fiction and other writing

Welcome

Penny 7 I’m writing this blog to share some of my writing. You’ll find stories, poems, reviews and updates on my books. I hope you enjoy reading these as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them. Do leave comments and I’ll try and reply.

This weekend I’m giving away my e-book, Pebble on the Beach. Why not download and enjoy some short stories with a cuppa? Pebble on the Beach contains lots of great stories.

All my books are free if you subscribe to kindle unlimited, and if you don’t, they cost £1.99 or $2.99. Find out more at:

https://mybook.to/Missingshortstories

https://mybook.to/Pebble

https://mybook.to/TheMermaidShort

https://mybook.to/LadyintheWoods

Lady in the Woods was released in October this year and has some fabulous short stories. There’s two Inspector Winsford stories and my favourite, September Time, which explores the theme of ‘The grass is always greener…’ plus lots more.

If you’re struggling to buy Christmas presents, why not take a look at my books? The short stories are all under £10 or $10. That’s great value for money and hopefully something to enjoy.

Coming soon a small collection of ghost and paranormal stories.

Free Poetry

I love reading and writing poetry. I think it’s the most concise form of writing and really makes you focus your mind. I like to experiment with different forms of poetry and find that some work better than others, but most of all I like to write accessible poetry. When I read a poem I don’t want an academic exercise, trying to understand what the author meant. I want poetry that make you feel some emotion and makes you reflect about the world we live in. Most of all I try to write poetry that you will enjoy; poetry that you can dip into in those spare five minutes, but want to return to. So why not try out some of my poetry?

Nature’s Gold will be free Friday, November 5-7, 2021 on Amazon Kindle. I’ve been busy updating covers and doing small revisions.

All the books are free on Kindle Unlimited all of the time and they’re also available for only £5.00 each as paperbacks in the UK and under $7.00 in US.

Nature’s Gold

mybook.to/NatureGold

Autumn Gold

mybook.to/AutumnGold

The Shadows of Love

http://mybook.to/shadowsoflove

These little books make ideal pressies for Christmas, with pretty covers, gentle poems and of course they’re easy to post to friends.

This is a new release of short stories for adults, which includes two Inspector Winsford stories and othe crime stories; stories that are observations of people’s lives and some flash fiction. Ideal for a Christmas present and available in paperback and on kindle.

Here’s one of the short stories. Although it’s written as if it’s real life, it is of course entirely fiction, although I did go to churches with various friends, when I was a child. When writing stories you often need a starting point, which of course can be absolutely anything.

I remember, I remember

Three things happened when I was seven years old. It was a chance remark from my sister that brought back those memories.

We were talking about a child who’d gone missing from a village near where we lived.

‘Whenever a child goes missing, I always think of Sandra,’ Katy said.

‘Sandra who?’ I asked.

‘You know Sandra, from your class, who went missing. If I remember, surely you do?’

All the memories came flooding back to when I was seven. They started with the Autumn of 1959. Back then I used to make myself some breakfast and take myself off for the day. Nowadays you’d accuse a parent of being neglectful, but in those days, it was perfectly acceptable for children to be out playing and exploring on their own.

Now it so happened that both my parents were strict atheists, but my aunt and grandparents were devout Christians. I liked the idea of Christianity; of being a member of a group and having a God to call on when you’d got yourself into a mess. I used to go to church on my own and was always made welcome. Then various friends said come along with my family. One of them was Sandra Weston.

‘Meet me outside the church at nine fifteen and we’ll go and find a seat together,’ she said. Now Sandra and I were friendly but we were by no means best friends. She was nice enough with a tendency to copy others, but I thought it would be good to try out a new church with a family. I’d been to a Catholic church, a Church of England one, a Methodist one and a Baptist one. I’m not pretending that I understood any of the differences between the church disciplines. I can still see the church but I can’t remember the denomination it was.

I remember dressing carefully for Church; wearing socks without any holes, a plain skirt and a neat cardigan and I skipped happily along the mile or so of pavement until I came to the church in Oxford Lane. It was a quiet morning, but when I arrived there was literally no-one there. Had Sandra tricked me? I peeked my head around the church door and the vicar saw me.

‘Why hello there. You’re early. Did you remember to put your clock back an hour?’ he asked.

My face must have fallen. ‘Oh, don’t worry about it my dear,’ he said. ‘Come on in,’ and in I went. It was dark in the church compared to the bright daylight outside.

‘I’ll just finish putting out these hymn books and then I’ll take you through to the back and make you some orange juice,’ he smiled.

I really can’t explain why, but I suddenly thought I don’t want to be here with this creepy man. I shuddered inside with fear. You know the saying, the hair stood up on the back of my neck, well I think it really did.

‘No thanks,’ I called. ‘I’ll go and meet my friend and come back later.’ I was out of that church so quickly. I don’t know at what point I started running, but I found myself running all the way home. My parents were totally unimpressed by my little adventure.

‘I do wish you didn’t have such an overactive imagination,’ said mother.

At school on Monday, Sandra asked me why I hadn’t turned up and I made up some excuse. Later I came to regret not meeting her that week and the next Sunday I overslept.

A week later she didn’t come to school. I asked the teacher if she was ill and was told to go and sit down and not ask questions. After two weeks, I asked my mother.

‘Has Sandra moved? She doesn’t come to school any more or is she on some wonderful holiday?’ I remember that mother didn’t look me in the eyes as she told me to go away and lay the table.

The following week I was in bed, diagnosed with glandular fever. I was there forever or that’s what it felt like.

‘If you’re ill enough to be off school, you stay in bed,’ mother said. Of course, I didn’t stay in bed and I didn’t want to be at home any more than she wanted me there. At the back of my mind, I suppose I assumed that Sandra must have been off school with glandular fever, but I hardly ever thought of her again.

Now here was my sister telling me that she’d gone missing. I did some research and discovered that she’d never been found and then I remembered the creepy vicar. As a child I believed my parents when they kept on telling me I had an over large imagination, but as an adult I believe that if we take an instant fear of someone there is usually a reason. I dressed myself smartly and took myself down to the local cop shop and asked if anyone was still looking into the case of Sandra Weston.

I was called into an interview room by Detective Inspector Chester. He listened quietly to my story about my strong fear of the vicar, made a few notes, thanked me for my help and bade me good-bye.

He probably thought I was bonkers. Fancy telling a policeman that you had a bad feeling about someone when you were a child. He was right. I must put it behind me.

Three months later there was a ring on my doorbell and there was Inspector Chester. I invited him in and made him tea.

‘I looked into the background of Reverend Alan Wilson. There were quite a few outstanding complaints about him and he left the church suddenly and emigrated to Australia, so I notified the authorities over there of our interest in him.’

‘I thought you must’ve thought I was mad coming to see you,’ I blurted out.

‘Indeed no. Then I thought what if he’d tried to abuse Miss Weston and she’d struggled? What if it had all gone wrong and he’d killed her? What would he have done with her body, so I went and looked at the burial records for the church in Oxford Lane. I found there was one more grave than there was on the records.’

My blood ran cold. I knew what he was about to say.

‘I’m sorry to tell you that we exhumed the body from that grave and it was that of a child. We’re checking her dental records to see if it’s Sandra Weston, but almost certainly it is.’

‘Will Reverend Wilson be arrested in Australia?’ I asked.

‘He was taken in for questioning and put in a cell overnight. In the morning he was found dead in his cell. I don’t have the full details. You might be disappointed that he was never brought to trial or paid for his crime, but I’d like you to remember that because of you, Sandra’s parents have finally got closure and can grieve properly.’

I thanked Inspector Chester for listening to me and for all his hard work on the case.

Rest in Peace Sandra. I’m sorry I wasn’t a better friend.

Available books

My other short stories are:

The Mermaid

mybook.to/TheMermaidShort

Pebble on a Beach

mybook.to/Pebble

Missing

http://mybook.to/Missingshortstories

If you click on the links they should take you to Amazon UK/USA, so you can see prices for the paperbacks and e-books.

All are available on Kindle Unlimited. Hope you enjoy!

The Future Earth trilogy is complete with the release of The Healer today. Aley lives and works in Firstop village growing crops and developing plants to help feed the increasing population in the known part of the world. The rest of the world was contaminated by nuclear war and is thought to be uninhabited, but is it recovering?

In this unstable world, where resources are limited and technology is varied, there are a few with gifts. Aley can heal many illnesses, but has to keep his gift a secret to stay safe. Does he help one too many person and find himself in trouble?

You can get The Healer here.

The first book in the series is The Truth Finder and the second is The Visualizer. Both these books are free today 6 August 2021, for one day only, in e-book format.

All my books are free on Kindle Unlimited and this trilogy is also available in paperback format.

Reviews always welcome.

New Release: The Healer

New Release Day for The Healer is Friday 6 August 2021. The Healer is the third and final book in the Future Earth trilogy and will be available in paperback and e-book format from this Friday. Look what arrived today. I’m so excited.

Aley works as a farmer who collects seeds and grows new crops to feed the ever expanding population in the known part of the world, but what is happening in the contaminated part? Has the Earth been recovering?

He also has the gift of being able to heal many illnesses and conditions, but such a gift makes unscrupulous people see him as a commodity to make money for them. He is kidnapped and put to work, but can he escape with the help of others or find a way to freedom by himself?

If you haven’t read the first two books in this series, The Truth Finder and The Visualizer, you can catch up here. The Truth Finder and The Visualizer.

All my books are free on Kindle Unlimited. I hope you enjoy this trilogy.

A couple of weeks ago The Truth Finder was free. I hope all those who downloaded it enjoyed it.

The second book in the series, The Visualizer e-book, is free 24 and 25 July 2021 and is only £1.99/ $1.21 to buy normally. You can pick it up here. Seek is a powerful visualizer; she can transform herself and others into different beings. Can she use her talents to stop a war?

The Healer, the third and final book, in the Future Earh series is almost ready. Aley can heal many illnesses and conditions that human’s suffer, but is there a darker side to his gift and will people try to exploit him? More details to follow.

All my books are free on kindle unlimited.

The Truth Finder is free as an e-book today, and for the weekend, 9-11 July 2021. It is the first book in the Future Earth trilogy and tells the story of Vrail, a young man, who can read minds. He faces dangers in an unstable world, limited in resources, but with a growing and sometimes controlling technology. You can pick it up here.

The Visualizer, the second book in the series, is only £0.99/ $1.21 to buy and you can pick it up here. Seek can not only make images appear, but because her power is so great, she can transform herself and others into other beings. She also faces dangers, but can she use her talents to stop a war?

The Healer is coming out next month. Aley’s gift is that he can heal many illnesses and conditions that human’s suffer, but is there a darker side to his gift and will people try to exploit him? More details to follow.

All my books are free on kindle unlimited.

The Healer

The Healer is the third and final book in the Future Earth series. I’ve finished writing it and it’s now on its final edits and proof reading stages. I’m really excited to have completed this trilogy. It should be out in August.

This book is about Aley, a gifted healer. Aley wants to explore the parts of the world that were off limits, due to contamination, from nuclear wars and pollution. He suspects that Earth may have been healing itself over the past centuries.

Aley is travelling home, on his own, to start his journey with his partner, Mooley, when he’s abducted by unscrupulous villains. What do they want with him and will he ever get to explore the rest of the Earth?

If you want to catch up with this series, The Truth Finder and The Visualizer are are free on Amazon Kindle Unlimited or available as ebooks for £0.99/$2.99 and $1.21.

These are great reads, suitable for older teenagers and adults. I hope you enjoy them.

Missing

Missing was the first book I ever published. It’s now been revised and is published on Amazon, both in paperback and on Kindle.

These are great short stories to enjoy with a cup of coffee and include a variety of genre. Many of the stories explore relationships and how we overcome difficulties. The story ‘Missing’ is about a child, whose mother has no time for her and about a mother who has lost a child. What happens when the two meet?

‘Property Deal’ explores how an estate agent deals with a nightmare client and ‘Agneta’ has a touch of paranormal. There are nineteen, varied short stories for you to enjoy.

Where can you pick up a book for under a fiver? Missing is £4.99 for the paperback and £1.99 for the ebook. Nearly all my books are free on Kindle Unlimited. In the United States the book is $6.99 and ebook $2.99. You can buy the book here.

If you haven’t read this book yet, I hope you enjoy it. Let me know. If you have enjoyed it, you can find more short stories here:

Pebble on the Beach and The Mermaid.

Coming shortly is my new book of short stories ‘Angel in our Midst’.

Next Steps by Tom Benson

I invited author, Tom Benson to give us an insight about his latest anthology, Next Steps: and other stories. Here it is. Welcome to this site, Tom.

I’m a multi-genre author who enjoys various writing disciplines, and I’ve found that ideas for short stories are never far away. Combined with this, of course, is the opportunity to create another collection. I understand how difficult it is for indie authors like me to capture and increase an audience. With this in mind, I created my first ‘invitation’ anthology, and ‘Next Steps is the third of this type.

What came to mind when you saw the title of this article?

Perhaps like many people, you thought of progression in some form, or was that a fleeting idea cast aside as you considered the graphic and the book title?

Next Steps: and other stories is the full title of my new collection. While Next Steps is both the abbreviated book title and the first story, in this case, it also serves as an introduction to how I went about creating the anthology.

Anthologies of short stories come in three main categories: theme-based, genre-based, and non-specific. Apart from those categories, any of them could be by a single author or have multiple authors. Next Steps is non-specific and created by numerous authors.

Let’s look at how this book went from idea to publication.

Having several anthologies in my catalogue, I was seeking a new challenge. I thought I’d try to create six stories around random pieces of dialogue. I posted the suggestion in the Indie Author Support and Discussion group (on the Facebook page) with simple guidelines:

The prompt should be a dialogue between no more than two characters and no more than thirty words.

Within two days, I had six prompts which I gratefully accepted and acknowledged. My offer to those authors was to produce one or more stories that they could submit to the collection. Theirs could be stories of personal choice—anything except erotica. The publication target was 1st April 2021, so we all had four months to get to work.

I was already heavily involved in the writing of my next novel. I split my time between that and picking out prompts to work on. A couple of the dialogue prompts produced ideas at first reading. In contrast, others caused me to try three or four approaches and genres. The challenge was genuine and enjoyable.

I had the first drafts of four stories completed by mid-January, and I’d settled on the topics for the other two. It was after a couple of weeks and further rewrites that another author asked to join the venture. I requested a prompt, I got one, and that other author was on board.

Anyone can write a short story, of course, but if it’s for publication, it must meet specific criteria. For example, punctuation, grammar, plot, and structure should all be considered and adjusted by the individual author. The submissions were to be ready for publication.

After several rewrites, followed by the appropriate edits, it was time to send my stories to three or four beta readers. These were fellow authors who could assess how effective/entertaining the tales may or may not be. By the time I had feedback from three of my peers, a bit more work was needed on a couple of the stories before a final check of punctuation, grammar, and formatting.

In mid-February, I tagged my guest authors in a comment on Facebook to remind them of the deadline for their submissions. I know how easy it is for one of several ‘work in progress’ to slip through the net.

 In mid-March, I had seven stories completed, having had some of them read three times by other authors and others read four times. I accepted the personal submissions from my guests, complete with a bio and two links of choice. One of the original authors didn’t meet the criteria with their submission, but, of course, I’d gained another author. In total, I received eight stories to add to my seven.

I read every story again and then assembled them as a single manuscript before conducting the final stage—formatting. I set out the front matter, the stories (with author bio’s), back matter (including author links), and published. My final quality control check was to download the book from Amazon before telling anyone that it was available. I read the book, located two minor issues, amended them, and re-published it.

Some folk ask why I don’t list the other authors on the book’s Amazon page.

1. The guest authors are displayed on the front cover because, in my opinion, that is where they ought to be. In this way, the authors are promoted even if the book isn’t chosen by readers.

2. If an author name is added to the Primary Author section when publishing on Amazon, it creates a possible conflict of interest. How? The Amazon algorithms recognise the ‘pairing’ of author names, so there is a real danger of any previous mutual reviews (from other books) being removed.

3. The algorithms don’t recognise a name on the front cover because it is part of the graphic. Suppose an author is not highlighted in the publishing system as a Contributor to the collection. In that case, this means they can leave a review without any risks.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief insight. If Penny should receive sufficient interest, I’d be happy to write a piece on short story writing or creating anthologies. In the meantime, I’ll respectfully ask that you check out Next Steps: and other stories. It contains some great stories and, of course, one of them is by Penny. The book is free to read on Kindle Unlimited, as are all of my titles.

If you’d like to check out my work, here are links to my author website, artist website, and writing blog:

http://tombensonauthor.com

https://tombensoncreative.com

https://tombensonartist.wordpress.com/

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