Tag Archives: #IndieAuthor

January……

motivation collage

January – the first month of the year when you are supposed to feel motivated and energised to take on the challenges of the year to come.  Eh……maybe not!

January – cold dark month lasting at least 96 soul draining days…… I jest (slightly)

Did I feel motivated and ready to take on 2018 31 days ago? I thought so…..

In the spirit of honesty, I’ll confess to having struggled with my own  creative motivation   this month. The stresses and strains of every day life may have been a contributory factor or I may just be making excuses…who knows! We are now at the end of January and I’ve not met the goals I had in my head at the turn of the year and I’m mad at myself.

As part of the “day job” in the “salt mine” I’ve been delivering coaching sessions to my team to encourage them to think about what motivates them in a work sense and to think about what areas they wish to develop themselves in. I’ve now delivered the same session, tweaked to the individual, fourteen times.  It struck me earlier that I needed to deliver it one more time. I needed to deliver it to myself!

I’ll not bore you with the ins and outs of it all but the focus of the coaching was a motivational triangle. The three sides represent Clear, Capable and Motivated. Is it Clear what’s expected of you? Are you Capable of meeting these expectations/goals? Are you Motivated to succeed?

I paused for some self-reflection as I went for my lunchtime meander in the cold. A bit of soul-searching.

And the result……

Clear – YES I am clear of the expectation /goal I have set myself. I need to finish the first draft of book baby 4.

Capable – YES I am capable of achieving this. I need to remain focussed and not “waste” the time deviating off at a tangent and writing other pieces.

Motivated – YES I will finish this! I have invested too much time in the project to abandon it at the last gasp. It is so close to being finished in reality.

So, without further ado…. I have a book to finish! ….. Goodbye January. Hello February!

Advertisements

A Little Excerpt From Book Baby 4.

AL church

GULP….. time to share a little tiny piece of Book Baby 4 with you all.  It’s still a work in progress but I thought I’d share a little excerpt with you….just to tease you.

For me this is more than a little nerve wracking. Not even my “infamous five” alpha readers have seen this yet!

Book Baby 4 still doesn’t have a title but features a band that those of you who have read Impossible Depths and Bonded Souls will be familiar with. It’s working title is AL – After Life.

Here’s just a little sneak peek into the After Life story. Enjoy!

After Life’s usual rehearsal hall was in the basement of a former church. The church above  had closed its doors a few years before due to dwindling numbers of worshippers. When Ellen and Taylor arrived with Rocky next day, they found that they weren’t the first to arrive, despite being deliberately early. Cal and Luke were already practicing.

“Morning, boys,” called out Rocky loudly. “No Jack?”

“He’s gone over to the music store to pick up some drum heads,” answered Cal. “He split two earlier. None left in the trunk.”

“Two?” echoed Rocky, shaking his head. “That boy’ll bankrupt us all at the rate he goes through them.”

Casually Ellen slipped off her leather jacket and laid it over the back of a nearby chair. As she crossed the room to join the band on the low makeshift stage, she was aware that all eyes were on her. Taking a deep breath to steady her nerves, she asked, “What’s the plan?”

“To rehearse,” stated Luke tersely. “And to see if you can deliver the fucking goods, princess.”

“Luke,” growled Taylor as he lifted his guitar from its case. “Cut it out.”

With a sneer, Luke bowed his head slightly, “Humble apologies, Miss Lloyd. Ladies choice.”

Before she could reply, the door creaked open and Jack returned carrying a bag with his new drum heads in it.

“Sorry, people,” he apologised. “Are you all waiting for me?”

“Yeah,” drawled Luke sourly. “And on Little Miss here deciding what we’re playing.”

“Kashmir,” stated Ellen with a calm confidence.

“Kashmir?” echoed the bass player unable to mask his surprise. “You mess this up and you’re history! Hear me?”

“Luke!” snapped Rocky. “Enough, young man! Give her a fair chance.”

“It’s fine, Rocky,” said Ellen, praying she sounded calmer than she felt. “Luke, I’ll make a deal with you. One error and I’m gone. One from you and the result’s the same. You go.”

Both Jack and Cal laughed before Cal commented, “You asked for that, mate.”

“Harrumph,” muttered Luke sulkily.

“Luke, that sounds fair enough to me,” said Rocky. “Especially considering the way you spoke to this young lady last night.”

“Fine,” he growled, inwardly seething at having been backed into a corner.

 

A few minutes later, Ellen stood centre stage with her trembling hand wrapped round the microphone. Taking a deep breath, she heard Jack and Luke begin the thundering drum and bass intro then Cal and Taylor came in on guitar. Precisely on cue, she began to sing, keeping her voice low and even with a hint of menace.

“Oh, let the sun beat down upon my face.”

Over the next eight minutes, she poured her heart and soul into the vocal. Channelling every last ounce of her inner strength, Ellen shut out all thoughts of Luke and the pressures on her, focusing instead on nailing every note however high or long. Beside her, Taylor was playing with a passion to rival her own, almost as if he were willing her through the iconic anthem with his own music. As she reached the final couple of lines, Ellen’s heart was pounding and her palm was sweaty.

“Let me take you there!”

Her voice rang out across the hall as the band finished off the song with a flourish. It didn’t escape her sharp attention that Luke fluffed a section just before the end. With a small smile, Ellen raised her eyebrows and stared at him through her tinted glasses.

“Fucking insane!” declared Cal enthusiastically. “Awesome voice, girl!”

“That was quite something,” agreed Jack from behind the drum kit.

Without looking at Ellen, Luke unplugged his bass, laid it down and stepped off stage. As he walked towards the door, he called back over his shoulder, “The bitch is in.”

 

Book Baby 4 coming Summer 2018  (I hope!)

(image sourced via Google – credits to the owner)

 

 

 

 

 

Introducing PF Gregory

TEFAY cover

I’ve said before, the world of social media is an incredible thing. It opens up so many avenues to explore.  As an indie author myself, social media is a great way to connect to other authors and to obtain book recommendations (hint…hint…). There is also a strong network of support out there for writers who are keen to support and help others. So, in the ethos of “pay it forward” please allow me to introduce you to P F Gregory, fellow indie author.

Author Profile

Paul and I “met” through a more business related social media platform as we both work for the same parent salt mine in our real worlds.

I’ll be honest, I don’t read a lot of crime novels (not my genre of choice generally) but I grew up on a healthy TV diet of Miss Marple, Bergerac, Taggart and Morse so I’m not averse to the occasional murder.

Paul recently published his second novel, The Evil From Among You, and having devoured it within a few days I was proud to leave a 5* review for him on Amazon and Good Reads.

Just in case you missed it, here’s what I had to say:

Great Second Innings

 Fantastic second crimebuster from P F Gregory. Really enjoyed reconnecting with Chief Inspector Kent and crime reporting journalist Merv Davieson. Both have really developed their personalities in this tale.

Throughout the book the reader is introduced to various interesting characters who could all have had a motive for murder but Mr Gregory succeeds in keeping the reader guessing “who dunnit” right to the final pages. Even, if like me you have no interest in cricket, this is an entertaining read. Check it out for yourself today and see if you guess the murderer quicker than I did!

Look forward to reading about Kent and Davieson’s next case!

 I invited Paul along recently for a “virtual chat”. Here’s what he had to say.

Congratulations on your second crime novel.   What was the inspiration behind the cricketing theme here

A- Without divulging any spoilers, I had an old idea banked of a retribution motive and needed some awful (but plausible) injury to take place. A couple of options were considered but cricket worked and it also lends itself to the enduring English image found on so many male greetings cards to this day – timeless, traditional and a perfect setting for the rural/nostalgic atmosphere I am looking for.

 

We first met Davieson and Kent in your first novel. Was a family wedding the inspiration behind your debut Kindly Invited To Murder

A – Certainly not lol! I’d like to the think the family wedding’s I’ve attended went off with a lot less mayhem, but a local church (Breedon-on-the-Hill) – which is quite a landmark here in Leicestershire, was certainly the inspiration for the setting, becoming the fictional St. Catherine’s Church. The wedding setting did allow me to bring the various characters together in the same place though.

The Evil Among You really develops the characters of Kent and Davieson. Will we see any more of them?

A- Yes, I am keen to retain both my Chief Crime reporter, Davieson, and Chief Inspector Kent. Davieson will always be after local comment and interview when a crime takes place and will have a business reason to be there in the heart of the developing investigation. They will certainly both appear in my next novel and then I maybe need to reverse chronology and temporarily retire Kent for one novel as I write the mystery that made Davieson famous – and for which he boasts about in my first two novels. Davieson had assisted others in the police force, back then, before he met Kent – although Kent had heard of his assistance.

Do you have plans for book number three?

A -Yes, plot devised, characters created and I am currently 36,000 words into writing the first draft with a fairly detailed chapter/scene plan to work through as my road map.

Your Amazon author bio says you’ve been inspired by Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Have you always wanted to write whodunnits? What inspired you to take the plunge and write a novel?

A –I had been entertained by the genre for years (since childhood really) and progressed from reading the Enid Blyton children’s mysteries such as ‘The Five Find-Outers & Dog’ series – to my parents’ Agatha Christie paperbacks. I read literally hundreds of classic detective fiction stories, heard audio books and saw a handful of plays such as The Mousetrap in the West End a couple of times. Additionally, when not reading, there was nothing I enjoyed watching more than the latest Poirot, Marple, Morse, Midsomer Murders, Sherlock Holmes on primetime weekend television. Eventually, this all rubbed off on me and I wondered if I could devise a crime myself, create a bunch of probable and possible suspects and tie it all together by the end of the book. This was the inspiration and driving force to attempt a whodunnit.

We all struggle with our creative work from time to time. What motivates you to keep writing?

A -Nice feedback, a steadily increasing word count – and a continually topped-up bank of ideas for current and future work (characters, scenes, great words, lines of dialogue). I am finding writing a great release too and very therapeutic/rewarding.

Do you have a favourite author and/or book? (I know, cruel question!)

A – So…no longer with us, but for me Agatha Christie and as a prize specimen I’d chose her ‘ Evil Under The Sun’ which is heavily-clued. For me, she delivered so many firsts in the genre and broke many conventions.

How do you approach your writing? Are you a meticulous planner or a pantser?

A – I am a meticulous planner so I love a detailed chapter plan. In writing crime fiction I want to know who did it, why and how before I even start – I then want a bunch of interesting characters and a detailed flow of how the novel will run. I had at least 40 scenes planned out before I even started to type up a sentence of my current project. 

What advice would you give to any budding crime writers reading this?

A – I would say, read widely in the genre and find the style of sub-genre you believe in. Write primarily for yourself unless you absolutely need your work to try and put food on the table – if you do, then pay close attention to conventions and expectations in the genre (everything from word-count, to cover design, to typeface – to procedural accuracy). Accept no barriers – there is plenty of help out there, both in books and on the net, to help you achieve and realise your dreams. Be prepared to put the work in – unless you are a self-made man, or have a cast of thousands, then consider that you will likely have to wear several hats (author, typist, researcher, editor, proof-reader, type-setter, cover designer, marketing, social media/Comms.)

 Publishing one never mind two books in a short space of time is quite an achievement. How did it feel when you held a copy of your novel in your hands for the first time and saw your name on Amazon?

A – I actually plotted my debut novel in my late 20’s and wrote half of the book way back then. For whatever reason, I parked that half-finished book for over 13 years and only picked it up again in my early 40’s when I felt suitably inspired at re-read to finish the job. My output, therefore, appears a little more industrious than it has actually been this last 18 months or so. I am glad I did finish the debut and proved to myself that I could write a detective novel  – the feeling of holding my own book in my hands was incredibly exciting and I had copies printed to wrap up as family Christmas presents last year. I could barely contain myself watching the recipients open them – hugely, hugely rewarding. Similarly, seeing my book on Amazon was surreal and I couldn’t stop looking at the screenshots I took for some time afterwards and enjoyed sharing a hyperlink to my page/product.

 

I also asked Paul for a bit of background on the man behind these novels and was pleasantly surprised to find a musical connection there. Paul revealed that in his late teens/early twenties he played bass for a band called Exit Laughing. Want a listen? https://youtu.be/RQuUkqRGKRM

I was mildly surprised that cricket wasn’t listed as one of his “likes” but Paul is also a keen runner and fell walker, enjoying exploring the summits around the Lake District. Maybe these or his early musical adventures will provide inspiration for future murders. (hint….)

 

I’d like to thank Paul for taking the time out of his busy world to chat to me  and I wish him every success with his books.

PF gregory

 

Please spare a moment to check out him out on Amazon. Here’s the link to Paul’s author page:

Amazon.co.uk link –  https://www.amazon.co.uk/P.F.-GREGORY/e/B01N4LYL4V/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1515094781&sr=8-1

Amazon.com link – https://www.amazon.com/P.F.-GREGORY/e/B01N4LYL4V/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

 

 

2018 ? So what’s the plan?……..

depositphotos_81812614-stock-photo-pen-writes-2018-goals-on

Well it’s a new year and I guess that means that there are new goals and challenges to be agreed.

As I’ve said previously on here, I’m not big on resolutions. I’m much more of a “don’t say never, cos you might; don’t say always, cos you might not” kind of person.

Did I achieve the goals I set out for 2017? (https://coralmccallum.wordpress.com/2017/01/05/a-new-year-means-new-goals-and-a-fresh-challenge/ )

Yes and No.

I successfully self-published Book Baby 3 aka Bonded Souls on 15 April 2017. Box ticked. Go me!

I did make steady progress with the first draft of Book Baby 4 but I didn’t quite get it finished before the stroke of midnight on 31 Dec 2017. I’m about 75% of the way there with it. However, in a change to the way I usually write and edit, the first 25000 words have been typed up so I am ahead of the game on that phase.

Am I disappointed in myself that I didn’t achieve both of my 2017 goals?

Yes!

However, I am not about to beat myself up about it.

 So, the goals for 2018…..

These are simple:

1-      Publish Book Baby 4 circa June/July 2018

2-      Bring Jake and Lori back out to play and return my focus to the Silver Lake series

3-      Keep blogging once a week

 

Life is complicated and busy enough without over-complicating the creative world I escape to. For me as an individual, my writing is meant to de-stress me not stress me out.

 

I wish each and every one of you a wonderful 2018.

Thank you for the continued love and support for not only my book babies but also for the various short stories that I have published via this blog. (Yes- the dark angel will return at some point in 2018)

 

And, as the traditional Scottish New Year blessing goes- 

lang may yer lum reek

 

 If you’ve not yet check out the Silver Lake series, it can be found on Amazon:

 Amazon.com – https://www.amazon.com/Coral-McCallum/e/B00VYU1SZ6/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Amazon.co.uk – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Coral-McCallum/e/B00VYU1SZ6/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1    

 

(images sourced via Google – credits to the owners)

The Silver Lake Series – have you read it yet?

Is your New Year’s resolution to read more books?  Need a day at the beach? Need some rock music and a hot rock star to go with it? Yes! 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

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

 

#SilverLakeseries #StrongerWithin #ImpossibleDepths #BondedSouls #bookpromo #kindle #ebook #fallread #romanceread #weekendread #bookworms #bookblogger #summereading #beachread #Rehoboth #rockstar #rockmusic #beach #love #romance   #book #lovestory  #JakePower #SilverLake #amreading #ebooks #lovetoread #NewYearResolution #newyear #resolutions

20170731_072852

A Pre-Christmas Coffee Catch Up With……Jake Power

coffee catch up

It was a chilly Saturday afternoon when I finally managed to catch up with Jake Power, front man with Silver Lake.  The band were in Glasgow a day early for the final show of their hugely successful Bonded Souls tour. Many of the arena shows in the UK have been sold out weeks in advance and Sunday’s show in the SSE Hydro is no exception. (I bought my ticket pre-sale over six months ago)

As we sat in a city centre coffee shop, I asked Jake how the recent run of shows had gone.

“They’ve been incredible! British audiences are so much more passionate than American crowds. And louder! You guys really know how to rock!” he enthused. “I don’t mean any disrespect to our American fan base but shows at home tend to be in smaller venues, security can be strict and things seem a little more reserved. In these 10 000 seater arenas here, we’ve seen mosh pits every night.”

Before reaching the UK, Silver Lake toured through mainland Europe so I asked how those shows had measured up.

“They were all great. Some countries are more passionate than others. Italy was insane. We played shows in Milan and Rome. Those crowds were crazy! Cologne in Germany was a good show too. We played in Amsterdam just before we came over here. That one didn’t pan out so well. There were a few glitches. The fire alarm went off and we had to evacuate the venue twenty minutes into our set. I feel we owe those fans another show. We only had time to play three or four songs after they let us back into the building.”

With three critically acclaimed albums under their belts, I asked Jake what the Scottish fans could expect for the final show of the tour.

“A full two hour set, that’s for sure,” was Jake’s immediate reply. I was rewarded with one of those “Power” smiles! “We were talking about the set at lunch earlier. Grey has it written on the back of a napkin. I think we were up to nineteen or twenty songs. If we can work them all in before the curfew then we’ll play them.”

“Jake, you’ve been on the road for the last six weeks and have already commented on stage that it’s the longest that you’ve been away from your wife. How tough has that been?”

“Very,” admitted Jake, running his hand through his long blonde hair. “Usually Lori would travel with us for part of a tour. We had planned that she’d come over and spend a week or so here and travel back home with us but, when we really thought it through, it just wasn’t going to be practical. Both of us felt it would be too much for Miss Melody and would trash her routine.”

This is a rare mention by Jake of his baby daughter and seizing the moment I asked how she was.

“She’s incredible. I can’t wait to get home to my girls. Melody’s at the stage she’s changing every day. I’ve missed so much in six weeks. Her personality is developing. If only she slept a bit better at night!”

Almost shyly, Jake showed me a photo on his phone of his wife Lori holding their baby girl. So far, they’ve shielded their daughter from the media but trust me, she’s adorable.

Now that the Bonded Souls tour cycle is winding up, I asked Jake about his and Silver Lake’s plans for the coming year.

“We’re all taking a break over the holidays then I head into the studio late January with Weigh Station. Those guys plan to have a new album out in the spring and to do a few of the summer festivals. Maybe a few side shows too. My diary has a few dates both here in Europe and in the US pencilled in from May through till August. Silver Lake are planning to hit the studio again in the fall. The schedule is filling up for next year and the year after. There’s talk of a full Weigh Station tour and a Silver Lake tour.”

“So, what’s first on your agenda when you get home, Jake?”

“Laundry! I’m running out of clean shorts,” laughed the charismatic front man, his hazel brown eyes twinkling with mischief. “No, seriously, laundry and some quality time with my li’l ladies. A quiet family Christmas.”

“At the beach?”

“No. Actually we’re heading off to the Poconos on Dec 23rd. Lori and I spent a short honeymoon there last Christmas, thanks to our manager Jethro. We stayed in an amazing log cabin near a huge frozen lake. It was so quiet. So peaceful. Both of us loved it so much we decided to go back this year. We’ll head back to New York for New Year’s then home to Rehoboth a few days later. Both of us have some business commitments in the city the first week in January. We’ll bring in the New Year with Maddy, our manager. She throws these huge New Year’s parties every year at her apartment. I’m under strict orders to be there with my guitars.”

As Jake stretched out his long denim clad legs and settled back in his seat, we ordered another coffee then I asked if he found it hard to slip back into “normal” life after a tour.

“It takes a few days to adjust,” he confessed. “On tour we are ruled by the clock constantly. Jethro and Maddy run a tight ship. We stick to the published itinerary. Doing as the boss tells us..well, most of the time.” He paused then continued. “The first day or so, Lori usually gives me a bit of space to do my own thing. Come down time. Time to go for a couple of long runs. Time to sort out my guitars after the tour. Time to do my laundry! I suspect things might be a little different this time. It’s the first time I’ve been away from my daughter for so long.  I just want to spend time with her and with Lori. Family time. That has to come first.”

As our coffees arrived, I asked Jake how his bandmates chilled out after a tour. He laughed then revealed, “They’ll kill me for saying this. Grey needs to get his hands dirty. He’s a mechanic and his yard is full of “projects”. He’ll be under the hood of one of his wreckers before the jet lag hits him.  Paul needs a day to go fishing. He also needs to get past Maddison and that can be a challenge. She’s a scary lady! I’d put money on it though that Paul has a boat trip booked for the end of next week already. Rich is the only one who takes a proper vacation every time. He heads to Florida to his sister and her family. I guess he likes to thaw out in the sun after this cold winter weather. He’ll be back in Rehoboth mid-January as we have teaching workshops booked in.”

“Workshops?”

Jake nodded. “We’re both music teachers at heart still. Every chance we get, we run a workshop or two at the high school where we both taught. As we’re home for a few weeks, Rich has worked out a four week course. Grey and Paul are involved here too this time. I think it’s two workshops per week after school and two all-day Saturday sessions. The aim is to pull a band or maybe even two bands together in time for the Valentine’s Day Ball.”

It struck me that home really is at the heart of Silver Lake. All four members live in and around the same small town, Rehoboth, Delaware, and all seem keen to give something back to their local community.

“We owe a lot to the local fans,” Jake acknowledged. “They’ve been behind us for a long time and it’s a pity we don’t get to play more shows closer to home. The closest we get to Rehoboth is either Baltimore or Philly. We talked about doing some small local shows like we used to. You know, Friday night set in a local bar. Something impromptu and low key. Hopefully we’ll make it happen in the spring next year.”

I asked Jake if he had any plans for any solo shows.

“No but never say never,” he replied with a grin. “I’ve only ever done one. That was couple of years back at the air force base in Dover. My brothers are both air force. Peter called in a favour at the last minute. The band he had booked to play had missed their flight or something and were stuck in Canada. I only had a few hours’ notice but I didn’t want to let him down. It’s the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done! I felt like I was stripped naked in front of two hundred airmen.”

Now, there’s a thought, ladies….

I pointed out that Jake had appeared half naked several times with Weigh Station, prompting a fit of laughter.

“You can blame the late Dan Crow for that,” said Jake grinning. “And before you ask, I intend to keep all my clothes on in the Hydro tomorrow night. Too damn cold here to do anything else!”

Checking the time, Jake apologised that he would need to go, explaining that he had a call to make back at his hotel. I had time to squeeze in one last quick question so, as Christmas is only a couple of weeks off, I asked what he hoped Santa Claus would bring him this year.

“Actually, I’m hoping for a new laptop,” Jake said as he reached for his leather jacket. “I dropped mine in London the other night. It fell off the table in the dressing room. Smashed the screen. Split the casing. I haven’t confessed this to my wife yet though. I only got it just before we left for this tour. Maybe I’ll be on the naughty list for that and end up getting underwear and socks on Christmas morning.”

As I watched Jake leave the coffee  shop, flashing a smile at the waitresses behind the counter, I couldn’t help but wonder if he’ll get that laptop or not….

 

 

The Silver Lake series is available via Amazon both in  Kindle and paperback formats

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 4 in the series is planned for  2019

 

(image sourced via Google – credits to the owner)

 

 

 

 

 

Libby (a short story of childhood’s end)

6e19137ed2bcadb0d5e198fb16b9a8e3--hans-peter-imaginary-friends

Sunrise was her favourite time of day. At sunrise there still hope that, with the start of a new day, Lucy would remember she was there.

On the far side of the bedroom, a muffled sound escaped from under the duvet as Lucy rolled over in bed. A teddy bear was shoved unceremoniously onto the floor as Lucy muttered, “At least Libby didn’t take up as much space in the bed.”

Libby’s heart skipped a beat. Lucy still remembered her. She was safe for another few days. She glanced down at her hands and feet, then curled up on the rocking chair and went back to watching the sun come up.

 

For ten years Libby had been Lucy’s closest confidante. They had played together day after day. They had gone to school together for seven years. They had holidayed together, first in Devon and Cornwall and then, as Lucy grew older, they had visited France, Spain, Portugal and America. She had liked travelling with Lucy. Everywhere Lucy went, Libby went too.

On the last trip to America, Libby had met another girl about her own age while she had waited at the bag drop at one of the many rollercoasters in the theme park. She had been surprised by the cynicism shown by her new acquaintance.

“It won’t last much longer. Trust me. Just you watch. You’ll grow apart real fast. It’ll end and losing…what was her name? Lucy? Losing her will kill you. Literally.”

 

Almost five months had passed since that Easter trip to Florida. At first, Libby has dismissed the American girl’s comments as nonsense. Forget her? Why would Lucy want to forget her? They’d been inseparable since Lucy was three years old. But, as the seasons moved from Spring to Summer, Libby began to pick up on subtle changes in her beloved Lucy. Some days she would leave for school without her. Other days she would arrive home late and barely have time for her between dinner and bedtime. Once she went away for the entire weekend and left Libby behind without a wave or a backwards glance.

At Lucy’s thirteenth birthday party, Libby had kept to the shadows and was hurt that Lucy barely spared her a thought all day. She even blew out the birthday candles without Libby by her side to share a wish!

“You’ll grow apart real fast. Losing her will kill you. Literally.”

The words began to haunt Libby day and night….

 

As August wound its way towards to September, Libby found herself excluded more and more by Lucy. For hours on end she would wait patiently for Lucy to remember she was there and to involve her in her day.

By the middle of the month, Libby began to panic. Once morning when she awoke early to watch the sun rise, she realised she was fading away. Her hands and feet were barely visible. Just before panic took over, she heard Lucy talking in her sleep and heard her mention her name. Instantly she felt whole again. Her hands and feet were there. Her black patent ballet pumps were shining in the early morning sunlight.

 

Unfortunately, this had only been the beginning of Libby’s torment.

 

As August ended, there had been no less than half a dozen similar fading episodes. The last one had really scared Libby. Her hands and arms had disappeared all the way up to her elbows; her feet and legs had vanished right up past her knees.

Lucy was forgetting her!

Lucy was growing up!

Yet again, the American’s words tore at Libby’s faithful heart, “Losing her will kill you. Literally.”

 

September marked a milestone for Lucy – she started high school. From the relative safety of the rocking chair under the window, Libby had watched as Lucy packed her new school bag and laid out her new school uniform.That night Lucy had gone to bed without wishing her goodnight. In the darkness, Libby had cried herself to sleep on the rocking chair.

 

Now, as she watched the teddy bear, always a favoured bedtime bear of Lucy’s, lying on the floor, Libby finally resigned herself to her fate. September had been filled with gaps in the relationship with Lucy and there had been almost daily episodes of fading out. For the past week, Libby had barely seen her hands and feet. Even her long pigtails had faded at the ends!

To save herself, Libby knew she had to take action. She realised that she could no longer rely on Lucy to remember she was there. Now that she had been fully restored to her old self, Libby decided that today was the day.

 

The week before a new family had moved into the house next door. From Lucy’s bedroom window, Libby had watched a little girl playing alone in the garden. Hiding behind the curtains, she had watched the little girl, Wendy, play on her swing and slide down her chute. Seeing her playing on her own for hours on end had tugged at Libby’s heart strings.

 

After Lucy left for school, Libby waited on the rocking chair until Lucy’s mum had come in and opened the window to let some air into the room.  

This was her chance!

A quick glance outside informed her that Wendy was already out playing in the garden with a bright red ball.

Carefully, Libby climbed up onto the window sill. With a last look round the bedroom, she balanced on the ledge for a moment, then carefully climbed down the trellis, trying not to damage Lucy’s dad’s Clematis.

As she crossed the garden, Libby began to panic anew. It was the first time she had been outside alone in over ten years. What if Wendy couldn’t see her? What if Wendy rejected her?

It was too late to go back now.

Slipping through a gap in the fence, Libby made her way into the garden next door. For a few minutes, she stayed in the shadow of the big, old, apple tree that dominated that corner of the garden. With a nervous smile, she watched Wendy play with the ball. The little girl was throwing it up and trying to catch it. Eventually she dropped it.

The ball rolled down the gentle slope and landed at Libby’s feet, nudging her black patent shoes.

“It’s now or never,” thought Libby, bending down to pick up the ball.

When she stood up again, Wendy was staring at her.

“I like your shiny shoes.”

“Hi. Thank you. I’m Libby,” said Libby, tossing the ball back to the little girl, who caught it safely in her arms.

“HI. I’m Wendy,” came the shy reply. “Want to play?”

“I’d love to!” declared Libby with a smile.

“Daddy’s going to build me a tree house in that tree,” explained Wendy as they walked back up the slope. “It can be our club house. Our special place. You can live up there when it’s done. It can be your fairy castle.”

“I can?”

“Of course you can! You can stay in my room till its builded but you’ll need to hide. Need to be a secret,” whispered Wendy seriously. “Mummy doesn’t want me to have imaginary friends. We can be secret princess friends forever though.”

“I’d like that,” said Libby as her heart turned a somersault of delight.

She was safe at last.

 

(image sourced via Google- credits to the owner)