Although novels are my preferred form, I also enjoy writing short stories. It is, in many ways, an entirely different discipline from novel writing. Generally, there’s no time for a great deal of character development, no room for elaborate description, no space for multiple side-plots. While novels allow a certain degree of indulgence (though only to a point – I dislike novels that devote page upon page to describing the same thing; it’s why I’ve never got on with Dickens), a short story needs to be sparing and succinct.
Back in 2012, when I first noticed the self-publishing revolution that had been happening while my attention was turned elsewhere, I had around twenty short stories gathering cyberdust on my hard drive. Prompted by a beer session with my brother, I bundled ten of them together and put them up on Amazon. The collection didn’t even have a cover at first.
It contains the first piece of fiction I ever had published – ‘Celesta’ – and the story which spawned the Earth Haven trilogy – ‘The Third Coming’.
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A collection of three stories with a common theme – the search for lost loved ones. Two of the stories I had written many years previously; the third, ‘A Matter of Perspective’, I wrote to complete this small collection. It’s a post-apocalyptic tale (the others are science fiction and fantasy) and contains a nod to one of my favourite PA novels: Riddley Walker.
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Christmas is one of my favourite times of year, yet I quickly grow weary of the crass commercialism and saccharine sentimentality that so often is rampant during that season. It’s why I make sure to watch films like Bad Santa and Krampus (though I also watch films like It’s a Wonderful Life, too) as an antidote. What follows is my own antidotal offering – four festive tales, plus a bonus story, from the dark side, involving ghosts and vampires and zombies. There are also a couple of tales set in the Earth Haven universe.
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A free offering – not a collection, but a single short story. (If downloading from Amazon, check it’s free before you click – the Zon sometimes changes it to paid without warning, or doesn’t price-match it to free in every store.)
Update 1st Sep 2021: the audiobook version is also now available at a modest price.
Guilt. The heaviest burden.
An old man has for many years borne a weight that runs deeper than survivor’s guilt. He is a survivor, of humanity’s darkest hour, but wouldn’t have lived through it if not for the actions of another.
Now he has the opportunity for which he has long yearned: to meet his saviour’s daughter and tell her about her father’s supreme act of selflessness. And maybe, in the telling, one of them will find release.
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Finally, readers who sign up for my mailing list receive a welcome email giving them the option of downloading two free short stories that aren’t published elsewhere. It’s a small token of my gratitude for their interest in my work.