The LIST 2018 – The definitive guide to this years ‘Must Read’ books.


The list pub

Surely, The LIST is the best collection of ‘must-read’ indie books anywhere.


 

Each book listed here has been recommended, commended or selected by CQI Magazine or the publications respected and trusted literary connections.

The LIST is one publication you will want to constantly refer to when looking for a new book for yourself or as a wonderful and unexpected gift for a friend, colleague, or family member.

I suggest you bookmark The LIST to make re-visiting and reading a sinch in the future.

Got friends… how about sharing The LIST with them?

For notifications about future great publications like CQI Magazine, and The Gift Collection followthis blog 🙂

Click on the cover image above to read The LIST now


 

Looking for a darned good short story?

Then check out the Electric Eclectic novelettes, great reads and the perfect way to find your next ‘favourite’ author.

Go take a look at Electric Eclectic books

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J.B.’Author Interview with Paul White

 

IN THIS BRAND NEW SERIES (J.B.’S AUTHOR INTERVIEW SERIES) I’LL BE INTRODUCING YOU TO SOME OF THE FINEST AUTHORS AROUND. YOU’LL GET A PEEK INSIDE THEIR MIND AND THEIR PROCESS.

 

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Today I meet Paul White. 

J.B. Taylor – What inspires you?

Paul White – Wow, what an interesting opening question. There are so many things that kick start my imagination. A picture, a smell, a sound, a partly overheard conversation, clips from a film, a scene from a television drama.
One of my favorite sources is the radio, I listen to Radio four, a BBC station it has wonderful interviews covering a myriad of topics from the arts to medicine and world affairs. I often listen to this station when I am driving and, besides the road, there is nothing else to distract you from listening. It is surprising how many ideas can come out of a twenty minute drive!

 

J.B. Taylor – What’s your favorite book?

Paul White – Another unanswerable question! I have so many books I love and all for different reasons.
I will give you two. I read both when I was a young man and both have stayed with me over the ensuing years, so I take that resonation to be a sign that they are special books.

The first is ‘Down by the Dockside’ written by Deirdre Cash under her pseudonym Criena Rohan. It is about a plucky, literate girl who grows up in poverty in Port Melbourne during the Depression, marries a sailor during the war and loses him in a fight at Christmas in 1946, teaches dance and consorts with the criminals her childhood pals have become, it’s a lively and endearing tale of Australia in the 1930s and 1940s.

The second is Do Not Go Gentle by David MacCuish.
The book focuses on Norman MacLeod, growing up in the tough Depression-era town of Butte, Montana.
After his father succumbs to a mining-related disease, young Norman leaves school and also begins working in the copper mines. Following the death of his closest friend in a mine accident and the moving of his mother and sister to relatives back East, Norman enlists in the Marines.
The book follows MacLeod through boot camp, life on and off base, and then to the South Pacific where MacLeod and his fellow Marines face both their fears and the Japanese.
On leave in the U.S., Norm visits the wife of a killed comrade, and begins a relationship with her. Filled with gritty scenes and no-holds-barred dialog,
I think Do Not Go Gentle is a minor classic in the field of novels about men at war and the effect it has on families and communities.

Ok, so that was longwinded, but you asked!

 

J.B. Taylor – If you were asked to unload a 747 full of jelly beans, what would you do?

Paul White – Park it up and slowly eat my way through the contents!

 

J.B. Taylor – Where do you like to write?

Paul White – Anywhere I can get my head down and concentrate without too many interruptions. I have an office at home, but a café, hotel lobby or gardens can be good too.

 

J.B. Taylor – Which Harry Potter house would you belong to?

Paul White – Never read Harry Potter, not seen the films either…am I the only one?

 

J.B. Taylor – What is your favorite word?

Paul White – That changes frequently, however at the moment it is however. However, that may change soon!

 

J.B. Taylor – What is your least favorite word?

Paul White – Hate. It is overused in general conversation and rarely is its true definition realized by the speaker. In writing however, (did you see what I just did there!) there are no bad words, just words.

 

J.B. Taylor – What was the first story you ever wrote, and what happened to that story?MiriamsHexL

Paul White – My first true story, a proper one with a beginning, middle & end, is Miriam’s
Hex
. There is a long back story about how I have come to resurrect Miriam’s Hex from a dusty box in the loft and have published it as an eBook novelette.

 

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The story of how that happened is included in a special edition of Miriam’s Hex, which is ONLY available directly from me…if you like would a copy just click on the link above!

 

 

J.B. Taylor – Tell us about your process: Pen, paper, word processor, human sacrifice … how do you write?

Paul White – Generally, I use a PC or Laptop and type directly into a word document.
But for making notes and writing ideas down I scribble into small pocket sized notebooks. I have several of these scattered about the house, the cars and in lots of jacket pockets.
Occasionally a notebook has been washed and tumble dried. Not good!

 

J.B. Taylor – What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made as a writer?

Paul White – Besides becoming a writer!

Paul White – Rushing out a book with over excitement and thinking that was it. You soon learn to take more care, get it edited correctly, re-write and tweak. Over and again if necessary. Doing things right pays dividends in the end.

 

J.B. Taylor – What else are you working on?

Paul White – I have a number of projects. There are three main ones. One of those I need to complete before…two of them I need to complete…in fact all three need to be completed before the others!

But…let me highlight the novel I am working on. It is called ‘Floyd’.

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Floyd is an escaped psychopath, a fugitive out on a mission of vengeance, against all those who were involved in having committed.
It is a thriller/slasher/ blood and gore story, BUT with human and emotional elements woven in between the main events, rather like sutures pulling a wound closed!

 

J.B. Taylor – In a perfect world where you could cast your book for a movie, who would you pick for your main characters?

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Paul White – I would love one of my books to become a movie, or my short stories a TV drama series, what a nice dream.
In that ideal world, I would love to use unknown people, maybe ones who have never acted before. Members of the public like you and I.
Imagine walking up to someone in the street, who catches your eye and asking if they would like the leading role in a new Hollywood or Pinewood movie! Wouldn’t that be fantastic?

 

J.B. Taylor – When you complete a story, do you let it go? Or do you like to stop and think about what your characters might be up to, what they might be doing?

Paul White – I used to just let it go, put it to bed as they say. (Whomever ‘they’ are?)
But now I leave it for a while, weeks, maybe a month or two. Then I return and read the work, making critical notes. That’s when the real nitty-gritty work starts.

 

J.B. Taylor – Are you a panster or an outliner?

Paul White – Oh, most definitely a panster! I write from the heart, from gut feelings with only the roughest skeleton of a premise. The story and the characters evolve with me, sometimes in spite of me, as the book progresses.

It is not until I am half, or more of the way through, do I lay out some formal course to the conclusion and, I only do that, because the second half of a book is far harder to write than the first.

Maybe I should write the end before the start next time around. Do you think that might work?


You can check out Paul’s books HERE

or, if you want to know more about the author, visit his website HERE 

 

 

Harper Lee has nothing on me! Miriam’s Hex…….the truth behind the story.

It may have taken about fifty years for ‘Go set a Watchman’ to be published, because of Harper Lee’s uncertainties!

It has also taken an awfully long time for ‘Miriam’s Hex to be published too.

This is the story behind the book.

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About four years ago in 2013, while having a household de-clutter I found an old cardboard folder in a box in my loft.

This folder contained many poems I wrote in the late 1970s & 1980s. Many were hand-scribbled, most were type-written, yes I did say type-written. (Using a typewriter.)

In this folder were scribbled notes for use in, or as, ‘possible and potential’ stories; old abandoned writings, half started tales, partial paragraphs and such like. It was a rather eclectic combination of various writings.

I was filled with personal wonderment as I read the sheets of yellowing paper. Here were my thoughts, my emotions, my ideas of a lifetime ago.

Some of the writings and poetry I recalled instantly, others staggered out from the mists of amnesia. I was amused by some, horrified by others; the amateur nature, the naivety, the bad grammar and misspellings.

All, however, transported me back to another time, another world, another life which was connected yet somehow detached from myself. It was like an out-of-body experience, but somehow less direct, less united.

Possibly that is the effect of passing years?

Bunched at the back of this folder was a wad of A4 sheets held together by a rusting paperclip. I started to read, it was an untitled story. A light-hearted black comedy, if it is at all possible, of selfishness, of greed, of impatience and latent curses.

Despite many changes, the crossing-outs and the pencilled notes, the story drew me in. As I read through, small pinpricks of memory began to seep back. This was a story, one of the few I wrote at that time, which had a beginning, a middle and an end of sorts. (Although throughout there were still many threadbare patches).

You see, I first scribbled out a rough draft of a storyline in 1978 according to the dates on the draft. This (first?) draft had no title and no end.

In 1980 I reviewed and re-wrote it, apparently. (I found a few margin notes to confirm this), although I cannot recall doing so. At this time I must have added the final few paragraphs so there was now an ending… of sorts.

It was thirty-five years later, after becoming a professional writer and published author, I rediscovered this early work, first started when I was in my late teens.

At first, I simply returned the manuscript to its folder, the archives if you wish. But something was nagging at me. This stories prmise was pretty good, it was something different, there was originality about it.

So, I pulled the manuscript from the dusty cardboard folder once more and began, letter by letter, word by word, to type it onto the computer, to re-write certain parts, to edit and eventually to complete the story. All the time I was doing the re-write I was conscious of not changing the basic story, not to expand or cut too much. I wanted, I felt I needed to keep the piece as close to the original draft, my teenage life’s draft, as possible to maintain the authenticity and not detract from those (my) original thoughts, while making it readable.

Once I was as happy as I was ever going to be, I gave the work a title for the first time. I called it Miriam’s Hex.

In November 2014, thirty-six years from its conception, I self-published Miriam’s Hex as an eBook.

Which brings this story up to date… almost… because now, right at the beginning of 2018 Miriam’s Hex has been re-edited and the cover slightly altered so it can be one of the amazing and wonderful Electric Eclectic Novelettes.

Electric Eclectic Novelettes are brilliant stories, told by some of the best indie authors in the world. They are designed to give readers looking for their next favourite read or seeking a new author to follow insight into the authors writing style and narration. They are introductory books if you wish.

Check out Miriam’s Hex here and Electric Eclectic here.

Personally, I would love you to read Miriam’s Hex, not only because I am certain you will enjoy it, but because of this, the story behind the story of the book.

I hope it will not only add provenance to Miriam’s Hex but will lend encouragement to all the writers among you who, at times, have doubts and worries about their own works and the time it takes to produce a great story.

Harper Lee…Phiff!

Thank you for reading my story.

Now, an update.

It is September 2019 and Miriam’s Hex is once again evolving. Still under the Electric Eclectic brand, Miriam’s Hex is also now being published as a paperback, but not just any old paperback, a special sized ‘pocketbook’ paperback that makes it so much easier to carry in a bag, handbag or indeed a pocket, hence the name.

I’ll let you know once it has been released in this format.


You can find my books, including Miriam’s Hex and other Electric Eclectic books in the Amazon @open24 store

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The Secret Entity

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Books, novels, novellas, whatever term you use it does not really matter. Neither does it matter, in this instance, if you are reading a hardcover book, a paperback or even an e-reader. Because this post is about the story that lays within, not the format, the genre or classification of the book.

A story is a most wondrous gift which can be bestowed on anyone. It affords an avenue of escapism from life, from reality. A tale can whisk you away to worlds which do not exist but, during the moment, feel real as you read and absorb each word on every page.

A great story will draw you in, absorb you, make you part of its netherworld, a place where you can battle the bad guys, or be the bad guy, or girl, or dog or horse… or simply watch, from your lofty viewpoint, all that transpires.

No matter if you love a twisted plot of dirty deeds, or raunchy romance, fast action with death and destruction, a private detective prying into everyone’s business, or a love and betrayal saga of family and ever-changing fortunes;  as a reader, you must consider how the author weaves such magic, how they are able to draw you into their fiction, into their deep mindbending imagination.

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Whether you are laying on a recliner by the pool, soaking up the sun at the beach, or simply curled up in your armchair at home, a book is a magical portal, a gateway to another life through which you can escape the humdrum of everyday tasks, at least for a while.

When you immerse yourself into a story the mundane evaporates, it disappears into the shadows of forgotten responsibilities while you become absorbed into your own private world, a world that no other person can ever become part of.

Now, you may find my last statement somewhat beguiling.

Why would I say no other person could possibly enter the same world as you? After all, you are reading just one copy, a single edition of a book. Many other people read the same story? They too have visited this fantastical world you now find yourself in?

WRONG.

Unlike watching the television, a downloaded video, or visiting the cinema where you sit with family and friends watching precisely the same action, hearing the same sounds, the same voices, a book is a far more personal experience.

It is a unique individual encounter.

When you read a story your eyes will be scanning the chains of words which are sequenced by the author. Yet it is not the author who is telling you the story. It is not these chains of words, mere ink blobs on the pages which paint those pictures in your mind. It is not they which lead you from one scene to another.

You see, in between those words there lies an invisible entity.

It is this entity which connects your mind to the authors, no matter how far away they may be in distance or time. Alive or long dead… you will become connected.

It is this which is the true magic of a book.

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Wonderful plays and fantastic films work from the basis of good creative script writing, however, assisting the scriptwriters to deliver the words to an audience, in a manner that will capture their attention, are the actors and actresses. Their ability to deliver a speech or to convey dialogue convincingly is a wonderful skill.

Cameramen, directors, special effects, best boy’s and grips… and so on, produce the scenes and effects. But that vision, the moving images on the screen and the actor’s voices are not your story; they are far far removed for that. They are the director’s interpretation of the screen-writers construal of the theatre play, which is based on the television series of the original book written by… whoever it may be.

Therefore, you are separated, by numerous degrees, from the creators own imagination.

I prefer a direct connection to the author, one without the intervention of another person, or persons, translations being foisted upon me.

Without becoming too technical, I am writing this post in a style far removed from the one I am using to write my novel. The way you are reading this post is the way I have deliberately formatted my narration. In this instance as if I am speaking, talking directly to you personally. (Which I am.)

In my fictional stories, the voice you hear is inside your head may be omnipotent, or it may seem as if one of the characters is speaking, telling you the tale, it all depends on how I, the writer, intend you to hear my story.

I hope I have explained that clearly?

The second reason reading a book is such a personal experience is, as you read, your mind creates a world so real and so detailed and in such a subjective form, it is only possible for it to exist in your, singular, imagination.

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Take a simple statement:

The long black sedan drew up to the pavement outside the hotel.

Simple?

Yes?

No.

If it were a film I would agree because we would have both seen the same car, drive up to the same hotel, from the same direction, in the same weather conditions, at the same time of day….same….same…same.

However, when you are absorbed into the story of a book, you have to create the car yourself, imagine which direction it is driving, how the daylight reflects from its bodywork, or the lights glint on its polished paintwork as it drives under the portico of the main entrance… oh wait, your hotel did not have a portico? And it was not in the city centre… well, that’s ok, because this is your story and yours alone.

In mine it was night, the car was a dark blue stretched Bentley continental, what make was it in yours?  Was it a stretch, was it blue or black… or white? What time of day, or night did you create for your story? Was it Chauffeur driven?

This is the reason you cannot read the same story as your friends, your mother, sister, brother, uncle, aunt or Little Lord Fauntleroy. You can read the same book, but you can never experience the same story.

Ahh, now you are beginning to understand the true magic of a book, the amazing mystical power of narration.

It is something unique, something no other medium can offer.

Which is why I love the written word, why I love books above and beyond any other form of media for regaling a great story.

It is why I love to write.


Talking about writing… have you read any of my Electric Eclectic books yet?

If not, you are missing a treat. Choose from one of my captivating Novelettes, such as TheOrbEEThe Orb, North to Maynard, or Three Floors Up. Alternativly you could select a volume of short stories from my Tales of Crime & Violence collection. All ready to download now.

NSGmaokIf you prefer a paperback, my Tales of Crime & Violence collection are also produced as paperbacks, while A New Summer Garden, Mechanilcal Mike, and Miriam’s Hex are ‘Pocketbook’ paperbacks.

Pocketbooks are smaller sized paperbacks which are perfect for slipping into a bag or, dare I say, a pocket, (hence the name!) They will even fit into the back pocket of your denim jeans.

How’s that for convenience?

To see all the Electric Eclectic books, from all the Electric Eclectic authors, visit @open24, Electric Eclectic’s Amazon UK store for readers and writers…

 CLICK HEREfuture