fiction and other writing

Posts tagged ‘Tom Benson’

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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ebook Bank International

Tom Benson is running this new website where a lot of ebooks are listed for a mere 99p or equivalent. Check it out here.

All authors submitting their titles to this site are doing so with a view to reducing the expenditure of readers during the current international pandemic; (Coronavirus) Covid 19

At present, the intention is to maintain the site and all books at 99p/99c until at least 1st July 2020. Dependent on the situation it may continue beyond that date.

Many of the 99p/99c titles on this site may be available free on Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited if you are a subscriber.

This site will undergo continual amendment until the Admin feel it is user-friendly for visitors. Some titles may now be at the new price.

The books will be shown in a gallery to the left of the main page … All Titles.

Useful links and links to the author websites will be supplied on the right of the screen. Authors are also listed on the main menu.

The titles will continue to be linked to their Amazon page as we progress with the website. You may browse the books in the main All Titles list or try the individual genres.

If you are an author with the IASD and would like to become a part of this venture, please get in touch using the Contact form.

Thank you for your patience.

Tom Benson

Book Review: Temptation by Tom Benson


The following is a copy of my five star review from Amazon.

This is a book of excellent short stories in a variety of genre. My favourite one was, Bewitched, which reminds us of how women were persecuted as witches in the past, but this is no old hag. The question is what will her persecutors do and will she find an escape?
All the stories are good, as you would expect from this author. This book is well worth a read. Highly recommended.

Book Review: Natural History by Tom Benson

Natural History (An Anthology of Poetry)Natural History by Tom Benson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Natural History is a great book of rhyming poems by Tom Benson. There are forty-five poems for less than £1, so it’s very good value for money.
Within these poems there are messages to mankind about how the world’s resources are being wasted and how we need to treat animals better.
The reader can pick up factual information from many of the poems, e.g. in ‘Big Cats 1 – Cheetah.
In the poem ‘Fox Cub Toddler’ a narrative style is used about a young cub, who goes exploring, without his mother’s permission. He doesn’t seem to learn the lesson.
There’s a wonderful variety of subjects: poems about diving or climbing, to poems about The Lake District, The Arctic, The Desert or The Jungle.
If you like the ‘Natural World’, then you are in for a real treat with these poems.

View all my reviews

Poetry Book Review: Humour – An Anthology of Poetry by Tom Benson

Humour Tom BensonHumour by Tom Benson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This anthology of thirty poems has the feel good factor. All the poetry is in quatrains, with clever line length shape. Each poem will bring a smile to your face, and is accessible to everyone. You won’t go away and think I don’t know what that’s about; having said that, each poem relies on the power of words, and is skilfully crafted. Some are a touch risqué whilst others rely on a play on words or innuendo.

There is a variety of subject matter, ranging from sci-fi, a riddle and a poem with a message and much more. If I’m being a little vague it’s because I don’t want to ruin your delight in reading this anthology by putting in spoilers here.

The book is well set out with links from the index to the individual poems and is excellent value for money.

View all my reviews

Book Review: Smoke and Mirrors -Tom Benson

Smoke and Mirrors and other stories is a small book of a dozen stories. Each story takes you to a different time and place, which is a strength of the collection. The stories have strong, diverse characters and many of the plots have an interesting twist.

Product DetailsI’m not going to go through each story; enough to say there are many different genres from thriller, chick lit, sci fi, and more. Each genre is written skillfully and some of the stories have been previously published in anthologies or won a prize.

If I have any criticism of the book it is that perhaps the first story should have been a novel, but it still makes a cracking good short story.

I won’t spoil the book by giving away too much, just to say I think it would appeal to both men and women and all ages. Quite a few of the characters are young, which leads to lots of action.

My favourite story was Mary had a little gun. I think I identified with the protagonist in so far that… but I can’t tell you or it would ruin it.

Smoke and Mirrors is well written and presented and can be bought from Amazon kindle for £1.83. I’ve added a link here. Anyway if you read it, let me know what you think. Tom Benson has published several novels and a number of poetry books. Titles of novels include: Amsterdam Calling; Beyond the Law and Ten Days in Panama. You can find out more about this author here.

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