What if you Planned a Murder?

Introducing Paul White

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Where did the idea for the story come from?

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


Description

  • Crime
  • Thriller
  • Underworld
  • Revenge
  • 18Yrs+

    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.

Excerpt

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.

An Electric Eclectic insight of the Pandemic’s effects on book sales.

Despite shops being closed for much of 2020, figures show Britons bought books in volume – although many authors continued to struggle.

UK

More than 200m print books were sold in the UK last year, the first time since 2012 that number has been exceeded, according to an estimate from official book sales monitor Nielsen BookScan.

Although physical ‘bricks & mortar’ bookshops in England were closed from 23 March until 15 June, and then again from 5 November until 2 December, with differing lockdowns in place around the rest of the UK – Nielsen has estimated that the volume of print books sold grew by 5.2% compared with 2019. This equates to 202m books being sold in the UK last year and was worth £1.76bn, up 5.5% on 2019, said Nielsen.

The Bookseller magazine (https://www.thebookseller.com/news/bookscan-estimates-2020-full-year-print-market-55-value-1234212 ) said the figure represented the biggest volume rise in the books market since 2007 and the highest annual value since 2009.

Waterstones, Kate Skipper called the figures encouraging. “So many people have turned to books for sustenance, information and joy through this difficult year.”

USA

Physical retail and online retail have taken dramatically different paths during the pandemic. Well-established chains like Brooks Brothers, GNC, J. Crew, and Neiman Marcus have all made Chapter 11 filings, while Amazon, eBay, Walmart, and Target reported record sales.

While book publishing, generally, has performed strongly thus far during the pandemic, bookstores have not.

Despite much positive news around publisher net sales, the U.S. Census data show that bookstore sales declined 28.8% in October 2020 vs. 2019 and 31% YTD.

Through the summer of 2020, Barnes & Noble, like most independent booksellers, balanced opening restrictions against offering online order pickup and greatly expanded online sales. By late fall, cafe and magazine newsstand sales were still down significantly, but book sales were running ahead of a year ago, aided by a doubling in online sales.

COVID-19′s impact on publishing sales and the supply chain has been less than many feared it would be. Whatever doom and gloom surround the publishing industry during the COVID crisis, sales cannot be singled out for scorn. Trade sales in 2020 were almost uniformly ahead of 2019, and in several categories, unit sales were up over 20% through mid-December.

EBOOKS

The ebook format has been to some extent reborn during the pandemic, recovering from shrinking percentages of overall sales, and publisher disdain for the format.

AUDIOBOOKS

After years of spectacular sales growth, audiobook sales growth slowed significantly in 2019: 16.4% versus 34.7% in 2018, based on data from the Audio Publishers Association (APA). NPD Group reported that unit digital audiobook sales were up 15% through May 2020. The AAP calculated that downloaded audio sales were up 17.3% to the end of October.

In the library market, Overdrive, which had been seeing year-over-year growth in audiobooks, saw depressed audiobook adoption in the pandemic. A possible reason cited by the company: commuters who had been listening to books in the car (or on mass transit) were no longer going into the office.

ELECTRIC ECLECTIC asks…

Overall, the numbers are positive for audio; only the pace of growth is slowing.

Podcast consumption offers an interesting perspective on this data.

Spotify reported in July that in its second-quarter 21% of users were listening to podcasts, up from 19% in Q1. Overall consumption of podcasts more than doubled.

Podtrac recorded 47% download growth for the 52 weeks ending November 01, 2020.

Are these listeners being lured away from audiobooks? Or are podcasts just part of an overall burgeoning audio trend?

PUBLISHING

The pandemic has had an enormous impact on how publishing companies are staffed and how staff execute their work. And, by all accounts, that impact may mark a permanent shift in publishing workflows.

In early August, Penguin Random House confirmed it will not return to its offices “until sometime in 2021… or until it’s safe and it’s practical, whenever that may be.”

Also in August, Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch sent out a note that “we will not be requiring anyone whose work can be done remotely to return to any of our offices for the foreseeable future.”

GENERAL

Overall retail sales changed only slightly in 2020, but there were huge swings month-to-month. April sales were down 14.7% from March but were followed by an 18.3% jump in May. November retail sales dropped 1.1% from October but were up 4.1% from November 2019.

Book retail is a set of businesses. First, it’s both physical and digital. More than half of all book retail takes place online (with Amazon accounting for at least half of those sales). Physical retail, on its own, has several components, broadly speaking: chain bookstores, independent bookstores, big-box retailers like Costco, and “newsstands” at drug and grocery stores, airport stores, etc.

Then there is digital, capturing more than 10% of most book publisher sales, and the vast majority of self-publishing sales. Amazon controls at least three-quarters of that market.

TO CONCLUDE

The changes in the retail landscape speak volumes. (Pun intended).

On the one hand, from now on publishers must treat bookselling as online- and digital-first, physical-second, with no further questions asked.

Pre-COVID it was still valid for publishers to ponder “where does Amazon fit within our reseller channel strategy?”

The question henceforth is “how do our reselling channels align with an online-first strategy (particularly for Amazon)?”

And the mouse in the corner might be heard to squeak “and what should we do about the bookstores?”

Although the sudden pandemic-driven shifts may slow or revert toward the mean with the achievement of a “new normal,” we believe that important underlying changes will persist and continue to evolve.

Keep Happy, Paul

The Winners of the Electric Eclectic Novella Fiction Prize

We are pleased to announce the winning authors of the Electric Eclectic Novella Fiction Prize.

The levels of entries were outstanding. Our judges, who ‘blind-read’ each manuscript had a most difficult task in selecting the winners.

After much lip chewing, hair pulling, and brainstorming we managed to select a shortlist, and then whittle the submissions down to the final three.

They are:

1st Place, Stevie Turner with, ‘Scam!’

Runner-up, Jonathan Koven, with, ‘Below Torrential Hill’

Runner-up, Phillip T Stephens with, ‘Doublemint Gumshoe’

The above stories are now in the process of becoming Electric Eclectic books.

Scam!

Lauren West and Ben Hughes are saving frantically for their forthcoming marriage and mortgage deposit. When Lauren sees an advert online from a firm of brokers extolling the profits to be gained by buying and selling Bitcoins, she is interested enough to pursue it further.

Lauren clicks on the advert. She is soon contacted by Paul Cash, a knowledgeable stockbroker whom Lauren trusts straight away. He is affable, plausible, and seemingly genuinely interested in her welfare. Lauren looks forward to making enough money to be able to surprise Ben and bring the date of their wedding forward and to put a deposit down on their ideal house.

However, things don’t go quite to plan, as Lauren falls victim to a scam and loses £10,000 of their savings. Ben is furious. Paul Cash threatens their safety, and Lauren must try and get her marriage back on an even footing if she wants to win back Ben’s trust.

(To be published by Crimson Cloak Publishing for Electric Eclectic)

Below Torrential Hill

Tristen’s abusive father dies when Tristan is young: a suicide. Tristen’s mother, Lucy, copes with alcohol, occasionally violent. Tristen grows up, ignorant to his father’s abuse, substituting for an ill-equipped mother. Stepfather Lave moves out.

When Tristen is sixteen years old. A comet appears.

Lucy hears voices calling from the sink. Tristen steals his mother’s wine and leaves to a neighbourhood party, blacks-out, and argues with his friend Ava.

He chops a Christmas tree in the woods which his father frequented. After a disastrous visit from his stepfather, an argument ensues, and Tristen is assaulted by his mother.

Tristen gets far too drunk, scaring Ava. She manages to calm his temper and gifts him a marijuana joint.

Lucy discovers Tristen’s theft and reveals to him his father’s abuse, asking him to help her.

But he runs into the woods, falling off a cliff, just as his late father did. Tristen discovers a fallen meteorite. When he touches it, he experiences an epiphany about forgiveness.

Doublemint Gumshoe

Doublemint Gumshoe pits the world’s dimmest detective against its most advanced AI.


When a nano robotics engineer who moonlights as a nude model vanishes from her hotel room leaving nothing but empty gum wrappers, Detective Bob takes the case. But Bob has never closed a case in his long career, and the citizens of San Noema conspire to stop him from solving this one.

Pitted against a dying mob boss, a corporation with wide-reaching tentacles, a ruthless cyber gang, his own family (whose nepotism secured his job), a jealous girlfriend, aliens, competing narrators, and possibly an evil AI from the future, Bob is determined to find the missing girl who has captured his heart, and do it in fewer than 30,000 words.
Gumshoe takes readers on a supercollider ride, sending up Thomas Pynchon, Kurt Vonnegut, conspiracy theories, postmodernism, and even the movie Chinatown.


All of us here, at Electric Eclectic, congratulate the competition winners and eagerly await the publication of their books.

You can find more Electric Eclectic books by simply typing ‘Electric Eclectic Books’ into your Amazon search bar, or by visiting @open24, the amazon store for readers & writers, http://bit.ly/EEbooksonOPEN24

See you there.

A Family History of Service to Crown and Country by Jane Risdon

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 May 2020. 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.

Photo© Jane Risdon 2021. My Paternal Great Grandfather served in several campaigns including WW1.

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.

Sovereign’s Parade, RMA Sandhurst Photo courtesy of the RMA.

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.

Photo Durham Light Infantry & 2nd Sherwood Foresters 6th May 1960 in Fermoy Ireland. Proclamation of King George V.

He and my Grandmother served in the RFC (Royal Flying Corps/RAF) after his discharge from the British Army, even though wounded.


Photo © Jane Risdon 2021. Maternal Grandmother in her RFC (later RAF) uniform.

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.


Photo © Jane Risdon 2021. Grove Town Cemetery, Meulte, France.

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.

Photo © Jane Risdon 2021. Great uncle in the Garda Siochána

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.

Photo © Jane Risdon 2021. Three brothers in WW1 – my paternal great uncles and grandfather.

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.

The photo above is of my paternal grandfather later in his career when he was an acting Lt. Colonel. He retired as a Major having left India after Partition in 1947. Photos © Jane Risdon 2020.


Photo RMA Sandhurst. My father is in this photo June 1949 – Instructors at the RMA.

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.

Photo Crest of the British Indian Army Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.
Photo Badge of the British Army Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers

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.

Jane Risdon © 2021

All photos © Jane Risdon 2021 All Rights Reserved.

Jane’s Social Media Links

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Something special for writers comes this way…

We writers can be a funny old lot, scribbling notes, making sketches, writing links for research sites.

We also like to our minds to be stimulated, given ideas, offered hints, motivated, inspired, and fueled with all those thoughts only creative minds can conjure.

Electric Eclectic knows this only too well; after all we are an international alliance of authors.

Now, for the first time, Electric Eclectic has designed an Authors Journal specifically made for our often-overactive minds.

While we leave plenty of room for notetaking, sketches, and ‘random’ material, we include helpful pages on a plethora of inspirational and helpful author and writers ‘stuff.’

Order your copy today, even get extra, so you can gift them to you friends.

Find the Electric Eclectic authors journal on Amazon, https://amzn.to/3rBStYQ

The Electric Eclectic Novella Fiction Prize -Shortlist

The Electric Eclectic Novella Fiction Prize opened for submissions back in February 2020, just before Covid interrupted our lives.

The pandemic delayed the judging by a few weeks but now can now reveal the titles and authors who have made the shortlist.

The following manuscripts are now with Crimson Cloak Publishing of Missouri, USA who will be selecting the winning entry, while Electric Eclectic are choosing the two runners up.

The shortlist is as follows, (in no particular order)

Jenifer Dunkle with ‘Aunt June’

Jonathan Koven with ‘Below Torrential Hill’

Kaare  Troelsen with ‘Equilibrium’

Philip T Stephens with ‘Doublemint Gumshoe’

Stevie Turner with ‘Scam!’

Wesley Britton with ‘The Wayward Missiles – A Beta-Earth Chronicles story’

Wilma Hayes with ‘Power of Women’

Providing we have no further setbacks, lockdowns, etc. Electric Eclectic plans to announce the winners late May 2021.


While you are awaiting the final results, why not grab yourself a copy of an Electric Eclectic book and enjoy the read; you can find Electric Eclectic books by simply entering ‘Electric Eclectic books‘ into your Amazon search bar.

Alternatively go to @Open24, the Amazon store for readers and writers, follow this link, http://bit.ly/EEbooksonOPEN24

Writing in Isolation

We are into the second year of the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s been a tumultuous year as we adjusted to a new vocabulary; masking, social distancing, quarantine. Yes, we’ve heard those words before. We read them in books, maybe, heard them in movies or on television dramas. Now the words were a part of our daily conversations.

I have been out of my house less than twenty times in the past fourteen months. I have seen my children and grandchildren less than that.

I have learned a valuable lesson, and it came as a shock.

I’ve always been something of a loner or homebody. Many would disagree with that assessment. I like people, but I love my own space. Being stuck at home shouldn’t be a problem for me. Generally, that’s true. However, this super social distancing reached a peak a few months ago.

I’ve always committed to writing at least two thousand words a day. That’s what Stephen King does, and if it’s good enough for him, it’s certainly good enough for me.

When staying home was recommended by health officials, I believed this would afford me more time to write. I might double my daily word count. I had several unfinished works, and this would provide the ideal opportunity to whip them out.

Why, I might even finish them all before the quarantine ended!

As the weeks passed into months, I found I was writing less, not more. I would sit with my trusty laptop and read over what I had written the day before. Pages became paragraphs. I would have an idea of what I wanted to write, but I couldn’t get my motor going.

It wasn’t until last month that I realized I hadn’t written anything in over three weeks. I’d edited projects I was working on for others. But I didn’t have a word of my own to show. What was happening? Was this writers’ block?

Somewhere in my ruminations, I recalled something one of my English professors told us. He advised we carry notebooks (this is pre-tech days when pen and paper were the methods of the day) and write down bits of conversations we overheard, descriptions of people we encountered, or places we saw.

I’m a writer and much of my writing draws on outside sights and sounds. My imagination may turn everyday events and conversations into more elaborate (and often disturbing) experiences.

A writer needs a good imagination. A writer also needs to see, hear, smell, taste, and feel the world outside her head. Being cut off from the sounds of busy streets, rolling waves, crunching leaves, bits of conversations, and other real-life noises removed them from my conscious and then my subconscious.

Living inside, I missed the end of one winter, the bright colors of spring, summer heat, the crispness of fall, and another winter.

I missed Valentine’s dinner at our favorite restaurant with my husband, watching my grandchildren hunt for Easter eggs in the grass that was beginning to green. There was no giggling and splashing in the backyard pool, no picnics at the lake where the sounds of motorboats cut the air, no weekend at a cabin for our anniversary.

The pumpkin farm and haunted trails never happened. No big family Thanksgiving dinner where everyone brought a dish to share. I did my Christmas shopping online without the hustle and bustle of crowds, both joyous and stressed.

I don’t know about other authors, but this writer cannot write in a vacuum. I need to smell the change in the air as seasons drift one into the other.

I need to hear snippets of conversations and build a story around an innocuous remark I overhear in the supermarket or restaurant.

It seems, things are beginning to loosen up. I’ve gotten my Covid-19 vaccinations. I will still double mask and be responsibly socially distant. But I feel safer venturing out into the world where my inspirations are waiting.

Somewhere a woman is complaining about the price of milk, a man is discussing a sporting event, teenagers are giggling at a TikTok video.

Tomorrow the sun will rise over a late winter day, and spring will beckon me to go out and play, to smell the freshness of growing grass, to see the heads of flowers forcing their way through the rich soil.

And I will once again begin to weave commonplace occurrences into tales.

In fact, I think I have an idea tickling the back of my mind now.

© Elizabeth Noreen Newton


ELECTRIC ECLECTIC BOOKS, Visit @open24 THE AMAZON STORE FOR READERS AND WRITERS

A Valentine’s Day Tale

Í ÓKUNNUGRI BORG

A strange city is a big, lonely place when you do not know your way around and you do not know a single soul who lives there.

The city seems even bigger when it is in a foreign land; the buildings, the roads are so different to that which you are familiar, as are the signs; thousands and hundreds of signs on the street, in the shop windows, the stations, on buses and lorries and hoardings.

All in a language you do not know.

This is where I am, in a strange city, in a foreign land. All those signs meant nothing to me; besides spouting my own imaginative gibberish gobbledygook, which besides entertaining my mind, said nothing constructive. 

It is a strange experience, both fascinating and frightening.

I needed to be at the public telephone box, situated near a café called ‘Rosy Lee’, in Richmond Park Gardens, a municipal park and flower garden, at eleven o’clock this morning.

She said she would ring, call me there. If I did not show up, she would understand, move on, get on with her life and put ‘us’ behind her.

But I did not want her to move on, not without me by her side.

That is why I am here, in this city. I have to say sorry, to beg for her mercy. I need to admit my foolishness. I want to tell her I still love her, love her more now than ever before.

If I miss her call, if I did not answer the telephone, I may never see her again.

This is why I am getting annoyed, frustrated and so damned worried.

.

I do not know where Richmond Park Gardens are and nobody I try to ask will stop. Most are too busy rushing to wherever they are rushing to. The few who do halt their stride take off again as soon as I speak.

No one, it seems speaks Islenska in this city and I do not speak more than a few word of English, clearly all so badly pronounced to be incomprehensible.

This scrappy bit of note paper I have in my hand, the one with the diagram, the map of how to get to the park is creased, smudged and torn. The written directions almost illegible, even if they were not I have no idea where I am, which way is north or south or which will take me towards the Richmond Park Garden.

The clock is ticking, my hopes and dreams and my future slowly evaporating before me. Still, no one gives me a second glance. No one will spare a few moments to help.

Until the young girl, I guess she is a student, takes the scrappy, ill-drawn diagram from my hand.

I speak, but she just shakes her head and shrugs. I know she is saying “I don’t understand you”. So, I spread my hands and shrug back.

We smile at each other. Understanding.

The young girl looks at the drawing, squints, looks about her, first one way and then the other. She nods and smiles. Waving her hand, she beckons me closer. Until we stand shoulder to shoulder, facing the same direction.

She then signals forward by pointing straight ahead, then left, right and so on. I nod and smile back in reply.

This is a language we both understand.

She passes me the paper back. I glance at my watch. The girl holds her hand up again, fingers spread open. ‘Five’ she is telling me, five minutes.

I shake her hand, nod… it is almost a bow. I can feel my grin stretching across my face, from ear to ear. If I hurry I can still make the park by eleven o’clock.

Hopefully.

I glance back. The girl is still standing in the same spot. She raises her hand and waves. I wonder if she knows, if she has a sense, a feeling of my anxiousness, my distress?

Maybe she knows of my love and of my fear of losing it, of losing my girl? Maybe she could feel my heart pounding, aching.

I like to think so.

I like to think she derived some satisfaction from helping a stranger in a personal crisis. I also like to think someone, sometime will smile upon her, in her hour of need.

.

I see the phone box. It is right there next to the tables and chairs of the ‘Rosy Lee’ tearooms, just as explained in the note. An English telephone box, bright red, blood red.

The red of love and life and loss.

At least it is empty. At least no one is making a call.

I glance at my watch. It is three minutes past the hour. I pray I am not too late.

I go inside. The door slowly squeals as it closes, shutting the noise and the entire world out of my life. There is now only my pounding heart, beating, pounding, counting down the moments.

All I can do is wait.

Wait for the phone to ring.

Wait to hear her voice.

I can feel tears welling in my eyes.

I wipe them away, sniffing.

The kiosk door is pulled open, arms grab me, encircling my waist.

I smell her perfume.

“Ég hélt að ég myndi koma þér á óvart,” segir hún.”

(“I thought I would surprise you,” she says.)

© Paul White 2017-2021


To read more and find out about Paul’s other books, visit his website at, http://bit.ly/paulswebsite

Or visit the Amazon store, @open24, http://bit.ly/PWopen24

If you enjoy love stories, then order ‘The Abduction of Rupert DeVille’ a fast moving, whacky, seriously tear-jerking, thrillingly funny drama.

UK – Paperback https://amzn.to/2xXGO0s

eBook, https://amzn.to/3do21B3

USA – eBook & Paperback, https://goo.gl/3iMFLZ


Ex Libris Legatum

I first published this post, or a version of it, back in 2015 on my blog, ‘Ramblings from a Writers Mind‘. I share it here today because… well, read on, it is self-elucidating.


Ex Libris Legatum

As we age we amass many life skills; some taught to us by teachers, lecturers, professors, our parents and some self-learned by patient practice and repetition.

Many lessons are simply and, often unexpectedly, thrust into our consciousness by the events of living and from life itself, love, passion, loss, hurt, births, pain, grief and death.

At some point, during the period betwixt being born and gasping our last breath, we have also, hopefully, gained some wisdom.

Although, only too often, such wisdom is realised and recognised far too late in life for us to use it in any true and meaningful way for any length of time, such is the cruel nature of growing older.

However, for those who manage to avoid a premature departure from this world, those who never got hit by lightning or run over by that proverbial trolley bus, we become, in some respects, like a soggy sponge.

Yes we droop, our bodies are dragged ‘south’ by the constant pull of gravity and some people uncontrollably leak and dribble I am sure, but the analogy I was trying to draw was one of absorption and storage, the soaking-up and retention of knowledge.

I know, for a fact, I know more than I know I know, even if in that knowledge there is the realisation of knowing that one knows nothing.

With that stated clearly, I will return to the train of thought which initiated my fingers to start tapping away today; that is, within these southerly wiltings, the rather wrinkly, fading bodies which those ‘of a certain age’ seem to acquire, are still our sprightly, lively young minds which have seldom aged beyond fifteen… or maybe sixteen.

Now… these minds of ours need a little control. You see, our minds tend to fool us by considering whatever they think we, (those of us who are over 50 something) still have the physical ability to achieve such things as skateboarding, zip-lining, mountaineering and even imbibing in large quantities of alcoholic beverages and waking in the morning with a clear head… hummph… I wish.

The reason our minds ignore our creaking joints, throbbing tendons and our scar tissues, (which pull as taught as an elastic band every time we move like this… ouch… I should not have done that), is once-upon-a-time we have done all of those things; the once-upon-a-time when our mind was in its infancy and knew little of risk or fear and cared less, our mind (mostly) protected us from going too far; well far too far, too often.

It was during all those life-threatening adventures, (those naughty and dangerous liaisons, the arguments and battles, the fights and flights our immature brains took us on), we collected lots and lots of information, comprehension, realisation, skills and familiarity.

In other words, we gained awareness, understanding and experience, this is how we became educated and intelligent, this is what gives us an erudition of life.

It is what we loosely and casually refer to as wisdom and knowledge.

These are the life skills one collects in the only way possible, by living over a long period, or at least the longest period time allows our weak and feeble bodies to function.

You see, I have out-lived many thousands of others over the years I have been walking upon this earth, (which, thankfully, I can still do… unaided).

I am glad I saw the sunrise this morning, the sad thing is so many did not.

Many of those who never got to see the sunlight today are friends and family, many older than I, many younger. Worst of all, some had only minutes of life with which we could chart their age.

The fact is the number of people who are older than I is quickly diminishing.

Now my mourning’s are frequently for those of my generation, a generation who should use their life skills and knowledge to help and nurture those who are young enough and fortunate enough to have minds which believes it is protected by an invincible body, such as our own did all those years past.

All we have learned of life and living; those births we have witnessed, our loves, both lost and lasting. The passionate moments, some intimate, comprised of twisting limbs and thrusting loins, others of the soul; music, art, theatre, dreams and scenes, vistas of natural beauty. The recollection of our times of loss, of hurt, of feeling pain; both physical and of the heart, not forgetting the grief and deaths.

This is our accumulated wisdom.

This is what we should share, what we should endeavour to teach our children, our children’s children and their children.

‘Ahh’, I hear you say, but children do not listen, do not take heed, so it is best to leave them to find their way.

I do not disagree.

However, (which is a nicer way to say but because there is always a ‘but’.)

If we share our knowledge, leave it somewhere future generations can discover it,  they can learn, or at least be guided by that which we have spent a lifetime accumulating.

This is why I believe I have a duty to leave my thoughts behind when I have gone when I have shuffled from off my mortal coil.

This is why I choose to write.

Woven within the lines of my fiction and on the pages of my fantasies are the truths of life and the facts of living. All the wisdom and knowledge I accrued during my lifetime.

The words within my books and short stories are my bequest to the world, to a future I cannot be a part of, at least in person.

I chose to be a writer, not for monetary wealth or recognition, but to leave a legacy beyond simplistic values.

My wish is my words are read by the generations yet to come.

Maybe then my life will not have been lived in vain.

Ex Libris legatum

© Paul White 2021


You can find my books, including my Electric Eclectic books, on my web page, here.

Some of my Electric Eclectic books

New from Electric Eclectic books for 2021

Deep Waters is the latest Electric Eclectic book, and the first new release of 2021.

For Deep Waters, Paul White has taken a totally different approach from his last offering, the superb, gritty and surprising crime drama, A New Summer Garden‘.

With Deep Waters, we follow the main character, Gary, as he struggles to come to terms with the death of his beloved wife.

After a failed suicide attempt, Gary take himself off to an isolated island, far away from the distractions of daily life and the people he knows, as kind and as helpful as they try to be.

This touching and emotional tale allows privileged insight into Gary’s mind as he stumbles onward through life and unveils an understanding of why he chose this island to execute his last wishes.

Electric Press magazine says,

“Paul White uses his protagonist, Gary, as a device to explore the depths and fragility of the human psyche.

I doubt if you can read this book without shedding a tear, or two… or more.”

Deep Waters in available in both eBook format, and as an Electric Eclectic Pocketbook Paperback

EXCERPT:

“…My first thought, rather obviously, was to name the boat Francis, after my deceased wife, bless her soul.

But then, I felt it was not the right thing to do. Francis had never been here, never been to the island. Neither of us knew this place existed before, before… now, which was part of the reason I came here. To get away from those haunting memories, as callous as it may seem.

You see, that is what life is all about, the memories. The memories of shared experience. The things you do with family, mum, dad, siblings. The adventures with friends and, of course, all the things you do, all the places you go, all the battles you fight and all the little victories you celebrate with your lover, your soulmate, the one you wish to grow old with.

Francis was my soulmate. It was the memories we shared from the life we were building together which haunted me now.

Don’t get me wrong. I did not want to forget. I do not want to erase them from my mind, but neither did I want to be reminded of every detail each time I walked into a room or got onto the boat.

I want to remember Francis when I want to recall her voice or touch or tell a story about her antics. I want to remember her on my terms, not as just some random flashback.

So, no. I could not call the boat Francis…”

Amazon UK  https://amzn.to/2WocchI

Amazon. com USA  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08QVL3PYV

For all other orders (eBook only) https://books2read.com/Deep-Waters