Sunday, 25 September 2011

Short Stories to Read on the Bus

Now live on Kindle. 22 brilliant stories - 43,500 words: a full-size book - all for £0.77 ($0.99) Bargain!

Print version available on and via Amazon

A bus ride into town is the ideal opportunity to enjoy reading, especially if it’s a regular journey and you’ve seen the passing scenery many times before. Ten minutes is enough time to find a seat, exchange the odd pleasantry with fellow passengers, take out your Kindle and put it away again after reading a thousand or two words. With this in mind I have produced a collection of tales that take that length of time to read. Some are a little longer, some are a little shorter, but all are of a size to be enjoyed at one sitting.
There is a variety of themes and styles, so the reader can choose according to the day. There are spooky ones, thrillers, humorous ones and the odd tear-jerker. There are stories played-out in exotic locations and some set close to home. There are tales that envision the future: fantasy – a little science-fiction, even, whilst others echo a world long since past. In short: there is something for everybody and something for every mood, but all, I hope, have a dimension that touches on the human spirit.
I hope you enjoy my collection but, whether you do or not, please let me know what you think. We at Panocticon aim to write exactly what our readers love to read, and we can only do that if we pay attention to the feedback they give us.
Email us at octoscope @

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Also Recommended

Glenn Fleming's novella "Arrival" is also available on Kindle.

We also like Andy Elliott's novel 'Composition' on Kindle and in print from

We recommend Sally Nicoll's best seller 'The Power Behind the Throne' on Kindle.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

The Man with two Heads and Other Stories

Available in print from and on Kindle!

The Man with Two Heads and Other Stories is Steve's collection of quirky tales that will take you from The Great Exhibition of 1851 to the Afterlife. You will encounter a new breed of humanity ready to rule the world, and discover the secret of The Man with Two Heads himself. Take a drink of Nectar which will bring you health, youth and happiness and find out what happens on The Last Day. You will find love, humour, horror and science fiction blended into entertaining, thought-provoking and sometimes challenging fiction.

Steven Laming has something of a reputation at Panocticon for finding the dark side of any theme, but it would be misleading to simply label his work as 'Horror'. The best fiction is often found standing in two or more genres and Steven's collection follows the example of many well-known authors in this respect.
We do not think of Emily Bronte as an author of ghost stories, yet there is no escaping the paranormal element in her gothic masterpiece Wuthering Heights which we recognise as a tale about romantic love transcending death. Is Mary Shelley's classic tale, Frankenstein really a horror story? Or is it Science Fiction? Or is it about how the human condition can be made wretched by the mistakes we make? Its alternative title, (The Modern Prometheus) reminds us that the legends of classical mythology are more than tales of supernatural beings and fanciful adventures. Each one has message that resonates with human experience.
You will find that Steven's ideas, quirky, ghostly and sometimes horrific as they may be, reach out to touch us in unexpected ways. His tales Nectar, Virtue Falls, and Adventure in the Afterlife mix darkness with off-the-wall humour, The Longest Night is a blend of Science Fiction and Romance whilst The Last Day is an unmistakeable love story - albeit in a surreal setting. True to his reputation, Steve has included an off-beat vampire story, Giving Back the Night, a sequel to his earlier Give Me the Night which is also included here for good measure, as well as the uncompromisingly horrific Waste Matters. These stories and others will take you to places you didn't expect to visit.

Find The Man with Two Heads at:

Monday, 11 July 2011

Lancashire Tales Light and Dark

In their first collaborative work, Panocticon present a tantalising set of short stories that celebrate and build upon the famous traditions of the Red Rose County: its friendly folk and their ingenuity, fortitude, and downright quirkiness. And more sinister aspects, too. What did become of the Pendle witches? Why does the area enjoy so many visits from UFOs? Are there really invaders from outer space or solitary geniuses working at the leading edge of technology in our rural backwaters? If it can happen anywhere, could it be happening here?

Only 77p to download. Print version also available.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Pages From Prince Albert's Diary

With apologies to H G Wells, this story is relates to our Great Exhibition Spoof  project.

This story gained third place in the @Writers_Cafe 10,000 followers contest.
Section 4 - Freestyle: Anything Goes.

18th May 1849
... The design work for the Crystal Palace is giving problems. If the ironwork is too thick it will be unsightly, but if it is too thin it might not be strong enough. And there is the weight of all the glass. Perhaps we can save weight by not painting it. I will put it to Paxton and Cubitt.
25th May
... Cubitt considers that leaving the ironwork unpainted would be unwise owing to the risk of rusting. Paxton agrees, saying that in any case a white framework is an essential decorative feature. I have to agree that a red-brown structure would be much less attractive. Cavor suggests that a light-weight paint mixture might present a good compromise. I agree. We should advertise for a suitable product.
7th June
... I received a letter from Mr Abdul Boodanyan, a Persian gentleman who is offering to supply paint suitable for the framework of the Crystal Palace. He writes that it contains the same pigments as are used in the dying of traditional Persian ‘Flying Carpets.’ He claims that his preparation will actually reduce the weight of the ironwork it will be applied to. I will believe it when I see it. Perhaps I will invite Mr Boodanyan to give a practical demonstration of a flying carpet for the exhibition. I do not think he will accept. I do not think we shall trouble him for his paint.
11th June
... A representative from Chance Brothers of Birmingham called today. He brought the good news that his company will be able to supply glass for the Crystal Palace that is much lighter that that originally envisioned, but with equal strength. I do not need to explain how this development eases our problems.
28th June
... I have received a jar containing a sample of Mr Boodanyan’s paint. He regrets that, owing to prior arrangements, he will be unable to attend the exhibition, but wishes us good fortune with the project. I have to say the paint does not appear any lighter in weight than other samples we are considering. I dare say there will be no harm in trying it out, now that we have it.
1st July
... We painted a couple of iron beams with Mr Boodanyan’s paint and left them to dry overnight in the yard. I am not impressed with the colour which is scarcely white at all. I do not think it will be suitable. I think we shall use MacPherson’s white paint which has a fine dense pigment and a much better finish.
2nd July
... The beams we painted and left to dry in the yard had vanished this morning. I will have to speak to Cubitt about the vigilance of his nightwatchmen. We cannot afford to have our materials stolen so easily.
I gave the remains of Mr Boodanyan’s paint to young Selwyn Cavor. He seemed very keen to have it.

Who Are We

We are Panocticon, a creative writing group based in Whalley, Lancashire, UK
Examples of our work will be displayed here.  We welcome any feedback - positive or negative; we need to know how we are doing.
A whle ago we published a collection of our short stories: "Lancashire Tales - Light and Dark."
It was considered for the David St John Thomas anthology prize, but disappointlingly, didn't make the final cut.
It is available from (download or print copy) Amazon, and retail outlets in East Lancashire.  You can also find it available from many on-line booksellers or get it direct from us

You might want to look at our day-to-day blog on