One Man, Two Missions – now available

 

In my latest anthology of short stories, once again I’ve aimed to create a blend of action, intrigue, suspense, and twist in the tale. I feel particularly satisfied with these tales because several of them have been in my files at some level of completion for about five or six years.

I never throw away an idea, and at least three of these stories grew from a single paragraph removed from a previous short story or novel. In their original locations, those paragraphs were excess to requirement, but nurtured, over time they grew to become stories in their own right.

Once again, to offer value to my readers I’ve included bonus stories to support the new line-up. If you decide to try my work, I’d appreciate a review—however short.

My thanks to Robert Lalonde, Penny Luker, Paul A Ruddock (PA Rudders), Sarah Stuart, Ruth Coulson (Rebecca Bryn), Senan Gil Senan, Lucinda E Clarke, Anne Francis Scott, SK Holmesley, and Lesley Hayes. All of these wonderful people are fellow members of the Indie Author Support and Discussion group on Facebook and were my beta readers for this anthology. Every one of the ten beta readers has had an impact on the stories through their valuable suggestions.

1. One Man, Two Missions – a tale of terrorism, and counter-terrorism

2. Hunter – a young gamekeeper is repaid for his devotion

3. A Fair Cop – the law works in mysterious ways

4. Target Practise – assassins should avoid role reversal

5. The Meeting – karma, it just comes around

6. Taken for a Ride – do your homework before kidnapping

7. Dealing with Conflict – a run leads to a run-in

8. Changing Tides –  when all around is darkness …

9. The Hostage – impulsive decisions can be fatal

10. Finger of Suspicion – the small things matter

11. The Beginning of the End – how far would you go for science?

12. Escape – you must know when to get out

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Bonus stories from other collections:

13. Pawnee Express – youthful exuberance and courage

14. Poisoned Ivy – do unto others … but harder

15. Photographic Memory – communication without barriers

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Marketing in Shorts …

Don’t panic … the shorts in question are of course short stories.

How do you market in shorts?

A good question and I’m glad you asked. If you don’t already write short stories you have a couple of straightforward options:

1. You could opt not to try your hand at writing them.

If you choose this option, then I believe you are missing out on what can be an enjoyable writing discipline, and also a wonderful training ground for tightening your regular creative fiction.

2. You could try writing short stories, put them out there for folk to review, and when you think you’ve got the hang of it, compile an anthology of your work.

In which case, depending on the time available for writing, if you care about the quality of your output it might take anything from months to years.

3. You could look at a short story as a way of attracting readers to your name, and then your longer work.

This is my favourite choice, and not only because I get involved, but because I get to help fellow indie writers to get their name and their writing in the public eye.

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Where do we go from here?

A Time for Courage - 1Another good question.

I have recently mentioned in this blog and on my author website about my intention to produce two themed anthologies. The first will be sci-fi stories, and the second will be military stories.

At the moment, my intention is to publish the sci-fi collection in January 2016, and the military collection in March 2016.

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How do I fit another story into my present writing workload?

Oh, how I love the easy questions. Prepare yourself for a simple writing exercise.

Stop reading at the end of this sentence and write down the first idea that comes to mind for a sci-fi themed story.

Okay, I know most of you wouldn’t have taken the opportunity, but that’s how easy it is to get started, or on the other hand to miss an opportunity. You’re sorry you didn’t do it now, aren’t you? Yes, I thought so. I’m going to give you another chance, but with a twist – so be careful. Let your mind run free before you read on.

Are you ready?

When you get to the end of this sentence, write down the first idea that comes to mind for a military / armed forces themed story.

I know it took a couple of minutes, but for those of you who took the opportunity the second time, I’m pleased for you. Leave your new ‘idea’ aside, but we’ll be coming back to it.

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I’ve found ‘opportunity’ a key factor in creative writing. As writers we may:

1. Write about anything.

2. Write short pieces, or long pieces.

3. Write when we can, or only when we really feel the pull.

(Personally, this is every second that I don’t have a coffee in hand, but I’ve now mastered holding my cup in my left hand).

4. We can choose to write whatever we enjoy and tell nobody.

5. We can also choose to establish ourselves by taking every route available to get our name, and our work out there.

The list is endless.

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Hey, what about fitting a short story into my workload?

A few minutes ago some of you wrote down an idea. Yes, I realise only some of you did.

Let’s say you enjoy producing a quality piece of work, so you occasionally leave it aside. It might be after a paragraph, a chapter, or at some other point, but you will leave it aside to let your mind refresh and revitalise.

During those ‘breaks’ of minutes, days, or even weeks is when you could take the opportunity to work on something different to your primary work in progress (WIP).

1. A short story is a good way to do this.  The Welcome

2. A short story is not too taxing on time.

3. It can be left aside without worry.

4. It will improve each time you come back.

5. It’s still creative writing.

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The more astute among you will now see that we’ve come full circle and we’re heading back to my two anthologies. If you would like to make use of an opportunity please read on, and make notes where you deem it necessary.

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Guidelines for anyone interested in inclusion in one of my next collections:

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 the following dates:

31st December 2015 – for inclusion in the sci-fi themed collection.

29th February 2016 – for inclusion in the military themed collection.
(If there is interest but the timing is too tight, I’ll be happy to extend both deadlines).

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 two hyperlinks of their choice, to be added after their story.

(Please remember, there is no requirement to have been an astronaut, an alien, or have served in the armed forces).

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However this article has left you feeling, I sincerely hope it’s made you consider writing short stories, and reconsider how often we as writers let opportunities slip away …

Thank you for reading.

Tom

**I reserve the right to add a new indie author who is not yet a member of the IASD.

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Give and Take, the novel – progress

Jany 1987 2 - crpdI recently produced an article to provide some insight for my reasoning behind writing an erotic novel, so I’ll try to avoid repetition.

I have my reasons for writing this article, and those reasons are not related to promoting the story, or erotica as a genre.

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At various times in my life I’ve courted controversy, and although I’ve never done so for the sake of it, if I believe strongly enough in something – I will stand by my decision.

This new venture is one such case.

I’m privileged to be a member of the Indie Author Support and Discussion group (IASD), which in my opinion is the best author’s support and discussion groups on Facebook.

I feel qualified to make such a bold statement because I’ve belonged to several such groups, but nowhere else is there a sense of belonging, friendship, family, camaraderie – and yet there is still feedback and support delivered with sincerity and integrity.

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What is the relevance of the IASD to my new book?

I started a thread to say that I would be taking an idea suggested to me, to the next level. I told the masses that I was intending to go a step up from my erotic short story anthology Coming Around – to a full length novel.

I received initial feedback that to some might have been enough to throw away the whole plan, but I like to believe that I’m made of sterner stuff.

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Why was some of the feedback strong and negative?

I posted my first three drafts here on my blog, as I do with all my work. In the first chapter one character receives physical abuse from another character. Note, I do not say it was the male who was the abuser, and I do not say ‘minor’ abuse, because as anyone who has been a victim will tell you – abuse is abuse!

Yes, as a victim of verbal and physical bullying – I’ve been there.

Okay, so if you’re still with me, let’s take a closer look at my idea, and thank you for holding on for the main gist of this article.

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Yes, in the first chapter the male lead slaps his girlfriend’s buttocks, and though it might offend a lot of people, it is a way of life for some, and I believe a realistic opening to my story.

“I’m offended by that type of thing,” I can hear across the ether.

Okay, then please don’t blame me for the wrongs of others. I am not glorifying abuse – it is a fictional storyline.

If you are offended, I’m sorry, but nobody has written or complained about a statesman being assassinated in the opening paragraphs of one of my thrillers. Nobody has complained about people traffickers and pimps being eliminated in another of my thrillers.

A valid point?

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This new story is what it is – erotica. I don’t believe I can take my main characters on their journey and through their respective transformations as individuals and as a couple, unless I have a start point.

Yes, I agree that my start point might be distasteful to a certain number of people, but please keep in mind, the underlying theme in my work is retribution.

Now, on a personal level, I hope the dissenters caught that word – retribution. Therein lies one of the main characteristics of Give and Take, and where I came up with the working title.

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Whether or not you have read the first three chapters here on my blog, I’ve now updated them and altered the early part of the story, and for the better I believe. The second draft of the first three chapters appear in my Work in Progress menu.

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How am I progressing?

As of the timing of this article, I’m working on Chapter 15 of a planned 20 chapters.

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Have I had issues with the plot?

Yes, of course I have. There have been issues with psychology, ethics, level of detail, credibility, and knowing how far to take character and story development.

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Are those issues not true of any creative writing?

Yes, I answer once again, and therein we find another valid point. It is a fictional story and therefore contains a little of what I know, suspect, imagine – plus of course a great deal of planning, thought and … fantasy.

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Should I be afraid of my readers believing that I fantasise about being the male lead?

No, I don’t believe I should be afraid of such a thing. Not as long as they didn’t think I was Pete in Ten Days in Panama, Phil in Beyond The Law, Dan in Amsterdam Calling, or the fetching and adorable, if a little deadly Honey, in A Taste of Honey.

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Do I have any regrets so far?

My only regrets are:

1. I might lose the patronage of anybody who has enjoyed my other work.
2. I might lose credibility from those who believe that erotica is not a worthwhile genre to spend time working on.

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Will I write more erotica after Give and Take?

That will depend very much on the feedback I receive on the completed story.

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I offer my sincere thanks to those of you who have reached this point without treating me as a backroom pariah for attempting this new venture. Like oral sex, it may not be to everyone’s taste, but it’s not fair to object to something unless you’ve at least investigated it ….

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P.S. I have no doubt there will be many women, and possibly some men who are wondering why the artwork in my blog articles does not normally include men. Basically, it’s because I don’t normally draw men, but for those of you who’d like to see an example of one of my male portraits …  and no, it’s not me! Unknown American

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