Regular followers of my books and blogs etc know that I'm a voracious writer, and that when I'm not penning the latest Joe Hunter book I can't allow my writing fingers to settle and often come up with short stories or flash fiction. I share some of these stories here at the blog, or put them out into the world under pen names, but there are some I've held on to for some time - plus some brand new stories scripted for this collection - that deserve a wider audience. The collection will go out under the title "SIX OF THE BEST".
No, it's not a spanking book, though there might be a few sore butts after Joe's done kicking them.
The title comes from the lead story, and yes, there are six stories in total, so it's a double-header really.
Included in the collection are:
1. Six of the Best
3. Sand Dance
4. UV Ray
5. Instant Justice
6. The Other Side of the Street
plus there will be sample chapters from the upcoming Joe Hunter 7 - No Going Back - to whet your appetite.
Some may wonder about the process of writing short stories versus novels, so here's my take on it:
The long and the short of it is this:
I’m one of those authors that simply love to write and the medium isn’t as important as putting words on paper. Therefore I’ll write in any style that suits the story I’m attempting to narrate. Often it will be suited to a full novel, but as regularly a story can be told in much fewer words, and its as likely for me to come up with a Joe Hunter story as a flash piece or short story as it is a full novel. Writing a novel takes many hours of slogging away at the keyboard, but that doesn’t mean that a short piece is any less a feat of endurance. With a short the rules of structure still apply, but in this case there is less room for error, so it has to be that more concise. Words cannot be wasted yet characterisation, setting, plot and – for a Joe Hunter story – pace are still essential to the telling of the tale. In other words, penning an effective short isn’t an easy get out, in fact they can be more troublesome than writing a full novel where you have more ground to establish the finer details.
So why do it?
The reason I write short stories is because they challenge me. I’ve written more than a dozen novels so I know I’ve got what it takes to deliver a full book. The novels are my bread and butter, my “must do’s”. However, with the short stories it’s different. I tend to write these as a form of enjoyment, and have fun with them along the way. It’s not unknown for me to pen shorts in different genres that include noir, crime, thriller, horror and sci-fi, but one thing that binds them all is that there’s a hefty dose of humour running throughout. That doesn’t mean to say that they’re laugh out loud funny, but that they have a quirk or turn of phrase, and I have fun coming up with a particular emphasis on a sting or twist in the tale. Often the story begins with a single word or phrase. Take the lead story from my collection “Six of the Best”: It’s an old English term that describes a form of corporal punishment. I couldn’t resist the idea of someone receiving their just desserts, I just had to find a way of incorporating the phrase into the narrative, without it becoming obvious from the get go. My Joe Hunter books are known for their fast-paced action, and with the Hunter short stories this remains true, where the phrases that influenced them help determine the forms of action. With this collection of stories I believe I’ve achieved what I set out to do. That is to deliver the same fast-paced action Joe Hunter’s readers have come to expect, while also being true to myself and having fun along the way. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did writing them.
The collection - Six of the Best - will be available from January 5th 2012 (and for pre-order soon) and will be very competitively priced, and initially will go out in the Amazon Kindle format. Further news about other formats will be made available as I receive it.