My Series’ are boxed off

 

How to attract more readers and give them a reward—that was my quest.

I have individual novels, a trilogy, and a five-part novel. My poetry titles come in the form of a bumper book of serial poetry, my five-part, multi-genre series and, of course, a collection of rhyming erotica.

Click image for Amazon page and options including KU.

Erotica, not usually mentioned on this blog—apart from poetry I have several novels, two anthologies of short stories, and a series of novellas.

I was looking at an opportunity hidden in plain sight—box sets.

I could offer a series at a cut-price. Yes, it would mean I lose a small amount in royalties from the individual book sales, but providing entertainment to a greater readership is more important to me than the money—which of course would be the spin-off; I know. 😀

Four questions came to mind.

Click image for Amazon page and options including KU.

How many people are keen to have a series available in one download?

How many people will take the opportunity of saving about 15-20% on the overall price?

How many of my series should I prepare as box sets?

Click image for Amazon page and options including KU.

How hard would it be to create them, and how long would it take?

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The good news is, the graphics in this post are not simply for show. The first part of the job is done—four box sets completed, although while working on the project it felt like forty. Amendments to front and back matter was tedious, but worthwhile.

In each case, there is at least a free book when comparing prices to individual purchases.

These box sets are available on Kindle Unlimited.

Click image for Amazon page and options including KU.

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I have no intention of going along the audio route so it will be interesting to see if this idea works.

Things got off to a good start with the erotica—a box set sold within three hours of publication.

I’ll write a post giving any useful information if the idea takes off, and in which area/genre.

A Life of Choice is available as five individual eBooks, a box set of five, and as a paperback trilogy.

If you’re new to my brand, all of my eBook titles are available on Kindle Unlimited.

In my meantime, I’ll be happy to accept question, comments and suggestions.

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Making things Beta

A glance at my Work in Progress will give some idea of my intended output for the next few months. I enjoy variety in my writing as I do in my reading, so apart from working on novels this year – I aim to produce two anthologies.

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A Time for Courage - 1My next anthology of short stories is due for publication at end of March 2016.

I’ve already adjusted the font, and the angle of the plane on the cover for about the fifth time, but I believe the latest version does the job.

A Time for Courage is a collection of 12 stories. There are two which appear in other collections, but they deserve to be included here.

As always I strive to produce a varied selection, even when adhering to a theme, and I’ve worked to develop these stories in each successive draft.

I’m now looking for volunteers to sample the collection. Ideally, I’d like readers to try at least two stories each, but if you’d like to experience variety I can supply a surprise third story based on your two choices.

If I’m fortunate enough to have more than one reader for any of the stories, it will only be a good thing for the final product.

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What do readers need to know?

Photographic Memory* and Duty Bound* are the two tales which are appear elsewhere, so they don’t require beta reading, but I’ll be happy to send them on if somebody particularly wanted to see them.

I tend to set myself a maximum word target of 3,500 for short stories, but in this list I have one tale which is 4,000 words. There are two which are under 1,000 words.

If you would like to sample any of these and provide me with feedback, please get in touch via email, Facebook, or use a comment here. You don’t have to use the title of the story, (or stories) – the number, (or numbers) will be sufficient.

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1. A Time for Courage
2. Users Guide: Soldier
3. Thanks Dad
4. *Photographic Memory
5. Special Forces ?
6. The Odd Couple
7. Walking Wounded
8. Brothers in Arms
9. *Duty Bound
10. Roamin’ Soldier
11. Blood Brothers
12. The After Life

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I’m presently editing a novel for a fellow writer, so I will allocate time in mid-month to revisit this collection for final amendments.

Thank you as always for reading and leaving a comment.

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How Far Should We Go?

 

No, it’s not a question about bedroom antics – but I have written a few stories in that area.
Yes, it is do with journeys, but not merely in space, the final frontier – some of the journeys are much closer to home.

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How far are we prepared to allow our imaginations go?

A reader should enjoy more than one genre, even if they tend to lean more to a main one.
Yes, I’m a lover of adventure stories, and thrillers, but I’ve read and enjoyed romance, paranormal, horror, YA, sci-fi, dystopian, and a few more besides.

How does a variety of material reward me as a reader?

Apart from enjoying the variety, I believe it helps me to focus clearly when I return to the bedrock of my reading – the thriller, or adventure story.

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A creative writer ought to try something similar. In my humble opinion, a writer should occasionally get out of their comfort zone, and stretch. They should exercise the main accessory in the toolbox of their craft – imagination.

In the previous section, I mentioned being able to focus clearly on my return to reading thrillers or adventure stories. Switching genre also aids me as a writer.

How can altering my reading assist me as a creative writer?

Until recently, I looked upon Science Fiction as a genre beyond my reach, but one day when my caffeine levels were particularly high, it struck me that it had more to do with imagination than knowledge of the genre.

I will tackle any genre for two reasons.

1 – to find out if I enjoy the writing.

2 – to find out if I can entertain in that particular area.

In the same way a reader might choose to stick with what they know, so too can a writer, but if you’re a single-genre writer, let me, as a multi-genre writer put an idea to you.

Think about the excitement of setting up a new story. Now, imagine trying a new story in a genre you’ve never tried before.

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Let’s go full circle, and get back to where we came in to this article.

How far should we go?

In my efforts to push myself and to entertain those people kind enough to try, or continue to support my brand – I am prepared to go to considerable lengths.

My thrillers and erotica are laced with incidents from my life, some big, some small, but my latest venture has taken me to the stars … and I’ve landed characters on some of them.

The Welcome: and other sci-fi stories

This is not only my work, but includes the efforts of a handful of guest authors who have each been kind enough to indulge me by donating a story.

Why did I invite guest authors?

I didn’t do it because I wasn’t confident to produce my standard 12 stories for a collection.

I didn’t do it because I wasn’t confident in writing a genre I’ve only dabbled in previously.

My aim was to produce the best and most varied collection I could on such a wonderful topic. I want readers of this collection to sit back and think about the stories and the theories long after reading our efforts. I know that my guests would echo the sentiment that we want readers of this collection to truly enjoy the journeys.

I sent out an open invitation a few weeks ago, to give fellow authors an opportunity to join me in this venture. At the time of this article, two of my six guests are novice writers, and four are experienced writers, but all will have their own take on what makes a good sci-fi tale, and for me, that is the exciting part.

This book will have three key components, apart from the running theme of the genre.

1 – Six stories are penned by me.

2 – Six stories are penned by my guest authors.

3 – Three ‘bonus’ stories by me will be added at the end. These three extra stories are already featured in other collections.

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I will not be posting the guest authors’ names on the Amazon page when I publish, because this will connect us in the complexities of Amazon’s referral system. It’s not a topic to deal with here.

I decided it would be more beneficial to put those authors’ names where they belong – right there on the front cover, where I have my name. They will also be supplying personal contact information to be included in the book.

I feel that this is the fairest way to repay and market my guests.

How did I work out whose story goes where?

I considered the various hi-tech methods of dealing with this quandary, and in the name of fairness I’ve interspersed my work with my guests’ stories. I’ve placed the guest work in author / alphabetical order.

Whether or not you are a Sci-Fi aficionado, I would ask you to consider taking a look through your reading telescope at our joint effort when I publish – Sunday 20th December 2015. Perhaps having seen the sample in your telescope you’ll decide you’d like to take a shuttle to our many and varied destinations.

If you should decide to try our work, I’m sure I speak for all when I ask that you be kind enough to leave a review of your findings.

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As always, you have my sincere thanks for reading my thoughts, plans and intentions. All comments are ‘Welcome’.

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Book cover - You're Not AloneIncludes ‘Goals‘.

Smoke & Mirrors - 030714 2Includes ‘Down to Earth

912FmvSHzYL._SL1500_Includes ‘Out of this World

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The Welcome

The Welcome: and other Sci-Fi stories is the full working title of my next anthology.

Unless you hail from another planet, you’ll be aware that apart from reading widely, I also try writing various genre. I believe all creative writers should attempt both the reading and writing of different genre. I feel it gives a greater appreciation of the craft if we step out of our comfort zone.

Just as the collection will be, I decided to produce an experimental cover. I wanted something that would at least fit as a working model prior to publication. Please note, there are no space ships, men in big white suits, or alien beings on the cover.

As I’ve done with my other anthologies, I’m aiming to produce at least 12 stories.

There is a major difference with this collection, because I am inviting stories from guest authors. As things stand, I have eight stories written by me. Three of those appear in other collections, but the other five are new and at various stages of completion.

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My aim is to have at least four stories from guest authors whose names will appear on the front cover.

Guidelines for anyone interested:

1.  Guest authors should be members of the Indie Author Support and Discussion group on Facebook.**

2.  Stories must be a maximum of 3,500 words.

3.  Stories should be completed to final edit and submitted to me by 31st December 2015. (If there is interest and the timing is too tight, I’ll be happy to extend the deadline).

4.  Copyright will remain with individual authors for their stories.

5.  Any author who contributes will have the opportunity to include a short bio (50 words), and tw0 hyperlinks of their choice added after their story.

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Who has already expressed interest?

At the present time I have offers of stories from:  CI Lopez**,   WK Tucker, and Senan Gil Senan. One more guest will fill my minimum 12 story quota, but if there were other interested authors I would be happy to increase the number of tales.

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When is the target publication date?

I had originally intended to complete formatting and publish before end December 2015, but I am now of the opinion that it would be a good boost for all concerned to publish early in January 2016.

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Where did the title come from?

I’m a great believer in a title performing more than one task, and the role of a title for an anthology is vitally important.

As I normally do, I checked my titles against Amazon’s lists and found that all eight were heavily represented. I changed one of my stories to The Welcome. It is both original in terms of Amazon listings, and a perfect fit for the particular story. I like to think that it also makes a neat invitation to prospective readers.

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If you would like to be involved in this collection and can meet the guidelines, please get in touch.

As always, I thank you for reading, and would appreciate any feedback.

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**I reserve the right to make one exception to the rule regarding IASD membership. CI Lopez is working on a debut anthology, and I believe a guest appearance alongside previously published authors will be helpful.

Tom

Elementary to Erotica – my journey so far

Kindle Edition Normalised Pages - Sept.

Like the Kindle Edition Normalised Pages, writing is a life of peaks and troughs

I am always keen to learn about a fellow author’s route, from those tentative steps of composing a first piece of work, to first publication and beyond. Irrespective of age, or experience, the early days are the most difficult, as they are with most ventures.

An introIt’s good for a writer’s morale to take stock occasionally, but publicly like this. It’s also self-marketing, but we can’t hide our light under a bushel, because therein lies obscurity.

My story may not be awe-inspiring, but I’ve reached another stage with my latest release.

Now is a good time for me to take a look back.

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In 1992, following a military career of 23 years, I next took up retail management, which I did for 20 years. In the mid-90’s I started to write my military memoirs. It took over two years and the writing was abysmal. I abandoned the memoirs, and over the next few years I wrote short stories for my own amusement, not knowing anything of the required discipline.

In 2007 I wrote a rhyme whilst on a coffee break. A colleague told me I should join an online poetry site. I did and I wrote 700+ poems in three years, but felt the need to do something more.Smoke & Mirrors - 030714 2

I read short stories and books on how to write them, whilst I practised. I took out a subscription to a national writing magazine. In 2010 I won a competition and had my story included in an anthology. Poetry was left behind, as I spent every available minute producing ideas to create short stories.

I joined a website and a local writing group and learned much from having my work critiqued. I’d long had a yearning to write a novel, but felt it was beyond me. My first novel was inspired by a fellow poet on the other side of the world. We’d reviewed each other’s poetry and kept in touch. I’m delighted to say that our friendship has remained firm and we continue to support each other.

Ten Days in Panama - the cover 2904In December 2012 I published ‘Ten Days in Panama’, a romance-based thriller. I knew it wasn’t great, but I had introduced aspects of the thriller, and I knew I had to write something more exciting. It was a steep learning curve, just as it had been with short stories. I used the manuscript ‘rest’ periods as a time to continue writing short stories.

In October 2013 I published ‘Beyond The Law’, a crime thriller about a vigilante in Glasgow. During breaks from my novels, I honed my 12 best short stories to create an anthology. In May 2014 I published ‘Smoke & Mirrors and other short stories’.912FmvSHzYL._SL1500_

When I read ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ I was disappointed in the content. I got the impression that the author had a good idea, but minimal knowledge of her subject. I am amazed at the success of that series.

I had experimented with writing erotic stories, but they’d never been seen. I thought back over my life experiences and decided I had the knowledge and imagination to adapt them and create a variety of scenarios. In June 2014 I published my second short story anthology ‘Coming Around and other erotic stories’.

Amsterdam Calling - the cover 260714My work on thrillers continued. In July 2014 I published ‘Amsterdam Calling’, a psychological thriller. Since moving on from poetry, my practice had been to work on more than one project simultaneously, so my next book was at an advanced stage.

I published ‘A Taste of Honey’ in December 2014. It was another vigilante story, but this time about a rogue female detective – in the US.

From late 2014 into early 2015 I had a handful of private messages asking if I’d ever considered writing an erotic novel. These were not random queries, but from folk who had read my erotic anthology. Just as I had with my poetry a few years before, I sensed a challenge, but once again, a challenge I relished.A Taste of Honey

In September 2015, I completed the final draft of ‘Give & Take: A Tale of Erotica’. It has sold almost daily since publication.

Give and Take - the final coverIf my first attempt at an erotic novel receives positive reviews, I will be happy to produce a sequel. It has two reviews already.

Whether or not I find success in the world of erotica I’ll continue to write thrillers, but there is escape in writing contrasting genre.

I would suggest to any writer who feels the urge to try a new genre – do it. Don’t let anybody hold you back with their opinions. You owe it to yourself – and your readers.

In November 2015 I aim to publish ‘Acts of Vengeance’, the sequel to ‘Beyond The Law’.Beyond The Law - the cover 2904

One of the greatest things we can all do as indie authors is to support our peers. Try to read other indie authors, and provide reviews. Make an effort to read widely in genre – it really does pay dividends.

Another good idea is to do as I’ve done here, and produce an occasional update on progress. It doesn’t matter if you’ve written one book so far, let people know you are out there.

As always, I thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts. Feedback is always welcome.

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The I’s have it …

International – Independent – Interesting – Intriguing  Imaginative – Inspirational – Ian D. Moore’s idea  Book cover - You're Not Alone

In Loving Memory …

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In the Spring of 2015, Pamela Mary Winton left mortality behind, but unknown to her, she left something else behind – and that is a legacy which will allow her to continue to help her colleagues and those in their care.

 

Pamela was one of those wonderful people who are collectively known as Macmillan Cancer Support UK. They provide care, support and assistance to maintain dignity for victims of cancer. How cruel a twist it was then that the same indiscriminate killer was to take Pamela from her loved ones.

In Aid of Macmillan

Ian D. Moore, was a son-in-law still mourning the tragic passing of Pamela, when his thoughts veered from anger, sorrow and loss to consider a positive and inspirational response.

He posted a request on a Facebook writers’ group of which he is a member – Indie Author Support and Discussion, to ask if any of us would like to take part in compiling an anthology. The aim was to create a collection of stories which would serve to raise funds for a worthwhile cause, act as an ongoing tribute to Pamela, and entertain all who provided support by buying the book.

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Like the other 27 authors, I offered my services without hesitation. We have all been touched by cancer at some point in our lives, whether personally, or by the loss of someone dear to us, so we were all eager to help in any way we could.

We agreed at the outset that the stories would all be original work, which would give the collection a truly original flavour. It was also unanimously agreed that all profits raised from sales of the book in any format would be paid to the Pamela Mary Winton Tribute Fund to aid Macmillan Cancer Support UK. youre-not-alone-43d

Our completed book is You’re Not Alone: An Indie Author Anthology by Ian D. Moore and friends. It is available in paperback and digital format from Amazon. The collection is a kaleidoscope of stories with the common theme of ‘Relationships’.

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To buy the book: Amazon UKAmazon US

In life and in relationships we all have goals, which is where I took the inspiration for my own contribution.

My short story: Goals

Here is an excerpt:

‘Alexi crossed to the door, took a deep breath and slipped her fingertips into the groove. She tugged gently, and the panel moved back silently on smooth runners. Daylight filtered into the ante-room through a slatted blind.

The room was as large as the office and fitted with the same deep-pile carpet, but the ante-room had a bed. On top of the bed, uncovered, lay a naked man. Alexi glanced at his face, at first avoiding looking at the rest of him. She assumed it was the therapist. He was on his back, breathing gently as if in a deep sleep.

Alexi looked around and saw two sets of men’s clothes. Neatly folded on a chair were trousers, socks and boxer shorts. Hanging over the back of the chair was a smart jacket that matched the trousers. There was also a shirt and tie. Underneath were shoes.

On another chair nearby was a red and white training outfit. Everything was neatly folded: a hooded-top, joggers, a vest, shorts and socks. Below the chair were red training shoes; like Matthew’s. On top of the clothing were placed a wedding ring and a watch. It was Matthew’s usual jewellery.

A few feet away there was another doorway. Alexi steeled herself for what she might find and advanced to the next room. Before stepping into what was an adjoining bathroom, she took a breath and prepared to speak to her husband.’

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Now, would you like to read the whole story? Goals

Please consider buying the anthology, and help us to raise funds for Pamela’s fund to aid a wonderful organisation in such important work.

In this life, we don’t often get the chance to fight back simply by donating a little money, but this is one such opportunity.

YNA graphic

On behalf of Macmillan Cancer Support UK, all of those who worked so hard to assemble our fund-raising collection, and of course Pamela Mary Winton – Thank you

Fifty Shades of Blue

Oct 1988 - Copy

Okay, I know it’s not a stretch to work out what this is going to be about, but it’s only right that we have some fun with blog titles … right?

When I made the leap from short stories to novels, I didn’t have to be told that I’d need a break after each draft.

 

I needed a serious change of scene, and I found myself trying to write short stories, but my novel characters kept appearing in my head. I vaguely remembered reading that it helped to ‘rest’ the primary project.

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Escapism to some people is Star Trek, Sex in the City, The Boston Chainsaw Massacre, or Gone With the Wind. Yes, escapism is many things to many people. I decided I wanted to write a genre that had no great interest for me with regard to my regular writing – but one where I might have a bit of private fun.

I wanted to write stories that would let me exercise, possibly even stretch my writing muscles, practise my characterisation, scene setting, imagery, dialogue, plot direction, pace, and so on. It had to be something that wouldn’t distract me by being too serious.

I attempted erotic poetry and had a few nice comments, so I was looking for a natural extension … but aren’t we all guys …

Okay, moving swiftly on. I wrote erotic short stories over a period of a couple of years, in between drafts of my novels, and to be honest, I thought they were bloody awful, so they remained on file. I wanted to revisit them at some stage in the future and apply any new found skills.

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Why then did I start to work harder at erotica?

I could write a long, flowing, imaginative answer that still probably wouldn’t satisfy everybody, so let’s investigate the truth.

Now you’re hooked, aren’t you?

The truth is possibly stranger than fiction … and it goes beyond the straightforward.

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A long time ago in a galaxy far, far, away, I left home as a non-smoking, non-drinking, non-swearing, quietly spoken, shy and retiring 17-year-old. It was the early 70’s, and over the next few years things were to change in spectacular fashion.

Tom - Dec 1969

Tom – Dec 1969

I had become a soldier. I was young, single, carefree, and lived in a foreign country. I smoked, drank heavily, swore … quite a lot actually, and turned violent at the hint of a threat. I lived a social life that frankly, I’m pleased to have survived.

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Long before ‘porn sites’ were a part of everyday conversation, I was accustomed to sitting in bars, in seedy districts, in the wee small hours, pouring beer down my throat and watching serious hard-core.

I would usually be in the company of a few like-minded individuals. We might have screwed our faces up sometimes, or even shared a laugh, but as I remember, we continued to watch the action. Did I imagine myself taking part in it? Of course I did. We all did.

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I didn’t have to watch that stuff – I had a choice, so therefore I must have chosen to do it. My life didn’t revolve around the subject, but it was omnipresent. Sex and all associated topics was a conversation that was never difficult to have in the company I kept in those days.  March 1985 2

I’m a self-taught artist and have always enjoyed drawing the female form. I thought this was an appropriate article to decorate with drawings.

I’m not about to open up about my most intimate experiences, but let’s just say that at certain stages, it was emotional, enjoyable, and educational.

All of that was before I left my hedonistic lifestyle behind and married a decent young lady and settled down. I would become nornal. Enough said.

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Now, zip forward several light years to around 2012. I had been writing a couple of years. I had memories, experiences, increasing confidence in my writing skills, and a need to draw all of those things together and create believable characters in believable situations, doing unbelievable things to, and with each other.

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Why did I move on from writing erotica for myself?

Keeping my writer’s head on, I read romance, sci-fi, adventure, thrillers, horror, paranormal, chick-lit, and many other things. Fifty Shades of Grey appeared. Erotica had become main-stream – so I read the book – only to discover that in my humble, unbiased opinion, that it wasn’t erotic, and the woman who wrote it must have had a sheltered life if she thought that it was. Anyway, I digress.

The disappointment of that book caused me to ponder what else was out there posing as ‘erotica’, so over a period of time, in between other genre, I read different authors’ ideas of erotica. It was after about the fourth book in the genre, which I had paid for, that I decided I could do the job better.

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The result?

In 2014, my anthology – Coming Around, and other erotic stories.
Okay, it’s not a best-seller, and they haven’t chosen one of the stories as the basis of a movie, but it has received a couple of decent reviews.    912FmvSHzYL._SL1500_

How did I go about the composition of an erotic anthology?

I have always been recognised as broad-minded and prepared to accept people for what they are.

I don’t care if you’re white, black, yellow, or any shade in between. It doesn’t bother me if your sexual orientation is heterosexual, homosexual, transsexual, or a mixture of the aforementioned.
I know I could have used LGBT, but there are still some folk who would be Googling it.

I listed a few areas of the sexually-orientated story and then had a look at the fun stories I’d written for myself. Over a period of months, I blended the two.

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Why have I decided to tackle an erotic novel?

Don’t worry if there is somewhere you have to be in a little while, I’m not going to list all of my reasons, but here are a few:
1. First of all an important reason – because I think I can do it.
2. It’s a challenge – and I do enjoy trying something different …
3. It’s a genre which creates a wide variety of responses from men and women alike.
4. I wanted to try another genre, but had tried and failed at writing a story for children – I went in the opposite direction to write specifically for an adult audience.
5. Not one, but three different writers asked if I’d ever considered writing an erotic novel.
6. I am not afraid to recognise when I’m not good at something, so if I make an attempt at this and my peers tell me I’m not good at it – I’ll leave it alone, but I will have tried.

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What is my project?

The title is Give and Take. If I may use an appropriate metaphor at this stage, I’m aiming to make this story like a body. It will have a backbone, plenty of meat on the bones, a variety of senses and emotions, and will provide both pleasure and pain in varying measure. Oh yes, and it will be a naked body – I am not dressing this up.

It will not be a moral crusade, or a guide to good living, so at times the subject matter might give the impression that I’m insensitive to the pain and heartache of the real world of good and bad relationships. Nothing could be further from the truth.
(I did write a paragraph to justify myself here, but I deleted it, because it deflated this entire article.)
I write for many reasons, and I have a strong desire to write my new story – Give and Take.

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Will my signature topic ‘retribution’ be in there?

Of course it will, but adapted, amended and exercised in ways I’ve never expressed in previous work.

You will find all the usual suspects in there: characters, locations, conflicts, sex, dialogue, detail, plots and sub-plots, sex, love, retribution, education, sex, and a few other things besides … Did I mention sex?

I will say at the outset that if you’re looking for a soppy romance with some titillation – this will not be for you. If you are a fan of the Fifty Shades trilogy and you have the faintest belief in the characters and situations – sadly, once again this is not for you.

If on the other hand you’d be happy to read a story that has been researched to a certain extent, albeit many years ago, that has some depth, and a mixture of emotions, laced with some graphic scenes, then you should enjoy the tale.

As always, I thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings and rhetoric, and for leaving any feedback.

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I thought if you got this far, you might want to see the full version of one of my drawings from the 80’s.

Jany 1987 2

Another one? Okay, but then I really have to go …

Oct 1988 crpd

Anthologies – Theme or Genre?

Okay, so you want to compile an anthology of short stories, but there are many things to consider, quite apart from the decision about whether to go ahead with the idea.   Smoke & Mirrors - 030714 2

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What are the main considerations?

– Will it be theme-based, or genre-based?
– Will it be one person’s work, or a variety of authors?
– How many titles should there be?
– What length should the average story be?
– What price range do you aim for?
Yes, there are many more questions, but we now have a flavour of what is involved in compiling a collection of stories.

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Theme versus genre?

Themes – and this is a mere handful of examples.

– Retribution
– Goodness
– Family
– Natural History
– Day and Night
– Environment
– Imprisoned
Anybody can come up with a theme. Your chosen theme can be as tightly controlled, or as wide-ranging as you choose.

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Genre – and once again, a handful of examples.

– Thriller
– Horror
– Supernatural/Paranormal
– Erotica
– Young Adult
– Romance
– Science-Fiction
– Adventure
– Children’s
– Fantasy

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It should be easy to see now that with regard to genre, they are well-established and they each have sub-genres which are easy to identify.
For example, ‘Erotica’ leads to: Straight, Gay, Bi, BDSM, TV, TS, and a few more besides.912FmvSHzYL._SL1500_

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The difference with theme-based work is that it is an even wider spectrum than genre. I’ll choose one theme at random from my previous spontaneous short list, and then I’ll explore it mentally for no more than two minutes. I will set a stopwatch for this exercise.

We’ll say for example that I’m entering a short story competition and the guidelines are:

Genre: Open,
Theme: Imprisoned,
Word count: 2000 min to 2500 max,
Line spacing: Double-spacing in Times New Roman – pt 12.
Closing Date: 34th Zonkemper 2095

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Are you ready for this?

My theme is ‘Imprisoned’? The stopwatch is on …

1. – a 14-year old boy is washed into a cave at the seaside …
2. – a soldier awakes trapped in a damaged tank after an explosion in a battle …
3. – a woman wakes up bound and gagged in a cellar with a straw-covered floor …
4. – a dog is on a small island and the owner cannot swim …
5. – a light plane crashes onto a remote island and the only survivors are a beautiful woman and a handsome man who is ten years her junior …
6. – a car overturns and sinks in a river, but the driver survives the crash …

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I’ve been given a definite theme – imprisoned.
I’ve created a rapid list of ideas and any one of them could work with that theme, but are they the same genre?

No they are not the same genre. To see why; let’s look closer at how my mind works.

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1. – a 14-year old boy is washed into a cave at the seaside … the boy is the son of a werewolf and his anguish brings about his first ever experience of transformation.

2. -a soldier awakes trapped in a damaged tank after an explosion in a battle … the soldier looks down at his scarlet tunic and body armour as he slips his feet from his Roman sandals. He wonders what happened to the other centurions in the explosion.

3. – a woman wakes up bound and gagged in a cellar with a straw-covered floor … there is a longbow, a quiver of arrows and a barrel of dynamite in the corner.

4. – a dog is on a small island and the owner cannot swim … the dog has taken the gun that the female owner used to shoot her husband only a short while before.

5. – a light plane crashes onto a remote island and the only survivors are a beautiful woman and a handsome man who is ten years her junior … the young man is the woman’s long lost brother. He knows; she doesn’t.

6. – a car overturns and sinks in a river, but the driver survives the crash … the man in the car is dressed in women’s clothing and on his way to his first ever transvestite meeting in a remote village.

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What have we established?

An anthology is a supremely flexible production.
– it can be a mixture of stories by one author.
– it can be a mixture of stories by various authors.
– it can be a mixture of stories using a nominated genre.
– it can be a mixture of stories using a variety of genre.
– it can be a mixture of stories using a nominated theme.
– it can be a mixture of stories using a variety of themes.
– it can be a mixture of any of the aforementioned.

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Here I feature, Not What You Thought’, which is an example of mixed genre, mixed theme and mixed authors. The main author is Paul Ruddock who has compiled a selection of his own stories, and complemented them with work by guest authors.

Not What You ThoughtPlease find below, links to this newly published anthology. Paul Ruddock is a blogger, reviewer, author of short stories, and founder of the Indie Author Review Exchange group on Facebook. He also created and maintains the Indie Author Review Exchange blog.

The proceeds from sales of this book will be donated to a British military veteran’s charity.

Amazon UK   £1.99    Amazon US   $2.99

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What’s my experience with anthologies so far?

I have short stories traditionally published in four separate anthologies which are all theme-based and have a variety of authors.

I have one short story published on an audio CD, which is theme-based and has a variety of authors.

I have self-published two anthologies of short stories.

I have a series of five genre-based anthologies of poetry.

Smoke & Mirrors; and other stories, is a theme-based collection.
Twist-in-the-tale, but using a range of genre.

Coming Around; and other erotic stories, is a genre-based collection.
Erotica, but using a range of sub-genre.

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I believe that for general reader satisfaction either can work.
– A genre-based collection will appeal to lovers of the particular genre.
– A theme-based collection will appeal to lovers of short stories.
If compiled well, an anthology can produce a selection of completely different stories.

My personal preference is that an anthology should have around 12 stories.

If you’re new to the idea of anthologies, or have up until now wondered what all the fuss was about, I hope I’ve cleared away some of the mystery. These have been my own thoughts, gained from experience, and are not ideas influenced by any text book information.

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As always, I thank you for coming by and reading my thoughts. Please leave a comment if you feel so inclined.

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NaNoWriMo – HAWK update 4

In keeping with this post my graphic was my first attempt at something.  In that case it was oil pastel.  I knew the theory, draw the piece in oil pastel then use linseed oil to blend as you go.  I made fair progress with that attempt I feel, considering it was my first with that medium.

Anonymus glamour girl in oil pastels

With regard to the NaNoWriMo, it’s my first attempt at writing a novel in a month, whatever standard the writing.  I’m pleased to report that with six days to go I have 42,000 words written, or put another way I have today finished Chapter 12 in my novel.

When I first set out to complete the task I worried a little about the massive word count and my ability to continue a cohesive tale beyond my usual short story parameters.  Once I’d gone beyond Chapter 10 that ceased to be my main concern.  I’m now confident that I can do this thing but my anxiety is more to do with ensuring I finish it properly as opposed to in a timely manner.

There will be one more HAWK update after this one where I will be able to spill out my joy (hopefully) at having succeeded.

I found out today that another of my short stories, ‘Debt of Honour’ has been published in an anthology but I’ll write about that later.  For now the day belongs to getting on with Chapter 13 and as I decided at the outset, I’m still aiming to hold the entire story to a maximum 15 chapters.