Monthly Archives: October 2021

Hallowe’en Limited Free E-book offer – Ellen

Grey from Silver Lake christened her “Witchy Woo” so it seems appropriate to allow you the chance to meet Witchy Woo herself aka Ellen for FREE this Hallowe’en.

You can download Ellen to Kindle for free today

Amazon.com link      https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FYHKR44

Amazon.co.uk link   https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07FYHKR44

Spend this Hallowe’en weekend with Silver Lake…

Both of them were still snuggled together on the couch watching a late-night movie when they heard the apartment door open and the unsteady click clack of Annie’s heels on the hardwood flooring. Carrying an open bottle of champagne, Grey’s mom swept into the lounge.

“I won!” she declared, swinging the bottle high into the air theatrically. “Won big!”

Trying not to laugh, Jake looked up, noting that she was drunk, and asked, “How much?”

“Fifty thousand dollars!”

“Congratulations!” said Lori, wriggling into a sitting position. “I didn’t realise the prize fund went so high for that event.”

“Oh, I ditched your lovely David,” laughed Annie, setting the bottle down on the edge of the coffee table. “I met a friend. Someone I know from Atlantic City. He got me a seat at the table for a private game. Much more interesting stakes.”

“Annie!” gasped Jake sharply. “You need to be careful.”

“Don’t start to lecture me, Jake,” she scolded, her words slightly slurred. “I won!”

“So, you said,” said Lori, stifling a giggle. “Do you want a glass for that champagne?”

“Who needs a glass, my dear!” laughed the older woman, lifting the bottle and taking a swig from it.

“Annie,” said Jake firmly. “I think you need to go to bed. You’re going to regret this in the morning.”

“What’s to regret about winning fifty thousand dollars?” she asked before drinking deeply from the champagne bottle again.

“Nothing to regret about the win,” acknowledged Jake, getting to his feet and taking the bottle from her. “Plenty to regret about this though. Let’s get you down to your room. Time to call it a night, Mrs Cooper.”

“You taking me to bed?” teased Annie with a mischievous gleam in her eyes.

Want to read more … check out the Silver Lake series today.

Amazon.com links –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XSQHG71

Shattered Hearts – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZY8ZSDM

Long Shadows – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08RR1FGLG

Amazon.co.uk links  –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XSQHG71

Shattered Hearts – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07ZY8ZSDM

Long Shadows – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08RR1FGLG

Introducing landscape artist Sharon McGill

This week I’d like to introduce you to an old friend and an incredible artist, Sharon McGill.

At the risk of embarrassing us both, I first met Sharon in P2 in primary school (I’ll spare our blushes and not mention what year that was) and without a word of a lie, had “hair envy” that lasted for years! As a little girl, Sharon had gorgeous long dark brown wavy hair. I always wanted to grow my own fine straight blonde hair until it was longer than hers. She inadvertently made that easy for me in high school- she went to hairdresser and got hers cut short! Mine on the other hand has never been short since.

Ok, nostalgia over and done with.

Life took us both in different directions after school, but our paths have criss-crossed over the years.

I caught up with Sharon recently and was lucky enough to be able to put a few questions to her. Here’s what she had to say.

Tell me a bit about yourself. Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I have wanted to be an artist from the age of about 6! I used to draw for hours every night and couldn’t wait to get my homework done so I could get to drawing and doodling!

In secondary school, I spent all my lunch breaks and free periods in the art department. I was best friends with all the art teachers.

My mum was so committed to my goal that she posed naked for me when we could not afford life drawing lessons!

You’re quite a prolific artist. Do you have a favourite among your paintings and drawings?

Like songs, favourite paintings define a moment in your life. For me, my favourites tend to be paintings I created during particularly challenging times.

Is there one particular person who inspired you to paint/draw?

Number one would have to be my deceased art teacher, Gordon Wyllie. He himself was a successful commercial landscape artist and a huge supporter of my work!

However, I suffer from bipolar disorder and my psychologist, many years later insisted that I make time to paint (even though I was then a busy full time working mum and interior design lecturer) I was in my early thirties at the time and had not found time to paint since graduating from college due to my commitments to my husband, children and my lecturing job. He told me it was an essential part of my recovery journey and that he would not treat me if I did not bring him a recently completed painting next week. I brought him a painting of my daughter which is still my favourite painting to this day! It has also won awards in a variety of portrait competitions.

Where do you draw your creative inspiration from?

I will only try and paint subjects that move me emotionally. My children and my environment. I am blessed to live in a most beautiful part of Scotland. Stormy seas, ominous skies, crashing waves and huge mountains remind me that I am only a tiny part of a much bigger and stronger force. This helps to ground my emotions as I walk through these landscapes every day. Anything that soothes my soul, inspires me to create and share it with others.

A cruel question, but what’s your favourite piece of art and why?

I have a favourite portrait and a favourite landscape. My favourite portrait is of my daughter. At the time she was 10 years old and just beginning to show early symptoms of mental health problems herself. She no longer lives with me and it hangs in my lounge as a testament to her courage in dealing with deep emotional problems yet remaining a strong young woman. I will never put this painting up for sale regardless of the financial offers.

My son also played a huge part in helping Molly and I through this difficult time. He was always a little bit worried and I captured his anxiety perfectly in this portrait. Another I would never sell.

My favourite landscape is my first large scale painting entitled ‘sky and sea’. I was scared to try such a big study of our elements but I found it so cathartic. It sold immediately too, proving that others found it as memorising and dramatic to view as I did to create. There is just something so soothing about the drama and force of our environment. Its why I have chosen to become a landscape artist. I really believe the world around us can heal the soul and help us conquer so many of our day to day, modern world problems!!

What’s your favourite medium to work with?

I work only in acrylic. Fast drying, easy to manipulate and can be changed as quickly as my emotions dictate!

Tell me a bit about your approach to your art. Are you a meticulous planner or do you tend towards letting yourself go with the flow?

I would never be described as a meticulous artist!!!!

I paint only when the mood takes me (fortunately that tends to be on a nightly basis!) and I paint with my hands, scrape with my nails, use my legs as palettes and have a tendency trash the room I’m working in!! The painting itself is the only thing that matters to me in that moment.

 Painting is not a meticulous task for me but is all about capturing the raw emotion of a person or place. I move around a lot as I paint, I walk around, I dance and I am completely emerged in the creative experience. Once I start, I cannot stop. This means I can be painting all day and all night! I also often go to bed on the sofa beside my painting, covered in paint!!

I love to write outdoors. Where’s your favourite place to paint?

On the floor, surrounded by photographs, listening to music, vaping and usually in my underwear!

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

I never listen to advice. (Ask my mum or husband if you don’t believe me!!) I do my life at my own pace under my own rules, and these tend to change on a daily basis.

What advice would you give to other aspiring creative souls out there?

Follow your own spirit. Make time to do your own thing. Don’t compare yourselves to anyone else. EVER!!! The world could be doing with some individuality for God’s sake!!

Writers can suffer from writer’s block from time to time and find themselves staring a blank page for hours. Does this happen to artists and if so, how do you overcome it?

Only fear gives me an artistic block so I say to myself, ‘If tonight’s painting is shit, put it in the bin and nobody need know!’   That way, I have total freedom to fuck it up!

 However, it might be wonderful. If you don’t do a painting tonight, you will never know!!  And I have binned quite a few!!

So, what’s next creatively? Are you working on anything else just now?

I’ve been writing a book for about 10 years now!!! Keeping memoirs of my life as a mum, my mental health journey and that of my daughter’s. It is funny, tragic and down to earth but I’ve no idea how to put it into any semblance of order!!  Its on the back burner for now as my art has taken off in a way I could never have imagined!

Then for a bit of fun I asked:

Favourite food     Scallops

Favourite drink     Lots of white wine

Favourite band     Skerryvore (HOME – SKERRYVORE)

Favourite holiday destination     My back garden or the beach down the road. Haven’t been on holiday for years!

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?  To live forever, cause I don’t want to miss what happens next!

Huge thanks to Sharon for taking the time to answer my questions. She’s a busy lady so it really is appreciated.

If you want to check out more of Sharon’s art, please drop by her Facebook page

Sharon mcgill art | Facebook

Fancy a weekend at the beach with Silver Lake?

As the sky lit up before him, Jake reflected on the last few months. When he’d left Rehoboth in January, the beach had been covered in eight inches of snow. Now, in the third week in June, it looked as though it was going to be a beautiful summer’s day. This was the longest period of time that he’d spent away from home and, for the past ten weeks of the tour, his heart had been yearning for the sights and sounds of the ocean and the beach house.

Life over the past five years had become more and more demanding as Silver Lake had gone from strength to strength and Weigh Station had enjoyed a successful revival. Juggling musical commitments, recording sessions and tours for two of the planet’s biggest bands had been a logistical nightmare. He’d long since lost count of the number of shows he’d played, finding it harder and harder to remember where he was and who he was with. If it wasn’t for the journal he kept, Jake would have lost track of time and place entirely.

On the flight home, he’d been sitting between Grey and Jethro, having lost the coin toss to see who would take the middle seat. As Grey had slept soundly at the window, Jake had confided in the band’s manager that he didn’t want to even think about music until at least the fall. Understanding completely, the older man had nodded his silent agreement, noting how raw and hoarse Silver Lake’s vocalist’s voice was sounding.

Now, as he sat watching the horizon, Jake was wondering if he would be able to sing again by fall even if he wanted to. Ghosts of a past duet with Tori from Molton were tormenting him. The last three shows had really put a strain on him and, by the end of Flyin’ High in Los Angeles, his voice was gone. A sign to take a much-needed rest perhaps he thought.

Lost in his thoughts, he sat enjoying the view and the tranquillity of the beach.

The familiar screech of the patio door to the sun room opening startled him back to the present. He listened closely wondering who was about to approach him.

“Daddy!”

Before he could turn round, he felt sand spray over him as Melody threw her arms around his neck. As he hugged her close, she smothered his face with kisses.

“I’ve missed you, Daddy,” she said as he pulled her into his lap.

“Bet I’ve missed you more, Miss M.”

Want to read more… check out the Silver Lake series today.

Amazon.com links –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XSQHG71

Shattered Hearts – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZY8ZSDM

Long Shadows – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08RR1FGLG

Amazon.co.uk links  –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XSQHG71

Shattered Hearts – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07ZY8ZSDM

Long Shadows – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08RR1FGLG

Chasing Fungi….

I’m no expert but I did survive my “toadstool” hunt the other day. Being a creature of habit, I tend to walk the same route after work most days. As I walked down the hill the other day I spotted some toadstools and decided to see how many I could find on my late afternoon meander. It was very much a “look don’t touch” search. Here’s what I found :

A Writer’s Dilemma

Agh… a first world dilemma!

The notebook I use for writing out the first drafts of my blogs is down to its last blank page.

Time to find a new notebook.

And perhaps also time for a writer’s confession – I have a minor addiction to “nice” notebooks (and pens). I just can’t resist them.

The second part of the issue is that I usually deem the notebooks “too good” to use.

The time had come though … I needed to “sacrifice” one for the benefit of future blog posts.

“NO!” I hear you cry. “Keep them good. Don’t write any more blogs!”

I keep my stash of notebooks in the cupboard under my desk. So, carefully, I pulled them all out, taking great care not to dislodge everything else that’s crammed in there and cause a monumental creative avalanche.

I found five… and a packet of pens I never knew I had.

Decision time… which one to choose?

Oh, decisions…decisions…

And I chose this one.

Then I opened it…DAMN! I’ve already used that one!

Back to the drawing board or maybe I should just buy another one. Afterall, those other four are “too good” to use. 😉

Fall Freebie Friday……meet Ellen

“If you don’t feel I’ll fit in then I’ll go now,” said Ellen, trying hard to hide the emotion in her voice. “I’d prefer though if you gave me a chance. Let’s rehearse. Jam a few numbers. If you don’t like what you hear then I’ll go.”

“Can’t say fairer than that, Luke,” challenged Cal, also keen to defend her.

“Luke,” stated Rocky coldly. “Let me put it to you this way. Ellen here passed the audition. The band unanimously voted to give her a shot. I don’t believe you cast your vote. Right now, I don’t believe you even opened the damn email I sent you. If anyone’s position in After Life is in jeopardy right now, it’s yours.  You’re out of line, son. Take this as a final warning.”

“My uncle won’t….” began Luke, looking flustered behind his dark glasses.

“Don’t try to play the Garrett card with me. We all know he doesn’t fund the band. He’s already cast you adrift on your own there. Why he still lets you live in his house I’ll never fathom.”

“Fine. One rehearsal!” snapped Luke, getting to his feet, almost toppling the chair in the process. “Tomorrow. If she’s shit, she goes.”

As he marched out of the kitchen, Luke slammed the door behind him, rattling the display plates on the wall.

“I’m sorry,” whispered Ellen quietly.

Want to know more? Download Ellen for free today only from Amazon  

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FYHKR44

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07FYHKR44

Continue The Story.. the power of the written word

I’ve used my Continue The Story journal several times since I picked it up on a whim back in July. As I flicked through the pages earlier, inspiration struck.

It was time. I reached for my pencil and stared at the blank lined page.

As a writer, its both a beautiful and a terrifying sight.

What story does this page have to tell?

Will it be like the TV series Once Upon A Time where the author’s words can change the future and give the characters the “happy ever after” that they deserve?

Will it be like Inkheart where, by reading the written words, the characters are brought to life and set free from the confines of the page?

Which of my characters would I set free? Oh, there’s a thought!

Just think, if I could set Jake Power and the other members of Silver Lake free then I could finally hear all those songs I’ve written about. Which one would I want them to play first?

Or, if I could free the dark angel from my Silently Watching short story series….hm…maybe not. I don’t want to be looking over my shoulder every time I go for a walk.

Imagine if you could write yourself into the story! The first place I’d write myself into would be the beach house in the Silver Lake series.

The possibilities are endless… if you have enough imagination, a blank page, and a pencil.

Tempted? Go on, give it a try. You’ve no idea where it will lead or who you’ll meet along the way.