I have written many things over the last half century that will never be published. I consider that practice as my apprenticeship, preparing myself for the advent of indie publishing. I steeled myself to face the judgement of readers on four occasions so far, twice for novels and two more times for collections of short stories.
First, though, I want to tell you about the result of getting drunk…
I have been active online for many years, meeting my peers and discussing our work. In the Christmas break of 2012 I was happily inebriated, for which read heedless of consequences, anything is possible and every passing thought seems a damn good idea at the time. I was a moderator of a group on Goodreads and suggested to the members that we have been so lucky in our lives we should try and help others improve their lot. We’re writers, so why not use our skills and put together a collection of short stories? If, say, twenty of us each donated a story we could publish a free anthology. Anyone downloading the book would learn about the work being done by WaterAid and we could ask for donations as a way of saying thank you for the book. This idea was taken up with enthusiasm by some wonderful fellow authors and the Words and Water Group was born.
That was, however, the start of much more hard work than I, in my drunken state, had considered. I collected the donated stories, tried to find the right words for rejecting the ones that weren’t suitable, accepted others with great joy but then in some cases had to tactfully suggest we should work on the editing and proof reading, did the compiling, formatting, publishing, commissioned the cover… but with help from the group members, especially with the things I’m hopeless at (all the social media stuff), we have now published two anthologies. Please pick up your FREE copies from Smashwords – whichever format you prefer – and consider making a donation and/or leaving a review, telling your friends about them, whatever you feel comfortable with.
Check out the reviews on Smashwords, nearly all of them 5*. It gave me great satisfaction to see many of them mention the difference the quality of editing made to their enjoyment; seeing those comments confirmed for me that I hadn’t let the group members down. But the real point of editing is to earn reviews like this from
… The contributing Authors have successfully showcased their formidable storytelling skills and deemed that all proceeds and donations go to support WaterAid. I, for one, will be looking out, not only for further such collaborations, but also for the other books written by each of the authors.
Don’t you want to see reviews like that for your storytelling?
If you would like to submit a story or poem for the 2015 anthology (due for publication in June/July 2015) please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Never Too Late – Book #1 in the Changes trilogy, a tale of family life in a small English village.
Relationships can strain to breaking point when there are too many secrets, too many problems not faced. In the village of Holmsford, the McTavish family members find they need each other more than they thought, and the community rallies round to help.
Maggie is forced to make tough choices when her husband is left in a coma and his secrets start to surface. She has to start believing that her actions will make the difference in holding the family and the business together. Her first step, though, is to adopt a German Shepherd.
The changes to her life inevitably have repercussions for her son and daughter. What choices will they make to bring about the changes they need? Maggie must find her inner strength, for herself and her children, and she will never see life in quite the same way again.
New Beginnings – Book #2 in the Changes trilogy
This book stands alone, but for those who know the people from Never Too Late, this is your chance to meet them again, and some new faces too.
In the small village of Holmsford, residents old and new gear up for the Christmas celebrations, but not everything goes to plan. Secrets and sleigh rides, new love and heartache, all get mixed up in the festive pot.
Iain is not happy when Maggie agrees to foster a pregnant bitch. Maggie’s not entirely happy as she is certain Iain is still hiding something important from her. Chloe doesn’t care since her Christmas plans will take her far from her parents; her sights are set on a celebration packed with celebrities who she sees as potential clients. Maggie’s son, James, is now settled, but she is concerned for their tempestuous daughter.
Chloe is struggling to find the love she craves and forge a new career. Everything seems to be going to plan until she gets to the New Year gathering in Scotland. What she finds there sends her flying back home, where she drops a bombshell in her mother’s lap that threatens to blow the family apart.
There are plans for #3 in the trilogy, but it will have to remain a trilogy of two books until I feel ready to complete Past and Present.
As the Sun Goes Down
This book is set to FREE: if you enjoy the stories please make a donation to Saluki Welfare Fund. Every donation, large or small, helps the dedicated volunteers who rescue, care for and find new loving homes for Salukis who have fallen on hard times.
Come take a peek into the lives of some of the characters who live in my imagination.
- Polly Polo – an elderly car breaks down in bad weather and a phone call to the breakdown service is needed.
- Emily’s Hat – Emily’s husband is promoted and she must prepare for the company executives’ day out at Ascot.
- Simile and Metaphor – a teacher is lacking inspiration for a class assignment until she overhears a conversation in a shoe shop.
- Jackie’s Bike – an adventure goes terribly wrong when Jane ‘borrows’ Jackie’s brand new bike.
- Out the Other Side – Sophie persuades her husband that they should move to Devon, but their son throws a spanner in the works.
- Something About Suzy – an abused Saluki escapes her fate as a brood bitch and discovers what it means to have a home and family.
- Time Out – a teenager volunteers to help the disabled and learns some important life lessons.
- Spirit Passing – it’s time for Mandy to say goodbye to her terminally ill grandmother.
This is my second collection of short stories. Why have I called it Similar Differences? Because… well, we’re all similar, and we’re all different. As they say, we are all unique, just like everyone else. Our base personalities are moulded and refined by our circumstances and the people we meet, leading to very different life journeys. With every decision we make the path forks anew.
Here you will meet children playing dressing up, a single mother meeting the father of her son, a Canadian who has unexpectedly inherited a large English house and farm, a concert pianist who must decide if it is time to stay home a little more, and others whose lives have come to decision points.
These books are also available on Amazon and other eBook retail sites.