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Despite all the touring and travelling, Jake lay wide awake in the strange bed in his sister’s guest room. A glance at his phone informed him it was after midnight; his internal body clock had long since surrendered and given up trying to determine the time of day. He could hear one of his nephew’s snoring in the room next door. Reaching for his phone, Jake re-read his last message from Lori. “Sweet dreams, rock star. Love you L x”

With a smile, he laid the phone back down on the night stand. Only a few short hours until he would be reunited with her.

 

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Amazon.co.uk links –

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Have you met Jake Power and Lori Hyde?

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With a long sigh of complete contentment, she felt the tension melt from her shoulders. Her first tentative steps onto the beach since last summer. It felt good to be home. It was late afternoon and she could feel the last of the spring sun’s warmth on her skin. She was also acutely aware of Mary’s eyes on her, as she watched from the sun deck. No going back now. After all, she had made it this far and it felt good to be outdoors. She adjusted the grip on her crutches, making sure the broad base plates didn’t sink into the soft sand and slowly headed across the beach towards the ocean. Once on the hard packed surface, she felt more stable and her confidence began to grow. The waves rolled in gently beside her, but she was careful to stay beyond their reach. Tasting the salt on her lips, she smiled and headed along the shoreline towards the boardwalk.

The beach was quiet, with only a few families packing up after an afternoon at the shore. It had been unseasonably warm all week and everyone was making the most of the bonus sunshine. Small seabirds were playing in the shallows, rushing backwards and forwards twittering merrily. After about a hundred yards, she stopped to watch the waves, listening to their rhythmic flow. Hopefully by summer, when the water would be warmer, she would be able to enjoy swimming in the ocean again. Hopefully…

Oh, it was good to be home; good to be back by the ocean.

Step by carefully placed step, she kept wandering along the sand towards town. She drank in all of her surroundings; the birds, the shells, and an occasional abandoned sand castle. Lost in her own thoughts, she immersed herself in her private beach world.

It was the throbbing pain from her leg that brought her back to the real world. She had been stupid. She had walked too far. With panic and fear rising in her chest, she headed up the beach towards the boardwalk that ran parallel to the shore. If she could get onto firm ground and rest for a while, maybe she could recover enough strength to get back to the house. Mary had warned her to be careful, had warned her not to try to go too far on her first day out. The boardwalk seemed to be a mile away, even though it was, in reality, only a few short yards away. As the sand got softer her crutches dug further in, despite their broad base plates. The left one sank into a particularly soft patch. Suddenly her leg gave way and she crashed onto the beach.

For a few moments she lay there, tears welling up in her eyes, terrified that she was hurt. Gingerly, she manoeuvred herself into a sitting position.

“Shit!” she yelled out to the world. “Shit!”

Her crutches lay just within arm’s reach and she dragged them over towards her. Getting back to her feet was going to be a challenge. One that looked impossible in the current situation. There was no one in sight and Lori felt a sharp stab of fear in her chest. As she sat figuring out how she was going to get up without falling again, she was unaware that she was being watched from the shadows of boardwalk.

 

Jake watched her from the distant vantage point of the boardwalk. He had headed for the beach after the end of his shift at the pizza parlour. It had been a rough day and he had decided to walk off his black mood before heading to meet the guys. The last thing they needed was him turning up in a foul mood, stinking of tomato sauce and cheese. He had walked to the south end of the promenade and had just turned back when he saw the girl walking down on the sand. It was the sun catching the golden highlights in her hair that had attracted his attention. He never noticed her crutches at first. Watching from a distance, he had kept pace with her, then stopped to watch as she turned towards the boardwalk. When he saw her stumble, he regretted not following his instincts and going down to walk on the sand with her.

“Shit,” he muttered. “Shit.”

There were no breaks in the fence nearby, so he jumped over the wooden palings into the dune grass and ran towards her, sand immediately filling his shoes. By the time he was close enough to call out to her, she was sitting up and looked to be unhurt. He almost turned away, but decided against it and continued to walk down the beach.

“Hi,” he called out. “Are you ok?”

She was sitting rubbing her thigh and there were tears on her cheeks. Her pale complexion suggested she hadn’t been outdoors much recently.

“Hi,” she replied with a weak smile. “I could do with some help.”

“Figured,” he said, sitting down on the sand beside her. “Are you hurt?”

“No, not really. It was my own stupid fault. I came too far and wasn’t paying attention. I lost my footing.”

“Can’t be easy walking the beach with crutches,” he observed. “How far have you walked?”

“Less than a quarter of a mile. I was fine when I was down on the wet sand, but I began to get tired. I was trying to get up to the boardwalk. I figured if I got onto solid ground, it would be easier to walk back.”

“Let me guess,” observed Jake. “You’ve not been out much with those sticks?”

“No,” she confessed. “I haven’t.”

A single tear ran down her pale cheek. She reached up to roughly brush it away, embarrassed by her show of emotion, but only succeeded in leaving a smear of sand in its place. That was the final straw. Burying her face in her hands, she sat and sobbed. Months of pent up frustration flowed down her cheeks in a river of tears. Hesitantly, Jake put a comforting arm around her shoulders and held her as she wept.

“Hey,” he whispered softly. “It’ll be ok. I’ll get you home safely.”

“I’m sorry,” she sniffed. “I don’t usually sob all over complete strangers.”

“Well, I don’t usually go around picking up fallen angels on the beach either.”

She smiled at his weak attempt at humour.

“I’m Jake by the way.”

“Lori,” she replied.

“Well, Lori, let’s get you up on your feet and up onto the boardwalk.”

“Thank you.”

Gauging that she didn’t weigh much, Jake handed her the crutches, told her to hold onto them then lifted her up into his arms. She was even lighter than he had guessed, so carrying her up the beach to the nearest pathway was no challenge. Once back up on the boardwalk, he sat her down on the first bench they came to.

“You sure you’re ok?” he asked, as he sat beside her.

“Yes, thank you. I honestly don’t know what I would’ve done if you hadn’t come along.”

“You’d have figured it out eventually.”

“I guess. Either that or Mary would’ve come looking for me,” admitted Lori, brushing sand off her jeans.

“Mary?”

“Yeah, she’s my housekeeper. It was her idea that I take a walk. I’ve been sitting on the deck all afternoon gazing out at the ocean. She told me I needed to venture off the deck sometime and that today was as good a day as any. She’ll feel so bad when she hears I fell,” she explained.

“Who’s going to tell her?” Jake said with a wink. “I’ll walk you back. You don’t need to tell her that you fell.”

“Thanks.”

Stiffly and with more than a hint of nerves, Lori got to her feet and repositioned her crutches. Her leg was screaming at her and she knew it would be hard to keep news of her fall from the ever watchful Mary. As they began to walk along the sandy boards Jake observed how carefully Lori walked – watched the determination in each step and sensed the pain that was etched into her pale face. She had the bluest eyes, he had ever seen, but there was a deep sadness cast through them.

“Pardon my asking but what happened to you? I’m thinking the crutches are a very recent addition to your wardrobe.”

“And you’d be right,” she confessed, pausing to look up at him. “I had an accident just before Christmas. I broke my leg quite badly. I came down here about six weeks ago. This is the first time I’ve been out on my own since the accident.”

“And you thought a walk on the sand was the smartest place to start?”

Lori laughed. Jake thought it the most beautiful musical laugh and joined in.

“I guess not, “she giggled. “So what brought you out this far?”

“A shit shift at work. A foul mood.”

“And scraping a dumb blonde off the sand wasn’t in the plan?”

“No, but I‘m glad I was there to rescue you,” he admitted. That wonderful laugh and those sad blue eyes were having a strange effect on his heart. A weird but wonderful effect. It had been a long time since he had felt that way. “Where exactly am I taking you when we run out of boardwalk?”

“Fourth house past the end. If that’s ok?”

“Not a problem, li’l lady.”

They walked on in silence for a few minutes, the end of the boardwalk drawing closer and neither of them really wanting to reach it. Surreptitiously, Jake watched her steely concentration, drank in her fragile beauty and breathed in her light, floral perfume. It had been a very long time since someone had had such an impact on him. A long time since he had bothered to look, if he was honest with himself. Between each painful step, Lori subtly surveyed her rescuer. He would make a fantastic model for a life drawing. His long sun bleached blonde hair fell carelessly down over his shoulders, almost reaching the middle of his back. She guessed from the tiny lines around his twinkling hazel eyes that he was a little older than her and his height dwarfed her small frame. There was something genuine about him. A rough diamond found in the sand? A friend? Lord, she could use one!

Deciding to take a risk, Lori said, “When we reach the house, will you come in for a coffee or a beer? It’s the least I can offer.”

“I’m not sure,” began Jake glancing at his watch. “Oh, what the hell! The guys can wait. Beer sounds good.”

It may have only been a hundred yards, but by the time they reached the end of the boardwalk, Lori was drained and exhausted. Her arms were trembling; her palms sweaty. The thought of the final walk along the soft sand filled her with dread.

“Hey, Lori,” began Jake softly. “If you don’t mind me saying, you look wiped out. Would it be too presumptuous of me to offer to carry you the rest of the way?”

“A bit, but I’m not in a position to decline,” she admitted, her eyes filling with fresh tears of frustration at her own admission of weakness.

With ease, he scooped her up into his arms and headed across the soft sand.

The fourth house on the right stood out from its neighbours with its low white picket fence and generous sun deck. Its enclosed garden had been recently landscaped and a large cushioned sun lounger sat centre stage on the deck. Perched on the edge of it was a small, motherly dark haired woman. As they came to the open gate Jake set Lori down on her feet and guided her into the safety of the garden. She breathed a sigh of relief – home at last!

“Where in Lord’s name have you been?” cried the older woman, leaping to her feet. “You’ve been gone for over an hour!”

“Jake meet Mary,” introduced Lori. “My housekeeper and surrogate mother.”

“Pleased to meet you,” snapped Mary sharply. Her concern for Lori was written all over her face. “I’ve been worried sick, Lori.”

“I’m sorry, Mary,” apologised Lori, as she eased herself down onto the sun lounger. “I walked further than I meant to. Jake kindly offered to see me safely home.”

“You fell didn’t you?”

“I told you she would know,” said Lori, glancing up at Jake. “Yes, I stumbled, but Jake arrived to rescue me. I promised him a beer for his efforts. Would you be so kind as to fetch us both one?”

Muttering under her breath, Mary stomped back into the house through the patio doors. Lori laughed that wonderful laugh again and gestured to Jake to pull over a chair from the table. Gingerly she slid herself back and lifted her throbbing leg onto the lounger. The relief at being off her feet was written all over her face.

“I recognise this house now,” mused Jake looking round about. “I worked on it when it was remodelled about four years ago.”

“Three”, corrected Lori. “Are you a builder?”

“No,” declared Jake, shaking his head. “I was the manual labour for the summer. I loved that sun room when it was finished. If I ever hit the big time, this is the kind of house I want to own.”

“Thanks. My parents bought the original house when I was a little girl. When I inherited it, after my dad passed away, I had it extended. I’ve always felt this was home, but could never spend enough time here. Work always kept me away.”

She paused to reflect for a few moments, lost in a memory of a previous life. With a wistful smile she added, “Now it looks as though I’m home to stay.”

“So what line of work kept you away from the beach?” asked Jake, stretching his long denim clad legs out in front of him.

“I was an art buyer until last year. I travelled a lot. What do you do when you’re not rescuing people?”

“I’m a frustrated rock star,” he confessed with a smile. “I work here and there to pay the bills. Just now it’s a few shifts a week at the pizza place on the boardwalk. Really rock ‘n’ roll!”

Both of them were laughing when Mary returned with their beers. She slipped two painkillers to Lori then left them to chat. There was plenty of time left to chastise her charge once her new friend had left. Deep down, she was just relieved to see the girl home in one piece and even happier to hear her laughing. There had been precious little of that in Lori’s life recently and it was good medicine. The housekeeper retired to the kitchen to prepare dinner and to keep a watchful eye on them from the safety of the house.

As the sun set behind them, the sun deck lights came on and dusk settled over them. Draining his beer Jake glanced at his watch. “Damn, I’m late.”

“Sorry,” said Lori. “I didn’t mean to keep you late.”

“It’s alright,” he replied, getting to his feet. “I need to run. I’m late for rehearsal. Sorry to leave in such a hurry.”

“No, it’s me who should be apologising,” said Lori, starting to get to her feet.

“Stay where you are,” said Jake warmly. “I’m just glad you’re not hurt. Glad we met. Maybe, when you feel up to it, you can come and see the band? We have a regular slot on a Friday night twice a month at one of the bars in town.”

“I’d like that,” said Lori softly. “And thank you again for rescuing me.”

“My pleasure li’l lady,” he said with a smile. “And thanks for the beer.”

With a wave, he was gone in a few short strides down the path and onto the sand.

 

It took longer than he had anticipated to get back along the boardwalk and into town. By the time Jake reached the band’s rehearsal room, he was almost an hour late. Band rules about timekeeping meant a twenty dollar fine. Rules were rules and he would pay up without complaint. After all, it was the first time he had been late for about six weeks. A record for him.

“Nice of you to join us,” called Paul, the band’s drummer.

“Sorry, something came up,” apologised Jake, lifting his guitar. As he plugged it into his amp, he added, “Where are we at?”

“Full set run through for Friday night,” answered Grey firmly. “I spoke to Joe at the bar and he’s promised us two one hour sets. He’s got a beer promo night on so we get a half hour extra.”

“And beer?” asked Jake hopefully

“Only if we buy it ourselves,” said Grey. “I tried. If Jeannie is behind the bar, she might sneak us a couple. No promises.”

With the rehearsal schedule set, the band settled down to their full run through. They had been playing together for almost five years and had a small, but dedicated local fan base. All of them had hopes of hitting the big time; of getting a support slot on a big tour. None of them were full-time musicians. Rich, the other guitarist, came closest. He was a music teacher at the local high school.

It was after ten thirty before they called it a night. Once outside, they agreed to meet up again on Thursday for another run-through, then went their separate ways into the night. Jake wandered slowly back to his apartment, his head full of ideas for his own songs and more than a few thoughts of the beach. Once home, he settled down with his acoustic guitar and began work on his own compositions, playing into the small hours.

 

Back at the beach house, Mary had insisted on helping Lori to bed immediately after dinner. Throughout the meal, she had scolded her charge on her foolhardiness and elicited a promise that she would be more careful the next time she ventured out. Lori listened patiently to the motherly lecture, allowing her thoughts to wander back to Jake. All of a sudden she felt like a love-struck teenager. Yes, he was attractive in a haunted kind of way, but she was too old to confuse gratitude at his rescue with feelings of attraction. Or was she? Shortly before nine, Mary ran out of lectures and headed home, leaving Lori alone with her teenage thoughts. The day’s excitement had taken its toll on her. She was completely exhausted and every inch of her ached. Her leg had eased to a dull throb after a further dose of pain relief. Was this the way her life was going to be from now on? Ruled by pain relief schedules and controlling well-meaning housekeepers? Eventually, she drifted off to sleep. Her first nightmare-free sleep since her accident. She was still sound asleep when Mary returned at breakfast time the next day.

 

“Hey!” called a voice from the beach.

The interruption broke her concentration and she laid down her sketch pad and pencil. It was a voice that had filled her head for two days. “Still thinking like that love-struck teen,” she muttered to herself.

“Hey!” she called back. “Come on in.”

A few seconds later, Jake appeared up the path looking every inch the rock star. The wind off the ocean had tousled his long blonde hair and his tight black t-shirt and slim fitting jeans set off the look. He sat down on the empty chair beside her at the table and glanced at her discarded half-completed sketch.

“That’s good. Very good,” he commented.

“Thanks,” she blushed. “I’m just doodling.”

“Well, it looks like good doodling to me,” stated Jake matter-of-factly. “I just wanted to see if you were ok. I hope you don’t mind. I came along the beach just to be sure you weren’t face down in the sand.”

She laughed. There was that sound that had filled his head since their first meeting. He smiled.

“I’ve been a good girl,” she said coyly. “Mary has seen to that.”

“Ruling you with a rod of iron?”

“Something like that,” admitted Lori with a giggle. “She’s gone to the food store so I escaped out here.”

“So, are you ok after the other day?” asked Jake, concern written all over his face.

“I’m fine. I was sore yesterday, but I’m ok today. I might think twice about walking the beach for a while though,” she said. “I was just thinking about fetching a coffee. Would you like one?”

“If it’s not too much trouble,” he replied.

“You can help,” said Lori, picking up her crutches and getting to her feet. “Come on.”

He followed her into the house and through the sun room towards the kitchen. It felt strange being back in the house he’d left as a newly-finished undecorated shell. The coffee pot was ready and the aroma filled the kitchen.

“The mugs are in the cupboard over there,” said Lori, nodding towards the stove. “Do you take cream?”

“Yeah and two sugars,” said Jake, opening the cupboard.

A few minutes later, they were both back outside on the desk with their coffee and some cookies that Lori found in the pantry. They sat in silence for a few minutes, listening to the waves crashing in on the beach. It felt as though there was a storm approaching.

“I was wondering,” began Jake, sounding almost nervous. “If you would like to venture into town with me sometime. We could go for a beer or something.”

His words blurted out all wrong and he suddenly felt like an awkward sixteen-year-old asking a girl out on a date.

“I’d like that,” she answered with a smile. “I haven’t been into town since I got back. It would be good to get out of here for a while.”

“Great. When?” asking Jake, sounding more like his adult self-assured self. “I don’t want you getting in trouble over this.”

Lori laughed again, “I’m a big girl. I can decide if I’m going out or not. How about Saturday afternoon?”

“I’m working till three,” said Jake. “But I could pick you up after my shift?”

“Stupid question,” began Lori, seeing a potential flaw in the plan. “Do you have a car? I don’t think I could walk that far yet.”

“A truck,” replied Jake. “Will we need to clear this with Mary?”

Lori shook her head. “No. She’s not my mother. Beside she finishes at two on a Saturday. I can be trusted to behave for a few hours now. What she doesn’t know won’t hurt her.”

“You’re scared of her,” accused Jake jokingly.

“Just a bit,” confessed Lori. “But don’t tell her.”

“My lips are sealed,” he said, as he took another sip of coffee. “So what do you do stuck out here all day?”

“Not a lot. My physical therapist comes out once or twice a week. Mary helps me with the exercises the other days. I read. I listen to music. I sketch a bit. Daydream a lot.” She paused, then added, “It was easier in a way when I was really sick. Now I feel stronger, I’ll admit I’m finding that I get bored quite quickly. It’s so frustrating not being able to do the things I would usually do.”

“I don’t think I’d cope like this,” confessed Jake. Immediately the words were out, he regretted them. It had sounded insensitive. If his comments stung, Lori never let it show.

“Before,” she began. “I’d have agreed with you.” Then changing the subject asked, “How did rehearsal go the other night? Were you in trouble for being late?”

Jake shook his head. “The guys were fine. They are kind of used to me being a bit late. Time keeping isn’t one of my strong points. Another slot tonight, then the gig’s tomorrow. Should be a good night.”

“Where are you playing?”

“Bar in town. There’s a beer promo night so we get to play longer. Not quite Madison Square Garden but it’s a start.”

“Don’t tell me,” she mused. “Vocals and guitar?”

“Got it in one, li’l lady,” he laughed, with a mock bow. “There’s four of us. We’ve been together for a few years. You never know there might be a scout in the crowd.”

“Do you write your own stuff?”

“Sometimes. Not often enough,” he muttered.

“Oh, sore spot,” commented Lori. “Sorry.”

Jake shrugged, “Someday…. yeah… someday.”

From the front of the house they heard the sound of tyres scrunching on the gravel. Mary was back.

“I’m out of here,” said Jake, getting to his feet. “I don’t want her growling at me.”

Lori laughed, “Mary’s fine. Chill.”

“No way!” he stated, draining his coffee cup. “Three thirty on Saturday. Be ready.”

With a brief smile and a mischievous wink, he was gone and, by the time Mary came through the sun room to say she was home, there was no sign of him other than the empty mug on the table.

 

(opening chapter of Stronger Within, book 1 in the Silver Lake series)

 

 

Want to read more? Then check out the Silver Lake series today on 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

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

Book Baby 6…yes, it’s a work in progress

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It’s been a while since I mentioned my current “work in progress” aka Book Baby 6…ok it also has a “real” title but I’m keeping that under wraps for now.

Book Baby 6 will be the 5th book in the Silver Lake series…and, yes, it will also be the last book in the series.

DON’T PANIC, Silver Lakers, there will be more from some of your favourite characters in the future…. I promise!

A few folk have asked me why I am ending the series and the reasons are simple-

  1. Personally, I feel that 5 books in the one series are enough. I don’t want folk to start thinking I’m kicking the ass out of it.
  2. From an indie author angle, it is getting harder and harder to gain traction from book  bloggers and book reviewers to help promote the books. Getting reviews is always a bit of a slog but getting bloggers/reviewers engaged for book 5 when they perhaps haven’t read the others in the series is tough…very tough! ( If you are a book blogger and are interested in reading and reviewing the series, please get in touch. I have eARC copies available)

So where am I at with the story?

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My best guess is that I’m 25/30% of the way there with the first draft. To continue the pregnancy analogy I’ve used for previous book babies, we’re still in the first trimester! I’m onto the second notebook out of a probable five.

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I’m not the best planner when it comes to writing out the plot, planning the storyboard etc but this time I have a plan, a timeline, key scenes in mind…hell, I even know how it’s going to end!

But, for now, you’ll need to be patient 😉

Ok….I’ll tease you with a little tiny piece of it…

Everything round about him felt warm and familiar. The silky soft Egyptian cotton sheets. The weight of the duvet. The gentle ticking of the grandfather clock in the hallway outside the bedroom door.

He was home…

He glanced to his left and smiled. Lori was curled up on her side still sleeping peacefully, her long golden braid draped across the pillow.

There’s a LOT of work to be done over the coming months!

If you’ve missed the first four books in the series, there’s plenty of time to catch up. I’ll add the sales links at the bottom for you.

Book Baby 6 has a target publication date of “early 2021”. (No, I’m not being any more specific at this stage!).

I think I’ve teased you enough 🙂

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If you’ve missed the start of the series then check out the first four books 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

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

Sun’s Dying Light (150 word flash fiction)

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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)

Silently Watching at the Long Night’s Moon

 

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It was one of those rare crystal-clear sunny December days and the air around him was crisp, the cold biting on his cheeks. There wasn’t a living soul to be seen for miles. Eyes fixed on the road ahead, he ran. Mile after mile, he ran hard and fast, grateful for once to be free to run at his true pace, instead of running at a pace fitting of his physical age. He was angry. He was frustrated. He was scared… no, not scared… uncertain about what the future held for him.

Over the quarter of a century that he’d followed the monthly ritual to the letter, there had been many changes in his life. He’d watched his children grow up, leave school, graduate from university then venture out into the world on their own. Each of them had left home before they graduated in their chosen field; each of them had emigrated and were now scattered to the corners of the globe. Without them, the family home grew quiet. Fate dealt him a cruel blow when a short illness claimed his beloved wife. In the five years since her sudden death, the family home had grown empty, void of life. Now that he had finally retired from his job, his never-ending future stretched as endlessly in front of him as the road he was running along.

Life was lonely.

In all that time, he hadn’t aged a day. By the time he reached his late forties, he’d had to “fake” ageing to prevent questions being asked. Adding grey to his hair had been easy. Explaining the lack of wrinkles had been harder but he’d dismissed it as “good genes” to curious friends and colleagues. Hiding his physical abilities had been frustrating, to say the least.

Hiding his vampire urges had become a way of life. Initially, he’d used the excuse of “checking out a new trail” as a convenient cover story to travel further afield to hunt. He’d even resorted to creating fictitious non-local running buddies to allow him more freedom to seek out fresh blood. Now that he lived alone, he could come and go as he pleased. In his heart though, he missed the days of “lying” to his family about his excursions. Over time he had grown adept at covering his tracks, choosing his victims with great care.

Reaching the cattle grid, his chosen turning point, he turned for home, the sun now behind him as it sank lower in the sky. Pounding out the miles, he tried to ignore the two pain points on his back. Gradually over the weeks, the sites of his wing buds had grown hard and tender. Over the past few days, he had become aware of the skin stretching and tightening to the point of being painful. Now, as he pounded his way up the final steep section of his route, he felt the taut skin split and tear. He howled in pain across the empty landscape.

His wings had begun to emerge……….

 

Perched on the church roof, the dark angel sat watching the sun set. Over the years she had tried to nurture her fledging and ensure his safety but he had proved to be more strong-willed than she’d anticipated. In the early years, he had been an attentive student, proving to be a quick learner, but, once he mastered feeding himself, their paths had rarely crossed. With a heavy heart, she had been forced to watch from afar. Occasionally, she still followed him at a discrete distance purely for the pleasure of watching him hunt. There was a gracefulness to his movements that she had come to envy.

In her heart, the dark angel knew that she had broken many of the rules laid down by the Court of Elders when she had created him but she had gone to great lengths to keep her tracks well-hidden. To the best of her knowledge, they remained blissfully unaware of the runner’s existence.

And, for both their sakes, it had to remain that way.

A steady pounding rhythm echoed through her and she turned to gaze up the hill towards the railway bridge. Smiling, she sensed his return as he ran up the street towards his home.

Blood stained the back of his running top when he twisted to look in the bathroom mirror. He hadn’t really needed that reflection to tell him his shoulders were oozing blood. Carefully, he peeled the sweat-soaked t-shirt over his head, wincing as the soft material grazed the broken skin. As he stepped under the jet of hot water in the shower, he cried out in agony. He could almost feel the wings growing and bursting through. Could they really be developing so fast?

He hated to admit it but he needed to see her. Needed to see the dark angel.

Next morning, after an uncomfortable and largely sleepless night, he walked down the hill towards the graveyard. He’d picked up a small white pebble from a plant pot beside his front door and was turning it over and over in his hand as he walked.

It had been almost three years since he’d last summoned her……

When he reached the cemetery, he bounded up the steps then walked purposefully towards the bench, placing the pebble in the centre of the slatted seat.

Without a backwards glance, he headed home to wait.

Late afternoon, as he enjoyed a cigarette in the garden, he watched the sky redden as the sun set. As the yellows turned to gold then red, he wondered how long it would take the dark angel to respond to his signal.

Sensing a subtle movement in the air behind him, he spun around.

“Son of Perran,” greeted the angel warmly. “It’s been a long time.”

Glancing round, he checked that there were no lights on in any of the neighbouring houses and that none of his neighbours were in their gardens.

“Relax,” she purred. “The shadow’s hiding my presence from prying eyes.”

“Come inside,” he invited, indicating the open back door.

“No, thank you,” she declined politely. “I prefer to remain outside. Now, you summoned me?”

He nodded.

“Are you going to tell me why or am I going to have to guess?”

“Come inside and I’ll show you.”

“If I must,” she muttered, reluctantly following the runner into the house.

With a small smile, he watched as the dark angel wandered around his kitchen, a curious look on her face. She ran her slender hand over his granite countertops almost marvelling at their smoothness.

“Not what I expected,” she murmured before turning to face her fledging. “Now, what did you need to show me? I’m sure it wasn’t your kitchen.”

“This,” he said as he pulled his loose hooded sweatshirt over his head.

Slowly, he turned around and stood with his back to her.

“Oh,” she said, taking a step towards him.

From the two designated spots in the Celtic tattoo that spanned his shoulders, two small wings were forming. Having burst through the skin twenty-four hours earlier, his wings were now growing rapidly. Already the first feathers were clearly visible.

“Well, are you going to magic me up a potion to reverse this fuckup?” he growled as he felt her run her cool hand over his blossoming wings.

“No.”

“No?” he echoed sharply. “What do you mean no?”

“Son of Perran, I told you twenty-five years ago that there was nothing else I could do,” she explained.

“So, what am I meant to do?”

“Let them grow. Let them flourish,” she said casually before adding, “Then learn to fly.”

“Fly?” he yelled. “Fly? You think I want to fucking learn to fly? How am I meant to live with wings? Please tell me that.”

“Enough, child!” she snapped, her patience finally worn thin. “The time has come to accept who and what you are! For over a quarter of a century, I’ve watched over you. I’ve taught you. Some lessons you learned better than others. Now though, you are on your own. I can’t protect you anymore.”

Pulling her own majestic wings around her, the dark angel moved towards the open door.

“Wait!” he called out.

She paused.

Taking a deep breath to calm his anger before his Rabbia Sanguigna surfaced, he said, “I appreciate that you’ve tried to help me after this transformation went wrong. I do. I know I broke some of the rules but they were rules you never told me about until it was too late. So, humour me a few moments more, please.”

With her green eyes blazing with ager, the dark angel nodded.

“How long will these things take to grow?”

“About a week.”

“How easy is it to use them?”

“You’re athletic. It’ll come easily to you.”

“Is there anything else you should have told me or taught me before now?”

His last question hung in the air. For a moment or two, he wondered if she was going to answer him then she bowed her head.

“Son of Perran, I have failed you,” she spoke slowly. “I broke many rules when I created you. A price will need to be paid in time. For now, my final piece of advice to you is to leave. Go into hiding. Avoid large gatherings. Avoid cities.”

Before he could reply, she slipped out of the door.

When he went to look for her, she was gone.

Closing the door, he realised that the time had come and that he needed to move on. The time had come to close up the family home indefinitely and move into his private “bolthole.”

Several years before he had seized a rare property opportunity and purchased one of the fisherman’s huts on the shoreline. Over time, he had renovated the semi-derelict building, ensuring that it was water-tight, warm and furnished then he had left it empty.

The time had finally come to take up residence.

Over the course of a week, he put his affairs in order, circulated a rumour that he was going travelling now that he had retired then began to sort through his belongings. He kept it simple – keep, leave or trash. There had been numerous trips to the local recycling centre as he disposed of his old life box by box. Under the cover of darkness, he carried the boxes of belongings to be kept down the narrow, overgrown path from the main road to the hut.

As the days passed, it felt to him that the more of his old life he eliminated, the more his wings flourished.

By the following Thursday, under the watchful eye of the Long Night’s full moon, he left the family home for the final time with a heavy heart but without a backwards glance.

It was almost midnight by the time he had walked from the village to the hut. He had sold his car earlier in the day, handing the keys over with a wrench of pain rattling through his soul. It had seemed the more sensible option to travel along the longer, darker coastal path, feeling secure in the knowledge that most of the journey could pass unnoticed in the shelter of the forest.

Under the cover of the trees, he didn’t need to hide his wings. Despite his initial disgust at their growth, he had to concede that, now fully formed, they were majestic, rivalling the dark angel’s. Much to his amazement, the feathers had grown in varying shades of russet, brown and gold, their tips a bright emerald green. In a twist of fate, their colouring reflected the colours of nature that he loved among the trails that he ran so relentlessly.

He breathed a sigh of relief when the low hut finally came into view. Luck had been on his side and he hadn’t seen another living soul since leaving his former home behind him. As he unlocked the door, he glanced out across the still river, marvelling at the full moon’s perfect reflection on its glassy surface. A familiar warmth welcomed him into his new home.

Using only the light of the moon, he busied himself unpacking the last box of personal effects that he had brought from the family home. The last item to be lifted from the box was a framed photo of his wife and children. It had been taken on their last family holiday. Precious memories of those two weeks in the sun made him smile as he set the frame on the shelf beside the bed.

An unfamiliar noise outside spooked him. Every sense was suddenly on alert. He glanced out of the small side window across the enclosed courtyard adjacent to the hut. Beyond the boundary wall, there was a bench that sat on the grassy verge facing the river.

A hooded figure sat there alone.

With his heart pounding in his chest, he stepped outside to investigate.

If the midnight visitor heard him approach, they gave no outward sign until he was two strides away from the bench then they looked up. Even in the pale moonlight, he could tell the cloaked figure was a beautiful blonde woman. She was staring at him with piercing glacier blue eyes.

“Son of Perran?” she asked, her voice soft but almost void of any discernible accent.

Slowly, he nodded.

“Sit. We need to talk.”

 

(imaged sourced via Google – credits to the owner)

Salt And Sand In Her Heart (a short story)

 

 

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Closing her eyes, she stood gazing out over the waves, breathing in the tangy salty air.
Standing at the top of the sandy path, she could see a shimmer of heat rippling over the sand and knew that the walk down to the water’s edge was going to burn her soft bare feet. A flash of colour to her left caught her eye. It was a dragonfly, a sparkling teal green dragonfly. Smiling, she watched as it rested on one of the fence posts momentarily before darting off on its travels.
As quickly as she could, she crossed the soft Sahara hot sand, breathing a sigh of relief when her toes touched the harder packed damp sand closer to the water’s edge. Pausing for a moment, she recalled her first visit to Rehoboth Beach and smiled.
It had been the blistering hot summer of 1980 amid an at the time record breaking heatwave. A clear memory of arriving at their rental house for the week was of a nearby sign declaring that it was 98F and six thirty at night. Hot……damn hot. When her uncle had opened the side door of his VW bus, the heat had hit them all like a blast from an oven.
Their rental had been a stunning wooden house on the outskirts of town somewhere between Rehoboth and Dewey Beach. Its exact location long since lost to the memories of days gone by. Nights in that house had been hot as hell – no AC and beds as hard as boards. There hadn’t been much sleep on that trip for anyone.
Days, however, had been idyllic and were the days that had started her life long love affair with Rehoboth Beach. At only ten years old, she had loved the freedom of the beach and the ocean. Hours and days passed by building sandcastles, digging holes in the sand, gathering seashells and playing in the waves. Her pale white Scottish skin had swiftly taken on a healthy golden glow. The family’s picnic lunches had been supplemented by Thrasher’s French fries, carried so carefully back from the boardwalk.
Afternoons slipped by as she explored the beach, taking care not to stray too far from the family’s beach towel and umbrella oasis. Even back then she had enjoyed people watching as she wove her way between the other families, noting the different scents of their sun tan lotion and the different sand toys their kids played with. She had looked on enviously at the older kids playing in the waves on their boogie boards. Inwardly, she was desperate to join them but she couldn’t swim. Instead she had to settle for an ice cream from Kohr’s before they headed home for dinner and a much-needed shower.
Evenings meant a return trip into town to stroll along the boardwalk. After the daily scramble among them to round up enough quarters to feed the parking meter, she would finally be allowed to explore the shops on Rehoboth Avenue and along the boardwalk. Her favourites had always been the T-shirt stores where they printed whatever you wanted onto a shirt. They were shops that were a magical Aladdin’s cave to her ten-year-old self. The coloured hermit crabs in cages had fascinated her. Her meagre allowance was spent on pens and a snow globe with a dolphin inside.
One store, a shop on Rehoboth Avenue, caught her eye every night. It was a small jewellery store. Her attention had been captured by a tray of silver rings. There was one in particular that she had her eye on. It was smaller than the rest and was a delicate heart shape- half onyx; half mother-of-pearl. Nightly, she had begged her mother to buy the ring, pleading and promising that if she could borrow the money to pay for it, she would pay every cent back when they got home. On their final night in town, after a farewell pizza dinner at Grotto’s, her mother caved in and took her back to the jewellery store. The window had been rearranged and she recalled panicking when she couldn’t initially spot the ring. However, her mother spied it on display on the opposite side of the window before suggesting they enter the shop to try it on. The ring was a perfect fit for her middle finger. The perfect memento of the town that had captured her child’s heart.
Time and circumstance meant that thirty-four years passed before she was able to return to Rehoboth Beach. Over the years she had written essay after essay in school based of a now seemingly mythical beach. She’d drawn numerous pictures of beaches with dolphins playing in the waves. She’d almost driven her mother insane asking when they would go back to America. As she’d grown from child to teenager to woman to a wife and mother, she’d still dreamed of returning to the beach someday.
When that day finally came in 2004, the weather was a far cry from the blistering heatwave she remembered. A thunderstorm had blown in and the rain was lashing down as they’d run from her cousin’s beat up truck into Hooters for lunch. He had declared it was most definitely not a day for the beach! Not one to be thwarted, she’d stated plainly that she’d waited twenty-four years to walk on that sandy beach and a little rain wasn’t going to stop her. She’d also reminded him of the Scottish blood that flowed in her veins and of the fact that a little rain never deterred a Scot. He’d surrendered, knowing it was pointless to argue with her.
In the end, accompanied by her own two small children, she hadn’t stayed long on the beach – just long enough to run on the sand and paddle in the ocean. As the storm closed in again, she’d been granted a few brief moments to walk the boardwalk and relive her treasured childhood memories. To escape the mid-afternoon deluge, they’d sought sanctuary in Funland and whiled away the storm watching her young son and daughter play. As ever though, the quarters ran out and the meter ticked down until her precious “Rehoboth” time ran out.
Over the next few years, she’d returned annually with her children, savouring the moments on the sand and in the ocean. Making memories with her children was beyond precious. Every memory was filed away, stored carefully in her “memory bank” to be drawn out on cold miserable Scottish winter’s days. Her heart had swelled as her own children developed the same bonds that she felt with this tiny town some three thousand miles from home.
Now though, as she stood on the cool wet sand watching the waves, things were different. Her children were grown up and living their own lives. She’d finally seen her own literary dreams come true. Writing all those stories of the beach had finally paid off. Reaching into her pocket, she wrapped her fingers round the bunch of keys that she’d just collected from the realtor and smiled. She brought them out and stood looking at them lying in the palm of her hand. The keys to her new beach front apartment; the keys to her new dream home.
With a smile, she gazed at the ring on her pinkie, its band worn thin with time. She still wore the small onyx and mother-of-pearl heart shaped ring from all those years before.
Finally, in her heart, she knew she was home.

Forget Me Not – a piece of flash fiction

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Birds were singing in the trees that cast cooling shadows across the path in the small graveyard. It had been many, many years since she had walked along the narrow, red gravel path but her heart was leading the way. The stones crunched beneath her feet.

Their friendship had always been unique. “Love at first bite,” he had joked on occasion after their first intimate encounter. An encounter that would last a lifetime.

Both of them knew the dangers associated with the secret they’d shared. Both of them watched family and friends grow old and pass. Both of them had watched each other remain exactly the same as if time itself stood still.

In the small village, local friends and neighbours started to notice. Rumours began to spread and, eventually, they both knew it was time.

Late into a mid-summer’s evening they had debated with each other as they hatched their plan. It was a plan to be together forever but one that would mean a lifetime apart. Both of them knew in their heart that this was the only way.

 

The day of his “funeral” had been a hot and humid June day. As they’d gathered at the graveside, the mourners were plagued by midgies that had swarmed incessantly around them. Keeping his sermon brief, the minister had blessed the “deceased” and offered up a prayer of thanks for his long and healthy life.

She had been the last to leave the graveside. Kneeling down, even although she knew he wasn’t actually buried deep below the freshly turned soil, she had wept then dropped a single Forget Me Not into the depths of the grave.

Two days later she had left her cottage in the village’s main street never to return….until now.

 

A hundred summers had passed since she had last entered the graveyard. The world had moved on. Technologies and fashions had evolved and come and gone. She, however, remained exactly the same. Her hair and clothes identical to the day she had said her last farewell.

Many times, over the years, she had thought to seek him out but her love for him held true and she kept her promise to only return on the agreed date.

She was early by less than an hour, still loathing to be late for anything.

Stepping from the gravel path onto the lush green grass, she found the grave with ease. A smile formed on her lips as she noted that a Forget Me Not had been engraved on the edge of the otherwise plain headstone. She noted too the series of numbers engraved beside the detailed flower. Seemingly meaningless to others but to her they were the confirmation that she had the date and time of their reunion correct.

 Time passed quickly as she waited. After all, what was forty eight minutes when compared to a hundred years? She passed the time meandering through the cemetery, reading the headstones, noting the graves of former friends and neighbours. Her heart ached as she realised that no one from her previous life in the village was left. Her friends were long gone.

What if he never came? A wave of panic swept through her.

Could she stay here without him? Rebuild her life in her old cottage? Would she want to if he wasn’t finally there to share in it?

What if he’d made a better life for himself elsewhere and forgotten their pact?

Anxiously she made her way through the labyrinth of granite stones to stand by his grave.

A cool breeze wafted across her pale cheek. For a second, she thought she felt the air behind her stir. A familiar musky aroma teased her senses, tugging at her heart.

She felt a hand rest on her right shoulder and gasped.

Looking to her left, her view obscured by the bright sunlight, she saw his profile. His left hand was extended towards her, palm up. In the centre of his long slender hand lay a single Forget Me Not.

“You came,” she breathed.

“Did you ever doubt I would?”

Introducing…….

Mary

Social media and the internet really have made the world a smaller place…..

 

An American Facebook friend recently commented on one of my promotional posts, drawing one of her friend’s attention to it. The common link here, other than Facebook, is music and books and on more than one level.

All three of us share a musical family “bond” – we’re all fans of Alter Bridge and part of the worldwide “AB family”

On another level, Mary and I have both written “rockstar” novels. In another twist, Mary has written her debut about a British Rockstar while my hero, Jake Power, is American. (Mary is American; I’m British)

I read the synopsis of The Guitarist on Amazon and was suitably intrigued so purchased the e-book there and then.  (I should say, the favour has been returned. Thanks, Mary)

 

I loved it! Loved Nicholas Trent too by the end (and Oliver).

 

I’ve already posted my short review on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Good Reads, happily awarding The Guitarist a well-earned  5 stars.

 

In case, you’ve missed it, here’s what I said

 

Great debut novel from Mary Ogden Fersner!

I quickly developed a soft spot for Nicholas Trent then gradually grew to love him as the story wove its magic.

There are aspects of this book that you can “hear” and others that you “feel” as you live the journey of the central characters.

One of the strengths of this debut is Mary’s descriptive style of writing where her words paint the picture before your very eyes, bringing it to life.

One minor criticism is that for my liking there are perhaps too many sub-characters and too many names to remember but, that said, it doesn’t detract from the strength and believability of the central characters.

I loved the human/normal element to this rock star….sorry. guitar player…..tale.

I’m really looking forward to discovering what the future holds for these guys.

Great read. Well done, Mary!

 

Now, us “indie authors” need to stick together here. It takes a lot of time and effort  ( slight understatement) to get a book into print and no small amount of personal courage to put it out there for the world to see. It’s also soul destroying, hard work promoting it once it’s out there.

 

In good old-fashioned “pay it forward” style, I reached out to Mary and asked if she would agree to answer a few questions to allow me to showcase her debut here.

 

So, ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to Mary Ogden Fersner, the author of The Guitarist.

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Mary, how did it feel to finally see your name in print and hold your book in your hands?

 

Oh man, it’s the most incredible feeling of accomplishment I think I’ve ever felt! So exhilarating! Of course, the first time I felt it was with the novella I published prior to The Guitarist. I wanted to see how easy it would be to use CreateSpace/KDP, but I didn’t have a long work ready to invest. I had this novella which I eventually named, Cruise Encounter as near ready as anything else I had, and I experimented with that. Getting the galley was exciting, but receiving an actual box of approved books was great! It eased me into the self-publishing world and helped with invaluable lessons. (Shameless plug: Cruise Encounter is available as a paperback and ebook from Amazon.)          

 

What inspired you to write The Guitarist? Why did you choose to make your hero British?

 

To be honest, I’m a bit obsessed with Brits. I love the language, LOVE the accent, love the sense of humor. Naturally, I wanted a beautiful British man whispering sweet nothings into the ear of my ego-challenged American woman. Hahaha!! But he would have to have problems of his own to make a good story.

Hence, the inspiration. My husband experienced a pretty serious health problem in 2012 and if we weren’t going to a doctor’s office, we were home. That was the year the Tom Cruise movie, Rock of Ages came out. When one of my friends asked me if I wanted to see it with her, I didn’t realize how happy I would be just to get out of the house for a few hours. I had been in a five year writing slump at that point—and make no mistake, this is one of the cheesiest movies ever made—but when two of the characters sang the Foreigner song, “I Wanna Know What Love Is” to each other, a switch turned on in my head. I considered how hard it must be for an unattached, working musician on the road to find a lasting relationship—if he or she even wanted one at all.            

 

 

Will there be more about Nicholas and Caitlyn and Oliver (I liked Oliver) in the future?

 

I’m glad you like Oliver. Everyone seems to like Oliver. I’m seriously partial to the Bishops as a family. I think I invented them to be the warm, loving family my own was not. They weren’t as bad as Caitlin’s family, but they were not the Bishops. But to answer your question, Nicholas, Caitlin, and Oliver—especially Oliver—are in the novella, Cruise Encounter. The Guitarist was finished and “cooking” as they say, when I wrote the cruise story and I needed them. Because touring musicians often know each other, tour together, and are sometimes even friends, my characters will make appearances from one book to another even though the MAIN characters are ones the reader has yet to meet. Nicholas and Caitlin play a part in my next, as-yet-untitled, book in the Tools of Tone Series. I hope I can keep them there. Haha!

 

 

When did you first start writing? What motivates you to write?

 

When I was a kid, I always made up stories in my head involving characters I’d see on TV or read about in books, but I didn’t write any fiction—actually write it—until sometime in junior high school (grades 7-9). I don’t remember exactly which grade, but I was an early teen. The story was inspired by song lyrics and I’m still inspired by song lyrics. For Nicholas Trent’s backstory, the Def Leppard song “Paper Sun” from their 1999 album Euphoria, and a song called “Loose Cannon” from The Mayfield Four’s 2001 album called Second Skin gave me the direction I needed. 

 

 

 

 

 

How do you approach the task of writing a novel? Are you a master planner or are you “winging it”?

 

Oh, I’m definitely a “pantser.” Winging it by the seat of my pants. Hahaha!! And that’s why I always have so much editing to do. I let my characters lead the way and sometimes they go off on tangents that I need to lead them out of. The original draft of The Guitarist was 149K words and I ended up cutting out over 55K out of it. I cut characters and scenes I swore I had to keep, but in the end, they didn’t really add to the story. I’ve got a great Thanksgiving Day scene at Billy Farmer’s house that just had to go. That being said, I never throw anything away. All these scenes reside in my “Deleted Scenes” file so I can modify them for another story if the chance presents itself.

 

 

Where do you prefer to write?

 

I would love to say somewhere without distraction, but that does not describe my life. My desk is a dining room table that our dining area is too small to hold, and I write in between loads of laundry, letting dogs out one at a time, because God forbid they act like a pack and go out all three together. Hahaha!! Not to mention other household chores. Ugh! But when I’m really in the zone, none of that matters. I can’t be able to hear a television or music with lyrics. I like to have instrumental rock guitar music, the white noise of a fan blowing, or both at the same time. I write initial stages of any work longhand in a spiral notebook. I used to get allergy shots and I wrote much of The Guitarist in the waiting room of my allergist’s office, earbuds in, listening to my Neal Schon station on Pandora, waiting for my thirty minutes to be over. Even then, if I was on a roll, I’d stay and finish so I wouldn’t forget. 

 

You wrote a “playlist” at the end of the book (neat idea), who are your own musical idols?

 

Pretty much everyone who was listed, the main ones being Eric Johnson, Joe Satriani, Andy Timmons, Steve Morse, Jeff Beck, Neal Schon, John Petrucci—who incidentally does a great song with G3 called Glasgow Kiss. You should look it up on YouTube. It’s a great song. Some of the vocal bands I like are first and foremost Alter Bridge. Talk about inspiring lyrics! Papa Roach, Seether, Shinedown, Sixx A.M., The Virginmarys, Foo Fighters, Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators, The Mayfield Four, Theory of a Deadman, and many others. 

 

If you could meet one rock star or band and hang in a bar like Westie’s bar in the book, who would you pick and why?

 

Hahaha!! Who could I pick and not act like a goofy fangirl? I guess I’ll say Alter Bridge. I’ve met them a few times through meet and greets and such. They were on ShipRocked last year. I’m pretty good about being myself most of the time, and people I know have hung out with them. I know they are all lovely men and very fan friendly. But their music . . . it has meant the world to me. I mean, they have seriously ROCKED me, and they’ve also brought me to tears. What could I possibly say that could interest them? Hahaha!! I’m almost in tears now, thinking about it. I’m a goober, plain and simple. (sniff) Hahaha!! (It took me fifteen minutes to come up with this answer. Hahaha!!) Goober.

 

What advice would you give to other aspiring authors?

 

(Recovering myself) Just sit down and write. It’s a first draft. You don’t have to have the perfect opening line, you just need an opening line. It could be what you had for breakfast, or something interesting you saw while walking your dog, or it could be a rant about some careless driver. Write SOMETHING.

I have a writer friend who lost her husband last year. She desperately wanted to write about her grief, their life together, her life without him. But the words wouldn’t come and so she filled pages and pages with “s**t happens.” That’s all that would come out. Then one day, the words came in the form of haikus. Little tiny bits, seventeen syllables, but the words came.

So just start out with something, what you want to write will present itself out of the chaos. And then read it. This is SO important. Read it out loud. It will seem silly at first, but reading it out loud fixes so many problems in terms of editing. You HEAR when you’ve overused words, or need to change up sentence structure, or when voices begin to sound too much alike. You hear how it sounds and can see how to fix it. Also, find a writer’s group nearby. Share your work with them. Nothing helps like a fresh eye. You don’t have to change everything they may not like, but you can take the advice that makes sense to you and leave the rest. Your work will be better for someone else’s eye. I swear.

 

How much of you is in your characters?

 

Well, I have to admit there’s a lot of me in Caitlin, or at least there used to be. I grew up quite shy, with very low self-esteem. Being always overweight, I never considered myself pretty. I wasn’t “popular” in school. But I had close friends and eventually realized that my dad’s greatest gift was also mine: it was said that he never met a stranger, and once I conquered my shyness, I’m about the same way. I’ll talk to anyone. (Even though I have that problem with the Alter Bridge lads. Hahaha!!) And I have the same easy smile that he did. Those two things can override one’s looks, I’ve found.

Some people have told me they don’t much like Caitlin because she’s indecisive—she’s not a particularly strong female character. Unfortunately, I’m not a very strong female. Once one’s spirit is broken–one’s heart is broken—it’s very hard to recover. So when some little bit of flattery is received, given enough time, self-esteem can slowly rebuild. It’s a very long road from believing oneself is without worth to becoming a published author. Wow! Just incredible!! I’ve always wished to be much more Sheila Gregg (barring the criminal element, of course) than Caitlin, but it is what it is, as they say.

 

 

As a final question I asked Mary if there was anything else, any other little insight she wished to share here.

Well, you may ask, just where did this obsession with instrumental rock guitar come from, Mary O? Well, here’s the story. I’m old and I’m gonna age myself plenty right here, right now. We were surrounded by music in the house where I grew up. Music on AM radio, music on TV, my dad had his stereo and vinyl albums, my brother had his, and when I was old enough, I got a record player and began my own vinyl collection. But it was AM radio in 1968 that originally caught my ear with this song. I was a sophomore in h.s. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEzyrpfrPEI I knew the station played it in the afternoon and I would literally RUSH home from the school-bus stop so I wouldn’t miss it. Of course my musical tastes rolled with the times up until about 1987 when I first heard Joe Satriani play “Surfing with the Alien” on WIXV FM out of Savannah, GA. Man, oh man. That song changed my life. But it was THIS song that started it all.

 

 

 

Mary recently hosted a successful launch party for The Guitarist. Here’s a few photos from the event to let us see what we missed.

Mary 3mary-4-e1511164690195.jpgMary 5

 

 

 

 

Mary’s fantastic debut novel can be purchased via Amazon. Please take the time to check it (Remember, Christmas is just around the corner and books make great gifts….hint…hint)

 

Here’s the links:

 

Amazon.com

 

https://www.amazon.com/Guitarist-Hard-Rock-Fiction-Tools/dp/0972669388/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1510688279&sr=1-1

 

Amazon.co.uk

 

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Guitarist-Hard-Rock-Fiction-Tools-ebook/dp/B076J9PTGW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1510688321&sr=8-1&keywords=mary+ogden+fersner

 

Mary can be found on Good Reads too!

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15906772.Mary_Ogden_Fersner?from_search=true

 

And at her website:

 

https://www.writedogsrock.com/

 

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Mary for taking the time to answer my questions. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading her answers here as much as I did.

 

I am left pondering one thought….I wonder how Jake Power would get along with Nicholas Trent?