Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Apres NaNo and the Book Goes Live!!!

My short story collection, Shades of Imagination, is now on sale, as a Kindle ebook, through Amazon.
Clicking on the image of the cover, on the right of the page, will take you to the Amazon.co.uk store page.
For anyone who doesn't have a Kindle Amazon provide free Kindle apps for PC, Mac, tablet and smart phones.  You can get them via this link.

If you do buy the book please leave feedback on the Amazon website.  
This will help me to see how well my writing fits the market.  It will also help to bring the book to the attention of more people.

I managed to get the book out despite my laptop failing at the end of November.  I hadn’t backed up my work for a while and I lost the finished and formatted manuscript.  Fortunately the repair shop were able to salvage my data files from the hard drive and saved me weeks of work.
 The lesson here is to back up my work regularly - just like you all do – right???

Congratulations to everyone who took part in NaNoWriMo.  Whether you reached the 50,000 word milestone or not, just taking part makes you a winner.  I managed to write 64500 words and got the first draft of my novel completed. 
 I’d already decided how the story would start and knew (roughly) where and how the story would end but I didn’t really know how I was going to get there.  I was on a journey with my characters, learning about them and how they handled the obstacles I threw at them every day. 
The idea of just letting the story unfold as I went along worked well for me.  I think, in the past, I’ve planned stories to death and then lost interest when it came to writing them up. 
The fact that I wrote this draft in the “company” of millions of other writers gave me that extra sense of purpose and the motivation to stick with it.
All in all I had a great time, met new people, learned a great deal and came out of November with 220 pages of manuscript that I intend to continue to work on and publish.  The “plan” is to get the first three chapters and synopsis out to a mainstream publisher by March 2012.  If I get no interest there I will publish as an ebook. 
 I’ll keep you updated on progress.   
Roll on next November.

And finally, here is a story written especially for Christmas.

All I Want For Christmas Is...
I love Christmas time. You could say it’s what I live for.  Trees decorated with baubles and coloured lights, bunting and streamers, fat jolly musical Santas, and the sound of children’s excited voices – oh yes, most of all, the sound of happy children.  All of these make Christmas the time of year I enjoy the most.
Throughout the year I patiently bide my time; but as summer gives way to autumn and the first frosts start to appear, my excitement and sense of anticipation begins to grow.
            This is when I visit the shopping malls, browsing through the selections of gifts on offer.  It’s important that I always pick the right gift.  It would be such a waste to select something inappropriate.  I always want maximum effect.
            Sometimes I don’t choose a gift, I select the recipient instead.  This gives me the added thrill of imagining what they will be doing in the days leading up to Christmas.  I so enjoy visualising them on Christmas morning, right up to the point when they open one, special gift.

            I was meandering around shelves of stuffed animals when I saw her. She looked to be seven or eight years old, with an angelic face framed by blonde ringlets.  She was cuteness personified and was so obviously happy as she held on tightly to her dear Mummy’s hand.
            I decided there and then that hers was the Christmas that I was going to ruin. 
Oh, I don’t just mean ruin.  I mean totally and utterly destroy, so that Christmas would never be the same again for her or those close to her.
            Little Angel was deep in conversation with Mummy.  It was bubbly, friendly talk that spoke of a deep love between the two of them – oh joy.  They walked with purpose.  This was no mere browsing trip, a purchase was in the offing.  A chance would present itself that I was determined to take.  I drifted alongside them.  The two of them walked past a jumble of assorted cuddly monkeys and tigers to a separate display containing boxed bears. No ordinary cuddly toy for Little Angel it would seem.  These were quality products and expensive.  I was encouraged.  The fall from grace of those in well to do families was always more satisfying.
            “Which one do you want to get, Ellie?”  Mummy asked.
            “That one,” Little Angel replied, pointing.  “He has a nicer smile.”
            Mummy laughed.  “They all look the same.”  However, as bid, she reached for the bear that her daughter had pointed to.  I took my chance and slipped inside the box.  Little Angel’s fate was sealed.

            Innocent in appearance yet devastating in impact; the parcel is under the tree, along with the other gifts.  In a short while my work will be done for another year.
It’s dark inside the package, but in my mind’s eye I can see clearly.  I imagine the opening of presents with relish and replay it over and over again.  Ellie, the Little Angel, will rush to the tree wrapped in a fluffy pink dressing gown.  Her hair will be a riot of unkempt blonde curls and her eyes, though deprived of sleep, will be bright and excited.  She’ll eagerly work her way through her gifts.  When she reaches the parcel with the expensive bear, and me, inside things will begin to change.
            As more of the wrapping paper is torn away her eyes and smile will brighten.  She’ll give the bear a stupid name and fumble with the seal on the box, her face a study of concentration.  Finally, she’ll win through and lift the bear from the box.  She’ll hug and kiss her new friend before laying it to one side to unwrap more gifts.  That won’t matter though.  The damage will be done.  The instant the girl touches the bear I shall be released and will give her my own gift – a charm, spell, a curse, call it what you will, that will shatter her day.  For this little girl and all those around her Christmas will end in misery.  Once my gift is given I will depart. I never stay to see the results of my work.  I will be spent; needing to recover and re-grow for next year and a new victim.

            There is movement.  My time is approaching.  I can hear the tearing of paper and light floods in through the clear plastic front of the box.  A smiling face appears in front of me.  Something is wrong though.  This is not Little Angel.  This face is older, much older.  It’s a face worn and wrinkled with age.
            “Oh look, Henry,” the face cackles. “Look what Ellie bought me.  It’s the one I need to complete my set.”
            I’m disappointed.  I was looking forward to wrecking Ellie’s Christmas.  No matter.  I shall just have to pass my gift to this old woman instead.
            The woman is talking again, “… no, it has to stay sealed in its box to keep the full value.”
            I can feel the box being lifted and carried.  It’s placed on a shelf.  This is wrong.  She has to open the box and touch the bear.  I need to be released, otherwise I will fade away.
            A glass fronted door closes between me and the old woman.  She smiles at me then turns away.

Have  a great Christmas - just be careful when you open your presents.


  1. Absolutely brilliant. A great little unexpected twist at the end. Great writing Chris. I just hope my daughter, who though a lot older still has blonde curls- when it's not dyed- doesn't plan on getting me a teddy bear this year.

  2. Great story Chris. That's the klast time I wrap teddy bears in clear fronted boxes

  3. Excellent story, Chris. Very glad to read your work. Thanks for reaching out.

  4. I've nominated you for the versatile blogger award. Stop by my blog and check out the details. http://jaser75.blogspot.com/