Category Archives: Observational

Love from Lizard Island

Friday Fictioneers.

Rochelle Wisoff-Fields-Addicted to Purple

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

Lizard Island

From the jetty, I watch the plane skip and skim over the lake. Its engine roaring as it lifts high into the Autumn sky, and like a migrating swan it glides southward towards a warmer horizon.
I suppressed my tears and wave a frantic farewell as pride fills my lungs.  Mary promised to return as she is free from our genetic abnormality.
She will confront the ignorant multitude to overcome the prejudice that holds our people quarantined on this island.
Other teenagers have tried, they never come home.
I stroke the scales on my claws and wonder; will she succeed?

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Gift me a Paperback – not an eBook.

Is the paper book old fashioned or does it feel warm and comfortable?

MISSING – A mystery of family bonds, love, lies, deception, and jealousy.

I enjoyed the process of writing my first novel and have developed a thicker skin after editing and working with my kind and strict copy/proof reader.

What I didn’t expect was the following e-mails and Facebook comments from two readers, both were delighted and entertained. They said:

Hi James,
I’ve finished your book. You have a gift for story telling; I only half guessed the ending. So, a surprising and sad ending, just like a lot of things in life; sins of the fathers, springs to mind.
Best Wishes
Theresa.
 
Hi Jim, I have read your book and I really enjoyed it. You were right it did bring a tear to my eye. Hope you are well, and I will look forward to the next book 😃
Chris.

So far, after one month, the paperback book is more popular than the eBook.

Is the paper book old fashioned or does it feel warm and comfortable?

The reason I was given from a nice lady, who bought a copy after my talk in a book shop, was:

She likes the feel of a book rather than straining her eyes with an iPad. Besides, you can cuddle up to the book, and it looks good on the shelf long afterwards. Some books you want to keep, others you give away.
 
These are the kind remarks from people that make writing so worthwhile.

MISSING – a novel

 

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Missing – a novel.

This is my first attempt at writing a full length–well 75000 words–novel.

The idea for the book came after attending family gatherings, mostly funerals, where my relatives where strangers. These people I knew existed but never met regularly, mostly never.
When I first started school at five years old, all of my relatives lived within a twenty-mile radius. On my father’s side they were farmers, on my mother’s side they worked in engineering.
I left school at sixteen and travelled, so I was the one who disappeared, and I suspect I am the stranger in the midst.
I recently met two of my relatives the same age as me, I remember starting school with them. I always thought they were my cousins, but discovered they were my father’s cousins. You can imagine there was a long discussion about who was who and an attempt at constructing a loose family tree.

Out of the discussion came the origins for my idea for the novel Missing. I pondered the thoughts of family bonds, trust, and misconceptions.

Missing–The story is of a young woman on the quest to find her parents and discover why as a child someone had placed her into care. No one would explain why.
She finds the house in the village where she was born and from there she traces and discovers her relatives. Her investigate disturbs them as she comes closer to the truth about the whereabouts of her parents.

I have passed the novel back to the proof-reader.
Well, I need a break from it.

Alibrasphere will publish the book at the end of April or early May.

Dignitas, an Alternative.

We are advised to make good choices and live our life to the full, whatever that really means.

Perhaps, your final choice will be the hardest.

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pixabay.com

I feel privileged to learn my story “Falling Stars” has been published today by the good folks at Literally Stories.

The story was selected by Leila Allison as the Sunday read. (Thank you).

Leila Allison’s thoughts on ‘Falling Stars’.

You are invited to read the story and wonder if this is a great way to go – or not.

Falling Stars

The Butterfly Stone

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I don’t usually read YA fiction, perhaps I should. This was an interesting read and in many ways it reminded me of watching Scooby Doo, it was fast paced and full of compounding conflict and tension. I placed a review on Goodreads and Amazon to show my appreciation for the author’s hard work.

The Magic of the Stones.

The Butterfly Stone – Laurie Bell

Tracey Master is like any other 15-year-old, she worries about her school work, has teenage crushes on boys and a supporting group of friends. She works part-time in the office of her Uncle Donald (Donny), a Private Investigator. The administration is boring, and she craves the excitement of being involved in a real live detective case. The opportunity arises when Miss Tearning hires the services of Uncle Donny to trace a piece of missing jewellery. The recovery of the necklace, the Butterfly Stone pendant seemed an easy task and Miss Tearning’s ex-lover is tricked into handing over the necklace. However, Miss Tearning goes missing and Tracey is left with the item, which attracts an unsavoury group of thieves; the Shadowman and a Red Masked magician.
This all seems like a straight forward criminal investigation, however Tracey and her family, including Uncle Donny, are not Normal – they have magical powers (Mage). They battle with their adversaries who have magical powers and are on an evil quest to own the Stone.
Tracey, her friends and Uncle Donny are drawn deeper into the mystery of the stone and each step towards understanding its powers becomes fraught with dangerous consequences. The seriousness of the situation involves the police and Agents from the M-Force to unravel the case and to stop the Shadowman from his plans.
The search to understand the significance of the necklace leads to Tracey’s ancestral history and links her directly with the power of the stone, the power the Shadowman wants to own. This puts Tracey in mortal danger and her craving for excitement becomes overwhelming full of conflict and insurmountable challenges.
I found this a fast-paced novel, almost a race to uncover the mystery that incrementally adds more intrigue as well as danger for the Mage. The need of having to attend school in between the investigations, I thought added the right mixture of teenage secrecy verses adult concern and control. Later, as the whole complexity of the situation emerges the adults do become threatened by the consequences of Tracey’s actions.
I enjoyed this YA novel and its style of internal quips from Tracey and text messaging between her friends as it captures the inflated confidence of many young teenagers.
For those who enjoy YA novels with a teenage girl as the heroine, I would recommend this as an enjoyable and exciting read.

Book Covers – Really!

Book Covers – Really.

A great cover for a book is at the forefront of any publishers’ sales plan.  The professional design is produced with the aim to hit the market in the correct genre with author’s name, sometimes, highlighted more than the title.
Readers know what they want, and what authors they enjoy reading most, in which case it is the celebrity author’s name that is given prominence on the cover. Just a brief preamble leading to a question below.

Independent authors are advised to get professional work done in both editing and cover design that they can afford. Great advice – but stubborn old me just didn’t listen in this case.

I have had my short story collection, ‘The Listener” gone over by the edit process and ‘oh boy’, what a process. I am told it is very much better than the 2014 version.

I stuck with the cover with a small change – on the front cover font and back cover blurb.

I have done all this as an exercise in procrastination, if there was a medal or a university course for procrastination I would probably have gone for the PhD. I should be writing my novel instead, keep laughing.

The original camera shot.

Old Collection 113 (2)

Photo by James McEwan

I took the source photograph while on holiday in Dresden, Germany. I found it fascinating that someone or some people went to a lot of effort to paint the picture. I never found out who or why. I had not started to write back then and the idea of a book cover came to me many years later.

This is one part of the advice I did follow, make your cover unique. (I missed the effective part).
An advantage over using stock photographs is that I own the picture.

My first cover.

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The latest cover – matte -done in MS Word. 1.6Mb version – Printed copy is 11.5Mb

Microsoft Word - cover The Listener 2018

Here are my questions:
Is the MS word cover good enough?
I am considering using GIMP and or Adobe professional for future covers.
Of the two covers above, which is better; to give prominence to the title or author’s name?

Resilience

Three Line Tales, week 100.

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Photo by Manu Sanchez

The evolutionary wheel of progress rules our lives
and we stroll hand in hand secure of our future.
And although putrid, weak, evil minds of anger stalk our world
We say to them – we will survive with dignity and human fortitude.

The Procrastinators

If and Only … Your friends in waiting.

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Glasgow Street Art

The Procrastinators

If and only are companions
They go hand in hand with fate
Like the dreams of millions
In retrospect, they arrive too late.

If and only trapped in meditation
Held back by dithering doubt
full of indecisive hesitation
In retrospect, just throw them out.

If and only may rule your life
with choices, hard to bare
what could have been was strife
In retrospect, do you really care?

Now if was your only thought
when you couldn’t make up your mind
of things not done or should or ought
In retrospect, if only you had more time.

Alice Wants Home

Alice Wants Home – Three Line Tales

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photo by Fleur Treurniet via Unsplash

‘Only the Unicorn knows your way home,’ the owl screeched. ‘Which way, which way, which way.’ It glided into the dark.
‘Wait!’ shouted Alice. Alone she looked around. No entry, one way street going both ways. A window in the yard.
She stamped her foot and wept. Could she really climb the drain pipe? But she must to find the Unicorn.

Traditional Christmas Sentiment.

My piece below is a reflection on a well known Christmas Ghost Story.

Mr Scrouge.

I was never happy nor gave a festive care
When carol singers screeched outside my door.
They seemed so full of seasonal Christmas cheer
With good tidings and joy that I found such a bore.

My name is Mr Scrouge not Santa Claus.
I didn’t give presents and I didn’t send cards
Nor hung baubles or tinsel on a coniferous tree
Instead I’d count my gold and cackle aloud with glee.

Then I saw an apparition over St Nicholas’s church in town
A ghostly creature laughing, his finger pointing down
Mr Scrouge, he called, your time on Earth is running out
What use is your pointless life full of bitterness and doubt.

What do I care of others and your empty ghostly threats
I am off to the bookies now to collect my winning bets.
Then a tiny ragged boy appeared holding out an empty bowl
Sir, he said, my mother’s dying, please a penny for her soul.

And from the dirty rags in the doorway by the ironmonger Jacks
She rose up and I saw an evil face laughing on a boney rack
Her skeleton chattered, Mr Scrouge, it is clear for all to see
That death is knocking on your door, but you’ll never be free

My heart stopped beating, I shivered and felt a creeping cold
The ragged boy and mother laughed at my life becoming mould
I cried for an Angel to rescue me from this dark despotic death.
So I promised to spend my wealth to end all poverty on Earth.

The boy and mother warmed me from a pitiless lonely end
And we celebrated Christmas with all their wondrous friends
It cost me all my hard earned gold to bring them happiness and good cheer
And so the moral of my sad story to you must now be very clear.
That having lots of family and friends at Christmas is wonderfully dear.