Five ‘MUST’ places to check out for your Christmas gifts.

1, The LIST 2020.

CQ International Publishing’s list of ‘Must Reads’ for 2020.

A catalogue jam-packed full of recommended and commended books written by authors from around the world.

There really is ‘something for everyone’ in The LIST.

Click on the cover image to see more.

TheList2020 (2019_08_27 14_06_27 UTC)


2, Electric Press magazine (November edition).

A literary quarterly ‘free to read’ magazine.

Electric Press is full of interesting articles, stories, insights, interviews, amazing books and gift ideas for book lovers and authors.

The November edition includes articles on Chinese literature, survival from depression, an article about the amazing Bill Maudlin, an insight into research, short stories, great book review, interviews, suggestions for books and lots more.

Find Electric Press here



3, @open24.

An Amazon store dedicated to readers and writers.

Browse this online ‘department’ store today.

Visit the Christmas Gift shop, Electric Eclectic books, Essential books for readers & writers, Children’s books for all ages, visit ‘the Fantastic Giftshop’, find notebooks, planners journals and more, eReaders, kindles, covers and accessories, books from Crimson Cloak and Dragonfly and Paul White.

Visit @open24 now



4, Electric Eclectic.

Check out the Electric Eclectic website.

Meet our authors, find our books, get the latest ‘EE’ news, see our ‘Friends’ and find out how you could become an Electric Eclectic author.

Go to the Electric Eclectic website


Did you know Electric Eclectic also has a YouTube channel called Electic Press, where you can watch their book trailers, listen to author readings, find out all about EE and a shed load of more ‘stuff’?

Take a look…EEYouTube

5, Electric Eclectic on RedBubble.

Electric Eclectic has two ranges of designer goods, clothing, accessories, housewares, stationery and much more available from RedBubble.

For the EE Logo design go to,

For the Red Wiggle design go to,



Happy Chrismas shopping; chose well and enjoy.

If creativity flows, don’t question it. Are you writing divine fiction?

There are times you meet people, even in this, the weird and wonderful cyber-world of the interweb, when you just seem to click. C G Blade & Jackie Siefert-Pappas are two such people, recent friends and fellow authors and founders of Psuedosynth Presswe have found much ‘common ground’ exists between us.

This is their guest post for A Little more Fiction, enjoy.


“Without Sarcasm, Science Fiction Is Just Science”

I am not sure what to call it, divine intervention, a higher calling, and a purpose, perhaps? Maybe it is a flow of creativity from another plane of existence. Almost seven years ago, my ‘well-being’ was a nightmare of thoughts about my physical future and where I might be going after several surgeries. I always say, “Chaos and pain breed creativity.” Cobalt was a calling for me that was a significant positive step. I couldn’t get it out of my head no matter what I did or how distracted I tried to become. Was it an obsession, an epiphany? I believe it was. The Greeks define an epiphany as -“An epiphany (from the ancient Greek ἐπιφάνεια, epiphaneia, “manifestation, striking appearance”) is an experience of sudden and striking realization. Generally, the term is used to describe scientific breakthrough, religious, or philosophical discoveries, but it can apply in any situation in which an enlightening realization allows a problem or situation to be understood from a new and deeper perspective. Epiphanies are studied by psychologists and other scholars, particularly those attempting to study the process of innovation.” Ever since college, I have kept the dream alive. The desire to write science fiction the way I know you and I would love it.

Fast forward seven years later…

Cobalt and the remainder of the novels were ‘meant to be,’ my own epiphany, so to 41NfsgqHE8Lspeak. I wrote the Pseudoverse Series because I believe in one adage: If you want to read something and you cannot find it, write it yourself. I believe some things need to be said, and I have a lot more to say in the coolest and most devious damn way I know how. That devious side of me would be hiding messages in plots and narratives as all of the writers before we did since the dawn of charcoal and papyrus. When I am alone at night squirming in pain staring into the darkness with a journal on my end table, and a chapter-by-chapter movie begins in my head, all of the pieces of the novels fall into place, and I’ve worked them all out: Cobalt, the expanded sequel Crimson. Cobalt + Crimson=Atomic Bomb=Los Alamos. Can we go back and do it again? Would we if we could? What if technology has changed that allowed us to do more damage differently? What if it was, Emerald, Onyx, Heliotrope, Chrome, Indigo, Ash and artificial intelligence singularity were a reality? What about repairing our wounded patriots? Could we actually produce this idea and make a dream come true for millions of wounded souls?

Okay, here is how I approached this whole Pseudoverse Series idea. I am going to jot down what I believe to be the 100 most influential people, places, and things in science fiction and science and hide them in nineteen novels with several plot lines inside each story. I love a grand conspiracy as much as the next person does. I am also going to use real people in all of my novels. Why? When I read a book I relate to ‘someone’ inside, a character who does something fantastic, miraculous, or malicious. (If I did not read ‘fiction,’ I would go nuts. I am not a big biography fan, but I did hundreds of hours of work researching real people to put these novels together so go figure) You either get a picture of this person or character in your head right away, or it slowly develops over time, depending on who you are reading and what era it is from. When I was writing Cobalt, my supporters and allies automatically became characters in addition to the people I started out within my list. I loved doing it, and I loved it when they became terrible or corrupt in my head. (Creating an antagonist is so much fun to write.)

41eYuIzF+vL._SY346_The entire Pseudoverse Series is a puzzle! The novels are in themselves divine puzzles waiting to be slid together. Enjoy them as a fun roller coaster ride that never stops (Check out the Blog on Heliotrope as a Storyboard). The historical accuracy will blow you away from the hours of research that DC Belga and Cad Gelb put into these stories. Cobalt will be forever a stunning debut novel I will cherish as young parents cherish their newborns. I as most authors do when they finish their first novel, wept. These novels are not masterpieces to be shoved into a bookshelf and admired from afar but loud grenades that go off in your hand, leaving a mark on your forehead that begs the question: “You know, there is more to this book than just this beautiful pulp-inspired cover. Look closer, and you may see something you never saw before. Why would someone spend all this time doing this?” Duck! Its a well-executed barrage of hidden events going off all around you in all different directions! Your grey mass explodes!

Only a fiction obsessed robot programmer/creative writer knows the answer to all of that rambling above. Welcome to my “Uncanny Valley.” Thank you for reading this, and if you have read Cobalt I profoundly and genuinely hope you enjoyed it as much as I did planning it out and writing the sarcastic First Lieutenant Petra Kayden Dace and her sidekick Terprise, stuck in her head forever. The talented and beautiful author, accountant, and muse of Pseudosynth Press, CEO Jackie Siefert-Pappas, will be completing another twisted plot soon for us to hash out together. She has been and always will be my main muse. I have several muses. There is Cindy, Catherine, Sharon, Amanda, and too many others to name. I am not the only one with great ideas for stories, and I thank them from the bottom of my warm, robotic heart. Thank you for supporting us through the years. YOU are the reason I continue to pound out stories. Cindy Calloway, our editor, is the reason that these stories are so damn funny and pop like corn in ‘Real Genius.’ If you are on a roll and the stories are flowing, don’t question it. There is a reason for the flow. You might not find out until years later, but it will eventually come out, and you will be pleasantly surprised at the outcome… I know I am…

Robotic Love and Hugs, CG


You can find the entire Pseudoverse Series is just one click away in Electric Eclectic’s Amazon store, @open24

The Way of Things. A short story.

I like approaching writing from alternative angles; presenting genres in a way seldom done and experimenting with narrative and tone.

Here is a short piece which, I suppose, could be loosely termed as ‘Soft Sci-Fi’, even though its prime focus is relationships, particularly new relationships where uncertainty, doubt and apprehension go hand in hand with hope and anticipation.



The ping-pong ball bounced as it hit the edges of the glass bowls, eventually falling between them and onto the countertop.

This game was not as easy as it looked. But why was I surprised? After all, this was the travelling fair and they were here to take as much money from the local community as possible.

That is the way of things.

What I should be surprised at is the number of people who queued at each stall wanting to give their hard-earned cash to the travellers. The number who wanted to play games, which are heavily weighted in favour of the stallholder, for the vague chance of winning a relatively valueless prize.

I suppose it was the seduction of the fairground itself, the lights, the noises, and the smells. They cast a spell over the community, excited the children and the childness lingering within the adults.

Giant bears and candyfloss, Alice bands with flashing tentacles, doughnuts and sweet rock canes, some with your own name running all the way along the centre. The crowds, the laughter, the shouts and screams as the waltzes rattled and spun in gut-wrenching circles too fast too loud, overpowering rock music.

That is the way of things.

I had one more ball left, one small lightweight ping-pong ball which could win me a prize if, and this was the biggy, ‘if’ it landed in a bowl.

I have already thrown eight balls. It was one pound for three, my first six bounced everywhere except where I wished, as did the last two from this set. Which left me with one more chance to win and I wanted to win. I wanted very, very desperately to win.

You see, my girlfriend, my new girlfriend, who was bouncing up and down beside me in excitement and anticipation, “really, really” wanted me to win. She wanted me to win because she wanted one of these prizes, “Soooo much.”

As her new boyfriend, what could I do? This was a challenge, not only of my skills and capabilities but of my determination in front of adversity. This was a test of my loyalty, of my commitment to her. In fact, this was a trial of my manhood, an examination of my suitability as a mate.

Although these things remained unspoken, everybody knows that is the way of things.

I watched each of the previous eight ping-pong balls as they bounced, jumping from the edge of one bowl to another. Somewhere within their movement, there was a pattern, a pattern of chaos. Impossible to map by mathematics but one which was there nevertheless, instinctive, intuitive. It was a form, a tessellation of almost ethereal quality. It was a shape I could feel.

Tossing the ball, this ball, my last ping-pong ball, I watched its progress through the air. With bated breath. I saw it descend and hit the lip of the first bowl. The ball sprung up and forward before falling again, hitting another bowl and recoiling back towards me. It was going to clear the bench, it was going to fall to the floor. I was going to fail the test.

My girlfriend gasped, holding both hands to her mouth, biting the knuckles of her fingers. I stood immobile, helpless and hapless. The ball seemed to take an age; it appeared to float downwards, teasingly. As the ball fell it caught the edge of the final bowl, rolling around the inside of its lip, circling, spiralling around and down, down, down into its base.

“Yes,” I shouted punching the air with relief. My girlfriend jumped onto me, wrapping her arms around my shoulders and kissing my face.

I had won.

I had won my challenge, my manhood, my girlfriend’s adoration. I was a champion. I was king.

That is how things are; that is the way of things.

The stallholder was disappointed he must give away a prize. He looked even more disgruntled when my girlfriend demanded a Nanolion.

Nanolions were new, brought here from some small blue planet in a far galaxy. I think, if I recall correctly, my college tutor explaining the Nonolions called this small blue planet Earth. We call it Nano 15.

After all, it was the fifteenth planet of this type we found, simple. No need to confuse the issue with strange, foreign words.

Still, the Nanolions were amazing, tiny replicas of us in every detail. Some, it is said, can also speak. Which is, I suppose where the myth of Nano 15 being called ‘Earth’ comes from. Although, like many, I do not believe in such anecdotes.

The stallholder held up a plastic bag, it was inflated and tied in a knot. “There should be enough air in the bag to keep it alive until you get home,” he said.

My girlfriend took it from him. “What do you feed them on?” she asked.

“Oh, just small scraps. They will eat almost anything,” he said. All interest lost in us, he turned to the other punters surrounding the stall, offering their pound coins in hope of also winning a Nanolion.

“We shall find a box to keep it in tonight,” my girlfriend announced, “and tomorrow we will go shopping, buy it a cage and a run and things.”

“Is it a he or a she?” I asked.

Holding the bag aloft we looked closely, “It’s a she, maybe we could buy her a mate or… let’s go back, let’s win another one.”

I replied, “I don’t think so. It was only luck I won this one.”

“Oh please, please, pretty, pretty please.”

So, we turned around and headed back to the ping-pong ball stall. It looked like my challenge was not quite over, yet.

I now had another test to pass.

That is the way of things.


© Paul White 2015

You can find more of my short stories, although most are far longer than this one, in several of my books, such as ‘Dark Words’, a collection of dark stories and darker poetry, ‘Within the Invisible Pentacle’  where all the stories have a feminine connection, and in the three-book collection, ‘Tales of Crime & Violence’,  which do not need any explanation, excepting to say, like the story above, they may not play out quite the way you might think.


A Flash of Horror

A Flash of Horror is a collection of short and flash fiction in the horror genre taken from Karina Kantas’s two collections, Heads & Tales & Undressed.

12 chilling and though-provoking tales that will stay with you for nights to come.
Are you ready to delve into the dark side?


I never thought of myself a someone with a dark side.

I always thought of my flash fictions as SciFi, thriller, maybe just a little creepy. But then I was a guest on a podcast and the host made me realise a lot of what I write falls into the horror genre.

I decided to take out some of the best horror flash from my two collections ‘Heads & Tales’ and ‘Undressed’ to make this small collection for those who don’t mind not sleeping at night.


A Flash of Horror

An excerpt from A Flash of Horror by Karina Kantas


“Well, that’s it. Now we wait again,” Maria announced.

Phil watched her sit at a cluttered desk to scribble yet more failure notes. But his eyes did not linger. He scanned the laboratory. It might be the last time he’d see it. Beds lined the walls of the spacious room, all but hiding its sterile, white-tiled floor. “How long until we see results this time — if any?” he asked.

“Same as the others. Twelve hours.”

“That doesn’t give us much time to administer a vaccine.”

“No. And — yes, before you say it, you’re right — there’s no guarantee we’ll ever find an acceptable vaccine.”

On each bed lay a test subject. Even those that had succumbed remained, since the examination of their rotting bodies still offered the faint hope of a cure.

But Phil knew that the virus had won this war. There was no hope. Eight months of this, and nothing but 665. The committee was right.

Phil turned his face away from the rotting, deformed victims, and stared at his co-worker. It was time to tell her, although he knew how she’d react. Maria was obstinate — so certain she’d find a cure.

Phil walked to his colleague’s desk. Each step weighed heavily on him, like the weight they’d shouldered as a team these past few months. He rested his hand on her shoulder.

“Maria?” he whispered.

Her eyes shimmered. “Yes?”

Phil blinked and spoke. “The committee decided if this last trial is unsuccessful, they’ll go with 665. They’ve already begun to manufacture.”

“What? You’re joking?”

 “They say there’s no more time to be choosey. It’s 665 or total annihilation.”

“Choosey! Don’t they realise what will happen? 665 has such awful side effects.”

“Sorry. Maybe choosey was the wrong word, and yes, they know the peril. I agree with them. What other choice do we have?”

“I’d rather die.”

Phil turned and looked at the bed beside him. Clear plastic sheeting did nothing to hide its demonic deformities. IT was the only way to describe this once-person. Its new facial appearance removed any identification of what sex, race or age test subject 665 once had.

More to come…..

You can get A Flash of Horror from Amazon UK;

or internationally via; 

and from Amazon’s @open24 store for readers and writers,

A Flash of Horror is an Electric Eclectic book, you can find more from Karina and many other authors by visiting Electric Eclectic’s website,

Join the Electric Eclectic Facebook Page


Karina Kantas is the author of the popular MC thriller series, OUTLAW and the loved romantic fantasy duology, Illusional Reality.

She also writes short stories and when her imagination is working overtime, she writes thought-provoking dark flash fiction.

When Karina isn’t busy working on her next bestseller, she’s a publicist, author manager and VA. She’s also the host of the popular radio show, Author Assist on the Artist First Radio Network.

Karina writes in the genres of fantasy, MC romance, Young Adult. sci-fi, horror, thrillers and comedy, romance, PNR, dystopian and erotica.

Her inspirations are the author S.E.Hinton and the rock band, Iron Maiden.

You can find her on Facebook and Twitter, where she loves hanging out with her readers. FB Author page, BLOG, INSTAGRAM

Get samples from Book 1 and Book 2 of Illusional Reality duology when you sign up to my mailing list. 


Electric Eclectic book
Toxic – dystopian Erotica

The OUTLAW series
In Times of Violence
Lawless Justice
Road Rage

Heads & Tales

In Times of Violence Young Adult Edition / MC romance
Stone Cold / YA supernatural thriller

Illusional Reality duology
Illusional Reality / YA romantic fantasy 
The Quest/fantasy paranormal romance

Coming soon
Broken Chains (MI5/mafia  romance)
Predator (erotic horror)


Toothache drops


“Johnny” shouted Marjory, her voice carrying the length of the garden. “Johnny, stop running about. Go and sit with your Grandfather.”

Johnny dawdled, scuffing his shoes along the garden path towards the small arbour where his Grandfather sat. As he walked he ran a stick along the fencing boards so it made a clackety-clack sound.

He knew most adults found the noise annoying, but Grandfather Eddie clapped his hands together, jumped from his seat and said, “Go back a bit Johnny, go back and do that again”.

Johnny liked Grandfather Eddie, he was funny. He did lots of stupid things and told jokes his mother called ‘only nearly funny’. That was when he wasn’t grumpy.

Not that he was ever grumpy for long, he had his special sweets, his toothache drops. If he felt bad he ate two or three of those and he was smiling and laughing again in no time.

Johnny often wondered why his Grandfather did not go and see the dentist more if his teeth hurt. Surely a dentist could make the pain stop, or he could take Grandfathers tooth away altogether?

Grandfather Eddie wrote songs. Not old songs like he was old and Nanna was old, but songs you hear on the radio, the ones you could listen to on Spotify and Reverb Nation. He knew all the stars and artists. Grandfather had been on television, he won awards and trophies and stuff for writing songs and music, they were on display inside the house in a tall glass cupboard next to his collection of guitars.

Sometimes the famous people came to eat dinner at Grandfathers house, or to have a barbecue. Some of them were coming today. Which is why Johnny had to be on his best behaviour. Although, when you heard and saw all the things these people did, Johnny wondered why he had to behave when no one else did?

Adults can be strange at times. Most times.

Johnny sat opposite Grandfather Eddie and, looking directly at his face, watched as he tapped away on the laptop keyboard. His mother said, “Don’t disturb your grandfather when his typing.” So, Johnny waited patiently.

“That’s it,” Grandfather said, with a big grin spreading across his face as he shut the laptop. “So, Johnny, that’s the Vampire Dunkin Monkeys next big hit in the bag. That’s the Grunge-punk awards won for next year and it’s all down to you and your clackety-clacking”.


“I could have done more Clacking, but the Lemon tree is in the way,” said Johnny.

“You have done quite enough for one day young man; I shall reward you handsomely when the record becomes a big hit.”

“Can I have a fast car, an orange one, with silver wheels?”

Grandfather Eddie laughed. “When you are old enough you can have all the cars you want and any colour wheels you wish for.”

“Eddie,” it was Nana’s voice. “They are arriving.” She shouted down the garden to where Grandfather Eddie had his writing arbour.

“Right, Johnny,” said Grandfather Eddie as he stood and stretched his back. “Let’s go to work, let’s get that fast Orange car for you, shall we?”

“Go to work? I thought they were your friends?”


“My friends are Alexander Hamilton, Ulysses S. Grant, Benjamin Franklin, William McKinley and Grover Cleveland. You would do well to make their acquaintance too, young man.”


Grandfather Eddie popped two of those toothache drops, he kept in a small tin in his pocket, into his mouth as they walked towards the house.

Johnny noticed the change in Grandpa, by the time he walked to the house his tooth and that bad back must have got better, Grandfather Eddie was now shaking hands, offering greetings and chatting and buzzing like a teenager.

Looking for more great reads?

Then visit my website and browse my books, I am certain I have something to suit most everyone’s taste, from short stories to full-length novels, from poetry collections to non-fiction books and more.


You can find my novelettes and novellas ebooks at Electric Eclectic all are ready for you to download instantly.

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Bonfire Heart; a preview

Bonfire Heart is the latest Electric Eclectic book and is written by the wonderful author, Audrina Lane.

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Sebastian Winter is a loner with a lot on his mind. His only escape is his photography and enjoying the peace and solitude sailing off the coast of New Zealand brings.

Lena Cavendish is the town’s rich girl who wants to break free to follow her heart. Her father wants University and a career for his daughter, while she wants to write romances.

Lena is looking for her ‘Happily Ever After’.

Falling in love can be simple but will Sebastian’s anxiety and depression push Lena away, just when he needs her the most?

Find out in this coming of age story set on the North Island of New Zealand.

As his boat bumped the side of the yacht he lurched forward and jumped. The two of them landed, face down, in a sluice of water on the deck.

Here is a small snippet to whet your appetite;

He looked down her long legs to her toes busy burying into the warm sand. Seb silently took a deep breath and placed his hand next to hers in the small gap that separated them.

“So how did you find this place?” She asked, letting her little finger hook over his. A million tiny fireflies started to flutter under his skin like they were trying to escape.

“My Dad taught me to sail and we found it on one of our adventures.”

“A family tradition then, I like it.”

“You mean it” his voice faltered.

“Yes, I hope you’ll bring me here again on our next date.”

The fireflies were now escaping into the heat on his cheeks as he felt her hand squeeze his “That’s if we’re going to be dating?”

He blinked and in the instance, his eyes were shut he felt her lips touch his cheek. Taking this as a sign he pulled her tight into him and found her lips with his. A closed mouth to start as he revelled in the velvet feel and the salty taste. A tiny, tentative start to their fledgeling relationship as he grew bolder and let his lips push hers open so that their tongues could meet. He heard a tiny sigh escape and rush across his skin as she responded, letting her hand run down his spine. She was everything he’d imagined and more. Like eating your favourite sweets all at once. When they parted each was breathless and in awe of the power between them, tugging at their hearts like the undercurrents of the ocean.

Audrina Lane lives in Herefordshire with her partner Steve and her 3 Black Labradors called Rael, Lily & Milo.

She is the author of the fabulous “Heart Trilogy Series” made up of the novels “Where did your Heart go?” “Un-break my Heart” and “Closer to the Heart”. She has also completed the first two books in the Bloodstained Heart Trilogy. These are connected to The Heart Trilogy series in that they feature the full story of Felicity.

She has enjoyed writing her first collaboration with Rita Ames on the ‘Need for Speed’ Racing series. These are romances set at various motor racing venues, with the first book ’24Hrs to Love’ available and set at Le Mans. She has recently released her first Poetry and Short Story Anthology called ‘Whiter Shade of Pale’.

When she is not tapping away on the PC, she enjoys walking her 3 black Labradors, listening to eighties music and barefoot dancing. She also loves cars, from old classics to modern-day supercars and is a total fan of Formula 1.


Audrina’s Place:

24Hrs Facebook Page:

Join the Electric Eclectic Facebook page here:

Visit our website for many more great books:


Sophie’s story

An excerpt from ‘Sophie’s story‘,

page 274 from Paul White’s book, Within the Invisible Pentacle.


My father died on the Sixteenth of September 2012. The same day as we lowered my mother’s coffin into her grave.

Up to that point, I think my father was in denial; a self-denial, in which he told himself she would walk through the door at any moment.

We stood around the grave, my two younger brothers and I, along with a few people from our street.

I would call them neighbours, but I did not even know their names. Yet I am sure my mother could have told you much about each and every one of them. She was that type of woman; friendly, sociable, liked. She was the type of person even strangers opened to. They all seemed to share their feelings, their worries and fears with my mother, without hesitation.

I guess it is the same, wondrous quality my father noticed in her all those years ago.

There were also three or four people from the warehouse where my father worked until it closed two years back.

For this small town, the closing of the warehouse, a main storage and distribution centre for a giant, international conglomerate, was the last straw.

It really did break the camel’s back.

The camel in this instant was the failing spirits and resolve of the townsfolk. The mine closed in the mid-seventies, the factories followed a decade later and the rest… just sort of… petered away without notice.

Businesses, offices, shops, they all faded away and the town slumped into decay and abandonment.

Once the warehouse closed, the last workers lost their jobs, many folks simply packed up and moved away. The few who chose to stay, like my parents, survive on charity and government handouts.

We are a world apart from general society.

When the warehouse first closed Dad was not downhearted, far from it, he was full of big ideas, backed up by shed full of bravado. He and Tommy Deacon had plans, business plans. They would combine their redundancy monies and start afresh.

“Things,” he said, “never looked so good.” There were new opportunities, new horizons to be explored.

The thing is, they never looked so bad as after Tommy disappeared with my father’s money.  He even sent a postcard of a golden sandy beach; I think it was Montego Bay.

The card read, “See ya, ya tosser.”

In all my fourteen years of life, I never saw my father show anger about anything. So, the rage he exhibited that day scared me in a way I can never explain.

I was, let it be said, terrified.

My mother tried to comfort him but to no avail. They agreed it was best if she took us, the children, as far away from him as she could.

A week later, my mother and I, I being the oldest child, stole into the house one evening to see how my father was faring. We found him in a heap, a drunken stupor, on the kitchen floor. He was filthy, unshaved, smelled of vomit, urine and worse.

He was never the same after Tommy’s disappearance.

Neither was my mother.

Not only did something die within my father during those dark days, but the relationship, the care, the trust, the love between my parents altered. I am uncertain how, or what, or even why. It is not something I have ever been able to decipher, to put my finger on.

They still loved one another, that was clear. It was unwavering, yet… different.

My father drank more, sometimes with the other men in the public house on the corner, but more often he drank at home, alone.

My mother carried on, but it was as if she was suddenly old. She managed less and less. I took over most chores. Like the washing, cleaning and cooking.

School was a relief for my brothers. It got them away from the house.

“Work hard, study hard,” I told them. “Only by doing well will you ever get away from here.” I am happy they took my words to mind.

For me, I left school. I stayed home, tended my father’s alcoholism and nursed my mother.

Cancer they said.

“Yes, it can seem to suddenly appear.” the doctors said. “Although it has probably been growing for some time.”

Six weeks later my mother was dead.

Her last words to me were: “Don’t you go worrying yourself about me. It’s better this way. Be careful, love.”

I am still uncertain of the meanings of those words…

… to read more of Sophie’s story, grab a copy of the book. You can get it here,


Or visit Paul’s website at,