'Stella and Rose (Including Rutter's Reject and Other Stories)', to give it its full title went on sale at all Amazon sites around the world at around lunch time today here in the UK.
At present, only the Kindle edition is available. The paperback will follow in a few days. Hope you enjoy it.
I am due to pick up 'Stella and Rose' from Cuzzie later today, whereupon I will discover exactly what she thinks of it and consider her recommendations before including some, or all, of them in the final manuscript. As ever, she is playing her cards close to her chest, so I won't have any real clue to her findings before I get there. Fortunately, she only lives a few minutes away. Whatever happens, the anthology will be published within the week.
Part of the reason for writing 'Stella' was to give me a break from the cycle of 'Avalind' (Fantasy) books and 'Rutter' (crime thrillers). If nothing else, just to prove to myself that I could write other stuff. I have had a couple of digressions before. "The Planning Officers' is a stand-alone work, and was, in fact, the first book that I ever published - but it wasn't the first that I wrote. That was 'Usurper' (I tested the water with 'Planning'). Another diversion was my non-fiction book, 'The Author's Manual'.
More recently, I penned a handful of short stories, which were put out in a couple of anthologies, published for charity. These were fun and included some good stuff, though I say it myself. As I was entering the final stages of preparing my most recent book, 'Larussi's Heartsong', I was taken with the idea of revisiting these stories (I own the copyright after all) and putting them out in their own right. I rewrote all three completely, fleshing out areas where they had previously been lacking, and generally turning them into better works.
They weren't enough by themselves, however, so additional stories were required. "Stella' was the product of an idea that had been knocking around in the back of my head for some time. The potential for a longer short story, or even a novella, was there. As it developed in writing, it became clear that this was the true heart of the anthology, which is why it takes pride of place and provides the title.
The final story is 'Rutter's Reject'. In terms of length, it is longer than the other short stories, but a little shorter than 'Stella and Rose'. As the title implies, this is a fourth 'Rutter' story, describing events that occur very soon after the end of her most recent exploit, 'Relapse'. The apparently poor grammar in the title, actually isn't. The 'Reject' is a person by the name of Malcolm Renwick. It also sets up a fourth full length 'Rutter' novel, which I have started this very morning. The new book is provisionally entitled, 'Rutter's Reasons', but that may well change before it is complete. It should come out in time for Christmas, but don't hold your breath because it consists of just one sentence at the moment. As a taster, here it is:
“I have known you for barely nine months and have seen you look death in the face three times already, and shared two of those experiences personally.”
The editing process is finally concluded and 'Stella and Rose (including 'Rutter's Reject' and Other Stories)' has gone to Cuzzie for her ruthless appraisal. She will go through it with her merciless analytical eye and either pass it as fit for publication or recommend changes. She expects to complete her work by the end of next week. If it comes through unchanged, or with only minor revisions, I will be looking to publish within a couple of weeks.
You will also notice that the book now has a cover. You will also notice that it appears to be a basque made of diamonds. There is a reason for this, and the reason is entirely to do with the first, and biggest, story of the anthology - which is 'Stella and Rose', itself, of course. Slight clue. The diamonds are really glass and the sparkle is induced by powerful lighting.
The other four stories in the anthology - 'The Painted Door', 'Why Me?' 'Out of the Ashes' and 'Rutter's Reject' are completely different. Regular visitors to this website should recognise the title, 'The Painted Door' because it is published on an earlier page. That was the original version of the story, which was part of a collective anthology, for charity, by different writers, published on Smashwords a couple of years ago. The same is true of the following two stories as well. 'Why Me?' and 'Out of the Ashes' (which is really an amalgamation of two original stories, entitled 'A Winter's Tale' and 'Out of the Ashes' respectively). They were also originally published for charity by contributing authors on Smashwords. For this edition, all three stories have been completely rewritten and significantly developed, so they should not really be compared with the originals.
The final story, 'Rutter's Reject', is a Rutter story. Regular readers will be familiar with my 'Rutter' books, which chronicle the exploits of Julie Rutter, the youngest Metropolitan Police Officer licensed to carry a gun. The current canon of 'Rutter' books stands at three. 'Chained in Time' tells of when she is a young Detective Constable on the trail of a Jack the Ripper copycat serial killer. By the time that 'Rutter's Reunion' opens, ten years have passed and she is now a Chief Inspector, chasing a computer genius who is prepared to kill anybody who gets in the way of his goal. At least, that is what it seems to be at the outset. It is only later that she discovers her quarry's real motivation to be something else altogether. The third book, 'Relapse' happens a few months later, and - again - nothing is as it appears to be. 'Rutter's Reject' is a short story (more of a novelette, really) that begins a week after 'Relapse' concludes. In it, a figure from her past re-emerges.
Short stories represent a new venture for me. I certainly enjoyed writing them, and I hope you enjoy reading them.
The editing of my new anthology of short stories has thrown up the need for a slight title change - very slight, actually. It will now be known as 'Stella and Rose Plus Rutter's Reject and Other Stories'. If that sounds a bit of a mouthful, only the first three words will form the title proper. The rest will be a subtitle. It will go to Cuzzie's eagle eye within the next few days, when I will also be putting a cover together. I have an image in mind and will show it to you as soon as it is ready.
Writer of Fantasy, thrillers, comedy - and anything else that takes my fancy.