Tag Archives: #books

This “proper/improper” author is celebrating some book baby birthdays….

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A few weeks ago, someone, who for their own safety should remain nameless, suggested that I wasn’t a “proper” author.
Biting my tongue at the time, I felt a red mist of anger swirl in around me.
Define a “proper” author?
Apparently, I was duly informed by this nameless soul, its an author who has a publisher.
I have a publisher. It’s KDP.
The exchange  hasn’t rested easy with me then I noticed the date that was approaching and smiled – 15th April.
Today marks the fourth birthday of my KDP published debut contemporary romance novel, Stronger Within.
Today also marks the second birthday of my third KDP published contemporary romance novel, Bonded Souls.

150418 birthday

Proper or improper author, seeing my name on the cover of a “real” book truly was a dream come true moment that will live with me forever.
Almost six years have passed since I began this creative journey. If you are a regular follower of this blog, you know the story. For those newer followers, I literally sat down on my front doorstep in the early evening sunshine on 8th May 2013 and began to write a story. I began to write just for me. I began to chase down that dream come true moment.
So far there have been four book baby dream come true moments (births). Each one has been special. Each one has been unique.
While three of the books form part of the Silver Lake series, they are all individual book babies who came with their own challenges. Like all children that we give birth to, they are related but different and each one is precious to me.
Book Baby 5 is still a work in progress and this is proving to be a bit of a “bumpy” creative pregnancy however I’m still on track…. more or less…. for a 2019 Book Baby birth.
The last six years have been incredible from a creative perspective. It’s been a steep learning curve and a hell of a lot of hard work and I don’t regret a second of it.
I’ve blogged about Stronger Within’s birth and Bonded Souls’ arrival into the world before. What? You missed those blogs? Don’t worry, here’s the links –

https://coralmccallum.wordpress.com/2015/04/15/stronger-within-the-dreams-come-true/

https://coralmccallum.wordpress.com/2017/04/20/book-baby-motherhood-the-toddler-phase/

So, after four years as a published author, have I overcome the fears I mention in those previous blogs? No! Have I reconnected again with Silver Lake characters? Yes! Have I stopped blushing whenever I receive a compliment about the books? No!
This hasn’t been a journey I’ve tackled alone. There are a small group of wonderful friends who provide the love and support, the alpha and beta reader duties and who help to keep me motivated when the demons of self-doubt creep in. You guys know who you are and I love each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart. Couldn’t have come so far along this crazy creative road without you.
I describe myself as an indie author.
As far as I’m concerned, I’m proud to be a part of the indie author community. I’m proud of my book babies. I’m beyond proud of their Amazon and Good Reads ratings. Who would ever have thought that I’d earn 5* reviews for a book I’d written? I’m proud of the fact I’ve earned royalties every month. OK, most months the payment wouldn’t cover the cost of a cup of coffee but I’ve earned something from my writing.
So, am I a proper author?…… I’ll let you decide.

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To celebrate being  Book Baby Mummy to two books celebrating their birthdays today, they are both FREE  to download to Kindle for the day.
If you’ve not met Jake and Lori yet, not is your chance.
If you’re a Silver Lake fan, then thank you for your love and  support. There will be news about Book Baby 5 soon. Book four in the Silver Lake series is coming…..promise!
Happy reading! 😊
Amazon.com links –
Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VXDSC1M
Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XSQHG71

Amazon.co.uk links –
Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00VXDSC1M
Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XSQHG71

some images sourced from Google – credits to the owners

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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.

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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?”

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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)

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!

 

 

 

Cover Reveal Event – all welcome

Ellen cover reveal banner
Folks,

I’d like to cordially invite you to the online Cover Reveal event being held on 14 July ay 8pm UK time.

Yes, the time is almost upon us to reveal both the cover and the release date of Book Baby 4 aka Ellen ( EEEEKKKKK)

You can attend this one hour event using the link below:

https://www.facebook.com/events/275183199712870/

Alternatively, please check out my Facebook author page :

https://www.facebook.com/coralmccallumauthor/

Apart from revealing the cover and the release date, you’ll also be given an insight into some of the characters and a short extract from the book itself.

I look forward to seeing you all there 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s in a date?……. Quite a lot actually.

Today, the 8th May marks five years to the day (well, evening to be more precise) since I took a deep breath, sat down in the early evening sunshine on my front doorstep and began to write the story of Jake and Lori, that became the first book in the Silver Lake series, Stronger Within.

That first evening I wrote about 1750 words. Here they are:

SWSW2SW3SW4

 And the finished handwritten manuscript looks like this….

SW 5

I’ve spoken about the reasons for putting pen to paper on here before and I guess it’s quite poignant that I should start out on my Silver Lake journey in the days running up to Mental Health Awareness week. (Here’s the link to the previous blog post about the reasons for those who missed it https://coralmccallum.wordpress.com/2017/05/08/surviving-or-thriving-a-personal-tale/ )

 Something I’ve reflected on and noted is that I’m a bit “funny” about dates. I hadn’t really given it much thought until a friend casually commented over coffee recently “What’s with all those dates?” or words to that effect as I talked about the deadline dates I had in mind for Book Baby 4.

It struck me that more often than not I pick dates for deadlines or publication that mean something personal to me.

I’ve published two of my three Book Babies on what would have been my Wee Gran’s birthday (15 April). I adored that little old lady and still miss her every day even though she’s been gone for over thirteen years.

In the spirit of openness and honesty, 8th May was actually my paternal grandmother’s birthday but that relationship was the polar opposite to the one I enjoyed with my maternal grandmother – enough said. Maybe the choice of date this time was purely co-incidence or perhaps I was sub-consciously proving a point. Who knows! 

The dates I’ve picked for two of my author’s note pages mark the birthdays of people who are special to me.

Deadline dates tend to be linked to different types of event. For example, I had hoped to finish the first draft of Book Baby 4 on 31 December 2017 – missed that one. I revised the date to 16th March 2018- the day before I was due to travel to Birmingham to see Myles Kennedy in concert- I missed that deadline too.  For a third time, I set a deadline date to complete this troublesome first draft – 8th May 2018 – and guess what? Yes, I’m missing this one too- just!

No, I’m not being lazy, I’ve not got writer’s block, although I did struggle a bit with keeping my momentum going about six months ago, I’ve just re-evaluated and amended the timeframe a bit. In reality, Book Baby 4 is now ahead of its revised schedule and the new date for finally completing the first draft is set as 27th June – my birthday. I promise to meet this one!!

My proposed publication dates are in September and, although I’m not ready to reveal them just yet, they are again birthdays and anniversaries.

But, back to today, the 8th May…….

The last five years have taken me on an incredible writing journey. It still feels surreal to see my “stories” out there in the big bad world as books and e-books on Amazon. When I look at them sitting there online with their twinkling stars, a huge part of me still can’t quite grasp that the childhood dream has come true and I am a “real” indie author.

book babies 2018

There seems to be only one appropriate way to mark this anniversary. Again numbers play a part in the equation. Five years down the line, the next story to be written will be Book Baby 5 and it will be a Silver Lake tale.

I guess there’s only one thing to do…….

20180508_18112220180508_18311320180508_18312320180508_183242

 

(calendar image sourced via Google- credits to the owner)

 

If you want to check out the Silver Lake series, here’s the links:

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

 

 

Happy World Book Day 2018

world book day

 

Happy World Book Day 2018

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me”

CS Lewis

Support an Indie Author – buy a book and settle down today with a big mug of tea/coffee and enjoy escaping into another world.

Happy Reading, folks 🙂

 

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

 

In The Heart Of The Book (1000 word flash fiction)

bookshop 2

As she opened the latest delivery, she thought again about how lucky she was to be living her dream. In this technology filled world, running and owning her own bookshop had been a dream since childhood. The smell and the feel of actual books had held her captivated for decades. Now, in her late thirties, the books fitted perfectly around family life.

Working in the shop, the tiniest shop in the street, gave her an insight into other peoples’ family lives through the books they brought to her. In exchange for a minimal sum, she welcomed in boxes and bags of literary memories. Sometimes the bags came with a funny story about their previous owner; parents passing on children’s books told tales of babies long grown up; wives told tales on husband’s as they brought in books relating to pastimes that has been a passing phase; widowers brought in their late wife’s romance libraries, wondering how they could have read such “rubbish”. Every book in the shop came with a story.

The box in front of her was a curious mix. It had been handed in late the afternoon before by a young man a few years her junior. There had been something vaguely familiar about him but she hadn’t been able to place him. He had commented that the books had been his father’s and had long since been consigned to a shelf at the back of the garage. Something, a sixth sense perhaps, made her ask if he was sure they were all to be donated. His answer had been, “I guess so. He told me to clear out the garage.  Everything. The house has been sold and there’s no room in the new flat for everything as it is.”

The contents of the box proved to be an eclectic mix. She lifted out  sports biographies, a few books about classic cars and car maintenance, a handful of John Grisham paperbacks and a couple of Dan Brown’s. In among them she spotted a copy of a book that been one of her own mother’s favourites, The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo.

With a wistful smile, she ran her hands over the familiar cover noting that, like the copy she had that had been her mother’s, this one was well-read. As she reached to put it on the shelf, a folded piece of paper fell out and drifted to the floor, landing at her feet.

Lifting the pale blue sheet of paper, she unfolded it. Finding notes inside books was one of the sneaky pleasures of the job. Over the years, she had found countless shopping lists, Christmas lists, addresses, postcards, bus and train tickets, boarding passes and the occasional more personal letter. This was one of the latter. The blue page had previously been crumpled and parts of it torn off but someone had taken the time to smooth it out and fold it carefully, stowing it safely inside the book.

Her heart skipped a beat at the distinctive flourishes to the handwriting.

The first part of the letter was missing.

My head knows I shouldn’t feel like this but my heart begs to differ and is leading it astray. The countless unspoken thoughts and conversations in my mind are safest left there…..perhaps.

Who am I kidding here? You know me inside out and well enough to know how I feel without me having to say it out loud.

We both know the risks of that…..

Resting my head against your chest, hearing your heart beat, feeling your arms around me, feeling safe, feeling wanted, feeling loved….”

The rest of the letter was lost. The bottom section of the page torn off.

Shaking the book, she hoped the missing fragments might appear but nothing. Hurriedly, she searched through the box, vainly hoping that one or both of the missing pieces might be there. Nothing.

Opening the book, she prayed she might find another clue. What she found was the possible remains of one. The top corner of the title page had been roughly ripped off but the tails of the letters from the inscription remained. Whatever it had said, it had been written by the same person who had penned the love letter. She would know that handwriting anywhere, even after all this time.

It was her mother’s.

Deciding to err on the side of caution for a while, she re-folded the letter, placed it back in between the pages of the book and put the slim volume safely on the shelf beneath the counter.

A little voice in her soul told her the rightful owner would be back for it as soon as they realised it was missing.

 

A month went by and the well-loved copy of The Alchemist lay under the counter, gradually being buried by letters and receipts. Occasionally, she would bring it out and read the letter over again, trying to work out who her  mother had been writing to.  She never mentioned the book to a  soul. It was her secret. A final connection to her mother.

 

Two more weeks passed by.

 

Late on the Monday afternoon, she was absorbed in the task of re-organising the shelves, perched precariously on the top step of the rickety, wooden stepladders she had brought from home, when the bell above the shop door tinkled. Balancing on one foot and leaning on the shelf, she half turned to see who had entered the shop.

She recognised him immediately, despite the changes caused by the passage of time.

“Hello. Be careful up there,” he said warmly. “I was hoping you’d be able to help me.”

He paused while she climbed down the ladder.

“My son brought a box of books in here about six weeks ago. I’m trying to track down one of the books that got into the box by mistake. It’s of sentimental value.”

“I have it right here,” she replied, smiling at him with a smile so like her mother’s that his heart skipped a beat.

 

(Image sourced via Google – credits to the owner)