New Short Story Collection

Dear all,
I am pleased to announce I have self published my latest ebook. It is a collection of three short stories, very simply titled, ‘Collection Three’ (as it follows on from my previous two self published collections – the first collection being utter and total drivel but needs must at the time!)
The main work is titled, ‘The Trees of '87’ and runs to approximately 25k words, and the two smaller works are titled, ‘The 6.30 to Marionette’s End’ and ‘A Scream is Coming’, running to 8k words and 5.5k words respectively.

‘The Trees of '87’is a piece that I have had in mind for quite a long time as it is very loosely based on a memory of mine in which some friends and I played around in Greenwich Park (London, UK) when we were ten years old or so. As with most ideas it changed quite dramatically once I started and only the park and the storm are the ‘real’ things left from the original idea. I twisted the personalities of the main characters beyond anything that is close to my real life and if you read it, none of the incidents are based on my life either…however I found them a good way to express the most important theme of the story, which is losing the wonder of childhood imagination. A very distinct recollection I have is being dismayed at how empty Greenwich Park seemed after the storm of 1987 when so many trees were uprooted. I thought I could combine the two memories and use it to create a conflict in the protagonist’s memory (once you add some family issues and a tragic accident…)
I have written a few ‘odd’ pieces in the past that have a slightly surreal nature to them and I have two more in, ‘The 6.30 to Marionette’s End’ and ‘A Scream is Coming’. Although I am not suffering any weird compulsion to produce works that lead people to think I am crazy-bonkers-mad, I do have a gut feeling telling me to finish a few pieces that I know won’t be straightforward reads, and to be honest, probably liked by people. Of course, it’s not a popularity contest and I am only writing for myself anyway, but even I see that some ideas have the potential to make me seem unhinged. Never the less, they have very important themes to me. I don’t know why some themes I feel I want to express in normal contemporary drama narratives and some come out in these whacky manners but for whatever reason these two pulled me towards the peculiar. They both concern a person’s emotions when trying to face up to something they have suppressed for a long time. They may not necessarily be aware they have suppressed certain feelings or knowledge, but once it’s apparent to them, it is all about how they deal with it… I’ll leave it at that for now. I’m not joking when I say I don’t expect anyone to like these stories but they do mean a lot to me and I look forward to the coming years as - I hope - my writing becomes stronger and more confident and I am able to tackle these issues in more complex ways and most importantly, as a better storyteller.
In case you are interested, here are the links to purchase on Amazon (all of my short stories are priced at £0.99 inc tax or in equivalent currencies):
(UK):http://www.amazon.co.uk/Collection-Three-R-G-Rankine-ebook/dp/B01A3SWQFA
(US):http://www.amazon.com/Collection-Three-R-G-Rankine-ebook/dp/B01A3SWQFA
I haven’t set the ‘free days’ yet so keep an eye out but I will probably only do one run of free days as I will be uploading to Nook, Kobo, Apple, Google and Scribd too. You can see all of my works and those of the writers I am working with, along with distributor links, at www.thinkingplainly.com/stories
The Cover
I have a funny little side issue to tell you about… it’s a bit embarrassing but I am used to highlighting my failures by now! When it came to creating the cover I knew I already possessed some photos of Greenwich Park and it was just a matter of selecting one I liked. I also knew that as a basic concept I would use elements from ‘The 6.30 to Marionette’s End’ to manipulate the image. I won’t say exactly why in case anyone does decide to read it, but it meant turning the image very yellow. As I was testing this out I had the idea of creating a specific font too. Again, I won’t explain why, but I thought it would be great to have the letters wrapped in yellow rope/twine.
To cut a long story short… I couldn’t find what I wanted so in the end I printed out each letter the size of an A4 sheet of paper, then physically threaded the paper like you would sewing a coat or shirt. Once I had done this with each letter, I then photographed them, imported them into Photoshop and went about cutting away the white of the paper and any shadows, etc. This meant I had each letter as a separate image. I then placed those letters in a row to form the title.

 
Which is when I realised my two days of messing around was largely wasted… OF COURSE, once I had the words ready I had to reduce them in size to fit onto the page and that meant that the detail of the wrapped rope/twine was mostly lost because it was too small to see! Don’t I feel like a ‘Grade A’ idiot! Normally, I plan these things out and think ahead but I guess I was so consumed by getting the font to look how I wanted it, I steamed ahead too quickly… anyway, lesson learnt and to be honest, I still am glad I did it as it came out as I wanted and as a friend told me, it’s all in the detail.

Okay, moving on. I hope you enjoy these short stories and I would welcome your feedback, you don’t have to leave a formal review on Amazon or anything like that, feel free to send me an email on r.rankine@thinkingplainly.com and let me know what you think. Or if you have a short story and want to do a (HONEST) review swap then get in touch.
Thanks everyone,
R.G Rankine.




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