Tag Archives: #blogging

What to do when the pause button gets pressed on the world….

If in doubt, head to the beach….. well, I self-isolate there on a regular basis anyway.

The sun was trying to shine. The seabirds were swooping and crying. The tide was out meaning Boy Child and I were able to avoid the coastal path for most of the way and stay down on the shoreline. Ok, I might have ended up with slightly wet feet but, for almost two hours ,was heavenly. No news updates to scaremonger. No fretting about the days to come. No stressing about whether the supermarket would have milk or bread or loo rolls next time I need to visit. It was simply a walk along the beach on a nice Spring day. with my son. To look at these pictures you’d never know there was anything wrong with the world.

 

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(Yes, a rare picture of yours truly)

 I even managed to pick up some “treasures” to add to my collection.

Stay safe, folks.

 

You Never Know Who’s Looking….. and where they are from….

Feb 2020

I rarely look at the viewing stats for my blog. Occasionally I’ll take a look to try to gauge how popular a post has been but, in general, I don’t study the stats page on here.

However, I checked it out recently and was left with an unanswered question- how would someone who lives in Qatar find my wee blog?

That got me thinking (Oh no, here she goes again I hear you cry) Where else is everyone from that has kindly taken the time to view my blog this month?

The results surprised me! 22 countries in just 29 days- WOW!!! (I’ll list them at the end for those who want to know which ones)

Then I began to wonder – what attracts people to a blog? In all honesty, I’d love to know the answer to that one as I’m sure many bloggers would!

That thought devolved into – what is a blog and where did they originate?

Cue a bit of Googling…..

 

The generally accepted definition of a blog or weblog, as they were originally known, is “a discussion or informal website on the World Wide Web (why does that feel like an old-fashioned term?) consisting of discrete often informal diary-style text entries (posts)”

 

I guess that about covers it!

 

Other blog traits are that posts are always displayed in reverse chronological order.

There are numerous blog hosts but WordPress currently hosts around 30% (estimate) of all blogs. I struggled to find any numbers to substantiate this but one article suggested that six years ago WordPress had 75.8million blogs listed.

Weblog is a term coined by John Barger in December 1997 then, around eighteen months later, a gentleman called Peter Merholz jokingly split the word into the phrase “we blog”. Shortly after that Evan Williams of Pyra Labs used the term “blog” as both a noun and a verb   – “to blog”- meaning to edit or post to one’s weblog. The term “blogger” followed on naturally.

So, who was the first “blogger”? That’s a point of debate but two possibilities are:-

1-Justin Hall, a journalist and entrepreneur, who began blogging while he was student at Swarthmore College PA in 1994

Justin Hall

2- Ty Inc are recognised as the first company with a commercial blog, In 1995 this took the form of an online diary where customers could vote for the beanie baby of the month. Love beanie babies!!

ty beanie

As an indieauthor, I’ve discovered blogs are a great way to try out new writing genres, market your books, connect with your readers (well, you’re reading this, aren’t you?) and to introduce the world to other indie authors. It can also be a means to get something off your chest but, on the whole, I refrain from ranting via my blog.

For me, personally, this wee blog had been the keystone in my creative journey. I started it on 29 December 2013 to help me overcome my fears of letting people read what I write. (Here’s the link to that very first blog – https://coralmccallum.wordpress.com/2013/12/29/deep-breaths-and-begin/ )

As I reflect now on those earlier blogs, I’ll admit some were better than others. Even now, some are better than others!

But, if you’d told me back at the end of December 2013 that people in 22 countries would have visited my blog in one month, I’d never have believed you.

Another achievement in this surreal creative journey.

Thank you – without YOU, this blog would slip by unnoticed.

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Countries

UK

Algeria

USA

Italy

India

Poland

Turkey

Netherlands

Australia

Canada

Brazil

Qatar

Malaysia

Germany

Greece

Romania

Spain

Russia

South Africa

Bangladesh

New Zealand

Argentina

 

 

 

An Exercise In Patience (poem)

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Piece by piece
Attention to detail
Testing times or timing the test?
Impatience not an option
Endeavour rewarded
Nearing completion
Congratulations abound
End goal achieved with endless patience

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Silently Watching at the Bone Moon- Beyond the Door…..

dark-angel
As the large oak door swung open, his heart was pounding in his chest. Beyond it, he could see a dimly lit room dominated by a large alter-like table.
“Go on,” whispered Trine anxiously. “Don’t keep them waiting.”
Pulling himself up to his full height, he took a deep breath and stepped inside.

The room was circular, suggesting it formed part of a castle tower and was much larger than he’d anticipated. Behind the large table sat three male vampires. There was an empty seat to their right.
“Welcome, Son of Perran,” greeted the gentleman seated in the centre. “Come closer. We don’t bite.”
The vampire’s dark humour caused his companions to laugh.
“My name is Stefan. I am the head of the Court of Elders. To my left is Michael and to my right, Alessandro. We’re delighted you could join us at such short notice.”
All the runner could do was nod silently. His palms were clammy, and he could feel a trickle of sweat running down his back between his wings. Facing the three large male vampires was intimidating but, more worryingly, where was his mother? Trine had assured him that she was one of them.
“She’s not here,” said Alessandro, his accent revealing Italian roots. “We agreed it would be easier to talk if she weren’t here.”
Again, the runner nodded.
“My daughter has told us a little of your history,” continued Stefan. “The Court owes you an apology. Our errant sister should never have brought you into our ways. I am sincerely sorry she has damned you to this life without your full consent.”
“Apology accepted.”
“Most gracious of you. Thank you,” said Stefan with a slight bow of his blonde head. “Please tell us your story, Son of Perran. Start at the beginning. Start with your very first meeting with our wayward sister.”
Fighting to keep his voice steady, he told the Court of Elders about his first sight of the dark angel all those years ago on All Hallows Eve, about the bite and the broken fang on mid-summer’s night then the offer of a partial transformation. He could feel himself becoming emotional as he relayed the tale of how the partial transformation failed, about his Rabbia Sanguigna then the dark angel’s trip to Spain to acquire some of his mother’s blood. As he told how that too had failed, he grew angry and, by the time he was telling the Elders of his final meeting with the dark angel, he could feel his Rabbia Sanguigna rising.
Stefan raised a hand to pause him, poured something from a pewter jug on the table into a goblet and passed it across to him.
“Please, drink,” he instructed softly. “It’ll still that anger, son.
Without protest, the runner accepted the glass and drank deeply, tasting a strong, gamey blood mixed with alcohol.
“And then my daughter found you,” prompted Stefan calmly.
The runner nodded.
“And how do you feel about your vampire existence now, Son of Perran?” enquired Michael. It was the first time he had spoken, and the runner was mildly surprised to hear he was an American.
“I hate it,” he replied honestly. “Don’t get me wrong, the flying’s kind of cool but I don’t enjoy this life. It’s cost me everything I love.”
“That we can understand,” sympathised Stefan with a wistful smile. “You were tricked into it by that woman’s selfish obsession with you and her total disregard for our code of conduct and our rules.”
“She’s been a thorn in our sides for nigh on two centuries,” revealed Alessandro. “We tried to work with her, but she too was ill-conceived. Her creator was a fool. A drunken womanising fool. She’s always been head strong, self-centred and obsessive in her desires.”
“We welcomed her here,” interrupted Michael. “Tried to integrate her into the wider family but she wasn’t interested. She’s been a loose cannon for too long.”
“Trine said you want me to kill her for you,” he said, fixing his gaze on Stefan, brown eyes locked on blue. “Is this true?”
“Sometimes my daughter says too much,” sighed Stefan, a hint of exasperation to his tone. “She is, however, quite correct. We hope to enlist your help in ridding the world of this evil creature once and for all.”
“Why should I help you?” he challenged, suddenly finding a level of confidence he rarely felt.
“You can name your price, Son of Perran. Put simply, if we could kill her ourselves, we would but we can’t. You, however, have a distinct advantage over our centuries of experience. She’s bound to you. That gives you the upper hand here.”
“And I can name anything as my price?”
“Within reason, yes.”
Silence hung in the air between them as the runner considered his options. Pushing any last doubts to one side, he said simply, “I’ll do it on one condition.”
“And that is?”
“Once she’s dead, you kill me.”
The head of the Court of Elders looked to his two companions, who both gave a small nod of consent.
“Agreed,” said Stefan simply.

From the shadows behind the table there was a small barely audible gasp of “No!”

A Dragon’s Tale….

For those of you who have read my Silver Lake series, you will be familiar with the Silver Lake dragon.

The dragon is “born” in the pages of the first book in the series, Stronger Within, when Lori draws it for Jake as a gift.

“Will you sign it?” asked Jake, immediately embarrassed for asking.

With a smile Lori autographed the piece with her distinctive Mz Hyde signature and passed it back to him. “If the band wants to use it, I’m ok with that. If you want to use it as a beer mat, I could get upset,” she joked lightly.

 It’s mentioned in every book in the series in a different guise.

In reality, the original drawing of the Silver Lake dragon (she doesn’t have a name as yet) was gifted to me by a very talented, special artist friend of mine, Fiona Knox, to say “thank you” for taking her to see Slash ft Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators live in concert in Glasgow at the end of 2014. (There’s a whole other rock n roll story there but that’s one for another day.)

The original drawing has been framed and hangs in my hallway. It’s very much admired. Me- well, I love it to bits!

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The dragon first appeared on the cover of Stronger Within in April 2015.

StrongerWithin_Cover3_SmallFile

She made a second appearance in February 2016 on the cover of Impossible Depths – well part of her did!

Actual cover pic

In April 2017, the dragon made her third appearance. This time it was on the cover of the third book in the series, Bonded Souls.

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Around this time, it was also transformed into a limited edition pin by Lost Girl Creations.

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And also a limited edition guitar pick.

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Then last December, when Shattered Hearts was launched, the dragon featured again on the cover.

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And, yes, when the final book in the series comes out in 2021, she will be there again somewhere.

The Silver Lake dragon really is at the heart of my creative journey. To me, she symbolises the dream coming true. She represents all the hours spent writing, typing, spellchecking, proofreading and editing. She’s the visual representation of my “book babies”. I could waffle on for hours but you get the hint.

She’s also a symbol of  love and friendship.

Last weekend, the Silver Lake dragon was recreated once more. Immortalised forever as a part of me.

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Yes, I am now the indieauthor with the dragon tattoo! 😉

(Huge thanks to Tubi at Forevermore Tattoo in Glasgow)

 

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

 

Amazon.com links –

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

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

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

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

 

 

Amazon.co.uk links –

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

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

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

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

If you want to see more Lost Girl Creations check out their Instagram:

https://instagram.com/lostgirlcreations?igshid=1vyoy9do0tfw3

If you want to see more of Tubi’s work check out his Instagram:

https://instagram.com/tubiengipsyheart?igshid=1s4x6fr12ux90

or Forevermore’s website

https://www.forevermoretattoo.co.uk/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Serenity, Solitude and Sunset

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“To go out with the setting sun on an empty beach is to truly embrace your solitude.”

– Jeanne Moreau

Lunch with Riley J ( a Silver Lake inspired interview)

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In early November, I was fortunate enough to be in the audience at the Gramercy Theater, New York, for Garrett Court’s live show to launch his new album, Young Hands, Old Hands, Same Strings.
It was an amazing night of music from Garrett and, in fact, from all the musicians involved. I mean, who can resist Silver Lake’s Jake Power?
One incredible new talent to take to the stage that night was a young lady called Riley Johnson. If you weren’t lucky enough to hear Riley sing on the night, check her out online. You can’t miss her with her distinctive emerald green hair!
After a few enquiries, I managed to track this mystery songbird down and arranged to meet her for a chat. Much to my surprise, Riley suggested that we meet up at Garrett Court’s music store in Greenwich Village.
It was around lunchtime when I arrived at the store and I quickly spotted Riley behind the cash desk. Seeing that she was busy with a customer I took a few minutes to browse the various instruments on display. If you’re in the market for a new guitar, you could do worse than drop by. Garrett’s Store is a veritable Aladdin’s Cave!
Eventually, Riley was free. At her suggestions we headed to a nearby diner to chat over lunch. (I’ll not lie- I was disappointed not to be invited up into the infamous Gothic Palace above the store.)
Sandwiches and coffees ordered, we settled ourselves at a secluded corner table.
“So, Riley, tell me how you came to be appearing on stage last November with the legendary Garrett Court?”
“A combination of luck and a lot of help from Dr Marrs and Jake,” she revealed quietly. Up close Riley is younger than she appears on stage and is a rather shy young lady.
“That’s some pretty big names. Tell me more.”
“Back home, I took a summer school music workshop last summer,” began Riley. Despite her youth, Riley has an amazingly warm husky voice. “Jake was the teacher and, as part of the workshop, he took us out to JJL to record the songs we’d written. There were ten of us. That’s where I met Dr Marrs and Garrett. Garrett helped out for a day while we were in the studio.” Pausing to take a bite out of her sandwich, Riley continued, “A couple of weeks later, I got a call from Dr Marrs asking if I’d like to sing some vocals for Garrett’s record. Trust me, he didn’t need to ask me twice. I jumped at the opportunity. The following week I spent a couple of days out at JJL recording some stuff. It was just Dr Marrs, me and the sound engineer. No Garrett. I recorded four or five songs over the two days. One made it onto the record.”
“Which one was that?”
“Black Heart Dark Mind.”
“Then I guess it was Garrett who invited you along to perform at the show at the Gramercy?”
“No,” revealed Riley with a smile. “It was Jake who set that up. He was up here helping Garrett out. They needed a vocalist and Garrett mentioned some “green haired girl” that had sung on the record. Up til then I don’t think Jake even knew I’d been involved with the album. He recognised me from Garrett’s description. Reached out through my high school principal and, well, here I am.” The teenager giggled. I must say, Riley has a very infectious laugh.
“And now you’re working in the music store?” I enquired, curious to learn the full story here.
“Not so much working as helping out,” Riley replied a little evasively. She paused then said softly, “It’s complicated.”
“Complicated?”
“Things at home weren’t great,” continued Riley, keeping her head bowed. “When Jake called to invite me up here, I grabbed the opportunity. I saw it as my chance for a fresh start. I talked to Garrett. Explained my situation and we reached an agreement. He’s agreed I can stay on at the Gothic Palace, arranged for me to finish up school here. He was real strict about that part. In turn, I help out in the store. I’ll also be going on tour with him later this month.”
“I assume Rehoboth Beach was home? Why couldn’t you go back there?”
“That’s personal. I’d rather not talk about it.”
“Apologies. I didn’t mean to pry.”
“You’re a journalist. It’s your job to pry.”
Riley is a very astute young woman. Changing the subject, I asked, “How is it living with a music legend?”
“Quiet,” giggled Riley. “Garrett is a creature of habit. You could set your watch by him. He’s happy for me to stay but there are a few golden house rules. It’s kind of cool living there though.”
“And what about Jake? Are you still in touch with him?”
“Yes! He’s been awesome. So has his wife. I spent Thanksgiving with them at the beach. They treated me like family.”
“So, would you say Jake was your mentor?”
“Definitely,” Riley replied without hesitation. “I’m going back to stay with him this summer. He talked to Dr Marrs and I’m booked into JJL to record some stuff. The hope is we can pull together an EP or something. We’ll see where that goes.”
“So what does the immediate future hold for you. What’s next?”
“After the tour later this month, I need to focus on finishing school. One of the conditions of staying in New York with Garrett is that I maintain a B+ grade average and graduate from high school.”
“Sounds like a sensible condition. You’re in sensible hands there.”
“Oh, I am!” Riley gushed. “Garrett is more strict with me than my Dad ever was. Jake also keeps a close eye on my grades.”
“And where do you see yourself a year from now?”
“Singing, playing and writing music,” replied Riley before draining the last of her coffee.
“Thanks for your time today.”
“And thanks for lunch. This has been fun.”

I walked Riley back across to the music store. As we walked and talked, she let slip that Garrett was also giving her music lesson and that she had an essay to finish for her History class.
This young rising star is somewhat of an enigma. On the one hand, she’s a very confident musician then on the other, she’s a normal teenage girl fretting about her homework assignment. If she puts as much dedication into her studies as she did into her performance last year on stage at the Gramercy Theater then she should have no issues maintaining and exceeding that B+ grade average.
Details of Garrett Court’s forthcoming tour are available on his website and tickets are on sale now. I’ve already got my ticket and strongly advise you to grab yours before these shows sell out.

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(images sourced via Google – credits to the owners)