Thursday, 22 November 2012

John M W Smith, author of Wacky Stories For Women: Volume One

John M W Smith is the author of eleven books including Wacky Stories For Women Volume One, available for Kindle from Amazon:
US: Wacky Stories for Women Volume 1 by John M W Smith
UK: Wacky Stories for Women Volume 1 by John M W Smith

Wacky Stories For Women Volume One by John M W Smith
Wacky Stories for Women Volume One by John M W Smith

Everything about Andy is too good to be true, so what is his secret? Has Joan really got everything that a woman could possibly wish for? Cathy is in no mood for the attentions of a cocktail -bar-Romeo, and it looks as if he’s about to turn nasty! What on earth is it that Gina’s boyfriend wants her to do to make him happy? Just what is included for Becky in this supermarket’s not to be missed special offer? Is Alison going to simply stand by while another woman walks away with her hard-won prize? How can Julia’s husband Harry possibly hope to compete with all those other candidates who have applied for The Job to die for? Paul is always putting her down and Living In The Country would be Ali’s idea of heaven if only she could get rid of him. But how? Here are eight carefully crafted stories designed to surprise and entertain you, the reader, and at the end to have you say, ‘well, I’ll be……! I never saw that coming!’

This is the first in a four volume series of stories, each with an amazing twist at the end.

Author Quiz interviews John M W Smith…

What is it that you love most about writing?
What I love most about writing is that for me, it is an escape into worlds far more interesting than the one I can expect in my daily life. In these worlds I am able to meet fascinating people with unusual characters, travel to distant places (there was, and is, a 1970s rock band called The Moody Blues, and a line in one of their songs goes "thinking is the best way to travel”. This is so true!). Without my writing I would literally wither away and die---so boring would I find the tedium of everyday life. Writing is a drug that affords escape and unleashes creativity without any harmful side effects, and I'm addicted to it. I only feel truly alive when I'm writing. Without it I grow short tempered, irritable, and depressed. For me there is no greater pleasure than to finish, to my complete satisfaction, a piece of writing. The buzz I get is huge, the sense of elation and accomplishment beyond compare! It is no exaggeration to say a writer feels Godlike in his or her ability to create worlds, characters, creatures, scenarios and landscapes at will, of outstanding complexity and simple beauty, that will make the reader gasp with pleasure, and leave him/her in a state of wonder and speculation for many hours or days. Any soon-forgotten or boring piece of writing is no good to anyone--- you might as well go out and wash the car!

Why do you enjoy writing in your usual genre? What is it about your usual genre that appeals to you most as a writer?
I write in two genres. I like and enjoy them equally. These are; (1) Twist in the tale short stories (mine usually feature a woman as the main character) (2) Young adult/teen---the central character may be male or female, I am equally at ease writing from either perspective. Short stories and full-length novels each require a completely different approach or mindset. Many writers find it very difficult to switch from one to the other--- most build their career on either, but never on both. I don't have such a problem, although the novels I write tend to be on the short side, average 35,000 words. As far as I am concerned, whether I am writing short stories or novels, I am guided by certain elements and strategies that are common to both. These underpin my whole approach to writing. It is these elements that provide me with a massive amount of enjoyment, which I hope I am communicating to the reader. What are they? Well, I like to create an immediate sense of urgency and tension, if possible in the very first couple of sentences. I need to establish the conflict as soon as possible. The main characters should appear very quickly. What they are up against must seem insurmountable. They must be sympathetic, readers quickly get bored of characters whom they do not care about because the writer has not invested enough effort in making them come alive in a way that matters to the readers, that awakens something deep within them with which they can connect, become concerned about/empathise with, so that the characters become an extension of the readers themselves. I like to spin a story that holds the readers’ concentration quickly and without fuss, and, most importantly to my mind, without needless sentimentality or mawkishness. It is the metamorphosis of the characters, as the story progresses, with the deepening of the mystery or conflict, that I enjoy most when involved in this creative process, be it with short stories or with full-length novels.

Would your books (Look Out....Mum's Gone Crackers!, Hunting The Beast, May Never The Dead Return, Running With Zombies) work best as movie adaptations or as a TV series?
I do not think that I could prolong just one story into a series. It is not the way I am wired up creatively. I need to take the reader on a rollercoaster journey that has a start and a finish with no waiting around for long periods of time with protracted events and outcomes; I think that a series is almost a completely different art form in the demands it makes on both writer and reader. In Western society especially, nowadays people are looking for instant gratification and results, immediate rewards--- they have so much else competing for attention in their daily lives that time and concentration are both lacking in their availability, so this makes my kind of writing more suited to the modern, busy readers who want to escape for a while, just a while, before getting back to the demands awaiting them elsewhere in their lives. However, this is not to say that my books cannot be turned into a TV series--- they could, but most definitely this would need the input of a team of writers, as this is the way a TV series is provided with its weekly episodes. It is a task which I would not be able to handle on my own, nor would I be interested in doing so. In conclusion I could see my books as potential movies, particularly in view of the fact that the stories in my head always progress in the way that a movie does.

Are any of your characters based on yourself and, if so, to what degree, and do you find it easier or more difficult to write characters based on yourself?
To my mind this is probably the easiest question to answer. All my characters will always have a bit of me in them. I cannot see any other way in which I could get them to act authentically or convincingly. We are all Jekyll and Hyde personalities and most of us embody many Jekylls and Hydes– – – the only time we can get to know them to the extent of being able to make them come out into the open for all the world to see is through writing about them, allowing them to develop based on the vast number of people we have met in our lives and the impression these people have left on our sub-conscious minds. How far we allow these characters to develop in terms of outrageousness, and evil, is always dictated by how outrageous or evil the writer is him or herself capable of being. So writers beware, your characters could be saying things about you that you did not know about yourself, much less would have wished the world to know about. As a result, no one in this whole wide world knows me better than I know myself – – – but who knows, I might be wrong(!)

BookCloseoutsWhat do you think stimulates sales the most; positive reviews or advertising?
Positive reviews. Most definitely. Authentic positive reviews, not the fake ones from families and friends that are being posted on Amazon nowadays. Because an authentic and positive review tells the truth about the product, in this case a book or e-book. In other words one can advertise a book as much as one likes – – – and yes, it will still sell – – – but the sales will be short lived if the book itself is no good. The problem is to find proper reviewers– – – and, having found them, to get them to deliver the review. Most of them are booked up for many months ahead and therefore decline straightaway. And, sadly, many of those who agree to review, then fail to deliver the review, and the writer cannot do anything about it, having wasted so much time in the expectation of the promised review. This has been my experience. So even though, deep down, I know I have a good product, I still find it a backbreaking and disillusioning ordeal to find authentic reviewers who deliver, and meanwhile I am frustrated to see five-star ratings appear on substandard works by not so scrupulous writers. We need reviewers. Many more.

What advice would you give to publishing houses with regard to how to go forward and adapt to the industry over the next few years?
Start shedding your commitment to paper books and reorganise your operations to produce e-book's---do it now. You have nothing to lose and much to gain by being in the forefront of the e-book revolution. The staff who are made redundant can be trained to provide specialist marketing skills such as online marketing to niche markets amongst others. Writers do not have the time to market their books online and at the same time keep up their writing output. It is one at the expense of the other. And whereas a writer is born with the gift of writing, anyone can learn online marketing – – – so let the writer do what s/he does best and retrain your staff to provide online marketing for writers. Be mindful of how many rainforests you will save and ecosystems will be enhanced through cutting down the production of paper books. There are huge opportunities to bring learning and education to countless millions of people who cannot access it for reasons of cost – – – this can all change as publishers can easily down-price ebooks to an extent where the resulting sales increase can more than offset what they lose through lowering prices.

What are some of your favourite quotes from reviews that you have received?
“There has to be a plus to a man specifically writing with a woman in mind and there is no doubt he has a talent for writing short stories ending with a punch line. Should the author expand his talents and write a complete book using one of the stories contained in his volumes I would certainly review it.”
“bluefish”, reviewer of LL Book Reviews

“I for one am willing to read new stuff, and boy am I glad that I read these books by John M.W. Smith. So far I have read one of the Wacky books. These are collections of short stories and they are such a pleasant surprise. I really like each of the stories, they are well written with relatable characters, great plots, complete story lines with good endings. Well done Mr. Smith. I will recommend all of your books to my friends and anyone else that will listen.”
Patricia C, reviewer, (“Patty the Bookworm” Apopka, Fl. U.S.A.)

“WACKY STORIES FOR KIDS is true to its name. This is a book of short stories for children that I found very interesting. I think some are cute, funny and some truly weird. In Margo Bigbelly the author gives a very interesting way to solve problems with bullies. I really enjoyed this story and feel my older son will enjoy it too. I also loved learning how a rainbow is made.”
Reviewed by Rae for

“They are brilliant, all of them. Great beginning, original plot, unexpected ending, great titles)). All of them made me smile, two made me cry - i mean it, i actually had tears in my eyes (over retired greyhound and of course temptation). You're a great author. You have a way with words, good sense of humour and a kind heart, which is a much rarer gift than talent.”
Katerina Komissarova, Russian Language Teacher (has translated WACKY STORIES FOR WOMEN into Russian)

“John Smith has compiled a small collection of short stories that are definitely unique!  He puts a twist on seemingly straight forward happenings and turns them into quirky stories with unusual outcomes.  This author has definitely put his creative mind to good use.  My personal favorite was the story, 'Dancing Dad'. It was sweet and also has a great lesson for kids.  If you are looking for some funny and easy to read stories, I suggest looking through John Smith's many short story books.”
Jill Swanson of ‘Littlehyuts’ reviews.

“This author Mr. John M.W. Smith has a few winners on his hands here. The books are a collection of short stories. These stories aren't really 'scary' but they are suspensful. Whatever you might call them, they are well written. They are good. They are complete. They have a beginning and an end which is important to me. I really hate for an author to leave me hanging. Especially if there are many unanswered questions. Well, you will find none of that in Mr. Smith's 'Scary' and 'Wacky' books. I had a tough time putting the kindle away.I hope Mr. Smith never stops writing these kind of books.”
By Patricia C. "Patty the bookworm" (Apopka, Fl. U.S.A.)

“A quirky short story with a twist at the end. The author's tone is perfect, even though he is telling the story from the female's point-of-view. Be careful how you behave the next time you teach someone to drive.”
Review by: Lynda Dickson on Aug. 12, 2012

“Who hasn't feared driving?  This story captures the moment perfectly! Told in a humourous yet serious tone (I don't know how the author does it!) it's perfectly written!  Five stars.”
Review by: Alaska Everfall on Jan. 09, 2012

“Sandy, the protagonist, is a lanky teen, whose body has not quite caught up with her feminine feelings. Recently widowed former circus-owner Gran has a farm populated by some of her favorites from the old days. Visiting Gran, Sandy learns that local farmers are on the hunt for a beast that has killed several sheep. She also learns that Gran's pet panther has gone AWOL. Desperate to save the animal from the locals, she meets up with a trio of youngsters including two boys, who are ready to help. The short novel chronicles their adventures, triumphs and sorrows...

Written in the first person as regaled by Sandy, the story flows smoothly and easily. Young readers should enjoy it tremendously.”
Patricia Austin (Kindle Edition - Amazon Verified Purchase)

Would you rather have great reviews but average sales or average reviews but great sales?
I did not know it was possible to have average sales from great reviews – – – however this could probably happen if the subject matter was only accessible to highly educated people, given that this market is much smaller. If you pressed me to address the question, though, I would have to say that I would opt for average reviews but great sales. In the immortal words of Dr Samuel Johnson, "nobody but a fool ever wrote for anything but money." And I'm definitely a crowd pleaser, I make no bones about it!

What advice would you give to a new author who has just finished writing their first novel and is unsure as to what steps to take next?
Put your completed novel aside. Go and do other things – – – even start a new work, if you like. Allow a month to elapse. Come back to your completed novel and read it through again. How does it sound? Chances are you will want to make certain modifications and amendments. After you have done this go over it at least twice or thrice for grammatical and typographical mistakes. If possible pay a professional copy editor to apply their skills to it. Read it again. Leave it for a few more weeks. Read it again. Do a final “polishing”. Check for typos. Now you are ready. Remember, a spellchecker will not correct all your typographical mistakes. Now pay to have it read by a professional critique agency. Find a good one. You don't have to pay a huge amount to get the best. Go by word of mouth and recommendations. If possible get a second critique. Adopt all the changes they recommend. Don't argue, just do it. Unless of course, you honestly feel deep down that what they say will rip the very guts and soul out of your book. Now you are ready to self publish. Forget traditional publishers. They will not bother to read it, and will pretend that they have done so. They will not take you on because you are an unknown even though your work is terrific. The same applies to agents. They stick to their existing stable of tried and tested authors, or they will only take you on if you have already a very prominent exposure in the media, if you are a so-called "celebrity" of some kind.

Why should people buy your books?
This is the kind of question on which I could write any pages, so I will have to be careful. My Wacky/Scary stories for women (a six volume series of twist in the tale stories for women); mindful to be modest, most people find this kind of story very difficult to write – – – it is beyond the abilities of some very successful authors, so I'm told. They are written in simple language, and are therefore accessible to everyone. The style is immediate and direct, the writing concise – – – no wasted words, no meandering. Basically there is a conflict that needs to be resolved, and the central female character dreams up a novel resolution which is only revealed to the reader at the end in an unexpected way, which gives the story a "twist", meaning it is not what the reader had guessed or could have expected. These are the kind of bestselling stories that O’Henry, Roald Dahl and Jeffrey Archer wrote, only mine have a woman as the central character. Each story has something of value in terms of an insight gained into problem-solving, some nugget of knowledge. The benefits to be gained from lateral thinking “outside the box”. They will make you smile. They will leave you wondering. Thinking. Marvelling at the outcome and the ingenuity of the central woman character. These are stories that leave an impression for long afterwards and prove that it is possible to overcome problems with a little careful thought. Others are there mainly to amuse and to keep you guessing right to the end. They are quick reads and can be read in any sequence, with situations from daily life and relationships with which the reader can identify easily. They have been translated into Russian, having been seen online by a language teacher in Russia who wanted to provide them to her students as a way of teaching them English, but also to entertain and educate. I let her have the stories free of charge for this purpose, and she, her students and the headmaster are my number one fans. Their enthusiasm and admiration – – – and, hopefully, the publicity I will achieve, will be more than adequate reward for me.
I've also published a four volume series of ebooks for young adults: the Sandy Brown/Matt Black series. Two of the books feature Sandy Brown (Look Out….Mum’s Gone Crackers! and Hunting The Beast). Sandy Brown is a teenager, resourceful and feisty, not willing to give up in the face of overwhelming odds. The reader will empathise with her. Identify with the situations in which she finds herself, and recognise her bravery and ingenuity. They are entertaining and fast moving, in easy language that flows smoothly and clearly. Not for one moment is the reader given a chance to get bored, no room is left to allow the reader's mind to wander, and all this can also be said about the two-volume Matt Black series (May Never The Dead Return and Running With Zombies). These are exciting stories with a strong narrative drive that is never allowed to flag. The reader will stay hooked from start to finish, they are thrillers that also make people ponder about the mysteries of life and the nature of relationships and how quickly major changes can take place in the life of a human being, suddenly and unexpectedly. Matt Black is a cynical, world-weary teenager who is no stranger to tragedy, and he is constantly trying to find some meaning in his life. All the books contain mysteries which keep the reader guessing constantly, with matters seldom resolving themselves in any easy way. Fun reads which will teach you a lot about life without becoming “heavy” about it. There is nothing like Wacky/Scary Stories for Women or the Sandy Brown/Matt Black series on the market. Originality is their hallmark.

. . . . . . . .

Thanks for your comments, John, and good luck with your writing.

. . . . . . . .

A brief sample of John’s writing:

This piece is taken from my ebook MAY NEVER THE DEAD RETURN. This is where Matt is trying to make sense of some of the awful events that have recently happened in his life.

John M W Smith, author of eleven books.
It seemed I couldn’t take a single step without making my parents unhappy. I wanted to tell my mum I was sorry. That she and Dad had suffered enough. That it wasn’t my fault Mikey had chosen me to talk to. That what I needed most was someone to tell me I wasn’t going mad. Someone who would listen without passing judgement on me. And that someone was my grandpa.......but to be honest I’d already just tried to say all that to my mum and failed! Instead I had ended up making her cry. Now why should such a perfectly reasonable request from me have such an effect on her? Where had I gone wrong? I asked myself.

I’ll never understand why people choose to be the way they are rather than the way they should be. I don’t think most grown-ups are grown up at all. 

I wondered if a hug would make my mum feel better. Then I decided that it would be too uncool. I mean, I was way too old for all that sort of thing, wasn’t I.

So instead I mumbled, ‘back soon’ and went out to get my bike.

. . . . . . . .

Follow John on twitter:

. . . . . . . .

You can find out more about John M W Smith at his websites and blog:

. . . . . . . .

You can download Learner Driver, a short story by John M W Smith, for free from Smashwords:

You can also download a selection of free chapters from some of John’s ebooks at Wattpad:

. . . . . . . .

John’s ebooks are available for Kindle and PC from and

. . . . . . . .

You can also purchase John’s books from Smashwords:
Wacky Stories For Women Voume One by John M W Smith

…and from Barnes And Noble:

No comments:

Post a Comment