Dying Embers out now

Dying Embers out now

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Progress with Dying Embers

I have now completed seven short stories for my inaugural collection, tentatively titled Dying Embers. I realise I haven't mentioned this lately, as progress has been painfully slow. Even the stories which have been published previously have been revamped. In fact every time I re-read them I change something! Does anyone else have this problem? Anyway, my feeling is I need around 10 in total, which is OK as I have five more in progress; but at this rate it will be another few months before I can even think about finalising things. Part of the trouble is that I have not been writing for long (not fiction at least) so I don't have any kind of 'treasure chest' of previously written stuff. Also, the layout and general look of the book is concerning me. As a graphic designer, I'm used to having complete control over these things, and with e-books these aspects are amorphous to say the least. The cover is fine, but I want the typography within to work well too. I have experimented with PressBooks, and that seems to work very well. I have entered my text into separate "chapters" which affords good flexibility. It's free, simple to use, and I would recommend it to anyone putting a book together.

Here are the stories I have completed so far:

The Next Terrace
The past collides with the present; childhood bonds are first stretched to the limit then broken in this tale influenced by Dante's Inferno.

Playing Tag
An historic building holds the key to a terrible secret from Letherby's youth. Why is he drawn so powerfully to its mysterious Pavilion?

The Source of the Lea
Pocock witnesses something on the river bank which changes the course of his life. Did it really lead to him discovering the true source of the Lea?

In Transit
A passenger on an international flight finds he is most certainly not master of his own destiny. Finding out who is, though, is quite another matter!

Necessary Procedure
An ill-fated property search leads firstly to admission, then a strange form of retribution; and, ultimately, reunion.

Unit 6
The alien landscape of a network of warehouses provides the background to a remarkable transformation. Or does it?

Abraham's Bosom
A remote coastal walk still echoes with a tragic event from long ago, charting an individual's gradual descent into some kind of madness.

Here are the stories I'm still working on:

Turning the Cup
The traditional art of tasseography combines with local folklore to resurrect an unwelcome visitor.

Building Bridges
You always wanted a left-field story about dinosaurs! Well, I hope you did anyway.

Rural Australia proves to be less welcoming than Preston had hoped ...
The Key
An impulse purchase on eBay has an uncanny effect, and proves more trouble than it's worth.

Burnt Close
The exploration of a newly-built housing estate changes the course of some young lives.

Hopefully it won't be too many months until it's all done and dusted. I'll keep you informed!


  1. Martin, what a wonderful and enticing cover illustration! And such a fascinating and eclectic collection of tales - I really can't wait to read this collection.

    Like you, I am constantly tinkering with the text and the formats. I guess it's the beast all of us writers have to contend with. A friend of mine has spent over two years writing a novel (his first) and is now in the process of canvassing opinion and responding to review; this will now add another six months to the process - not to mention the time it will take for his agent to mount a campaign to convince the publishing houses to consider his work. So, at least, the self-publishing option will help us avoid an even more protracted route to finished, published copy.

    I've got a similar number of short stories on the go and hope to publish ten of them in a collection around November (well, by Christmas at the latest!)

    Anyway, wishing you continued success with the stories mate and looking forward to a virtual, trans-hemisphere drink when our books finally see the light of day!


    1. Hi Paul, thanks for your generous comments. Likewise, I can't wait to read your collection when the time comes. Are you changing them at all from what has been on your website, perhaps to fit more into the traditional 'short story' format? That would take some time I would imagine.
      With regard to the drink – well, I'm often in the UK so maybe one day we could get together for that! Cheers, Martin.

  2. These stories sound intriguing. Hope to get a look at them.

    1. Thanks! Hopefully you'll be able to soon ...

  3. I've now read In Transit and Unit 6, both of which I really enjoyed, Martin. I am looking forward to your collection :) I'm exactly the same when it comes to editing. Every time I read over a story or novel, I think of something else I could add, or I change something... I think it's so important to keep re-reading and doing that until you're happy with the stories. You'll get there in the end, believe me! It always seems like the editing will take forever, but eventually you'll find there is less and less you feel like changing, and the stories will 'feel' right. Your stories sound interesting. Keep us updated with your progress :)

  4. Thanks for your feedback Maria. Glad you enjoyed the stories, they've been polished a bit since then. It's true I suppose that if we didn't enjoy the whole process, as in the writing and the re-writing, editing etc, then we wouldn't do it! I'm really enjoying your collection Delusion and Dreams by the way ... review soon. Martin.

  5. Do you have a story posted online that I can read to get a sense of your writing style?

  6. Yes, I posted The Source of the Lea in four parts (it wasn't entirely 'finished off' at this stage mind you);
    part one http://strangerdesigns.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/the-source-of-lea.html
    part two http://strangerdesigns.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/the-source-of-lea-part-two.html
    part three http://strangerdesigns.blogspot.com.au/2013/03/the-source-of-lea-part-three.html
    conclusion http://strangerdesigns.blogspot.com.au/2013/03/the-source-of-lea-conclusion.html