Summer Shorts II – The Indie Collaboration – Spotlight

I’m not involved with this one but here’s the spotlight for the latest Indie Collaboration.

In this second helping of summer fun, The Indie Collaboration comes up with yet another unique collection of original stories from the authors we have come to know so well. Now in our third year, The Indie Collaboration comes up with yet more exciting, enthralling and funny stories. Ideal for relaxing in the summer sun, just don’t get carried away and stay out too long.


Look  out for more Indie Collab books later in the year



2014 – A Year Filled With Words

I can’t believe it will be 2015 in a few hours, where has the year gone?! So what has 2014 brought? Words! Knowledge! Friendship!

It’s too many years for me to confess to since I left university but my thirst for knowledge hasn’t abated. As some of my followers know I love history, especially ancient history. The course Hadrian’s Wall – Life on the Roman Frontier was fascinating. Well presented and interesting this was a good look at life in Roman Britain, and the challenges facing both occupiers and occupied.  There may well be a story from this era…. watch this space.

Next year – January I am hoping to complete another course about Roman Architecture and archeology, and later on the Coursera course about Science Fiction and Fantasy.

I’d planned for Book III of the Chronicles to be out by year end, but for one reason or another this hasn’t occurred. It is, however, done in draft so should appear in the springtime. I’ve not been idle, this year has been a year of short stories, planning and promotion.

My books this year:

Nine Heroes: Tales of Heroic Fantasy. This includes a Tale of Erana not featured anywhere else. Coel is the reluctant hero of this tale of slavery and revenge. Look out for Coel again in 2015

Kiss and Tales – the Romantic Collection (with the Indie Collaboration).

Summer Shorts (with the Indie Collaboration) – this includes some poetry about the British Summer Time, and a short story about the Kitchen Imps.

Spectacular Tales (with the Indie Collaboration) – (free) featuring some poetry and a fairy tale retelling.

Tales from Darker Places (with the Indie Collaboration) (free) – featuring some poetry, a dark and twisted story about Jack the Ripper, and a dark tale about a lonely vampire.

Bellator – I have to say I haven’t had that much fun for ages. It was such a joy to be co-writing with Diana Wicker again.  Perhaps these characters might appear again. This charity anthology is raising money for wounded service personnel, a cause close to my heart. Books for heroes and stories about heroes – what a marvellous combination.

Tales of Erana: Myths and Legends – a collection of tales set in Erana featuring errant gods, magic, myth and mayhem – Also in Audio. On the subject of Audio I started running Audio Book Narrator interviews, which were fascinating. For me a whole new world was revealed – a book read aloud is a treasure indeed, it brings forth emotions of joy from memories of parental and grandparental story telling, sitting down at school and being read to, and reading aloud to friends. Story telling is as old as the hills, and is central to our culture.

Wyrd Worlds II – this free anthology features another tale of the Kitchen Imps, plus a short fantasy tale of the god-keeper of a small bluish-green world.

Tales of Erana: The Warrior’s Curse – new release. A short story of myth and magic set in the world of Erana.

Blog-wise there have been:

18 character interviews with everyone from William Shakespeare, a horse, a dog, several aliens, a few witches and wizards, a couple of demi gods, a vampire and even Satan himself.

42 author interviews covering fantasy, science fiction, suspense, paranormal, children’s fiction, crime and historical.

3 narrator interviews, including Chris Morris.

6 editor interviews.

5 cover designer interviews.

5 reader interviews.

2 reviewer interviews.

Several blog tours stopped by, plus there’s been advice about audio books, Thunderclap, book reviews, course reviews, giveaways, new releases and much more. It has been a busy year!

So what will 2015 bring?

The Stolen Tower – The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles Book III will appear in the spring.

Plus there will be more short stories, including more from the Kitchen Imps, Coel and the Thiefmaster, and more Tales of Erana. Book IV of the Chronicles is in planning, and I dare say more short stories will spring from that. A murder mystery, plus perhaps some more grimdark.

There may also be an erotica collection, co-written with a friend.

Wow I am busy already and the year hasn’t even started!

There will be several guest posts discussing the influence of fantasy on our culture, plus, of course many more interviews. The first of these is scheduled Jan 2nd 2015 from Joe Bonadonna. If you are interested in participating in an interview, a guest post or blog tour stop-off please contact using the form below or on the Contact Details page.

Darker Places – Horror and Dark Fantasy Anthology – Author Interview Dani J Caile

Today I welcome one of my fellow authors involved with the Indie Collaboration Halloween anthology – Darker Places. 

Name: Dani J Caile

Please tell us about your work with the Indie Collaboration. I became a member of the Indie Collaboration some time ago, but it kind of passed me by. I wanted to write stories for these anthologies but I was so busy elsewhere that it never seemed to happen. Until now. I caught a Facebook post by Donny and I thought instantly that “Hey, it’s time to tell that story.” I will surely be more involved as the months go on. The IC can only be a good thing for all of us, including writers and readers.

Where did the idea for these stories come from? This is the first one I’ve written for the IC and as with all my stories, it came from my experience. Without some reality, a story isn’t real. Everything I write, from novels all the way down to a zhong, has a reality. This particular story in Darker Places is very close to the truth.

Do you have short stories in other anthologies? Only outside IC at the moment but I hope to be in more. There’s a Steampunk anthology “Circuits & Steam” by Three Fates Press which sells well at US fairs and conferences but has yet to be set up on Amazon, and 2 future anthologies with the same publisher to come, one anthology about strange passengers on a desert bus and another in honour of 50s/60s horror movies.

I’m also a longtime member of the Iron Writer Challenge (, a Flash fiction writing ‘competition’ which is excellent for tuning your writing skills. I have stories in their first anthology, “Ironology”, the first year of Iron Writer Winners. That will come out in a few weeks, hopefully, and almost 10% of the book are my stories. I also write up everything and anything in the Iron Writer, both the weekly challenges and any other extras and have created 3 six-month anthologies so far on Smashwords for free, ‘Dani’s Shorts3’ being the latest.

Please tell us about your other works. I’m waiting for some cover art for my latest novel, “How to build a castle in 7 easy steps”, also from Three Fates Press, though they say 2015 is the foreseeable release date. I do, however, have a self-published back catalogue which is on Amazon. There are almost 1000 copies of “Manna-X” out there…somewhere…

Sort these into order of importance: Great characters; great world-building; solid plot; technically perfect. Can you explain why you chose this order? (Yes I know they all are important…)

Solid plot – you need a framework to hang your ideas.

Great characters – these speak to your reader, communicate what you want to say.

Great world-building – your characters and plot need a believeable place to live.

Technically perfect – when everything else is done, get it right.

What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers?

1. Write what you want to write. If you’re writing to a set genre/agenda given to you, try and keep it ‘you’. No one wants yet another clone.

2. Improve. Never sit there and think you can write. Write better.

3. Have fun. Make friends, make contacts, have a laugh, but above all, write.

Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Did you enjoy it? I’m an ex-pat in Hungary and I’m a little out of the mainstream. I read “God is not Great” by Christopher Hitchens the other week and I’ll be reading it again and again for the rest of my life. It’s such a good book. I also read a few ebooks from some Indie authors I know and I’m reading Laurie Lee’s “As I walked out one Midsummer Morning” at the moment. I’m a sucker for a smooth classic. Enjoying every page.

What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews, in your opinion? Reviews are bread and butter to an author, especially an Indie author. Without them, there’s no opinion as to the quality of your work. Some have to be taken with a pinch of salt, those written by friends and good-wishers, and that’s why I always read the bad reviews. Among those you’ll find the truth.

Do you think Indie authors get a bad press? Why do you think this might be?I’ve been reading ebooks from Indie authors since 2011, I’m probably getting close to 500 or so now. Unfortunately, with most of them I didn’t even reach the second chapter, I couldn’t. The quality was atrocious. Once in a while I’ll find an Indie author who can write and sometimes I come across one who can also write something ‘different’. My readers say I’m in that last group, but those who aren’t in either of those two I’ve just mentioned destroy the image of the Indie market and bring down any chance a quality Indie author has of breaking into the limelight. Usually they’re the ones with the loudest voices, too.

Who are your influences? Too many to name. Readers say I’m a cross between Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams, which can’t be a bad thing, though I have a more classic background, for example I love Aldous Huxley’s work. Hemingway is also a hero of mine, as is Shakespeare, Donne, Beckett, Chekhov, Milligan…the list is endless, as I said. I am influenced by everything I sense and experience.

What can we expect from you in the near future? Well, “How to build a castle in 7 easy steps” is coming soon, that’s going to be big. I’m also keeping up with the Iron Writer Challenge, perhaps even get to the Annual Final again this year, and I hope to write some stories for other IC anthologies. The thing for a writer is to write, but your stuff needs to get out there and be read…thanks for the interview!

DAniSShorts3full2Manna-X FRONT


Book links, website/blog and author links:





Smashwords (free books):

Other posts about the Indie Collaboration:

Tales from Darker Places – Horror and Dark Fantasy Anthology – Indie Collaboration



I am delighted to announce the publication of Tales from Darker Places – the second horror and dark fantasy anthology by the Indie Collaboration.

The book is a mix of work from authors familiar and new and will be, as are all the Indie Collaboration works, free. At least when Amazon catches up!  The mission of the Indie Collaboration is to share the work of up and coming authors in bite sized chunks, gaining recognition for the authors and sharing a taste of their work with readers.

Usually my work is fantasy, but for this anthology I have included a story about Jack the Ripper, the infamous Victorian serial killer. It is half based on fact – the death of the victim, the time and the situation are real but the killer’s identity is conjecture.  It was not easy to write, nor is it easy to read. The Autumn of Terror was a truly terrifying time for the citizens of London in 1888, especially the poor.  There is also a poem which is a companion piece to the story.   Both are dark. So Many Nights, So Many Sins is vampire tale of darkness and defiance.

The entire volume is not for the faint of heart or the squeamish but the tales and poems are varied and there is something to suit lovers of the dark and deadly.

Authors included in this volume:

Donny Swords:

Dark Places

The Cleansing Bar


A Chance Meeting?

Chris Raven

The Worm’s Head Manuscript 

The Sham

A.L Butcher

Jack is My Name

A Blade in the Night

So Many Nights, So Many Sins


Alan Hardy


Adam Bigden


Dani J Caile

A Day in the Life of a Zombie



Amazon Link

Paperback link

Curl up with this shivery Halloween anthology.




Author Interview Sixty-Four – Donny Swords – Fantasy/Horror

Welcome to Donny Swords

Where are you from and where do you live now? I was born in Puyallup, Washington.  I currently live in Glendale Arizona.

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. I like swords and sorcery.  A lot of my stories fall in that category- except I love horror, therefore all my books have a dark fantasy/thriller/horror feel to them.  I try to write in a way that provokes emotion, and I “don’t pull punches” as Seth Lindberg put it.  I do not write gore for the sake of gore, or violence for the sake of violence, but it’s in there and it can get frightfully dark.  When you read my novels expect it- I like to take the reader on a ride when I can, like a roller coaster, emotionally speaking.  I want them to see what I see, feel what I feel.  If it’s funny I attempt to convey humour in an accessible manner.  If its horror, I want them to lose sleep.

Where do you find inspiration? Everywhere.  The crazy life I’ve lived…

Do you have a favourite character? (The Vampire Faus)- star of my yet to be released novel Dragon Stone.

If so why? She has everything.  She is smart, but makes foolish errors.  She is tactful, but often abrasive as well.  She is compassionate, but she can be as tough as nails if it is required of her.  She cares.  She does what is right- She is a vampire- who possesses more humanity than mortals do.

Oh and she can really prevail- think Conan- with teeth, but mystical.

Do you have a character you dislike? Stefan, from my novel Ways of the Stygia- Fallen Song

If so why? Stefan is a vampire lord with the ability to compel his subjects to the point that they have no wills of their own.  His “Empire” is a loathsome, despicable place where humans are separated into three groups- breeders- workers- and guards.  Deaths are dealt daily in Savishelm.  I could go on, but I won’t…

Are your characters based on real people? Yeah- mostly myself- distorted by lies and fiction.  In my story “Boots” from The Indie Collaboration’s collection, Summer Shorts- that character is decidedly me, and that story is less fictional than one might think…

Have you ever used a person you don’t/didn’t like as a character then killed them off? No.  Though I use traits I despise to build my foulest characters and then I kill them off.

Research can be important in world-building, how much do you need to do for your books? For the Vampire Faus, I did a ton of research on Carthage and the Second Punic War, most of which was left unused, but it helped me get the feel for 200 B.C. so that I could then twist it to suit me.  I did a ton of research for a book I wrote 15 years before Fallen Song, but that typed manuscript met with the fire pit, via an angry ex-girlfriend.

Do you enjoy this aspect of creating a novel and what are your favourite resources? I do, but I’d rather wing it.  The resources depend on the research, the internet, the library- speaking with the right people- movies…

Is there a message conveyed within your writing? Yes.  Shadows are stretching out over society and we need heroes to bring us light.  Of course, heroes come in all forms.

Do you feel this is important in a book? No. Engaging the reader is most important.

Sort these into order of importance: Great characters; great world-building; solid plot; technically perfect. Can you explain why you chose this order? (Yes I know they all are important…) Uh. That’s the order.  I like deep characters.  In any Ways of the Stygia novel, a character might end up in several realms, seven actually- Quantanost, Havendell, Purgatory, the Barrens, the Fringe, the Underworld, or Earth. So the characters have to be malleable to their environments…

In what formats are your books available? (E-books, print, large print audio) Are you intending to expand these and if not, what is the reason? Print and eBooks.  I am planning an audio release of The Bitter Ends series.

Do you self-edit? It’s 50-50. I have an editor, Jennifer Herring, who is doing my books for now on.  She’s the editor for The Bitter Ends- and Ways of the Stygia- Banner.

If so why is that the case? Because I operate on a tight budget and Both Ways of the Stygia- Fallen Song, and my Sept 19, 2014 release, Cult of Morgod have huge word counts.

Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? Fallen Song didn’t- the rough- mistake filled first eBook sold a ton of copies- the more polished revision I slaved over for three months did less.  A book suffers if the writer’s prose is rough- or weak.  If the plot and characters fail to entice the reader… A mistake is not the end of the world.

Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Yes.

Why do you think this might be? Because everyone thinks they can write- but I digress.  You cannot write if you haven’t lived.  Because quality is up and down across the board.  Some do it as a hobby, and others shouldn’t at all.  It’s a shame that the good ones sometimes get lost in the shuffle.

Do you read work by self-published authors? Quite often.  Some of them really resonate with me- You (A.L. Butcher) are one of them, I really want to read Shane Porteous’ novel and I was just stunned by Jesse Duckworth’s story in Nine Heroes.  When I get done researching the Hell series, I want to read these authors more.

What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? Don’t- unless it is to say thank you.

How important are reviews? More important for the sake of website algorithms and from a marketing standpoint than they used to be.  So, very. But they are harder to get than a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

When buying a book do you read the reviews? No.  I buy what interests me.  I read the samples though.

What are your views on authors reviewing other authors? I do it.  It helps, though some of them are quite disingenuous.  I don’t care who you are, read the whole book, then post a review.  Don’t read less than 10% and bag on somebody’s hard work.  If it sucks that bad- stop reading, but let the artist be.  On the other hand post an honest review.  Have some integrity, and treat the work fairly.  I have read a few books this year that I genuinely did not care for, but I look for merit where I can find it and focus on that.  If it’s a 3 star or less book, I don’t bother posting a review.  I have too little time to finish reading the book, let alone review it.

What experiences can a book provide that a movie or video game cannot? You get to hear the characters thoughts, there’s an intimacy involved in this that cannot be conveyed properly in other mediums- except perhaps in audiobook.  The Sacred Band is an example of the powers of top-notch literature expressed through voice… I wish I could do what Chris Morris did there, but my pronunciation is not up to par.

What advice would you give to new writers? Read.  Keep writing.  Edit yourself.  Get feedback.  Don’t buy into trends, write for real.  Read more.

What are your best marketing/networking tips? Keep going- don’t give up.

What are your worst? Don’t talk smack on social media posts- although I have done this, it isn’t endearing.

Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Heroic Fantasy’s Nine Heroes.  (My review)

Did you enjoy it? Loved it.

Can you name your favourite traditionally published author? This is a tie between Robert E. Howard and Clive Barker.

And your favourite indie/self-published author? Hmmn… I’m going to have to say you, even though I am just at the halfway mark of the Light Beyond the Shadows Chronicles.  I have enjoyed all the stories you put into our Indie Collaboration books.

What are your views on authors offering free books? Sure, go ahead, knock yourselves out.  However, I don’t think any of my free stuff is really helping me get sales or reviews.

Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? I first shaved my head to get into a Seattle Mariners game free on “Jay Buhner” day.  I looked in the mirror and thought, I’m keeping it this way.  I’ve never grown my hair out since.

Book links, website/blog and author links:

All things Donny Swords

Donny Swords author (Facebook)  (Blog)

Primal Publications (Facebook)  (Blog)

The Indie Collaboration (web)

Novels & Links:

The Bitter Ends

Somewhere in the Bible Belt Gateway has gone insane.  Who knew what would come?  Thrust into the end of times, Gateway’s citizens attempt to outrun the zombie outbreak…
Discover 12 unique stories, and see how Gateway’s main cast fares against the deadheads.  See how they live.  Watch lives expire and people become heroes or villains.  The Bitter Ends is more than just a book about zombies.  It is about the characters, like Anna.  It is seeing what ordinary people might do in a zombie apocalypse and unordinary ones too.
Will any of them survive?  Or Will They All Meet Their Bitter Ends?

(Amazon)  (Facebook)  (iBooks)  (B&N)  (Kobo)

Ways of the Stygia (Facebook

Ways of the Stygia- Cult of Morgod  (Book 1)  Releases September 19th 2014

Destruction.  To see something destroyed, gone.  None can deny its appeal.  To the abyss, nothing is forever.  To the World-Eater creation is flawed… Flesh is weak.  Souls are fodder- fuel.  Power is endless.  The Stygia grants unlimited strength to the daring… Slavery and death are a means to an end…  For Morgod , everything must burn.  Ruination must reign immaculate.

Heroes come in many forms.  For who is truly evil?  There are shades of light and dark.  Left with two choices, survival or total annihilation, the cosmos displays signs of harmony…

They face a common foe.

Ways of the Stygia- Fallen Song  (Book 2)

Thomas Van Pelt lived a normal life. On one dreary raining evening that all changed. His work as a CSI investigator had led him to yet another crime scene, and there, prompted by his primal senses he discovered the ancient artifact that would that day forward alter his own life and the fate of the universe itself. The ancient weapon Fallen Song summons Thomas, and reawakens his forgotten past. He embarks on his new calling- bringing justice to the guilty, the ones who would otherwise remain free to perpetrate their vile acts on the unsuspecting.

Thomas is reunited with past allies and embarks on an epic adventure involving demons, necromancers, deities, vampires, sorcerers and the terrorists of Purgatory itself, the night stalker. Get pulled away to new lands, terrible enough to cost you sleep and see what ends Thomas will go to in his quest to bring a new era of light to an ailing universe. Ways of the Stygia- Fallen Song is intended for mature audiences. (Facebook)  (.99 Nook)  (B&N)  ( Amazon)  (.99 Kobo)


Ways of the Stygia- Banner  (Character Novella 1)   In Purgatory, there is one law.  It is damnation.  The abyss plots as the gods use its powers to suit themselves.  Born of the void, to the hostile landscapes of Purgatory, not as a child, and not as a man, Banner must overcome his roots.  The realm of Purgatory does not forgive so easily, suffering is ceaseless.  It is a realm where death grants rebirth so suffering can begin anew.  Those of his race are bred killers, evil, and cold to their marrows.  Banner, a night stalker set apart from his peers in extremity faces an uncertain future as he attempts to leave Purgatory and the nightmares behind.
He cannot do it alone…  (B&N)  (Amazon)


All books by the Indie Collaboration are Free on Smashwords across all e-reader platforms.

The Indie Collaboration Presents:

Snips, Snails, & Puppy Dog Tales

(The Wacky Adventures of Bob & Dill, Case of the Missing Ghost & Barracuda Blast by D. Swords)

Summer Shorts

(Boots by Donny Swords)

Spectacular Tales

(Sparks by Donny Swords)

Tales from Darker Places

Releases October 25th, 2013

3 stories by Donny Swords

Coming Soon:

Ways of the Stygia – Cult of Morgod- Street date September 19, 2014

The Bitter Ends – Other Side of Town- Tentative street date Oct 25th, 2014

7 Slices – November 2014

Cult of Morgod 300dpi Donny swords art 1 donny swords art 2

Indie Collaborations Presents… Summer Shorts

Well here we go again…. another great anthology from the Indie Collaboration, a group of authors who met on Facebook and have decided to produce several anthologies of short stories for your reading pleasure, for free where possible. Mixed genre there should be something for everyone. The latest offering is Summer Shorts, with a mix of fantasy, poetry, dark fiction, horror, sci-fi and general literature.

In this I have a poem about the glorious, and often rainy British Summer Time, and a funny fairy-tale type story – the Kitchen Imps.

The book will also be available on Amazon and the Smashwords associate stores shortly.

To date we have:

Tales from Dark Places: A Halloween Collection

Yuletide Tales: A Christmas Collection

Kiss and Tales: A Romantic Collection

Snips, Snails and Puppy Dog Tales: A Children’s Collection

Summer Shorts.

This year will also (hopefully) see a sci-fi/fantasy collection and a second horror themed one.

Please check these out and support Indies!



Anthologies and short stories – do you write them and do you read them?

I have to admit I was a little sceptical when I started writing for anthologies, after all many don’t pay a lot, or indeed anything. Short stories are also a challenge in themselves as they require the writer to be reasonably succinct. I’ve never been good at sticking within a word count. With the exception of a few sci-fi and horror books I didn’t read many and most of those have a shared them. So why the change?

I’ve always written short stories for my own entertainment, or occasionally friends/small groups and so, I guess, it was just a step on from this. Often I have found a story to tell which is no way enough for a novel or longer work but is entertaining in itself. Short stories have their market and often lead to more, or come from more – for example the short story in my own Tales of Erana which came from a tale told in the Shining Citadel.  Short stories are also a good way to hone one’s writing skills.

For a reader it is a fine way to discover a new author, or read something complete on a coffee break or commute to work. With a selection of stories there will, hopefully something to please everyone and if the reader doesn’t like a story then it is easy to simply skip to the next and not lose anything from a plot. For an author it is a great way to find new readers, make new friends and contacts and use ideas which might not otherwise be used. On the down side – many anthologies don’t pay or have very strict criteria and obviously short stories still take time to produce – time perhaps taken from other writing or non-writing commitments. Then, of course if an author decides to write a short story how much is appropriate to charge? Free? 99c/77p? $2.99? What is a reader willing to pay?

I’m a member of the Indie Collaboration, a Facebook based group of authors producing a varied selection of free anthologies, including a horror based one, a romance themed one and a children’s storybook. The downloads for these have been in the hundreds and rising, and the reviews mostly good. Being free means of course the authors don’t get paid but that is not the point, which is establishing a wider readership for the authors and producing good quality indie reads available to all.

Have I seen an uptick in book sales since I’ve been writing short stories? Yes, my own anthology has been nominated for book of the month on one of the goodreads groups. I have also been asked to write for a few more and hopefully this will lead to further requests. I would have been unlikely to have produced Tales of Erana had I not started writing short stories again, and that is doing fairly well. I would also have not written Just One Mistake which features in Nine Heroes, Coel and his friends will certainly have at least one more adventure. It is always hard to judge whether the increases are due to the anthologies or other influences, such as author interviews, general promotion or word of mouth but they surely can’t hurt.

As a reader I have bought a few, finding them a great way to grab a quick read and I have bought the books of their authors or added their names to my to-be-read list. So for me at least short stories work.

Below I have listed polls – one for authors and one for readers asking questions about writing/reading habits regarding anthologies.


Kiss and Tales: A Little Free Romance—Just in Time for Valentine’s Day

February 12, 2014—The Indie Collaboration has released the third entry into its unique anthology series. This anthology, Kiss and Tales: A Romantic Collection, is a collection of free original tales brought to you by a group of independent authors who call themselves, The Indie Collaboration.

Contributing author, Alan Hardy says, “This time, we present a chocolate box selection of love stories. Some are romantic, some funny, some sad and some mysterious. Whatever the style, there will be a story in here that will melt even the most hardened of hearts.”

Kiss and Tales can be downloaded for free at Smashwords and is available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Kobo, Pothi and at other retailers.

The founding member, UK-based author Peter John says, “The Indie Collaboration grew out of a group of like-minded independent authors. Together, we decided to show the world how great works of fiction can be created without the involvement of any large publishing companies. Creating a direct channel between ourselves and our readers is of the utmost importance to us. Each author has freely donated their time and work and are committed to the Indie Collaboration’s cause of offering the best of indie authors in bite size pieces for free.”

The first two entries in the collection are Tales from Dark Places: The Halloween Collection and Yuletide Tales: A Festive Collective. The list of contributors for each collection changes depending on each individual contributor’s interests and area of writing specialty.

Contributing author Kristina Blasen says, “The Indie Collaboration is made up of a wonderful group of independent writers. Reading anthologies is a great way to tap into a wealth of mostly undiscovered, yet very talented writers. We are truly a diverse group of writers and we have members from all over the world. It shows in the unique stories and collections that we are able to create. You’re not going to find this mix of quality, originality and multi-cultural flair reading works put out by the large publishing houses.”

The next installment to be released by The Indie Collaboration is already in the works and will be out just in time for Easter on April 18, 2014. It’s called Snips, Snails and Puppy Dog Tales and is a collection of original children’s stories.

You can learn more about The Indie Collaboration, the group of contributing authors and their mission online at: Kiss and Tales: A Romantic Collection can be downloaded for free on Smashwords at: or bought on Amazon on


Here’s a great little video about the collection.

Indie Collaboration Author Interview – 3 Chris Raven

Indie Collaboration Author Interviews

Welcome to Chris Raven

Please tell us a little about yourself. I’m a 47 year old single father who has been rediscovering writing as a creative outlet.

Please tell us about the story you are offering for the Indie Collaboration anthology? I am not sure where my story came from. It started with an idea of an outwardly normal and happy couple whose neighbours all know that they row terribly behind closed doors. I then had try and work out what was really going on. I don’t want to say too much as I don’t want to give away the ending.

Is this your normal genre? Tell us a little about your other works. I’m just starting out really, in that I am writing fiction with the intention of publishing now, as opposed to just writing bits and pieces for my own entertainment. I suspect my ‘genre’ is a mishmash of fantasy, horror, and comedy, but its early days yet and I am experimenting and keeping an open mind. I have a number of other short stories lined up to follow this one, as I am working on a series linked by a small number of localities. I have also been working on some stage plays, which are turning out to be quite quirky.

Do you find shorter stories more difficult to write than a novel/novella? I have really enjoyed the short story format, especially working within a word limit, which I have found really useful in focusing me to structure my stories very tightly.

Research can be important in world-building, how much do you need to do for your books? Do you enjoy this aspect of creating a novel and what are your favourite resources? I have found research quite helpful actually, surprisingly so. Initially it was daunting and I thought it would get in the way of creativity. However, once I started and had some idea of the ‘world’ in which I wanted to set my stories, I found it inspired ideas.

In what formats are your other books available? (E-books, print, large print audio) Are you intending to expand these?  Watch this space!!!

Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? A professional edit has got to be good, but it is expensive. One of the main benefits being a part of the Indie Collaboration I have found is the mutual proof-reading, commenting, suggesting and reviewing that we do for each other.

How important is a high quality cover to you? I love a good cover, e-book or paper; I can’t help but judge a book by its cover.

Do you listen to music or watch TV whilst you write? I start with music playing, but when I realise I don’t know how long ago the CD ended, I know I’ve had a good session at the keyboard.

What experiences can a book provide that a movie or video game cannot? Reading is a shared creative experience.

What advice would you give new writers? As a new writer myself, I would say stick with it and just write, it doesn’t matter what, how good or bad, or how much, the important thing is to start. Also (and I don’t know how true this is for others, but it worked for me) if you get really struck, start something else and come back to the first thing later with fresh eyes. But don’t forget, you do need to finish at least some of the things you start at some point.

What are your best marketing/networking tips? Get as many marketing tips from people as you can.

Most authors also like to read, what books do you enjoy? Big fan of George R. R. Martin at the moment, I just wish he would write a bit faster. I would be lying if I said my short story writing wasn’t inspired to some degree by Ray Bradbury. I’m a big Conan Doyle, HP Lovecraft, Wyndham and Asimov fan.

Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? I secretly sing when no one else is around.

Book links, website/blog and author links:



Indie Collaboration Author Interview 1 – HALLOWEEN- Alan Hardy

Some of you may have seen the post titled “Indie Collaboration Presents.”

This is a collection of short stories by some of the most talented indie authors around. Tales from Dark Places is the first of these offerings, hopefully to  be followed by a few more. To celebrate its release I have interviewed some of the authors…

Welcome to Alan Hardy

Please tell us a little about yourself. I’m a director of an English language school for foreign students. Married, with one daughter. Poetry pamphlets: Wasted Leaves, 1996; I Went With Her, 2007. I’ve had poems published in such magazines as  Orbis, Iota, The Interpreter’s House, Poetry Nottingham, Poetry Salzburg Review, Poetry Cornwall, and others. I have now written five novels. I would describe them as surreal novels exploring the nature of relationships, romantic and sexual, and Britain’s class-system, with liberal use of comedy and satire,  creating original and riveting settings full of humour, romance, sex and adventure.

Please tell us about the story you are offering for the Indie Collaboration anthology? It’s the tale of a guy who realises he’s being pursued/held back by a mysterious figure/shape/presence. He’s physically held back in the sense that his coat gets caught up somewhere, or he trips up on a table-leg, etc. He becomes convinced that this means he’s being prevented from progressing further into life i.e. that he’s going to die. He decides to tempt fate by daring the Grim Reaper to do his worst…and He does…

Is this your normal genre? Tell us a little about your other works. Not really, generally my writing is satirical/humorous/a bit outrageous.

Do you find shorter stories more difficult to write than a novel/novella? No, not really. I’m also a poet, so am used to chiselling away at shorter pieces, paring down the words to create conciseness and shape at the same time.

Research can be important in world-building, how much do you need to do for your books? Do you enjoy this aspect of creating a novel and what are your favourite resources? I don’t do that much research, as my work tends to be a bit surreal, so the authenticity can be a bit eccentric, if you get my point.

In what formats are your other books available? E-book.

Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? It needs to be done properly, and that needs another person to cast an objective eye over things.

How important is a high quality cover to you? That’s important. We judge people initially by their faces, and books by their covers (initially)

What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? Do you mean commenting, for example, on the bad reviews they might have received? They shouldn’t comment at all really, whether on favourable or unfavourable reviews. I used to review poetry quite a lot once, and didn’t expect the originators of the pieces under review to get too hot under the collar about what I said…although I never wanted to hurt anybody.

Do you listen to music or watch TV whilst you write? No.

What experiences can a book provide that a movie or video game cannot? All of them give full rein to the imagination, but books don’t have to be as precise as the others in drawing the framework/background that holds that fantasy. So, a book can be much more wide-sweeping in what it conjures up in terms of setting/atmosphere/etc.

What advice would you give new writers? Don’t give up, and be prepared always to re-write.

What are your best marketing/networking tips? Bond with other writers, even if you’re not the tree-hugging type. They are experiencing the same things as you, and you’ll learn a lot from them.

Most authors also like to read, what books do you enjoy? History books. Always been into that.

Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? I’ve been a teacher all my life, and yet am, socially, not at all gregarious, in fact something of an anti-social old git.

Book links, website/blog and author links: