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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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Every Picture Tells A Story

by Karen J Mossman

 

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We all lead busy lives and sometimes it’s hard to find the time to do things we enjoy.  So why not allocate yourself an hour or two in the evening, or at the weekend, or even on the journey to work if you are a passenger, and enjoy a good book.

Play the Game is a novella that’s gets you to the very heart of the story.

Each pictures tells its own unique story. My characters are called Kelly and Stella. As I’m a big fan of Chicago Fire, my favourite characters are  Stella Kidd and Kelly Severide. Their romance captured my imagination, so it seemed right to use their names.

The next photo shows a cosy couple enjoying dinner. Kelly and Stella’s first date is in the hotel where they first met. She hasn’t dated for a long time and apart from Kelly being nice, she was tempted by the thought of a hot meal. The trouble is she is also a modern woman, and was prepared to pay half the bill. When she opens the menu, the food is so expensive it’s completely out of her range. Will she own up, or not each much?

The next photograph is of a Call Centre and this is Stella’s day job. She works as part of a team of handling insurance claims, and hates the girls she works with. They gang up on her by making snide remarks and bullying her at every opportunity. So, as a writer, I couldn’t let them get away with it, and Stella will ultimately get her revenge, but no in the way you think.

The next two pictures show what she does during the week. She hands out sandwiches to the homeless. This means she has to walk the streets at night visiting all the places girls usually stay away from. She’s never had any trouble, until one night, a man high on drugs or drink, takes a shine to her. There is no one around to help up and she is terrified as he tries to lead her away.  Help comes from an unlikely source.

Her team members are big fans of their football club. In between calls they switch screens to follow matches and always talling about the best players. Stella says she’s not a fan, and doesn’t know any of the footballers. It only opens her up to more ridicule.

Kelly’s world is very different to her own and his circle of friends bring her anxieties to the fore. He is very patient as he tries to explain that she’s just as good as everyone else, and she shouldn’t be intimidated by them.

Love was something she never expected to find. Kelly is much more than the person she originally mistook for hotel staff. When he finds out what she does, how, despite her circumstances, she still find time to help others, he can only admire her courage. He wants to build up her self esteem, take away her loneliness, and give her back self confidence.

Will Stella listen? Can love be as powerful as that?

One last tragedy comes into her life but this time she is not alone to deal with it.

Read Stella’s inspiring story and how there is something special in all of us. It just takes the right person to show us the way.

Read it here.

Available to read for free in Kindle Unlimited until January 2020

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Train Journeys

One day while I was away in place we holidayed with the children when they were small, we came to a level crossing and the barrier went down to say there was a train coming. For one moment I felt the rising excitement I had as a child.

Dad used to let us get out of the car and stand by the gates waiting for the train to pass. The mounting anticipation as we heard it approaching was so exciting. The smell of the steam as the chug-chug-chug that got louder and louder. It was an absolutely thrill when the train went past. It was always huge and loud, and apart from covering us in smoke, it made all sorts of noises as it trundled by.

The carriages all and a corridor and there were compartments all the way along. When we were teenagers and we caught the train, if it was empty we used to think it was fun to travel in the luggage rack above the seats. They were made of strong rope that looked a bit like a hammock. It was so much fun!

In The Magic of Stories, which is launching this week, I include two fictional stories that came from these early memories of trains.

Joanna’s Journey is my novel set in the 80s because that was when the original idea came to me. A a girl got on a train to London and as it was full the porter took her to the first class carriages. Inside was a handsome guy who didn’t want company but then felt obliged to share. There begins a three hour journey where strangers reluctantly get to know one another.

The first story in the book is called Stranger on a Train, and it was taken from the premise of Joanna’s Journey and written at a time when I loved having a twist in the tail kind of story.

In this one Jenny meets Nino in a similar way to Joanna. She then goes on to have an affair with a rising rock star, same again as Joanna but this is not what you expect.

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Do you believe in love at first sight?

I was reading a book not long ago set in sixties America. A young girl, aged about sixteen travelled on a bus across several states with her mother and younger sister. On the bus she meets a young military man and has to sit next to him. They strike up a friendship and over the following 48 hours they fall deeply in love.

I stopped reading then, no way does that happen. People don’t fall in love on a bus. They don’t declare undying love to each other. It was just so unrealistic. Although I had read this author before, and she is a great story teller I just couldn’t buy into this one. I wrote up a part review voicing my concerns and was surprised at the reaction I received. Love at first sight does happen I was told, and I should open my mind, it honestly it surprised me. I didn’t expect that reaction.

When I came to put this book together, I found a very short story that suggested I must once have believed in the concept. The story was called First Sight and the fact that it can happen at any time to any one. No one knows what makes that sudden click when two eyes meet, what is it that draws them together, that makes each of them stand out from the crowd. So I explored that concept by creating an unlikely situation between two people who started the day as normal and not realising what was about to happen to.

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Joe got there in time to preserve the crime scene. “Get these people outta here!” He barked. This was bad, and he was thankful they couldn’t see what he’d seen. It didn’t help when it rained.’

To read the full story follow thelink to your local store.

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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!

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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.

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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

 

 

 

 

A Terrible Mother

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One thing I love doing is making book teasers. This one features Joanna who has to make some agonising decisions in her life.

Joanna spanned over two books and is one of my favourite chatacters. To me, she seemed very real and luckily my readers agree as I had some lovely reviews.
In this book, time has moved forward into the 90s and Joanna is dating a rock star and goes on tour with him. She is wrapped up in the music and her love knows no bounds.
Of course, life is not so simple. There are obstcles, choices and decisions, she has to overcome and one of them is being told this. Not something any girl wants to hear, especially when its too late.

Joanna’s story and more details can be seen on my website.