Karen loves fiction, reading and especially writing short stories and novels. She is also an avid blogger and book reviewer.
Living on the beautiful Isle Anglesey, off the North Wales coast, Karen draws inspiration from the world around her.
Author, Karen J. Mossman has a new release, and a special offer.
A woman is dead, and another is missing. The only person who can save her is Cassie. With no clues and time running out, her brother, Detective Newbold, desperately needs her help. He is counting on Cassie’s clairvoyant and empathic abilities to locate Chantelle.
When Chantelle’s brother, Pedro, seeks out a psychic for help, he meets and falls for Cassie. Though he wants answers, neither Cassie nor Detective Newbold can give any, which complicates their relationship. To make matters worse, his overbearing mother adds further damage with her meddling.
Meanwhile, the killer has been caught, but he refuses to talk. Now, it’s up to Cassie to read the signs and rescue her lover’s sister.
He could be anywhere, I realised. He might be striding down this very street, seemingly normal. That’s what made him even more dangerous. He could be choosing another victim from the crowd while everyone else just thought him to be a regular guy. They wouldn’t know what he’s done, or the life he’s taken for his own gratification.’
I considered how and why people could be so cruel to each other. When I’d asked Seb, he’d said, “Not everyone’s wired the same. Some people think what they’re doing is okay.”“How is that possible?” I’d asked him.
“Take Plinth,” he continued, “being brought up by parents who didn’t give a damn and mistreated him set the stage for the man he’d become. He didn’t have a proper standard to compare to, and the power he enjoyed only reaffirmed his beliefs.”’
“You can stop that right now!” A shrill voice crashed into us, throwing us apart guiltily. His mother stood in the doorway, disapproval written all over her face. For a fraction of a second, her eyes lingered on my chest where my nipple stood erect. Once more she had caught me in a compromising position. I felt like a child being found doing something I shouldn’t. What is it with this woman? Couldn’t she have waited until we returned?!’
‘The original short story was born in 2018. I liked it, and wrote another and another. I soon had a collection of short stories.’
First attempt at homicide wasn’t so good. Second shoe strike, this fella wasn’t so lucky. I mopped up the remnants and any evidence that would tie me to this deadly crime. Scrubbed my shoes clean, and disposed of the body. I was the only one working that dark late night shift. I dragged the body that I wrapped in an old sheet I had in my trunk.
With a shovel, I worked quickly. Tipped the body in the large hole, poured over some BBQ starter fluid, and stood back. My fingers, shakily struck the match and I tossed it in the dark hole.
Whoof! The body ignited immediately and burnt off safely in the gaping hole in the ground. Smoke plummeted from the hole to the sky like smoke signals.
I kept my eyes to the blackened road for any traffic. After an hour the smoke cleared and I made quick work to refill the hole. I dug up a small bush and placed it in the fresh site and sprinkled dead leaves around. Glad it was fall, lots of brush to cover freshly dug earth.
I locked our work doors. Who would be coming at three am anyways. Turned the sign over to close, to be sure. Ripped off my clothes and slipped them in a plastic bag with my shoes. Stepping into the hot shower, the heat felt good on the back of my neck and back. My back would remind me later with new aches and throbs.
After drying my hair and dressing, slipping back on my shower flip flops, I turned over the sign, ‘Open’.
People were arriving earlier than usual at the gym. I tried to remain calm, three more hours, I reminded myself.
“What’s that on the floor? Over there by the door?”
I quickly turn to look, neck crackling like an old staircase.
A leg! I kicked it back into the storage room it was in between.
“Ah!” I laughed nervously. “It’s just a piece of rope. Must’ve been a piece from the boxes I was unpacking and stocking.”
The gentleman laughed. Sweat beaded from my forehead. I went back and wrapped up the leg with an old towel someone left at the gym and tucked it into my bag. I would throw it in the bin at the back of the gym on the way home. Garbage pick up was in a few hours.
I scrubbed any other remnants and scoured the room for an last remains.
I walked out the door. Hopefully I got away scott free.
You’re dead to me now Dave !!
So dearly beloved.
We mourn the loss of Dave. He was very frightening in his prime. He was known for his tangled sultry webs.
“Oh, what a tangled web we weave. When first we practice to deceive.”
He was clever. He lie in wait as he entranced his prey to his web.
This book came about from reading far too many crime stories, thrillers, and suspense dramas; or watching them at the cinema, and on late night television.
A New Summer Garden is a compendium of all the great bits of those books, films, and plays which stuck with me.
Give a quote from the books.
I heard footsteps approaching. This was the moment of truth. If Peter was alone, I would kill him. If he had company, I would dispose of them too. Collateral damage would be inevitable. I must leave no witnesses, whatever it took.
I was hyped up, I was ready, ready to commit murder.
Give a short summary of what the book is about.
Intrigue, manipulation, and outright lies abound. No one is quite who they seem. Honesty is an unknown word.
This is the world where Sam finds himself. A world he is determined to survive, if only he can find a way. But time is running out, fast.
What genre is it?
Crime Drama (Contains profanities and some adult scenes)
How many pages is it?
Novella – 93 pages
Why do you think the readers will want to read it?
The story sucks you in from the start… but you are never sure where it’s leading as it’s full of twist and turns.
Lies, guns, thugs, a hunky man, cheating, money, murder, a beautiful girl, revenge, and sex… everything a crime thriller reader loves, all packed into an Electric Eclectic pocketbook. Who would not want to read it?
Where are you located?
East Yorkshire, UK
New Summer Garden tells the story of Sam, who was a down and almost out, with little prospect for the future, when he meets Rachelle, the beautiful wife of the philandering Peter, the kingpin of an international underworld empire. When Peter catches Sam ‘in flagrante’ with Rachelle, he ensures Sam’s simple life becomes… ‘complicated’.
From then Sam’s life takes on a surreal path, where the only plausible outcome is for Sam to end up in prison or dead… most probably both.
It is easy when you have no money, no job, and no reason to get out of bed in a morning, to let yourself go. To become scruffy and smelly. It is not something you do intentionally, it is just a steady decline of self-worth, an unconscious downgrading of your own value. I was as guilty as the next man. I had become unkempt…
…When I returned to the bedroom, a set of new clothes were laid out for me. Once dressed, I looked in the mirror. I looked a million dollars.
This was something I could get used to.
This was far better than existing in a tiny bedsit, a single dark, dank, damp room in a shared house. A room which I was going to be evicted from for not paying the rent. Rent I could no longer afford, rent I did not have.
Rachelle and I sat on the terrace and drank tea like a wealthy couple enjoying the early afternoon sun. It was then I told Rachelle I would do it. I said I would kill Peter to save my own life, and to rid him from her life.
Rachelle kissed me. She said I was doing the right thing.
Each year on August 25t, people across the United States observe National Whiskey Sour Day.
Traditionally garnished with half an orange and a maraschino cherry, a whiskey sour is a mixed drink containing whiskey (often bourbon), lemon juice and sugar. Whiskey sours are shaken then either served straight or over ice.
An alternative to the traditional whiskey sour is the Boston sour which is made by adding a dash of egg white to the recipe. Another variation is the Ward 8. This beverage has a base of either Bourbon or rye whiskey with both lemon and orange juices and grenadine syrup added for sweetness.
The first mention of a whiskey sour was in an 1870 Wisconsin newspaper.
After opening, a bottle of whiskey will remain good for five years.
An unopened bottle of whiskey can be kept for over 100 years and will still be fit to drink.
Both “Whisky” and “Whiskey” spellings are correct. Whisky is specific to Scotch Whisky, and Whiskey is Irish.
Whiskey is the official state beverage of Alabama.
Legend has it that Jack Daniels ran away at the age of 6 and learned to make whiskey from a Lutheran minister.
For more information and how to observe the day, click here.
Our author C. A. Keith is a whiskey connoisseur, and one day wrote a short story all about it. This appeared in our anthology. Mayfly. This is free to download from all retailers, except Amazon. Click on the book cover for the link.
Here is a short trailer which was launched prior to release, featuring a snippet of one of its poems:
These heartfelt poems speak to a transformative journey “to rediscover love as both a question and an answer.” Seeking hope, honoring family, finding love, accepting time’s passage, and understanding gratitude are all major themes explored in this dreamlike collection.
“Palm Lines invites one into a sensuous natural world . . . [Koven] is a writer of tremendous skill.” —Tracey Levine, author of You Are What You Are and Asst. Professor of English at Arcadia University
“Its poetry flows masterfully between the delicate balance of nature and humanity.” —Philip Dykhouse, author of Bury Me Here
“These are ecstatic poems which wrestle with surrender. Even as they reach outward, they are reflecting back, mapping the story of our own hands.” —David Keplinger, author of Another City, winner of 2019 UNT Rilke Prize
“Palm Lines is an epic, a journey . . . These poems read like the work of a storyteller, speaking innately human truths over the metaphysical fire.” —Shannon Frost Greenstein, author of More. and Pray for Us Sinners
“In Palm Lines, everything is humongous because of the gravity of the beauty and emotion observed—and language is the catharsis . . . This accessible collection offers the reader an opportunity to take a deep breath and reflect.” —Sean Lynch, editor of Serotonin
We are delighted to announce that our author C A Keith got married on Monday 24th May 2021. The wedding took place in the stunning setting of a Florida Beach.
Unfortunately, some of her family were unable to join them as they live in Canada and they are on full lockdown. However, one son, his wife, and many friends all attended the happy occasion.
Before the ceremony they went to a Puerto Rican restaurant to dine first. They picked a quiet spot on the beach and watched a spectacular almost-full moon rising to one side just as the sun was setting on the other. Her friend read out the vows, and it was just magical, she told us.
Afterwards they all went to the Pizza Parlour she runs with her son for wine and cake. Her son, his wife and a number of friends are all deaf, but that didn’t stop them, and everyone enjoying the dancing afterwards.
‘It was truly a dream come true,’ she finished. And judging by the photographs they would be worthy of any romantic novel.
We are sure you will join us in wishing Charlotte, and her new husband Wally, the very best for their new lives together as a family because she is now a mother of two young son as well.
Meanwhile, you may want to enjoy the stories Charlotte has written for Electric Eclectic books.
Last year I had the opportunity to contribute a short story for an anthology which would go on sale in celebration of the 75th anniversary of VE-Day. I jumped at the chance. I’ve contributed towards various anthologies in the past but this one was and is special.
The Anthology is called, VICTORY 75 in celebration of the 75th anniversary of VE-Day:8th May2020. It is available on Amazon (Toad Publishing/Electric Eclectic).
My contribution is called, ‘We’ll Meet Again.’ My story is obviously set in WW2.
I was asked to contribute a blog post about the service my family has given to Crown and Country over many decades, and centuries, so forgive me if my post does not just touch upon WW2 and VE-Day. The consequences of going to war reverberates down through the generations. Even today.
My family has served in the British armed forces for generations, mostly in the Army but not exclusively, and we have long connections with various regiments, and with the Royal Military Academy (RMA) at Sandhurst.
My maternal Grandfather served at the RMA, my father was an Instructor there, so was an uncle, and a cousin and his two sons have passed out as Officers, during the latter part of the 20th century, and their cousin has also passed out during the mid-21st century. They all went on to serve in the various conflicts we all know about and many of which are still on-going, sadly.
Indeed, one of my cousin’s sons who served in Afghanistan in recent years was awarded the MBE for bravery, leading his men out of an ambush through enemy territory under fire. He has progressed in the army and became Commander of the Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistics Regiment in Aldershot, later becoming Colonel of the Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistics Regiment.
My maternal Grandfather served in WW1 and was in France. He was gassed more than once and discharged eventually with ‘influenza,’ which I soon realised when researching family history, is a euphemism for being gassed. He suffered all his life from what was called, ‘spongy lung,’ and he eventually died from being gassed, in 1955.
He didn’t get any help, either mentally, physically, or financially, and therefore when he was laid off work at the RMA every winter for three months, he and his family struggled to survive on money they put aside every month in a small insurance policy which paid a pittance per week when he was unable to work, fighting for every breath.
My Grandmother’s first husband served in WW1 and various other conflicts including in Afghanistan, South Africa, and India. He was wounded at the Somme and discharged with shrapnel injuries which eventually led to his death in 1923. Again, he did not receive any financial or psychological help. He served with the 2nd Sherwood Foresters.
He and my Grandmother served in the RFC (Royal Flying Corps/RAF) after his discharge from the British Army, even though wounded.
In 1916 one of my Grandmother’s brothers was giving his life at The Somme whilst another brother was arrested and incarcerated in HM Prison Wakefield, for his part in the Easter Uprising.
My great uncle is buried in France. He was with the 1st Battalion Irish Guards.
I often think of this and wonder what conversation around the dinner table must have been like for the others left behind in a small village in Tipperary.
My great uncle who was imprisoned in Wakefield later went on to become a Sergeant in the Garda Siochána in Dublin, despite his prison sentence for being part of the Easter Uprisings.
Of course, every household in the British Isles and beyond experienced their loved ones being sent off to war and they had to deal with the consequences if/when these men and women returned possibly (probably) injured, both mentally and physically.
The photo above is of my Great Uncle George in his Duke of York School uniform before he went into WW1 aged 14 Photos (c) Jane Risdon 2021.
My paternal Grandfather and his brothers went off to WW1, having lied about their ages so they could join up. All three had been through the Duke of York School in Kent which was a boarding school for children of soldiers who were orphaned or whose family couldn’t afford to keep them. The three brothers who went off to war together in WW1 posed for a photo before leaving. Happily, they all survived the war.
I know my Grandfather was 14 when he was in the trenches in France I have seen his army records. He served in France and was later posted to India (early 1920s) where he was part of the British Indian Army. He was sent to Africa in WW2 with his men – mostly Indian Sikhs – to fight Rommel. Later he returned to see India gain independence in 1947 when he and his family returned to England, except my own Father, who had joined the British Army in India (IEME – Indian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers) and was posted to Africa, and various other conflicts before being sent to the RMA (Royal Military Academy) Sandhurst as an Instructor to the Officer Cadets.
In 1952 my father was sent to Korea and took part in the Korean war – I was just a baby and apart from his seeing me aged 3 months, we never set eyes on each other again until he was posted to Singapore and Malaya (Malaysia) to rout bandits raiding rubber plantations in Johore Bahru – where my Mother and I joined him in 1954.
We lived in many countries whilst he was still serving, including Germany and England.
One of my brothers became a ‘boy’ soldier and eventually joined the same regiment as my father (REME) and served in Bosnia, Ireland, and elsewhere. His son joined the RAF and was Awarded a Commendation in the Queen’s Birthday Honours a couple of years ago. He has served in The Falkland Islands, and in Afghanistan.
A paternal Great Uncle served on submarines in WW2: one he was on sunk. He returned home a shadow of his former self following his experiences trapped inside for a long time. He was a talented artist and had hoped before the war to study in Paris. Sadly, he suffered the rest of his life with mental illness, and he didn’t get the help our Forces hope to get today. He used to book himself voluntarily into a local psychiatric hospital whenever he felt himself losing control and he’d stay there until he felt well enough to leave. He was not violent, just someone who’d become agitated and withdrawn, tormented by what he’d seen and experienced.
I could go on listing relatives who served over many years, going back to the very first Army/Navy we had as a country, but I am sure every family can do this.
Our family detests war, but many have heeded the call to arms when necessary and have fought proudly and bravely for Crown and country. Including one of my stories in Victory 75 has been an honour.
I was seven when Grandpa died, too young to really remember him. I was told it was partly due to the problems in his back through being in the water for so long during the war. I didn’t know what that meant and later learned it was on the beaches of Salerno and the length of time he and his comrades were standing in the sea whilst waiting to join the fight.
I looked it up and according to Wikipedia the Salerno landings took place on 3 September 1943 during the early stages of the Italian Campaign of World War II.
The operation was undertaken by General Sir Harold Alexander’s 15th Army Group (comprising of General Mark W. Clark’s Fifth Army and General Bernard Montgomery’s British Eighth Army).The main invasion landed around Salerno on the western coast at the ‘toe’ of Italy.
I admit to not knowing anything about the regiments but as soon as I read the above, Montgomery’s Eighth Army, stood out. My Dad often talked about the eighth as it was Grandpa’s regiment. He also talked about the toe of Italy and again at the time I didn’t know what that was. Now seeing it in black and white, reminds me of Dad who was fascinated with the history of war. Over the years he told me lots if stories about his father and what he endured. Being dropped off in the water at Salerno was one of them.
There was also The Battle for Monte Casino, and how Grandpa earned the honour of wearing the Canadian emblem his uniform. He and his comrades came to the rescue of Canadians being blocked in by German soldiers. He also talked about the miles and miles the armies walked during the war years.
In November 2019, author Audrina Lane invited me to a Christmas Craft and Book fair which she had organised in Hereford. That evening as we sat on her settee reflecting on the day, she spoke about her Gramps and what he did during the war and how VE Day was on the 8th May. I said how nice it would be to capture some of those stories in a book. We talked some more both liking the idea and the beginning of Victory75 was born. We then took the idea to Paul White, the founder of Electric Eclectic books, and he rounded up some authors to write stories to capture what it must have been like when the war finally ended. Several of us incorporated real war stories into our fiction and wrote dedications to those people who gave up so much so that we could live the life we do.
Before I came up with a premise for my story, I was privileged enough to see the book cover first. The Dome of St Paul’s, which played an iconic part in London’s War history by simply remaining there, and not being bombed. It gave me the inspiration for my story. Because I’d heard the tales s through my Dad, this became the starting point. Thinking I was being clever, I based it on the celebrations planned for the 8th May in London, where people originally flocked to when the announcement about the war ending came. The anthology was to be launched on that date and we would have our own celebration with the book.
My main character Jack was bang in the middle of what was to take place on the 8th May 2020. So people who read the story, would probably have seen the Queen meeting old soldiers and the parades and wreath laying. It would make it all the more real as the nation came together to remember the momentous time.
However, there was no way to predict the events that would unfold during 2020, and along with so many things, the celebrations to mark the occasion were cancelled.
The world was reeling from Corona Virus, specifically COVID-19. Over half a million people died, just like they did in the war, except this time from an invisible enemy.
You can still enjoy the stories of this special book including mine called The Dome of St Paul’s dedicated to my Grandpa, Cyril Parry from Chester. The other stories, all with a common theme will keep you entertained until the very last page.
Look out, too for Audrina’s Lane’s poignant story, where she holds her Gramps’ hand in his last hours, his war stories coming to life through a photograph album.
My Grandpa loved music and was a dedicated follower of The Salvation Army. I don’t have any photos of him in his war uniform but do have this one in his Salvation Army one along with his beloved trumpet.
Gran got to her feet and opened the sideboard drawer and handed me a dark blue table cloth. “This is the sea,” Grandad said. “Get your boats out too, you’ll need them for this story.” I ran into the front room and brought back several vessels, eager to know what he would tell me and what we were going to do. The table cloth was now on the table, and Grandad was setting up the soldiers.
“I was in the British 8th Army, and we were taken by boat and dropped off at Salerno. Have you heard of it?”
“No,” I replied, looking at him earnestly.
“It’s in a place called Scilly. The Canadians and American were already there and fighting the Germans on the beaches. So they dropped our regiment off in the sea under the cover of darkness. But the Germans, the canny buggers, knew we were there and took pot shots at us. We were defenceless, standing waist deep trying to get ashore and dodging the bullets at the same time.”
“Couldn’t you get back onto the boats?” I asked.
”They’d gone, lad, soon as they dropped us off, they headed back. We were abandoned us to our fate, and many men died. I thought I was going to die too, but somehow made it onto the beach which we got control of it. We helped the Americans to fight the Germans, and the battle raged for hours. We won that one, but it was at a high cost. Too many young men lost their lives.” He looked over at my Gran who was watching and listening. “We should never have been left like that.”
When I first thought of the idea for doing an anthology to commemorate VE Day’s 75th Anniversary in 2020, it was the end of 2019. I was with Karen Mossman at the Christmas book and Craft fair I had organised in November and you know what it’s like when two writers get together… ideas burst into life!
At the time, my Grandad (I always called him Gramps) was still alive, still healthy and I guess me and my whole family thought that we would have him in our lives for longer. Secretly willing him to be able to get his telegram from the Queen. Time transpired against us and he went peacefully in his sleep, at home in his 100th year. He was aged 99 and 12 days. I was lucky enough to share 46 years of my life with him and during the time we had possibly only had a few conversations about the war. When I was at secondary school we had to write about what our grandparents had done during the war and my Gramps, being quite a quiet, modest man told me to talk to my Nan. Between these conversations I learnt that they had met in the RAF, my Gramps a mechanic and my Nan helped to taxi the planes onto the runway or back into the hangers. She confessed that she really wanted to be working on the parachutes as they got to keep the spare scraps of silk to turn into underwear.
I vividly remember sitting on the sofa as he got out this battered photo album and started to show my black and white photos of his time in India and then onto the Cocos Islands (also known as the Keeling Islands). It almost looked like they were having a great holiday, sitting on the beach under palm trees or swimming in the Indian Ocean. The full horror was never talked about, especially as he fought on after VE day until VJ Day on August 13th and even then he never returned home for nearly a year as transport was so sporadic and disrupted. It was only recently and watching the Stephen Spielberg series ‘The Pacific’ that I discovered the hardships of those left fighting the Japanese on these small islands in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
Later in life I learnt more through talking with him and my Dad as he said that he was quite often chosen to accompany the RAF Officers to meetings in Great Britain which they would fly to in a small plane. A mechanic would go with them in case there was any difficulties and he remembered an occasion when they were flying in thick fog and the pilot asked if he would help to guide them down by peering through the window. He said he’d been scared that if he made a mistake then the plane would crash. On the other hand, he would have to wait while the meeting took place and spent many hours sitting in the Officer’s mess, even though it was above his rank. I wish now that I had asked him more about this period, what it was like, what it felt like, but I always thought I would have more time for that. I was and still am fascinated by the photo of the falling bomb over fields, so powerful an image as I have only ever lived through peace.
Writing the tribute story in this anthology was my acknowledgement of his sacrifice for our country today, one I knew too little about but which I am so proud. This story was hard to write as I wanted to keep certain things based on fact’s, but I never knew my Gramps’ full story. I found little online but with what I could I was able to add to the few parts of his life that I did know about. In my own words it was a story of true emotion as I let him fly free for the final time, yet still have a part of him close to me in the words of his story – 99th Squadron. A carthartic write in the middle of the turmoil of bereavement and a pandemic that can be likened to a war with an invisible enemy.
‘We had a radio to keep in touch with the news and as the 8th May, 1945 dawned nothing felt any different until we all heard a shout from the NAAFI and we scrambled from our places on the sand or in the sea to find out what was happening and whether it was good news of bad. It was good, the war was over in Europe with Hitler and Germany surrendering to the Allied forces. But would it be the same for us, forgotten in the Pacific Ocean. We raised a quick glass to our boys on the Western front but then it was back to work. More screws and bolts to check and tighten before the next flight sortie took off. Then it was the long wait until they returned.
I always found that part the hardest, waiting to hear the drone of the Liberator engines returning to base. As chance would have it our bombing raids were very few as the atomic bomb was dropped on Japan and that was the beginning of the end of the Pacific war. I had been in the RAF since the start of the war so I was lucky enough to be one of the first men to start the journey home. I remembered the buzz of the plane engines as we took off, we actually had to stand until the plane was in flight and it was one of the memories I always came back to in the years since. Through the chink in the bomb doors I watched the landing strip fall away before a view of the small island, surrounded by the bright blue of the Pacific ocean. We had been such a small part of a huge operation, with so many lives lost along the way.’
It seems a long time with nothing much happening that we, the Electric Eclectic authors and friends, brought you an anthology full of stories about VE day. We planned a big launch to coincide with all the celebrations that were going to happen as it had been 75 years of Victory in Europe.
Sadly, along with everything else in 2020, the pandemic hit, and everything was cancelled. The book was released without ceremony and sold a handful of copies. However, one year has now past and we want to bring it to our readers attention again.
The book contains six poignant stories and is 109 pages long. Predominately Electric Eclectic authors, we invited two special friends to join us. Julia Blake and Jane Risdon are wonderful story tellers, and I urge you to check them out on Amazon.
“They called his regiment back to rest but, before they could, they received word a Canadian division were blocked in, and under attack from a German tank regiment. They went to help and leap frogged each other as they dodged bullets. With guns blazing, they blasted a hole in the ring of Panzer tanks. The Germans soon fled. As a result, the Canadian government awarded them the Maple Leaf battle honour, which they wore on their uniforms with pride. “
‘The sun was beating down on my face, the heat reflecting up from the light sand of the beach. The bombing raids on England had been devastating at times with the coastline and the major cities of London, Birmingham and Coventry also facing a daily and nightly barrage. I wondered if we would win this fight, as I twisted the spanner and tightened the bolts that had shaken loose on the fuselage. The pilot was lounging in the shade, what little there was on the beach. The conditions were vastly different with the main part of our work taking place early in the morning or later in the evening. This was the furthest I had ever been from home and I often thought about my life back there. Ena, the girl I had met back in the early days when I’d first signed up. We had been married and I knew that when or if I returned my legacy was assured. My wife had been pregnant when I’d flown away to what had seemed to me to be the other end of the world.‘
We’ll Meet Again by Jane Risdon
‘Stanley Potter’s Band played Vera Lynn’s, ‘We’ll Meet Again,’ as Mavis and her best friend Agnes sipped their tea from canteen style white china cups, their eyes watching the latest arrivals from the camp. Both girls were wearing their Sunday best and wore their hair in the latest style which they’d created for each other on Friday night whilst they listened to the BBC Forces programme.
‘Mavis, did you see the tall bloke who looks like Michael Rennie, the one near the exit?’ Agnes nudged Mavis in the ribs and nodded towards the double exit doors.
‘What? Oh yes, he does look like him. Uncanny,’ her friend replied, but it soon became apparent that Mavis was staring at another bloke who’d just come in on his own.
The soldier was tall, dressed as the others were, in uniform, but for some reason he carried himself differently and stood out from the others. Agnes was impressed but she wasn’t attracted to him like she was the Rennie look alike. Mavis noticed he didn’t appear to be with anyone else, male, or female, which pleased her for some reason.
‘Yours is a bit of all right Mavis but mine’s a cracker. See you later.’ And Agnes walked over to the man of her dreams and brazenly asked him for a dance.’
Rosemary for Remberance by Julia Blake
And it was fun. To begin with. The streets were heaving with people, so many people, all determined to celebrate this most wonderful occasion. The war was over. All those long bitter years they’d suffered through had finally ended. Barely twelve years old when it all began, Rosemary could hardly remember what it had been like before. When her parents reminisced about having plenty of food and being able to walk the streets at night with no fear of bombs dropping, she’d felt it was another world they were describing. A magical land of safety and plenty.
Andrew and his friends had acquired beer from somewhere and were openly swigging it on the streets, and nobody cared. Looking around, Rosemary saw food and drink being shared amongst friends and strangers alike. One young airman offered her a swig of his beer and she took it, not liking the sour gassy taste, but desperately wanting to be part of it all. It settled in her empty stomach, spreading a warm glow throughout her body, and she laughed with the others.
All shapes and sizes of vessels left the English ports. Any seaworthy boat went to rescue those from the French shores and the horror of the massacre on Dunkirk. The boats approached the French shoreline, horror on the faces of the captains and seamen, as they watched the slaughter continue. The boats powered ahead to rescue as many men as they could, praying for the souls of those they couldn’t. Close enough now, men were running towards them, guns were firing at them, some toppling dead in the water having been shot before they could get to the boats. Big black bursts of smoke overhead, where Spitfires and Messerschmitt’s fought aggressively in a massive dogfight. The Spitfires in protection mode, the Messerschmitt’s doing what damage they could. British, American and Canadian men fell in their thousands.
‘The wall was too far from the air raid shelter and much too far from home; where dear Daddy dug the garden and installed an Anderson Shelter with steps down and a canopy over. He made a sound wooden floor and a raised platform where he placed a mattress to make sure it did not get damp. We had a radio on the shelf. Electric light, camping stove, windproof matchsticks, kettle and tin mugs, along with all things for making tea and cocoa. It was very cosy. Even the cat would go down there. I knew my mother would be scurrying to the shelter now, pulling my brother, Peter, along with her. She would worry about my own whereabouts. Most nights we slept in the shelter, although my diary records on 6th November 1940 I slept in my own bed. I still have no idea why.‘
‘This is a wonderful, yet very moving collection of short stories. I have to admit I had more than a couple of tears in my eyes whilst reading them.‘
‘The stories will make you laugh and cry and they’ll be with you for a long time to come. Congrats to all concerned and to Paul White for putting it all together.‘
‘I’m sure it’s going to be one of those ‘can’t put it down’ reads. We owe it to those who gave their lives & those who lived with the memories.‘
‘Really good short stories, all made you think and made you realise just how lucky we all are not to have had to live through a world war. A lot of the stories made me cry and some made me smile. A really good mix.‘
Look out for articles over the next few days from Karen J Mossman, Audrina Lane, and Jane Risdon who talk about their stories.