Category Archives: Short Story

February Update – The Runaway Story

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It was all so simple. I had an idea for a story—an alien invasion story with a twist. It would be the first story in a second Alienity collection. But then I had an idea for a sequel, a continuation. It was easier to write than the original story, so I wrote it while the other matured.

I finished it. It was good. I wrote the second. I had an idea for a third. So, now I’m thinking instead of another Alienity, I’ll write a collection set in this particular world. I could see ideas sprouting around it. There were at least a couple of other stories that I might pursue. They weren’t outlined. I couldn’t put them neatly into sentences. They were more intriguing whispers.

The first two short stories came in at the 10k-12k range. I always write short. My stories always expand in editing. The second had the potential to expand, but that could wait. I had this third story to write. I had the exact ending already. It would probably come in around the same size as the others.

The third is now over twice that and still growing.  It moves ahead like a rainbow. I go to where the finish appears to be, but it’s still teasing me in the distance. It could need another 10k words, maybe less, maybe more. I doubt it will reach novel length, but it could.

I tend to pants short stories. I instinctively know what I want. All I need to know is where I want to finish. But in this case, getting there is taking a lot longer than usual. The logistics of getting the characters where I want them conspires against brevity.
So, on one hand, I’m really intrigued by this story and at the same time I’m annoyed with it for being so long.

The big crunch is coming though. I am closing in on what I had intended to be the end. Do I finish there and continue the arc in another story, or do I keep this one going? My original ending was ideal for a short story, but as this story moves towards a long novella will it will it be sufficient? Does what would have been the next story become the next section of this one?

I guess I must write it to find out.

My fantasy novel series isn’t forgotten. I’m just leaving it alone for now so I can get some distance from them. In April I’ll start the second draft of the first one. Waiting until then is a chore, but it’s the right thing to do. I need to come back to them as a stranger, seeing them with fresh eyes.

I’ve come to the realisation that the best way to write a first draft is to assume everything written is either brilliant or can be fixed later, and not worry too much about the relative percentages of either. Cold, hard reality can wait for the second draft.

 

September Progress Update

Stack Of Books

I published Alienity back at the end of July. The process of publishing went very smoothly as did the preparation of the paperback using Vellum. I’m not going to publish the paperback for a while until I have more paperbacks ready for publishing. In Ireland, copies have to be sent to the British Library, three other Libraries in the UK if they request them within a year, to Trinity College and several other university libraries across Ireland so the exercise can get pretty expensive.

I am very happy with the stories themselves, particularly The Chosen One. I wrote it from scratch three times from different perspectives, but it clicked together over the summer. I wrote my favorite line ever as part of the edit. I had an ending in my mind from the start, came to dislike it, sought something different, but in the end I gave the story the honest ending it deserved. The tension really adds to the story.

For me, publishing can be a type of release. These stories no longer flutter about the inside of my head, distracting me, demanding my attention, taunting me with their ephemerality. Now that they are released into the wild, my debt to them has been paid and I am finally free of them.

The other bit of news is I finished the first draft of Book Five of my five book fantasy series following on from my short story No Escape. It was really exciting to write those last couple of chapters. They had played out in my mind for so long. It’s the (first draft) culmination of a long writing journey (eighteen months). There was only one small problem. There were several threads left dangling that didn’t fit into the  main arc but demanded on being brought to a proper conclusion. I think a reader will might feel cheated if I don’t resolve them so I am working a sixth book. This will actually be the fifth book in the series. The full first draft of this should be done by Christmas and then work on the second draft of the whole series will begin.

Introducing Alienity

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Here’s the blurb of my new collection of short stories.

H.G. Wells faces judgment by one of his creations. The Earth’s first tour guide for aliens encounters the planet’s worst ever tourist. The fate of Humanity lies in the hands of the most isolated man in its history. The Kefloins, having secured membership to the Galactic Congress for the Earth, now turn to the planet’s ambassador with their most terrible secret in the hope she can find a solution.

Four short stories about aliens ranging from humorous to deadly somber.

Currently available on Amazon.

May Progress Update

Stack Of Books

If you squint really hard you can possibly see me tottering at the top of that tower of books. I had a very busy first four months of the year.  I finished the first draft of the Book 4 in the series about a week ahead of schedule. It came in about 62k words and was the probably the easiest to write since Book 1. I’m confident of finishing Book 5 by the scheduled date. I’m really looking forward to revealing the main villain. It is my concept of him that really transformed a standalone short story into the prequel of a five book series.

However, perhaps of more immediate interest, I am going publish a bundle of four short SF stories that I recently finished. It’s been a while since I published anything so I am really looking forward to releasing them. They range from humorous to quite dark, but they all center around aliens in some way. More detail to follow on the very near future.

No Escape is now FREE!

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My new fantasy short story, No Escape, is now free on Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and other stores.

A desperate warrior carries a baby girl across a foreign desert. Although truth and honor are tattooed on his cheeks, Tharo has abandoned both virtues in his quest to protect his charge. But it’s only a matter of time before he fails her. Another man stalks them, a hunter no prey can escape, the dreaded Souldiviner.

And The Winner is…

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Behold the winning cover my new short story, No Escape. It’s by Ivan Cakic (Cakamura Art Studio). For me, he really captured the essence of the story. The face of the main figure is particularly mesmeric.

I can’t wait to hit to the publish button in mid-January. It’ll be available on Amazon, iBooks, B&N, etc. Here’s the blurb.

A desperate warrior carries a baby girl across a foreign desert. Although truth and honor are tattooed on his cheeks, Tharo has abandoned both virtues in his quest to protect his charge. But it’s only a matter of time before he fails her. Another man stalks them, a hunter no prey can escape, the dreaded Souldiviner.

Help Me Choose A Cover! No Escape

I need your help! I have a choice of three covers for my new fantasy short story, No Escape. Please help me choose the best one. Which one is your immediate favorite? Any comments are really welcome.

https://99designs.ie/contests/poll/8xum15

The poll is now closed! Thanks to everyone who participated. Anyone who left their names will be mentioned in the ebook’s acknowledgements.

Watch Where You Sit! The Murder Seat Is FREE!

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At last, my short story is free on Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, iBooks, Overdrive, Barnes & Noble, and other stores.

Dr. Herbert Marriott has a problem that only murder can solve. Luckily for him, the perfect weapon is locked away in his rundown museum, one too incredible for any court to accept. The cursed chair kills all who rest upon it. But will Herbert’s victim be so easily drawn to her fate?

To celebrate, A Bright Power Rising is also available on Amazon for a limited time at 99 cents.

September Update

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I really must write these updates more often.

When I wrote the last one in June, I was working on the first part of a LitRPG trilogy, codenamed Spaghetti 1, 2, & 3. I now have first drafts of the first two completed and am currently half-way through the third.

The first book is kind of typical for LitRPG with some twists. The main character, starting off at the lowest skill level, must defeat a local (player) boss to win his freedom. The world is kind of like a typical fantasy MMORPG (for me). The focus is on the player interactions. The length of the first draft is about 49k words. It needs a lot of work, but hopefully, there’s enough in there to keep the reader interested.

Spaghetti 2 is a much different beast. It has a much more epic scope and the typical tropes kind of fall away a bit. Wait till you see the setting! Dante’s Inferno was a big influence on the story but I really let my imagination run riot. The action takes place in a locale we briefly visit in the first book. The main character is more advanced in this one but so are his surroundings. He’s up against much more powerful players with godlike powers. The first draft came in at 40k but it is absolutely packed with action. I don’t see any problem expanding it into full novel length.

Spaghetti 3 is an apocalyptic story. The end is nigh for the game world. At this stage, the main character is very advanced, the head of a powerful clan. A lot of seeds sown in the first and second books will reach fruition. This book will take a lot of work because given Book 2 is so epic, I have work out how to dial the third up to eleven.

I decided to write the three books to first draft so that I can see how all the various elements fit together. Although the three books have very different plots, I want to give them a cohesive tone.

Once the first draft of the third book is complete, I’ll be splitting my time between redrafting the books and writing new stuff. At times having so many ideas for projects is frustrating. If only I could get them all written and released. But I never publish anything without it being as good as I can make it.

On the short story front, I made The Fate Healer wide and free. I am in the process of doing the same with a new horror short story called The Murder Seat. I wrote it originally about three years ago. It’s set in recessionary Dublin in the 1980s. Hopefully, people will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. 🙂