Tag Archives: #blogger

The past 756 days….

Deliberately, I’ve mentioned very little about Covid 19 on this blog as I felt for the past two years it was dominating all other avenues of life and I wanted to keep my blog as a “safe” space.

However, today seems like a good moment to pause and reflect.

I took the above photo at about 7:10am on 23 March 2020, roughly twelve hours before the UK went into its first lockdown.

For the previous few weeks, news of this virus from China had dominated conversation. I mean, who had heard of Wuhan before February 2020? Not me. There were anxious conversations, scary news stories, sensational headlines in the press and then, like a scene from 1984, the TV broadcast that the nation will recall for decades as we were all told, like naughty children, to “stay at home”.

I remember having coffee with a friend a few days beforehand during our lunchbreak at work. They asked me if I thought this virus was something to worry about and how long did I think it would last for. Both of us were growing slightly concerned; both of us a little unsure of where this situation was headed and neither of us were able to answer those simple questions.

It’s a conversation I’ve revisited in my mind many times since. If only we had known then what we know now….

Today the last of the Covid 19 laws were lifted with the Scottish “mask laws” becoming “mask guidance” so it feels like a fitting moment to pause for breath and to reflect on the past 756 days of a life lived under various lockdowns and Covid restrictions.

It feels like an appropriate moment to take stock and to think back on all the challenges we faced and survived; the emotions surrounding the impact of the various levels of restrictions that have been forced onto our everyday existence; the impact on our mental health (as Ruby Wax said, and I paraphrase – we all have mental health but some of us are in better shape than others, just like with our physical health); the impact on our relationships with friends and family; the effects that these past 756 days have had on children ( a friend posted just yesterday about how proud she is of her son for rediscovering his mojo after two tough years – yes kids have been feeling it too!); the changes that have altered the way we do our jobs on a day-to-day basis (how did we get through the working day pre-2020 without half a dozen zoom meetings a day?)…

You get the hint…so I’ll leave you to take a moment or two to reflect on the impact the past 756 days have had on you personally. Everyone’s journey from then until now is unique and there’s been no one straight road to follow.

I took this photo today from the same spot. The sun is shining. The sky’s blue. The trees are in bud. The landscape looks the same.

But I don’t think any of us are the same people we were on the morning of 23 March 2020. Do you?

These past two years have touched our lives in so many ways that they’ve left their mark and I suspect it’s a mark that will remain for many years to come.

I know personally speaking, life will never be the same.

To quote from an Alter Bridge song though-

Cause the sun always sets, the moon always falls
It feels like the end, just pay no mind at all
And keep on rolling, rolling, life must go on
It must go on

And it does.

Much later than originally planned …. my author newsletter

Hello

I’m going to start with an apology. I promised when I shared my last author newsletter that I’d get better at writing these in a more timely manner. Eh… I’ve failed miserably as the last newsletter was 11 months ago!

I’m not even going to hint at a future schedule for these author updates…let’s just go with the flow!

My primary focus for the past year has been Book Baby 7. I’m still working on the first draft and progress has been made in fits and starts as the real world has been eating into my precious creative time. When I started Book Baby 7 on 1st February 2021, I promised myself that I wouldn’t rush it and would take my time and I have. I’m still on track with the timeframe I have in my head for its release. The storyline is more or less on track too!

Watch this space for an announcement about it on 9th March 2022.

So, what else have I been busy with over the past few months? (I use the term “few” loosely! LOL)

Well, I have introduced my Continue The Story blogs.  If you missed the introduction last July, here’s the first short story.

Continue the Story…… | Coral McCallum

There have been a few acrostic poems shared on my blog too

Butterfly – an acrostic poem | Coral McCallum

Last August I reached a blogging milestone – 500 blog posts!

I will write 500 blogs….. | Coral McCallum

Onwards to the next 500!

There was a first for my blog as I introduced a very talented artist to you in October. This blog has been the most popular of the 500+ entries.

Introducing landscape artist Sharon McGill | Coral McCallum

Towards the end of the year, I was in a reflective mood as I recalled some of my favourite childhood stories. So many precious childhood memories of bedtime stories… it was hard to choose just a few for this post

Are you simply reading a story or are you making memories? | Coral McCallum

What were your favourite books when you were a child?

With the easing of some of the Covid restrictions, my alter ego made it out to play a few times last year and ended the year on a high note (no pun intended) when Myles Kennedy returned to Glasgow. Myles Kennedy & Co at the O2 Academy, Glasgow 6th December 2021 | the525toglasgow (wordpress.com)

I’m hoping my alter ego will be allowed out to play more often this year but time will tell on that. My first 3 shows of 2022 have already had to be rescheduled for further down the line. C’est la vie!

Everyone’s favourite dark angel has made several appearances on my blog since my last newsletter with her most recent being in January in time for the full moon. All of the parts of Silently Watching can be found in the Fiction – Short Stuff tab. (They are numbered)

Silently Watching By The Light Of The Ice Moon | Coral McCallum 

     

And that pretty much brings us up to date. The edited creative highlights of the past 11 months!

In between all of this, I have still been meandering daily (well, as often as the delightful Scottish weather allows) and recharging the batteries of my soul with the sounds of nature. These daily walks allow me headspace time to develop storylines and to ponder plot dilemmas so who knows who or what I’ll come up with!

All that’s left to say is thank you from the bottom of my heart for your ongoing support. It really is appreciated and as I’ve said before, every kind word fuels the fires of creativity.

Stay safe. Take care.

Till next time…  happy reading.

Love n hugs

Coral xx

If you’ve missed book babies 1-6, you can find them on Amazon worldwide

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

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

Ellen

Amazon.com link

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

Amazon.co.uk link

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

2022…the goals…

I wasn’t going to post about setting goals for this year. To be honest, it felt a bit old hat then I read the quote on my shower gel bottle this morning. It got me thinking but still I felt hesitant about writing a 2022 goals blog… then I saw the above post shared in a group on Facebook and thought “F**k it! Why am I doubting myself here?”

So, here goes…

Creatively there’s one key goal to be achieved this year and that’s to complete and publish “Book Baby 7”. I promised myself when I started writing it on 1 Feb 2021 that I would take my time with it and allow myself to be quite relaxed about the deadlines for it. I wanted to enjoy writing it and didn’t want it to feel like something that had to be done. Anyone who knows me personally, knows I don’t do “relaxed” so that’s a challenge or goal all to itself! Tentatively, I’m aiming for a September publication date. I promise to share more details soon.

I’m not really one for New Year’s resolutions. I’m not a “New Year, New You” kind of person ( too much of a creature of habit for that) but as we tip toe quietly through 2022 ( don’t want to disturb it too much in case it bites us the same as 2020 and 2021 did), I hope that some of the blogs that I write and share will perhaps inspire others to maybe read something new or to create something of their own or take more pleasure from spending time outdoors. (Yes, my meandering approach to this blog is set to continue.) Or perhaps I just hope to give folk something to read as they take a break from the daily grind and relax with a mug of coffee.

I’m unapologetically going to keep on being me.

I hope you’ll all join me on this journey through 2022. There’s no promises of what it will bring but let’s keep moving forwards and see where it takes us.

love n hugs

Coral xx

“Dreams get us started; discipline keeps us going” – my mantra/motto

(credits to the owners of the images used)

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

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. 😉

Continue the Story……

Last Wednesday, I spent the day in Glasgow shopping with my Girl Child. We did the usual mother/daughter things- coffee, shopping, lunch, more shopping. After so many long, restricted months, it was nice to just meander through the shops, masks on, doing something that felt “normal.”

One of our last stops of the day was Paperchase. I love that shop. As a writer ,what’s not to love – notebooks, journals, pens… oh I was in seventh heaven! I was also looking for a specific journal as a gift. As I searched for it, I spied this lonely book lying on the shelf.  It wasn’t what I was looking for, wasn’t what I was planning to buy but it spoke to me… no, more accurately, it screamed at me! I bought it. (Well, it was the only one left and it looked lonely…. and well it had pleaded with me…)

I’ll confess, creatively of late, I’ve struggled. Progress with Book Baby 7 has been painfully slow. For once, I actually have a clear idea of its storyline but putting pen to paper and stringing some sensible words together just hasn’t been happening. This isn’t writer’s block as such but more like burn out. The batteries were totally flat.

As I shared on here last week, I knew I needed a rest. And you know what? For once, I listened to myself.

I’m in the middle of my two-week 2021 Staycation. Week one has been hot and sunny (I love the sun!) and I’ve barely been indoors. After months of working in my living room, I can honestly say I’ve hardly set foot in it for 10 days. I’ve walked, I’ve run, I’ve practiced my yoga, I’ve listened to music, I’ve shopped, I’ve relaxed in the sun, and I’ve read and read and read (I’m on book 4 for this staycation). Apart from last week’s blog, I’ve not written a word.

Having bought the Continue the Story journal, it lay abandoned on my desk for three days before I picked it up and flicked through its pages. They whispered encouragingly…. I picked up a pencil, selected my prompt and tentatively tested the waters….

If you can’t read my handwritten scrawls, here’s the typed version of the short piece I wrote last night.

She’d waited a lifetime to see this view. Well, it felt like a lifetime- a hundred lifetimes! All those long cold months dreaming of this moment. Those endless dark depressing days where thoughts of this moment were the pot of gold at the end of her rainbow. The hours she had spent breathing stale clinical air, imagining it was clean salty ocean air.

As she’d sat on the plane the ay before, she’d fretted that she’d done the wrong thing. Was it too soon? What if the kids needed her? Would the cats be ok? Was four weeks too long to be away?

Despite her exhaustion, jet lag had kicked in. She’d been wide awake in the strange bed at 4am. With no one to answer to, no one to tip toe around for, she’d got up, showered and dressed, throwing on a vest tee, shorts then, as an afterthought, her Hard Rock Café hoodie. Slipping her bare feet into her flip flops, the key and her phone into her pocket, she left her rental apartment.

The pre-dawn air was still and cool. In a few short strides, she was across the worn planks of the boardwalk and heading down the nearest path. The sand felt icy cold on her feet as it flowed over her flip flops. Kicking them off, she padded down the beach towards the ocean.

Gentle waves lapped ashore. Sitting down on the soft sand out of reach of the waves, she hugged her knees and let out a long sigh as the sun started to rise above the horizon. Her pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

The creative batteries aren’t quite fully re-charged yet but they’re getting there.

One little word……

One little word. That’s all it took the other day to raise my spirits and make me smile.

No, it wasn’t spoken out loud. It was a text message.

With that one word, it showed me several important things.

Firstly, the person who sent it had thought about me, at least briefly, that day. That in itself is a beautiful thing in this selfish world.

Secondly, having thought about me, they took the time out of their day to type and send the message.  It might have only taken them a few seconds, but it was still an investment of their precious time.

Thirdly, they cared enough to want to send the message.

I’ll leave that thought there for you to contemplate……

Oh- and for the curious among you – the word was “morning”.

(photo sourced via Google – credits to the owner)

From Pin Tuck Pleats to Nurse’s Uniforms…

vintage ironing housewife tired

Ironing gets done religiously in this house on a Sunday morning.

General household rule is that if it doesn’t get ironed on Sunday then it needs to wait a week.

I’m fastidious about emptying that ironing basket on a Sunday. (OK a bit OCD about it)

It doesn’t seem so long ago that I would spend ages trying to use the point of the iron to flatten out tiny pin tuck pleats on Girl Child’s baby dresses and running the iron over the knickers that went with the dress.

Then it was school uniforms. Wee tiny white cotton shirts and grey or then black skirts that grew bigger year after year.

There were countless tops, skirts, jeans and dresses over the years in various shapes, colours and lengths.

There were hems that were fixed and buttons sewn back on. The occasional tear stitched on a favourite item of clothing.

I patiently taught her to iron t-shirts as a starting point, praying that she wouldn’t burn her fingers or my clothes.

School uniforms were replaced with various work uniforms – fast food outlet uniforms, high street shop uniforms, pizza delivery uniforms.

Those in turn were replaced with student nurse uniforms.

Twenty years of spending hours on a Sunday ironing clothes.

Last Sunday marked the end of an era.

My baby girl has long since grown out of those M&S pin tick pleat dresses and flown the nest.

And among her parting gifts – a brand new iron all of her own.

Don’t burn your fingers or the clothes, Baby Girl!

You Never Know Who’s Looking….. and where they are from….

Feb 2020

I rarely look at the viewing stats for my blog. Occasionally I’ll take a look to try to gauge how popular a post has been but, in general, I don’t study the stats page on here.

However, I checked it out recently and was left with an unanswered question- how would someone who lives in Qatar find my wee blog?

That got me thinking (Oh no, here she goes again I hear you cry) Where else is everyone from that has kindly taken the time to view my blog this month?

The results surprised me! 22 countries in just 29 days- WOW!!! (I’ll list them at the end for those who want to know which ones)

Then I began to wonder – what attracts people to a blog? In all honesty, I’d love to know the answer to that one as I’m sure many bloggers would!

That thought devolved into – what is a blog and where did they originate?

Cue a bit of Googling…..

 

The generally accepted definition of a blog or weblog, as they were originally known, is “a discussion or informal website on the World Wide Web (why does that feel like an old-fashioned term?) consisting of discrete often informal diary-style text entries (posts)”

 

I guess that about covers it!

 

Other blog traits are that posts are always displayed in reverse chronological order.

There are numerous blog hosts but WordPress currently hosts around 30% (estimate) of all blogs. I struggled to find any numbers to substantiate this but one article suggested that six years ago WordPress had 75.8million blogs listed.

Weblog is a term coined by John Barger in December 1997 then, around eighteen months later, a gentleman called Peter Merholz jokingly split the word into the phrase “we blog”. Shortly after that Evan Williams of Pyra Labs used the term “blog” as both a noun and a verb   – “to blog”- meaning to edit or post to one’s weblog. The term “blogger” followed on naturally.

So, who was the first “blogger”? That’s a point of debate but two possibilities are:-

1-Justin Hall, a journalist and entrepreneur, who began blogging while he was student at Swarthmore College PA in 1994

Justin Hall

2- Ty Inc are recognised as the first company with a commercial blog, In 1995 this took the form of an online diary where customers could vote for the beanie baby of the month. Love beanie babies!!

ty beanie

As an indieauthor, I’ve discovered blogs are a great way to try out new writing genres, market your books, connect with your readers (well, you’re reading this, aren’t you?) and to introduce the world to other indie authors. It can also be a means to get something off your chest but, on the whole, I refrain from ranting via my blog.

For me, personally, this wee blog had been the keystone in my creative journey. I started it on 29 December 2013 to help me overcome my fears of letting people read what I write. (Here’s the link to that very first blog – https://coralmccallum.wordpress.com/2013/12/29/deep-breaths-and-begin/ )

As I reflect now on those earlier blogs, I’ll admit some were better than others. Even now, some are better than others!

But, if you’d told me back at the end of December 2013 that people in 22 countries would have visited my blog in one month, I’d never have believed you.

Another achievement in this surreal creative journey.

Thank you – without YOU, this blog would slip by unnoticed.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

Countries

UK

Algeria

USA

Italy

India

Poland

Turkey

Netherlands

Australia

Canada

Brazil

Qatar

Malaysia

Germany

Greece

Romania

Spain

Russia

South Africa

Bangladesh

New Zealand

Argentina

 

 

 

Sun’s Dying Light (150 word flash fiction)

FB_IMG_1578247000681

It had been their last day together. The magic was failing. Silently,,they had walked along the deserted beach, savouring the sun’s warmth as it began to set. They reached their tree at the end of the beach beside the picnic area. Wistfully, she traced her finger over the initials he had carved in its bark after their first kiss. With his back to the tree, he drew her into his arms. The golden light of the setting sun shone through her gossamer wings. He bent to kiss her. Slowly and passionately their lips met for one final moment. He held her hands and gazed into her violet eyes, wishing the moment could last forever. She started to speak but he stopped her. Silence said it all. Beside them, the sun had almost reached the horizon. At the first touch, the spell broke. He stood there alone. She was gone.

 

(credits to the owner of the image- photo is tagged)