Chasing Fungi….

I’m no expert but I did survive my “toadstool” hunt the other day. Being a creature of habit, I tend to walk the same route after work most days. As I walked down the hill the other day I spotted some toadstools and decided to see how many I could find on my late afternoon meander. It was very much a “look don’t touch” search. Here’s what I found :

A Writer’s Dilemma

Agh… a first world dilemma!

The notebook I use for writing out the first drafts of my blogs is down to its last blank page.

Time to find a new notebook.

And perhaps also time for a writer’s confession – I have a minor addiction to “nice” notebooks (and pens). I just can’t resist them.

The second part of the issue is that I usually deem the notebooks “too good” to use.

The time had come though … I needed to “sacrifice” one for the benefit of future blog posts.

“NO!” I hear you cry. “Keep them good. Don’t write any more blogs!”

I keep my stash of notebooks in the cupboard under my desk. So, carefully, I pulled them all out, taking great care not to dislodge everything else that’s crammed in there and cause a monumental creative avalanche.

I found five… and a packet of pens I never knew I had.

Decision time… which one to choose?

Oh, decisions…decisions…

And I chose this one.

Then I opened it…DAMN! I’ve already used that one!

Back to the drawing board or maybe I should just buy another one. Afterall, those other four are “too good” to use. 😉

Fall Freebie Friday……meet Ellen

“If you don’t feel I’ll fit in then I’ll go now,” said Ellen, trying hard to hide the emotion in her voice. “I’d prefer though if you gave me a chance. Let’s rehearse. Jam a few numbers. If you don’t like what you hear then I’ll go.”

“Can’t say fairer than that, Luke,” challenged Cal, also keen to defend her.

“Luke,” stated Rocky coldly. “Let me put it to you this way. Ellen here passed the audition. The band unanimously voted to give her a shot. I don’t believe you cast your vote. Right now, I don’t believe you even opened the damn email I sent you. If anyone’s position in After Life is in jeopardy right now, it’s yours.  You’re out of line, son. Take this as a final warning.”

“My uncle won’t….” began Luke, looking flustered behind his dark glasses.

“Don’t try to play the Garrett card with me. We all know he doesn’t fund the band. He’s already cast you adrift on your own there. Why he still lets you live in his house I’ll never fathom.”

“Fine. One rehearsal!” snapped Luke, getting to his feet, almost toppling the chair in the process. “Tomorrow. If she’s shit, she goes.”

As he marched out of the kitchen, Luke slammed the door behind him, rattling the display plates on the wall.

“I’m sorry,” whispered Ellen quietly.

Want to know more? Download Ellen for free today only from Amazon  

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

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

Continue The Story.. the power of the written word

I’ve used my Continue The Story journal several times since I picked it up on a whim back in July. As I flicked through the pages earlier, inspiration struck.

It was time. I reached for my pencil and stared at the blank lined page.

As a writer, its both a beautiful and a terrifying sight.

What story does this page have to tell?

Will it be like the TV series Once Upon A Time where the author’s words can change the future and give the characters the “happy ever after” that they deserve?

Will it be like Inkheart where, by reading the written words, the characters are brought to life and set free from the confines of the page?

Which of my characters would I set free? Oh, there’s a thought!

Just think, if I could set Jake Power and the other members of Silver Lake free then I could finally hear all those songs I’ve written about. Which one would I want them to play first?

Or, if I could free the dark angel from my Silently Watching short story series….hm…maybe not. I don’t want to be looking over my shoulder every time I go for a walk.

Imagine if you could write yourself into the story! The first place I’d write myself into would be the beach house in the Silver Lake series.

The possibilities are endless… if you have enough imagination, a blank page, and a pencil.

Tempted? Go on, give it a try. You’ve no idea where it will lead or who you’ll meet along the way.

Meandering (an acrostic poem)

Mentally recharging the batteries

Emotionally clearing the clouds

And releasing all the pain

No set destination or direction

Drawn by the lure of the shore

Enchanted by the energy of the river

Rhythmic waves soothing the soul

Isolated from the wider world

Nothing and no one to disturb the daydreams

Grateful to have made it through another day.

What will you be reading today?….

Sunday…the perfect day to sit back and relax with a good book. Pour that coffee, curl up and meet Jake Power…. I think you’ll like him.

Amazon.com links –

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

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

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

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

Long Shadows – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08RR1FGLG

Amazon.co.uk links  –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XSQHG71

Shattered Hearts – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07ZY8ZSDM

Long Shadows – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08RR1FGLG

(Coffee cup and book image sourced via Google – credits to the owner)

After 572 days, “Cherry” is free again!

It’s been a long while since I took “Cherry” out of the wardrobe… 572 days to be precise.

I’ve written about “Cherry” before back in 2016 (  My Secret Chaperone….meet Cherry | Coral McCallum (wordpress.com) ) This bag and Cherry monkey still comes to every gig with me but, thanks to Covid, she’s been in enforced hibernation since 23 February 2020.

As I prepared to attend my first gig since the Covid pandemic shut the world, there was an additional item to be packed – a mask. (I always carried hand sanitiser anyway, so it was already snuggled into its pocket)

In the pre-Covid world I never thought twice about packing my gig bag before leaving to catch the train or to drive to the venue. It’s a fairly standard list of essentials – ticket, camera, phone, hand sanitiser, purse and rock n roll polo mints. (Ok these turned out to be well out of date! Thanks to Mr A for supplying me with a new packet)

However, last Friday night, I found myself more than a little anxious about going out to my first post-pandemic show. Is this one of the many legacies of Covid?

I was heading to Glasgow’s Barrowlands Ballroom with Mr A to see Black Stone Cherry – familiar location, familiar journey, familiar company and familiar band of choice (I’ve seen these boys from Kentucky at least ten times now)- so there was no natural reason to feel anxious… or is there nowadays?

Heading out to a show now takes a little more preparation than just packing your handbag. Preparations start 48-24 hours in advance. The venue recommendation and, in some instances the band’s request, is that you do a Covid lateral flow test before attending. That was it – I lost my lateral flow virginity to see these boys from Kentucky! Having successfully reported a negative test and received my email and text confirmation of this, I spent the rest of Thursday morning twitching my nose like Samantha from Bewitched! A minor inconvenience to get some safety reassurance about being in a crowd, don’t you think?

Another new skill had to be swiftly mastered upon arrival at Barrowlands – juggling! As the doors opened there was a whole new routine required – mask on, track and trace done via the QR code on the walls and the green tick confirmation kept visible on your phone (contingency bit of paper with contact details was in my jeans pocket just in case of QR code issues), ticket in hand plus bag open for the obligatory bag check. You need about three pairs of hands (and your reading glasses if you’re anything like me as I squinted trying to register the track and trace info LOL) to get in the door! I smiled as I realised it was the audience who were being scanned rather than the tickets – temperature check!

Masks need to be worn indoors at events in Scotland by law in certain situations, so the mask had to remain in place as we climbed the stairs and headed to the merch stall. Cue another first world post-pandemic issue – making yourself heard and understood by the merch guy behind the counter while wearing said mask. Mission accomplished though – two t-shirts and a BSC deck of cards duly purchased and stowed away inside Cherry.

The came the big dilemma for me for the evening – mask on or off while the band is on stage? Law says you don’t need to wear it while dancing in a nightclub or venue but does standing watching and intermittently dancing and headbanging count? Decisions …decisions…  

As I stood in the audience waiting for the support band to come onstage, I glanced round the growing crowd. It was probably 50/50 for masks being on before the Kris Barras band took to the stage. By three songs in, with the heat rising, I was struggling to breathe. Mask was duly removed for the remainder of the evening. I tried…

Several hours later, as the houselights came up, it was probably 90/10 for no masks. Trying to keep a mask on at a gig was a feat too far for me, I’m afraid.

The show itself was awesome. You can read my review of it on my sister blog- Black Stone Cherry at Barrowlands Ballroom, Glasgow 17 September 2021 | the525toglasgow (wordpress.com)

There’s also a new post-gig routine to be learned. Happy to report the post-gig Covid lateral flow test was also negative.

If stuffing a cotton bud up your nose and swirling it round in a plastic test tube before dropping X drops of the snottery liquid onto the test sample slide is all that’s needed to ensure gigs are a thing again then I’m all for it.

Cherry is delighted to be free once more too!

Cherry

As summer departs….

There’s a certain stillness to the evenings now that summer is ebbing away. The air is cooler. The beach is quieter.

I use my daily meandering as time to think, time to reflect, time to daydream. It’s my “me time”.

Occasionally I’ll set myself a photo challenge as I’m wandering along, partly to give myself something to “focus” on.

Recently the challenge was “berries”

How many sleeps til summer returns?…….

Have you met Jake and Lori and checked out all things Silver Lake yet?

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?”

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

Long Shadows – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08RR1FGLG

Amazon.co.uk links  –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XSQHG71

Shattered Hearts – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07ZY8ZSDM

Long Shadows – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08RR1FGLG

Continue the Story – Beach Daydreams (flash fiction)

With the sun beating down on her, she knew in her heart that she had made the right decision to come to the beach. Thoughts of walking along the sand, of playing in the waves, of watching the seabirds dance in the shallows and the sights and sounds and aromas of the boardwalk had been beacons of hope during her darkest of days.

Now, as the sun rose on a beautifully clear June morning, the boardwalk ran behind her, the ocean sparkled and shimmered before her, and miles and miles of soft sand stretched into the distance on either side of her. It was still early, barely breakfast time, but around her the world was slowly coming to life. There were a few fishermen scattered along the shoreline, their rods dug deep into the sand. A few photographers were at work, capturing the beauty of the new day to share on social media. Those sunrise livestreams had brightened many a dark day.

Everything around her was just as she had hoped it would be and more.

As she gazed down the beach, she watched an early morning fitness junkie approach, pounding out the miles on the hard packed sand.

She felt as though she had stepped into the pages of one of her own novels; she felt as though she’d come home.

A relaxed smile playing on her lips, she began to meander down the beach, allowing her daydreams to play out as reality around her. Dreams do come true……

credits to the owner of the sunrise photo – Kevin Lynam Photography (photo is tagged)

You can find more of Kevin’s work on his website https://www.kevinlynamphotography.com