Meet one of the Winners of Electric Eclectic Novella Competition 2020

Release Date: December 3rd, 2021 190 pages

It’s Christmas, and strange occurrences are plaguing the small town of Torrential Hill: a supernatural comet, undead insects, exploding streetlights, and a presence luring people into the woods.

But when the mother of Tristen—a wistful, fatherless sixteen-year-old boy—hears voices from the kitchen sink, all he can think of is running away.

Desperate to be freed of her sorrow, Tristen runs to the place holding his last childhood memory; beckoned by a voice in the woods, only to return to his father’s death site.

Are these woods the source of his mother’s despair and the town’s supernatural occurrences? Do these woods somehow contain the cure to his own spiraling sanity?

Add to your Goodreads shelf:


Excerpt

If there was nothing else in these woods, he would manifest sorrow and use it to fill the damned silence.

The silence, immaculate. He recognized its unfathomable descent into itself. The purest forms often diluted his attention to the strongest hidden beauties. To follow these flawless silences might induce a cessation into a different yet similar lifetime. With one’s mouth agape, there is always more to swallow. And Tristen always wished to be filtered, chewed, and spit out bodiless as a dream, to be the raindrop plunging into white sea, to not shatter and spread wide the body, to pour out like the hungriest wound and demand to be filled at once. Happiness is to be loved to death. No matter how strange, the leap into silence demanded a sacrifice of the highest order. He came to relinquish his life for a different one.

 His muddied shoes stepped through the brightly lit division in the trees. A hillside not far ahead oversaw the great abyss which nurtured the lowest regions of the wood, where the city limits were eaten alive by pine and lichen, where the meteorite fell just days before.

 Canine laughter sprawled out against the void, just near enough to hear. Then, spoken slowly and dully like a voice from the sink, in the middle of the raspy sunrise, his name seemed to hum within an acute ringing: “Trist-en.”

The ringing grew and took hold of his arms and pulled him to the ground. The sky pealed his name unto him as he bowed over the whitening earth. He coughed into his chest. Frostbite and blood covered his skin from wrists to elbows. Curling his fingers into the snow, his knuckles cut deep; using them, he lifted his body and swung forward.

He moved with determination, each spring forward going farther than the last. Everything was a cry to continue moving. It even echoed from fractures in the bark. Eternity was waiting for Tristen. His ankles were set in a motion too hypnotic to break.

Torn trunks pointed their roots toward the hillside where old snow whistled with old wind. At the hillside’s ledge, deformed trees met the capsizing sky, longing back to the morning’s jaw. Mist peeled back to reveal the ledge.

Tristen walked to it slowly.

The sound bawled from everywhere, two drawn-out torrents of energy. They droned the essence of shared solitude, unmasked arousal of vulnerability and, at the center of the sound, consonants proudly shattered and burst. “Tri-sten.” A cry so lowly, lovingly, morbidly exasperated—stretched open and crackling. All around him coursed a magnitude of feeling. Catching a deformed tree’s lowered branch, he waited at the ridge. These—these long waves, this sheer density—this heavy slowness were the years of his life that hadn’t happened yet.

“Tri-st!-enn.”

Then, pushing down on the branch, it snapped halfway, and Tristen tumbled fast into a scar in the earth.

Also available as a pocketbook


Jonathan Koven grew up on Long Island, NY, embraced by tree-speak, tide’s rush, and the love and support of his family.

He holds a BA in English and Creative Writing from American University, works as a technical writer, and is Toho Journal’s head fiction editor and workshop coordinator.

He lives in Philadelphia with his best friend and future wife Delana, and cats Peanut Butter and Keebler.

Read Jonathan’s debut chapbook Palm Lines, now available from Toho Publishing.

His award-winning novella Below Torrential Hill is expected winter 2021 from Electric Eclectic Books.

The Killer is Here

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.

Will she find the answers in time?


Available as a paperback and on Kindle Unlimited


The Killer on the Heath is the first of a forthcoming trilogy.


Meet Cassie, the main protagonist in a character interview on the blog of J. M. Northup


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.’


The Killer on the Heath is published by Norns Triad Publications and was introduced to the world in September.

Watch and listen to the  author read an exciting excerpt from her book.



October 3rd to the 9th in honour of Mystery Week we are offering the book at the knock down price of 99p.



Karen’s Electric Eclectic Books

Toxic

One Christmas

Distant Time

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

Wedding Bells at Electric Eclectic

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.

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

Story Behind the Story

by Karen J Mossman

What is it that makes a writer want to write a story? Where does the idea come from?

Sometimes it is a single image that will inspire them. Other times, it’s a song, or a place, or just something they overhear.

Today we are looking at Toxic as shown below. Two books, two authors and one story.

Why would you have two different books if they are one story?

I’m going to answer that question by telling you the story behind the story.


The idea came from Karina, and so I got in touch to ask her about it.

I am not a huge Science Fiction fan, but have always wanted to write about a world that lived underground. It was more dystopian story that I wanted to write.

I have never collaborated with an author and it had been a long time since I had written anything new. I’d worked with Karen J. Mossman before, as she was one of my clients at KKantas Author Assist, and I put the idea to her.


My initial thought was to write one book with both our names on the front. After the story came together we realised how much science fiction was involved as well as romance and thriller. Toxic has a lot of sub genres and will appear to most lovers of dystopian and romance.

We talked online about it as I am in Greece and she is in Wales. The first thing we needed was a brainstorming session to build a world for our characters. I set up a Zoom meeting and we spoke, wrote, and chatted for over an hour and one important thing from it. Both of us wanted something different, and we weren’t at first, sure how to reconcile it. I wanted the romance to be erotica and Karen didn’t. So this was a stumbling block and it was Karen that came up with the idea of having two books, same story, just differently written. I’ve never heard of anything like that before. So that is what we did.

I have never brainstormed with anyone before, never mind write with another author. When I spoke to Karina she mentioned that during our Zoom session, it was amazing how our story laid itself out in front of us as if was magic. We had our world, our characters, and the plot was there, and as we wrote it changed and took on a life of its own. It was a real pleasure to write and work with Karina.

We each wrote a chapter and sent it to the other to look at and add to it or change it. Not always easy when you write what you think is a good scene only to find the other has changed it. That’s why you need an author who you trust, and have respect for. Changes were never a problem because it only enhanced the story.

A hundred years ago acid rain fell to earth and the people took to living in the mountains. Over time the humans developed into Maloks, just a new name for those who lived and worked in this new environment. With a committee to govern them, life inside was never easy, as young Lexi finds out.

We knew that we couldn’t leave it there once we had finished, and Toxic 2 is currently in the process of being written. After that a third, and final novella will be penned by Karina and I, where the magic will once more take us on a journey that we are not expecting.

Toxic 2 will be out late summer or Autumn of 2021.

Meanwhile, why not choose a story to suit you.

Blurb

Lexi isn’t your normal Malok. She craves adventure and freedom from the mundane life forced upon her. 100 years ago, the first drop of acid rain fell. Maloks fled to the mountains, building a new way of life—a desolate life—a life Lexi knows all too well. 

Lexi has a plan, her ticket out of this miserable existence, becoming a ranger. Aron, her partner, believes she’s not strong enough to fight alongside him. Lexi will stop at nothing, no matter what the danger, to achieve her independence, even if that means defying him.

Amidst everything, Marcus, Lexi’s childhood best friend makes a sudden return. Before she can rejoice in a reunion, her happiness is crushed when she sees Mae, the bully that had terrorized her in her teens. Marcus was aware of the mental abuse Lexi had suffered and yet the person she loved and the person she hated the most, stand before her, together.

“A powerful dystopian thriller that captures the heart and imagination”.