Tweet a blog by an English writer, whose work impressed me enough to find her on Twitter and begin an acquaintance. Since then, we've become (I hope!) friends, and Emma Newman has become one of my very favourite writers. Emma was really one of the first writers I interacted with on Twitter, so if it wasn't for her, there are a lot of writers I know now who I might otherwise never have met! She writes flash fiction as part of the #FridayFlash community, and she's currently promoting the e-book release of her first novel, 20 Years Later. However, it's her current release that interests me here, since I spent this afternoon at its London launch.
The short story is a splendid thing indeed, a snapshot into a time and place that we can visit with the writer as our guide. More fulfilling on a lunchbreak or while waiting for the bus than the gossip columns of a glossy magazine, the short story has become a bit of an artform. So much so that I've been looking forward to the official launch of Emma's anthology, From Dark Places, for a while.
eMergent Publishing, the Anglo-Australian independent publishing company behind the Chinese Whisperings and Literary Mixtapes projects, as well as 100 Stories for Queensland.
From Dark Places comprises twenty five stories of varying lengths, exploring a myriad of themes and ideas, yet always centred upon the very real dilemmas and problems faced by the characters. As the blurb says, "Abby finds a creative solution to her father’s problems. Ben makes a pact with the Devil for a new Mum. Katie is pursued by unrelenting voices. John just found his colleague’s hand in a strange girl’s lap. Jarvis is falling apart on his wedding day. Rosalind comes face-to-face with her number one fan. And that is just the beginning." They're dark and chilling, yet altogether human. Stories might deal with zombie invasions, angels and demons, or simply the fallout from a relationship gone awry, and yet it is the people at the centre of the stories that binds them together.
You can order a signed copy here, or you can buy the e-book for £2.99. You can read the first two stories here. If you like, you can follow Emma on Twitter @EmApocalyptic and you can "like" the book on Facebook.
Many of the stories in the anthology started life as stories sent to Emma's Short Story Club - members send prompts every month, and Emma chooses her favourite and writes the story. The winner gets to see it first, before it's sent to the rest of the members. If you want to get to read brand new and exclusive dark fiction, you can sign up for free here. In fact, my own prompt went on to inspire The Victim, included in From Dark Places, so I highly recommend signing up!