Author: E.J. Bennett
28 pages in Kindle
Date Read: 2/19/2017
My Rating: 4 stars
Short Story Summary from Amazon:
When Mathew Hansen first heard the disembodied voice of a woman through the wall of his new London flat, he thought he imagined it. Mind playing tricks, in a flat that settled and creaked like an old woman. Or maybe too much booze fuelling his nightmares.
The voice couldn’t be real; just the wind, moving around the old Victorian house.
Besides, his bangable neighbour Amanda couldn’t hear the strange chanting sounds. She was just messing with him when she said she did. A little payback for sleeping with her and never calling her back.
It must be his imagination.
Matthew is a player as he brings home a different woman nightly and throws them out as soon as he is done with them. He begins hearing things in his flat and it progressively gets worse. He goes to his next door neighbor Amanda for help who also happens to be a previous conquest of his. I won’t say much more than this as it is a short story and don’t want to give too much away.
I did not know what direction E.J. Bennett was going to go with House of Horror. I did enjoy it as with the horror in the story there is also a lesson to it.
I look forward to reading more by E.J. Bennett.
**I received an arc copy from the author.
Today is my part in the Blog Tour for Walking Wounded by Anna Franklin Osbourne. Sometimes you wonder what an author’s journey to being published was like and today Anna will be telling us about her experience:
I decided to write Walking Wounded while I was walking on the beach in France talking to my kids about D-Day and realising how this is recent history and still affects so many of us through our own family stories.
I had written several short stories at that point, but had felt daunted by the idea of a novel. While we were on that beach though, my husband encouraged me so much that I really did have the makings of a novel there that I began writing it on the ferry back to England. Walking and thinking became a way of planning the way forward for it from then on in, I always love chewing an idea over as I walk, then would come home and start typing furiously.
I honestly thought I’d ‘finished my book’ in a year of typing in 10 minute blasts on the school run waiting for my kids to emerge. In fact, that’s how long it took to finish the first draft, but then it took me another, much tougher, year to edit, proof and rewrite it.
I went on a writing course just as I finished the first draft. All my friends were laughing and saying ‘but you’ve finished it,’ but it was invaluable to me and the timing was perfect because I got so much help from the wonderful Felicity Fair Thompson (author of The Kid on Slapton Beach) about structure and character development – as well as discovering that I could be a Person as well as a Mum. I was so excited to discover the course – loads I looked at were midweek, London-based and too expensive for me (and I can’t just take a week off) but this one was on the Isle of Wight, affordable and Friday evening through Sunday. I am in the New Forest so this felt very accessible and appealing. I shifted heaven-on-earth to get the school pick-up sorted, rushed off early from work, leapt onto the ferry by the skin of my teeth, and then was swamped by a tide of nervousness I hadn’t had time to experience up until that moment. I sat there thinking ‘what am I doing here, supposing I have to write something in front of someone’ and I swear I shook with fear. Felicity couldn’t have been lovelier, full of ideas and incredibly entertaining, and I also got to meet another budding writer and we all hit it off straight away, chewing our ideas over wine and wonderful food. I can highly recommend this to anyone, but I really feel it helped me embrace a Brave New Me.
My friend’s reactions were very encouraging, most of them were quite shocked when I told them it was a novel, they’d all assumed I was wiring a textbook! I didn’t show it to many though, it felt very personal and I wanted to finish it first.
I didn’t and don’t have an agent, but I’d love to be snapped up by someone! Felicity’s advice was simple – did I want it to be read? And if so, then get on with indie-publishing, but send a few drafts off to the big guns too on the basis of nothing ventured, nothing gained. It took almost a year to get from the first submission to Publication Day with Amolibros, who were helpful regarding the cover. They advised me that the first cover was too cryptic and needed more popular appeal, and I have to say, they were right! I have had so many lovely comments about the final cover, and my daughter is very proud of her first modelling assignment! I was knocked backwards with pride when I saw the first proof – but was shocked when my son got very upset that the font was ‘just wrong.’ At 13 (then about 12) he is excellent at design and a stickler for detail, and he was adamant that ‘it just doesn’t fit the era’ and sat fiddling for hours until he came up with the font it has now. I feel I have spawned two rather fabulous children!
Would I do it again? Of course! I’m working on it… I do dream that one day I’ll write a novel in the cockpit of my dream boat moored in some sunlit marina with a drink in my hand and my husband at my side… but I suspect it will be on a tiny tablet jammed on the steering wheel parked outside whichever music lesson one of my kids is in with a twenty minute deadline before screeching on to the next mummy taxi stop… plus ca change…!
Book Description from Goodreads:
Born at the end of the First World War, a young girl struggles to find her own identity in her big family and is pushed into a stormy marriage through a terrible misunderstanding from which her pride refuses to let her back down. As her own personal world begins to crumble, the foundation of the world around her is shaken as Germany once again declares war and her brothers and young husband sign up with the first wave of volunteers.
Walking Wounded tells the story of those left behind in a Blitz-ravaged London, and of the web of loyalty, guilt and duty that shapes the decisions of the women awaiting the return of their men-folk as the war draws to a close.
Spanning the period from the Armistice of the First World War to the exodus of the Ten Pound Poms to Australia in the 1950s, Walking Wounded is a family saga whose internal violence is mirrored by the world stage upon which it is set.
Walking Wounded is a short read at 156 pages, so give it a chance!
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Today I am taking part in a blog tour for Isolation Junction written by Jennifer Gilmour. Although I have not had the chance to read it yet, I plan to read it soon! Today, Jennifer will be discussing what publication day for Isolation Junction was like for her.
Description of Isolation Junction:
Rose is the mother of two young children, and finds herself living a robotic life with an abusive and controlling husband. While she struggles to maintain a calm front for the sake of her children, inside Rose is dying and trapped in ‘Isolation Junction’.
She runs an online business from home, because Darren won’t let her work outside the house. Through this, she meets other mums and finds courage to attend networking events, while Darren is at work, to promote her business.
It’s at one of these events that Rose meets Tim, a sympathetic, dark-haired stranger who unwittingly becomes an important part of her survival.
After years of emotional abuse, of doubting her future and losing all self-confidence, Rose takes a stand. Finding herself distraught, alone and helpless, Rose wonders how she’ll ever escape with her sanity and her children. With 100 reasons to leave and 1,000 reasons she can’t, will she be able to do it?
Will Tim help her? Will Rose find peace and the happiness she deserves? Can Rose break free from this spiralling life she so desperately wants to change?
JRR (Jessica’s Reading Room): What did you do the night before publication?
Jennifer: I spent the evening preparing for publication day, but despite doing this I simply did not sleep that night due to a mixture of nervousness and excitement. I needed to be organised especially as publication day was a Saturday with all its inherent difficulties for a parent i.e. children off school and weekend classes and activities to attend.
I didn’t feel as nervous I thought I would be, I was more excited that the day was finally approaching and that an important message was about to be launched to the world. I did have anxious thoughts about the response I may get from my abuser as I knew it would open a door so to speak and allow him to comment. This has indeed happened. I do not think that at the time I had anticipated that the comments would not focus on the contents of my story but would form a personal attack and that I would not only have to be ready for this but prepared and able to defend myself.
JRR: That definitely gives you something to think about. I can imagine the nervousness you faced knowing that your abuser may and actually did comment. That can be a scary thing. Now, what did you spend publication day doing?
Jennifer: The actual publication day was all virtual and as I had run a successful Kickstarter Campaign and crowd funded my campaign, I wanted to give something back to my followers. The day had a unique event which I ran from my Facebook page. Throughout the day I posted the all important links about where to buy the paperback version (as the Kindle version was released a week later). There were links to information on domestic abuse and even help lines, personal posts and I also decided to do a live video chat to thank everyone for their support. I didn’t know what to expect as a response but those who had supported the Kickstarter campaign had started to receive their copies of Isolation Junction and rewards from the campaign on the day of publication (I sent them out the day before). People were so supportive and started taking selfies of themselves with the book and posting them on Facebook and it became obvious as the day progressed that people were starting to read the book.
I didn’t spend all day online online though. I delivered copies of the book to local supporters myself and handed over their rewards in person. I have to admit I had fun doing it and I had my husband and 3 children in the car as well so it was quite a family occasion.
In the evening, my husband and I decided to do a Facebook Live video on my personal profile (which is just for family and friends). I was super excited and I convinced my husband to join in. Finally we popped open a bottle of champagne and virtually shared bubbly with everyone. A few family and friends posted photos of themselves having a glass of champagne as well so even though we didn’t have a venue the launch was well supported, attended and talked about virtually. It didn’t feel as if we were alone at all. Certainly I believe this is a modern way of launching a publication.
I have to admit the level of support and the positive comments made me feel emotional and I admit that I shed a few ‘happy tears’. I felt a great sense of achievement and satisfaction that I had achieved what I had set out to do.
JRR: That sounds like a fabulous publication day! I love how you delivered copies of Isolation Junction and the rewards to those that were local to you and helped with your Kickstarter campaign!
What was the morning of publication day like for you?
Jennifer: The morning was very busy and in some ways a mad rush. I was so keen to get started and the internet felt so slow (unless that’s what it’s normally like and on that day it felt like it was worse). I hadn’t changed the morning routine with the family and so we all ventured down to the swimming baths so that our elder 2 children could have their swimming lesson. Thankfully the lesson is early in the morning so it wasn’t too crazy trying to juggle social media and getting them ready. It was also nice to have that routine and normality in the day. I was so busy it stopped me from worrying.
JRR: A little bit of normalcy for that day must have been a little relaxing. Who were you with the rest of the day?
Jennifer: I was with my husband and three children for the day. My husband was very supportive of the day and we all celebrated with pretend fizz for the children and champagne for us.
JRR: Is publication day 1 the same as publication day 2? And so on?
Jennifer: I had another day launch for the Kindle version of Isolation Junction a week later. I didn’t push this as heavily as the official launch as to some extent I had marketed this as part of the original launch. It still got some great feedback and coverage though. It was worth the time spent on preparing and getting everything as right as possible beforehand.
You certainly have to carry on marketing the book and can’t expect to simply get sales because it’s on Amazon or for sale in other places. These things simply don’t just sell themselves and the ongoing attention needed to keep a publication in the public eye is almost more time consuming than actually writing the book itself! There are different ways in which you can market your book and exploring what works for the topic/theme of your book is part of the research you need to do. I am happy with the results it has gained so far and the impact it has made. Having people talk about it and spread the word certainly makes the effort worthwhile. I appreciate anyone spending the time to read the book and then writing a review, as well as bloggers who spend time writing a critique opinion or putting you in their schedule, to fit you in for a question and answer session or to guest post.
However, it is probably worth mentioning that you have to be prepared for the negative as well as the positive. When you write a book, whether it be fiction or non fiction, not everyone will agree with you and you have to be prepared for this and prepared to defend your point of view.
JRR: These are all very good points that not every author thinks about.
**Thank you so much for your time Jennifer!
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