A Pre-Christmas Coffee Catch Up With……Jake Power

coffee catch up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“At the beach?”

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

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

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

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

“Workshops?”

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

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

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

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

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

Now, there’s a thought, ladies….

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

The Silver Lake series is available via Amazon both in  Kindle and paperback formats

Amazon.com link   https://www.amazon.com/Coral-McCallum/e/B00VYU1SZ6/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Amazon.co.uk link    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Coral-McCallum/e/B00VYU1SZ6/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Book 4 in the series is planned for  2019

 

(image sourced via Google – credits to the owner)

 

 

 

 

 

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The End Is In Sight…..of my tether that is!

end-of-the-tether

It’s Monday and this isn’t a good sign….. I’ve reached the end of my tether!

Anyone who knows me will appreciate that I generally quite a patient person. Some of you might even say too patient but occasionally even I reach the end of my rope.

So where does the phrase come from and what does it really mean?

A little research ( not got the patience for extensive research this evening) revealed it’s a phrase used mainly in the USA and UK. It means to have reached the end of your patience, to be completely worn out, exasperated or exhausted.

So. What’s a tether in this context? Cue more Googling – a rope used to restrict the freedom of grazing animals by tying one end around their neck and the other to a stake in the ground.

tethered pony

 

Hmmmm…….

 

Pass me the scissors or a knife….this tether is being cut!

Normally to soothe me frayed nerves I would head out for a walk along the beach but its kind of cold and dark out there right now.

Virtual beach walk required before I settle down to continue the tale that’s shaping up to be Book Baby 4.

 http://livebeaches.com/rehoboth-beach-de/webcams/rehoboth-beach-boardwalk/

 I can almost feel the sand between my toes…..

 

(images sourced via Google – credits to the owners)

Twisted Silk – a dark tale (adult content)

Black-Silk_028ebb56-bb9b-4406-a338-657e70170b66

 

The text message had been quite clear. She knew the rules, knew how to play his game.  Christ, she should after twenty-five years of marriage. Only this time, she planned to add a few moves of her own.

As instructed, she arrived at the hotel at four thirty, entering the room with the key card he had given her at breakfast. Room 413- his favourite suite in the small boutique hotel. They’d spent many anniversaries in that room and she knew it intimately.

The room looked identical to it had the year before as she entered. With a smile, she removed the black wig she had worn and shook her red hair free. She stuffed the wig into the side pocket of her overnight bag then set it down on the floor. Carefully, she hung her coat up in the wardrobe. She kept her long satin gloves on.

A bottle of champagne sat in the ice bucket beside the bed, two lead crystal flutes on a silver tray beside it.

She had an hour to finalise her preparations. Keeping her gloves on, she began to undress.

 

By five thirty, she was sitting on the edge of the bed ready to greet her husband. She had spent a little extra time on her makeup, ensuring that it was perfect. The black silk lingerie that he had requested that she wear wasn’t exactly what she felt comfortable in but she knew the role she had to play.

Behind her on the bed lay the “toys” he had requested that she bring from his personal collection at home.

She had opened the champagne, poured two glasses, ensuring that the additional “surprise” in her husband’s glass was fully dissolved. To calm her nerves, she drained half of her own glass in one gulp then topped it up before adding the rest of the powder to the bottle, wiping the neck clean.

The click of the key card in the lock caused her to jump. Could she pull this off? She owed it to herself to try.

“Good evening,” she purred as her husband stormed into the room, slamming the door behind him.

He barely grunted his reply as he dropped his phone and car keys onto the dressing table.

Praying her hand stayed steady, she passed him his glass of champagne.

“Happy anniversary, master.”

“If you’re a good girl, it will be,” he stated before draining the glass, just as she had hoped he would.

“I’ll be good, master. I promise,” she replied, taking his empty glass and refilling it.

He took a sip then set the glass down.

“Allow me to help you, master,” she suggested.

Slowly she slid his suit jacket from his shoulders and hung it carefully over the back of the chair. She loosened his tie and draped it over the jacket. With trembling gloved fingers, she undid the buttons of his crisp white shirt. As she slid it off, she allowed her fingers to caress the backs of his arms just as he preferred.

Without a word, he took another mouthful of champagne, then sat on the bed and invited her to remove his shoes. Slowly, allowing him to savour his view of her full breasts, she bent to slip the Italian leather loafers from his feet. Ignoring the pungent aroma, she removed his sweaty socks then gently massaged his feet.

“Enough,” he barked standing up.

“Of course, master,” she replied, her tone dutiful but not overly submissive.

She unfastened his trousers and slid them down his slender thighs. He side stepped out of them as the material pooled on the floor at his feet.

Carefully, she folded them and laid them on the chair beside his jacket.

Before she could return her attention to him, he’d reached across the bed, selected his “toy” of choice, a riding crop, and smacked her hard across her ass. The blow stung and she gasped, biting her lower lip to prevent herself from squealing. A squeal would earn a second, third or even fourth blow.

“Too slow,” he growled as she turned to face him.

“Sorry, master.”

Already she could see his cock hard and erect in his boxers.

“Bend over.”

Obligingly, she bent over the bed, baring her bare butt cheeks to him. Her black silk thong hid nothing and offered no protection. She bit down hard on her lip as he cracked the crop across her buttocks twice more.

“Resume,” he commanded before draining his glass.

“Yes, master,” she replied.

The black silk negligée had slipped, revealing more of her breasts and the crests of the dark areola that surrounded her nipples.

Smoothing out her long satin gloves, she sensuously slid his boxers down his long legs. His erect penis stood proud as she bent down to fully remove his shorts. He staggered slightly as she lifted his feet in turn for her.

For a split second, as he stood naked before her, she was reminded of how attractive he could be. Without being asked, she refilled his glass.

She handed it to him. As he drank deeply, she saw him sway a little.

Her heart skipped a beat.

“Change of plan,” he declared, setting the glass down and lifting two silk cords from the bed. “On the bed on all fours. Hands on the bedstead.”

Obediently, she moved into position, staying stock still as he tied her wrists to the wrought iron bedframe. His knots were loose and sloppy, she noted with relief.

Crack went the riding crop as he whipped her across the butt once more, leaving another fresh red welt among the many.

Roughly, he grabbed the thin fabric of the thong, ripping it off with ease. His coarse hands roughly shoved her legs further apart. With a primal grunt, he thrust into her hard and deep.

Clutching the bedframe tightly she felt him lean over her. Felt his breath hot and stale on her neck.

“Happy anniversary,” he hissed before biting her hard at the back of her neck.

Totally disregarding her pleasure, he continued to thrust his erect penis into her hard and fast. His movements were clumsy and rough.

In her heart, she began to panic. Had she misjudged this? Was her plan about to fail?

Suddenly, she felt his weight slump down onto her back and his cock slide from inside her. Quickly she shuffled up towards the top of the bed, allowing her husband’s drugged body to collapse on the clean white linen duvet.

Time was now short.

Swiftly she wriggled her wrists free and removed the cords from the bedstead. Using all of her strength she wrestled the naked form of her husband onto his back, his un-satiated erection going flaccid in front of her.

She reached under the pillow and withdrew the knife, selected from their own knife block that morning. Placing the knife in his left hand, she wrapped her own gloved left hand over it and guided the knife over his right wrist. The sharp blade slit through the thin skin of his inner wrist with remarkable ease, opening the vein as planned. Breathing hard, she switched hands and repeated the action with the right, slashing deep into his left wrist. She let his hand fall to his side, the knife still loosely in his grasp.

Blood poured from the open veins soaking into the duvet.

She paused for a split second, then lifted his right hand along with blood stained knife for a second time. Leaning her body weight to it, she drove the knife into his abdomen.

Blood oozed from around the edges of the blade.

Time to tidy up.

 

Luck was on her side. There wasn’t a drop of blood on her or her gloved hands. Methodically, she wiped her own empty glass clean and set it back down on the silver tray. She gathered up the sex toys and returned them to her overnight bag.

In the bathroom, she removed the remains of the black silk lingerie, stuffing the tattered fabric into her bag. Using her make up remover, she wiped away the thick layer of foundation, revealing her natural pale complexion complete with cigarette burn scars on her cheek. As she dressed, she caught sight of her thin body in the mirror, wincing anew at the dozens of cigarette burns, some old some fresh, on her body and her breasts. She ignored the pain of the bruising on her ribs to twist round to inspect the bite on her neck. His teeth marks were clearly imprinted in her skin and were already turning a deep purple colour.

It was finally over.

Meticulously, she tucked her long red hair up into the black, bobbed wig. She lifted her coat from the wardrobe and slipped her arms into its warm soft sleeves. With her Jackie O sunglasses on to hide her face, she lifted her bag and left the room without a backwards glace.

Freedom awaited in the hallway.

 

One week later, she sat in a different hotel in a different city reading the newspaper that had arrived along with her breakfast tray. On page seven, she found the article she had been looking for – “Business Tycoon Takes Own Life As Company On The Brink Of Collapse.” The by-line detailed how he had been found by a member of hotel staff. The coroner had ruled that his death had been caused by an overdose of tranquillisers mixed with alcohol and multiple self-inflicted knife wounds. A statement from his lawyer confirmed that the IT firm was in ruins and that he had been on the brink of bankruptcy. The journalist went on to reveal that the family home had been saved from the business collapse as it had been in his reclusive widow’s sole name. He continued that the mansion had recently been sold to a mystery buyer and that the grieving widow had been unavailable for comment.

Sitting back, she closed the newspaper and smiled.

 

(image source via Google -credits to the owner)

 

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.

MAry 2

 

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?

 

Tis The Season To Write Lists

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It’s rapidly approaching that time of year when lists take over……

I like to think I’m a  reasonably organised person  in my real world, my work world and in my creative world. (OK, I can be a bit OCD about my lists)

Even on an average day, my world is “post it” driven as I work my way from one reminder to the next.

My laptop frequently has several “post its” stuck to it to remind of anything from a trip to the dentist to promo event reminders associated with my book babies. (There’s 3 on there as I type)

However,  as the festive season approaches all too rapidly, longer lists start to over take the small square “post its”.

There’s:

gift lists

festive food lists

Christmas card and calendar lists

 

You get the picture!

There,there’s the 2018 Gig List to be added to the 2018 Calendar on 1 January. (It’s unlucky to hang the next year’s calendar before the year has begun so the dates need to wait on my list till then)

22 Feb – Brian Fallon

1Apr – Greta Van Fleet

16 Apr- The White Buffalo

This list is likely to grow considerably…….. 😉

Earlier today, I paused to take stock of the “Creative To Do” list for this week:

1- write more  of book baby 4

2- promote the Silver Lake series ( https://www.amazon.co.uk/Coral-McCallum/e/B00VYU1SZ6/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_4?qid=1510864732&sr=8-4 )

3- promote my Good Reads giveaway – its running till 3 Dec.(https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/261202-bonded-souls )

4- type up book baby 4 – target to reach 15k words

5- write and post blog

6- prep interview for blog (watch this space!)

I’ll not embarrass myself by confessing to how few have been ticked off……

Then, there’s a second, until now, unwritten list…. “The Waiting To Be Written” list:

1- book baby 4 ( ok, it’s nearly there!)

2- book 4 in the Silver Lake series ( write 2018/publish 2019)

3- next part to Silently Watching short story series ( I have half a plan for this!)

4- next part to The Soul Searcher short story series( eh….no clue what’s going to happen next)

5-next part to the Still As A Statue short story series ( maybe a bit of a clue where this one will end…)

6-next part of The Imp – remember him? (I do know where I am going with it…honest!)

EEEEKK!

Maybe I should start with a wish list…

Dear Santa

I’ve been a really good girl this year (well, most of the time). Can I please have a Time Turner like Hermione’s from Harry Potter so I can conjure up enough hours in every day to get through my To Do list.

Hope you like the milk and mince pie.

Love   Coral x

 

(Image sourced from Google- credits to the owner)

 

 

 

Today You Have Memories With…..

Sometimes I forget how long it is since I ventured into the weird world of social media but Facebook very kindly reminds me on a daily basis with its “You have memories with…. to look back on today”

I don’t always check these out. I’ll be honest, it sometimes depends on who it says I have memories to share with.

One caught my eye about a week or so ago. It was a memory from 2010 from a school friend. 

“Don’t know why I remember this so clearly but you wrote a book in school with a character called Maggie or Megan, didn’t you? Did you keep up the writing thing?” 

A short conversation followed this post: 

Friend – I think I just remember being really impressed at the time.

Me – I tried writing short stories for a few years but never got anything published. Tried again a few years later with children’s stuff but no luck. Still scribble for my own amusement. Really touched that you remember. Thanks x

Friend – Hey – look at JK Rowling! Should give it another go. Was it Megan or Maggie?

Me- Megan x 

I was, and still am, very touched that she remembered my early literary efforts.

And to be honest, she wasn’t the first school friend to quiz me years after the fact out of the blue.

A few years earlier, I met another old school friend when our daughters both went to the same dance class. She too remembered my teenage “story” and I recall flushing scarlet as she told the other mothers present that she got her sex education from my story! EEKKK!!!!

(Yes, even at fifteen and sixteen I wrote romantic fiction…..) 

The Facebook memory got me thinking….reflecting… 

I was fourteen when I started that “story”. My reporter notebook and pen went everywhere with me for about three years, maybe four.

The story itself was a family saga spanning three generations of women – Terri, Bethan and Megan. I would love to have shared a little bit of it here but ,despite an extensive search earlier today, I can’t find the box in the loft that has the sixteen reporter notebooks in it. I still have it….somewhere! 

There are a lot of parallels between then and now as to why I write. 

Basically, it’s an escape from my own reality for a while. 

Back then it was an escape from the school bullies and was a way to cope with secondary school. I would sit in a corner at lunchtimes and write. After school, I would walk into town to meet my mum from work. Many an hour was spent sitting writing in her office as I waited on her finishing for the day. I also wrote at night, alone, listening to my music. (I’m still listening to some of the same music to this day!)

Now, it’s a means to relax after a long day and, yes, it’s still an escape from my reality. Yes, it’s still a coping mechanism. If I haven’t written for a few days, I can tell! Those who are close to me can also tell. Occasionally, I will spend a wet lunch hour writing at my desk instead of venturing out for a walk. Mainly, I write at night, alone, listening to my music.

Once I find those reporter notebooks (I wonder where they are hiding?) will anything ever come of the “story”? Highly unlikely but never say never. The first incarnation of Jake Power is actually written in “Megan’s” part of the story. ( I told you he’d been in my head for a very long time….almost thirty years in fact! EEEKK!)

Has my approach to how I write changed since the mid-1980’s? Eh……………..no.

I still write everything long hand in crazy colours of ink. I still need a new notebook and a new pen every time I start a new “long story” or “book baby”.

Now I buy A4 notebooks and tend to buy four or five the same to ensure that each book baby has its own identity. (Book Baby 4 is blue)

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I’ll confess…. I’ve already bought the notebooks for Book Baby 5, which will be a Silver Lake tale, too. They’re purple.

20171105_214801

If I rounded them up, I’ve probably got enough pens to start a shop! I love pens! Love multi-coloured ink. Even at work in the salt mine I use a Bic pen that has four colour options. No, not blue, black, red and green. Mine has pink, blue, purple and green ink….trademark pen! Lol

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Back then, I wrote primarily with a green Berol pen ( I’ve just realised that I’ve picked up a green pen to write the first draft of this blog…some things never change.)

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As a teenager, I let very few people read what I wrote. I guess I was terrified that folk would laugh at my story. That instilled a deep rooted fear in me of sharing my words with people. It’s one I still struggle with. Its taken a long time for me to feel even remotely comfortable with sharing my work. A crippling fear for a storyteller.

When I had that Facebook conversation with my old school friend back in October 2010, reflecting back on whether it was Maggie or Megan, little did I know the path I would venture down three short years later.

So, here I am, sitting here reflecting (and procrastinating a tad) on my stories.

If there are any of you reading this who are debating whether to write that book you’ve always dreamed of writing, I have one simple piece of advice. Go for it!

A friend posted a motivational quote on his Facebook wall a few years ago that has always stuck with me, become my mantra almost.

dreams

Now pick up that pen ( it doesn’t matter what colour the ink is) and tell your story to the world.

 

 

Koummya – a dark tale with echoes of the past

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Clutching the coffee cup almost as if it were going to protect her, Laney dashed into the project meeting two minutes and forty five seconds late. Her entire morning has been running late, totally against her natural super-organised nature. She had got stuck in traffic on the way into work and had then circled the car park three times before abandoning her car on the pavement beside the grassy embankment. A flashy orange sports car had been parked in front of her. Normally she wouldn’t have given it a second glance but the number plate caught her eye. It was a private plate. The sight of the letters, presumably the owner’s initials, sent an unexplained chill rattling through her… BIS 31.

Dismissing the thought, she had dashed across the car park and into the office building, calling out a hurried “hello” to the two security guards in the foyer. Quickly she ran up the stairs, conscious that she was tight for time. At the top of the stairs, she almost collided with an unfamiliar member of staff. He was talking animatedly on his phone but for a split second he glanced towards her and their eyes met. There was an instantaneous flash of recognition there and sub-consciously Laney smiled briefly as she scurried off towards her desk. For some bizarre reason, she could now smell spices, aromatic spices like cinnamon and nutmeg with a hint of sandalwood. She dismissed the thought, surmising that she must have caught a whiff of the man’s aftershave. In her heart, she knew these were scents to which she was overly sensitive.

Their paths had crossed for a second time when she had rushed into the staff restaurant to buy her morning caffeine fix before the meeting. He had been standing adding milk and sugar to his coffee as she had fetched hers from the machine. She was aware of his stare boring into her. Deep inside her soul something stirred and her sixth sense began to twitch.

As she reached for a plastic lid for her cup, her hand accidentally brushed his. Both of them had reached for the same lid at the same time.

Images of a Moroccan bazaar flooded her mind. The sounds. The screams. Again, her nose was tingling at the smell of spices. A sharp pain just below her left breast caught her breath.

The vision was gone as swiftly as it had appeared. However, the pain was real and her ribs were still throbbing as she detected the scent of sandalwood in the air.

As she paid for her coffee, she realised that the mystery pain was exactly at the point where she had a long thin scar-like birthmark. No one had ever been able to explain the mark. It looked purple and ragged. Her mother used to tease her that an angle with a shaky hand had drawn it on her when she was a baby.

Something about this stranger was un-nerving her. Deeply buried memories were stirring within her very soul.

“Get a grip, Laney,” she muttered to herself as she headed round to the conference room.

Her heart almost stopped as she entered the large room. Conscious that she was almost three minutes late, she apologised profusely as she took her seat. Seated directly across the table from her was the enigmatic stranger. His dark brown eyes were trained on her, drinking in everything about her as he sipped his coffee.

The birthmark along her ribs was on fire!

“Laney, I was just introducing the new project manager to everyone,” said her boss, his tone brusque and business-like. “You’ll probably be the one working closest with him as the design lead here. Allow me to introduce you to Benjamin Solomon.”

“It’s Ben, please,” said the stranger reaching across to shake her hand.

Swallowing down the wave of fear that was threatening to engulf her, Laney took his out stretched hand.

Immediately her blood ran cold. The birthmark hidden under her blouse almost sizzled.

Images of the bazaar returned, swarming through her mind. Fear. The pain in her lungs as she had run barefoot through the narrow paths between the spice sellers’ stalls. A glimpse back at her pursuer had told her he was carrying an ornate, unsheathed, koummya dagger in his hand.

“Pleasure,” she mumbled, withdrawing her hand hurriedly.

“Likewise,” he replied with a nod.

Throughout the two hour meeting, Laney struggled to remain focussed, feeling Ben’s eyes constantly following her. At the end of the discussion, he proposed that the project team go out for lunch to “bond over a burger” as he put it. Before she could make a polite excuse to decline, Laney heard her boss accept on behalf of all of them. Her heart sank.

Fortunately, she was spared his company as her boss drove her and his assistant across town to the restaurant. Laney was also relieved when the waitress seated their group at the front of the restaurant in full view of everyone. Much as she preferred the secluded rear area of the restaurant, today she wanted to be surrounded by light and people.

Again, she found herself seated across from Ben Solomon; again, his dark eyes followed her every move. It was warm in the restaurant but she noted he declined to remove his well-cut suit jacket.

As he passed her a menu, their fingertips touched.

It took all of her strength not to jerk her hand away as fresh visions flashed before her.

This time she was in New York judging by the number of old fashioned yellow cabs around her. Again, she was running full pelt through crowds of passers-by, trying to stay one step ahead of her pursuer. In this vision, she was clutching her ribs, feeling her own blood hot and sticky on her trembling fingers. As she reached the entrance to Central Park, she risked a look back. He was closing on her, the blood-stained dagger still in his right hand.

Instinctively, Laney reached for her ribs, rubbing the spot where her birthmark was.

“Everything all right?” Ben asked, noticing her movement.

“Fine. Just a little muscle strain from the gym,” she fibbed, fighting to remain calm.

Their business discussion continued over lunch as they thrashed out plans for the initial design phase.

“There’s a generous travel allowance for research visits,” Ben explained. “The client wants to ensure that all their personal requirements are met here. They’re keen to draw on several influences from around the world. Laney, I hope your passport is up to date?”

Her blood ran cold at the thought of travelling anywhere with Ben Solomon.

“Oh, Laney loves to travel,” revealed her boss before she could stop him.

“Wonderful!” replied Ben enthusiastically. “So do I. I love Marrakech and I’ve soft spot for the bright lights of New York. Love a run through Central Park.”

“Excuse me a moment,” said Laney getting quickly to her feet.

Swiftly she made her way across the restaurant to the ladies room. A wave of nausea was threatening to swamp her. The birthmark at her side was still on fire. Her sixth sense was charged and crackling with electricity.

Who was this man? What was going on?

Leaning on the edge of the basin, Laney gazed into the mirror and tried to quieten her mind.  As she took a long, slow, deep breath, a voice from her past echoed in her mind. It was her grandmother’s voice.

“Be careful, my dear,” she cautioned. “From the day you were born I told your mother that she needed to watch out for you. Told her you had an old soul. A twin soul. I’ve seen birthmarks like yours before. That mark was made by your twin soul in a past life. You might have had that birthmark through many lifetimes. It started out as a scar. A real scar. Your twin soul won’t rest until it’s free of you. It’ll hunt you down through your lifetimes till the job is done. Keep your wits about you, girl.”

The warning had been given to her in secret by her maternal grandmother on her sixteenth birthday and hadn’t made much sense to her at the time. She had barely given it a thought for almost twenty years…until now…..

Staring into the mirror, Laney “watched” the scenes from Marrakech and New York play out on its surface. Silently, she watch herself in previous lifetimes fleeing from an assailant with a dagger. One final scene from the New York vision caught her attention. It was a detail she had missed before. The assailant had the dagger’s scabbard in his left hand as he ran. It was brass with intricate silver inlays and there was a distinctive burnt orange cord tied to it that was wrapped round his wrist. The cord was woven in an entwined pattern with a forest green strand twisted through it.

Closing her eyes, Laney broke the vision’s spell.

What was she thinking? Her imagination was running riot with her emotions. Where had her usual pragmatic approach to life gone? What had happened to her common sense?

Taking a deep breath, she composed herself and returned to the table.

 

Almost an hour later, the waitress sat the small saucer with the bill on it, weighted down with mints, down on the table.

“My treat,” declared Ben loudly as he swiped the till docket from the plate. As he reached into his inside jacket pocket for his wallet, Laney stared in horror. The fabric of the jacket seemed stiff down his side as he wrestled his wallet free. Hanging down from his pocket was an antique looking burnt orange cord with a green thread woven through it, the ornate peacock tail pommel of the dagger just visible over the edge of the material.

 

 

(image sourced via Google- credits to the owner)