Dyslexia, Irlen Syndrome and Alexia. (This has nothing to do with Amazon gadgets!)

While this post focuses on writing blogs, website content, social media and emails rather than stories and books, much of the following could be adapted by authors and publishers of books.

As independent authors, our ability to write such is of paramount importance to our promotional and marketing strategy. Yet the way you write could be alienating those who are not quite as apt as you or me at reading.

How-is-All-Started

A couple of years ago, I had a wonderful comment from a person who suffered from dyslexia about a post.

Although his comments were primarily about the content and not the presentation of the post, he mentioned he found my post far easier to read than many, if not most.

Curiosity got the better of me.

Why I wondered, could he read and understand my posts, when he struggled to read so many others?

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Over the next few days, he and I conversed, by email, about his reading on a personal level and Dyslexia in general.

Before I carry on and explain the outcome of our conversations, I think as writers we should all know and understand what dyslexia and some of the most common reading difficulties are. So, I am including the following few paragraphs & bullet points, (which I cribbed from the internet), for clarity.

A formal definition of dyslexia used by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development states,

“It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge. “

Unsurprisingly, the International Dyslexia Association defines it in simple terms. “Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability. Dyslexia refers to a cluster of symptoms, which result in people having difficulties with specific language skills, particularly reading. Students with dyslexia usually experience difficulties with other language skills such as spelling, writing, and pronouncing words.”


In contrast, Irlen Syndrome is a perceptual processing disorder, meaning that it relates specifically to how the brain processes the visual information it receives. It is not a language-based disorder and phonics-based instruction will not help someone with Irlen Syndrome improve in the same way it will help someone with dyslexia improve their reading skills.

At its core, Irlen Syndrome is a light sensitivity, where individuals are sensitive to a specific wavelength of light and this sensitivity is what causes the physical and visual symptoms that people with Irlen Syndrome experience.

People with Irlen Syndrome have difficulty reading not because their brains have difficulty connecting the letters they see with the sounds those letters make, but because they see distortions on the printed page, or because the white background or glare hurts their eyes, gives them a headache, or makes them fall asleep when trying to read.

Unlike dyslexia, difficulties experienced because of Irlen Syndrome can reach well beyond just reading. People with Irlen Syndrome have difficulty processing all visual information, not just words on a printed page, so they often have trouble with depth perception, driving, sports performance, and other areas not generally connected with dyslexia.


Alexia is a form of dyslexia, but dyslexia is developmental, meaning that it does not happen from an occurrence such as a stroke or traumatic brain injury.

Alexia is an acquired reading disability because of an acquired event such as a stroke. It is most common for alexia to be accompanied by expressive aphasia (the ability to speak in sentences), and agraphia (the ability to write).

All alexia is not the same, however. You may have difficulty with the following:

Recognizing words ● Difficulty identifying and reading synonyms ● Difficulty with reading despite your ability to sound out pronunciation of words.

Although you can read words, it is too difficult to read for very long ● Blind spots blocking the end of a line or a long word ● Focusing on the left side of the paragraph or page ● Double vision when trying to read ● Reading some words but not others. Of course, this makes reading impossible.

A stroke survivor with alexia that can read larger words, but cannot read tiny words such as “it,” “to,” “and,” etc. ● Any combination of some of these traits.

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My conversations with, (I shall call him ‘Jay’ during this post), led me to take a close look at how I was presenting my blogs, what made them so different and, could I improve them further?

It turns out the style I chose… I was going to say developed, but that sounds arrogant. So, the style I was using at the time was to write in small(ish) chunks, using relatively short sentences and paragraphs, as I have so far in this post.

Unlike this following paragraph

This differed from most blogs and posts on the interweb which were, (and still are), long blocks of continuous sentences and sub-sentences, forming large paragraphs with very little line spacing or breaks. This may be a ‘style’ welcomed by universities and those writing technical/medical/professional and some literary journals. I have seen many papers which follow this style. I have even read a few and I must agree it makes for extremely uncomfortable reading. To read such a document, one must concentrate fully and focus on each word of each line. Whenever the eye moves from its forced liner motion, even for a moment, is when the reader finds some difficulty in returning to the exact location they were at previously, often meaning one must, annoyingly, re-read sections already read. Like you have possibly just done when reading with this last long drivelling, over-worded paragraph I have written in just such a manner to illustrate my point that it makes for uncomfortable reading, even for those of us blessed with good eyesight and adequate skill. A point which I hope I have now made adequately clear with this paragraph which is representative of many blogs.

Writing in this form creates such a large block of words it becomes challenging to separate them into clear concise ‘bite-sized‘ and manageable ‘lots’ of information.

This is one of the areas of written presentation which was highlighted to me by Jay.

I already used a style of writing which broke long paragraphs into much smaller ones, whenever practicable, but I was not aware of the impact doing so made on the reader. From then on, I broke paragraphs down even further than I did ‘pre-‘Jay’

I was also made aware of unnecessarily long sentences, sentences with too many superfluous words.

This simply meant cutting out all those unnecessary words to make sentences read far more precisely and clearly.

OR

Eliminating irrelevant words.

You see, this is not fictional or creative literature as when writing a novel, or even a short story. This is describing and sharing thoughts, ideas, information, and data. Another skill set entirely.

Authors often discover this when having to write a precise about their latest book, like the back-cover blurb, an agent’s query letter, synopsis, or copy text for promotional activity.

We all know, or at least should, that mixing sentence lengths makes for a better reading experience. But so does spacing and breaking them up as I have done in most of this post.

Please do not get me wrong.

I am not solely writing or directing my words specifically to those with reading difficulties, but I am looking to be as inclusive as possible and not simply because I am attempting to be politically, or socially correct.

I do it because I want as many people as possible to read my words. That is why I write.

Looking at how one presents their posts on the screen does not take much effort. Neither does adjusting one’s style to make it clearer and easier to read… for everybody, including you and me.

To finish, look at this Git-Hub virtual reality page. It shows how we can best comprehend the way those suffering from dyslexia and associated reading difficulties may see the written word.

https://geon.github.io/programming/2016/03/03/dsxyliea

My lesson, following those conversations with ‘Jay’, is, 

“We can all learn from others, even those we may have previously considered had nothing to give us. After all, I never thought a dyslexic could teach an established author how to write clearer, even better.

How wrong I was.”

Thank you for reading another of my Ramblings. Please subscribe to this blog if you will.

I am open to all comments and try to reply to them all personally.

Keep happy, Paul


Oh, take a peek at my website, I have a ton of good stuff waiting there 

OMG… Have you read Mechanical Mike, yet?

Paul says,

“Way back in 2015, I was commissioned to write a story for a forthcoming comic book format sci-fi website. Alas, the website never came to fruition, and I was left with an orphaned story, a story with no home, a story no one would get to read.

I thoroughly enjoyed creating Mechanical Mike and could not allow it to languish, unloved and unread, in the dusty archives of my computer. So, I took Mechanical Mike from the files, dusted him down, and carefully re-wrote the story.

The result is this Novelette, available as an eBook, or a Paperback Pocketbook.

This is a fun story, a modern pulp fictional tale of a ‘gum-shoe’ style detective, a beautiful blond ‘bombshell’ of a girl, a mad scientist, robots, and evil Nazis, all in occupied France during WW2.


What some readers say…

I can imagine Paul White had a load of fun writing Mechanical Mike. It’s a bit like sci-fi in drag… well a mix between that and a thriller.

Add in loads of World War 2 action, the Nazis with a devious plan to win the war – that’s enough from me – you need to read it.

I loved it.

I.G.

Author Paul White has blended the history of war films, Nazis, World War 2, and Pulp fiction. It is an extremely fast-paced story that skillfully mixes a wide range of genres, including Romance, War, and Thrillers.

The title, the book cover, the colours and design, along with the language used, is very well balanced, making it a great all-rounder.

Pardon me for not sharing the story here, I believe it would diminish the effort of the writer to entertainingly mesmerize his audience… that’s gotta be you too.

I would love to see this book made into a movie.

T.A.M.

What a great fun read. It is exactly what you glean from the cover… and more.

Pure pulp-fiction/comic book meets sci-fi adventure, war-time romance.

I mean, what other read has robots, a mad scientist, Nazi soldiers, a beautiful girl, and lots of action in Paris, France, during WWII?

This is a true must-read for those who want to be excitedly entertained.

P.B.A

UK links

Kindle/eBook, https://amzn.to/3s5N4Ny

Paperback Pocketbook, https://amzn.to/33Dt3Ew

Universal link, http://mybook.to/MMPocketbook

This Place. A short story for Halloween.

The seat was a fallen tree, a once-mighty oak, now moss-covered, and beginning to rot. It had lain at the top of the hill for as long as I can remember.

It was the place where I often sat in solitude, looking out across the valley to the hills, and onwards into the purple haze of beyond.

I am surprised more people do not know of this place, the place I think of as my own. Yet over the years of coming here, I have only seen a few people before today. The occasional dog walker, the tramp who wandered too far from the village, the little girl with the kite, and one or two more. I have never seen any of those people more than once. It seems that visitors to this place are far and few.

Perhaps, the problem is the woodland. To get to this clearing on the hill, one must trek through the densely wooded area, known locally as the Gallows Trees.

There are rumours abound regarding the woodland.

One such tale is the woods are so named because the town’s gallows were built from the old oaks that grow here. Like the one I often sit on. It is said the lost souls of all those hanged now wander aimlessly amongst the trees.

Another story is, years ago, a fellow called Gallow owned these woods, he was a woodsman. One day a cavalry officer rode up to the Gallow’s cottage on his charger, demanding Mr. Gallow’s surrender his daughter, so to become the officer’s wife.

Gallow’s refused, and a fight took place. As Mrs. Gallows tried to separate the fighting men; the officer sliced off her head with a mighty swing of his Sabre. Mr. Gallow retaliated by hefting his axe high into the air before bringing it down with all his might.

At that precise moment, young Annabel Gallow’s ran from the house, coming between the men. The axe cleaved Annabel’s skull in two.

Mr. Gallows was hung in the town square. His body was left dangling for a week, suspended from a frame he himself fashioned from the very oak trees of his own woodland.

Locals delight in telling this tale to outsiders, informing them Mr. Gallows ghost is constantly looking for Annabel within the woodland. On quiet, windless nights, it is said you can hear him calling her name.

“Annabel”, the air whispers, “Annabel, where are you?”

This is the story the locals tell. But others say it is not true.

One time, not so long ago, something unusual happened here.

A group of men came to this place. They carried with them an array of equipment. I heard they were called Ghost hunters, Spectral engineers, or Paranormal researchers. It really depends on who you listen to.

They were a strange lot, wandering about fixing camera points, heat sensors, movement detectors, microphones, and all sorts of gadgets throughout the woods, and around the green where the tree trunk lies.

Five day’s they stayed. Sleeping in a van, and a few oddly assorted tents at the north edge of the woods, next to what once was Black Mill Farm.

Every morning they milled about drinking coffee and checking their machines. They took turns watching the dials and screens they precariously placed on rickety trestle tables in an open-sided tent.

Nothing happened.

Nothing at all.

This is why, I supposed, they seemed somewhat dejected the morning they were leaving.

I thought I would never get another chance to see exactly what they were doing here, so that morning I walked closer, watching as they unplugged their equipment, and began to pack it away.

I was surprised how much care they took in placing their strange machines into those big black padded cases. Two men carrying them, gently lifting them, and sliding them into the van without dropping, banging, or jolting them.

So intent was I watching the men’s activities, I walked very close to their tent, much closer than I intended.

That was when everything in the tent started to buzz and beep. The men jumped, startled expressions appearing on their faces as they rushed about in excitement. I watched as they stared at the lights flickering and buzzing, pointing, and stabbing their fingers at the screens, and dials.

The men were looking up, out of the tent, in the direction I stood. I looked around and about myself, I could see nothing which would cause them so much excitement.

One man called out… ’Who are you?’

I thought he was speaking to me, so I answered him, ‘I am Annabel,’ I said.

I am surprised more people do not know of this place, the place where a once-mighty oak stood, now fallen, moss-covered, and beginning to rot, the place I think as my own.

© Paul White 2014 _ FFCO2104‎2014/U21/808


If you enjoyed reading ‘This Place‘, I am certain you would love to read my psychological suspense story, ‘Three Floors Up‘, published as an eBook/Kindle, and available from Amazon, https://amzn.to/3uZ5W0q and universally via D2D, https://books2read.com/u/mlYqN7

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.

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

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

Meetings in Time & Distance

Today, as its Electric Eclectics third birthday, (hip hip hooray), rather than post about books, or writing, or authorship, or ‘being Indie’,  I thought I would share a useful tool with you.

It is one I often use when communicating ‘overseas’ via the ‘net’.

I am sure you will find it as useful and as helpful as I…


As the founder of Electric Eclectic, part of my job is to keep in contact with our authors, which is not as easy as it might appear.

One of the main reasons is, Electric Eclectic authors are dispersed around the world, from the USA, through Europe, right to the Antipodes, which means there is no suitable panoptic time to engage with everyone simultaneously.

Okay, there is UTC – Universal Time Coordinated, which is another term for GMT – Greenwich Mean Time. It has nothing to do with Greenwich village and everything to do with Greenwich in the UK, which is on the Zero Meridian, that’s 0° longitude meridian, also known, unsurprisingly as the Greenwich Meridian.

Now, to have a standardised time the whole world can utilize when communicating, especially when using the internet or worldwide web sounds a great idea… but for a few issues.

One is DST – Daylight Saving Time, or in the UK, BST – British Summer Time, (Other countries have various terms for the same thing), it is where the clocks are advanced for one hour in the spring.

The other is Local Time. Knowing which Local Time Zone you are in.

Considering the USA has 9 time zones, Canada 6, Europe 7, Asia 11, Russia 11, China 5, Australia 3 and New Zealand 2, you can see arranging an inclusive scheduled event on a global scale is not as easy as it may first appear.


I often query those who create Facebook events without considering the above. Those who do so are surely naïve if they do not understand the importance of looking further afield than their backyards?

Therefore, to schedule a live global meeting between, say, seventeen authors, who reside over four continents needs to be planned carefully.


One tool I have found to be immensely helpful is World Time Buddy https://www.worldtimebuddy.com/  Here you can see your time and those of locations you select so you are in no doubt of what time it is, anywhere.

The ‘Event Widget’ is an excellent tool, schedule your event using the Widget and all those using World Time Buddy will have the time automatically displayed in your time AND there local time… you need do nothing, its automatic.

Bookmark ‘World Time Buddy’ now. There is even a mobile/cell app for Android and Apple.

Better still, the basic mode is FREE. (Paid upgrades available).

Check it out, https://www.worldtimebuddy.com/


mybook.to/Authorstuff mybook.to/FrugalAuthor

Two books any good writer and author should not be without

Can you hear them?

Can you hear them?

A short story for Halloween 2020 from Paul White

I have a small multi-tool. It is much like a penknife; a type of ‘Swiss Army’ knife for the handyman. I keep it in a small compartment in the top draw.

That compartment is its ‘home’. When it is not in use, it is where it ‘lives’.

Two weeks ago I needed this knife. It was not in the draw. I could not find it.

Today I was fetching another item and the knife was back in the draw, back in its small compartment. Back in its ‘home’.

This is not the first time some of my possessions have gone ‘missing’ or have moved; seemingly at will.

Sometimes things appear in my home. They may be objects I have lost, misplaced and… this is one of the strangest, items I have never purchased, ones I do not own.

Generally, these are small articles, inconsequential stuff, general household or personal belongings. The type of artefacts we all acquire during our lifetime.

I hear you saying ‘so what’? This happens to us all and you would be right, it does.

But, I ask you, how many times have you been certain the item in question was not where you left it?

I do not mean the times you may have been mistaken, but those times when you were totally and absolutely sure; times when you know your certainty is more than mere conviction?

I hear people say ‘we must have ghosts,’ or that ‘Mr Nobody’ must have moved it.

The fact is, when said and done, it is not too far from the truth. Only it was not a ‘Mr Nobody’, or a spectral entity who moved or misplaced your item.

It is something real.

Something which lives amongst us. Something which lives in all our homes, in our workplaces, our schools and colleges. Something which is with us at all times.

Even while we sleep.

Especially while we sleep.

It has been said, the best trick the Devil ever played was to make people believe he does not exist.

This is also true of the Gremlin.

I am not speaking of those cute(ish) furry characters portrayed in the film, but of the true Gremlin. Those tiny flitty little beasts.

The leathery-skinned ones with luminous green eyes and teeth like wild piranha.

I doubt if you have seen one, unless you are particularly susceptible to the spirit world, or you are a young innocent child.

Then you may have heard one scuttling under your bed, or in the closet, or outside your bedroom door in the darkness of the hallway.

You may have, on the odd occasion have glimpsed at one. That fractional shadow, the one which flicked past the corner of your eye yesterday.

The silhouette under the bathroom door, the one you see when you are home alone.

They are the Gremlin.

They watch you.

Constantly.

Hear a bang, the unexplainable crash from the room or upstairs. Like when the jar toppled over in your kitchen, or the picture fell from the wall.

All the tapping noises, those creaks and rasps you hear as you try to fall asleep at night.

What causes them?

Gremlin.

Gremlin love the night.

Gremlin love the darkness.

They are the creatures who moved your lip gloss from your handbag and hid it in the back of the bathroom cabinet.

The Gremlins took your car keys and tossed them into your sneakers, pushed them right down into the toe section so you could not find them.

The older the Gremlin get the more insidious their pranks. Messing with your machines. That is why your dishwasher rattles and your car now pulls to the left.

That accident you passed… it was no accident.

The Gremlin have been playing.

Trains crashes. Ships capsize. Planes disappear.

Gremlin.

They are in the machines. Your TV, your Vacuum cleaner, even the device your reading from now.

They are in the rear of your closet, the dark corner of your garage, and under your bed.

Turn your TV off. Turn the radio off.

Be quiet.

Be still for just a moment.

Listen… that noise… the faint noise…

Hold your breath and listen…Listen hard to the background noise, the constant drone which accompanies our lives.

Strain your ears.

You can hear it now, just there in the background… yes, that. It’s Gremlin going about their work.

Quickly look into the corner now, did you see it? In the shadow by the cabinet, shooting behind the sofa?

No?

Sneaky aren’t they.

Try again… use the corners of your eyes.

They are there. In your lounge, in your bedroom.

In the dryer, the car, your garden shed.

They are in the darkness at the top of the staircase, waiting in the loft, in the eaves of your roof.

They are watching you now, right now. Watching your every move.

Doggedly.

They are waiting for the right time, the right moment.

Trust me, I know.


Would you like to read more short stories with a little ‘spookiness’? Then download your copy of these Electric Eclectic Novella today…

North to Maynard, is a ‘ghost in the machine‘ story with and ending you will not expect. Download today.

Or how about a bit of fun?

Miriam’s Hex is a tale of greed and latent curses. This is light hearted black humor at its best.

Available to download now, or order as a Pocketbook Paperback

The Amulet is a ‘feel good’ tale of ancient magic in the modern world.

Download your copy, click here.

You are welcome to visit my website where you can find all my books, artworks & photography, http://bit.ly/paulswebsite