stories in Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber.

I love both these stories and I’m really excited for people to read them, but what I’m even happier about is including On the Arrival of the Paddle-Steamer on the Docks of V—. This is one of my favourite stories that I’ve written, originally published by Jonathan Strahan in the late, lamented Eclipse Online just a month or so before the the publisher behind the magazine changed hands and Eclipse closed it’s doors (and the archive disappeared offline). Tracking this one down is incredibly difficult…until now.


I’ve written some pretty good stories over the past ten years. And yes, I know, check out the ego on me, but I’m not saying you need to take my word on this. I mean, holy shit, have you seen some of the editors and magazines who have published some of these stories? For your reference, here’s a short list: Jack Dann; Cat Rambo; Strange Horizons; Jonathan Strahan; Shimmer; Catherynne M. Valente. Some of the stories in this  collection have ended up in Years Best collections and on the Locus Recommended List. If you travelled back to 2007 and told me I’d sell stories to them inside of a decade, I would have laughed and thought you were crazy.


Let’s be honest: I write odd stories. Much as I love a good sword-and-sorcery tale, they aren’t my wheelhouse when it comes to storytelling. I sit over on the other side of fantasy, hanging out with the slipstream and the weird tales and the magic realism.

There are no swords in this collection, but there are steampunk mecha built out of old shipwrecks by angry merfolk, clockwork goats used as pawns in a game of status between magi, fey that travel the world on paddle-steamers, and endless stairwells descending to god-knows-where that have become tourist attractions. There are stories about men with birdcages for hearts and small towns trying to stop the end of the world.

There’s a story about government bureaucracy and the people forced to work the desks, but there might be a wizard in it.


Right now, Brain Jar Press is tiny. It’s me and a handful of software, some drafts-in-progress and a bunch of things I hold the rights too. The Birdcage Heart & Other Strange Tales is the first release, but it’s the tiny seed from which all the other projects grow.

Let’s be clear: I have plans. Oh my, do I have plans. But those plans are adaptable, balancing long-term needs against the short-term desire to do things like pay my mortgage and eat. I’m spending the next week putting together my quarterly plan, outlining all the projects and deadlines I’m working towards across December, January, and February. Early support for projects like this justify putting a lot more effort into the things that come next.

Buying The Birdcage Heart & Other Strange Tales now is an investment in future cool things coming your way.


I love blogging, and I really love blogging about writing and publishing. It’s also a project that requires an enormous amount of time, which means that it’s the first project to get moved down the to-do list when paying projects (or day-job gigs) starts putting pressure on my writing time.

This means there’s a direct correlation between how well the writing side of my income is doing and how much I tend to blog about writing. Therefore, the easiest way to get more blogging out of me is to buy my books and put me in a position where I don’t need to go find a part-time gig to pay my mortgage.

I’ve looked at options like Petreon before, but I prefer to keep blogging for free and making an income from other parts of my writing.

You know, like fiction.

I really like writing fiction. And working on fiction, thinking it through, is where I start getting ideas for blog posts that feel interesting enough to talk about it.

So here I am, with this book all shiny and new, where a large chunk of the money comes my way every time it sells. You don’t have to pick up a copy via a link from the blog, but every sale is a little reminder that there’s an audience here on this blog that digs what I do.


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