Everyone who's anyone, it seems, has got a collection of short stories available to buy as a Kindle ebook. I've bought several over the last few weeks, and today spent an enjoyable couple of hours in the garden, reading two or three stories from each collection. Whatever you might think of Kindles, and people seem to either love them or be vehemently against ever letting one cross their threshold, self-publishing your stories as an ebook is a great way of earning a bit more money from them. Either put together a collection of those stories which ought to have sold but for some reason the exalted magazine editors didn't quite agree, or those which have already been conventionally published so you know they've made the grade.
Here's a few recommendations, from my afternoon's reading in the sunshine:
The Baby of the Family by Suzanne Ross Jones
These stories have all been previously published in People's Friend, so as you'd expect they're gentle and heart-warming. But don't think they're all about elderly people reminiscing about their 1950s heydays, not at all. I read the first two - in the title story farm-girl Emma is sick of being treated as the baby by her parents and big brothers, but then her sister-in-law goes into premature labour and Emma's the only one available to help. In the second, Jeannie accidentally smiles at the grumpy boss and thinks her chances of promotion are ruined, especially when he calls her into the office...
Lovely stories. No twists, just great stories beautifully told. I remember coming across Suzanne's blog years ago when she was trying to get her first stories published. Now she's a regular in People's Friend and has also sold pocket novels. Shows what you can do if you keep at it!
Not a Drop to Drink by Patsy Collins, published by Alfie Dog fiction
A collection of stories with a drink or water theme. In the first, alcoholic Mike loses everything including his wife but with the support of his ex brother-in-law begins to get himself back on his feet. In the second, twin girls are warned to stay away from a beck because it's an unlucky place. But they're somehow drawn to it, and for one of them, although she gets the independence she craves it comes at a price...
Patsy Collins runs a lively blog always full of links to writing competitions and other interesting things. You could happily spend all your time following up everything she posts about. She's published several novels, which are also sitting on my Kindle (along with about 50 other books) waiting for another sunny afternoon.
Oh, and you can get Not a Drop to Drink for FREE direct from Alfie Dog - here! (It's not always free on Amazon, although it is at the moment.)
Is That a Pun in Your Pocket? by Iain Pattison
This is a collection of humorous stories which I bought this afternoon and have read just the first one so far, in which the secrets behind the Big Bang are unlocked via a microphone which can pick up noises from the past. If you can write humour well, you will always be able to sell your stories or win competitions. I can't count the times I've read competition reports where the judges cried out for more funny stories instead of all the doom and gloom. Less angst more pranks, they want. Iain Pattison has a long track record of selling humour here and in the US.
Back in the mists of time I was a student with the Writers' Bureau, and bought a couple of How To books by Iain. Check out his author page - those are still available, and he's been published in countless anthologies as well. I'm looking forward to reading more Puns from his Pocket.
For more humour I also have Essence of Humour, an anthology from Alfie Dog, but I haven't read any of those yet.
Or, for something darker, try Sarah England's 3am and Wide Awake, also from Alfie Dog. I read the title story a while back and it has stayed with me - very creepy. Will read more of this when I feel brave enough!
(If you need yet more reading, might I quietly suggest Ghost Stories and How to Write Them which is getting lots of lovely reviews!)