This 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.
Last 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.
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?
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
Churches and Ouiji Boards
A while ago I read a book called Riddle by Elizabeth Horton Newton. I really enjoyed it and reviewed it on my blog.
It was only recently I found that it was based on the Richard Marx’s song Hazard. This was really cool because my own book Down by River was also based on the ninties song.
Both books are very different from each other. For a start Riddle is a full blown novel, whereas Down by the River is a novella, a smaller read.
Apart from the actual stories, I thought it would be interesting to put my own thoughts down as to why I wrote it, and how the inspiration came to be. I asked the same of Elizabeth Horton Newton.
So, here for your delectation are two books, their descriptions, and an excerpt which should delight you, as much as they delighted me.
Riddle by Elizabeth Horton Newton
From the first time I heard the song “Hazard” by Richard Marx, I knew there was a story to be told. Although I grew up in a big city I was well aware of how small-town gossip can ruin a person’s life. I wanted to tell the story of how a young man was viewed as an outsider by some of the townspeople and how those who believed him innocent of any crime remained silent, afraid of getting involved or being harassed because they defended him.
Around the same time, I was learning about discrimination against Native Americans or Indigenous People in both the US and Canada. Something just clicked and several years later I put together my book Riddle.
It seems in small towns there is always an outsider. It may be someone of a different color or nationality or religion. Sometimes it is because the individual dresses differently, holds different beliefs, or some obscure reason. I created Kort Eriksen as both an indigenous man who may have been railroaded as a teen for murdering a popular teenaged girl.
Returning to the town where the crime was committed he faces both people who believe he got off too easily and others who feel he was a scapegoat. Even the stranger, a young woman with problems of her own, arrives in town and develops a friendship with Kort can’t be sure of his innocence or guilt. This book remains close to my heart as it incorporates romance, injustice, and revenge in a suspenseful thriller.
“Look, there’s a fun house,” Norma pointed out. Knowing it would be dark and probably crowded inside she realized it might be a good opportunity to ditch the rest of the group and once again have Kort to herself.
Grace hesitated. Mandy laughing, called over her shoulder, “Come on! It will be fun!”
As they all headed inside Kort maneuvered until he and Norma were near Grace. They made their way through a rolling barrel, and a maze of mirrors where everyone posed seeing their reflections as fat and skinny, short, and stretched.
Tony stayed close to Grace but Mandy and the other women rushed ahead. Then they entered a room that was totally dark except for dim glow in the dark wall decorations. Occasionally something would brush across Grace’s face and she lost track of where everyone was. She brushed at the spidery web like strings that seemed to grab at her.
Holding her hands out before her she tried to find a wall so she could follow it to the exit. All around her people were laughing or squealing. Once in a while a girl would yelp obviously startled by someone.
A body moved quickly past her and she jumped slightly to one side. Someone else bumped into her and a giggling female voice apologized before continuing on. Feeling disoriented, Grace was tempted to call out for help but didn’t want to appear silly.
Suddenly someone slammed hard into her knocking her off her feet. A boot connected with her cheek and she fell sideways covering her head with her arms and rolled to one side. There was no apology and Grace sensed whoever it was continued to look for her. She had no doubt it was deliberate and she kept quiet hoping he would not find her in the blackness of the room. As noiselessly as she could she began to crawl toward what she hoped would be an exit.
Then out of nowhere she heard a male voice softly call her name.
When I first heard the haunting melody of Hazzard, I was hooked. On Top of the Pops they played a video to accompany the song and I was mesmerised. Apart from Richard Marx being really good looking, I loved the atmospheric storyline.It was so clever being shot in black and white that added to the mood.
I was intrigued about what happened to Mary and many of my questions were not answered. It always left me wondering. Although the song was released in 1991, it was played regularly for many years afterwards. Each time I heard it, I was blown away, absorbed once again in the story.
Being a writer, I had to do something about it, and felt the need to write about what could have happened that night.
It started as a very short story and included a character named Ricky, based entirely on Richard Marx as he was a key feature in the story.
My main character was called Shelby, because I felt it sounded American. Shelby had visions and could never understand why she could see many things, but could not see what happened to Mary-Jo.
I tried very hard to create an atmosphere similar to the one in the Richard Marx’s video. I wanted intrigue and mystery, with just a hint of something dark.
Shelby always had a hard time dealing with her father’s alcoholism, it was one of the reasons she left town. This time when she returns home, something is different; something has changed and it takes a while for her to put the pieces together.
It was growing dark when she arrived home. Pa was banging around upstairs. Shelby took off her jacket and straightened her pale blue sweater. Mary-Jo had had one just like it. They’d laughed and joked that they were twins. It seemed very apt that she was wearing it today.
The coffee-pot was still warm. She was pouring a cup when something came crashing down the stairs. Rushing through from the kitchen, she found Pa lying at the bottom muttering a string of obscenities. He was drunk, very drunk.
“You!” he accused shaking off her offer of help. “What are you doing here?”
“Pa! What’s the matter?”
“You should never have come back, you little whore! Did you think I didn’t know about you and the sheriff? Get out!” He struggled to his feet and staggered through to the kitchen.
Shelby stared at him in shock and disbelief. “W-what do you mean?”
He laughed as he poured himself another whisky. “The whole town knows you were screwing Rawden. I’m a laughingstock!” He staggered through to the living room and slumped into the chair.
“You don’t need me to make you a laughingstock!” she cried, feeling the humiliation burning inside her. “Anyway, it ain’t true!”
He pointed his finger at her face. “Did you think it was easy for me after Annie-Clare died? I brung you up.”
“You didn’t bring me up!” she shouted back. “I brought myself up! You were always too goddamned drunk!”
“Enough!” he roared, rising from the chair. Shelby stepped back, frightened. He poked two fingers into her shoulder. “You wanna get out of here before the same thing that happened to Mary-Jo happens to you.”
“Pa…” Hot tears ran down her face.
“Get the hell out!” He roared. Shelby turned and fled.
Darkness was descending as she walked back towards town. She kept to the road and away from the embankment, feeling the chill of the night air. A car drew up beside her. Rawden got out.
“Can I give you a lift somewhere?” he asked.
“No, leave me alone.” She wasn’t in the mood to deal with him and his sarcastic undertones.
“Don’t walk away while I’m talking to you, Shelb.”
She lost her footing then and slipped down the embankment. Rawden came down as she got to her feet. “Now, that wouldn’t have happened if you hadn’t of run. I’m just offering you a lift, that’s all.”
Like many others, 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 intriguing. Why did they disappear in the first place? 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 the mysterious mystery of missing people.
Did you know there are 300,000 people reported missing each year? That works 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 just as it was in 2006 when he disappeared. 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 she was meeting a Mr Kipper. She was never seen again, her remains never found, and they didn’t traced Mr Kipper. As a result estate agents changed the way they worked and Suzy’s mother founded a Trust in the name of her daughter dealing with personal safety.
Not all cases are as 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.
Madeline McCann is one of the most famous and still talked about cases. 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, we all hope one day the truth will emerge.
There are many more stories with no conclusions offered and it’s frustrating not to have an end. I’ve always wondered what makes people want to disappear in the first place. What are their stories?
One day watching a television programme that searches for missing people, it gave me an an idea for a story. What if you were the missing person, and suddenly your face appeared on screen? The secret you had been trying to keep was now out
Finding Amanda tells the story of Amanda, who had problems with her brothers at home. She takes off to Scotland and creates a new life for herself. When she and her boyfriend are watching television, her face comes on screen as a missing person.
The people left behind don’t always know the reasons 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 coped with her disappearance.
As mentioned before, some stories do not have ending and we are not always given that neatly wrapped up conclusion. With Found! I wanted to round it up and conclude it, so get your tissues ready for an sweet ending!
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.
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.
by Karen J Mossman
It's been a while since I posted a short story, so this one I wrote a few years ago. If you have a story you would like to feature here, get on contact, I would love to feature you.
Nick was about to put the key in his door when the cops turned up.
Charlie was called to the foreman’s office and asked to accompany them to the station.
Marie, Charlie’s girlfriend, was working on reception when they came for her. Russ tried to dodge them which didn’t go down well. Wasn’t he the one who told Michelle he would kill her?
“I didn’t!” Russ frowned.
Her friends said she had been depressed lately. Was it true?
“Yeah, she was a little down.” Nick remembered.
What was her relationship with Russ like?
“Stormy.” Charlie had found her crying.
What was she like the last time you saw her? They asked Nick.
“Quiet, tense, like. I asked her what was wrong and she told me to mind me own business. I heard her cryin’ in the night. She was gone when I got up.”
They asked Russ the same question. What was she like when you saw her last?
“Sulky,” he scowled.
Charlie shrugged. “She wanted money to feed her ‘abit.”
She was a user?
“What?” Nick was indignant. “Bullshit!”
Marie chewed her nails. “I thought she was, but she swore she never touched the stuff. Russ had the habit. They had a one sided relationship, y’know?” She said referring to Russ and Michelle.
Nick pulled a face, “She was besotted with Russ. He was bad news. She knew it, deep down, like. But try telling her anything….”
Charlie lit a cigarette. “I think she was scared of him. I think he had some kind of hold on her.”
They felt one of them wasn’t telling the truth. The brother? The ex? The boyfriend? The flatmate?
What about home life, parents?
Nick shrugged. “She and dad were always arguing.”
“Boyfriends, I suppose. She always picked the dregs, y’know? Wrong sorts for a girl like her, that’s what dad used to say, anyway.”
“Ones with problems, trouble makers, ones who had been in trouble with you lot, know what I mean?”
What did you think about Michelle, Marie?
“I didn’t like her much, but what could I do? Nick was Charlie’s mate. His sister and Charlie, well, it’s over now. Least Charlie says it is.”
And was it over?
Staring at the table Marie followed the white cup rings with her eyes, gauging how much to tell them. “I think she was coming onto Charlie.”
Charlie looked away. “No. It was over.”
They left his word to hang in the air, compelling him to say more. Instead he reached for another cigarette. Taking a long drag he blew smoke towards them. Playing for time, they’d seen it before. They waited.
“No,” he said again.
He was lying.
They were playing it softly, but in interrogation room 3, the air was blue. Russ wasn’t having that. “Me and Shell, we were like that.” He crossed his fingers.
Softly, softly was getting nowhere. It was time to go in for the kill.
Marie looked horrified. “I didn’t kill her, I didn’t.” She was tired, nerves spent. “I was sick of her coming on to Charlie. He’s mine now, mine, not hers, not any more.”
They accused her again.
“I didn’t kill her, we argued that’s all.”
Charlie put out his cigarette and reached for yet another. “Course she liked me, we’ve been friends a long time. She didn’t want to let go. Wanted to get back together, but I’ve got Marie now.”
Nick looked at them, “Bullshit! We didn’t row about Charlie. She wasn’t after him. Who told you that? When I asked her what’s wrong, she told me to mind me own business.” He shrugged. “I went out; left her to it. When I came back I heard her cryin’, but I didn’t go in, I mean, it ain’t the first, like. She gets mixed up in things.”
They were interrupted then as formal identification of a body was required. As next of kin, Nick would have to do it.
Afterwards he sat with his head in his hands. It was a shock. He had never seen a dead body before.
They explained it was time to come clean.
Marie burst into tears. “I hit her, we fought, but she left, she left afterwards, honest she did, honest.”
Russ went ape, he threw back the chair and kicked at the table. It took five of them to restrain him.
As they locked the cell door, one said dryly, “I think he’s upset.”
“Or guilty,” said the other.
Charlie clenched his jaw and balled his fists, but apart from that he showed little emotion. It was an odd reaction for someone who was once in love with her. Or perhaps he still was.
Nick was relieved when they let him go. Whoever that body was, it didn’t belong to his sister. So where was she? Where was Michelle?
“I dunno,” said Charlie. “Why would I know? She didn’t come to me. I’m not her keeper. Why would I know?”
If Marie was relieved, she showed no sign. “Ask Russ, my guess is she told him about her feelings for Charlie. Or he found out or, maybe she got her comeuppance another way.”
Russ fixed his gaze somewhere above their heads. “You put me through that, and it weren’t even her. Bastards.”
They told him what they thought, too.
“No,” he yelled. “There was no relationship with Charlie. All right, so I shouldn’t have accused her. I was jealous, see. Come on, man, why would I kill her? She was the one who got me off the stuff. I’m clean now.” He banged his fist down on the table. “It’s him, Charlie, I know it’s him. He’s the one who couldn’t let go; couldn’t accept she loves me now.” He put his head in his hands and groaned.
It looked like they’d have to let them all go, until there was a body that is, or new evidence. Maybe Michelle wanted to disappear. Russ was perhaps one more lame dog she’d helped. And Charlie, well he had Marie now. Perhaps she did want him back, or maybe it was the other way round. Marie was jealous, and Nick, well Nick had probably seen it all before.
We all buy birthday cards and presents for our loved ones and friends. Most of us like fairness and believe that trademan should be paid for the work they do, so why not indie authors. And lastly we all love reading.
So have a look at this and support where you can.
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