I’ve never thought of myself as a self-starter. I know strange things happen as you get older but I really didn’t see this one coming. Perhaps I should have done, because I don’t like mysteries and I don’t like not being able to do things that ought to be fairly simple. (Or, as my mother might have said, I can’t resist tinkering with things I don’t understand.)
I never saw myself as a self-publisher, either, because why would I? I love my real-life proper publisher (winks towards Tirgearr). But just as I made myself do a quite unnecessarily complicated statistical exercise as part of my Masters thesis, I suddenly realised that I wanted to self-publish something. The same reason applies in both cases. I want to see if I can do it.
I see this as an ongoing process and I feel more than just a stand-alone blog post coming on the back of it. There’s so much to learn. I may have the raw material, in the shape of five rather old short stories with a broadly similar theme, but that’s all I’ve got. I don’t have formatting skills. I don’t have computer skills. I don’t know what to put in as the front matter or the back matter. The thought of producing a cover fills me with dread. I don’t, as yet, even have Word for Mac — although I do have a book and several YouTube videos.
So let’s start at the very beginning, with the title. Quintet: Dark Tales With a Twist. How does that sound? Enticing? They’re a bit of a departure from my usual: two love stories, two war stories and a couple of hauntings (yes, one fits into two categories). How does that grab you?
All of them began life as prompts from a writing class I used to belong to. I’ve a whole mine of material (another blog post in the making, there) some of which found its way to publication in women’s magazines and one of which even led to my first novel — not that you’d recognise anything of it in the original 500 words.
I haven’t edited them, other than taking out the extraneous spaces. That’s not to say they don’t need editing but I rather like the idea of preserving a style and a voice from a few years ago. They all share a twist, quite unlike the usual romantic approach with its yearning for a happy ending. I only managed to rustle up one even potential happy-ever-after between the five of them. But they’re different from my normal output and I think I benefit from the reminder that I can write the dark stuff too.
Theres nothing to link to yet, of course, but I might just tease you with a taster. As I settle down, grim-faced, to read my manual, I have a sense it might be a while before you get to read the rest.
“She’s dead. I saw it in the paper. And now I’m somewhere I’ve never been before: I’m in Hell.
You’d never think it to look at me. Every day I stand in front of the large mirror in my Harley Street consulting rooms, checking that there’s nothing out of place, noting that I’m looking sleek and prosperous — Savile Row suit, silk tie, exactly the right amount of matching handkerchief in the top pocket. I’m your perfect therapist, your instant best friend. You trust me, because you have to — because I know everything there is to know about you. As I did about her.
Now she’s dead.”
From Emily Garlock’s Nightmare