Monthly Archives: December 2021

As we head into the 9th year a.k.a. 2022!

Eight years…. Has it really been eight years since I created this blog? Apparently.

I remember sitting down to write that first post clearly.  (In case you’re a little late to the party, here’s the link to it  Deep Breaths and Begin | Coral McCallum)

I remember the fear more than anything else. Would anyone want to read my blog? Would I be able to sustain posting once a week? What if I made a total fool of myself? What if folk laughed at me for creating a blog?

Every insecurity in the book was rattling through me!

Now, as I sit here eight years down the line, on the cusp of a new year, many of these insecurities are still rattling through me. Yes, I am still scared to let people read what I write. Yes, I do still fret about whether anyone would want to read what I write. Every time I hit “publish” on a blog post, a wave of fear crashes through me- some are little gentle waves; others are the kind surfers would die to ride.

When I started my blog, my first book baby was still in its early stages. At that time, having my name on the cover of a book still felt like an impossible dream but, here we are, six books later and with number seven on the way. (Yes, I know I’ve been saying that for months but it’s coming! Hopefully, it’s coming in Autumn 2022. No, I’m not quite ready to reveal its name…not yet.)

This blog has evolved over the years too, hopefully for the better. I’ve kept my word. I’ve posted at least once a week every week. (OK a few of those were “cheat” blogs that were barely more than a photo and a few words when life’s been a tad manic, and I don’t promise that there won’t be more of those to come.)  If you’ve missed a few posts, they are all still there. (You can find them all in the Archives on the right.) The tabs along the top of the page split out the poems and short stories from the rest of the ramblings and the shop tab speaks for itself. (Hint…check it out if you’ve not read the Silver Lake series or Ellen.) There are even a few author newsletters too.

This year, I bit the bullet and changed the domain to www.coralmccallum.co.uk That was a bit of a surreal moment – I’m a .co.uk! LOL

I also created a podcast version of a selection of my blog posts. Missed that?  Here’s the link Coral McCallum – indie author and blogger • A podcast on Anchor (No, its not my voice reading them you’ll be glad to hear!)

As I have chased my dreams and pursued this creative journey, perhaps I’ve evolved too.  I’ll leave that thought there….

So, what will 2022 hold? After the “delights” of the past two years, I’m almost scared to ask! I think I want to read the T’s & C’s carefully before I sign up to 2022!

What I do know though is that it will bring more blog posts, introduce you to more characters, showcase more photographic efforts and continue my musings and meandering as I chase those rainbows and dreams.

To all of you, especially those loyal souls who have been with me since the start, thank you from the bottom of my heart for continuing to support my creative pursuits. I couldn’t do it without you. Your kind words, the “likes” on my author Facebook page (Coral McCallum | Facebook), the reviews of my book babies on Amazon and Good Reads, they all help to fuel the fires of creativity.

All that’s left to say is all the best for 2022 when it arrives. May it be kind to us all. Stay safe.

Love n hugs

Coral   xxx

Did Santa bring you a shiny new Kindle? Looking for a free ebook to add to your library?

Did Santa bring you a nice shiny new Kindle?

Looking to start your Kindle library with a little romance?

Want to meet a hot rock star with a heart of gold? Want to spend some time at the beach with Jake Power?

Yes?

Then you’ll be glad to hear that Stronger Within, book one in the Silver Lake series is free to download until Dec 28th. Check it out using the links below:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VXDSC1M

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Merry Christmas from me to you

Can’t believe it’s Christmas Eve! My head is still somewhere around July or August and my heart, as always, is at the beach.

Have a fabulous Christmas, folks. I hope you get the chance to spend time with the people who mean the world to you. It’s not what’s under the Christmas tree that’s important, its who is sitting around it with you.

Stay safe.

Love n hugs

Coral xxx

(credits to the owner of the image – Chere Fizer – photo is tagged)

A Little Lost Soul

A couple of days ago I went for a meander along my favourite stretch of beach to clear my mind. As I approached the large black rock that sits prominently on the beach, I spotted something lying on it.

It was a very bedraggled “Guess How Much I Love You” bunny.

I sat him up, brushed off the worst of the wet sand and positioned him facing the river. As I took a few photos of him, I paused to think about who he belonged to. Had some small child lost their bedtime friend? Had tears been shed because he’d been lost on day out at the beach? Would anyone take the time to look for him?

I thought back to reading the book “Guess How Much I Love You” to my own kids when they were wee, recalling those moments with a warm fuzzy feeling deep inside.

I left the beach and went across the road to visit the local garden centre, but the little lost rabbit was preying on my mind.

What if there was a high tide and he got swept out to sea? What if a storm blew in?

As I paid for my purchases, I resolved to go back and rescue him for a second time and move him to a more secure spot.

I crossed back over the road, wandered back down onto the beach and was relieved to see he was still sitting where I had left him. ( I don’t know where I thought he could have gone in the short space of time.)

There were a few other folks about and I’m fairly sure they must have wondered what I was doing. I picked him up and carried him up the path to where there are various wooden benches along the path. I selected one and left him there, snug in the corner to provide a little shelter, and facing the beach so that he could watch the world go by.

And as far as I know, he’s still sitting there. (I checked on him next day.)

Who knows, maybe someone will come along looking for him.

Maybe someone still “loves him to the moon and back.”

A Festive Throwback Thursday blog – do you remember when I met Jake Power for coffee?

(First shared back in December 2017)

It was a chilly Saturday afternoon when I finally managed to catch up with Jake Power, front man with Silver Lake.  The band were in Glasgow a day early for the final show of their hugely successful Bonded Souls tour. Many of the arena shows in the UK have been sold out weeks in advance and Sunday’s show in the SSE Hydro is no exception. (I bought my ticket pre-sale over six months ago)

As we sat in a city centre coffee shop, I asked Jake how the recent run of shows had gone.

“They’ve been incredible! British audiences are so much more passionate than American crowds. And louder! You guys really know how to rock!” he enthused. “I don’t mean any disrespect to our American fanbase but shows at home tend to be in smaller venues, security can be strict and things seem a little more reserved. In these 10 000 seater arenas here, we’ve seen mosh pits every night.”

Before reaching the UK, Silver Lake toured through mainland Europe so I asked how those shows had measured up.

“They were all great. Some countries are more passionate than others. Italy was insane. We played shows in Milan and Rome. Those crowds were crazy! Cologne in Germany was a good show too. We played in Amsterdam just before we came over here. That one didn’t pan out so well. There were a few glitches. The fire alarm went off and we had to evacuate the venue twenty minutes into our set. I feel we owe those fans another show. We only had time to play three or four songs after they let us back into the building.”

With three critically acclaimed albums under their belts, I asked Jake what the Scottish fans could expect for the final show of the tour.

“A full two hour set, that’s for sure,” was Jake’s immediate reply. I was rewarded with on of those “Power” smiles! “We were talking about the set at lunch earlier. Grey has it written on the back of a napkin. I think we were up to nineteen or twenty songs. If we can work them all in before the curfew then we’ll play them.”

“Jake, you’ve been on the road for the last six weeks and have already commented on stage that it’s the longest that you’ve been away from your wife. How tough has that been?”

“Very,” admitted Jake, running his hand through his long blonde hair. “Usually Lori would travel with us for part of a tour. We had planned that she’d come over and spend a week or so here and travel back home with us but when we really thought it through, it just wasn’t going to be practical. Both of us felt it would be too much for Miss Melody and would trash her routine.”

This is a rare mention by Jake of his baby daughter and seizing the moments I asked how she was.

“She’s incredible. I can’t wait to get home to my girls. Melody’s at the stage she’s changing every day. I’ve missed so much in six weeks. Her personality is developing. If only she slept a bit better at night!”

Almost shyly, Jake showed me a photo on his phone of his wife Lori holding their baby girl. So far, they’ve shielded their daughter from the media but trust me, she’s adorable.

Now that the Bonded Souls tour cycle is winding up, I asked Jake about his and Silver Lake’s plans for the coming year.

“We’re all taking a break over the holidays then I head into the studio late January with Weigh Station. Those guys plan to have a new album out in the spring and to do a few of the summer festivals. Maybe a few side shows too. My diary has a few dates both here in Europe and in the US pencilled in from May through till August. Silver Lake are planning to hit the studio again in the fall. The schedule is filling up for next year and the year after. There’s talk of a full Weigh Station tour and a Silver Lake tour.”

“So, what’s first on your agenda when you get home, Jake?”

“Laundry! I’m running out of clean shorts,” laughed the charismatic front man, his hazel brown eyes twinkling with mischief. “No, seriously, laundry and some quality time with my li’l ladies. A quiet family Christmas.”

“At the beach?”

“No. Actually we’re heading off to the Poconos on Dec 23rd. Lori and I spent a short honeymoon there last Christmas, thanks to our manager Jethro. We stayed in an amazing log cabin near a huge frozen lake. It was so quiet. So peaceful. Both of us loved it so much we decided to go back this year. We’ll head back to New York for New Year’s then home to Rehoboth a few days later. Both of us have some business commitments in the city the first week in January. We’ll bring in the New Year with Maddy, our manager. She throws these huge New Year’s parties every year at her apartment. I’m under strict orders to be there with my guitars.”

As Jake stretched out his long denim clad legs and settled back in his seat, we ordered another coffee then I asked if he found it hard to slip back into “normal” life after a tour.

“It takes a few days to adjust,” he confessed. “On tour we are ruled by the clock constantly. Jethro and Maddy run a tight ship. We stick to the published itinerary. Doing as the boss tells us..well, most of the time.” He paused then continued. “The first day or so, Lori usually gives me a bit of space to do my own thing. Come down time. Time to go for a couple of long runs. Time to sort out my guitars after the tour. Time to do my laundry! I suspect things might be a little different this time. It’s the first time I’ve been away from my daughter for so long.  I just want to spend time with her and with Lori. Family time. That has to come first.”

As our coffees arrived, I asked Jake how his bandmates chilled out after a tour. He laughed then revealed, “They’ll kill me for saying this. Grey needs to get his hands dirty. He’s a mechanic and his yard is full of “projects”. He’ll be under the hood of one of his wreckers before the jet lag hits him.  Paul needs a day to go fishing. He also needs to get past Maddison and that can be a challenge. She’s a scary lady! I’d put money on it though that Paul has a boat trip booked for the end of next week already. Rich is the only one who takes a proper vacation every time. He heads to Florida to his sister and her family. I guess he likes to thaw out in the sun after this cold winter weather. He’ll be back in Rehoboth mid-January as we have teaching workshops booked in.”

“Workshops?”

Jake nodded. “We’re both music teachers at heart still. Every chance we get, we run a workshop or two at the high school where we both taught. As we’re home for a few weeks, Rich has worked out a four week course. Grey and Paul are involved here too this time. I think it’s two workshops per week after school and two all-day Saturday sessions. The aim is to pull a band or maybe even two bands together in time for the Valentine’s Day Ball.”

It struck me that home really is at the heart of Silver Lake. All four members live in and around the same small town, Rehoboth, Delaware, and all seem keen to give something back to their local community.

“We owe a lot to the local fans,” Jake acknowledged. “They’ve been behind us for a long time and it’s a pity we don’t get to play more shows closer to home. The closest we get to Rehoboth is either Baltimore or Philly. We talked about doing some small local shows like we used to. You know, Friday night set in a local bar. Something impromptu and low key. Hopefully we’ll make it happen in the spring this year.”

I asked Jake if he had any plans for any solo shows.

“No but never say never,” he replied with a grin. “I’ve only ever done one. That was couple of years back at the air force base in Dover. My brother’s are both air force. Peter called in a favour at the last minute. The band he had booked to play had missed their flight or something and were stuck in Canada. I only had a few hours’ notice but I didn’t want to let him down. It’s the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done! I felt like I was stripped naked in front of two hundred airmen.”

Now, there’s a thought, ladies….

I pointed out that Jake had appeared half naked several times with Weigh Station, prompting a fit of laughter.

“You can blame the late Dan Crow for that,” said Jake grinning. “And before you ask, I intend to keep all my clothes on in the Hydro tomorrow night. Too damn cold here to do anything else!”

Checking the time, Jake apologised that he would need to go, explaining that he had a call to make back at his hotel. I had time to squeeze in one last quick question so as Christmas is only a couple of weeks off, I asked what he hoped Santa Claus would bring him this year.

“Actually, I’m hoping for a new laptop,” Jake said as he reached for his leather jacket. “I dropped mine in London the other night. It fell off the table in the dressing room. Smashed the screen. Split the casing. I haven’t confessed this to my wife yet though. I only got it just before we left for this tour. Maybe I’ll be on the naughty list for that and end up getting underwear and socks on Christmas morning.”

As I watched Jake leave the coffee  shop, flashing a smile at the waitresses behind the counter, I couldn’t help but wonder if he’ll get that laptop or not….

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

Are you simply reading a story or are you making memories?

I stumbled across this image on Facebook the other morning. It made me smile.

Some of my fondest memories of being a child are connected to story time.

My mum read me a bedtime story every night till I was about nine years old. We would go to the library, pick some books, then enjoy them over the next few nights. We worked our way through all of Joan Drake’s Mr Grimpwinkle tales that way. We read story books sent over from the USA by family and enjoyed Bunny Blue’s search for his big pink satin bow many many times. Those stories and many more hold a special place in my heart. The last book she started to read to me at bedtime was Anne of Green Gables. In the middle of reading it, we moved house and somewhere along the line bedtime stories stopped. I had been deemed old enough to read by myself before falling asleep (something that happens every night to this day). We never finished Anne of Green Gables and to this day I have no idea how that story ends.

I remember my Wee Gran reading stories to me from my mum’s old childhood storybooks. These books were second/third hand, well-loved and well-read before my mum was even born but the stories in them are timeless. The books themselves have seen better days but are now around one hundred years old.

My aunt introduced me to a certain cat that sparked a lifelong love of Dr Seuss. Thirty years later, when I visited her with my own kids those books came back out, and they too were introduced to The Cat In The Hat.

When my kids were little, I read to them from the time they were a few weeks old. There were countless storybooks in their rooms. I read them some of the stories from my childhood; I let them discover favourites from their own childhood. We read all about Hairy MacLary from Donaldson’s Dairy and I can still recite most of Each Peach Pear Plum.

You never really know though if those story time memories have stuck with them or not.

As I was thinking about how to approach this blog, Girl Child (now almost 22 years old) was sitting on the couch beside the Christmas tree scrolling through her phone. I asked her if she remembered the story that I used to read to her and her brother around Christmas time about a house rammed to the rafters with visiting family and friends. A house so crowded on Christmas Eve that the baby was put to bed in the sink.

There was a delighted, “Yes! I remember that story!”

My heart swelled,

So, when you’re reading to your little or not so little ones, remember its more than just reading a story to them. You’re actually making memories that last a lifetime.

PS We still have that festive tale. The book is in a box up in my parent’s attic and is called Christmas on Exeter Street.

Meandering After Dark

Sometimes you need to take time to meander and recharge those batteries and just chill for a bit.

Normal blog service will resume next week.

Fancy a Silver Lake Christmas?

As they walked along the snow-covered beach, Jake smiled. Watching the kids trying to run on ahead, occasionally throwing snowballs at each other and then lying down to make snow angels warmed his heart from the cold winter breeze that blew in off the ocean. With only two sleeps till Christmas both of them were hyper; both super excited at the thought of Santa Claus visiting.

“This way, kids!” he called as they reached a path that led up to the boardwalk.

Much to his surprise, they both came running towards him, slipping their tiny, gloved hands into his without being asked.

“What are you wanting Santa to bring you?” asked Melody as they walked along the boardwalk.

“Oh, I don’t know,” answered Jake, stalling for time. “Some new running shoes. Maybe a new guitar.”

“You’ve got lots of guitars!” stated Jesse bluntly.

“And you’ve got lots of trains, but you’ve still asked Santa Claus for another one,” teased Jake.

“I think Mommy wants a new computer,” announced Melody, changing the subject. “She was calling hers some bad words last week.”

With a laugh, Jake admitted that Lori had indeed called her laptop some choice names after it had crashed and deleted two days’ worth of work.

As the family group walked along the boardwalk, the kids ran on ahead to explore the small Christmas houses that had sprung up. The red Santa mailbox stood on the boardwalk opposite the bandstand.

Carefully, Jake removed the letters from his jacket pocket and handed them to the kids to mail. Pulling his cell out too, he took some photos of them posting the envelopes to Lapland then suggested that they go and stand by the town’s large Christmas tree for more photos.

“Ok, guys,” began Jake as he slipped the phone back into his jacket. “Who wants hot chocolate?”

“Me! Me! Me!”

(extract from Long Shadows)

If you want to read more then you can catch up with Jake and all things Silver Lake using the links below

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