Tag Archives: #RehobothBeach

Its The Little Things That Live On..

Once the initial grief at losing someone we care about settles, you come to recognise just how much the person has touched your life in little everyday ways.

My aunt and namesake passed away last month. She was a feisty 82 years young but sadly cancer won the battle in the end. For the first time in my 51 years of life, I’m the only Coral in the family and, trust me, it’s a peculiar feeling.

Timing and covid and the small matter of three thousand miles meant I never got to say goodbye but then with us it was never goodbye. It was invariably, “I’ll talk to you after. Cheerio. See You later. Take care.”

As I’ve reflected on things over the past few weeks. I’ve begun to realise the extent of her touch on the little things in my life. Simple things like she was the first to introduce me to a breakfast consisting of a buttered, toasted cinnamon raisin bagel, topped with crispy streaky bacon, all washed down with a strong cup of coffee. Still my Sunday and holiday breakfast of choice. And every time I sit down to it, I picture her kitchen.

When I make potato salad, it’s her recipe I use, recalling fondly just about burning the skin off my fingertips trying to shell hot hard-boiled eggs as I helped to make a huge bowl for a US family gathering. (The part two of that story makes me both smile and cringe – as we cleared up post-BBQ debris many hours and a considerable amount of alcohol later, we found a huge slug crawling on the inside of the potato salad bowl in the cool box. Bowl and slug were promptly hurled out of the back door, down the yard and into the dark!)

I hold her wholly accountable for the fact I now have a house full of cats (I have 4). The first time I visited my aunt and uncle with the kids, Boy Child fell in love with Max, their huge Maine Coon cat. When we returned home, he was distraught at leaving Max behind. Less than a month later, our first rescue cat, Dixie, entered our lives. Sioux followed a few months later and the rest is history!

Every time I light a Yankee Candle Lemon Lavender scented candle I think of my aunt and smile.

There are countless precious memories that she played a hand in over the years. When the kids and I visited when they were little, she moved heaven and earth to make sure we had a great trip. (Ok, perhaps the only failure there was the white-water rafting trip on the Lehigh River but even that day had plenty of memorable moments, including my only ride to date in a yellow American school bus.)

It was my aunt (and uncle) who introduced me to Rehoboth Beach, DE way back in the sun-baked summer of 1980. Those few days at the shore triggered a lifetime of love for that special place. Many years later, when I was looking for a setting for my Silver Lake series, it was the first place to come to mind. A place close to my heart.

When I was trying to visualise Lori’s beach house, there was no doubt in my mind about which house to base it on – my aunt’s home. (Albeit in reality, its one hundred miles from the shore.) I never told her at first, but when I sent her a copy of Stronger Within, I got a phone call a few days later. I paraphrase here but her comments were along the lines of “So, I’m reading this book and loving it and thinking to myself “I know this house” then I realised it was mine!”

Memories of beach days together are extra special and stretch back to “jumping waves” at Ocean City, NJ in August 1974. Years later, together, we introduced my kids to the ocean and “jumped waves” with them for the first time in Ocean City, MD. Happy days.

The beach was a happy place for both of us. Might have been something to do with the name. We’d meander along the sand or simply stand watching the ocean for dolphins swimming by as we dug our toes in the soft wet sand. The photo above was taken at Cape Henlopen DE in 2006 and remains one of my favourites.

Those special to us never really leave us when they pass. They live on in our hearts and our memories and in everyday things.

Rest in peace, Auntie Coral.

Merry Christmas from me to you

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

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

Stay safe.

Love n hugs

Coral xxx

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

Have you seen the Silver Lake dragon?…

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His inbox was crammed full of unread mails – most of which were advertising junk. Before this infuriated him further, he tweaked his junk mail filters, then returned to his inbox. There was one email from Maddy that caught his attention. The subject heading was “Silver Lake album and merchandising artwork.” He opened the message, scanning the details about a band meeting scheduled for Friday to discuss the attachments. Jake opened the first of four attachments to reveal the three draft designs for the album cover, each significantly different. Instantly his eyes were drawn to the distinctive signature on the drawings. He opened the other three attachments and found a variety of other designs tagged as t-shirt proposals and miscellaneous. One proposed album design caught his eye – a dragon, with its wings spread out nestled inside an intricate Celtic knot. The twist of its tail reminded him of the Celtic trinity that was in the band’s logo. When had Lori found time to complete this portfolio? Why hadn’t she told him? Suddenly, he desperately wanted to talk to her, but it was four o’clock in the morning. Smiling for the first time since Monday, Jake reached for his phone and turned it on. A barrage of text alerts pinged through – he ignored them for now. Quickly he typed, “Love the designs. Love the Celtic dragon knot. Love you. J x”. He hit send.

 

(extract from Stronger Within, book 1 in the Silver Lake series)

 

If you want to read more then check out the Silver Lake series today

 

Amazon.com links –

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

A Little Piece of Silver Lake for Christmas

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Sitting at the kitchen table, Melody was very carefully writing her letter to Santa Claus. On the opposite side of the table, Lori was helping Jesse with his letter. At only three years old, the little boy couldn’t write yet so Lori had helped him to cut out the pictures of the toys he wanted to ask Santa for from the flyer that had been in the Sunday newspaper. For once the little boy was content to sit still and use the glue stick to add his Christmas wishes to the sheet of paper. Lori had already written “Dear Santa” at the top of the page and “love from Jesse” at the bottom, warning her son that the pictures had to fit in between.

“Hey,” called Jake from the doorway. “What’s going on in here?”

“We’re writing our Santa letters,” replied Melody, holding hers up for her daddy to see.

“Very neat, Miss M,” praised Jake with a smile. Like her mother, the little girl was a perfectionist. “Do you want to go into town to mail them after lunch?”

“Yes!” shrieked both kids loudly.

“Ok,” said Jake. “We’ll walk into town later. There’s a special Santa mail box near the bandstand.”

“Mommy, will you come too?” pleaded Jesse as he glued the last picture to his letter.

“No,” said Lori, putting the lid back on the glue stick. “I need to do some work this afternoon.”

“Daddy, can we go get hot chocolate with marshmallows after we mail our letters?” pleaded Melody, gazing up at him with his big blue eyes.

“Maybe.”

 

It had snowed over the area the night before, blanketing the beach and surrounding area in three inches of soft powdery snow. As he walked along the beach, Jake watched the kids run on up ahead, smiling as they occasionally pelted each other with snowballs. Every few yards they would flop down into the snow and make sandy snow angels. He smiled, treasuring the precious moments with his family. Both kids were over excited; both of them counting down the sleeps until Santa came.

“This way, you two!” he called as they reached the path that led up to boardwalk near Funland.

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

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

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

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

“And you’ve got lots of trains but you still asked Santa for another one, didn’t you?” teased Jake.

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

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

As the family group walked along the snow-covered boardwalk, the kids dragging Jake over to explore each of the small Christmas houses that had sprung up. The red Santa mailbox stood on the boardwalk opposite the bandstand, suitably lit and signposted.

Carefully, Jake removed the letters from his jacket pocket and handed them to the kids. Pulling his cell out too, he took some quick photos of them mailing them off to Santa then suggested that they pose beside the town’s large Christmas tree for more photos.

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

“Me! Me! Me!”

(Credits to the owner of the photo Elliot MacGuire Photography- photo is tagged)

If you want to catch up with all things Silver Lake then the links are below:

Amazon.com links –

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

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Enjoying sunrise from 3000 miles away

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Three things in life that I love are the beach and watching the sun rise and set. Actually managing to achieve these becomes more of a challenge at this time of year however I have a secret weapon – well, a virtual secret weapon.

There is one beach that I love but, unfortunately, it’s 3000 miles away from the place I call home. This is the beach that I have based my Silver Lake books around and its been way too long since I sank my toes into its sand.

And my secret virtual weapon – a local webcam.

One morning last week, the blue light of early dawn ( the photo above) caught my eye as I logged onto my laptop. It was 11am in the UK and 6am at the beach( or was it 7am – the clocks changing has me confused about the time difference!) .

For once I had time to spare and therefore  the time  to watch the sun rise over my beach. Want to see?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

and finally at 9am the town of Rehoboth Beach was starting to come to life and go about its day.

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I might not have physically been there but I could taste the salt in the air, hear the waves lap up on the shore and sense the town of Rehoboth Beach coming to life. It might have been a chilly October sunrise but it warmed my heart.

 

Sometimes all you need is a little imagination and you’re there……

 

 

 

If you want to check it out for yourself, here’s the webcam link

https://www.livebeaches.com/webcams/rehoboth-beach-boardwalk-webcam/

Shattered Hearts….. revealed

Well, folks, here it is…..

 

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Isn’t it pretty?

 

Shattered Hearts will be published via KDP on 6th December 2019. Save the date!

 

 

Pre-order details will be announced soon…promise!

 

For those of you who are more than a little impatient to get a look inside Shattered Hearts, here’s a short extract to keep you going til December.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Daddy!”

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

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

“Bet I’ve missed you more, Miss M.”

“You sound funny,” commented the little girl screwing her face into a frown.

“Too many shows. Too many songs,” said Jake quietly.

“You need the icky medicine Mommy gave me when I had strep.”

“Maybe. I think I’ll start with some warm water and honey first though,” he replied. “Now, are you going to make me breakfast?”

Giggling, Melody shook her tousled blonde head.

“Is your Mommy awake?”

Again, Melody shook her head. “She was drawing last night.”

“And I’ll bet she was drawing most of the night,” added Jake, knowing all too well how easily Lori lost track of time when she was working.

 

If you want to know more, you’ll need to be patient until 6th December 😉

 

If you’ve missed the first three books in the series, there is plenty of time to catch up. They are available worldwide via Amazon. Here’s the links:

 

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

 

 

You can also keep track of all Book Baby related news on my Author Facebook page :

https://www.facebook.com/coralmccallumauthor/

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What Happens Next Monday?…….

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I’ll start this week’s blog with an apology….. technically there isn’t one. A blog that is.

My creative focus has been on finishing the first draft of Book Baby 5 and I’m almost but not quite there. Another three or four productive hours should finally see it complete- albeit a few weeks later than  originally planned.

Unusual for this stage in my creative process, it’s more or less all typed as well as written and it’s not naked!  Well, it has a bare bum as I’ve not finished the back cover for the paperback edition but it has a front cover.  🙂

I already revealed it’s title a while back – Shattered Hearts – so what is there left to reveal?

The cover and the release date……..

Watch this space and my author page next week…… all will be revealed.  😉

https://www.facebook.com/coralmccallumauthor/

 

Shattered Hearts

 

 

 

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.

Book Baby 5…. want a little sneaky peek?

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In reality, Book Baby 5 looks like this…..

But, it also looks a  bit like this too……

BB5

For those who missed the big title reveal back in May, it also has a name….

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It also has a front cover but I’m keeping that under wraps for just a little bit longer 😉

(Current thinking is to reveal it when I’ve set the publication date….but don’t tell anyone just yet!)

So where does this next instalment of the Silver Lake series take us?…..

Want a little taste of words yet to come?…..

Shh….don’t tell anyone….this is just between you and me 😉

Golden rays of dawn shimmered in the ripples of the still ocean. They danced a slow waltz as the gentle waves glided towards the beach. Gradually the pale golds turned to orange then to red as the sun rose over the horizon. Apart from the soft sounds of the waves lapping against the shore, the world was silent. Not even the tiny seabirds who usually danced with the waves were to be seen or heard.

Running his hand through his long blonde hair, Jake sighed. It felt good to taste salt in the air. It felt good to feel sand under his feet. It felt good to be home. His fingers tangled in the strands of his hair, knotted after a sleepless night on the band’s delayed flight out of LAX. Looking down, he realised that his hair was almost to his waist. Another indication that he’d been away from home too long. Mentally, he made a note to take a trip into town later to get his mane trimmed.

With his arms wrapped around his knees, Jake sat watching the sun make its way over the horizon, basking in its golden light. He was bone tired and couldn’t remember when he had last slept for more than a couple of hours at a time. The band’s flight had been scheduled to reach Philadelphia at ten o’clock the night before but a four-hour delay meant they hadn’t landed until almost two o’clock in the morning. There had been the usual carnage in the baggage hall but, by some miracle, all of their suitcases and guitar cases had made it safely across the country. Tired and grumpy, the sleep deprived musicians had piled into the waiting SUVs for the hundred mile drive down the Coastal Highway. After so long in each other’s company, each of them was keen to get back to JJL to collect their cars and trucks and say their “good nights”. With little more than a grunt of farewell, Jake had loaded his gear into the back of his truck. Praying that it would start at the first time of asking, he had hauled himself into the cab for the final leg of the journey home.

He’d pulled into the driveway at the beach house just after five, reached to retrieve his house keys from his battered leather book bag and found them missing. Leaving his gear in the truck, he’d crept round to the back of the house to try the back door, hoping that Lori had left it unlocked. No luck. Both the screen door and the back door were locked. Knowing it was too early to waken his sleeping family, he’d headed across the sun deck to try the patio doors. They too were locked.

Muttering to himself, he’d hauled off his ripped Converse hi-tops and socks, leaving them scattered on the deck and wandered down to the beach to watch the sun rise.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

“Daddy!”

To be continued…….

 

If you’ve missed the start of the Silver Lake series, there’s plenty of time to catch up. All three books are available worldwide, Here’s the links:

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

 

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