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.

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The Story Behind 99th Squadron by Audrina Lane

When I first thought of the idea for doing an anthology to commemorate VE Day’s 75th Anniversary in 2020, it was the end of 2019. I was with Karen Mossman at the Christmas book and Craft fair I had organised in November and you know what it’s like when two writers get together… ideas burst into life!

At the time, my Grandad (I always called him Gramps) was still alive, still healthy and I guess me and my whole family thought that we would have him in our lives for longer. Secretly willing him to be able to get his telegram from the Queen. Time transpired against us and he went peacefully in his sleep, at home in his 100th year. He was aged 99 and 12 days. I was lucky enough to share 46 years of my life with him and during the time we had possibly only had a few conversations about the war. When I was at secondary school we had to write about what our grandparents had done during the war and my Gramps, being quite a quiet, modest man told me to talk to my Nan. Between these conversations I learnt that they had met in the RAF, my Gramps a mechanic and my Nan helped to taxi the planes onto the runway or back into the hangers. She confessed that she really wanted to be working on the parachutes as they got to keep the spare scraps of silk to turn into underwear.

I vividly remember sitting on the sofa as he got out this battered photo album and started to show my black and white photos of his time in India and then onto the Cocos Islands (also known as the Keeling Islands). It almost looked like they were having a great holiday, sitting on the beach under palm trees or swimming in the Indian Ocean. The full horror was never talked about, especially as he fought on after VE day until VJ Day on August 13th and even then he never returned home for nearly a year as transport was so sporadic and disrupted. It was only recently and watching the Stephen Spielberg series ‘The Pacific’ that I discovered the hardships of those left fighting the Japanese on these small islands in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

Later in life I learnt more through talking with him and my Dad as he said that he was quite often chosen to accompany the RAF Officers to meetings in Great Britain which they would fly to in a small plane. A mechanic would go with them in case there was any difficulties and he remembered an occasion when they were flying in thick fog and the pilot asked if he would help to guide them down by peering through the window. He said he’d been scared that if he made a mistake then the plane would crash. On the other hand, he would have to wait while the meeting took place and spent many hours sitting in the Officer’s mess, even though it was above his rank. I wish now that I had asked him more about this period, what it was like, what it felt like, but I always thought I would have more time for that. I was and still am fascinated by the photo of the falling bomb over fields, so powerful an image as I have only ever lived through peace.

Writing the tribute story in this anthology was my acknowledgement of his sacrifice for our country today, one I knew too little about but which I am so proud. This story was hard to write as I wanted to keep certain things based on fact’s, but I never knew my Gramps’ full story. I found little online but with what I could I was able to add to the few parts of his life that I did know about. In my own words it was a story of true emotion as I let him fly free for the final time, yet still have a part of him close to me in the words of his story – 99th Squadron. A carthartic write in the middle of the turmoil of bereavement and a pandemic that can be likened to a war with an invisible enemy.

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Excerpt

‘We had a radio to keep in touch with the news and as the 8th May, 1945 dawned nothing felt any different until we all heard a shout from the NAAFI and we scrambled from our places on the sand or in the sea to find out what was happening and whether it was good news of bad. It was good, the war was over in Europe with Hitler and Germany surrendering to the Allied forces. But would it be the same for us, forgotten in the Pacific Ocean. We raised a quick glass to our boys on the Western front but then it was back to work. More screws and bolts to check and tighten before the next flight sortie took off. Then it was the long wait until they returned.

I always found that part the hardest, waiting to hear the drone of the Liberator engines returning to base. As chance would have it our bombing raids were very few as the atomic bomb was dropped on Japan and that was the beginning of the end of the Pacific war. I had been in the RAF since the start of the war so I was lucky enough to be one of the first men to start the journey home. I remembered the buzz of the plane engines as we took off, we actually had to stand until the plane was in flight and it was one of the memories I always came back to in the years since. Through the chink in the bomb doors I watched the landing strip fall away before a view of the small island, surrounded by the bright blue of the Pacific ocean. We had been such a small part of a huge operation, with so many lives lost along the way.’

Win a Paperback!

by Audrina Lane

To commemorate the 75th Anniversary of VJ Day on 15th August , I am giving away a copy of the book ‘Victory 75’ for the cost of a £1 raffle ticket.

I decided it would be great to be able to contribute another £75 to the Veterans Fund on this momentous occasion.

To enter click on this link to Facebook and comment the number you’d like. Then just send £1 to my Paypal account.

I’m hoping to do the draw on Monday 17th August in the evening.

VJ Day/Singapore surrender. A family witness.

“Lord Louis Mountbatten delivering a speech from steps of Municipal Building at the conclusion of Japanese surrender ceremonies. L to R, front row: Admiral Sir Arthur J. Power, General Sir William Slim, Mountbatten, Lt. General Raymond A.Wheeler, and Air Chief Marshal Sir Keith Park. Singapore.” Sep. 12, 1945

This year, 2020, marked the 75th anniversary of the end of World War 2. Probably the most momentous historical occasion in living memory.

Many military and veterans’ associations and charities planned special events, shows, exhibitions and displays in remembrance of VE-day, D-Day and VJ-Day, which, due to the Coronavirus pandemic necessitated cancellation.

Every day, memories of World War 2, its sights and sounds, its terrors and triumphs, disappear. Yielding to the inalterable process of ageing, the men and women who fought and won the great conflict are now in their late 80s and 90s. The oldest reported, 110 and 105 respectively.

It is doubtful how many may still be with us to observe future milestone in our history of remembrance. One of the main reasons 2020 was to be a major worldwide commemorative event.

At the time I write this post, both the VE-Day and D-Day dates have passed which is one reason I write of VJ-Day.

Another reason is, my grandfather, Percy Doswell, a Royal Airforce doctor, witnessed the surrender ceremony at the Municipal Building of Singapore, headed by Lord Louis Mountbatten, Supreme Allied Commander of South East Asia Command, who came to Singapore to receive the formal surrender of the Japanese forces in the region from General Seishirō Itagaki on behalf of General Hisaichi Terauchi.

A photograph montage, near the end of this blog post were taken by my grandfather and have never been published or publicly displayed before.

However, let me start with a simple historical explanation for those who may not know too much regarding the ending of World War 2.

D-Day; the popular name given to the Normandy Landings, on 6 June 1944. (D-Day and H-Hour being common military terms of the period.)

This event marked the allied fightback against the Axis Powers, notably Adolph Hitler and the Nazis. It was the beginning of the end.

VE Day marks the end of World War II in Europe, (Victory in Europe, hence ‘VE’.) May 8th, 1945 the date the Allies celebrated the defeat of Nazi Germany and the end of Adolf Hitler’s Reich, formally recognising the end of the Second World War in Europe.

VJ Day signals the end of World War II in its entirety. It is when Japan finally surrendered. (Victory over Japan Day, VJ-Day, also known as Victory in the Pacific Day, or VP-Day.)

In Japan, August 15th is known as the ‘Memorial Day for the end of the war‘. 終戦記念日, Shūsen-kinenbi); the official name for the day, however, is ‘the day for mourning of war dead and praying for peace.’ (戦没者を追悼し平和を祈念する日, Senbotsusha o tsuitōshi heiwa o kinensuru hi. (This official name was adopted in 1982 by an ordinance issued by the Japanese government.)

In the UK and the US, VJ Day is celebrated on different dates.

The initial announcement of Japan’s surrender was made on 15 August 1945, the date the UK marks as VJ-Day each year.

However, the surrender documents were officially signed on the USS Missouri battleship on 2 September 1945, which is why America celebrates on 2 September.

Foreign minister Shigemitsu, signing Japanese surrender instrument on the battleship USS Missouri

This blog, however, concentrates on the 12 September 1945, the date the surrender instrument was signed at the Singapore Municipal Building, (now known as City Hall), simply because, (as stated above), this was the part of the war’s official ending my grandfather witnessed and of which my family have personal records.

On 12 September 1945, Supreme Allied Commander (Southeast Asia), Lord Louis Mountbatten, accompanied by the Deputy Supreme Commander Raymond Wheeler, was driven to the ceremony by a released prisoner-of-war. As the car drove by the streets, sailors and marines from the East Indies Fleet who lined the streets greeted them.

At the Municipal Building, Mountbatten was received by his Commanders-in-Chief and high-ranking Allied Officers based in Singapore. Also gathered in front of the Municipal Building were four Guards-of-Honour, from the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force, the Indian army, and Australian paratroopers. Mountbatten led an inspection of the officers before proceeding to the chamber where the ceremony was to be held. During the inspection, a fleet band played “Rule Britannia” accompanied by the firing of a seventeen-gun salute by the Royal Artillery.

The Instrument of Surrender was signed by General Itagaki, who signed on behalf of Hisaichi Terauchi, Field Marshall Count, Supreme Commander of the Imperial Japanese Forces, Southern Region.

Terauchi was not able to attend the surrender ceremony as he fell ill due to a stroke. However, he personally surrendered to Mountbatten on 30 November 1945 in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh city).

He also surrendered his two swords: a short sword forged in the 16th century and a long sword forged in the 13th century. Mountbatten later presented the short sword to King George VI.

The Japanese signed a total of 11 copies of the Instrument of Surrender; one each for the British, American, Chinese, French, Dutch, Australian, Indian and the Japanese governments; and one each for King George VI, the Supreme Commander, Mountbatten and the South East Asia Command’ records.

The ceremony was also witnessed by 400 spectators (one being my grandfather, Percy Doswell), made up of commanders and officers from the navy, army and air force, as well as senior officers from the Supreme Headquarters of the South East Asia Command, 14 leaders of the Malayan communities, the Sultan of Johore, Sir Ibrahim, and released prisoners-of-war, who were all seated behind the Allied representatives.

In the chamber, flags of Allied forces were hung and at the bases of its pillars as were one officer representing the different fighting forces; the Gurkhas, Sikhs, Australians, British airmen, Dutch, Americans, French (from the battleship Richelieu) and the 5th Indian Division.

The surrender ceremony ended with the hoisting of the Union Jack and the playing of the national anthems of all the Allied nations. The Union Jack used was the same flag which flew over the Government House before the war and which was hidden by a Malayan civil servant, Mervyn Cecil Frank Sheppard in his pillow during his captivity in the Changi Prison during the Japanese Occupation.

The official ceremony was followed by a celebration at the Padang, which included a victory parade.

A British military administration, using surrendered Japanese troops as security forces, was formed to govern the island until March 1946.

At home, in England, Prime Minister Clement Atlee‘s announcement: “The last of our enemies is laid low”.

King George VI addressed the nation from a balcony at Buckingham Palace and streets across the nation were filled with people singing, cheering, dancing in scenes which echoed the declaration of peace in Europe three months earlier.

Bonfires were lit, fireworks sent soaring into the sky and historic buildings floodlit as the whole country celebrated the news that their remaining troops would soon be returning home.

Immediately operations began to repatriate some of the 130,000 Allied prisoners held by Japanese troops in POW camps across the region. The RAF parachuted in 136 teams to negotiate the release of prisoners in Operation Mastiff.

My Grandfather, Percy Doswell. (While stationed in India.)

Sadly, the end of World War 2 did not bring the everlasting peace so many wished for, war and conflict still rage around the world to this day.

I note two books you may wish to read, the first, an anthology from the authors of Electric Eclectic, written to celebrate the 75th VE-Day anniversary, is simply called ‘Victory 75. This can be obtained in Paperback from Amazon, here, or as an eBook/Kindle, here

The second is ‘Life in the War Zone, n award winning collection of short stories classed as fiction, yet are based on true accounts given by those living in areas of conflict around the world. Paperback only. Here.

Victory 75 from Electric Eclectic

We all know, so far, 2020 has been a wash-out regarding public occasions, such as exhibitions, displays and spectacles, which is more of a shame when you consider this year is the 75th anniversary year of the end of World War II.

2020 was to see celebrations for VE-day (Victory in Europe), The D-Day landings and VJ-Day (Victory over Japan), which marked the end of WW2, and more.

Many military charities, organisations who care for veterans, support families, work with the injured and those requiring rehabilitation needed to cancel their planned commemorations and tributes often losing the investment they made in the organising of those events.

The Royal British Legion, SSAFA, Combat Stress, Veterans Outreach Support, The Invicta Foundation and Navy Wings are just a few who have been hard hit by these cancellations.

The shame is, none of those who served are getting any younger and, for many, this year was possibly their last chance to travel to memorial events and exhibition showcases.

As part of these 75th anniversary commemorations, Electric Eclectic has published an anthology containing several stories, from a number of their authors and friends, all  focusing on and around VE-Day.

The title is simply, ‘Victory 75‘. This book is available in paperback and as an eBook from Amazon and many other online bookstores, with a percentage of the profits destined for SSAFA – the armed forces charity.

The promotion of this book has been as hard hit by the covid19 outbreak as the cancelled events mentioned above, so now we are counting on your support to help us help those in need.

Purchase your copy of Victory75 from Amazon Paperback or eBook

Find Victory75 from Apple iBooks, Nook (B7N), Kobo, 24Symbols, Angus Robertson etc. HERE

Thank You.

Readers; important dates for your diary.

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Are you planning to buy more books this year, or do you simply tend to grab one when it catches your eye?

Whichever you do, it is worth considering when to buy your books because, at certain times, authors and publishers run special promotions.

These promotions can include discounts, new releases, posting of excerpts or sample chapters, reveals of covers and a whole host of exciting stuff not usually seen at other times.

Electric Eclectic suggest the following are dates worth putting into your diary and even setting an alarm to jog your memory. (We’ll post further dates for your diary later in the year.)

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March 5

Marked in over 100 countries across the globe, World Book Day is a UNESCO initiative which aims to celebrate books and reading, especially among younger members of our societies. In the UK and Ireland, National Book Tokens are given to children so they can find books of their own choice, something to unlock the power of their minds in a way the increasing prevalence of digital screens may not provide.

For what it’s worth, World Book Day falls on the same date every year as St David’s Day, so, if you read a Welsh book on the first day of March every year, you are doing justice to two great causes!

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March 21

Poetry reaffirms our common humanity in revealing everybody in the world shares the same questions and feelings. Poetry is the mainstay of oral tradition and, over centuries, can communicate the innermost values of diverse cultures.

In celebrating World Poetry Day, March 21, UNESCO recognizes the unique ability of poetry to capture the creative spirit of the human mind.

One of the main objectives of the Day is to support linguistic diversity through poetic expression and to offer endangered languages the opportunity to be heard within their communities.

The observance of World Poetry Day also encourages the oral tradition of poetry recitals, to promote the teaching of poetry, to restore a dialogue between poetry and other arts such as theatre, dance, music and painting, and to support small publishers and create an attractive image of poetry in the media, so the art of poetry will no longer be considered an outdated form of art, but one which enables society as a whole to regain and assert its identity.

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APRIL

April 1 to May 10

National Pet Month is back, and it is even better than ever, attracting thousands of animal lovers to celebrate the value of pet ownership. Every year National Pet Month brings together animal welfare charities, professional bodies, businesses, and schools to promote good pet ownership, raise funds for good causes and have fun.

We love to shout about the rewards and benefits of owning a pet whilst encouraging responsibility, increasing awareness of pet care specialists, and promoting the value of assistance and companion animals.

What has this, you may ask, got to do with books. The answer is simple, writers and authors love their pets too, so to share stories and images of them while talking a bout their books is something many do. Check out social during these dates.

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April 23

World Book and Copyright Day is a celebration to promote the enjoyment of books and reading. Each year, on 23 April, worldwide celebrations take place to recognise the magical power of books; a link between the past and the future, a bridge between generations and across cultures.

23 April is a symbolic date in world literature. It is the date on which several prominent authors, William Shakespeare, Miguel Cervantes and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega died. It is the natural choice for UNESCO’s General Conference, first held in Paris in 1995, to pay a worldwide tribute to books and authors, and to encouraging everyone to access books, which are the most beautiful invention for sharing ideas beyond the boundaries of humanity, space and time, as well as being a most powerful force of poverty eradication and peacebuilding.

By championing books and copyright, UNESCO stands up for creativity, diversity and equal access to knowledge. With active involvement of stakeholders: authors, publishers, teachers, librarians, public and private institutions, humanitarian NGOs and the mass media, and all those who feel motivated to work together in this world celebration of books and authors, World Book and Copyright Day has become a platform to rally together millions of people all around the world.

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MAY

May 1 to May 31

National Share A Story Month 2020

Celebrate the Power of Storytelling with National Share-a-Story Month

The Federation of Children’s Book Groups is an organisation started in the 1960s. It was created in response to parents’ desires to learn more about children’s books and how to encourage their own children to read more.

Children’s Book Groups were created in throughout the UK, the Federation served to link them together. The Federation is responsible for several initiatives including National Share-a-Story Month.

The celebration takes place annually throughout the month of May. It has proved to be an excellent way to celebrate the power of storytelling. Children and stories are brought together in a variety of events which take place across the UK.

Each year the event has a general theme, for 2020 it is Folk tales, fairy lore, figments, phantoms, dragons, serpents, storms at sea.

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Browse Electric Eclectic’s books, for adults and children of all ages. You can find them on our website at http://bit.ly/visitEEbooks

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Electric Press magazine: February edition, now out.

The Electric Press Literary Insights magazine: February 2020 edition is now available online. Simply follow this link. 

https://issuu.com/electricpress/docs/epfebruary20

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Answering Questions…

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Recently, we have seen an increase in the number of people asking who or what is Electric Eclectic.

So, it is the question I shall answer here.

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.

Okay, I hear you say, but what does that all mean?

The best way for me to answer that question is to give a little history of Electric Eclectic.

A few years ago, I was browsing the net, looking for some books to read.

A simple task.

Well, no, not really. As I searched I quickly realised this was a bit of a minefield.

Not only is there a plethora of titles on major bookstores websites, but there are also books on offer, or discounted, or offering gifts, or vouchers and even a vast number available for free.

Now, while there is such an overabundance of free and heavily discounted books, why on earth would any sane minded individual want, or even consider buying a book?

Clearly, this trend of giveaways is damaging the publishing world as deforestation is killing our planet. Readers DO NOT follow reading a free book buy purchasing the authors’ other titles, they simply move onto another free book, then the next and the next and the next. (See, FREE is killing indie)

Not only do the industries own figures show only 2% of free books are ever read, but they also show 97% of those who collect free books do not make any other literary purchases.

This got me wondering.

Why, if the book is well written and entertaining, should authors be offering their books at a vastly discounted price anyway, or even trying to bribe someone by giving away goods and vouchers?

After all, these are books which they have invested a great deal of time, lest to say money, in writing and publishing. Are their efforts not worth a few pounds or do these authors know their work is of such poor quality their book would not stand up to the competition without some form of enticement to gain a sale?

I was at a craft fair not so long ago and small handmade trinkets, bracelets, necklaces and such were on sale at what I thought were very high prices, as were the greeting cards and other craft paraphernalia.

After talking with a few of the stallholders I understood the investment of money and effort they spent in producing each individual item. I then realised that £15.00 (GBP) for a handcrafter sterling silver beaded necklace (on leather) with polished semi-precious stone was indeed a very reasonable asking price.

The cost of this necklace was bought further into perspective when I realised I spent £3.50 on a paper cup half-filled with lukewarm weak coffee, a price I accepted without flinching.

I know which was the better value.

My thoughts are, if you have something of quality, especially something created with the uniqueness of original thought and conception, then you have something which, by its very nature, holds an intrinsic value which should never be diminished.

This experience cumulated with me founding Electric Eclectic in 2017, which I originally referred to as Electric Eclectic books. 

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My original concept was a simple but effective one.

I knew most, if not all authors, have a vast accumulation of unused stories, part works, short unpublished tales and so forth. Mostly, these sit in a desk drawer or on a computer file gathering the dust while waiting patiently for the ‘I’ll finish that one-day’ promise to be realised.

I thought, why not encourage my fellow authors to dust off these neglected, forgotten, orphaned stories and publish them as short works, as eBook Novelettes to introduce readers to their writing style.

As I am a firm believer people do not value-free, as it holds no value whatsoever, my idea was to price these Novelettes at a simple 1.00 price, be it Pounds, Dollars or Euros.

By giving each of these books a light edit, a uniform format, and a consistent cover design we were able to create a brand image, bolstered by the edition of the Electric Eclectic logo.

These books, our Electric Eclectic Novelettes, would give readers a low-cost opportunity to sample the works of all our Electric Eclectic authors and, once they found the authors whose writing style and narration they enjoyed, they could then purchase the author’s main books knowing they were getting a quality read they would thoroughly enjoy and not be taking a chance on an ‘unknown’ writer.

For our Electric Eclectic authors, they would earn a small royalty on the sale of a story which would, in all probability, still be languishing in a dead file and have the chance of gaining new fans and followers.

I do not know of any other marketing programme which pays an author to promote their own books.

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By having all our author’s books sharing a common brand, Electric Eclectic, gave us all a far higher prominence in bookstores, such as Amazon and, of course whenever any of our books were promoted the brand was promoted too.

This way, each author is also helping their fellow Electric Eclectic authors showcase their works along with their own.

Since then Electric Eclectic has somewhat evolved.

We now offer far more than just our original Kindle Novelettes, although they are still a major part of our library. Electric Eclectic now have paperbacks (novels and short story collections) and are currently introducing a smaller version paperback, called pocketbooks; these are still complete, whole books, but are printed in a smaller size to make them easier for carrying, whether commuting or travelling on vacation.

All this is a boon for readers of Electric Eclectic books, they now have a much wider choice of formats in which to enjoy our author’s books and, as we are frequently introducing new authors to the Electric Eclectic fold, there are new books and stories to discover.

There’s more…

Electric Eclectic has grown far beyond its original concept and is firmly focused on developing the emerging new independent authored publishing market, a ground shift environment for future generations of writers.

Electric Eclectic boasts its own Amazon store, a YouTube channel, online magazines and catalogues, marketing services, Author Assist services, blogging networks and an influential social media presence across and beyond the major platforms, using core and micro-social influencers to reach both broad and niche market demographic targets.

Visit and browse, https://electriceclecticsblog.wordpress.com/

EEauthorbecome

Become an Electric Eclectic author.

Each year Electric Eclectic welcomes a small number of authors to our ranks. This year is no different.

To join us, email: EEbookbranding@mail.com

I hope the above answers your question about Electric Eclectic, of course, should you have more questions or need clarification about anything Electric Eclectic, please contact us.

Keep Happy,

Paul White

Founder, Electric Eclectic.