Now Available for Pre-Order on Smashwords: The Tyranny of Convention and Other Stories

Charlie Taylor’s latest publication is now available for pre-order on Smashwords: The Tyranny of Convention and Other Stories.

These short stories examine the hold that social norms have on us all. First, a violent man detained in a hospital for the criminally insane, writes about them in his creative writing class. Then, Two Irish down-and-outs try to evade police while revelations about a murder leads to betrayal. And finally, a duologue between detective and murder suspect is a thinly disguised political polemic.

The Tyranny of Convention Charlie Taylor

In Bellington Hospital For The Criminally Insane one of its inmates, Ray, is taking creative writing lessons. He writes on a laptop under the supervision of a mild mannered tutor and two burly warders. Tyranny Of Convention is the story Ray writes about the act of creative writing itself, with insights into his violent past and with predictions about his violent future. He writes in a jumble of styles, mixing narrative with dialogue between himself and his tutor, Peter Hunt. He conflates past and present and he involves his tutor so deeply in the narrative that he becomes complicit in Ray’s planned killing of the warders.

The story is an unusual examination of the social norms that constrain us, each and every day They make us who we are and how we act, and they, too, are just as much creative fiction as Ray’s story. If only we knew it!

I’ll Tell You What follows the daytime meanderings of two Irish down-and-outs in a town in the north west of England. They are intent on hiding from Constable Bradley, a constant thorn in their flesh. They are the very best of friends. At least, they give the impression they are, right until the last moment when revelations about a murder lead to betrayal in the blink of an eye.

Market Forces is a duologue between a detective and a suspect in a murder case. The victim is a Conservative Councillor who drowns whilst sailing his yacht with the suspect. The suspect calmly and clearly explains to the detective how the death occurred and, in doing so, reveals how his decision-making, during the course of the sailing trip, was perfectly consistent with the political philosophy of the deceased. Are political decisions the true murderers in a case like this which is so beset by moral dilemmas? And in other cases?


This is a new venture for me. I have been persuaded to take my writing seriously in spite of the the publishing industry being in some sort of permanent flux. But there’s no doubt that digital publishing is gaining ground. It doesn’t seem very long ago that Online Originals published my first real work of fiction, Scotch Mist, and I regarded it as a tremendous novelty. It still is, I suppose, but digital publishing has now gained sufficient ground to seriously threaten the grip that publishers and literary agents continue to hold over writers. Their self-appointed position as the final arbiters of literary taste (a taste that is regularly made suspect by their occasional best seller series) is on the brink. Just as in times past, self-publishing is becoming de rigeur, for which purpose I have decided to dip into the eBook phenomenon via Smashwords.

I have decided to publish or, more precisely, I have decided to enlist the help of my very good friend and writing buddy, Amy Burns, in publishing previously unseen work as Ebooks and also books that have appeared in print and are no longer available in that form.

Amy is the Editor in Chief of the Mulberry Fork Review and is probably the best writer in the history of the universe (Vonnegut and Steinbeck excepted). She is also a whizz at kicking books into shape for publishing purposes and designing splendid covers. She is an all round talented girl.

But that’s by the way.

I have up my sleeve at least four likely publications but I shall begin with a small collection of short stories I have retrieved from the depths of my word.doc files. I shall call the eBook, The Tyranny Of Convention and Other Stories. There will only be three in total and, in my defense, if defense were needed, they are fairly long short stories. So we’ll see how that goes. Tyranny is perhaps my most innovative piece ever. It challenges a variety of conventions, including those that enmesh academically taught creative writing. It certainly challenges society’s conventions in a variety of ways and, given that my PhD thesis was a detailed analysis of the concept ‘social norms’, you’ll see where I’m coming from. As Aristotle said: ‘Fire burns here and in Persia but the rules of justice change before our eyes.’ Or something like that.

That’s enough for now. The sun is shining and I have a spaniel staring at me, eager for attention, a walk and a tasty treat. But not necessarily in that order.