Tag Archives: #amwriting

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. 😉

This week it’s been all about Book Baby 6..

This week it’s been all about the creativity and the word count.

Normal blog service will resume next week

Author Newsletter..No. 9..slightly later than planned….

Apologies, folks, I appear to have lost track of time and it’s been way too long since I posted a newsletter update.

I’ll blame the fact that 2020 feels as though it’s been one long month since mid-March and there doesn’t seem to be many signs of improvement. C’est la vie!…

Now, where were we?

On the creative front, I’ve been working diligently on Book Baby 6 aka Long Shadows and revealed the cover on my blog on 1st October. Missed the big unveiling? No worries, here’s a reminder:

And, as promised, I also shared a sneak peek inside back in July

https://coralmccallum.wordpress.com/2020/07/28/a-timely-reminder-and-a-sneak-peek-into-book-baby-6/

I’m currently in the home strait with the first draft of Long Shadows and hope to have the first draft completed by the end of November, keeping me on track (by the skin of my teeth) for the planned  publication date early in 2021. Patience. All will be revealed in due course.

Over the summer months I continued to have fun with some acrostic poetry

https://coralmccallum.wordpress.com/2020/08/10/resilience-an-acrostic-poem/

https://coralmccallum.wordpress.com/2020/06/29/lockdown-an-acrostic-poem/

Months of living in lockdown gave me time to reflect on the things that in future I won’t take for granted and I shared those thoughts on my blog in late June (seems a lifetime ago now)

https://coralmccallum.wordpress.com/2020/06/23/ill-never-take-some-things-for-granted-again/

Since we last caught up, I celebrated a “milestone” birthday and was surprised with the most fantastic birthday cake. Check this out! It was incredible and delicious!

https://coralmccallum.wordpress.com/2020/07/13/happy-to-eat-my-own-words/

Last time out I told you about The Gingerbread Tea House and their fabulous book exchange.  The owner has put her own lockdown time to good use and has now published her first novel, Chasing Butterflies, with her second, The China Doll,  due for release on 14 November. I caught up with Nicole Thorne earlier this month on my blog

https://coralmccallum.wordpress.com/2020/10/19/introducing-fellow-indie-author-nicole-thorne/

Like many, I have found 2020 challenging on many different levels. One wise woman in the organisation I work for said a few months back (and I paraphrase) – “don’t think of it as enduring things. Think of it as making history.” And I guess she’s right. Each and every one of us has helped to write history this year and who knows we may still be “making history” well into 2021. Time will tell on that one.

For now, I’ll leave you with a reminder of my mantra. This really has kept me forging forwards this year.

Stay safe, folks

Love n hugs

Coral

PS – don’t forget to check out the Silver Lake series and Ellen. If you’ve read them and loved them, tell your friends 🙂

Book links:

Silver Lake series

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

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

Ellen

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

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

A timely reminder and a sneak peek into Book Baby 6……..

 

This came up in my Facebook memories earlier today…… it was a timely reminder.

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My primary creative focus these days is Book Baby 6. I have a date in mind that I would like the first draft completed by and it’s going to take all my self-discipline to meet that deadline. It doesn’t get any easier with each passing book, trust me!

Want a sneak peek? No…. stop reading here. Yes….keep reading.

Just a little taste of things to come in early 2021……

 

Gazing out towards the empty stage, Jake took stock. A stool, a table and his four guitars were all in position. There were bottles of water on the table. A row of picks was slotted into the mic stand.

The houselights dimmed and the near sell-out crowd let out a loud cheer. Taking a deep breath, Jake watched for his cue then loped casually out on stage to a wall of cheers from the fans. Flashing a Power smile at them and at the assembled photographers, Jake lifted his guitar, checked the tuning and opened his support slot with an acoustic rendition of Silver Lake’s Dragon Song. In front of him, the fans along the rail were hanging on his every word.

“Good evening, Philly,” he said at the end of the first song.

A huge cheer surged back at him.

“Who’s excited to see Garrett Court tonight?”

Another huge roar hit the stage.

“This next song is another one from the Silver Lake vault. This is Depths.”

A few minutes later as he began Lady Butterfly, Jake saw Riley in the wings standing beside his brother waiting for her cue. He smiled at the height difference between them then noticed that Melody was standing beside Riley, holding her hand. So lost in thought was he that he almost messed up the final verse. Only a few die-hard Silver Lakers in the front row noticed his faux pas. He laughed and felt himself blush.

“Philly, I’d like you to welcome out on stage a very special, very talented, young lady now. Allow me to introduce you to the incredible Miss Riley Johnston!”

Confidently, Riley ran out to meet him, her freshly dyed green hair shining under the spotlights. Several of the fans along the rail had been at the Gramercy Theater show and, recognising Riley, cheered wildly for the young vocalist.

“Folks, this is Miles From Home,” called out Jake.

A second stool had been brought out along with a second mic stand. Nimbly, Riley hopped up on the stool and lifted the microphone from the stand. With a glance at Jake for reassurance, she prepared for their duet. The familiar intro to the Weigh Station classic rang out over the crowd. Keeping her voice low and husky, Riley began the first verse. By the time she reached the chorus, the fans were hanging on her every word. Just as they’d rehearsed, they traded verse and chorus then came together for the final verse.

“Sing this last chorus with us, Philly!” called out Riley, her confidence soaring.

It warmed Jake’s heart to hear the fans respond to the teenager’s request and he could see she was smiling beside him.

“Philadelphia!” roared Jake when the song ended, “Give it up for the awesome, Miss Riley Johnston!”

Jumping down from the stool, Riley took a bow then darted off stage amid thunderous cheers.

The stage lights dimmed long enough for one of the crew to remove the stool and mic stand.

“Folks, that girl’s the future,” said Jake as he slipped the Martin’s guitar strap over his head.

 

 

To be continued in Book 5 of the Silver Lake series.

 

Missed the first four? Plenty of time to catch up. Here’s the Amazon links to help you:

 

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

 

 

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

 

Sunflower Art Therapy Session

Sunflower quote

I had last week off on annual leave from the day job at the salt mine.

What to do? Where to go?  The answer to the second question was not very far due to the current lockdown restrictions.

So, faced with the first question, I opted to put my week to creative good use. Well, Book Baby 6 isn’t going to write itself, is it?

First though I needed to-declutter my mind from all thoughts of “work”. What better way to do that than to spend an hour or two on a different creative pastime – colouring in.

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One of the things I’ve loved most about the long drives I’ve taken with family, while visiting the USA, was  watching the endless fields of sunflowers pass by as we drove down the highway so, when I stumbled across this design, I knew it was perfect to get me in the mood for focussing on Book Baby 6.

It worked 🙂

The sun shone all week allowing me to indulge in some al fresco creative writing (and some sunbathing.) Oh Happy Days!

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By the end of the week, I had written around 10 000 words and turned a corner with the storyline. There’s a long way to go yet but I’m now one notebook nearer the end.

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(credits to the owner of the sunflower quote- sourced via Google)

 

Fancy a good book with that coffee and cake?…..

Last weekend a message dropped into my FB Author Page inviting me to take part in a “Donated by the Author” community book exchange offered by an independently run coffee shop.

As an indie author, I was instantly intrigued. Well, who can afford to dismiss opportunities to get their book in the hands of a reader?

Over the next day or so I exchanged messages with the owner, took a trip to the local post office and by Monday a copy of Ellen was winging it’s way to join in the exchange programme.

Two things I love are reading and coffee so the thought that these could be combined in a one stop shop was music to my ears!

So, where is this wonderful haven? It’s The Gingerbread Tea House in Widnes, Cheshire, England.

the gingerbread tea house new

Being of a curious nature I wanted to know more about and also to show my support for this venture.

So, without further ado, allow me to introduce coffee shop owner and aspiring author, Nicola Duty.

Thanks for agreeing to answer a few questions for me, Nicola. So, can you tell me a bit about the history of The Gingerbread Tea House? (I love the name)

NWhen my kids were little I always used to love baking with them. One of their favourite things to make were Gingerbread. 

When I decided to leave teaching and open my own business, The Gingerbread Tea House seemed fitting for our family business. 

I opened the cafe a little over two years ago. Partly because my husband and I were fed up of being unable to find quality food when out and about. I wanted to offer quality food prepared fresh to order, that’s what we do! It’s difficult at times, especially when it’s busy and I have lots of different orders at the same time, but I love it. 

the gingerbread tea house 15

What inspired you to offer a book exchange to your customers?

NI’ve always had a passion for reading myself. I love the way you can escape into another world, how you can engage with the characters and be taken on a journey along with them. 

When I was teaching I found that far too many students had no interest in books or reading. The quality of students work suffered as a result. I felt that it was important to do something to help. I had a little space so I decided to use it to start the book exchange. 

Do you cater for children’s books as well as adult books?

NWe have books for readers of all ages, including children.

Tell me about the Donated By An Author piece? Do they just go into the “library” to be swapped around?

NThe “Donated by the Author” section of the book exchange is new, but the expectation is that books will be taken away just like any other book. I have asked authors donating books to make a note on the inside cover stating that they donated the book to us and asking the reader to pass the book on once they’ve finished with it. That could mean returning it to the book exchange or passing it on to a friend or relative. The idea is to get people reading and also get the authors noticed. For authors donating books I create a Facebook post including an image of their book and a profile. 

(Oops…. I might not have added that commentary inside the copy of Ellen I popped in the post. Sorry!)

the gingerbread tea house 3

You mention in the bio on Facebook that you’re also a writer. What genres do you write?

NI’m more of an aspiring writer. I used to write plays for the kids in my street when I was growing up. In adulthood I’ve tried my hand a few times, but work and commitments and various distractions I never actually finished anything. I am near the end of a project at now. It needs editing and tidying up, but it’s almost there and I feel quite proud of it. 

As for genre, I’d say it’s kind of a mystery.  I already have the idea for my next book, but I don’t want to start it until I’ve finished this one. 

Have you published anything or do you have a blog to share your work ( As an aside, if you have any short stories or poems you’d like me to share via my blog I’d be happy to lend my support. I’ve done the same for a few folk who are just starting out.)

NI haven’t published anything to date, but “Chasing Butterflies” should be finished later this year. 

Hmm… butterflies…another of my favourite things. Consider me intrigued, Nicola!

Who are your favourite authors? Slightly cruel question, I know.

NOh so many! Jane Austin, Patricia Cornwell, Stephen King, I was obsessed with Dean Koontz for a while too. 

Which authors are proving to be the most popular in the Gingerbread Tea House?

N-To be honest it’s difficult to tell which authors are most popular. The books normally come and go while I’m busy in the kitchen! John Grisham seems to be fairly popular. 

Would you consider running a book club in the café where your customers could meet once a month to talk about a particular book? (Just a thought)

NI actually tried to start a writers’ group at the cafe, but sadly those interested couldn’t all come at the same time. It may be something that we look at in the future. 

What’s the most rewarding aspect of running The Gingerbread Tea House?

 NMost of my customers are regulars and many have become friends. Making people smile and providing good quality food is the most rewarding aspect by far.

Now, for a bit of fun, can you tell me:-

1 your favourite food?

NA juicy, rare fillet steak with chunky chips, Asparagus, oven baked mushrooms and tomatoes.

2 your favourite holiday destination?

NI love holidays. I like to try to visit different places. I love Barcelona and Paris, but I also love Portugal.

3 your favourite song or band/artist (if that’s easier)?

NMy favourite song of all time is Creep by Radiohead. It was out when I was in my late teens. As a bit of a misfit it seemed to suit me perfectly. 

I also like Oasis, The Arctic Monkeys, Hudson Taylor, Kodeline and Jake Bugg. 

Thanks, Nicola. I wish you all the best with this venture and many hours of happy reading!

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I’d love to see this community book exchange in coffee shops take off across the country. It’s a quick and easy way to connect readers and the “Donated by the Author” is a great incentive for authors to connect with their readers.

Here’s a sample of the submissions received so far-

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Now, I think it’s time to get the kettle on then sit back and chill with a good book, don’t you?

 

If you want to learn more about The Gingerbread Tea House, check them out on Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/TheGingerbreadTeaHouse/

 

A Brief Pause

comma nice

Well, the proof copy of Book Baby 5 aka Shattered Hearts has arrived!

Why is it, when you are happily writing your story that the humble comma slots in sweetly, doesn’t move, doesn’t give you attitude and appears almost innocent?

As its dictionary definition suggests, it is a mere “punctuation mark indicating a pause between parts of a sentence or separating items in a list ” but, the second it appears in print in a physical proof copy, it transforms into …..

comma evil

I swear these evil little critters have vanished or moved or hidden since I hit upload on that manuscript.

War has been declared!

Let battle – sorry proofreading – commence!

Deadline looming……..

typing

Furiously typing…… normal blog service will resume next week.

 

 

My Autobiography vol 1 circa 1982….

Asking a twelve year old to write their autobiography in hindsight seems a slightly bizarre project for an English class.

Stumbling across said autobiography some thirty-seven years later was equally bizarre!

Boy Child was tidying up the large walk-in cupboard in his room recently and found some of my old schoolwork. No idea how it got in there but can only presume my mother has evicted it from her house at some point and sent it home with me.

20190609_144834

As I re-read those handwritten pages (my handwriting was SO much neater in 1982!) I do actually recall writing some of it.

My English teacher during my first year in high school was a gentleman named Richard Coton. He was in fact the teacher who gave me the best piece of creative writing advice I’ve ever had and it’s stuck with me for all these years. He advised me to write about places I loved and knew well and topics that I was passionate about.

His words came back to me when I started writing the story that evolved into the Silver Lake series of books.

So, how much have I changed since my twelve year old self wrote the first volume of my autobiography?

(Don’t panic – I’ll spare you all of the details!)

There were ten parts to this autobiographical assignment.

20190609_144853

Let’s explore a few……

Babyhood – ok, please don’t laugh too much at the photo – and having read that section, one thing hasn’t improved over the years. I still don’t sleep great at night!

20190609_144908

Playing Cafes – I still clearly remember the game that inspired that section. In reality there were more “meals” served to my long-suffering cousin that night. To this day I’ve no idea how we avoided actually poisoning the poor boy! Happy memories of the summer of 1977…EEK!

The Kind Of Person I Am – well, I’ve grown a whole three inches since I wrote that! Ha Ha. I’m still an avid reader. The model horse collection still lives in the same old shoe box as it did in 1982 only now it resides on a shelf in my parents’ attic. One quote from this “chapter” stuck out.

So far you might have got the impression I’m out spoken. Well, in a way I am but at the same time I am a very nervous person. My mum says I worry about trivial things.”

Absolutely nothing has changed about that facet of my character. I over think my over thinking! (Blame the INFJ personality type)

The professional ambitions changed slightly. I remember wanting to say that the dream was to become an author but, as a class, we were advised to keep the piece factual/real. The two options I listed were lawyer or physiotherapist. Six years after I wrote that chapter, I went to college to start my physiotherapy degree but it wasn’t to be. Anatomy and Physiology and I have a very poor working relationship and I failed my first year. Maybe I should have written about chasing the dream – I have managed to achieve that!

There’s a map in the autobiography of where I lived at the time. That “slightly” inaccurate road map made me smile.

20190609_144938

In Years To Come – the final part of the assignment was to forecast the future. So how accurate were my predictions? In fact there are a few profound observations in there. One of them being

“One thing I’m certain of is that I will not be very far away from home.”

Currently, I live about 100m away from where home was in that map from 1982. In fact, the land my current home is built on was the field I played in as a little girl. Roughly on the red dot

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I ended the last section by saying

“Well, I plan on a busy life. On the whole, I don’t think I will change too much over the next five or six years.”

Life is busy and I don’t think I’ve really changed that much over the past thirty-seven years.

So, how did I do on this homework assignment?

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Maybe some day I’ll write a second volume ………

 

 

It’s all about the date …… and a little itty bitty announcement

So, a year ago today I put pen to paper and began to write Book 4 in the Silver Lake series.

I blogged about it…. in fact, I had intended to blog about 8th May being the sixth anniversary of putting pen to paper blah blah blah blah but realised I did that last year.

Missed it?

Here you go, you can catch up here: –

https://coralmccallum.wordpress.com/2018/05/08/whats-in-a-date-quite-a-lot-actually/

In the year since I posted that blog, I’ve been busy…very busy. I finished the writing and editing for Book Baby 4 aka Ellen and successfully self- published it via Amazon’s KDP, albeit slightly later in the year than planned. I’ve worked steadily on Book Baby 5 and, a year down the line, its still not fully written but I am on track (just!) and the proofreading process has recently commenced. Cue my nerves being shot to hell even more so than usual! Yes, the old fear of letting people read what I write has returned with a vengeance.

So, having discovered that I’d already posted the blog I intended for this week I have been left with a bit of a dilemma….. how to mark this creative Silver Lake anniversary?

It feels wrong to let it slip by without doing or saying something.

I’m going to take a leap of faith here. (Those of you who know me personally will realise just how big a leap this is shortly.)

I’m very superstitious about not naming my Book Babies until their first draft is more or less complete. I may have their title in mind but I tend to keep it under wraps almost for as long as I can for fear of destroying the magic of the creative process.

However, Book Baby 5 aka Book 4 in the Silver Lake series has proved to be a little different.

Its title came first before I’d even put pen to paper. That has never happened before!

So, to mark six years to the day of the evening I sat down in the sun with my notepad and pen and began this incredible creative journey, I’m going to share that title with you.

The cover reveal (yeah, that’s kind of almost done too) and the publication date (yeah, I have one of those in mind too and it is another date that is special to me) are a way off so please don’t get too excited here.

Drum roll please, Paul……..

The title of Book Baby 5 aka Book 4 in the Silver Lake series is………

title reveal 

Watch this space…….

 

 

If you’ve missed the start of the series, you can download the books or purchase paperback copies from Amazon

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

 

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

 

and if you missed Ellen –

Amazon.com link

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

Amazon.co.uk link

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