Monthly Archives: September 2018

Reflecting…

20180922_15112220180922_153445

 

Sometimes you just need to pause, breathe and look at the world around you from a different perspective.

 

 

copyright of photos belongs to Coral McCallum

please do not reproduce without permission. thanks.

Once Upon A Time……

Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time……
We’ve all heard it.
Having just read it, probably out loud in your head in a voice from your childhood, you now expect a story.
The art of storytelling predates written books and was a crucial element of society in days long since gone by. Storytelling was a means of passing on history, knowledge, beliefs, myths and legends, and, of course, entertainment. These tales were brought to life by the narrative of the storyteller and occasionally supported by dance and music.
As a little girl, I loved being read to. Bedtime story time was a time to delve into the adventures of various characters as read to me by my mum. She read me stories from some very old children’s story collections, books that already been old when she was a girl; she read me Disney stories from a big blue book I was given one Christmas; she read me library book after library book (I loved Mr Grimpwinkle!); she read me books we chose and bought together. Even when I was old enough to read for myself, we kept one “special” book aside for bedtime story time.
The bedtime stories ended when I was about nine years old…. I never did finish Anne Of Green Gables. We moved house part way through reading the book and, for a myriad of reasons, never got back to it and I could never bring myself to finish it alone….. the magic spell had been broken.
When my own children were little, I read to them, trying to instil a love of books in them. I read some from my childhood (yes, I read them the big blue Disney book); I read library books; I read tales of Katie Morag and of Hairy McLary from Donaldson’s Dairy and tied my tongue in knots reading Dr Seuss.  What even is a seven hump wump????
The last book I remember reading to both of them was The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe. The three of us would sit in my bed and read a chapter a night. Precious memories……
Confession – now-a-days, I hate being read to. I really struggle to maintain concentration in lecture/presentation situations and I absolutely loathe radio programmes where they just drone on and on and on……. Give me music any day!
As an indie author, this has presented me with a dilemma. An audio book dilemma.
There’s a whole market out there that I’ve yet to fully explore but I suspect that I’d hate even my own book babies in audio format. That’s not to say that others would….. I just can’t bear to listen to audio books. I appreciate that they are a Godsend to those who love a story but for whatever reason are unable to read it for themselves. Audio books are great for people who drive long distances or folk who travel a lot in general; Audio books are great for book lovers who love to multi-task and don’t have time to sit down and read a book. They are readily available in CD, mp3 and other digital formats. But, as an author, where to begin?
A couple of years ago, I did a trailer video clip for Book Baby 1 aka Stronger Within and, if that short clip taught me nothing else, it taught me that I am NOT a narrator! (Here- listen for yourself –
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VObOV6c0FXs )

If my Book Babies are going to find their niche in the audio book world, I’m going to have to find a narrator (or two).
I suspect this is not going to be easy……
I’m not sure if all authors feel the same about their work but I can “hear” it in my head as I read it. That’s the voice I’m searching for!
All four books have been added to ACX.com accompanied by a short audition script. The opportunity to narrate them is being offered on a “royalty share” basis so I suspect my target narrator is someone fairly new to the craft who is looking to build up their portfolio. Is that you? Is it someone you know? Does the person with “the voice” even exist?
Time will tell…….

If you wish to submit an audition please check out the link below:
https://www.acx.com

Who Says Book Promo Has To Be Serious?….

The days in the run up to, and the first few days after, the “birth” of a Book Baby are intense and stressful.

There’s the panic around… “What if no one buys it?” “What if no one turns up to the book launch?” “What if no one likes it?”

There’s the anxiety around receiving feedback…. “What of someone tells me its ugly?” “What if no one rates it?” “What if book reviewers slate it?”

I don’t have nerves of steel, as anyone who knows me will testify to. I fret and worry over every tiny thing in life. My Princess Paranoia head is never far away.

Over the past few years, I have learned that when it comes to receiving feedback on your creative exploits, you need to develop a thick hide and the mindset to not take it personally. Easier said than done…. Book Baby mamas are fiercely protective of their Book Baby young.

At the end of the day, this is YOUR Book Baby that is taking its first tentative steps in the world. Hundreds of hours of your time have been invested in it. In my case, my alpha and beta reads have also invested countless hours proofreading and feeding back to me (something I am eternally grateful to these wonderful people for.)

However, things can’t be taken too seriously. After all, writing should be enjoyable and there’s no harm in having a bit of fun with it all too

a bit of fun collage

 

 

If you’ve not been introduced to Book Baby 4 aka Ellen yet, you can find her here:

Amazon.com link

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

Amazon.co.uk link

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

 

 

 

And relax…… after a whirlwind few days

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I swithered about posting a “blog” this week as, technically, I’ve posted twice already.

It’s been a bit of a whirlwind few days after the release of Book Baby 4 aka Ellen. I have been totally overwhelmed with the love and support that people have shown me. Sales have been ok. Already, Ellen has earned seven 5* reviews on Amazon.co.uk and  two 5* reviews on GoodReads. There has been a great write up in the local newspaper. ( http://www.greenocktelegraph.co.uk/news/16684385.gourock-mum-swaps-life-in-bank-for-rock-band-fantasy/?ref=fbshr )  I’ve almost stopped blushing about that…almost!  There have been numerous lovely congratulatory messages, one of them very special indeed.  Thank you.

So, the ideal way to take stock and relax after all this? ….. well, it had to be a beach walk, didn’t it?

Normal blog service will resume next week….well, whatever passes for normal!

 

Huge thanks again to everyone who has bought a copy of Ellen. If haven’t and feel the urge, the Amazon links are below:

Amazon.com link

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

 Amazon.co.uk link

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

 

 

 

Quote

Ellen By Coral McCallum — Echoes In An Empty Room

Ellen “I vowed to prove them wrong.” Tailz “I believe this is about where we got to before.” Luke “You mess this up and you’re history! Hear me?” Nana “You should be soulmates not lovers.” Emotions run high when Ellen Lloyd steps up to the mic as the new vocalist for rock band After Life. […]

via Ellen By Coral McCallum — Echoes In An Empty Room

Ellen – the launch party replay (in case you missed it)

Did you miss the online launch party yesterday  to celebrate the release of Ellen? You did! OH!!! Not to worry – here’s what you missed. 🙂

15:30     Hi, I’m Rocky, After Life’s manager. Glad you could join us. Go and grab a drink from the bar then pull up a chair.   The band are nearly all here.  I’ll let them introduce themselves in a minute.

bar

 

15:32     Hi folks, I’m Taylor. Nice to see so many familiar faces here to help launch Coral’s book, Ellen. Have you bought your copy yet? No? Oh, you’re missing out on a great read! Ok, so maybe I’m biased as it’s the band’s story but you can use the links below to grab a copy today

Amazon.com link

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

Amazon.co.uk link

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

 

15:35     Hi. I’m Ellen. Glad you made it along today. If time allows, we’ll play a few songs later on tonight. We’ll see how the day goes. True to form, Luke’s running late.  While we’re waiting, here’s a little extract from the book about when Taylor and I first bumped into each other.

Three hours later, as Ellen was trying to pull her large suitcase through a crowded station, her mother’s words echoed in her head. Trying to thread her way through the throngs of commuters was a nightmare. Silently, she cursed her own limitations. For the first time she regretted being so stubborn about being able to cope with travelling into the city by rail on her own.

“Get a grip, Ellen,” she muttered to herself.

She paused to check the signage to determine where she was to exit the unfamiliar station. The next moment, she was knocked off balance by a tall, dark haired guy carrying two guitars and a huge backpack. With a squeal, she felt herself start to fall then felt an arm grab her to stop her. She could feel his strong hand on her upper arm, feel the pressure of his fingers burn into her tender skin.

“Sorry,” he apologized hurriedly. “I was too busy looking for the exit. I never saw you stop.”

“No harm done,” replied Ellen shyly.

His hand was still on her arm and part of her was desperate for him to remove it.

“You sure you’re ok?” he checked.

Adjusting her tinted glasses, Ellen forced a smile. “I’m fine. Thank you.”

“Well, sorry again,” he mumbled. “My mum always did say I should watch where I was going. Guess that’s another thing she was right about.”

“Mums are like that,” she agreed.

“Sorry again,” he apologised. “See you around.”

Without a backwards glance, he disappeared into the crowd. Spotting the sign, she had been searching for, Ellen set off again, heading for the exit.

 

 

15:40     Hi. I’m Luke, Luke Court. Apologies for being late.  Ellen’s asked me to share my guilty pleasure song with you.  Think she’s punishing me for being late. Ok, so my secret guilty pleasure song is Your Song by Elton John.

For a chance to win an e-book copy of Ellen, tell me yours. The winner will be picked at the end of the event.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13GD78Bmo8s

(credits to the owner via You Tube)

 

15:45     Hi. I’m Cal, guitarist and sometime Cookie Monster with After Life. Ellen is the fourth book Coral has written. Have you checked out her other books? The Silver Lake series? No?  You should take a look. They’re FREE to download for today only. We put in an appearance in book two and again in book three.  Oh, and there’s some guy called Jake Power in them that Ellen finds hot!

Ellen: “CAL!” (blushes scarlet)

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 Promo shot

 

15:50     Hi. Coral here. Thanks for coming along today to help launch my new book baby, Ellen. Does anyone have any questions for me about the book, the Silver Lake books or anything in general?  #AskMeAnything

 Q&A

15:55     Ellen: Choosing a song to sing for my first After Life rehearsal was a challenge. You only get one chance to make a first impression and I wanted to get off on the right foot with these guys.  I chose this one.

For another chance to win an e-book copy of Ellen, what would you have chosen? The winner will be picked at the end of the event.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PD-MdiUm1_Y

(credits to the owner via You Tube)

 

16:00     Rocky:  I’ve been working hard to get these kids on a stage near you. All publicity is good publicity. Did you know that a few months back Taylor and Luke were interviewed for Coral’s blog? No? Check out what they had to say.

https://coralmccallum.wordpress.com/2017/08/16/a-little-sneaky-peek-into-the-after-life/

16:05     Coral: As you’ve just read, sometimes as a writer you struggle to connect with your characters or to control them. They have a tendency to misbehave.

Luke: “Do not!”

Coral: Oh, you do!  On occasion, the story can go off at a tangent. This happened with Taylor…

Luke: “Told you I behaved!”

Coral: Luke, stop interrupting! LOL. And we both know you have your moments in this book! Anyway, here’s a little excerpt of where Taylor wandered off on me.

Voices from further up the beach disturbed their peace and quiet and Taylor turned to see where they were coming from. It was two young teenage boys and they were dragging the surfboard out from the cave.

“Wait here,” instructed Taylor bluntly. “I don’t like the look of this.”

Barefoot, he sprinted up the beach towards the two boys, noting with concern how ineptly they were handling the board.

“Hey, guys, where you going with that?” he asked, his tone firm but non-threatening.

“Taking it out to catch a few waves,” replied one, his tone a bit too cocky for Taylor’s liking.

Glancing back at the calm water, Taylor took a deep breath then said, “Put it back. There’s no waves out there.”

“Told you,” muttered the other boy sourly.

“But there’s breakers further out!”

“Put it back,” repeated Taylor. “You’re not strong enough to handle that board so far out. Fact!”

“I suppose you’re an expert,” spat the boy bitterly.

“Not an expert but I’ve surfed these waters for a long time. Today’s not a good day to head out from here. Wind’s all wrong. Tide’s wrong. Now, put that board back!”

The boy dropped it in the sand at his feet, “How are we ever meant to learn?”

“Pardon?”

“If you are stopping us going out when its calm, how are we meant to learn to surf?”

The hint of exasperation in his voice tugged at Taylor’s conscience.

“How much time have you spent trying?”

“Weeks!”

“Can you stand up on the board?”

“No,” muttered the boy, staring down at his suntanned bare feet.

“What about you?” quizzed Taylor, turning his attention to the other boy.

“A bit. My brother showed me some stuff but he’s gone back to the army. Won’t be back for six months.”

“Tell you what. I’ll teach you both how to balance on the board. How to stand up. That’s a lesson best learned on a calm day,” offered Taylor generously.

“You will?”

Taylor nodded, “Now, bring the board down to the water’s edge.”

He ran back down the beach to where he’d left Ellen waiting. Hurriedly, he explained what was going on and admitted that “surf school” was in session for the next couple of hours.

mawgan-porth-beach

 

16:10     Jack: (pulling up a chair at the table) Sorry, was just sorting out my drum kit. Split a drum head while I was warming up earlier.

Rocky: Another one!

Jack: Sorry, boss. What have I missed?

Cal: Buying your round!

Jack: In a minute. Did I miss the big book reveal? I did! Damn. Let’s take another look at the cover anyway. Love that cover shot!

 Ellen final version front cover

16:15     Jen: Hi. I’m Taylor’s sister. Isn’t this amazing?  Much as I love to see After Life on stage, I have to confess that my favourite musical moments are when Tailz plays at home for us.  I love it too when the band are all here and we have a late-night beach barbeque……. Oh, happy memories.

beach bonfire

16:20     Nana: At my age I can’t be doing with these Kindle things. Give me a real book. I like pages to turn. These kids laugh at me. They roll their eyes when I’m offering up my words of wisdom. Well, we’ll see who’s right in the end….

For a chance to win a paperback version of Ellen, tell me, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve had from your elders?  I’ll pick a winner at the end of the event.

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16:25     Taylor: Love that old girl. Don’t know where I would be without her. She plays a mean honky tonk piano. Loves her Scott Joplin. You should hear her play this one.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMAtL7n_-rc

(credits to the owner via You Tube)

16:30     Ellen: Before I slip off to warm up, I want to introduce you to someone. Meet my dad, Tim Lloyd. He’s the one who encouraged me to keep going after what happened. He’s the one that brought me my lyrics journal and has bought me several since.  I couldn’t have made it this far without him.

red leather journal

16:35     Tim Lloyd (blushing): I am so proud of her. So proud that Coral chose to feature Ellen and the boys in her new book. Have you bought your copy yet? Here’s the links in case you missed them earlier.

Amazon.com link

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

Amazon.co.uk link

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

 

16:40     Rocky: I’ll let you in on a little history lesson before we hear the band play. When  I was looking for inspiration for Ellen’s stage costume, I dropped into the British Museum to see if I could get any ideas. Well, I was wandering through the Ancient Egyptian section when I spotted exactly what I was looking for. The Eye of Horus. I’ll let you read up about it yourself (see the link) but the Eye of Horus represents sacrifice, healing, restoration and protection.  Seemed like a good omen for our little songbird.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eye_of_Horus

Coral liked the idea too and used the symbol as her chapter headings.

193576-004-A34E1D0B

 

 

16:45     Taylor: Hope you’ve enjoyed our chat. Before we go, I’ve one last little extract to share from the book. This was the first time Ellen heard me sing.

As Jen and Nana sat down at the table, Jen passed them both a drink.

“You need to earn those,” she teased.

“Just a few songs, Jen,” stated Taylor firmly. “We’re both off duty.”

“You’re never off duty,” retorted his twin. “You have music in your veins instead of blood!”

“Son,” interrupted Nana calmly. “Play me that song your mother loved so much.”

With a nod, Taylor turned to Ellen, “Do you know Everybody’s Talkin’?”

“Sorry. I don’t believe I do,” she confessed, feeling her cheeks flush with embarrassment.

“No worries. It’s an old song.”

Smiling over at his grandmother, Taylor began to play the classic song from Midnight Cowboy, a film that had been one of his mother’s favourites.

“Everybody’s talking at me. I don’t hear a word they’re saying.”

It was the first time that Ellen had heard her band mate sing. The warmth and emotion in his voice tore at her heart as she saw how hard it was for him to sing his mum’s favourite song. One half of her wished she knew the song so she could help him out; the other half of her was captivated by his raw heartfelt performance.

As the song ended, Ellen saw that his eyes were filled with unshed tears.

“Beautiful, son,” complimented Nana proudly. “Now, missy, what are you going to sing for this old woman?”

acoustic-guitar-against-green-wooden-chair-j045kh

16:50     Coral: Thanks for helping to launch book baby 4 and welcome it into the world. Really appreciate all the love and support.  If you want to keep up to date with what is happening in my creative world, the progress on Book Baby 5 (Yes, Jake and Lori will be back late next year – I hope!) or my weekly musings then please check out my blog. Here’s the link

https://coralmccallum.wordpress.com/

16:55     Luke: One last reminder of the links you need to buy your copy of Ellen

Amazon.com link

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

Amazon.co.uk link

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

 

16:58     Rocky: Thank you to all of you for coming along. Time’s caught up with us. The band need to go and get ready to play. Feel free to stay and have another drink or even better, hop onto Amazon and download Coral’s book. Till next time.

 

thank you collage

  (credits to the owners of the images used – sourced from Google)