Neglected!

 Joanna is a feisty and independent woman. She was also the first of the strong women I began writing about. I like my heroines to have a vulnerability about them. Some damage that was done in the past that makes them who they are today.

This was my first ever novel and since then there has been Kerry and Sarah, who had fights of their own to contend with.  Joanna has always been a little overshadowed by them in The Secret and The Truth Will Out.

She has now come out fighting and her nemesis was her mam. To the outside world, Edna Glidden was a wonderful mother bringing up two little girls on her own. The reality was far different.  Here Joanna tells her friend, Mike some of what she endured.

For a moment Joanna allowed her mind to go back. “I still get claustrophobia,” she said slowly, “because she used to lock me in a cupboard, sometimes all night. It was cold and dark and I could hear scratches and feel things touch me. I still hate being in small spaces, but I’m better than I used to be. You look and see an attractive woman, and you judge her accordingly.”

Edna Glidden3

Sometimes you have to stand up for what you believe in. Relationships are what Joanna thrives on, but she doesn’t always get them right. And sometimes she is her own worst enemy.

One reviewer totally got the character when they said:  “There are a couple of things I really enjoyed, the detail of the worlds created by the author,  to the depth of the characters. It has it’s own unique and outstandingly natural storyline. Almost so believable that you’d mistake her for your flawed best friend, who can be both amazing and yet stupid and frustrating all at the same time. I found her just so relatable, that of course, I wanted the best for her in her love life, falling for two guys has to be the hardest thing to go through, not knowing if you’ll ever make the right decision or not.”

Joanna’s sister Sandie plays a big part in her life and when she gets together with someone Joanna doesn’t approve off, Joanna will tell her in no uncertain terms. Even when she knows she is doing exactly the same thing.

sandie

 

Here Joanna’s friend, Solly tell Joanna the truth about the man Sandie is seeing,  “Toss is what he’s called behind his back. Torrance is his real name. Torrance Murdock. He acts like the lord of the manor, and no one can get anything on him. He hides behind connections. But he’s a dangerous man, especially if you get on the wrong side of him.”

Follow Joanna’s Journey as she makes mistakes and triumphs and most of all she tries to appear strong when inside she is really fighting to survive.

Available on Kindle, Kindle Unlimited and paperback.

Amazon

JJ Teaser

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Book Reviews

By Karen J Mossman

 

As authors, we love book reviews. Without them how would we know if readers enjoy our work? People don’t like leaving reviews and I don’t know why. I am an author but first and foremost I’m a reader. I love writing reviews. Perhaps that’s just the writer in me.

I’ve spent a lot of time in the past trying to get readers to review my books, from competitions to downright begging and nothing works! I also wasted energy on checking Amazon every day to see if I had a new one.

There are not many reviews on my books, 13 is the most I have on one. Out of all my 7 books I’ve only received 3 bad reviews. One of them said the book was badly written and to some extent, I agreed it could be better. It was the first book I ‘d ever published and had no idea what I was doing. So I removed it and completely re-wrote it. I decided to contact the reviewer and offered her a free copy if she would consider reviewing it again. She graciously accepted, thanked me, but never re-reviewed.

Another said the book was a disappointment and it wasn’t what he expected. I just took that as you can’t please all the readers all of the time. The third gave my novel a 1 star saying it was boring and they had to give up after a few pages. At first, I was horrified. I didn’t want that as my most recent review. How can 10 other people love it if it was that boring?

So I began asking people to mark it as unhelpful in the hope it might be removed, but it never was. The only way to combat a review is to ignore it. Eventually more good reviews followed and it wasn’t the first to be seen. Unfortunately there are trolls out there who like to target authors.

Now I tell writers not to get hung up on reviews because it’s something we can’t change. If our book is out there, it’s going to attract attention, good and bad. Just try to remember why you started writing in the first place. These days I concentrate my efforts on writing new books, which I love doing. And it’s far less stressful!

Early 2016 I created a WordPress blog called Karen’s Book Buzz Blog. At the beginning, I was afraid of being too honest. I didn’t want a backlash; neither did I want to upset anyone. So what started out as fun soon became stressful. I too readily agreed to read every book offered. I quickly discovered that some, I didn’t like. As I’d already agreed, I forced myself to read it. The joy of reading soon became a chore.

Now I’m more selective. I don’t offer unless I have seen a sample or know it’s genre. Reading for pleasure became a joy again and I get most of my books from newsletters or online book events.

Subscribing to an author’s newsletter is a great way of getting to know about Indie books. Not only do they tell you about their writing, but often show you other writer’s books too. I’ve bought or download many this way. Some even offer free ones.

Another source is Kindle Unlimited. Readers can browse the extensive library, and if after reading a few pages decide it’s not for them, they just return it. It’s all very easy.

After 12 months, I’ve now learnt my craft. I still review the books on Amazon and Goodreads. Karen’s Book Buzz Blog is where I have the fun and write about my joy of the story and what I loved about it. It enables me to be critically constructive in a positive way and to be creative in the way I write. My rule of thumb is if I have read it, I enjoyed it. I don’t read books I don’t like.

There are many reasons for not liking a book. One could simply be it’s the genre. I’m not a science fiction or horror lover, for example. It could be that I don’t like the writing style. Sometimes its because it’s badly written and although I expect to find some errors, too many can distract from the storyline.

A few months ago at a book event, I was presented with one that had a fantastic blurb and I just had to download it. In the comments, I said I had done this and the author was naturally delighted. She said she hoped I enjoyed it. Whenever someone says they have downloaded a book, an author, hopes they will follow it up with a review.

The storyline was compelling and fascinating, I loved it. Unfortunately, it was riddled with errors and badly needed an editor to look at it. It was such a shame. Under normal circumstances, I’d have given up, except I loved the story and persevered.

When I reviewed it, I gave all the good points and why I enjoyed it so much. I then added a paragraph suggesting the errors be looked at. The book deserved to be the best it could be. I have no idea whether the changes were made. I just hope so.

Reviews must be fair and honest and we should never forget the work that goes into creating one.

Karen’s Book Buzz Blog has gone from strength to strength and I have many followers. I love getting comments and likes. Most of all I love to hear someone else’s point of view on the same book.

It takes time, time to build a blog and to learn a craft, and it’s the same for an author and their books. It takes time to write and for readers to find you, and only a small majority will ever write that review.

So my advice to authors is to be patient and don’t worry about it, keep writing and keep loving what you do.

One last word, if you do read any of my books, will you consider leaving a review!

 

Karen’s Book Buzz Blog – know your next book.

 

 

The Tide and Time Book Series

Short reads, short stories

Time & Tide Series

Free to download with Kindle Unlimited.

Book 1 is The Missing
5 short stories

Excerpt from The Runaway

He paused and then said: “Mandy, where are you?”
“I’m in Scotland.”
“Scotland? I never thought of there. I was beginning to think you were dead. After you left, I knew you were out there and one day I woke in the night sweating like something bad happened.”
“I was living rough in Manchester for a long while,” she said.
“We went into town and searched for you.”
“They were horrible days. I don’t want to remember them now.” Her mind instantly took her there and she had to shake it away.
“What are you doing in Scotland? How did you get there?” There was anxiety in his voice.
“I walked and now I’ve got a great job and a boyfriend and life is good.”
“So you won’t be coming home?”
“No Aaron, I couldn’t come back.”
“Where are you living?”
“In a hotel, I live and work here. I go for long walks in the hills. It’s beautiful and peaceful, and I wouldn’t like to live in the city again,” she said.
“What’s the hotel called?”
“The Glengower, but it’s a long way from everything.” She looked out of the dark window and imagined the lawns with the sunlight on them. “You’ll not know it. What about you, have you been okay?”
“Not really, but I don’t want to say that because I’m scared you will put the phone down on me.”
“I won’t, I promise. Why haven’t you been all right?”
“Why do you think?”
“Because of me?” She chewed on her bottom lip.
“Yeah. It might have been five years, but it was like yesterday. There was always something missing, like none of us can do anything, because you’re not here.”

Amazon UK
Amazon US



Book 2 is Behind the Music 
6 short stories

Excerpt from A Cry in the Night

Stepping out, he kicked his jogging clothes to one side and walked naked into the bedroom choosing another similar pair and a tee shirt. Barefoot he walked over to the piano, they had troubled they had getting it in, but after a fair bit of sweating, managed it. Sitting, Rick stared at the keys, his fingers hovering over the ivories. He looked up and out of the window for a moment.
“Damn!” he muttered, getting up again and poured himself a whisky as his thoughts drifted to the girl downstairs. What made her sad enough to cry all the time? He took a sip and stared out at the ocean.
Sitting back down, he splayed his fingers over the ivories and let the solitary sound wash over him. In his mind, he conjured up an image of her as his fingers danced along. He stopped, wrote on a pad, and then played some more.
After repeating this several times, the music became soft and mournful. He took another slug of whisky and it scorched his throat. His fingers went back to the keys now playing with harshness and before long he had a chorus.

Amazon UK
Amazon US



Book 3 is Heroes 
9 short stories

Excerpt from Crossing Serbia

I was appalled to see so many boy soldiers. I tried to talk to them but they laughed at me. They had been brought up on hate and I couldn’t reach them.
Zoran a Serb, was my main tormentor at the camp. Because I could speak to him in his own language, he took pleasure in mocking me. I shall never forget that first day when I naively believed I could make him understand how he was hurting people.
I was kneeling in front of him with my hands tied behind my back. He said, “If the Jugoslav federation was broken up then Serbia would lose its influence and wealth. Ethnic cleansing is the only way to keep our birthright!”
He talked over my head as he held a cigarette in his hand.
“But it is not just your birthright,” I implored, “It’s the Croats….” He hit me then, a slap across the head.
“You don’t know what you’re talking about!” His lip curled as if I was dirt under his boot. “You are less than a woman! A real woman is like this.” He moved his hands in the shape of an hourglass.
I tried to plead with him, “These people bleed like you. They feel like you do.”
In answer, he raised his boot and kicked me.
He had probably never heard of human rights. All that mattered to him were his own rights. I had tried to tell him that love was a far better way for the soul to live but he laughed out loud at that.
“So what is your definition of love?” I continued, determined not to give up as the pain made my body ache.
“Making love to a good woman just before she dies, and a beer just before you drink it.” He spat on the floor and stubbed his cigarette out on me.
I tried not to cry as they dragged me back to my cell, but I was weak both in mind and body.

Amazon UK
Amazon US

A Total Eclipse​ of the Moon in 1891

Taken from the Oswestry Advertiser, exact date unknown.

 

A correspondent writes:  The total eclipse of the moon, which took place on Sunday week, passed off in a manner most satisfactory to all, excepting those who witnessed it.  At Llanymynech it was only partially visible, owing to the fact that the moon, as if was conscious that something was wrong, persistently endeavoured to hide herself behind banks of dark clouds, but fortunately, she was not altogether successful, so that good views were occasionally obtained of the progress of affairs.

Another drawback was a misty atmosphere, but as the night wore on this gradually wore off, so that shortly after twelve o’clock the sky became clear, when the moon, at that time totally obscured, had somewhat the appearance of a huge Chinese lantern.

About one am heavy clouds again began to chase each other across the sky, but glimpses of the moon could now and then be obtained until the eclipse ended about two o’clock.

Some years ago a double event of this nature occurred on the same night – a total eclipse of the moon and the total eclipse of an old and very ardent admirer of astronomy and of Scotch whiskey, who, for this particular occasion, invited to his residence several fellow disciples, for the purpose of indulging in the one and also partaking of the other.  The eclipse did not come off until the small hours of the morning, by which time all the party were at the height of their enjoyment – more especially the host, who, on being led out to take an observation, distinctly saw two moons and two eclipses, and repeatedly declared it was the most wonderful sight he had ever seen, and a sure sign of the heavy wet, which prediction proved remarkably correct in a certain sense during the rest of the night as far as he and his astronomical friends were concerned.

The Safe Place by Matt Beighton

21741376_10156523031284018_524669781_nHe slammed the door behind him and raced down the worn wooden stairs two at a time. He knew he was safe down here in the basement. This was his space, the only place that he was away from it all. His dad never came down here. He was too busy upstairs pimping out his mum. He was used to it by now, it didn’t affect him. Or he’d fought so hard to hide his emotions that it amounted to pretty much the same. His dad’s “friends” were always too drunk or high to even find the small door at the back of the kitchen.

This was his safe place.

The kitchen had been full of his dad’s layabouts again. The reek of whiskey and cooked heroin were as familiar to him now as the smell of cookies to any normal eleven-year-old. He’d had to run the gauntlet, of course. Sometimes jumping, sometimes tip-toeing, always carefully moving past the wretched men. A few had grabbed at his ankles today and one had been alert enough to clumsily expose himself but none had managed to pin him to the floor. Today had been a good day. Not like yesterday. Probably not like tomorrow.

It’d been another shit day at school. Mr Grimshaw had tried to have another “talk”. He just didn’t get it. He’d insisted on calling him a victim. He wasn’t a victim; he was stronger than that. He didn’t need their help.

It didn’t matter now though, not down here. He lay down on the battered sofa that dominated half the basement floor. A small laptop kicked into life and the familiar grunts and moans of his video collection washed over him. It echoed perfectly the sounds that he heard every day when he returned from school. That was his mum’s busiest time of the day when the workers at the local industrial estate needed a mid-afternoon break.

There had been some run-ins with his mum’s clients before. Most of them were aggressive and hated seeing him around. Some had been violent before to him and his mother. They couldn’t get him down here though. He knew what would happen if they ever caught him.

Something was wrong though. He could sense it in the air. He slowly muted the laptop and turned around. There were no working lights down here, only the filthy light that filtered in through the grid in the wall. The grid that needed cleaning. The basement was plunged into darkness as the laptop battery died. Then he heard it. The snigger followed by a wheezing cough. He felt the hot breath on his neck and the whiskey fumes mixed with cheap tobacco filled his nostrils.

This wasn’t fair, they weren’t supposed to be down here in his safe place.

Then the world went black.

You can find more about Matt on his website.