When Two Worlds Collide

 

The final part of the tale has yet to be published, but the end of the series is written. I’m pleased to report that I’m now in the editing stages. I will edit, leave to rest, and edit again. The sequence will continue over the next two months, but my aim is to publish by early November.

Why publish in early November?

As I’ve drawn on the experiences I gained over a 23-year military career, I’ve enjoyed reliving many conversations and situations. I’ve recalled men who have passed on, to that big army in the sky, or wherever it may be. Some of those guys were taken too early, while I’m pleased to say, others lived beyond what was a regular life.

I’m rapidly approaching my 65th birthday (early November), which means I’ll have been out of the military for 25 years. If I use November as my target for publication it will be the 48th-anniversary of when I joined the army and will be a celebration of a story I’ve already researched and have been writing for several years.

Many of my memories of those days are enjoyable and as clear as yesterday.

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Why was this an important project for me?

There are a few reasons for writing a story such as A Life of Choice. As I’ve said in interviews and in previous posts, there are hundreds of books out there which relate directly to a modern conflict and real soldiers. Life and death coexist, and graphic photography removes any doubts.

Yes, in any military story there are plenty of facts and the scenes are laced with an abundance of emotions. Having written this tale several times, I aimed to inject as much humour as possible, while maintaining the thread of the protagonist’s life and career.

Is there anything else to be done apart from editing?

I’ve decided to pay for a professional cover design for the series. I created the present covers myself using the corps colours of the Royal Signals, but when the fifth book is established, I’d like to give the series the best possible chance of appealing to a wide audience, which means eye-catching covers.

Will the series only appeal to serving or ex-Service personnel?

I’m pleased to say that from the reviews I’ve seen so far, the answer is no, which is what I aimed for from the outset. This has never been a series purely to feed the memory of old soldiers (male or female), although I’m sure many would enjoy the tale. To some readers, there might be too much detail in certain areas, but my aim throughout is to create a credible backdrop.

Imagine a life without computers or mobile phones, and when airports didn’t cater for several languages on their notices. In Part One, the miniskirt was still a statement fashion and cars didn’t come with a radio as standard. A pint of beer and a 20-pack of cigarettes would have cost … well, I’m not going there, because some of you wouldn’t believe me.

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To put it all in perspective, it is the tale of a young man who left school at 15, and at 17 was venturing into the unknown. For those who have served, it may bring back memories, and for those who considered serving, but did not, it may answer questions. For those who never contemplated military service, it will provide insight.

All of the links to Amazon or BookLinker are available at my author website on the Anthologies page:

http://www.tombensonauthor.com/anthologies/4591486548

Go on, take a look …

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A Life of Choice: Part Four – available

 

 

The penultimate volume about Jim Faulkner pursuing a career in khaki, and all the trials and tribulations which befall him along the way.

Have you been following Jim’s progress?

In Part One, Innocence and Inebriation, 17-year-old Jim Faulkner leaves home to offer himself to the service of his country.

Part Two, Paths and Progression, our young man finds himself on a rollercoaster ride of education – in life.

When we arrive in Part Three, On and Off the Rails, Jim has volunteered to work in a scenario where variety is a way of life, mainly when at work.

In Part Four, Onwards and Upwards, life has altered so much, but any improvements have been earned using the experiences of what has gone before.

The final episode of Jim’s story is due for publication in late summer/early autumn 2017.

If I were to ask two small favours of my readers, I would ask that you work through the series in order, and please consider leaving reviews, however short.

Thank you, on behalf of Jim.

A Time for Courage: and other military stories

A Time for Courage - 2Now available!

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I’m delighted to report the publication of my fourth anthology of short stories. The primary theme is of course military, but as suggested in the title, ‘courage’ is the underlying feature of this collection.

In some cases how the character deals with adversity is fairly obvious, but in other tales the conflict and solution is more subtle.

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Here I have created 12 stories using a wide spectrum of scenarios. Military experiences can be funny, heart-breaking and, everything in between.

This anthology is a blend of my personal experience and knowledge, together with specially created pieces to highlight the peaks and troughs of service life.

These tales can be enjoyed equally by those who have served and, those who have never donned a uniform.

Humour, fact, fiction, and fantasy are used to portray service in theatres as varied as Vietnam, Northern Ireland, Ancient Briton, the Persian Gulf, Africa, and elsewhere.

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Amazon – Universal (Preview / Buy)

Booklinker (if unable to download from Amazon)

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As any sensible and serious indie author will do, I requested beta readers to cast a critical eye over these stories. Notwithstanding the fact one of the stories was a competition winner, I needed the confidence of more than one set of eyes checking my work. To this end, every story has been seen by at least two beta readers, and in some cases I stretched this to four beta readers.

I would now like to say a public thank you to Martin Ashworth, an ex-colleague from my latter days in the military.

My other readers are all members of the fine Indie Author Support and Discussion group:

Sharon Brownlie, Lucinda E Clarke, Barbara Doran-Rogel, Sylva Fae, Pam Kesterson, Robert Lalonde, Eric Lahti, Penny Luker, Julia Lund, Ian D Moore, and Andy Updegrove

Many thanks guys, one and all. I may not have used every suggestion, but I considered every one, and used a lot of them. Without your help I doubt if I’d have the same confidence in the end product.

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Making things Beta

A glance at my Work in Progress will give some idea of my intended output for the next few months. I enjoy variety in my writing as I do in my reading, so apart from working on novels this year – I aim to produce two anthologies.

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A Time for Courage - 1My next anthology of short stories is due for publication at end of March 2016.

I’ve already adjusted the font, and the angle of the plane on the cover for about the fifth time, but I believe the latest version does the job.

A Time for Courage is a collection of 12 stories. There are two which appear in other collections, but they deserve to be included here.

As always I strive to produce a varied selection, even when adhering to a theme, and I’ve worked to develop these stories in each successive draft.

I’m now looking for volunteers to sample the collection. Ideally, I’d like readers to try at least two stories each, but if you’d like to experience variety I can supply a surprise third story based on your two choices.

If I’m fortunate enough to have more than one reader for any of the stories, it will only be a good thing for the final product.

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What do readers need to know?

Photographic Memory* and Duty Bound* are the two tales which are appear elsewhere, so they don’t require beta reading, but I’ll be happy to send them on if somebody particularly wanted to see them.

I tend to set myself a maximum word target of 3,500 for short stories, but in this list I have one tale which is 4,000 words. There are two which are under 1,000 words.

If you would like to sample any of these and provide me with feedback, please get in touch via email, Facebook, or use a comment here. You don’t have to use the title of the story, (or stories) – the number, (or numbers) will be sufficient.

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1. A Time for Courage
2. Users Guide: Soldier
3. Thanks Dad
4. *Photographic Memory
5. Special Forces ?
6. The Odd Couple
7. Walking Wounded
8. Brothers in Arms
9. *Duty Bound
10. Roamin’ Soldier
11. Blood Brothers
12. The After Life

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I’m presently editing a novel for a fellow writer, so I will allocate time in mid-month to revisit this collection for final amendments.

Thank you as always for reading and leaving a comment.

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The New Mrs. D – a review

This story is a humorous and satisfying read for both sexes. In my opinion, when you strip away the genre, there are three types of fiction: bad, good, and believable. Heather Hill has created here one of the most believable, funny and heart-warming tales I’ve read in a long time.

As a writer, I read a wide range of genre, and I am critical of various aspects of the writing. In this uplifting tale, the reader is treated to good imagery, natural dialogue, superb characterisation, sense of place, and a plot that will make many honest men and women do some soul-searching.

We get to know the main character Bernice through excellent first-person point of view narrative. She is attractive, but isn’t gorgeous, and she is witty, but doesn’t do a stand-up routine. She is a mother. She is honest to a fault and has hang-ups about her personality and body as she goes into her 40’s.

It’s natural to think of characters like ‘Shirley Valentine’ and ‘Bridget Jones’, but Bernice is a combination of those two – on a particularly good day.

I use email and telephone calls for added depth in my own work, so for me, the inclusion of Facebook entries was insightful, and they are hilarious. Although porn is the poison in the relationship, it is dealt with tastefully – no pun intended.

Bernice’s love for her husband knows no bounds – or does it? That is the question posed early on, but through great writing, it isn’t answered until the end.

For me, this tale ticked all the boxes, and I rate it five-star.

Ten Days Selling!

Pacific Ocean viewed from Panama's west coast

Pacific Ocean viewed from Panama’s west coast

Perhaps I shouldn’t book my place on a luxury cruise yet, or buy a little place in the Swiss Alps, but since publishing my novel ‘Ten Days’, just ten days ago, I’ve now recorded ten sales.  I even have a review from one happy customer – so how good is that!

My marketing campaign is presently based on electronic warfare – my e-book against all the others that are out there.  I’ve sent out sample invitations to all my email contacts (yes all three of them), and now once again I’ll give it a mention on my Facebook page to jog memories.  Perhaps you are one of the people who is on the fence.  Why not follow the link to check out a sample or check out the review.  It might sway you into buying.  ‘Ten Days’ the novel: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/257906

What else have I got in the pipeline?  Apart from my second novel, I’m well on the way to producing what will be the first of five volumes of poetry.  Each e-book will be made up of a different genre: Humour, Natural History, Love and Romance, Military and Series poetry.  The Series poetry will contain a variety of topics, with some as short as 4 poems, whilst others are in excess of 20.

In an effort to promote some interest my intention is to offer the first volume, ‘Humour’ as FREE.  If all goes according to plan it will be available for download by as early as next weekend.  I will of course give it a few mentions on Facebook, just in case anybody misses it here.

There will be a slight change with the books of poetry, in that I’m intending to deal with the front covers and titles myself.  Now that I’ve passed all this on, I’m sure it will be no surprise that I’ll have to go now … press releases to write.

On the subject of 2…

Chapter 2 is now downloaded.  I will be editing every chapter as the year goes on but as things stand I am promising myself that the main bulk of the story will be completed this year. 

I’ve never set a deadline for the task but now that I have a firmer grasp of the style I want to use, the measure of humour to impart and a list of pseudonyms for the real characters I feel the job could well be completed.  Like anything, rather than hurry it to completion I would prefer to write a quality tale.