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Christmas Time

Firstly, welcome to my new subscribers who’ve dropped in this last month. I do post fairly regularly, but haven’t for the last few weeks for various reasons.

However, I’m back and the other day a blog post caughte my eye. It was about Christmas past, present and the furture.

It made me realise how at Christmas time I always remember what it was like when I was a child and how we celebrated our Christmas’s. I came from a big family and we  hung a stocking on the end of the bed. In the morning there would be an apple, orange, a little toy and some chocolate inside. The chocolate was particularly nice when eaten at 6 am!

We would go downstairs when told we could, and there in the lounge was a pile of toys, all unwrapped waiting for us. It was a treasure trove as our eyes grew wide with excitement. Mum or Dad would tell us which chair or end of the settee was ours. The toys for many years consisted of the same the things, but we loved them just the same. Always a coloured-1854302_1920spinning top that hummed like crazy the faster it got. A tea set with cups and saucers, a tea pot, milk jug and sugar bowl was also firm favourite as I used to have a lot of tea parties with my dolls. And yes, a beautiful doll, whom I always adored. I still remember counting them one day, and I had twenty eight of all different shapes and sizes and colours. I loved choosing a name for them. One year I even had a hamster in a cage. We were lucky, and we all loved Christmas. This cumiliated in a wonderful Christmas dinner.

When I met my husband, his family did something different. They didn’t open any presents until after Christmas dinner had been eaten, cleared and washed up. He had a big family, and they went to different relative’s houses on different years. There used to be up to wenty two around the table. The presents, all wrapped sat like a mountain around the Christmas tree and took hours to open. It was lovely. Gradually as the years went by the elderley relatives passed away and the people round the table got less and less.

When we had our own children, we kept that tradition although we did have some toys to open on Christmas morning, with many more later. There is something special watching your little children getting up when it was still dark, desperately trying to be awake to seeing the glee in their eyes. I remember one particularly year we bought our son a sit-upon-digger. It was too big to wrap so I placed a balloon in the digger bucket and covered it with a table cloth. In the morning, he pulled off the cloth and exclaimed loudly with a sharp intake of breath. ‘A balloon, a balloon!

When the children grew up, we experienced a different kind of Christmas where it was just the two of us. The family would come to us for dinner and we would open presents afterwards, just like we always used to. It was strange waking up in the morning to have no gleeful children and it took a while to get used to.

We moved to Angelsey a few years ago and Christmas’s changed again with us going back on the day, and the children and their families coming here another. Next year it will change again as our daughter moves to Anglesey in a house that will accomodate us all.

So things evolve all the time and you do have to work at it, not just the preparation but making it as enjoyable as possible by doing the things you love with the people you love.

The blog I saw which inspired me to write this was by author Chantelle Atkins. It’s a lovely read and she puts it so well. Pop over here to have a look.

Before you go, get yourself in the mood for the festive season with my novelette One Christmas.. It’s funny and sad, happy and very Christmassy. It’s also short. So you don’t have to commit to a big read. I’d be grateful of a review too, just a few words to tell me what you thought.

As a Christmas gift, it will be free to download from 16th December to the 20th.

Happy Christmas!

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Don’t tell a writer your secrets!

Sometimes the most embarrassing things can be humorous and I wrote something a little risqué by my standards. I also wanted it to be a little cringe worthy because we’ve all been in situations that have made our toes curl.

You know that saying, never tell a writer your deepest secrets? No? Well, perhaps I made that up but it’s true. They may write it in their book!

I’m guilty of that. Someone, who will remain nameless, once told me how she lost her virginity, and as much as wonderful things are written in books about ‘the first time,’ the reality is it is often embarrassing and messy. You always hope you’ll never see that person again, right?

If we collected stories of first times, it would end up being really funny simply because people keep that to themselves. They don’t want to share their inexperience or be made to feel foolish. I know I wouldn’t. The truth is we have all been there and hearing someone else’s stories makes ours less shocking. The more we hear, the more amused we get, do you follow?

I wouldn’t dare ask you about your first time and neither would I tell you mine, so instead I put a tale in The Magic of Stories, one I made up, with a little bit of truth in it!

Meanwhile I will leave you to read this amusing post entitled:

41 Things I Wish I Could Say To The Guy Who Took My Virginity

 

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Finding Humour

I think humour is very important in stories, at least they are in mine, because life is full of humour. We, as humans can find humour in all sorts of things, even the macbre. I recall the days before Social Media when something bad happened, you suddenly found bad jokes being sent to your mobile phone.

It was an underworld of communication, and you always knew something would do the rounds when something bad happened. The jokes would be in poor taste and forwarded many times. If you didn’t like it, you deleted it and said nothing. Not like today, when we have to be careful what we put on Social Media or else people would come down on you like a ton of bricks, rightly so, in many cases. You couldn’t get away with anything now, where as in a text message it was just for you regardless of where it originated from and easily deleted.

Life is humerous, and I was unfortunate enough to come from a family that had clumsy in it’s genes. Because we were all that way inclinded, you needed a good sense of humour to survive it. Being a writer, I collected many of these instances as they happened and they still make me chuckle as I add them to my stories.

Some years ago I wrote a story with the long weird title of Walking in the Moonlight with Brad Pitt. It was the story of Amy who goes to a party and sees the handsome Liam. She remembers him from a disasterous date she had several years earlier.

I had a friend many years ago who dated a girl who was taller than he was. He told me how on dates, he would get her to walk in the gutter so they could be at least on the same level. That really amused me, so I used it for Liam and Amy’s date. Then there was my sister who once worked in an office that had a spiral stair case leading down to the reception. She was on her way to meet a client wanting to make a good impression. As she got midway, she slipped and fell on her bum hitting every step and landing at the clients feet. Her skirt was above her suspenders exposing her thighs, it was the eighties, I might add! So I wrote this in to the story as well. It’s how Amy makes an impression on Liam – minus the suspenders!


 

‘Amy groaned and left the bathroom. The date had ended because she choked on a nut and couldn’t stop coughing.

 As she tried to come down the stairs elegantly, she saw Liam watching her and knew he had finally placed her. Her eyes caught the blond head of Jack, who was now giving the kiss of life to the party prostitute. 

 Turning back, Liam’s eyes were still on her as she missed her footing and squealed like a cat with its tail stuck in a door. Her slippery hand grabbed the handrail as her bottom hit each step in turn. Liam was there in an instant as she rose to her feet looking as red as the wine.

 “Are you all right?” he asked with concern.

 Standing, she gave him a dazzling smile through clenched teeth, “Is that my drink, lovely!”’


Please share with me your embarrassing moments, because we have all had them!

Amazon UK
Amazon US

Introduction to The Magic of Stories book

MagicofStoriesCoverThis week I’m re-launching The Magic of Stories eBook under the Electric Eclectic banner. It’s been tweaked from the original, with additional stories and new formating, and a brand new super-duper cover, which I love. Paul White of P J Designs has done a lovely job in designing it for me.

Stories are wonderful, they weave magically threads that draw you into a world that is different to your own. We all need escapism and many, like me, like to do this with a good book.

I’ve always said stories are not just fictional.  True life tales, can be just as fascinating. I love hearing about people’s passions, what they love, what they believe, their families and their memories. Stories are all around us every day.

In The Magic of Stories, I have collected material together written over the years, which include poetry, shorts, and flash fiction, each telling a tale.

Screen Shot 2019-09-25 at 17.43.03Last year, I read a book called Undressed by Karina Kantas. It’s a collection of poetry, prose, flash and short fiction. Although I loved reading all the stories, there was something else that made it special. For most of them, she explained her reasons for writing it, or how it came to be, or some other fascinating snippit.

I’ve never seen this done before and found they added another dimension to the book. So, this is what I’ve done with mine. Knowing how a story orginated makes it a a more interesting read.

Karina has kindly offered to give my readers a copy for free. I highly recommend you grab it and add it to your reading list. All details of how to get it are in The Magic of Stories book.

Amazon UK
Amazon US

Every day this week I’ll be sharing articles to accompany the stories in the book. As I publish them, I will add the link here, so you’ll be able to come back and follow them anytime.

Coping with Bereavement
Can you Control Your Dreams?
Playground Games
Finding Humour
Do You Believe in Love at First Sight?
Do you keep a diary?
Memories of my dog Ricky
I don’t like creepy things, do you?
My Sister Far Away
Don’t tell a writer your secrets!
Hidden Stories in Family Tree
Train Journeys
Churches and Ouiji Boards

 

 

 

 

What is Flash Fiction? It’s this…

Flash fiction is a style of fictional literature or fiction of extreme brevity. There is no widely accepted definition of the length of the category. Some self-described markets for flash fiction impose caps as low as three hundred words, while others consider stories as long as a thousand words to be flash fiction.

Fewer words often tell a better story, I think.  So I’ve had a play about with words.

Addicted to Love

I love…..

I loved……

I cried……..

I saw, I took, I loved and I lost.

That sums it up really.  He was handsome and kind and when he asked me out, I said yes. I took the love he offered. It was good, really good. I drank from him and I waded through a pool of caresses and kisses. I indulged, I supped, I enjoyed.

I became dependant, possessive, needful and addicted. It was too much. No good shutting the door after the horse’s bolted, Granny said. It was one of herf avourite saying and its pity I didn’t listen.

How do you wean yourself from addiction? Time will heal, says Granny and this time I’m trying to listen. It’s hard and it hurts. I’ve cried, I’ve yearned and I’ve learnt.

This was a compilation of shorts I wrote a few years ago.

Albert

Albert loved to watch the children play in the school yard. Their voices filled hish eart with happiness, but someone reported him as suspicious. Now all Albert watches is trains.

This was a dream I had, so not all of it makes completele sense. But I think you will get the gist of it. It stuck in my mind because of the shock of what happened at the end. It felt so real.

And The Ship Went Down

I’d gone with a small group of tourists back in time. We were observers and everything around us was in black and white.  Just like a film except that we were there.

In the corridor people had spilled out of cabins shouting and pushing to get out. They couldn’t see us as we stood watching like observers.

A woman shouted above the noise, “It’s all right we;re going on again.” Just for a moment the panic subsided and then I realised we weren’t going on, we were going down, and at the same time I realised it, so did they. The ship was sinking!

The panic and bedlam rose up again. People began falling as the ship tilted. Among them were children who were getting trampled in the panic.  I could hear each individual scream and it was horrific.

We scrambled to the back of the ship and stood waiting.  I could see land not too far off as it tilted and the sea was further away. There was no question of jumping, it was like contemplating jumping off a cliff.

With awful suddenness we realised something had gone wrong, we were going down with it, and the water the rushing towards us, “I don’t like this, I want to go,” I shouted above the noise.  This was too real, not what I expected at all!

We began to sing the code word, Red Tomato, Red Tomato, Red Tomato, and nothing happened. The wind rushed in my ears and the people in my party started singing, “We are English, We are English.”  Did that matter? What was that for?

Apart the abject terror, there was no time to panic as water rushed up my legs and over my head. I will swim, I thought, soon as I’m under the water, I shall swim away, and back up to the surface.

I didn’t count on the whoosh, and of sucking sensation that sent me turning and spinning.  Then I stopped and was floating. I waited for the pain that goes with drowning. I looked across the murky water to see other people who had been sucked down too. Inthat tiny millisecond I realised I didn’t know which way was up and I wasn’t going to get to the surface. Then my breath ran out. I had no choise but to breath in and fully expected it to be sea water. It wasn’t. It was fresh air. I was alive! My eyes opened and it was a dream….only a dream…

Cooking

When I withdrew the knife, I smiled.

This would be better.

I liked to cook in the kitchen, especially on my own.

It was when I got to the sink I realised the knife still had his blood on it.

Torture

A pulse was beating in my temple which exploded into a full blown headache as I saw them come for me. I was taken down a white walled corridor as my stomach churned. I felt sick.

A light above me flickered as hysteria bubbled inside. The door opened and he was standing there waiting for me, a glint in his eyes. I didn’t want to look at the cold, sharp instruments lying on the table. I could smell fear in the room as the blood rushed through my veins and pounded in my ears. For a moment, I thought I was going to faint.

I’d seen others coming out, their faces as white as the walls.  Somewherea tap dripped. The bright light above was aimed like a spotlight illuminating the area of kill. Oh god!

Hands were on my shoulders making me lay back and terror consumed me. I caught the sight of ametal hook and broke out into a cold sweat.

A hush descended the room, the only sound was my breathing. A sweet sickly smell swept though my nostrils as goose bumps marched down from my shoulders.

Thank god they had changed it to 12 monthly appointments, as I couldn’tgo through this every time I needed a dentist check up.

The Mistake

I’m 30 and I’m single. Is that unusual? I don’t really care because I am happy with who I am.

I’m Christina; I live alone with my cat, Henry. I’ve had plenty of boyfriends and have a good social life. I love men and always have, but haven’t found the one to settle down with.

Life was good, I have a good job and my own my flat, but last weekend my life turned upside down.

It’s hard to put into words and I’m struggling to come to terms with what happened. My whole life has been thrown into disarray. I don’t know who I am any more. My self-confidence has plummeted.

You see I went to a party. My friend dropped out at the last minute and I decided to go on my own. Lots of people were there and I always find it interesting meeting new people. I’m waffling; I know I am waffling, putting off the moment I have to tell you.

You see, I kissed another woman.

There, I’ve said it. It was a full blown necking session with wandering hands. Every time I think about it, my stomach flips and I go cold. I love men. How could I do that?

I feel sick, indeed I have been sick. I’m not a lesbian, I’ve never thought of another woman that way. I love men. I love everything about them. I love sex – with a man. I’m repulsed at the thought of sex with another woman simply because I’m not gay.

So why did I end up kissing another woman? I don’t know. She liked me. She made all the moves. At first Ithought she was being attentive and naively thought she found me interesting. When she began touching me, I didn’t think anything of it. When I realised she being over affectionate, I knew I’d drank too much, and because I lwas enjoying it. Before I knew what was happening, we were outside. She was smiling at me in a way that was disconcerting. Then she began kissing me, it was passionate, it was nice, my eyes were closed. Then I opened them.

I expected to see a handsome hunk, instead there was a pretty women. I felt let down, and cheated.

My friend told me to chalk it up to experience. She said it happens to most people at some point in their lives. At least, she said, you know who you are now.

But then I always did. I love men.

I See Things

I am a normal ordinary person, or I would like to think that I am. I’ve lived in our house for 18 years and was brought up by a loving family. I’ve never had any problems. That was until recently. Now I see things.

I don’t particularly believe in ghosts. I’ve never seen one, at least I don’t think of what I see as ghosts. If they aren’t, what are they?

Well, they are small, dark blobs I see from the corner of my eyes. Suddenly they run across the room or they run up the walls. When I turn my head to look properly, they’ve gone, escaping to wherever it is they are running to.

Sometimes I think things live in this house, things we never knew were here and living along side us.  Now I know they are here, I worry. Where are they when I can’t see them?  Why do they dash everywhere and why can’t I see them as they really are?

I hear them at night too, as I lie awake in the dark. I can’t describe the soundt hey make but it is there and muffled in the silence. Where are they in the darkness? Are they crawling up the walls and dashing across the floor? It makes me shiver, and worry as to who else is living in our house with us.

Night Time Cuddles

“Do you know I love you very much,” he whispered.

“That’s very nice.”

“Very nice? What kind of an answer is that?”

“I’m just saying, that’s all.”

“You never say nice things to me.”

“Yes, I do.”

“When?

“Well, erm, I told you that jumper looked nice.”

“I’d just bought it.”

“Yes, well, I say other things too.”

“Like what?”

“I thanked you for washing up, didn’t I?”

“That doesn’t count.”

She giggled and snuggled closer.

“You’re a crazy woman, you know that?”

“That’s why you love me.”

“I do. Very much. Now go to sleep.”

Treachery

Mrs Horseface was very angry and I hung my heard.

“Somebody better own up or you are all going to be punished.”

Keeping my head bowed, I moved my eyes to Charlie on the right and Ian and Shaun on the left.

“It was her, miss,” said Charlie.

I looked up sharply in time to see the other boys nod in agreement.

Mrs Horseface turned to me and I shrunk from her stare.

“Right, get out, you three.”

And my so-called friends, didn’t need telling twice. They shot out of the door as I hunched my shoulders.

“You better explain yourself, right now Sophie Clark.”

“Erm, I’m sorry Mrs Horsley, I…I….”

“Yes? I am waiting.”

“I…well, you see….”

“Spit it out,”

“It was Charlie, he made me do it, said as my Dad was a gardener and I should pull them up.”

“Do you realise they were only planted in the spring and they were going to flower in this autumn? They’re not going to flower now, are they?”

“No Miss.”

“I shall be writing to your mother and father.”

“Oh, no, please don’t do that, miss. I shall put them back.”

“Hold out your hands.”

Reluctantly I did.

My hands were smarting so much when I came out of her office, but that didn’t stop me punching Charlie on the nose.

Like these? Some and more are featured in The Magic of Stories book. It’s on offer at 99p/c and free to read on Kindle Unlimited.

The Magic of Stories cover (Jon_s MacBook Air)

 

 

Happy Birthday!

by Karen J Mossman

Today, 23rd April is my birthday. So let’s have a little bit of fun.

Name any one of my books. Comment on this post with – ENTERED, not the answer. Then use the contact form to send me your answer. If it is correct, then you can win this book.

Butterfly

Description:

Six eclectic tales – A rescued dog, a women scorned, a nun paying penance, a brave man, a girl who sees dead people and a family of wine makers.
An Electric Eclectic book introducing you to new authors.

Jody’s Tale by Markie Madden

“Not all dogs live in such a fairy ‘tail’ world. I didn’t, for a while. My name is Jody, and I’m a golden retriever.”

The Cliffs of Rathburn Heights – by C.A. Keith
There were so many things he lied about. Susan wondered how many more secrets he was hiding.

Penance by Michael J. Elliott
Sister Elizabeta closed her eyes tightly as if this would block out the fear that was creeping up on her.
“This Council has carefully considered all options and we feel there can be but one punishment.”

I Am Not Me by Paul White
Stealing yourself for major surgery, or a course of debilitating treatments while holding onto the hope of recovery is not being brave. It is making a choice, an informed decision.

The Embers of Webster Street by Karen J Mossman
When I was a child, I talked to people they couldn’t see. Jessica, who didn’t laugh often, thought it was funny until she realised I was serious.

The Vineyard by Elizabeth Horton-Newton
“It too is a secret. This is what makes us successful. As long as these secrets remain within our bloodline we will prosper. This secret is now yours as well. Treat it with respect.”

Competition closes midnight on the 24th April.

The Christmas Event

by Karen J Mossman

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Christmas Eve. Table was set. Turkey cooking. Presents wrapped. I drank wine to celebrate.
 
Then I stopped mid flow. Oh my God! What had I done? Or rather what had I not done!
I grabbed my coat, then ran back and grabbed my phone. Ordered Uber. Shoved my feet into my shoes, purse and phone were shoved in a shopping bag. I ran outside. Didn’t get far as coat was trapped in door. Reopen door, released coat, locked up. Uber rolls up.
 
“Where to?” he asked.
 
“Trafford Centre?”
 
“You sure?”
 
Trafford Centre – Christmas Eve? Maybe not. “The Mall, then.” Noddingm he and off.
Thanking him, I climb out and rush inside. The Mall was full of odd-balls. A four-foot tall man who walks with his right arm outstretched, a woman with the doll in a push chair. Loopy folks.
 
People poured around me. Last minute shoppers. Like me. “Where’re am I going?” I spoke out loud and a man looks me oddly. I turned and collide with a mobility scooter.
 
“Ow! Sorry!” The owner scowls. I limped into a gift shop, dabbing blood on my knee with tissue at the same time. What was he driving? A spiked chariot!!
 
The tannoy bursts into life. “The Mall will be closing in 10 minutes. Please make your way towards the nearest till.” Groan.
 
Marching to the counter my eyes sweept left and righ of the measly goodies left. “I’ll have one of those, one of those, that and this, please,” I said.
 
“Do you want them gift wrapped?”
 
“Yes!” She wraped. I waited, trying not to drum my fingers. Anxiously I looked at the door.
 
“Thank you so much.” Giving her a big smile, I wish her Merry Christmas and left.
 
Outside, I open the app. Uber. 5 minutes away. Your driver is Sharif. I waited, and waited.
 
Check phoned again. Glared at screen. Driver is going in opposite direction. I rung him and directed him back. He’s full of apologies. “I’m new,” he explains.
 
“Don’t you track me? I was tracking you?”
 
“I was driving,” he said as he rolled his eyes.
 
I arrived home, the Christmas lights are on flashing merrily meaning hubby is back from work. “Hello darling,”he said as I fell head long through door, literally. Parcels scattered.
 
“One too many?” His eyes brows raised.
Presents under the Christmas tree. One smiling husband. Glass of red in hand. Sigh.
 
“Have we got everything now?” he asked.
 
“Yes,” I replied. It was his present I forgot. I won’t tell him. At least not yet.