Free Short Story. The never trending story.

Despite being one of my most popular short stories, it's never trended. Ah well, It's free to read here. Because I'm nice like that. 

Vicious Circle

Danny Gibb had a U-bend scar on his face that his girl used to like. Said it gave him character. Made him look hard. But trouble attracts trouble and soon their relationship was in it. The end came the night he hit his girlfriend for the first and last time. Hard on the right side of her face which was the wrong side because it was her good side. He hit her after finding out about

Dr Hambell, who hadn’t always had letters and women after his name. Sitting in his Harley Street practice, sipping sherry because he’s got bad news for a man whose skin graft was hard work and failed to disguise the scars. Drinking because he knows that success and failure go hand in scalpeled hand. But what the hell? The man’s appointment isn’t until 10.30 tomorrow morning. Why let that spoil tonight? Enjoy yourself. Seek sanctuary at the club, talk women and cricket with 

Gerry Spavins, who despised Australians but loved brandy. Shot a day keeps the doctor away. The season starts in April. The Windies are touring this year. Don’t fancy our chances, old boy. No slouch with the bat in his day was Gerald. Oxford vice-captain, averaged 43 as an opener. Career dreams ended by a back injury sustained delivering a stunning off-break to

George Wallace, wicket-keeper, teetotaller, Loughborough at the time. Would go on to excel as a botanist until his death at the hands of a driver drunk on eight pints of Australian lager. A driver who ploughed into him on a country road near Heathfield, East Sussex as George examined a species he mistakenly believed to be rare. The jury of eight men and four women found

Roger Baines guilty, quickly. He served his time and paid his fine, but never drove again. Caught cabs instead, to and from the pub where he downed the drinks the night it happened. He liked the place, no kids, no pool or pinball table. No quiz machine, duke box or women. Just old friends, pork scratchings and the landlord

David Vine, no relation. Expert pint-puller, glass-shiner, trouble-shooter. Tell Dave your problem, he’ll give you an answer and it might not be the one you want to hear. Boxed as a boy in the rings of East London, did Dave. Nearly made it as a pro until that fateful night against that dude from Up West. Never bet against the black man they said and they were right, because

Junior Wright had a right that decked people. It earned him local fame and small-time fortune. Childhood on the estates of Hounslow knocked him into shape, quick to get defences up and sharp to get the right out. Was destined to appear on Sportsnight until he fell for a girl who held up the square round number cards and walked round the ring with a smile, collecting stares and wolf-whistles. Short skirts and blonde she was. Strutting, some might say slutting her stuff. Good enough for page three as well as round three ding ding, seconds out. Too much, the beautiful temptress for

Warren C, ringside and wasted with his mates from Bethnal Green. Look at the tits on that. Give me fifty if I get me ‘ands on them? Nods and smiles and go ons and he made a grab for the prize. Lager had got him thinking he could have her. But little did he know that her father was near her. Sat in the same seat every fight, keeping two eyes on his luvly daughter. Before Warren got the chance to lay clammy hands and salivating lips on her

Charlie the father pounced and had him pinned to the ground, fist poised to hit face. F-words and C-words raining down like punches until the knockout blow. The pain came again, shooting up the left arm and across the chest, doubling old Charlie over, prompting calls for doctors in houses and screams of women and cries for help that

Julian Thorpe, city boy, fight lover, quick mover answered. He got to the pay phone first, before the days of mobiles. He did the free three nine business, and cool as a towel wafting a face in the corner did what needed to be done. He had money on the fight. Three-figure sum. Nine nine nine. Easy money, which he had to claim back when the fight was cancelled. Can’t say he felt disappointed. One of those things, old chap. He’d make more easy money in the City on the morrow, where he traded in tailored suits and all-pink or blue striped shirts he always brought from that first class tailor on Chancery Lane, the one that

Andy Brown tried to rob on another night when he needed money and knew of a bloke in Barking who was after some classy clothes like. Did he know anyone who could get hold of a nice drop of satin, bit posh like? Andy said yeah, course, like, smooth, but he really meant no. But not wanting to let a mate down, you know, and with a bit of experience in the breaking and the entering and the taking line of business, nudge nudge, he decided to do the job himself, and fings was going sweet as like till he was disturbed by a

PC on patrol. City of London, quiet night, all the sirens coming from Up West along Holborn. Plodding the deadbeat as usual. Past the silver vaults, the high class off licences, the legal offices. Then just saw a trailing black leg and bovver boot disappear through a window. On to the radio quick, calling for backup. ETA five. Be done and gone by then so it’s deep breath and in there alone. Torch on, stop police. In the dark a flash of silver and cutlass motion. The shadow runs with a handful of 16 and a half-inched collars, leaving a U-bend scar for life on the face of PC Danny Gibb.

Free digital books - why should anyone pay for your book?

Everyone bar the most extreme Analogue Activist can see that digital book sales will soon far outstrip revenues generated by hardbacks and paperbacks.

Good news for self-publishers like myself and a few million others. Or is it?

The way I see it is there’s weakness in numbers when it comes to self-published authors. With so many of us scribbling away and uploading our words to Amazon and Smashwords and Kobo and Draft2Digital, the market is saturated with works by authors 99.9% of the book buying public have never heard of.

Why should these people risk even 0.99 cents buying and trying our work when there are thousands of books by thousands of better known authors they can fill their preciously small amount of spare time reading?

To make someone want to pay for our work, we need to give them strong reasons to buy. Our titles need to be eye-opening and our opening few chapters need to be gripping, no, stunning, to hold their attention and get that cursor clicking on “buy”.

Or we have to bite the bullet and offer our novels for free. Yep. Free downloads. $0.00. 

No one likes giving away work they’ve spent the equivalent of six months of their lives crafting. But, as someone more wordy wise than I once said: I write perchance to be read.

If you write to be read, free is the way to go. If you write to make money, free is the way to go. Initially, anyway, until you can break out of a pack of wannabe writers that is millions strong, with words delivered in such a compelling order, you get your name known.

All this advice is freely given and, of course, you are free to totally ignore it.

The dangers of writing*

While sportsmen have long accepted injuries as part and parcel of their trade, if the last few weeks are anything to go by, it seems musicians might soon have to find room on the tour bus for a Physio.
Injuries to The Edge and Dave Grohl

Already this year, U2’s The Edge has toppled off stage, Dave Grohl has broken a leg in similar circumstances in Scandinavia, while Michael from 5SOS has sustained facial injuries from onstage fireworks. Unlike their sporting counterparts, and to their eternal credit, none of the above were seen rolling around in agony following their pretty serious injuries. Grohl, in particular, proved the legend he is by living out another showbiz legend: the show must go on.

Writer injuries hardly compare

As this is a writer’s blog, I must now give the above a tenuous writerly link - and it’s thus: are we as writers exempt from the fear of injury and able to ply our trade without having to take a few weeks off to get fixed up?

Perhaps not. Eye strain is a serious and real problem for those forced to stare at screens for hours on end to satisfy our need to write. Then there’s posture problems caused by spending those same hours on end on our asses (how time flies when the creative juices flow). But apart from the odd back ache or attack of cramp, there’s little else. And that’s one of the worst (but also the best) things about being a writer. You’re unlikely to come to any physical harm doing it. There's very little danger.

The show must go on

None of the injuries we can sustain plying our trade enables us writers to hold a candle to musicians and sportsmen in the injury stakes. All we can do is use our talent to string sentences together to express our eternal respect for performers with the talent to get out there and put their bodies on the line for their art.

*No fingernails were broken in the typing of this article.

New Children's Book Series

Like the Roald Dahl of the south (of London) I have branched out from the writing of books for adults to the penning of stories for children.

Not because I've run out of ideas for books for big people, I hasten to add. Novel #5 A Big Bluff And Some Green Stuff is still on the horizon.

I had a few ideas for children's books and wanted to see if I could make them happen.

It's been an enjoyable process that has so far yielded 8 stories of varying lengths. The books in the Is It Time Yet series even rhyme, (which is not something publishers and agents usually want to hear/read/see).

Regardless, I'm sending the stories out to publishers and agents, in what's my first concerted effort to snag an agent in a few years.

For those who are curious or with under 7s in the house, you can find the latest (5th) book in the series, Is It My Birthday Yet? here. There's no blood, guts or gore whasotever, unlike in my adult work, although some candles do get set alight and burned.