John M W Smith
A writer who has had many stories published in the women's weekly magazines and literary journals, John was drawn to writing at an early age. At one time in his teenage years he was reading one book a day---the subject didn't matter, but it needed to grab his interest in the first couple of pages, or he would abandon it. And this is the rule he has since applied to all his writing, believing that if you haven't grabbed the reader straight away, you are not writing well enough.. After graduating with an Honors Degree in History he spent many years in academic publishing, at last leaving to pursue his long-held dream of becoming a writer. "Easily among the very best new writers we have seen", "fresh and original", "creates life-like characters---maybe too life-like" (whatever that means!), are some of the comments made by literary reviewers and consultants about his work. His favorite band is The Moody Blues.
Where to find John M W Smith online
Strange Times; Wacky Anecdotes
by John M W Smith
Over the past year I made a series of posts on my blog to relate incidents from my life so far. Encouraged by the interest that they aroused, I decided to compile them into a free ebook to reach even more readers and this, then, is the result of my efforts.
Learner Driver (A Free Story)
by John M W Smith
Paul has so much to offer as a future husband that Maggie would be crazy not to fight for it----particularly as their attraction is mutual! But now, as Paul is giving her a driving lesson, it seems like Maggie has ruined it all. Will their budding romance survive the driving lesson from hell?
This Wacky Story is FREE and is intended to showcase this author's collections of stories in the series: Wacky Stories for Women Volumes 1 to 4 and Scary Stories for Women Volumes 1 and 2 available for purchase as ebooks)
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Smashwords book reviews by John M W Smith
- Ominous Love
on July 13, 2015
This book belongs firmly in the female fantasy genre. Writing is an art form, just the same as painting, sculpture, moviemaking, interior design etc, but to qualify as an artform a certain minimum standard of competency to provide sufficient aesthetic appeal is required. This book is well above any minimum standard. In fact if we were talking about an artform at the top of the artistic scale in the female fantasy genre, we would be describing a book like Ominous Love.
The essential elements are all in place---a girl on her own, disillusioned with the available male company, with a normal desire for love and passion. Her parents away, alone in her house, by the sea. Scary storms which change into days of sunshine in an idyllic seaside setting. Ideal. Perfect. Lights. Camera. Action.................
Now, anyone can be technically competent when it comes to setting up a scene. It's what happens next that really matters. How the action unfolds. Feelings. Emotions. Desire. The inner cry of longing from a young girl's soul seeking joy and fulfilment. It's natural. It's what young girls were made for. It's their right to expect it---what they should indeed receive if not for the face of cold, hard reality that constantly gets in the way. A job. Making a living. Studies. Responsibilities. Demands. Duties----all the stony eyed killers of everything that makes young hearts flutter with the anticipation of ecstasy. So Ominous Love is escapism, and healthy escapism is what the best kind of fantasy is all about.
A Guardian Angel washed up on a beach, discovered by Eloise (Elle), the main character in the story. The doomed love between them, it cannot be consummated as that would render the Guardian Angel (called Nathaniel) human. A rogue angel (called Devlin) who is attractive to the fairer sex because he is emotional and unpredictable and carries the whiff of danger about himself. Devlin, however, is now human, very rich, and living in a castle surrounded by snowy peaked mountains. Why is the fairer sex attracted to guys who will be mean to them, let them down, do whatever they want and take whatever they want, and be completely selfish, daring and unscrupulous? Who knows? I don't. Maybe it is because such rogues are never boring. They are single-minded and determined, prepared to go to any lengths to get what they want.... Oh, I still don't know, I'm only guessing. All I can say is that you will find Devlin to be such a character. And you will find Nathaniel, his alter ego, a thoroughly decent guy, along with a full supporting cast of all Elle's friends. And you will be thoroughly to titillated, entertained, and enthralled by the feats of imagination performed by this author in bringing these characters to life for your enjoyment. By the way, a Guardian Angel's method of warning you of imminent danger is to zap you with an invisible bolt of electricity. And my Kindle slipped from my fingers as I collapsed with laughter when, in a moment of comic relief provided by the author to defuse the build-up of high tension, Tom grabs Devlin's shorts and pulls them over naked Nathaniel's head! Very expertly done!
- Velvet Ball and The Broken fairy
on July 13, 2015
If there is one theme that is sure to generate strong emotions, it is that of bullying. So much is known about it, so familiar a part of childhood it has become, and so little is ever done about it. A bully, with deep feelings of inadequacy mixed with pure and simple malice, can latch onto any physical or psychological characteristic that is slightly different from the norm. Thereafter the victim’s life is made a living hell.
The victim’s life is lonely, miserable, and often tragic, even nowadays in what passes for the enlightened society that we live in. Most often, though, the first phase of such misery involves a retreat into a bleak and lonely inner world where there is no future, only never-ending despair. Imagine, then, if help is suddenly at hand in the wake of an extraordinary sequence of events. But that is all I am going to tell you about the story itself, as otherwise I would spoil the surprises and numerous twists and turns in store in this lovely book that will delight young readers---and even adults, too, as I found out for myself. And why am I so anxious not to spoil it for you? Because I, with all the stories I have written, was not able to guess what was coming next. This is how good the book is. Certain elements have to be present in a story like this, and are therefore expected, but the entire narrative tone, here, has a slight edge which keeps the reader on tenterhooks the whole time. Everything is up for grabs. Things may not work out right. Disappointment and disillusionment are always just around the corner, ready to pounce and snuff out the little candle of hope that flickers in Velvet’s heart. Read it and witness a master narrator at work!
- Nathaniel Teen Angel
on July 13, 2015
There are many sub genres when it comes to writing fiction for contemporary women, and this book falls under Teen Fantasy. Although I, too, write for women (which I find extremely stimulating and interesting because, in general, women have much better imaginations and are far more articulate), teen fantasy is not really “my thing”. Despite this, I regularly explore such sub genres in the belief that their unfamiliar style and content will open up corners of my mind which would otherwise have remained dormant. This is why I turned to this remarkable book by Patricia Puddle, the cover of which depicts an eye-catching, almost impossibly-muscled male angel.
There are many writers who are into love affairs involving angels and human beings and the problem that mutual desire can create in such circumstances, but Patricia Puddle’s efforts have impressed me mainly because, with very little effort, she conjures up interesting questions about morality, what is right and what is wrong. Good and bad. Permissible. Allowable in certain situations. Arguments to justify a chosen course of action….and, of course the consequences (dire punishment, usually) that can follow. Of course, it is all highly tongue-in-cheek. Of course, it is highly fantastical. And therefore of course, it is all immense fun.
For here we have angels being placed into therapy because they are lusting after human women. We have angels whose wings are burned off as divine punishment from a guy called “God”, which promptly renders them back into ordinary human beings. We have archangels riding on horseback through blue skies with sword drawn, ready to come down heavily on those angels who are being too human through wanting to “have it all”---to hold onto the powers they possess as angels while partaking of the physical delights available only to human beings. And, heavens above (no pun intended), aren’t they just so argumentative when pleading their cases with the archangel Michael, if Nathaniel is anything to go by! And as if Nathaniel is not bad enough to want more than he should be content with, we have Lucifer threatening to enter the fray to egg him on, not to mention the ever-menacing presence of Nathaniel’s love-rival, the dastardly Devlin.
Life after death as an angel just seems even more complicated, but maybe the added complication is worth it for the sake of the tender ministrations of the desirable Eloise, amazingly knowledgeable and forward though she appears to be for a girl of her age. Two aspects dealt with in this engrossing book intrigued me as a writer who likes to explore tantalizing ideas. The first was the fact that without a flesh and blood body so much is lost; do read his book and see how much ecstasy Nathaniel finds with Eloise when he is temporarily relegated to human form, but carefully note an almost equal ecstasy that he derives from the simple physical pleasure of tasting a burger, a coke, a milkshake, chewing gum! This brings home so succinctly how much is lost when one dies, whatever else the kind of life that the hereafter might hold out to us! The other idea was the selective deletion of memory. I have no doubt that within the next 50 years or sooner medical science will be able to accomplish this, and so bring relief to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) sufferers and those who are too grief-stricken or otherwise mentally traumatised to survive. Having found this books multi-dimensional in its provision of enjoyment, I have no hesitation in recommending it to everyone who is young at heart. What a terrific imagination this writer has!
- Molly Gumnut Rescues a Bandicoot
on July 13, 2015
Before I read this book my knowledge of a bandicoot was confined to a distant recollection of an old computer game called Crash Bandicoot.
In fact a bandicoot is a marsupial, an infraclass of mammals which carry their young in a pouch---except that a baby bandicoot’s mother has an upside-down pouch and no, the baby bandicoot doesn’t fall out because unlike a kangaroo, its mother walks not on two legs but on all four. Why an upside down pouch, then? Well, it’s to prevent baby bandicoot from getting sprayed with soil when mummy digs the earth with her forelimbs to find food. How wonderful is evolution, no?
There is so much that a writer must painstakingly develop when introducing a human character in order to successfully create empathy with the reader; Tone of voice. Gestures. Facial expressions. Speech, which includes accent, way of speaking and exactly what is said. Physical appearance. Dress. Background. Likes and dislikes.Twitches and mannerisms. You name it, a writer has to get everything just so to create that essential bond that makes the reader begin to care what happens to that character. But not so with an animal, and the smaller the animal the better. All you have to do is to describe a bandicoot’s big brown eyes, its long snout and cuddly size, and you’ve already done enough to get the reader hooked. Instant emotional connection. Hardly any effort required. Not surprising that evolution is at work here, too. For we are all protective of the smaller, the weaker, the more vulnerable, for how else would they survive if we were not so? Good old evolution. Where would we be without it!
And, as the title suggests, this engrossing book is all about a young girl’s trials and tribulations when trying to protect and preserve a tiny creature no bigger than a mouse and very much resembling a shrew.
The younger we are, the stronger our passions, our emotions and sensitivities, and therefore the greater our inability to objectively deal with hurt and injury---which is only one of the reasons why it is so important for parents to be kind to their children. Molly is a typical girl of her age, and I found her behaviour in no way odd or extreme. At great risk to herself and much inconvenience to the people in her life she champions the cause of a creature little bigger than her thumb. And, grown up as I am, I could understand every move she made. Every step she took. So immersed was I that I grew increasingly vexed with the grown-ups (patient though they were) for not seeing everything quite from Molly’s point of view.
Expertly leaving the ending of each chapter on a cliff-hanger, the author takes the reader on a roller coaster ride of highs and lows---but here’s the rub---she managed to keep even a developing cynic like me from predicting how the story would end, tragically or happily. It could have gone either way. And I was kept guessing until the end. I can think of no higher compliment to this writer’s abilities than to acknowledge her talent at keeping me in this state of anxious and bitter-sweet limbo until the very last page. Excellent pacing. My interest never flagged. My connection with every character only increased as I turned the pages. Young girls will find this book utterly absorbing, of that I have no doubt. I mean, look what it did to me!
- Fallen Angel - Prequel To Nathaniel Teen Angel
on July 13, 2015
I believe that The Good Lord gave us a sense of humour on purpose. He knew how difficult it would be to face the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" that were coming our way. So what better survival tool than a sense of humour? And hasn't it been said often enough that laughter is the best medicine?
It is obvious from reading this book that the author and her creations have an excellent sense of humour. A sophisticated one. So they are doing nothing more than making full use of a God-given gift. One of the main reasons why we find it easy to believe in angels is because they are so much like human beings, and Devlin is nothing more and nothing less than a reflection of an amusing, very human, human being. If, in the hereafter, I could achieve even a fraction of the heady freedom and abilities that Devlin possesses, well, I can hardly wait! I mean, who wouldn't want to skyrocket over the Pacific Ocean at night! I love this writer's zany sense of humour which, coupled by a fertile imagination makes the narrative soar to all the heights that Devlin could ever hope to reach using his "dusky wings"! And I've always fancied the idea of guardian angels. It's also a great idea to suppose that the male angel could fall in love with a female human being to an extent when he would want to be her protector for evermore! A thoroughly enjoyable read!