Lost in Music

Sister Sledge once sang about being ‘Lost in Music’ and no truer words have been sung. Music is our escapism. Some people close their eyes and listen to the melody while others, like me, listen to the words and live the stories within them.

Like Hollywood actors, pop and rock stars have become icons in their own right. They lead glamorous lives and can command anything they want; they are the romantic heroes who sing of love and honour, or so it seems.

In 1974 David Cassidy was every girl’s idol. He had everything; good looks, an engaging smile, and a husky, soulful voice. He was living the dream as he set off on huge tours all over America and the UK. His concerts were sell-outs, and he had the world in his hands. But the reality was actually very different. Sadly he was a product making money for other people.

On a television documentary, it showed him being rushed out of a venue, hidden in the back of a car with a cover over him. His face showed the strain of exhaustion, but as long as he was well enough to perform, that was all that mattered back then.

In 1986 a newspaper article told of 80s pop star Paul Young’s wife, running off with Eddie Kidd, who was a handsome stunt motorcyclist. It reported our hero, Paul, charged over to Eddie’s house, and allegedly kicked down the door where a fight ensued and he reclaimed his girl. How romantic is that?

The real story was probably very different, but it does have a happy ending as was reported in March 2014 by the Daily Mail. After all that, Paul and his wife still live happily together with their family, despite that rocky start.

Eddie Kidd’s tragic life went on to be an inspiring one and culminated in the Eddie Kidd Foundation.

During my research for this book, I came across a forum where someone calling himself Tupac, asked: What is it like being a rock star?

There were lots of interesting replies, many humorous, and some from musicians who talked about lives on the road in general.

One guy said that he was a stage manager for nine years, and those people that remained grounded were the ones that had families to keep them so. One user listed all the bad points of being on the road; how he lost his girlfriend, never slept more than three hours, ate at gas stations; missed all the holidays, and finished by saying he would never trade his experience, and seemed regretful that he would probably not get the opportunity to do it again.

Learning about the real people behind the icons and the stories captured my imagination. Who were they and are what were their stories?

It wasn’t long before I realised I had enough to make an interesting storybook. I named it Behind the Music as that says exactly what it is.

One of the stories tells of a burnt out rock star that feels his life is out of control and cannot drag himself from his depression. He escapes to a house by the sea and there he meets Gemma. She is morose, cries a lot, and at first won’t speak to him. What tragic secret is she keeping? Can Rick forget his troubles and help her, or will she end up helping him? It’s an emotional story that brings two people together when they need it most.

Five other stories tell of Nick returning to his roots in Coming Home. Melody’s Melody tells the story of a singer in a band who realises the cover artist of his album was the troubled girl he befriended in the early days.

In The Belle Vue Hotel, a real place in Welsh seaside town, Jenna goes to meet the boyfriend she met at university. They had agreed to meet every 5 years, now he was a big West End star, would he still come?

Many journalists interview rock and pop stars and The Interview is no exception. Lisa Langley is the charismatic lead singer with the Average Word Master, a very successful band. In this story she tells how they first started and those early days of gigging.

The final story, The Power of Love, is a fairy tale where music plays a very powerful part.

Behind the Music

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Using Goodreads – Part 2

The original post regarding the use of Goodreads is here.

One of the things I didn’t know is the difference between a friend and a follower. I eventually found this explanation.

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    A friend is a two-way commitment: Both people have to agree to it. If you are friends with someone, their reviews and comments will appear in your feed, and yours in theirs. Following is a one-way activity: A reader can follow you and you are not required to do anything. You don’t have to accept or approve them, and you don’t have to interact with them. If someone is a follower of an author, that author’s blog posts, reviews, and comments will appear in their feed, but their own comments and reviews will not necessarily appear in the author’s feed, unless the author and the user are also friends. It is possible to be both a follower of an author and an author’s friend.

    Goodreads Help file  is a good place to start if you are looking for anything.

Recently a friend of mine brought out a new book and I wanted to add it to my Currently Reading shelf. After two days, it still wasn’t there. So I added it myself.

I did a search for the book in question and nothing came up.

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In the top right, it says ‘Manually add a book.

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Begin filling it in. It will stop you after the title to suggest the book may already be on there. I knew the one I was adding wasn’t. So I continued with the details. I just added the eBook, so where it says ISBN, further along that line it says Click for ASIN. Go to Amazon and collect that information and copy and paste it in. If you are trying to add a book that is already there, with this number, it will tell you. So abandon it, if that’s the case. Leave the edition and take the description from Amazon.

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I don’t know what Work Settings is, so leave that blank. Before you create the book, go back up to the top and look on the left at the small writing that says: Upload a cover image. I just took a screen shot from Amazon and uploaded that. Then you are ready to create the book.

I’m sure I don’t I don’t need to tell you, but please be accurate with your information and use copy and paste where ever possible.

If you need help with anything, particularly if you are an author and it is about changing the covers to your books, or adding a book if you are not confident to do it. Go the Goodreads Librarians group. They are very helpful there and will assist you.

The Mystery of Missing People

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 intrigued me. Why did they disappear? 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 affect those left behind?

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

In 2013, I found I could self-publish via Amazon and the first thing I wanted to do was a book containing the stories of those people.

The Missing was finally published in 2014, although it went through a couple of changes since then; new cover, new formatting and an extra story.

Did you know for instance, that there are 300,000 people reported missing each year, working 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 Lord Lucan was never found and to this day it remains a mystery. You can read the full story here.

Journalist Amelia Hill wrote a fascinating article in the Guardian in 2012 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, but says 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 exactly as it was left in 2006. 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 penciled in her diary that she was meeting a Mr Kipper. She was never seen again, her remains never found and Mr Kipper was never traced. Estate agents immediately changed the way they worked and Suzy’s mother founded a Trust in the name of her daughter that deals with personal safety.

Not all cases are 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.

I read a story called Never Coming Back by Tim Weaver. It told an intriguing tale about a young woman who visited her sister and when she arrived there is no one home. The whole family had disappeared right in the middle of what they were doing. How could they just disappear, leaving their dog, and food cooking? It’s a great read and that element of mystery was a key factor.

Little 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 in recent years and it now finally looks as if the boy wandered onto a nearby building site and was killed in a tragic accident. The website gives the details and how his mother always lived in the hope of him being found.

Madeline McCann is the most recent, even though it is now over 10 years ago. 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. It’s a tragedy and like many others, I still hope one day the truth will emerge.

There are many more stories with no conclusion offered and it’s frustrating not to have an end. I’ve always wondered what makes people want to disappear and what are their stories.

One of the first tales I wrote was about a young girl who ran away to London in effort to get away from her problems. When Christmas comes, she realises she just wants to be with her family. You can read Home for Christmas here.

One day watching a television programme that searches for missing people, I was suddenly struck by an idea. What if you were watching and your face came up on screen as a missing person?

Runaway tells of Amanda, 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 onscreen and he is shocked. The people left behind don’t always know the reasons why their loved ones leave. It affects them in difference ways and many suffer for years. So in this story, I’ve included the bewildered family and how they dealt with her disappearance.

As mentioned before, some stories do not have ending and we are not always given that neatly wrapped up conclusion. So in Missing! the police bring in family and friends in for questioning. It seems they all have something to hide.

A murder is left undiscovered for many years, is brought to light again as Detective Carl Sheridan investigates The Skeleton in The Cellar.

In The Search for Daniel, Ellie is looking for the brother who walked out after a family row. The song Daniel, sung by the group Wilson Phillips, inspired this story. Something in the lyrics and they way they were sang made me put pen to paper. I’ve also included a real place; the home of my grandparent’s in Oswestry. It still stands today, and what Ellie discovers when she locates him, is something she never imagined.

And finally another song inspired story. This time 90s hit Hazard by Richard Marx. The haunting music and story-like lyrics coupled with the video brought Down by the River to life. When Mary-Jo goes missing, her best friend Shelby must return to the small town she grew up in to search for her friend. Shelby has the gift of visions and soon realises there is something more sinister at work.

The Missing

Distant Time

An Electric Eclectic Book

I pleased to tell you my new book, Distant time was published on 12th January. This is the first time I have ventured into the Science Fiction genre. The story was originally written for an anthology and I felt I could do more with it. So the story has now become this full length novelette.

Distant TimeDescription

 Imagine visiting a village that has just been invaded by German WW2 soldiers. Now imagine you are no longer invisible.

What would you do if you woke to find yourself in a strange place not knowing who you were? Running outside, you find yourself caught up in a war. Not only that – you run for your life and come face to face with yourself.

 

Julie is time travelling and something has gone drastically wrong. Read this thrilling adventure where the future needs evidence collected from the past.

Teaser

Extract

Every nerve in my body was on fire, my heart beating so fast, I could hardly breathe. I was about to run into the open, but saw a soldier aim a gun at a man on his knees. He fired. The man collapsed. I saw his family watching and heard their screams and cries. I stopped dead in my tracks, stared, horrified, before turning to vomit behind a wall.

Wiping my mouth I crawled into a space between outbuildings. Balefully, watching the scene unfold, tears streamed down my face.

Tanks were rolling through the village, crashing into buildings, running over fences, anything that got in their way. Some people were being killed; others herded up like animals for slaughter. Fear fizzed in the air and the noise of terror was just as deafening.

Crouching down, my hands automatically covered my ears. I squeezed my eyes tightly shut. I didn’t want any part of this, yet here I was. I had no idea what to do or where to go. I didn’t want to die.

Amazon e-Book £1/$1

Other Electric Eclectic Books

Electric Eclectic branded books are a way to introduce the reader to new authors.

 

Indie Insights

with Marnie Cate

Episode 6 is live! guests Richard Ankers, Karina Kantas, Karen J Mossman and Jin Okubo

Yes, my first online interview. It was a bit nerve racking and I think the trick is not to watch yourself back!

Even so, it’s great to have the opportunity to express myself and perhaps for some of you to get to know who I am in person rather than always behind the words.

The Interview