Why I am giving away my 1st book

Call it Christmas spirit (No, not that spirit: I am NOT drunk), but I have decided to give away my 1st book!  ‘Auntie Rita is coming to London’. 

It’s a story that means much to me. It is partly based on real events and has taken me three years to write (also: 12 drafts, two editors and a lot of cheek to self publish it). After considerable hesitation, I have forced myself to publish it and would like to share it with you.  Why should you invest your precious time reading my stories?

If you are a writer, you know the excruciating pain and happiness of sending your book out into the world, not knowing if it will be read, or even worse, not knowing whether it will be understood or liked. You brace yourself for harsh critique, but hope someone, somewhere will treat your characters kindly. You hope that somewhere, somehow, your story will bring a smile and some relief to someone. You hope.

You overcome the fear of ridicule, of unwittingly offending, of rejection, because your wish to share your story is stronger. So, perhaps, you will understand why I am allowing you to upload a free copy via Story Cartel.

I really want to share this story with you, I want you to know about auntie Rita and her journey to London, to give her niece a letter that cannot be posted.

Meet Gigi and laugh/wince at her farcical bid to bag her dream job at ‘The Venerable Institution’.

What would you do if a dear friend got married in secret?  See what Ian, Charlotte and Bea go through in ‘The Sudden Bride’ and if you have ever wanted to know the truth, cost what might, you will know why Henry is so bent on finding his beloved Artemisia’s secret in ‘In the Shadows’

If you are addicted to reading, you know the magic bond that a story can form between a writer and his/her reader. I see it is a joining of hands between people who will never meet, and yet come to share something meaningful and intimate.

This is the magic that books only can create. It belongs to us, lovers of books, it’s ours.

And so, dear readers to be, I hope you will not find me presumptuous and will accept this offering. I know you are likely to be busy, but if you can, read my collection of short stories this Christmas break, and, if you can spare time, let me have your thoughts.

Believe me, I will not squander this chance: I will take on board your views, as I sit to write my second book. 

New characters, new stories, new beginnings, here’s one.  Here’s to you all. May 2014 bring us all more and better books and a fulfilling life.

All the best, Marella

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How to be a ‘beta’ person – Tip #2 accept you may not radiate light (meanwhile hold on to your cash)

Hello everyone, still interested in finding out about my journey to ‘beta’ ness, previously described in Tip #1? Step this way to Tip #2.

Has anyone informed you that you radiate ‘mauve’ light or any other light? I have not been told anything of the sort, until last week. Picture this, I am checking out a school Christmas fair with a dear friend. My eyes are darting from jars of home-made jellies and jams to colourful ‘surprise’ bags and I am trying not to step on toddlers dressed as Santa or trip over kids.

Gingerly negotiating toddlers, kids, prams, voluminous parcels, I am moving towards the cake stall, when a glamorous young lady rugby tackles me and virtually manhandles me to a stall, where she and a bunch of equally young, glamorous, alabaster-skinned youngsters sell beauty products, which do not  contain or involve chemicals, pesticides, explosives, wheat, sugar, palm oil, olive oil, margarine, tested and untested animals, mines, child labour, underpaid labour, co-operation with totalitarian regimes and/or politics of any sort (to name a few attributes).

Not only that, I am also told in some detail that these products actually do the Earth some good, in fact, buying them would be akin to practically giving to charity (I am not quite sure how, as by the time they had finished with the list of  nasties included in usual down-market moisturisers, such as mine, I am no longer listening to these youngsters, I am busy checking whether I am on fire)

That’s when the mauve/magenta light comes to the fore. Apparently I  –  or rather my head and neck –  radiate such waves, a slightly older, equally glamorous woman at the stall tells me.

Was I not aware of this? My shock must have heralded my ignorance.

My head and its content have been likened to a great deal of weird and wonderful things, but never to a source of radiation, of any colour. But THAT was the past, behold me, a beacon of light- I think.

So, I briefly consider buying one of those moisturisers, more in deference to my newly-found radiations, than an actual need –  but I swiftly remember my depleted bank balance, so I explain the situation and try to back off.

That’s when the older saleswoman informs me that I (and my magenta/mauve light, presumably) would make a wonderful sales rep. I am assured thousands of pounds would practically fall on my lap, resplendent  people like me had retired after two years in such magnanimous enterprise, having made their fortunes and enlightened the others to the virtues of those products, in the bargain.

I’d also meet like-minded sources of light, ready and willing to help me, as well as providing camaraderie and fun AND this (new friends/allies, thousands of pounds a week, mauve light, fun, philanthropy) in exchange for only £500 to pay for the first stock. My eyes well with gratitude.

I briefly consider it: could I  convince people to ditch their toxic concoctions, do the philanthropic thing  and buy these new products, turning me into a millionaire in the process?

Then, true to my beta nature, I have a quick reality check. Unlike alpha people, who know they radiate light, who think that daring is the best policy, that you are your own limit, I embrace my limits and work around them.

PLUS, the following occurs to me: buying stock, cashing thousands of pounds for hardly any work, early retirement, basking in my own light… that sounds too good to be true. In my  beta world, hard work and A GOOD DOSE OF goofy, unfruitful attempts, are usually prelude to success (if any at all).

Could I, someone who works 12 hours on her start-up, fork out the monumental sum of £500 on products I hardly know to sell them to family and friends? Could I, surrounded by affectionate but humorous friends and family, with a strong sense of value for money and utterly oblivious to my mauve radiations,  flog these products to them?

The answer is an unequivocal NO. I had better focus on what I AM DOING NOW.  So, when the sales woman rings me a couple of days later to fix my first appointment and deposit the £500, book my first stock, meet my new friends, I tell her what I think.

My magenta light must have started waning there and then, because it takes me 20 minutes to get the message across. I do not succeed when I express doubts about my credentials as radiator of mauve light, or when I describe my adorable kith and kin but when I say I do not have £500 to invest in such worthy adventure anyway.

That switches off my light… and the conversation.

Moral of the story: I am not sure I have one. But if I had to give you one:  accept your limits. Challenge them, work around them, don’t let them defy/define you, but acknowledge them. What works for others, does not necessary works for you and when something looks too good to be true… it usually is.

Here’s to the light that comes from us all, especially if you stand next to a Christmas tree these days… Here’s to taking ourselves seriously, but not too much. Here’s to laughing at life and ourselves!

Kim’s Guest Review of The Pursuit of Mary Bennet by Pamela Mingle

Reflections of a Book Addict

tpombpmIf you’ve often thought that Mary Bennet from Pride and Prejudice has been neglected in the Austen fan fiction world, listen up. My latest review for Austenprose is on The Pursuit of Mary Bennet by Pamela Mingle and it’s all about Mary!

I can happily tell you that Mingle gives Mary a story well worthy of her character.

For a direct link to my review, click here!

This is my thirteenth completed review for the Pride and  Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge

This is my twenty-third completed review for the Historical Fiction Challenge

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Letter to the fellow shopper who pushed me aside to get on the bus first… a memento of the occasion

Dear fellow shopper who pushed his way to number 38, scattering around whoever stood in his way,

good morning!

With the festive season upon us, you will probably not be up yet:  maybe you are coping with a hangover after a massive bash, unless you tripped over your own trousers, which were so low that I could practically see your lingerie…

Wherever you are, in a quiet hospital ward, recovering from a broken nose, or in your own bed, I have decided to leave you a little memento of our meeting yesterday, to greet you, when you come around.

These few poor words are for you: in praise of your unique approach to using public transport, show them to everyone you know, especially your mum and dad. 

THANK YOU, dear fellow bus-user, for your forward thinking, which to this narrow-minded person seemed like bad taste and rudeness. After careful reflection, I see it for what it was: a sophisticated attempt to educate your fellow human beings. (That’s us, the people around you, you probably cannot see us under your fringe, but if you brushed it aside now and then, you could!) 

After mature and careful consideration, I have finally understood the reason why you shafted me aside together with a couple, one actually eligible for a free bus pass. (For people outside the UK:  this is a perk for the over 60s)

You wanted to educate us.

Your forceful passage through us naive people, who were (sort of) queuing to gain access to the bus, was a witty lesson in history, anthropology and religious studies all at once: you wanted to act out Moses’ parting the Red Sea, to lead his people out of Egypt. You were Moses and we were the Red Sea. This would explain why, after boarding the bus, you cast a vague glance at us and gave us a sort of smirk.

You felt like the patriarch, the leader who admonishes the slow, older fellow travellers to catch up. THANKS, I had not grasped this immediately. My first, uneducated, thought was: “Do you think you are clever, don’t you? You low-life, low- waistline moron!”

Now, I blush at my unworthy thought!! Peto veniam, I beg your pardon …

There could be a further explanation: hearing your melodic voice in your witty exchange on the phone (I see now that there were actual words in between your grunts and swear words), I gather you like science: Dr Who seemed to be very much in your thoughts, so I see now that your precepts could have something to do with science.

I thought, I re-thought and I got it: EUREKA!! You were giving us a practical demo of Newton’s  Three Laws of Motion

1) You shafted us to prove that an object’s natural tendency is inertia, until a force is applied to it: you were the force, we were the objects. 1st Law of Motion proved! 

2) My falling (face down), was a handy reminder that, when a force acts on an object, the object moves in the direction of the said force. The larger the force, the greater the acceleration. That’s why I fell just in your direction and, because you are a such strappy young lad, my acceleration was quite considerable (you should have heard the thud! You did not because you had your smart phone playing music not only audible to you, but to all of us – thanks for a further gift BTW)- 2nd Law of Motion proved! 

3) When the others were thrown off balance by your youthful exuberance, they – bless them – proved the 3rd Law of Motion right. When force is applied to an object, the force of reaction is equal and acts in the opposite direction to the force. That’s why they fell in the opposite direction of your irresistible force.

NEWTON’S ALL EXPLAINED in a few seconds! HOW I wish kids had been present to see it all!! Maybe we can arrange it, we could go to schools re-enacting the whole episode – much more useful than carol singing! What do you reckon? Are you in? (I don’t mean ‘in jail’)

So, dear fellow bus pass traveller, I conclude this letter with tears in my eyes: THANKS. And, please, forgive this hasty and judgemental woman who had you down for a manner-less Neanderthal, when in fact you are benefactor to human kind.

I look forward to our next meeting. Perhaps next time we can approach other subjects: maybe a revision of the Cultural Revolution (we could report each other to the police, you could report me for giving you a black eye and I could report you for GBH due to your dazzling bus-boarding technique)… just a thought…

Meanwhile, I wish you a very happy Xmas Season and may you find friends worthy of you.

Yours in hope,

Marella Albion (the one who fell at your feet on bus 38)

The Literary Girlfriend: A Conversation Between Two Women That Has Nothing To Do With Men Or Relationships

Dysfunctional Literacy

Emma and Literary Girlfriend

It’s not often a man gets to hear two or more women talking when they don’t know they’re being listened to.  I don’t mean eavesdropping in a public place like a restaurant or library.  I’m talking about overhearing a conversation that is meant to be completely private, a conversation where nobody else was supposed to be around.  This has only happened once in my life (I think), and it happened with Danielle.

Danielle had a big bruise on her head from where Vin had punched her, but she flipped her hair over it, so hardly anybody saw it, and even when she danced crazy at Nero’s, the lighting was so bad (and men weren’t staring at her forehead) that nobody noticed it.  We didn’t talk about it much after our discussion in the car.  I was still trying to convince Danielle to come up to meet my family for Christmas. …

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