Wednesday 30 April 2014

(vol 1) CHAPTER 12: “I present to you”

The aim of this blog when I started was to follow my progress in putting together a collection of my short stories with the plan to self-publish.

The writing of these stories has been under way for a while now and all seven are at various stages as I do everything to avoid the dreaded five (see my earlier blog post about what used to stop me writing).

This week I thought I would go into more detail about the project itself and talk a little about each of the stories that will be included.

So, without further ado . . .

“The Past Is But Prologue”


Peter Grainger has spent the last few years being moved from prison to prison. He knows he will never be set free and his reputation makes him feared by those on both side of the bars. He thinks he has seen all that evil has to offer. Today he will realise he hasn’t.

IMPRISONED was written as a 2000 word story for an SFX Magazine competition back in 2006 (I think). It was originally called The Decider and it made it into the final fifty despite having minimum editing. I wonder how it would have done had it been writing by present day me instead with a group of readers to help me shape it.

Last year I rewrote the story, breaking it free of its word constraint and allowing Peter Grainger to be a character with feelings and history. It’s had several drafts and is the closest to completion.


A freak snow storm forces a small group of people to spend the night trapped in their office building. It doesn’t take long before tension grows among some of the staff. But there are worse things to worry about then people’s bad habits and half empty vending machines. Something else has come with the snow. Something undead. Something hungry.

I came up with the idea for this about eight years ago when heavy snow did leave several work colleagues unable to get home one night. Nothing horrific happened to them.

This is still in early stages but will end up being close to novella length.


Colin has skills but he doesn’t have much confidence. He’s also never been asked to attend an interview that he never applied for so today he’s a little dubious. Will Colin get the job? Does he want the job? What exactly is the job?

This is one of those stories that came from such a small idea. How long would you stick at an interview that got weirder and weirder at each stage?


Alex loves his wife Lorna. Despite some tough times he couldn’t imagine life without her. But some things just don’t get covered in your vows. Like what to do when the woman you love becomes a Vampire. Can this marriage survive such a dramatic lifestyle change?

This one was written for an online writing group just before I got married. It had to be a 1000 word horror / fantasy / sci-fi story using the theme of love. When I was looking at my stories to include in this collection I originally dismissed LOVE BITE but then I decided to set myself the challenge of fixing it.


On tonight’s episode of ‘The Challenge’ we’ll find out if one of our new contestants has what it takes to kill the indestructible Sean Newman.

After a morbid discussion with colleagues about the fear of surviving a suicide attempt with a disability I wondered what would happen to a man that wanted to die but could not be killed. I didn’t know what to do with it until a few months later I caught the last hour of the Running Man on late night TV. It’s kind of an extreme Britain’s Got Talent.


Ben and Tim are dealing with their parent’s divorce and have moved to a new house with their mum. One day they spot their neighbour behaving strangely in his back garden. Tim just thinks their neighbour is crazy but his older brother is sure there’s more to it than that.

This is one of the most personal stories I’ve ever written and came about last summer while I was walking my son around our back garden in a figure of eight to help him nap. I had my movie soundtracks playing on my i-pod and my brain wandered as it usually does. Half an hour later and I had an idea for a story that put a supernatural slant on what I was doing, simple as that. As my son slept I continued to form the story and spent the next week of lunch breaks writing it up.


In the blackness of space, on the edge of our galaxy, a being appears and begins its journey towards our planet with a single, important purpose.

This piece is short and sweet; a nice way to round out the collection. It was written as part of the same writing group challenged that LOVE BITE came from. This theme was transport. I went as far from obvious as I could.

So that’s the seven I’m currently working on at the moment. I’m hoping I can have this available to purchase by the end of the year at the latest; earlier would be fine but I don’t want to rush it. It does seem like a relaxed goal but there’s a lot to do after the writing that is new to me like cover design and e-publishing.

If things work out well then I have plans to keep the momentum going into year two. I have more short stories that I’d like to put out as UNCANNY TALES: volume 2 as well as releasing the first NaNoWriMo novel I finished. And to top it off I’m hoping to start a project I’ve been planning since last year by releasing a ten part story as monthly novellas.

I really hope this is the small start to a big future but for now let’s just see how I do with UNCANNY TALES: volume 1.

See you in seven.

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