by Karen J Mossman
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.
Available to read for free in Kindle Unlimited until January 2020
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.”
by Karen J Mossman
Today is chill out Sunday. A day to sit back and relax, which is what I did. This made me think of the all the things I’d achieved last week.
Besides writing, I love crafts and the top row of the picture shows containers made from painted recycled baked beans tins. With a little decoration and a cross stitch picture, they look totally different.
I also played around with pom-poms and made this cool little owl.
Next to that are flowers in a pot made from crocheted daisies.
The pink knitting is actually a multicoloured wool where it changes colour the more you knit. I saw this cute baby hat that seemed quick and easy to make, so started it last night.
I walk my dogs every day and if we go to the park we come across this beautiful palamino horse. Last year, I was calling one of the dogs back, when the horse came running over. Now I make sure I have a carrot with me, so I can give him a shout and and stroke him, too.
And lastly I have a new Electric Eclectic book coming out. The Magic of Stories has been republished under the EE banner, and is full of short stories and poetry with a new cover and even more content. It will have a slightly different launch to that we have done before. I look forward to sharing it with you soon.
What about your week? What have you achieved or done, we’d love to know
On the back of my article on what to do next, another interesting comment came out of it.
The days of writing a novel selling it and make money is gone. The self promotion and chasing the next sale as well as everything that goes into making it publishable is very stressful and a number of authors just want to give up.
I was talking to writer, Josesph Lemon, he said, ‘I pulled my works off the shelves and went to Wattpad. I have a job that pays my bills. I write to share stories.’
Write to share stories, isn’t that where we all started? It was our love of writing that spurred us on and we want other people to read our work, don’t we?
Wattpad is certainly a consideration. It’s tag line is – Where Stories Live. I’ve been on there in the past and there are some really great stories and books to read. Some of them have thousands of views and some writers have many followers. That’s because they interact with their readers on there, and there is something to be said about that.
Listening to what Joseph Lemon says, it makes sense as an alternative. He went on to say:
‘I knew it was exactly what I was looking for personally. I also get to see the next generation of writers in development and help out some along the way. I’ve done ghostwriting. I’ve published. But this is what currently fits me.’
If you would like to follow him on Wattpad, click here.
I noticed, since I went back on there that was an option for paid stories and wondered how that worked. So I googled it and came up with something different.
If you have 1000s followers, I would imagine that would work well for you. I then looked up paid stories and came up with this information. Further information is here and what this tells you is you can’t just go on and put up a load of stories. Authors are invited and have to be skilfull at their craft. They look for story-telling – quality – originality – personality – marketplace (limited places) and community (how you conduct yourself on Wattpad
Hone your craft
‘It’s important to our team to support Wattpad writers any way we can. That’s why we’ve added the Paid Stories program to the number of programs already available for writers. Whether you love writing as a way to explore your creativity or as an exciting career opportunity, Wattpad is the place to share your stories with a global community of story lovers.’
My first thought is that Amazon could learn a lot from this. On their platform literally anyone can publish a book. I’ve seen some really badly edited and written books that really have no right to be up there asking for people to pay good money for tripe.
Do you have a Watpad account? If you would like to add it in the comments, I will follow you. This is my link.
I’ve been thinking for a long time how times have been changing and this post via ‘Ramblings from a Writer’s Mind‘ came up today. It says a lot about what I’ve been thinking about.
Drastic action by writer’s to giveaway their books in the hope that readers will want to read another from them doesn’t work. I’ve tried it and it always grieved me. All that work, years in some cases, to be given away for nothing, No other trade would dream of doing this, would they?
Authors are stuck in their ways, just as this article suggests, and too many drop and go links land in various Facebook groups, so much so that it has almost become spam. Who reads them anyway?
What people do want, and enjoy is proper content. Something interesting they can read and be entertained by, not hard sell right in their faces.
This is what I’m trying to do now with any posts I make, yes it is taking a lot more time but I am a writer afterall, as they say, Rome was not built in a day. We have to build up again from scratch and find new ways to do things. Make books valuable again.
One of the ways I am also doing it, is exactly what is mentioned in this article. A new an innovative marketing brand that is aimed at helping authors and providing readers with something special
It is called Electric Eclectic Books, and I’m proud to have belonged to this since the beginning. It is also good to see how it is changing with the market and always taking on new opportunies.
Writing is a lonely job and hard work on your own. That is changing because being part of a team, part of something global is the best thing that ever happened to me. Read this article and give it careful consideration – but don’t take too long to think about it!