Tag Archives: Short Stories

For the Love of Books – What’s Your Favourite Genre?

Reading is a true pleasure, and not only do we all have books we love,
stories we adore, but we often have genres that we lean towards
when we’re searching for new books.

So, where’s your heart when it comes to the books you read?

For the Love of Books - What's Your Favourite Genre - The Last Krystallos

These days books are very much pigeon-holed into genres, which when I first began writing didn’t occur to me at all! I just wrote the story inside my head before discovering it really didn’t fit a particular genre. In the end, my first series of books, The Hope Within Novels, actually fit very well into the Young Adult field, and we all know YA can be read and loved by any age at all!

Since my first book, I did learn that to succeed it’s pretty important to know your genre, and through flash fiction and short stories, I discovered my passion is fantasy – moving into steampunk and post-apocalyptic.

I grew up with Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five adventuresexploring ruins, islands, castles, and moved into Narnia, The Hobbit, and my favourite The Dark is Rising Sequence. I was hooked. From there Philip Pullman, Tolkien, Eoin Colfer, and again, my favourite author, Garth Nix and his Old Kingdom series captivated me. I read many genres, but love writing contemporary and fantasy.

So, what do you love?

My love of fantasy arrived with dragons and after Smaug, I fell for some friendlier types in the rather wordy Eragon series by Christopher Paolini. Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea is a classic, as is anything by Tolkien, and I’ve loved current books Orison by Daniel Swensen and the beautiful Quest of the Dreamwalker from Stacy Bennett. I am also entranced by Patrick Rothfuss, and fell in love with The Slow Regard of Silent Things.

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© Lisa Shambrook

Are you a romance reader? I went through some steamy romances in my twenties, my bored housewife/young mum years, but my palate grew up and I now love fantasy and contemporary romances. I have been completely enchanted by Sophie Moss and her Seal Island Trilogy, and can’t wait for her latest book in the Wind Chime series… And you’ll love ditsy Katie Button from Lizzie Koch.

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© Lisa Shambrook

Or does horror chill you? I was never a horror fan, preferring movie versions of most horror stories if any, but I did love James Herbert’s Portent, and I’ve read a few Stephen King. J. Whitworth Hazzard blew the zombie genre right out of the water with Dead Sea Games, and I adored the chilling literary tales from Max Power and Darkly Wood.

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© Lisa Shambrook

Do you love the classics? Are you a Bronte fan, or do you go weak at the knees for Mr Darcy? I’ve always loved fairy-tales, stories that chill, enthral, and fascinate bringing us dragons, fae, and much more. I love Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, then there’s The Count of Monte Cristo from Dumas, and so much more. The classics are right there, standing the test of time.

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© Lisa Shambrook

Are your tastes more eclectic? I remember raiding Dad’s bookshelves to read John Wyndham, introduced to Chocky by the BBC TV series on Children’s Television back in 1984 – and I then devoured The Midwich Cuckoos, The Chrysalids, The Kraken Wakes and more. Sci-fi is still up there with my favourites, but I tend to watch sci-fi much more than read it.

Autobiographies, Mum and Gran loved reading about people, real people, and my husband enjoys it too, not so much my cup of tea.

Contemporary, is a hit and miss thing for me these days. There are some brilliant books out there like Rachel Joyce’s The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, The Trouble with Goats and Sheep from Joanna Cannon, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, but you can easily hit some real misses.

I also enjoy Thrillers, Harlan Coben being my favourite.

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© Lisa Shambrook

Children’s books, I still read kids’ books, why not? They are what introduced me to reading and inspired me to write myself. The Silver Brumby absolutely entrances me, and I will always love it. I’ve even been known to reread Blyton’s The Castle of Adventure as an adult…

From children’s books to Young Adult…a genre that is a law unto itself. Harry Potter broke the mould with children’s books, bringing them to children and adults simultaneously. Now, you’ll see YA in the hands of all ages. John Green and Meg Rosoff inspire when they pen great stories, and so do some much lesser known authors, like Angela Lynn who had me completely in love with All the What Ifs, and Louise Gornall with an emotional journey through Under Rose Tainted Skies. Another book that made me weep was Loser from Jerry Spinelli, a book I would read again and again, and Anne Holm’s I am David. My books, Beneath the Rainbow, Old Oak, and Distant Star, also inspire through difficult journeys and true to the YA genre have been loved by all ages!

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© Lisa Shambrook

Lastly, I love short story books. I love a book I can pick up while I’m waiting, and I’m often waiting for children, dentists, Drs, and other appointments. Short tales are inspiring, eclectic, a good use of spare time, and they also introduce us to new authors, or an author’s writing style, when you fall in love with their writing, you can search out full-length novels and bury yourself among your favourite words! And, like with Human 76, you can sometimes find a completely original and exciting concept, this time a book of tales by different writers, brought together in the same world, but each telling a unique story.

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© Lisa Shambrook

So, tell me, what books do you love, where is your passion,
and what genre is your ‘go to’ when searching for a new read?   

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A Symphony of Dragons – Short Stories to enchant you…

The first day of Spring sees the release of my new book:
A Symphony of Dragons – a collection of bewitching dragon themed tales…

A Symphony of Dragons - Lisa Shambrook - Purple Ad lower

I knew when I began my current wip (work in progress) that I wanted to release a book of short stories, for several reasons… First, I wanted to share some of my writing not related to my novels. I’ve been writing flash fiction for quite a few years now, and some of those stories have cried out to be included, along with some previously published works from other anthologies. Secondly, I wanted to revisit my novels; I wanted to write a final story for The Hope Within Novels – a story that takes you back to Freya, Meg, and Jasmine, and explore what they’ve become. I think you’ll love Ruby! And, thirdly, in writing The Seren Stone Chronicles, I wanted to share the Legend of the Seren Stone with you; a teaser…

I chose my theme, Dragons, with ease… I’d already written a dragon tale, I wanted to include, for a Fall Flash Festival contest where I received an Honourable Mention. This story told the tale of Autumn Flamethe dragon who brings you autumn…and I went on to write Winter Hope for another anthology, and then Spring Symphony. Summer had waited, impatiently, but those of you who’ve lingered for Summer Blaze, can now read his story too as he completes the composition.

So, dragons ruled, and you’ll find some familiar stories if you’ve followed my flash fiction and some new:

A Symphony of Dragons © Lisa Shambrook - Cover put together by BHC Press

© Lisa Shambrook – Cover put together by BHC Press

Lose yourself in the enchanting worlds of fantasy, contemporary, steampunk, and post-apocalyptic, and let your imagination soar on a chorus of dragon wings. This lyrical collection of tales embracing change and desire, love and belonging, passion, sacrifice and triumph are composed with gossamer threads of dragon fire.

Seven bewitching stories, including a Hope Within finale and a prelude to the forthcoming Seren Stone Chronicles.

Let the song of dragons lead you…

This book, ephemeral yet beautifully fulfilling, will introduce you to my writing, my style, and my imagination if you haven’t read me before, and will be an enchanting addition to your collection if you have…

The cover painting was a labour of love… I spent December grabbing moments to sketch and paint and see if I could remember my painting skills! I rather fell in love with this dragon and I adore the cover complete with beautifully chosen font by Blue Harvest Creative. Hope you love my dragon too!

A Symphony of Dragons Cover Art Evolution - from sketch to painting to cover © Lisa Shambrook

A Symphony of Dragons Cover Art Evolution – from sketch to painting to cover © Lisa Shambrook

Please visit my updated website lisashambrook.com/books to find all the information and links to purchase. This book is available in print and eBook, and all the purchase links and availability can also be found with my publisher at BHC Press and at books2read.com/symphonydragons

Please remember to add A Symphony of Dragons to your Goodreads Want to Read list and scribble out a reviewyou already know how much I’d appreciate that!

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Let the song of dragons lead you…

and let me know what you think… ❤

Signs that Spring is on its Way and a Cover Reveal

The first day of spring, 20th March, is the release date for my latest book
A Symphony of Dragons, a date to look forward to.
So, I’m giving you a peek at the signs that Spring is on its way…

Signs that Spring is on its Way and a Cover Reveal | The Last Krystallos

Snowdrops bring us beauty on the edge of winter, arriving on the cusp of spring…

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Snowdrops © Lisa Shambrook

Followed by hellebores giving us late winter roses, the crocus pushing through the earth with hope, and dainty primroses, the epitome of spring…

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Crocus, Hellebore and Primrose © Lisa Shambrook

Valentines offer love, passion and the first flush of pending spring romance…

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Valentine © Lisa Shambrook

Light changes as days get longer and we are welcomed by dawn’s blush as we wake…

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Lighter Days © Lisa Shambrook

Daisies begin to brighten our lawns with friendly faces…

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Daisies © Lisa Shambrook

Trumpets of gold herald spring with the most famous flower of the season…

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Daffodils © Lisa Shambrook

Ballerina blossom, so delicate and flouncy like soft, thin cotton or candyfloss…

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Blossom © Lisa Shambrook

And new leaves sprout ready to dress the trees in finery and spring attire…

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New Growth © Lisa Shambrook

Magic arrives with fae and fantasy, sunshine and clarity, and I can introduce you to dragons…

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Magic © Lisa Shambrook

The first day of spring this year will bring a collection of tales interweaved with gossamer threads of dragon fire, and the first story will launch you into the seasons on the agile wings of dragons…

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Enjoy the flowers – lighter, longer days – romance – and the enchantment of spring.

And I’ll let you know as soon as A Symphony of Dragons is available…
You’re definitely going to want to discover the dragon that brings you spring…and those that compose summer, autumn and winter too!

Let the song of dragons lead you…

A Winter’s Romance and Human 76 – Christmas Book Blast

This Christmas season I’m promoting two books
(other than my own Hope Within novels) which are great books to gift.
And as a bonus I have stories in both of them!
Romance and Post-Apocalyptic Adventure…

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Many people love receiving books for Christmas, myself included, and choosing the best book can be tough. However, I’m covering many bases with these two!

If you, or the person you need the perfect gift for, love romance, I have a beautiful book to cosy up with this winter: A Winter’s Romance from BHC Press, and if you prefer adventure, I can heartily recommend the brilliant post-apocalyptic thriller: Human 76 put together by myself and Michael Wombat.

Both are available in paperback for the discerning reader who likes to hold a physical book in their hands, and you can download them onto your device or Kindle for the more progressive type! All buy links will be posted below. A big plus is that you will help a charity when you purchase either of these books. Spread the love!

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A Winter’s Romance – When winter and romance mix, the elements are anything but predictable…

This book gives you 19 beautiful stories from amazing authors. Tales that will enchant you, and stir you and some that will terrify you. You’ll get dragons, music, and thrillers, history, and laughs. You’ll shiver and tingle and giggle and smile. You’ll get a whole variety of short stories and the one thing I can promise you is that you won’t regret reading them!

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A Winter’s Romance features authors: J.S.Bailey, LaDonna Cole, Drea Damara, Sara Daniell, Natalie Gibson, Bibi Hamblin, C.R.Hiatt, Kaite Jennings, S.R.Karfelt, D.M.Kilgore, Alice Lakewood, Elise Manion, Emmie Mears, Melissa Hladik Meyer, Tom Mohan, Patricia Paris, Lisa Shambrook, Hannah Steenbock and A.D.Trosper.

My own tale Between Ice and Fire is a captivating chance meeting on an icy winter’s morning – and you’ll want to know what sends shivers down Laine’s spine…

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You can find A Winter’s Romance in a gorgeous Paperback , Hardback from 9th December 2016 or Kindle on Amazon and on B&N, and Kobo and iBooks. $1.00 from the sale of each book will be donated to Forgotten Harvest (A member of Feeding America).

Human 76, Human 76 An unprecended post-apocalyptic journey, fragments of a fractured world, Lisa Shambrook, Michael Wombat,

Human 76 – An unprecedented set of stories set in the fragments of a fractured world…

You can read about how this collaboration came to be in two of my blog posts: Human 76 – Ghabrie is on her way… and Human 76 Release as this is a project very close to my heart having been inspired by a photograph of my own daughter on our family post-apocalyptic photoshoot!

What you get is 15 stories from 14 authors written without knowing how they would intertwine. Ghabrie loses her little sister in a raid and sets out to find her. On her journey she discovers eclectic communities, enemies and allies. Ghabrie and her search is the theme that threads through the book, but what you get is a gorgeous vignette of many lives, some struggling and some prospering, in the Post-Blast world. What leads them to Ghabrie? How do they meet her? Does she affect them? How do their stories impact hers? You’ll have to read them to find out.

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Human 76 features authors: Lisa Shambrook, Michael Wombat, Alex Brightsmith, Denise Callaway, KJ Collard, Alison DeLuca, Michelle Fox, Rebecca Fyfe, Jeff Hollar, Nick Johns, MS Manz, Julia Rios, KR Smith and Steven Paul Watson.

My own tales Leaving the Nest and We Make the Future open and close the book and you’ll need to read it to discover how all the tales entwine in the most amazing way…

Snippet of 'Leaving the Nest' by Lisa Shambrook - Human 76

Snippet of 'We Make the Future' by Lisa Shambrook - Human 76

Human 76 is available in Paperback and Kindle on Amazon and in Paperback and Download on Lulu. All proceeds from this book go to Water is Life (a global charity that provides clean drinking water, sanitation and hygiene education programs to schools and villages in desperate need worldwide.)

Seriously, you cannot go wrong with either of these book,
so, order a paperback and slip it into a loved one’s Christmas gifts,
let them discover a great read in their Santa Stocking,
or buy it and give yourself a well-deserved treat!

The Soul of the Universe is Music…

Hitting you up with another extra post and OFFER this week…
and you can’t afford to miss it.
If you want a stunning set of stories based on pieces of music…
you can’t go wrong with this beautiful and intelligent book!

soul-of-the-universe-edited-michael-wombat-short-stories-anthology-clubAnd this week it’s FREE to download from Amazon Kindle. FREE from September 2nd to 6th – you don’t want to miss this one.

This is the first book from The Anthology Club. I have a story in their second book…

Stories by Marissa Ames, Michael Walker, Michael Wombat, and Michael S. Manz will captivate you. Each story is accompanied by a song, and you get a brief explanation of its inspiration. An eclectic mix of genres and something to inspire everyone.

“Music gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” Plato

I couldn’t have put it better myself!

Now go and pick up your FREE copy between 2nd and 6th September:

Amazon UK and Amazon US.

This is my Amazon review – if you love reading the book too please leave your own review.

Soul of the Universe: An anthology of music-inspired stories

Six strong tales, inspired by music…

I’ve read several of the authors in this anthology before, so I knew the stories would be of a high calibre, and I wasn’t disappointed.

To Ride the Wind Dancing: This story, from Michael S. Manz, held its secret well as it began and I was delighted as realisation gathered momentum. I found my intrigue piqued and a tale of an unusual relationship blossomed, leaving me wanting more, much more!

Blood on the ground: Michael Wombat’s humour is familiar to me, and he gives us a rocking good tale with a real chancer who took one too many! Great description took me right out into the American wilds and the dark night of terror…

Stella: Michael A. Walker made me weep. The issues within this story resonated and touch my own life deeply, and the raw beauty and honesty in this tale took me to a fragile place. Written both assuredly and compassionately, it’s a story that will stay with you.

Darrion: Already a fan of Marissa Ames, meant I’d reviewed Darrion before…and it’s a tale that hits you in the gut and will enthral you right from the very first sentence. The author shows fantastic world building and description in such a short and haunting tale.

Light On: Another heartfelt piece from an author, Michael A. Walker, from whom I want to read more.

Moth Girl vs the Bats: Michael Wombat’s writing is evocative and definitely brings out a comic book feel, think Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers. Powerful and fantastical description will pull you into Moth Girl’s predicament, and you’ll be wincing in pain as Steampunk creatures and critters show up…

This is a superior collection of stories and I urge you to read them!

You can find out more on my blog post about Cutthroats and Curses…

Human 76 Release Special Offer: Free eBook Download

Ghabrie and Human 76 is finally here! 
And available as a free ePub eBook for two weeks to celebrate its release. 

Human 76 - An Unprecendted collection of Post Apocalyptic  Stories - Ghabrie

Join a new Fandom and Like our Human 76  Facebook Page to keep up to date with blogposts, links, fun stuff, and information you won’t find anywhere else!

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Please also find us and list us in your Want To Read on Goodreads
and when you’re done, please review Human 76.

Snippet of 'Leaving the Nest' by Lisa Shambrook - Human 76

Snippet of ‘Leaving the Nest’ by Lisa Shambrook – Human 76

We are supporting Water Is Life and all profit from book sales will go
to this deserving charity – helping to provide water where people need it.
A charity that helps people who struggle within this world.

Snippet of 'We Make the Future' by Lisa Shambrook - Human 76

Snippet of ‘We Make the Future’ by Lisa Shambrook – Human 76

FREE Download from Lulu until 1st July
(ePub version of the book which can easily be converted to Kindle using Calibre.) 

Buy Links: Lulu Paperback

Amazon Paperback UK and US

Other buy sites will soon be available – Amazon Kindle etc –
once the Distribution avenues are open.

Enjoy, and please review and let us know what you think! 

Human 76 – Ghabrie is on her way…

Just over a year ago my family and I stood in the freezing cold in Pembrey Park,
our fingers pale and cold gripping weapons in our hands.
You might ask why?

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We’ve had some fascinating family photoshoots over the last few years and with our son going overseas, to Canada, for two years, we wanted to push the boat out and do something really different. So, we went dystopian for a post-apocalyptic family portrait.

Shambrook Post Apocalyptic Photo Shoot and Ghabrie - Bekah

© Lisa Shambrook – Our family Post-Apocalyptic photoshoot and Bekah/Ghabrie

Human 76 Post Apocalyptic Anthology planning June 2015

© Lisa Shambrook – Planning Ghabrie’s world…

We had no idea what chaos and beauty our photoshoot would bring…

Bekah’s picture gained many comments and my amazing writing community wanted to write about her. The character in the picture became real. Ghabrie arrived in our lives.

We ended up with a group of fourteen talented writers (Michael Wombat, myself, Alex Brightsmith, Denise Callaway, KJ Collard, Alison DeLuca, Michelle Fox, Rebecca Fyfe, Jeff Hollar, Nick Johns, MS Manz, Julia Rios, KR Smith, Steven Paul Watson), creating a book chronicling Ghabrie’s search for her lost sister.

Bekah and I sat down and created a world in a post-apocalyptic landscape, and instructed our authors to write, the only necessity was that their characters had to meet Ghabrie at some point in their story. Ghabrie and her search is the theme that threads through the book, but what you get is a gorgeous vignette of many lives, some struggling and some prospering, in the Post-Blast world.
What leads them to Ghabrie? How do they meet her? Does she affect them? How do their stories impact hers?
You’ll have to read them to find out.

Human 76 Ghabrie Intro Piece

© Lisa Shambrook

An unprecedented set of stories set in the fragments of a fractured world.

This book has turned into a project of passion for myself and all its authors, and you’re getting a full length book of tales that will delight you, shock you, and disturb you (just a little). You’ll need to read Ghabrie’s story, and Glint’s story, and Planck’s story, and Ash and Hum’s story, and – there are so many more! And maybe you’ll find out what happened to Nahria…

Human 76, post-apocalyptic stories,

Human 76 – Coming soon…

We are on the cusp of releasing this book
out into the wild world – so keep your eyes wide open.
I’ll let you know when!

All proceeds from this book will go to Water is Life, a global charity that provides clean drinking water, sanitation and hygiene education programs to schools and villages in desperate need worldwide. Our book is about those displaced and struggling to survive in a dangerous world and this charity fits perfectly with our stories. So when you buy the book you will be helping those in need.

Also, for a period of two weeks the eBook will be FREE – be ready!

And check out Michael Wombat’s blog post for even more background on how we put this book together…  

And our FACEBOOK page is here! 
So you can keep up to date with everything, release date, offers,
fun stuff, and extras you won’t find anywhere else! 

Between Ice and Fire – A Winter’s Romance

When winter and romance mix,
the elements are anything but predictable…

Between Ice and Fire - A Winter's Romance Anthology Snippet - Lisa Shambrook - BHC Press

BHC Press recently released an anthology which discovers what happens when passion and winter collide… You get 19 stories from some amazing authors. Tales that will enchant you, and stir you and some that will terrify you. You’ll get dragons, music, and thrillers, history, and laughs. You’ll shiver and tingle and giggle and smile. You’ll get a whole variety of short stories and the one thing I can promise you is that you won’t regret reading them!

Between Ice and Fire - Lisa Shambrook - A Winter's Romance an Anthology - BHC PressMy own tale is a captivating chance meeting on an icy winter’s morning – and you’ll want to know what sends shivers down Laine’s spine…

This is a beautiful book, which will be a delightful addition to any reader’s library, whether Kindle or physical. Treat yourself and enjoy the pleasures of A Winter’s Romance.

$1.00 from the sale of each book will be donated to Forgotten Harvest (A member of Feeding America).

Inside you will find stories by these very talented authors: J.S.Bailey, LaDonna Cole, Drea Damara, Sara Daniell, Natalie Gibson, Bibi Hamblin, C.R.Hiatt, Kaite Jennings, S.R.Karfelt, D.M.Kilgore, Alice Lakewood, Elise Manion, Emmie Mears, Melissa Hladik Meyer, Tom Mohan, Patricia Paris, Lisa Shambrook, Hannah Steenbock and A.D.Trosper.

Blue Harvest Creative the mind behind BHC Press is offering the book in a giveaway from 10th through 14th February…see here for details and how to WIN

Don’t miss out!

If you read the book and love it, and you will, please consider leaving a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads.

You can purchase A Winter’s Romance – an Anthology from your local Amazon or from BHC/Amazon Store

You’re Not Alone: Anthology in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support

‘You’re Not Alone’ has now been officially released,
so if you’re looking for some short tales to escape
into a world of vastly differing relationships
(the theme of this collection), then look no further.

You're not alone charity anthology for macmillan cancer support,You will be whisked into a magical world of remembrance with Sylva Fae’s gorgeous tale ‘Lilies for the Mantel’, enchanted by my own fairytale ‘Love’s Silent Ache’, have your heart stolen by Nico Laeser’s ‘No Longer Broken’ and stirred with ‘A Year Afterwards’ by Lesley Hayes. Throw in a great mix of stories including Max Power’s ‘Babes’, ‘Last Goodbye’ by Paul Ruddock, ‘If the Shoe Fits’ by Katharine E. Hamilton and ‘Ooh Air Margrit’ by Rebecca Bryn, and you’re onto a winner. These are just some of my favourites and there are plenty more!

You're Not Alone - Indie Anthology for Macmillan Cancer Support

You’re Not Alone – Indie Anthology for Macmillan Cancer Support

I was happy to add my own story to this collection, since cancer has reared its ugly head in my own family, time and time again. I understand its ravaging pain and legacy, and truly wish to contribute something to the fight to beat it.

Love's Silent Ache by Lisa Shambrook for You're Not Alone...read more inside the anthology...

Love’s Silent Ache by Lisa Shambrook for You’re Not Alone…read more inside the anthology…

When we were given the theme relationships, I chose to write a fairytalea story of love trapped within the grasp of an evil power that refused to let go. Cancer is often unseen to begin with, something that grows and develops on its own into a canker that finally reveals itself. I hope and pray that one day, cancer and myriad other diseases that befall us will be eradicated, it’s only through research that this can be achieved. While we wait, there is an army of nurses who refuse to let cancer win, giving of themselves to help those afflicted to stay as healthy and strong as they can, while they can. I applaud these nurses, who help make cancer bearable for the sufferers and their families.

Macmillan Cancer Support

Macmillan Cancer Support

Each of the authors have been touched in some way, by cancer and when invited, wanted to help give something back. This anthology was thought up by author Ian D. Moore, after losing someone very dear to him, and he soon rallied the support and help of his author friends to put this book together.

All net proceeds from this book will go to Macmillan Cancer Support via the Pamela Winton Fund and you can also donate directly to The Pamela Mary Winton Tribute fund. This fund is in Pamela’s name but all donations go to Macmillan Cancer Support. Any kind donations are gratefully received.

You're Not Alone - Macmillan Cancer Support

You’re Not Alone – Macmillan Cancer Support

Read more details about the conception of this book and support in my previous post.

In this collection you’ll find short stories to thrill you, they’ll scare you and leave you looking over your shoulder as you head back from your lunch break. There are stories of hope, stories of courage and stories of sheer determination, much like the very story that created this work to begin with.

This link will take you straight to your local Amazon store where You’re Not Alone is available in both paperback and eBook.

Only £1.99 for eBook and £8.99 for paperback. 
Treat yourself to some great stories and all in a great cause!

The Extraordinary Art of Writing Short Stories

Tips to help you write extraordinary short stories.

I love dipping into an eclectic mix of short tales. Picking up an anthology or collection of shorts whilst waiting in the car for my kids, or reading while working out on the elliptical with my Kindle app on my phone, delights me and utilises what could be wasted time!

Books containing great short stories...

Books containing great short stories…

There’s an art to a short story, and it takes a well-practised writer to get it right. There’s nothing worse than dipping into a tale, finishing it in a few pages and having no reaction. That meh feeling just doesn’t cut it.

You need to be short, sharp, and succinct, and have enough story to make the tale worth telling.

A short story needs to tell a tale in very few words, it needs to grab you and not let you go, it needs to pull you in, swirl you about and throw you back out again! It needs to elicit a reaction. Very often that reaction will either be a smile, a laugh, or a shock, but it has to be a reaction nonetheless. It’s dreadful to read a short and feel you’re just dipping into someone’s high school level homework. Don’t make short stories ordinary, make them extraordinary!

If you’re writing romance, boy-down-the-road meets girl-up-the-road… Shake it up. Don’t give me four or five pages of boy thinking about girl, meeting unexpectedly, and falling in love right away. Shake it up, turn it around…maybe the boy is blind, maybe she walks by every day, she might like him, but not be confident enough to speak – then one day she trips and knocks into him, he recalls her scent and catches her hand… Make me breathe their attraction; make me feel their confusion and their nerves…let the story catch fire!

If the story’s been done before – and let’s face it, most have – what can you do to change it up, twist it, make it different, make it new and inspiring, turn the cliché upside-down? What’s your USP (Unique Selling Point) or as I like UTP – Unique Telling Point! What’s your style?

I honed my writing skills writing Flash Fiction and I hugely recommend it. You learn a vast amount by reading flash fiction, and then by writing it. Most Flash Fiction prompts are words, photos or music. You’re given a set of rules to follow and you create a piece within a particular number of words. It teaches brevity and that every word counts, editing skills, the importance of content, beginnings and endings, grammar, and basic story-telling to name but a few.

I’ve taken part in a variety of flash fiction, and still do. I delight in both writing to a set prompt, expanding my voices and genres, and sharing my work with those around me. My short flash fiction, shared on my blog, serves as an advert for my novels.  If you like my flash, read my books!

Take a look at these short tales on some of my favourite blogs, see how the stories work, how they elicit a reaction, and you’ll see why you need to read more from these writers! Tinker My Heart – A Jar of Fireflies, Dancing at Whitsun – Cubic Scats, Duty – One More Leaf, The Apothecary’s Art – The Last Krystallos, Uninterrupted – Jo Cannon, and At the Museum – Searching for Ingleside. (Several of these pieces are Flash Fiction contest winners)

A short story collection or being included in a compendium or anthology can be great for an author especially an indie author. It’s a way for readers to get to know your writing, your style, without needing to buy your full length novels. This is also a major reason why getting the short story right is so important. If you write shorts badly, they may never move on to your other writing. Share whatever you want on your blog for free, let readers taste your writing, but only put your best work into a collection. If you’re publishing make it worth the money your reader is spending!

Don’t write ordinary tales, make them extraordinary!

When you’re choosing a collection of tales, don’t just read the reviews, make the most of the preview of the book that Amazon allows you to see…take a look at the writing, see if it’s for you..

Cutthroats and Curses a Pirate Anthology, The Anthology Club

Cutthroats and Curses

If you want to read some amazing collections – try these, tried and tested and brilliant works, and something for everyone. And I’ll stick my neck out and say of you want to read a fantastic short pick up ‘Cutthroats and Curses’ and read Beth Avery’s ‘ Roaring Dan Seavey…’, that’s how short stories should be written!

Once Upon a Time: A Collection of Unexpected Fairytales – SJI Holliday and Anna Meade

Finding  a Voice – Jeffrey Hollar

And the Angels Cried and Other Short Stories – Annette S. Thomson

Once Upon a Time, Finding a Voice, And the Angels Cried, Through the Portal, Anna Meade, SJI Holliday, Annette S Thomson, LaDonna Cole, Read Write Muse,

Once Upon a Time, Finding a Voice, And the Angels Cried, Through the Portal

Cutthroats and Curses: An Anthology of Pirates – Michael Wombat and The Anthology Club

Through the Portal – LaDonna Cole and Read Write Muse

Tales by the Tree, In Creeps the Night, Here be Dragons, Moonbeams and Fairies, JAMes Press, Hannah Steenbock, Rebecka Vigus,

Tales by the Tree, In Creeps the Night, Here be Dragons, Moonbeams and Fairies

Tales by the Tree: A Christmas Collection – J. A. Mes Press

In Creeps the Night: 50 Flash Fiction Horror Tales – J. A. Mes Press

Here Be Dragons – Hannah Steenbock

Of Moonbeams and Fairies – Rebecka Vigus (Childrens Tales)

Darrion, Burn, Moth Girl Versus the Bats, Marissa Ames, Daniel Swensen, Michael Wombat,

Darrion, Burn, Moth Girl Versus the Bats

Darrion – Marissa Ames

Burn – Daniel Swensen

Moth Girl Versus The Bats – Michael Wombat

And if you want to try, and read, some Flash Fiction…click on the sites below or my side bar, check out my Blues Buster stories which you can find a quick link to in my Categories.

Five Sentence FictionBlues BusterVisual DareThree Line ThursdayFlash! FridayHorror Bites

So, do you love short stories? What are your favourites and what makes them special?

Are you a Flash Fictioneer? If you want to know more of my Flash Fiction beginnings read:  Being a Flash Fictioneer (like a writing Musketeer…or something similar…). What’s your favourite site for Flash?