Tag Archives: Short Stories

Taking Byte Sized Reads to the Next Level

Taking Byte Sized Reads to the Next Level

Ether Books, the crazy 2010 start-up that became the first publisher to release stories by me, are today celebrating the launch of version 1.4 of their fantastic iPhone App. For those who don’t know the Ether Books App, quite surprisingly, offers its users the opportunity to download short reads on the move. So if you have a tedious commute every day, which doesn’t involve you having to keep your hands on the steering wheel (!), you can load up on loads of stories to pass the time away.

The range of content available has expanded from the first time I heard of Ether Books on the great Bubblecow website and optimistically submitted my stories. There is Science Fiction, Romance, Crime, Non-fiction, Humour, Contemporary, Serials, Horror, Flash Fiction, Erotica, Articles (Ether Columnists) and an unrestricted range of other types of content. The reliability of the Ether App comes from its screening of content before publishing and formatting specifically for the iPhone and iPad.

What has changed with the App in v1.4?

  • Share details of your favourite reads with friends and followers using social media and email.
  • OTA messages to alert you when your favourite writers and genres have new work released.
  • Re-organised the author search function to work by Surname to make it easier to solve.
  • Updated one tap function for ease of navigation when reading in the App.

Another area where writers and readers benefit with the Ether Books App, is that if you find writers whose work you enjoy, Ether have been very supportive in providing web links in the Author Profiles and adverts on their website for other work by their writers. So take Rebecca Emin for example or Trevor Belshaw or Rebecca Brown. Click through their profiles and you can go to their websites to see what other work they have published. Indeed, Ether Books have proved to be a great confidence booster for many aspiring writers in the last year. I would not have had The Lazarus Experiment published, and I’m sure Rebecca Emins self-confidence and case for her new children’s novel was helped by being best selling Ether writer month after month (no jealousy here!), you can’t put a price on the confidence and motivation boost Ether have given rookie writers and the new market place for established and award winning writers.

So if you haven’t got the Ether App, download it today!

If you do have it already, make sure it gets updated!

And when you have the app, why not check out my current collection of stories on the app? Just click on my pretty face in the Authors list. You can see it below.


Do you love the Ether App? The Sunday Times is currently taking nominations for its annual App Awards. Support mobile publishing and take a minute to cast your nomination for Ether Books here.


Posted by on June 23, 2011 in Publishing


Tags: , , , ,

Going to bat for Ether Books

Going to bat for Ether Books

My comrades over in the Ether Books bunker on the Mobile Publishing front have been producing 30 second clips of themselves preaching about what they see is the great upside of byte sized reads. The hope is that these videos can be used to promote the publishing company to investors, to other publishers and writers, and most importantly of all to readers. Hard to believe that this market has only really taken off in the last couple of years, and as such there are lots of people unaware of the great fiction they can get on the go with companies such as Ether Books. Below I have included my contribution, enjoy!

Some more Ether Evangelizing by…

Trevor Belshaw

Rebecca Emin

Ev Bishop

You can learn more about the short stories Ether Books have published by me here.

1 Comment

Posted by on April 18, 2011 in Publishing


Tags: , , ,

Ether Books publish KATAKOMBY and more….

If you have enjoyed reading some of the stories on the Cul-De-Sac and would like to read more of my work, several stories are now available to purchase and download from Ether Books iPhone App. Ether are a mobile publishing company specializing in short stories and essays and I am very proud to be included on their distribution system. Mobile phones and short stories have always felt like a perfect match to me, something you can read on the go whilst commuting between work and home or on other long journeys. The Ether Books App allows you to search by author or genre to find new content by established big name authors like Conn Iggulden and Paul McCartney and new writers just bursting into the literary world. Mobile publishing could well be the democratization of the publishing industry. As ever, the customer decides. All stories you download are kept in a little collection just like a traditional ereader so you can build up a library of short stories and pick and choose from them depending on your mood.

Some of the stories featured on Ether Books have also been published on the website here. Exclusive content is marked.

Below the title, genre, price and blurb for the stories is listed. To download the Ether Books App click here.


Czech Republic, present day. They had targeted him for a while and now they had their leverage… KATAKOMBY is a story of love, industrial espionage and prostitutes set in the underworld of a medieval town. Can he save the woman he loves?

Cost: 59p


Based on real council blunders. The ways of local government, and the benefit system in particular have often been described as ‘other’. Find out how this sense becomes literal as Daniel applies for the benefits he is entitled to and gets more than he bargained for.

Cost: 59p


Mankind’s insatiable appetite for resources has already had enormous impact on the Earth. In this short story the dream of unlimited resources is explored with a consideration of possible political and social impacts. And as Mankind reaches out to the stars, how will the universe respond?

Cost: 59p

Photographs submitted to the Facebook ‘Like’ Page..


The God Particle was 'What's Hot' on its weekend release...


Posted by on December 10, 2010 in Publishing


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Not Just A #fridayflash In The Pan


Flash in the pan?

The Cul-de-sac was set up originally in the summer as a separate blog with which to post new pieces of writing. I had made a resolution with myself at the start of the summer to start to put a concerted effort into my writing on a regular basis.

I was not ready to write The Novel nor to finish a supernatural western novella I had been working on. I needed to practice and build up the habit of regular writing. I also needed confidence, and this is where the #fridayflash phenomenon on twitter came in.

Friday Flash is a concept spearheaded by the author J M Strother which has it that authors should post a new piece of flash fiction (1k words approx) every Friday to their blogs and to share the fact on twitter with a url to the story and the tag #fridayflash. The concept has been such an immense success that J. M. Strother has just published a collection of the best Friday Flash stories so far via CreateSpace and Amazon. What was originally part practice and part networking has led to many first time writers getting that first all important publication.

On the subject of publication, the flash form of writing also lends itself well to publication in magazines both traditional and digital as they often fit on one page. A quick search on google also reveals plenty of opportunity to turn that casual Friday habit into a competitive zeal with many competitions held regularly.

There has long been two camps of writers when it comes to the little matter of giving away your baby works of great fiction. One side thinks you shouldn’t show your genius without seeing the color of money first, the other thinks that giving away work is an essential part of the new socially aware industry paradigm.

Here is the thing: People will buy The Novel from you if you have convinced them with your free work that your worth their time and money. Just as music fans (I don’t just mean consumers of music but lovers of it) will still buy CD’s and mp3’s of their favorite bands when they could just as easily download them free from somewhere else*. It’s a sign of respect for talent quite removed from a capitalist instinct of getting the most for the least investment.

For me #fridayflash has been a useful outlet to experiment with different writing styles, to meet some amazing, friendly, talented people (see links on the right) and also boost my self-confidence. Nothing boosts your self-confidence more than receiving an email from a publisher wanting to release your short fiction like Ether Books sent myself and fellow flasher Rebecca Emin (no doubt among others!).

I may have only posted 3 stories to the blog so far, however another 1 has been reserved as an exclusive for Ether Books and the inspiration has led to over a dozen other ideas that I am pursuing. Some as flash pieces, some as short stories, some as ideas for novels, serials and even non-fiction work.

That surge in productivity, to me, makes the concept much more than a flash-in-the-pan.


* At least I still buy my music and movies legally, call me old-fashioned.

Note: J M Strother publishes a list of stories every week that have been added to his ‘collector’. Go here to add yours and reach a huge potential audience of keen writers and readers.

1 Comment

Posted by on November 30, 2010 in On Writing


Tags: , , ,

Ether Books to Publish (My!) Short Stories

Spiral Logo for Ether Books

Small, but perfectly published...

I have been sat on some exciting news over the last couple of weeks. The pessimist in me has not allowed me to get too excited by the fact that Ether Books shall be publishing up to 3 stories from yours truly. Potentially, should time allow and I feel confident in my material there may be further stories to come down the line.

Ether Books, who were recently shortlisted for a prestigious Mobile Entertainment Award in the ‘Best Mobile Book Company’ category have been mentioned before on the Cul-De-Sac. They are a recent start up platform for delivering short stories to mobile phones (initially the iPhone but others hopefully in the new year). It allows established and new writers a chance to reach a massive market with a form of writing that in recent decades has been much maligned by the traditional publishing industry. Now, modeled perhaps on the mobile APP market, readers can download and collect great stories on the go – reading something compelling and fulfilling on the way to work or at lunch. No lost book marks, no space taken up. Authors, I blushingly include myself in that bracket, receive a percentage of sales which offers alongside the readership a wonderful incentive to keep on writing!

Best of all – Ether Books claim no rights on the material. It entirely belongs to the author who can publish their story in a book or magazine at the same time as it appears on the Ether app. That kind of flexibility is refreshing in today’s market and certainly a way forward.

There are no current dates for the publication of my three stories but I shall notify readers here on the blog, on twitter and my facebook author page as they become available.

The three stories forthcoming include two reissues of stories on this blog (The God Particle, For Daniels Benefit) and a new original story that will initially only be available from Ether Books called KATAKOMBY a noir thriller set in the ‘underworld’ of the Czech Republic.

Until they become available why not download the free Ether Books app and try some of the other great authors from Paul McCartney to Conn Iggulden (who is a personal favorite of mine) and many more new and award winning authors!

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 5, 2010 in Publishing


Tags: , , ,