For my Murderous Muse
I win.

This is a collection of stories born of frustration.

After three novels, two publishers and one year, I hit a wall.

Worse than that, I met my Muse.

An event which had inspired me to write a prize-winning story also managed to sap me of any further inspirational strength I possessed. Having lit a fire beneath a pile of papers, I watched as it burned dry the ink in my pen, rendering me impotent of words.

For a writer, this is the worst possible thing that can happen (short of being hit by a bus or trampled by elephants – the latter very unlikely in Gloucester).

There I was, swimming with fearful thoughts – dark and lusty – with no means through which to express myself.

Two options were left to me:

  1. Do a Dylan Thomas, drink copiously, suffer mentally, and hope for greatness to descend.
  2. Embrace mediocrity, force myself forward, yet save (at least in part) the dregs of my own mortal sanity.

Lucky for you, dear reader (and no, I don’t think Smashwords do refunds), I chose two.

If I couldn’t write a piece of profound wonder, a tribute to my Murderous Muse, then at least I could attempt a distraction.

However, a blank piece of paper is no laughing matter. Its vast, gaping tundra served to taunt my agoraphobic imaginings, making me even more aware of just how finger-tied I had become.

I needed a starting point.

This came in the form of the Random Title Generator.

With my own inspiration sucked into the bowels of a vampiric Want, I appointed a computer programme executor of my will. At the simple click of a button, it threw up five random titles. The very first of which happened to be Splintered Door. Hence the name of this collection. It could just as easily have been Blue Spirit, Heart in the Snow or even The Illusion’s Something. But it isn’t. It’s Splintered Door. How random, indeed.

Working on the premise that free will isn’t all it’s cracked up to be – because, given the choice, we always opt for ‘complicated’ – I decided to make this extremely simple.

Click the button. Choose the best title out of each five. Write a story.

No running theme. No restrictions on genre, character or style. No pressure.

This, dear reader, is what you’ve just paid for.

The un-a-Musing, anti-inspirational, tangled, twisted and possibly tragic regurgitation of a recovering mind.

May at least one of these stories resonate.

Thanks to:

RuairĂ­ Ă“ HEithir – C J Inzana
Martine Oliver – Kent Whittington
Jessica Clark