For those who are unsure what a drabble is. It is a story exactly 100 words long, or short depending on your perspective. One gets an awful lot of satisfaction from completing such a short story. It can be done and dusted within the hour.
Back in January, I had four drabbles accepted by Blood Song Books for two of their anthologies. I have three more with them awaiting their decision.
Then half way through March, I came across another publisher looking for a whole gaggle of the little tales. Every author has the opportunity to have five drabbles published in five collections - that's a possible twenty five stories. They have already accepted fifteen from me. You can find out more about Black Hare Press here.
I've always had an addictive nature, and drabbling just might be the healthiest form it could take.
Thanks to a little story I wrote just over a year ago, I was given the opportunity to put together a collection of short stories by Grant Hudson.
But I was very new to writing and didn’t have a massive back catalogue to draw on. All I had was a half finished manuscript.
Many moons ago, when I first decided to try this writing thing, I started a novel – The Loneliness of Moony Moore. A tale of a spectral night on the ocean in a small fishing boat. Looking back, I see it was not destined to be a great novel.
But I liked the character of Moony Moore, so he makes an appearance in the book.
Every character in the book is based on someone I knew or contains elements of people combined into a new character.
I knew a wishing witch (and was cured by her once).
A bar man who had tales to tell from all around the world.
A retired spy who had once been a resistance fighter – he was past caring about official secrets and was even more tired about everyday secrets.
Retired Bank Robbers.
An ad-man who claimed to have brought menthol cigarettes to the UK and thought of the toucan for Guinness.
Work-shy loners and drunken chefs.
Artists and writers.
And surely every town has a barfly who claims to have seen little green men.
Anyway, I put these personalities together (and a few others) in the fictional town of Deben Market. Then stirred them up with a keyboard, fountain pen and ‘How Stories Really Work’, and put it on a low flame to simmer for a year.
Yesterday, I sent the manuscript to Grant. No doubt, in the fullness of time he will return it to me so I can adjust the seasoning.
I try to to write every day for a couple of hours, usually in the morning after the poodle has been walked, tending to write whole heaps of stories in rough drafts, before eventually returning to them to tidy them up. Hence, my writing time is not always about writing – I spend ages trying to find where I’ve saved my notes.
My collection for Clarendon House, The Magic of Deben Market is nearly ready, I hope. I’ve been spending many hours editing my way through 30ish stories featuring a cast of characters loosely connected by the simple fact that they all live in the same town.
And then just when I think it’s ready, I drop a story and write a new one for it.
All the while, my brain is creating scenarios for Mortimer Marsh. My notes and scrawlings are copious.
Mortimer (Morty to his friends) is a young man about town living a nice life in 1930s London. I hope to tell of his adventures with and without his friend, Georgette Fenwick-Ffield. Some tales are light and frivolous, others a bit deeper and darker.
Morty makes his first appearance in the second issue of the Inner Circle Writers’ Group magazine. The story, The Affair of The Missing Tiara, told over three parts, is set in an English stately home, and features wedding guests, glamorous girls, fast cars, stolen loot and a steam locomotive.
Other Morty stories waiting in the wings are set in various places, including Booklands race track, a village cricket match, and west end night clubs. Expect adventures with theft, murder, blackmail, sabotage and stink-bombs. You’ll encounter, duchesses, tired coppers, retired super-criminals and silly nincompoops.
The second issue of what is already being called the greatest writers magazine ever is out now, you can subscribe at the Clarendon House Website
Zombie Pirate Publishing recently published World War 4 (WW4) containing my story, The Bunker. Inside you will find quite a few names some might recognise from various Facebook groups. Shawn Klimik, LT Waterson and Gregg Cunningham to name a few.
WW4 also contains a bonus story by renowned science-fiction author, Neil Asher. That’s right little old me is sharing a book with a best-seller, how cool is that?
It’s available in paperback or kindle from Amazon World War 4: A Science Fiction Anthology
The Butcher Of Blengarth – A blood-soaked story was submitted to the Zombie Pirates for their forthcoming horror anthology, Full Metal Horror 2. I wait with baited breath.
Several 100 word stories have been accepted into Blood & Cauldrons, an Anthology by Australian Publishers Blood Song Books.
Thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings, and if you have not done so already, please sign-up to receive emails – Subscribe Now
WORLD WAR FOUR: A Science Fiction Anthology is available now from Zombie Pirate Publishing.
Einstein said: “I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”
Turns out he was wrong...
WORLD WAR FOUR features twenty explosive short stories from authors all around the galaxy.
Plus a brand new, exclusive novelette from internationally acclaimed sci-fi author NEAL ASHER!
Earth law has come to Godrun, a backwater planet on the edge of hostile alien space where slavery and corruption are rife. It’s up to Polity monitor Logan to clean up this den of thieves, no matter how many massive explosions it takes. Can the hired killers stop him? Or will a military drone named Sting be enough to swing the tide?
It’s an amazing tale, and just one of many in this 450 page, action packed anthology featuring space battles, high-tech jet dogfights, strange aliens and artificial intelligences, awesome weapons, and lots, lots more!
THE SECOND ISSUE OF THE WORLD'S MOST EXCITING WRITERS' MAGAZINE IS HERE!
It’s even brighter and bigger than the first! Inside, this is a glimpse of what you’ll find:
FICTION from David Bowmore, Gabriella Balcom, Peter Astle, William Masters, P. A. O’Neil, Jan McCulloch AND an amazing presentation of Part One of one of the greatest short stories ever written, THE MACHINE STOPS by E. M. Forster.
INTERVIEWS AND SNAPSHOTS with Rich Rurshell interviewing Kate McCoid, and the special first edition of a feature you won’t want to miss called DESERT ISLAND BOOKS with this month’s guest, David Bowmore.
EXPERT ADVICE from Dennis Doty on traditional publishing, Elizabeth Montague on fan fiction, Denise D’Souza telling us about her experiences in a writers’ workshop, Dr. María Jesu Estrada with tips for beginners, Gary Bonn on world-building, Mark Kodama writing about the Reptile Brain, Phil Ide on technological tools, Carmen Baca on marketing and our GRAMMAR NINJA feature with Samantha Hamilton.
ANALYSIS: Gary Bonn looks at THE PICNIC by Jan McCulloch.
ARTWORK featuring the beautiful photography of Denise O’Hagan.
THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH Part Two by William Shakespeare, adapted by Grant P. Hudson.
THE G. P. HUDSON ART STUDIO presents a portrait of C. S. Lewis.
ARTICLES including A WINDOW INTO MIDDLE-EARTH: Gandalf the Fearful Part One and A PERSONAL HISTORY OF COMICS plus much more.
CONTESTS AND GAMES, NEWS, THE GREAT CLARENDON HOUSE WRITING CHALLENGE (which many of you will want to be part of), WRITERS’ WORLD, SUBMISSIONS STATION with links to publishers who are accepting submissions right now!
You’ll also find FREE GIFTS FOR EVERY READER and a SPECIAL SUBSCRIBERS’ PACKAGE OFFER
It was the night before Christmas and all through the house…
No, that’s not how it was at all. It was noisy, too noisy and very far from quiet, what with every house in the neighbourhood setting off fireworks. And the telly was on too, with Ant and Dec doing their Secret Santa, tears and gifts at Christmas shmultz.
The neighbours were having a party and I was sure they would cause a power failure with their god-awful lights all over their house blinking and flashing in time to ‘Rockin’ around The Christmas Tree’. Cars had been pulling up with hooting horns all evening to disgorge or collect passengers in various states of inebriation.
For that year’s festivities I was at my son’s. He was on the phone having a row with his ex-wife about the holiday arrangements for their five year old son, my grandson, Ben. She had changed her mind and wanted Ben to be with her and her parents. Honestly, families? At that point, I wished I’d stayed at home.
My son’s girlfriend sat in the corner, with a face like thunder and I knew as soon as the first row had ended another would start with her.
I poured myself a whiskey and soda, which earned me a warning look from my son who thought I drank too much anyway.
The doorbell rang, ‘Ding Dong Merrily on High’ in electronic monotone. The girlfriend, Pamela, answered as I held Ben by the hand and the singers began their carol. She closed the door on them before they were halfway through the first verse of ‘Joy To The World’.
“What did you do that for?” I asked.
“I don’t have time for carollers,” she said.
“But, it’s for charity.”
“Not my problem. I’ve got Christmas dinner to get ready and John clearly prefers chatting with his ex,” she said, returning to her sulk and her phone. My grandson sat on the floor and picked up his tablet to continue watching cartoons.
I still don’t understand the younger generations. Didn’t they know anything? I may be an old grump, but anyone stupid enough to be out on a night like that, for a good cause, deserved a little appreciation.
I went to the door and saw the group of singers outside another house along the street. Snow was falling, and I only had house slippers on my feet, so I wanted to be quick.
I interrupted the end of ‘While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks’ to put five pounds in the collection bucket. Time slowed as I looked in to the face of the woman holding the collection bucket. I recognised the deep, dark eyes and there was a smell of orange and jasmine that brought back the memory of youth and laughter.
“The girl at number ‘42’ should have given you something, I’m sorry,” was what I meant to say, but instead I said, “Didn’t you used to be Carole Hartnoll from Saint Mary’s High School?” and she said, “Yes, yes I did. And I think you’re Paul Browne. After all these years. Why don’t you stay for a bit, sing a carol or two?” I said I wasn’t really dressed for the event but invited her over for a drink after they had finished.
The whole choir arrived an hour later.
We ran out of booze and John had to go to the supermarket for more. Not a task I envied.
The choir conductor, a cook from the local primary school, helped Pamela with food preparations. A lot of fuss was made of my grandson. Songs were sung, and friends were made. Memories were awoken, and arguments forgotten.
It was a brilliant Christmas. The love that blossomed in my heart for Carole was the best present anyone could hope for.
We had five wonderful years together, and for that I’m eternally grateful.
I finished reading Fireburst a little while ago and now have the arduous task of picking my three favourite stories.
Once again, Grant Hudson of Clarendon House has assembled another fine collection.
I joked to some friends on FB that I’d shortlisted about sixty stories for best in book. The quality is that good and at the risk of sounding self-effacing, it’s a wonder my experimental piece was even considered, let alone selected to appear inside.
The very first story by AK Hata, The Girl Who Glowed is a powerful retelling of actual historical events, and one girl’s fight against deadly working conditions. It’s an outright winner, and a blisteringly good start to the collection. One of my votes for best in book.
And don’t think Grant put all the good stuff at the front. Keep reading to the end before moving on to something else. A real gem sits two or three stories from the end from Brandy Bonifas. The Clock Struck Twelve is haunting storytelling based on real life dangers – utterly brilliant. This is also one of my top three.
I have yet to choose my third favourite, it could be
Date Night by Rich Rurshell
Be Nice To Georgie by RLM Cooper
Not Being Me by Gary Bonn
A Dream Life by Lael Brady
Veterans We Two by Jan McCulloch
Seriously, it’s seems unfair to ask is to choose only three when the talent is so amazing.
If you haven’t read Fireburst yet, then try before the deadline for votes on December 24th.