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

Let’s Talk Dirty

by Karen J Mossman

November 19th is, believe it or not is World Toilet Day. Who’d have thought that was a thing?

How often do you nip to the toilet?

No, don’t answer that, it was one of those rhetorical questions. Just think about it for a moment. It’s a normal part of our day. We all talk about it to each other and it’s as natural as talking about what you are going eat.

Has it ever occurred to you that your favourite TV characters rarely goes for that natural break? Neither do the book characters. Why? How many times do you say to the person you are with, “I just got to wee.”? Or whatever terminology you use.

I read a book where the hot male lead eventually finds the female he’d been searching all day for. Does he say something worthy when he finally locates her? No, the first thing out of his mouth was: “I gotta take a piss.” He then disappears into the bathroom as she waits with bated breath for why he has come. I loved him for that. Considering this man had travelled a long way, this was likely outcome. Yet normally its a fact generally ignored. Well done to that author for bringing in a little realism.

In another book, the women is and escaping her lover’s bed went to sit on the toilet to contemplate for a while. That works. That’s normal, too.

Having thought about this, I went into overdrive as a scene played out in my mind. It went like this:

The beautiful girl lies across the bed in her bra and briefs. Her hair cascades over the side, flowing to the floor. She is waiting for her lover to return.

He opens the bathroom door, his hair falling slightly over his chiselled features. He’s wearing a white vest which is pulling taut over his ripped torso. Boxers show off his strong sturdy legs.

The toilet is still flushing behind him. He’s been in there at least five minutes. A smell follows him out…..

What? It’s natural. It’s what happens, except it doesn’t really work. It’s not necessary. It’s what our boyfriends and husbands do in real life. We want escape, not normality!

So yes, it’s okay for our characters to nip to the toilet. It’s real.

Now, I’m going take it one step further. How many times do you or someone around you fart? No, don’t answer that either.

I’ve read hundreds of books and only in one did it happen – The girl lay under a tree with her boyfriend. They were talking and laughing together. Suddenly she let out a little lady fart (is there such a thing?)  And that was it. Never was it mentioned again.

Have you ever read erotica? All the wet slapping sounds make me wonder what’s the difference? Anything and everything goes these days, so it’s only a matter of time before natural functions are included.

So let’s keep our writing real and know our own boundaries.  How far would you go to keep realism alive? How far does a reader expect an author to go?

I wanted to make an example and use a ‘toilet scene’ in one of my books and make it real. It isn’t crude, but everyone farts, right?

In The Ghost on the Stairs, I experimented and wrote a scary book, but I couldn’t help myself. My stories tend to be a mixture of things, just as life is. Life might be scary, but its also humorous. So my toilet scene is very funny because there is nothing better than to embarrass your main character!

Am I wicked? Yes!

When a good-looking guy walks into a café and asks for you by name, you sit up and take notice. Cassie is instantly attracted to Damien Mathers, who is also a World Super Bike Champion. He needs her help to banish a ghost. That is not what Cassie does but Damien is very persuasive!

The Ghost on the Stairs takes clairvoyant Cassie on a journey she won’t forget. It leaves her unnerved and scared—not because of it, but what it unleashes within her.

Damien doesn’t believe in the paranormal until he witnesses something he can’t explain. He is falling for Cassie but how can he love her dark side, too?

Can Cassie hold on to Damien? Can she banish the ghosts and save her relationship?

Give your books their best chance

We are all guilty, at times, of taking things for granted, and that includes me.

For example, I have taken it for granted you know what Electric Eclectic is and how it works, which I know you, or at least many people, do not.

So, I shall endeavour to explain…

Whether you are an established author, an emerging writer or a debut novelist, all of us have one main wish when it comes to our works; we want our books to be read.

To achieve your dream, you must let the world know you have written a great work, a wonderful collection of short stories or poetry, an enticing novel, your mémoire, or whatever writings you may publish.

This is when things become difficult for indie authors. Few of us have the funds, the know-how, the contacts, the experience or the backing to compete with mainstream publishing houses.

Neither do most have the luxury of time; many indies hold down full-time jobs, have children and family members to care for, along with the many other commitments.

Life can be hectic and demanding.

These are a few of the reasons I founded Electric Eclectic.

Electric Eclectic is NOT a publisher. We do not take any royalties.

Neither do we claim any rights over your work. What is yours, remains yours.

So, what is Electric Eclectic?

In its simplest form, Electric Eclectic is a marketing brand.

Technically, Electric Eclectic is a decentralised international co-operative alliance, managed by members in various countries around the globe, forming a strong branded synergy of collaborative association specialising in authorship, book branding, publishing, marketing and promotions.

Using Electric Eclectic branding, being part of the alliance, allows authors to penetrate deeper and wider into the publishing marketplace reaching many more readers than one can do alone.

Electric Eclectic authors work together and for one another while promoting their books and author presence.

Electric Eclectic concentrates in promoting the brand itself, creating marketing opportunities and offering services for the benefit of its member authors.

As an Electric Eclectic author, you also have the backing of the other members, who will willingly advise, help and support you when required.

Electric Eclectic has a far-reaching, multi-platform social media presence encompassing, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, MeWe, LinkedIn and many more.

Plus, we have a great ‘friends’ network, these are other author networks and publishing houses who work closely with us in promoting indie authors books and those published by the small press, therefore greatly extending our market penetration.

We have a large range of information; Documents, Files, Links, Giveaway books, and various Services to aid and assist Electric Eclectic authors and to help and encourage the use of the marketing and promotional opportunities available through Electric Eclectics initiatives.

Electric Eclectic is not a membership scheme.

There is no annual fee or charge.

It is NOT FREE to join, but it’s darned close.

We do ask for a once off, lifetime author registration fee. This confirms you as an Electric Eclectic author. You’ll be surprised just how small this fee is.

The second cost is a licence fee, allowing you to use the Electric Eclectic branding. Each book using the Electric Eclectic branding requires a licence, as this is linked to the books ISBN or ASIN. Again, this is a very small amount.

We do NOT claim Electric Eclectic is the answer to your all your prayers.

This is NOT a get-rich-quick scheme. Nor do we promise the sales of your books will increase a million-fold overnight or the number of ardent fans will rocket through the roof.

Electric Eclectic should form ‘part-of‘ your authorship, publishing and marketing armoury.

It is NOT intended to replace it. You will still need to work at promoting your books.

What Electric Eclectic is, is a low cost, effective method of reaching a wider audience, connecting with likeminded authors, gaining accesses to help, information & documentation, and benefitting from Electric Eclectic’s marketing initiatives.

To find out more how you can become an Electric Eclectic author, please email us at, eebookbranding@mail.com

Keep Happy, Paul White, founder of Electric Eclectic.


Peter Peter comes to Electric Eclectic… but not as you know him…

Peter Peter Pumkin Eater, the new book from Michael J Elliott is now avavilible as an Elerctric Eclectic ebook, ready for you to download now.

BUT WAIT…

Don’t confuse this version of Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater with those cosy, friendly children’s tales or light-hearted ghostly fables… Michael J Elliott is, after all, known as ‘The Horror Bloke’ and even though this is not a horror story in the truest of senses, it is one of dastardly murder.

About Michael J Elliott’s Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater…

Peter Gord is a simple man with simple tastes. He loves cooking and baking, window shopping for bakeware and kitchen appliances and checking out the latest cookbooks.

Unemployed Peter enjoys these things in between doing the housework.

Peter’s greatest pleasure is fantasizing about murdering his wife Delores.

Brash, overbearing Delores takes every opportunity to belittle Peter.

In his mind, Peter gets his revenge by slashing her throat or baking ground glass into her cookies.

When Peter finally gets a job with a local charity helping the poor and homeless, his fantasies become darker and more brutal.

Of course, he wouldn’t really act on them.. Would he?

You can download your copy of Peter Peter Pumkin Eater right now by following either of these links, Enjoy.

USA https://www.amazon.com/Peter-Pumpkin-Eater-Michael-Elliott-ebook/dp/B078L783LM#ace-2333354231

UK https://amzn.to/3hIqwKD


Michael J Elliott

Michael J Elliott lives in a bayside suburb in the State of Victoria, Australia.

Michael J Elliott was writing stories since his early schooldays and was described by his school principal as “A new Alfred Hitchcock”. He is known in literary circles as ‘The Horror Bloke’.

Michael continued his love of writing in high school, acted in films for Media Studies, which he went on to study at college, along with writing film scripts and radio adverts.

He is a member of a community social theatre and writes many of the sketches and routines are were performed. His comedy work has appeared on television.

Michael is the commissioned illustrator of the children’s book series, ‘Girlies Adventureswritten by Claire Plaisted.

You can find out more about Michael by taking a look at his YouTube Channel, Dark Realms Diaries, a channel for horror and thriller fans, which features Myths, Legends and trivia from dark side of the world surrounding us.

Don’t forget, grab a copy of Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater today and enjoy the tale… if you dare. Just click below.

The Dark Valley, the new release from Electric Eclectic

Poster

Fantasy YA portraying a strong woman and a start to romance.

A dark fairy tale with some not very likeable creatures called Trolls who run mines to source precious gems.

The Crones are witch-like characters who want what every older woman wants – to be young and pretty.

The Crones have magical powers, and they take the soul of the young people to help them achieve this. That is until along came Clarissa who finally breaks the curse on their valley.

Excerpt

“Father,” he grinned. “What’s with the next valley over? It’s like winter over there, all cold and dark.”

“Evil is there, don’t say you…”

“No, I stayed in the forest father. I didn’t like the look of it.”

“Good, remember to stay away, too,” he scolded.

“Evil? What type of evil lives close to us?”

“Why so interested Caspian?”

“I – I heard a girl singing with such a pure voice, it was beautiful.”

“Pure evil,” he frowned. “Stay away, the witches don’t like strangers, most never come back.”

“Don’t worry father, I was only wondering.”

“Remember, curiosity killed the cat.”

They entered the house, grabbing a drink of ale each as they sat waiting for their dinner.

http://authl.it/B084MHCDJJ

The Dark Valley

You want to know who I am? Well, let’s see!

I’m British born and bred, although I have lived most of my life in New Zealand. Sweet as? (Kiwi Saying) I love New Zealand, best little country in the world today, though I’m sure others will have different opinions.

First and foremost, I am a wife and mother of four children, though we lost our youngest 17 years ago. My husband and I have been married for 28 years this year. Our two eldest daughters are in the UK having their OE (Overseas Experience as they call them in Kiwiland). My son is about to start university to study architecture.

This will be the first time my husband and I will have true freedom to do as we wish, when we wish, without the phrase “Get a room” from the kids with our reply of “Don’t need one. Got a house.” And that was just about kissing…lol. Kids these days!

I am a Family History Researcher and have been for the past twenty years. I fell into writing in 2012 and became a multi-genre author because the muses…yeah more than one…wouldn’t shut the up. I have published over thirty books and have over a hundred drafts on my computer. My main genres are Children’s Adventure Stories, Young Fantasy, Young Adult Fantasy, New Adult Murder Mystery Romance under my own name. Under my pen name of Beth Bayley, I write Contemporary Billionaire Romance (reverse aka the woman is the billionaire) as well as a set of Mythical Welsh stories. I also have one wayward muse who I call Chloe King who is an Erotic Author. Pain in the … and a nympho. Meanwhile, I’ll stay prudish, thanks.

In 2014 I set up my own Publishing Company called Plaisted Publishing House Ltd, which now runs an Author Assist program for Formatting, Editing and Book Covers. We’ve helped over 32 clients in various different ways. We also do Family History Books.

I join EE last year, though I have only recently found the time to get my first book sorted. It is called ‘The Dark Valley’ by Claire Plaisted and is about a young woman who is strong in nature.

You can contact me at:

http://www.claireplaisted.wordpress.com  and http://www.plaistedpublishinghouse.com  http://www.facebook.com/claireplaistedauthor

 

The Mystery of Missing People

By Karen J Mossman

 

Like many people, I enjoy a good mystery. Stories where you need to know what happens next. Tales that pique your curiosity, and keep you turning the page to get to the end.

Over the years, I’ve found missing people intriguing. Why did they disappear in the first place? Was it an accident or something more sinister? Is there a happy ending or does it end in tragedy? Also, just as importantly, how does it effect those left behind?

Before I thought about becoming a published author, many of the stories I’d written over the years involved this mystery.

Did you know there are 300,000 people reported missing each year in the UK alone? That works out at almost 900 a day.

The first high profile case I recall was that of Lord Lucan in 1974. His wife claimed her husband had attacked her, and murdered their nanny. The police investigated but Lucan was never found and to this day it remains a mystery.  Journalist Amelia Hill wrote a fascinating article in The Guardian about a girl who became pregnant. Her boyfriend didn’t want to know, and her parents told her to get an abortion. She felt she had no option but to run away. She had her baby and said her life had been a lie ever since.

As part of my research I went onto the missing person’s website. There were many stories about people who had disappeared, and those left behind. One mum showed the bedroom of her son left just as it was in 2006 when he disappeared. The torment she must live with wondering whether he is still alive is hard to imagine.

Another high profile case was that of estate agent Suzy Lamplugh who disappeared in 1985. An attractive young woman who had pencilled in her diary she was meeting a Mr Kipper. She was never seen again, her remains never found, and they didn’t trace Mr Kipper. As a result estate agents changed the way they worked and Suzy’s mother founded a Trust in the name of her daughter to deal with personal safety.

Not all cases are as high profile, and in 2012 an appeal was launched for a missing woman who had not long given birth. She was already suffering from anxiety and depression. It could have gone either way and for a few days, everyone lived in hope until they found her body.

Ben Needham was aged just 21 months when he disappeared in 1991. He was on holiday on the Greek Island of Kos with his family. He was being looking after by his grandparents at their farmhouse when he vanished. It made the news all over the world and it finally looks like the boy wandered onto a nearby building site and died as the result of an accident.

Madeline McCann is one of the most famous stories. In 2007, the four-year-old girl was abducted while on holiday with her family. She was a beautiful little thing with blonde hair and big blue eyes. She captured everyone’s hearts. Despite a massive investigation and search. The police had no viable leads and no trace of her was ever found. Twelve years on, the story still hits the headlines occasionally.

There are many more stories with no conclusions offered and it’s frustrating not to have an ending. I’ve always wondered what makes people want to disappear in the first place. What are their stories?

One day watching a television programme that searches for missing people, I had an idea for a story. What if you were the missing person, and your face suddenly appears on the screen? The secret you had been trying to keep was now out.

perf4.000x6.000.inddFinding Amanda tells the story of a girl who had problems with her brothers. She takes off to Scotland and creates a new life for herself. When she and her boyfriend are watching television, it is her face that comes up on screen and Jamie, her boyfriend is shocked by what he hears.

The people left behind don’t always know the reasons their loved ones leave. It affects them in difference ways and many suffer for years as a result. So in this story, I’ve included the bewildered family and how they dealt with her disappearance.

Some stories do not have endings and we are not always given that neatly wrapped up conclusion. With Finding Amanda I wanted to round it up and conclude it, so get your tissues ready for a sweet ending!

Why not add it to your Goodreads shelf?
Or find out more.

 

 

 

 

Railways, nostalgia, memories and time travel.

I first published this post, in June 2015, on a blog called Ramblings from a Writers Mind where I ‘write about writing for writers’.

The subject, one of memory and nostalgia is, I feel, equally important to the readers among us as it is to those who write. It is on that premise I now re-publish this post here, on Electric’s Eclectic’s blog.

Enjoy.

I am sure I am not alone when I say stations and trains hold countless evocative memories for me. Many of these recollections are from my childhood, others from my adolescence and beyond. But most are essentially pure nostalgic longing.

I say nostalgic longing rather than reminiscent memory because most of the evocative scenes which play within my mind, when I contemplate railway carriages and station platforms, are false recollections. They are simply wistful yearnings for a time and place I have never been privy to.

Those of you who may not have a creative bent, those who are not writers, poets or lyricists may not, as yet, comprehend my words. So I shall, in my usual arbitrary, chaotic and irregular manner, begin to ramble away and hopefully elucidate you all too where my thoughts have wandered regarding this subject.

If you will humour me, I shall ask you to close your eyes for a moment or two and imagine you are on a station platform in the nineteen forties or fifties.

casablanca04Hear the sounds of the locomotive hissing steam as it waits for the passengers to disembark. See the porters as they wheel loaded wooden carts to the goods wagon, while others push handcarts laden with passenger’s luggage to the coach doorway where they assist the people to board.

In the waiting room, a small coal fire burns filling the air with a sooty but homely scent, a scent of warmth and comfort. From a small kiosk, a man wearing a scarf and flat cap sells newspapers to the passengers waiting on the platform.

All around, a cacophony of sound melds into this concert of life, whistles blow, milk churns clank, You can hear the ‘thunk’ as reams of newspapers are plonked on the platform ready for collection. Passenger’s voices are a constant murmur, a backdrop to the stationmaster’s call of “All aboard”. Doors slam shut, the train huffs and puffs as it pulls away. A metallic squeal pierces the air as the wheels begin to turn.

Those remaining on the platform wave off their loved ones who, leaning out of the windows, blow kisses back.

The pervading smell is of coal, steam, hot metal, wood, newspaper and soot.bacio in treno grande

This is how I remember railway stations. Or at least this is how my selective and partially false memories cause my mind to create this evocative picture in my head.

I am not quite old enough to had such an experience. I was not born into that era. My time came a little later. Perhaps I do have just enough knowledge, enough memory to blend some truth into this fantasy.

As a young child, maybe six or seven years old, I regularly watched the last few operational steam trains as they rattled over the railway bridge in Penge.

I remember ‘platform tickets’, tickets which allowed non-passengers access onto the platforms to say goodbye and wave off their loved ones, or to meet them on their return. I have sat in the comforting warmth of a British Rail waiting room which was heated by an open coal fire, the smell of which I shall never forget. I also recall when the green liveried trains had first, second and third-class carriages, as well as a goods wagon and guards van at the rear.

Some may say they were the ‘good old day’s’ and in many ways, I agree. But historical conclusion is not the topic of today’s rambling.

I was not born early enough to have encountered life in the forties, not early enough to truly know the scents, sounds and feel of travelling by train in ‘those days’. Yet I do have the ability to create with my pen an acceptable and, this is the important bit, believable account of ‘being there’.

This is where ‘false memory’ becomes a friend and not the enemy.

downloadMixed with the few true memories I have are the perceptions of what life was like during such times. I have absorbed and pooled many of these ideas by reading books and watching films from that era, such as Brief Encounter (1945), or The Lady Eve (1941) and many other such scenes from plays and television programmes.

If, as a writer, I do my job well I can utilise both the true, the false and the acquired to create a world which shall captivate the consciousness of the reader, draw them into my fantasy world as their eyes traverse the page. I want to fascinate and enthral the reader, not only with my characters and their antics but also by lending to them an illusory world where they can escape the mundane and humdrum of life, at least for the moment.

This is where nostalgia, or at least nostalgic imagery features. I believe it is something we all have a longing for. Who, for instance, would not wish to travel back, to at least one certain point in time, if they were able?

I know it is something I would do if it were at all possible.

So why, I hear you ask, have I focused on railways as a topic to discuss the past. The answer is simple. Trains were ‘the’ mode of transport for the majority of people ‘way back when’, when few owned a car, less could afford to board a ship and air travel was just an aviators dream, accessible to only the very wealthy. Most towns and cities, other than one’s own home town, were too far away to cycle and horses were all but history.

How many of us have not said at least one goodbye, waved off a loved one or shed a tear on a railway platform. Who has not been be45a6b16e065833331925e08c5acb93bursting with excitement and anticipation while awaiting the arrival of a train returning a family member, a friend or a lover home?

It is fact stations are a place many hold dear because this is where we have experienced numerous emotions, countless times.

The station, the train, the railway is a place indelibly ingrained, permanently embedded and entwined with both our memory and emotion, however true or however false those evocative recollections might be will still hold them close, we still cherish them.

We all carry within ourselves a simple wistful yearning for a time and place we have never been. If I can re-create that place in your mind, stimulate your emotions, have you feel the air, taste the scents of my imaginings as you read my stories then know I have done a good job.

Thank you for reading this post. I hope these few randomly scribbled words give you food for thought or simply entertained you for a short while, Paul.


 To browse my books please feel free to visit my website, https://paulznewpostbox.wixsite.com/paul-white

If you would like to read a shorter book, say as an introduction to my writings, then check out my novelettes and ‘Pocketbooks’ on @open24, the Amazon store for readers by Electric Eclectic.

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