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.”
Writer of Fantasy, thrillers, comedy - and anything else that takes my fancy.