Meet one of the Winners of Electric Eclectic Novella Competition 2020

Release Date: December 3rd, 2021 190 pages

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

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

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

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

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Excerpt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tristen walked to it slowly.

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

“Tri-st!-enn.”

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

Also available as a pocketbook


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

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

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

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

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

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.

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. 

EEnewLogo

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.

EEEEE

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.