Tag Archives: #amwriting

November Newsletter

Hi,
Welcome to this month’s newsletter
Since we last spoke, Book Baby 5 has been my primary focus and it continues to take shape slowly. Having relocated to my new writing corner in the family living room, I am still trying to get into a new writing rhythm. Our living room is usually quite a quiet and empty space, apart from an occasional sleeping cat or two or three…. (I have four in total for those who don’t know) However, since I established my cosy little writing corner, it has become a popular spot!

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Book Baby 5 has moved into the second notebook phase of writing (a full Silver Lake novel usually takes four or five so you can gauge for yourselves how far through it I am) I plan to start the typing marathon in January and will split my creative time between writing and typing to try to spare the pain that hours of typing causes. (Physical pain – I’ve got tendon issues with my left hand)

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As we move into December, I have a series of book giveaways planned so keep an eye on my author Facebook page for Secret Santa Saturdays in December.

Here’s the link:
https://www.facebook.com/coralmccallumauthor/

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Some of you might already know this but I also write a music blog. It’s no secret that I love my music and love going to shows. I have three coming up in December so my music blog is set to get a bit of attention.

If you want to read about some of the shows I’ve been to this year and in previous years, here’s the link:
https://the525toglasgow.wordpress.com/

I also hope to have a “guest” writer on my blog in December. I’m not giving any hints/clues but I think you’ll enjoy the short story that they have to share with you. This is something I hope to do more of as we move into 2019. Would you be interested in seeing a “guest” around here once a month or so? Are you interested in being a “guest”? If so, please message me.

If you have any questions for me about writing, about the books, about my blog or are perhaps interested in reviewing the books, please leave a comment below or message me via my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/coralmccallumauthor/?ref=bookmarks
If there’s anything you would like to see included in future newsletters, please let me know.
Thanks for all the ongoing love and support. It is very much appreciated and helps keep the fires of creative motivation burning.

Have a beautiful day and happy reading

Coral x

Book links:
Ellen
Amazon.com link

Amazon.co.uk link

Silver Lake Series
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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Define Success……. Go On I Dare You To…

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Like many indie authors and bloggers I have “liked” and “joined” numerous….ok countless….author and book promotion Facebook groups and pages. I use these as a means to promote my author page, this blog and my book babies and very rarely comment on any discussion style posts.

Recently one caught my attention… “Do we have anyone in here with a lot of success?”

Initially I read it and scrolled on…. but it was bugging me….so I scrolled backup and replied.

“Define success? It means something different to each of us. If you mean “Do I feel I have succeeded with my writing?” then the answer is “yes” as I have told folk a story that entertained them and caused an emotional response. If you quantify success as hard cash then you’re in the wrong game. There’s more to life than money when there’s a story to be told.”

My response was well received by other members of the group.

And I stand by what I said.

It took me a long time to think of my writing as being successful in any shape or form. Self-publishing my first novel in 2015 was a surreal experience. It took me so far out of my comfort zone! Even having published three more novels, it still feels surreal.  Seeing my name on the cover of those books feels like a dream I am about to be rudely awakened from. However, as time has passed, I’ve come to realise that I’ve achieved something pretty special. Well, it’s pretty special to me.

How many people can say they’ve seen one of their lifelong dreams come true?

I can and that genuinely makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Makes me feel successful in my own quiet way.

I’ve been incredibly fortunate that no one yet has said my book babies are ugly. Seeing them sitting on Amazon.co.uk with lots of twinkling stars and multiple reviews makes me feel proud of what I’ve achieved (with the love and support of my Infamous Five and my cavalry) Seeing them with stars and reviews on Amazon.com, which is such a huge arena, blows my mind. It makes me feel successful in my own quiet way.

You can’t put a price on the emotions you experience when someone tells you they’ve loved your book and that it’s evoked an emotional response whether it be laughter or tears. Feedback like that is truly priceless.

If indie authors and bloggers were in it purely for the money, there wouldn’t be many of us left. FACT!

Let’s be honest, unless you strike it really lucky and your work lands before the right person at the right time and catches their eye then, chances are you’re not making a huge income, if any. I half-joked when I published my first novel that I hoped to earn enough to cover my concert ticket budget. My royalties come nowhere near to covering it! Most months they would barely cover the cost of a couple of coffees.

Authors are storytellers. We write to tell the story that’s grown inside us. At the risk of sounding cheesy for a minute, writing is a passion and I’ve always maintained that as soon as I stop feeling the love for it, I’ll stop.

But, do people realise the length of time it takes to pull an article/blog together or the number of hours of work a short story requires? Or the hundreds of hours a novel requires?

I’ll use this blog as an example and it’s not a long piece. It has taken me roughly an hour to write and re-draft and it’s taken another hour or so to type and re-draft again then say it will take ten minutes to publish it. That’s about 2-3 hours work. And guess what – it doesn’t earn me any royalties?

Last week, I published a short story on this blog page.  The word count was roughly 4000 words. It took me about four hours to write it. It took another couple to re-draft it, another couple to type it then fifteen minutes to post it. Let’s call it eight hours of work. And guess what – that didn’t earn me any royalties either.

Novels take months of effort. I really should take note of the time spent writing, typing, editing etc one of these days. All in all, it’s probably about four hours of work in total per thousand words ( rough guesstimate). My novels so far have ranged from 107000 words to 186 000 words. Let’s do the maths – that gives us about 428 -744 hours of work and that’s before you factor in the time to design the cover, the time my alpha readers (my Infamous Five) and my beta readers (the cavalry) donate and the time to upload the file to Amazon for publication…… and then there’s marketing and promotion to be done…..

The current National Minimum Wage in the UK is £7.93 per hour.

If I had been paid that for writing Ellen, my latest and shortest novel, that would have earned me £3400 approximately. To date, Ellen has generated around £100 in royalties.

I personally don’t define success in respect of my writing in terms of hard cash. If it was about the money, I’d have closed over my notebook and put the lid back on my pen a long time ago.

Success for me is about seeing people enjoying what I write. It’s about folk saying I’ve made them laugh or cry. It’s about entertaining readers. It’s about telling the story and setting my characters free from my imagination.
So, next time you read over a short story in your lunchbreak or a blog post, pause to think of the time and effort that went into making it a success.

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(images sourced via Google – credits to the owners)

Silently Watching On The Night Of The Mourning Moon

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He stood gazing out into the pitch-black November morning, trying to quash the urge rising rapidly inside him. It was Friday. Seventeen weeks had passed since his partial transformation at the hands of the dark angel. As the weeks had passed, he found himself eagerly awaiting Fridays. For seventeen weeks though there had been no sign of the angel. He hadn’t caught so much as a glimpse of her. As he stood drinking his coffee, he wondered where she was hiding and when their paths would next cross.
“Daddy!”
The shrill wail from his young son brought him hurriedly back to the present.
“The cat scratched me!” sobbed the little boy, eyes brimming with tears.
“Well, if you’d leave her tail alone,” he began then stopped dead in his tracks.
There were three long red scores on the back of his son’s small hand. Drops of blood were oozing through the damaged skin.
“Go and show Mum,” he instructed as calmly as he could. “She’ll clean it up.”
As the first tears escaped down the child’s cheeks, he turned and ran from the kitchen screaming, “Mummy!”
Heart pounding, a cold sweat beading on his forehead, he let out along sigh. Inside, he was on fire, fighting back the urge to run after the child. Even from where he stood, he could smell and almost taste the fresh blood.
“Only a few more hours,” he thought. “The flask’ll be there. I’ll be fine.”
As time had passed, the effects of his limited blood rations were wearing off quicker and quicker.
A movement beside the table caught his attention. It was the family cat. In a flash, he grabbed her. Without a second thought, he bit deep into her shoulder and began to drink.
“What are you doing to that poor cat?” scolded his wife as she entered the kitchen with their still sobbing son on her hip. “Put her outside.”
Keeping his back to his family, he opened the door and set the stunned cat free. She shot off into the darkness with an indignant hiss.
Discretely wiping his mouth clean, he muttered, “I’m off. I’ll see you after work.”
“Bye bye, Daddy,” called the little boy as he watched him march out into the hallway towards the front door.

Once in the car, he leaned over the icy cold steering wheel and groaned. That had been close! That had scared him as much as the family’s cat. Her fresh tangy blood had tasted divine. But, he’d bitten the family pet without a thought……. the thought of that made his blood run cold.
Subconsciously, his hand went to his trouser pocket, seeking the velvet bag containing the crystals and the feather. He needed to talk to the dark angel. He needed her reassurance and some answers. He needed them now!

Hoping that no one was watching him, he drove down the hill then turned into the narrow unlit single-track road, coming to a halt beside the gates of the cemetery. Without bothering to take the key out of the ignition, he abandoned the car and slipped into the graveyard. In the dark, he managed to find a small white pebble then carefully placed it on the bench as agreed. As he climbed back into his car, he prayed that she would see the sign and be waiting for him when he returned later.

From her vantage point on the church roof, the dark angel watched him place the pebble on the wooden bench. Something about the scene troubled her. Something felt out of balance. Her fledgling had appeared distressed.
Swiftly, she swooped down from her perch in an attempt to follow him. Deciding to break her own code of ethics, she sought to catch up with him to listen into his thoughts. If he reached the dual carriageway before she caught up with him though she wouldn’t be able to keep pace with the car. Luck was on her side and he was stuck in a queue waiting to join the fast-moving traffic on the main road. Keeping to the shadows high above the line of cars, the dark angel filtered through the melee of thoughts until she tuned into his.
Instantly, she recoiled and flew back to her preferred spot on the church roof. She needed to think.
“Rabbia Sanguigna,” she whispered as she watched the first streaks of daylight emerge. “But how to calm it?”
With no time to waste, she left her perch to return home to seek a solution.

On the drive home, he cranked up the volume on the car’s stereo, hoping futilely that some loud music would drown out the day he had just endured. The few mouthfuls of the cat’s blood had calmed him somewhat by the time he had arrived at work. Riddled with guilt at attacking the family pet, he had kept himself to himself all morning. He’d gone through the motions of meeting his work commitments while his brain tried to work out what had caused that morning’s incident. At lunchtime, he’d phoned home to check all was well and discretely asked if the cat had come back. His heart sank when his wife said that she’d returned scared and with a nasty wound on her shoulder. She commented that she thought perhaps the cat had got into a fight with the ginger tom cat from across the street. Muttering something about it “being natural for cats to fight,” he’d made his excuses and cut the call short. The rest of the afternoon had dragged on endlessly.
As he drove towards the village, he began to wonder if it was actually safe for him to return home…..

As had become his usual Friday routine, he parked the car at the local convenience store and walked up the hill to the graveyard. He’d slipped easily into the routine of visiting the cemetery then visiting the shop to buy a small treat for the kids before driving up the hill and home.
An icy wind was blowing and he shrugged himself deeper into his warm jacket, still chilled to the core by the morning’s events. Stuffing his hands deep into his pockets, he trudged up the steep hill, praying that the dark angel had got his message and was waiting for him.

With her wings drawn round her to ward off the cold, the angel stood deep in the shadows beside the tree where she had placed the flask of fresh blood. Her acute senses detected his presence long before he climbed the worn steps and entered the dark graveyard. She could hear his heart pounding; she could feel the confusion raging inside him. Her heart went out to him. There was no denying that this setback was going to be a challenge for him.
“Good evening, son of Perran,” she greeted softly as he reached into the hollow in the tree trunk to retrieve the flask.
“Jeez, you scared me,” he gasped almost dropping the pewter flask.
“You summoned me, so surely you expected me to be here,” commented the angel calmly.
“Yeah, I did,” he acknowledged wearily.
“Drink then we’ll talk,” she commanded.
Hungrily, he drained the flask of every drop within seconds. The blood as usual was still warm but this week tasted thicker and meatier than usual. Almost instantly he felt the craving diminish.
“Needed that,” he said as he screwed the lid back on.
“I noticed,” commented the dark angel taking the empty flask from him. “Now, do you want to tell me about what happened this morning?”
Sensing that she already knew exactly what had happened, he bowed his head and confessed quietly, “I almost bit my son. He had a scratch. It was bleeding, I came too close to biting him for comfort. I bit the cat instead. Drank some of her blood.”
“I know,” said the angel, her tone soothing and filled with understanding. “The cat survived though. How did she taste?”
“Are you seriously asking me how the cat tasted?” he snapped, anger surging through him. “I almost bit my own son!”
“Did the cat’s blood satisfy you, son of Perran? Yes or no?”
“Kind of,” he admitted. “It tasted tangy. Not sweet. Not sour. It was only a few mouthfuls.”
“And you didn’t drain her dry?”
“No,” he replied. “My wife interrupted me.”
“You managed to show some restraint then. Would you have killed the cat if she hadn’t interrupted you?”
Silently, he nodded.
Almost tenderly, she reached out and touched his arm.
“Rabbia Sanguigna.”
“Pardon?”
“Blood rage,” translated the angel calmly. “Not uncommon in fledglings. It’s dangerous though. Unpredictable.”
“Great,” he muttered sourly. “So, now what do I do? What does it mean?”
“Two things, son of Perran,” she said staring deep into his soul. “You need blood more regularly than planned.”
“I’d worked that bit out.”
“And, secondly, you have developed a desire to hunt. You’re craving fresh, living blood.”
“Human blood?” he asked, dreading the answer.
“Not necessarily.”
He sighed and ran his cold fingers through his hair. “Ok, how do we sort this mess out? I thought partial transformation meant I didn’t need to kill things?”
“And you don’t. You just need to feed from a living being. It’s part of the condition.”
“And how exactly am I going to do that?”
“Calm down, son of Perran,” she cautioned firmly. “The blood you just drank was stronger. It should quench your thirst for a few days. I need time to work out a compromise here.”
“Time?” he spat angrily. “And while you work it out, am I meant to bite the cat every morning to stop me hurting my kids or my wife?”
“If you feel you must.”
“Christ, this is not happening,” he muttered, turning his back on her as a cold wave of fear rose up inside him.
“Meet me here on Sunday morning. Early. Just as the sun rises,” she commanded. “I’ll work out the solution by then.”
“Are you sure you will?”
“Quietly confident,” replied the angel. “But, as a precaution, I’ll bring another flask of blood for you.”
“Fine,” he sighed, realising that it was the only option open to him.
“Till Sunday, son of Perran.”
With a swoosh of her wings, she was gone into the darkness.

The dark angel didn’t retreat very far, flying only as far as her mausoleum hidden deep in the woods near the cemetery. As the clouds parted to reveal the full Mourning Moon, she perched on the roof of her home deep in thought. She wasn’t inhuman enough to be oblivious to the runner’s pain and fears. He was a mere hundred and nineteen days old, a baby in vampire terms. Where had her original partial transformation gone so wrong? Seventeen weeks before, she had been so careful and precise with her preparations. From her observations, he too had obeyed her instructions to the letter. There had to be something she was missing – something obvious.
It was almost dawn before the realisation struck her. She already knew they were blood related through her creator but for the Rabbia Sanguigna to be so strong there had to have been another vampire in his bloodline more recently. It had to be someone directly related to him.
With this revelation clearing her thoughts, the dark angel entered the mausoleum to prepare for her Sunday morning rendezvous with her fledgling.

Rain was lashing down on Sunday morning as he left the house just before eight on the pretence of going for a long run. The single-track road was slippery underfoot and, in his hurry, he fell twice, ripping the skin from his knee on the rough road surface. A warm trickle of blood ran down his shin.
Limping slightly, he reached the graveyard then sought shelter beside the tree. Optimistically, he reached into the hollow hoping to find the flask waiting for him. Nothing.
“Good morning, son of Perran,” she whispered in his ear. “Come.”
Obediently, he stepped forward then felt her wings embrace him as the world darkened around him.

When he opened his eyes, he looked round, immediately recognising the angel’s candlelit mausoleum home. As before, a black velvet cloth was spread out on the bench with various objects carefully laid out on it, including the goblet and the dagger.
“I need your permission to determine something,” she began, her voice soft and soothing. “I fear something in your more recent history has corrupted the transformation and triggered the blood rage.”
He stared at her in silence.
“May I read your thoughts, son of Perran?” she asked. “I may need to probe far back into your memories. I feel it only fair to advise you that nothing will be hidden from me.”
Remaining silent, he nodded.
The angel’s presence in his memories felt like wisps of smoke gradually wafting through him. At some points, he knew exactly which memories she was analysing. At others, she was deep inside memories he had gone to great lengths to bury. The sensation wasn’t unpleasant but knowing she was reading his entire life story unsettled him.
“Thank you,” said the angel eventually. “I’m sorry I had to do that to you. There really was no other way. I am uncomfortable scrying souls in that manner. I find it invasive.”
“Did it help?” he asked, feeling emotionally and mentally violated.
“Yes, son of Perran, it did,” replied the angel, still processing the information that she had gleaned from him.
“And?”
“There is a living vampire in your blood family,” she revealed plainly. “The blood DNA that you share with them is what has led us to where we are.”
“A vampire in my family? My side of the family?”
The angel nodded.
“I’ll keep this simple,” she began. “I cannot guarantee to rid you of the Rabbia Sanguigna. I can however try. This will need to be done in stages though.”
“Just tell me what we need to do here!” he snapped, his patience wearing thin.
Gazing longingly at the fresh wound on his knee, the dark angel replied, “Three things. First, you will drink the blood potion I am about to prepare. Second, you will need to learn to hunt for yourself. I need to take a trip. I fear it might be a long journey.”
“And the third thing?”
“When I return, you will need to drink the blood of your family member.”
He stared at her, his large brown eyes wide but darkened by an intensity she had never seen before, an anger that she never knew he possessed.
“There is no other way,” explained the angel. “Unless you want to live with the blood rage.”
“Fine,” he conceded. “But, I’m not killing anything.”
“If you can demonstrate some restraint then you don’t need to kill anything,” she assured him. “Now, quiet, while I prepare something for you to drink.”
For a few minutes, the angel busied herself preparing the blood draught for her fledgling.
“Pass me the opal and the moonstone from the bag you carry,” she instructed bluntly.
Without a word, he handed her the two crystals then watched as she shaved off a few particles into the same ornate goblet as before. Her hand then reached for a third crystal, a turquoise, and she did the same with it.
Handing him the three small stones, the angel explained, “I’ve added more opal to counteract any physical changes, the moonstone to support the intermingling of species and the turquoise for protection. Turquoise heals and promotes inner calm. In combination, they should reduce the effects of the Rabbia Sanguigna. I’ll add a little oak to give you strength.”
“Do you need blood from me?” he asked, an air of resignation to his tone.
“A few drops,” she replied, passing him the dagger. “Prick your thumb for me. I need five drops.”
He flinched as the tip of the dagger pierced the pad of his right thumb but maintained a stoic air of silence. The five drops of blood fell easily into the goblet. Lifting the pewter flask, the angel poured a small amount of blood into the cup then stirred the contents with the tip of the dagger.
“Drink.”
In one long mouthful, he drained the goblet.
“And this,” she instructed, passing him the flask.
As before, the blood tasted warm and gamey.
“What is this?” he asked as he handed the empty flask back.
“Deer’s blood,” revealed the angel.
Getting to her feet, she reached for his hand, “Time to teach you how to hunt. Come.”

For over two hours, the angel patiently talked him through how to choose a suitable target; how to stalk his prey; how to catch it and how to drink from it without killing it. The only exceptions to the “no killing” rule were birds. “Too little blood to survive the hunt. Weak hearts,” she explained dismissively, as if it were the most natural thing in the world.
He proved to be adept at catching rodents and rabbits but birds remained a challenge. Methodically, the angel coached him through where to bite to avoid being bitten then she suggested that they turn their attention to larger prey- sheep and cows. Initially, he balked at the thought. However, when the angel explained the volume of blood they offered, he could see the attraction.
By late morning, he had more than drunk his fill and was tired of chasing unsuspecting animals.
“Enough,” he said, pausing to catch his breath. “How often will I need to do this?”
“You’ll need to drink at least a flask full twice a week until I return,” advised the angel. “I’ll leave tonight but I can’t guarantee how long I’ll be gone. My senses are telling me that the family member I am seeking is not at home. Reaching them will take time.”
“Will there be any new side effects that I need to watch out for?” he asked, not wanting a repeat of the cat incident.
“Maybe. I’m not sure,” she admitted honestly. “Be vigilant. Stick to the prescribed ration, drink your mugwort tea, keep the crystals close and all should be well until I return.”
“How long will you be gone for?”
“Impossible to say. Three weeks. A little more perhaps,” she guessed. “Keeping the blood warm for the return journey will be the challenge. It needs to stay human body temperature to prevent it spoiling.” She paused then added, “When I’m back, I’ll contact you.”
“And if you don’t come back?”
“Stick to the regime.”
Feeling a little overwhelmed, he nodded.

As the angel prepared to depart, he finally found the courage to ask the question that had been burning inside him all morning.
“Who is it?”
Staring deep into his troubled soul with her green eyes, the dark angel said simply, “Your mother.”
Before he could reply, she spread her wings and soared out of sight.
“She’s in Spain,” he said to the space where the angel had stood seconds beforehand.

Hunting proved to be more enjoyable than he had expected. In an effort to divert attention away from his vampire needs, he’d started to run in the evenings on a more regular basis. He varied his routes, seeking sustenance from the local fields of sheep and cows and from the woodland rabbits and mice. Quickly, he established that mice and voles were not to his taste – too acidic. Rabbit had a similar tangy taste to it that the cat had had. From the options open to him, cows proved to be his preferred blood source.
The thrill of the chase was proving to be addictive and, after almost three weeks, he realised he was hunting almost daily. Was he drinking too much blood? How could he tell if he was? Mentally, he filed the question away, vowing to ask it when the angel finally returned.
On the third Friday night since the full Mourning Moon, he returned from his run just as his wife was chasing the kids upstairs to bed.
“I’ll see to them,” he offered.
As he helped his young son to brush his teeth, the little boy commented, “I want teeth like you, Daddy.”
“How do you mean?” he asked curiously.
“Sharp jaggy teeth,” replied the little boy innocently.
Instantly, he looked up and stared into the mirror above the basin. Sure enough, his canine teeth had begun to stretch into sharp points. – fangs!
Out in the hallway, the family cat sat watching warily.

Eviction Notice Served ……

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Two weeks ago I was served with my eviction notice from my creative corner in the family kitchen by The Big Green Gummi Bear.

It came as a bit of a blow……

For the past five plus years I’ve used the kitchen table as my desk. (Well, used it when the weather meant I couldn’t write outside) I shudder to think how many hours have been spent sitting plotting, writing or typing at it. I’ll admit 99% of the time it looked as though a bomb had gone off on it. It was cluttered and messy but it was MY creative clutter and mess. MY space.

 

Long story cut short, after a major re-arrangement of the garage to accommodate The Big Green Gummi Bear’s new car, the freezer was brought into the kitchen and placed in MY writing corner. While I was out, the table was moved into the centre of the room.

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This blow was beautifully softened by The Big Green Gummi Bear- Santa was going to bring me a present. Santa was even going to bring me my present two months early. Santa was going to bring me a writing bureau!

For the past two weeks, I’ve sat at the kitchen table, in the middle of the floor, and felt like I was in the middle of No Man’s Land. Everything was still on the table, but away from it’s corner position, I felt exposed! Creative progress was slow…very slow!

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On Tuesday 23rd, two months and two days early, Santa came!

My writing bureau arrived!

 

By the time I came home from the salt mine, it had been positioned snugly in the corner of the family living room. I had a new creative corner home.

But….. would it feel the same?

I am a terrible creature of habit. I’m not even going to try and deny it. I hate moving house, moving rooms around, rearranging the furniture etc. I understood completely that I needed to move out of the comfort zone of the kitchen but would the living room feel the same?

After dinner on Tuesday, I moved all of my creative “stuff” out of the kitchen and into the living room. I made it a swift clean break. However, I took my time setting up the top portion of my new desk, satisfying myself that everything fitted into one of the small storage spaces and remained within easy reach. I never sat down to write anything – not one word.

On Wednesday, I spent the morning sifting through the contents of the two plastic storage boxes that had lived under the kitchen table. (Did I mention that I have kept every word I have written for the past five and a half years plus some older stuff I found too? I can’t bear to part with these old notebooks!)  I did clear out some old junk, stuff that had found its way into the crates over the years – two trash bags of junk (ok, two small trash bags of junk)- then set about stowing my notebooks away in my small cupboard space. I was quite pleased with myself that I managed to totally empty one crate. (Don’t tell The Big Green Gummi Bear but the other one is now stashed in the cupboard under the stairs.)

My new work space was finally set up.

 

But, would I feel comfortable sitting writing at it?

To be honest, I had no choice but to sit at my new desk to write. There was nowhere else to go!

I already knew what I was going to start with….. but would the creative juices flow?

I needn’t have worried. I’ve settled right into my new corner. It’s cosy. I can burn my candles with minimum complaint from The Big Green Gummi Bear. There are no cooking smells disrupting my train of thought. I’ve even brought Alexa with me so I have my music too. It feels like creative home sweet home.

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However I do feel like a bit of a traitor as I look at the bare kitchen table sitting forlornly in the middle of the room…..

 

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Red Wine and Candlelight (flash fiction)

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The creamy white candle flickered in its glass votive holder on the low coffee table. Two glasses of red wine sat beside the jasmine scented votive – one full; one half empty.
He was late. Thirteen minutes late.
Fidgeting restlessly, she tugged at the hem of her little black dress then adjusted the deep neckline, pulling the dress down to reveal more of her cleavage, conscious that she had a photo to live up to. For the fiftieth time, she re-read their message chain from earlier in the day to reassure herself that he was definitely coming.
It would be the first time they would actually meet face to face. Since they’d met online thirteen days before, they had messaged each other constantly. They had exchanged photos. They had talked on the phone late into the night.
He was late. Twenty-six minutes late.
Lifting her glass, she took another mouthful of cabernet sauvignon then sat down on the couch, stretching her long, bare, slender legs out in front of her. Her heart was pounding. Where was he? Why was he late? Why hadn’t he called or messaged her? What if he’d changed his mind? Imagining all sorts of scenarios, she watched the time tick by……
He was late. Thirty-nine minutes late
The doorbell chimed.
Taking a deep breath, she got up from the settee. She checked her dress was sitting properly then walked slowly in her stiletto heels to the front door. With her heart pounding, she reached to open the door.
There he was. All six foot two of him. Tall, muscled, close cut hair. He was holding a bunch of red roses and a bottle of wine. He smiled; her heart skipped a beat.
“I’m so sorry,” he apologised as he stepped into the hall. “I got held up at work.”
“I was getting worried. You could’ve called.”
“Sorry. Phone’s flat.”
Together they entered the candlelit lounge. An awkward silence hung in the air as they stood face to face for the first time. He towered over her. His grey/blue eyes looked her up and down, slowly undressing her as a small smile formed at his lips.
“You look amazing,” he complimented, presenting her with the flowers and wine. “These are for you.”
“Thanks. I’ll just pop them in some water,” she replied, inhaling the heady perfume of the blood red roses. “Take your jacket off. Make yourself at home. There’s a wine for you on the table.”
As she stood at the sink, filling her only vase with cold water, her hands were trembling. He was here. He was as hot as his profile pictures had led her to believe. He was everything she had imagined and then some.
When she returned to the living room, he’d taken off his jacket and draped it over the back of the chair. Sitting on the couch, she could see the outlines of his tattoos through his crisp white shirt.
“Will I put some music on?” she suggested, trying to sound calmly confident.
“Sounds good,” he agreed as he lifted the full glass of wine.
Within a moment or two, she had plugged her phone into the speaker and had one of her favourite Spotify playlists playing. Smiling at him, she crossed the room and sat beside him on the couch.
“So, how was your day?” she enquired as she lifted her own glass to her lips.
He was here. Thirteen minutes after he arrived they were deep in conversation.
Three songs later, he set his glass down, took hers from her and said, “Let’s dance.”
“Here? Now?”
No one had ever asked her to dance in her own living room.
“Here. Now,” he repeated, taking her hand.
He was here. Twenty-six minutes after he arrived they were dancing a slow dance in the middle of the living room.
As the last notes of her favourite song faded out, he bent down and began to kiss her. Placing his hand on the small of her back, he drew her towards him. She could smell the exotic spice of his aftershave. Lifting her hair back, he slowly and sensually kissed the sensitive spot behind her ear. She moaned softly as he ran the tip of his tongue down her neck. Teasingly, he ran his tongue along the length of her collar bone then resumed kissing her hard on the lips. She could feel his tongue forcing her lips apart as he kissed her harder. As she parted her lips a little further she felt him bite the inside of her lower lip hard. The fresh ferrous taste of blood filled her mouth as he continued to kiss her. Putty in his hands, she became aware of a tell-tale twitch deep inside her. Suddenly, she felt wet and ready for him to take her right there on the living room floor. From the bulge in his jeans that was pressing into her, he was experiencing the same desires. Her mind began to fantasise over what would happen next. Was he as long and hard as she hoped? She felt his hand cup her breast firmly then felt the pressure of his thumb as it moved in a circular rhythm. Through the fabric of her dress and padding of her bra, she knew her pierced nipples were erect.
Oh, she could surrender herself to this guy in a heartbeat.
He moved his hand from the base of her spine and, before she had time to wonder where he was going to caress her next, she felt a fiery, hot pain thrust up through her ribcage. She felt the coolness of the sharp blade as it plunged deep inside her. She felt her own warm blood flow freely to soak the silky fabric of her little black dress. Around her, the living room began to fade out.
He was gone. Thirty-nine minutes after he’d arrived she lay dead on the floor, stabbed through her romantic heart.
The candle flickered and guttered as the flame died.

 

(image sourced via Google – credits to the owner)

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

 

 

 

Book Baby 4- waiting for the stork to arrive

Stork 3

I’m fidgety. I’m growing impatient. I’m clock watching. I’m restless. I’m not sleeping well (ok, I seldom sleep well). I can’t concentrate on my writing.

It can only mean one thing….. I’m on the final count down to the arrival of Book Baby 4 aka Ellen.

Ellen final version front cover

Ellen is all set to be released on 1 September and this period feels a bit like the calm before the storm. In reality, there is very little calm about me (“No change there,” I hear my friends cry!)

The hard work is complete. The story has been told. Finally, the spellchecking and editing are done. Several ARC copies have been circulated for review. UPS are due to deliver the final paperback proof copy tomorrow (Please don’t let it get lost!) I’ve sense checked the Kindle edition. Pre-order for the e-book has been set up worldwide on Amazon. I’ve drafted the “script” for the online launch party. I’ve even ordered some promo guitar picks to use as a giveaway item.

What have I forgotten? What have I missed?

While I was stressing about things to a friend earlier, they described me as a “pro”. I fell about laughing.

This may be Book Baby 4 but I don’t feel like a “pro” at anything! A pro at stressing and worrying maybe!

When I’d stopped giggling, I did reflect on the comment. I know I am my own worst critic, not just of my creative efforts but in most aspects of life. One thing I appreciate hough is how incredibly fortunate I have been on this creative journey over the past few years. I may not have sold thousands of books but no one has said that my book babies are “ugly”. All three to date have earned heart-warming reviews and are enjoying 4.5/5 star status on Amazon.co.uk. It’s taken a while, a long while, but I am proud of what I have achieved so far. It totally blows my mind to think that people from all around the globe have downloaded and hopefully read the stories that I have created in the comfort of my kitchen (and the front doorstep).

I may be an “indie author” but I couldn’t have made it so far along this creative journey without the love and support and tolerance of some very special people (You know who you are)

So, all that’s left for me to do is to try to be patient and wait for 1st September to arrive so that I can introduce you to my new book baby, Ellen.

In the meantime, if you want to show your love and support for this wee anxious indie author, you could perhaps be so kind as to pre-order the Kindle edition of Ellen here:

Amazon.com link

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

Amazon.co.uk link

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

Or you can accept the open invite to the online launch party

https://www.facebook.com/events/1634651586662114/

And me?

Well, while I’m waiting I might as well continue work on Book Baby 5, the next instalment in the Silver Lake series,

An indie author’s work is never done!