Tag Archives: #MondayBlog

And Why’s He Still There, Mummy?…….

This story technically starts back on 18th March after I returned from my trip to Birmingham. Stupidly, I commented to my Moana-loving Girl Child that I’d seen a toy Hei Hei (the dopey chicken from the film) reduced in the Disney Store in the Bull Ring shopping centre. With a petted lip she asked why Hei Hei was still there. Calmly, I explained in my best mummy voice that Hei Hei wouldn’t have fitted in my overnight bag.

hei hei

She sulked….

 

Move forward in time to last Saturday. The Big Green Gummi Bear and I were preparing to leave for an overnight trip to Manchester and were saying our goodbyes to Girl Child and her Dotty Gran in Tesco’s café. Girl Child tried to pick her blue fluffy bunny up by the ear and the poor creature’s ear came off in her hand. Her wee face crumpled. She loves that blue fluffy bunny! I did wonder for a split second if she was about to cry. The Big Green Gummi bear swiftly snatched the ear from her little hand, declared it to be his “lucky bunny ear” for his race (yes, I know that it should be lucky rabbit’s foot) and stuffed it into his jacket pocket.

 

A couple of hours later and many miles down the motorway, we stopped at a service station in the Lake District for lunch. As is my want, we had a wander through the shop before getting back in the car. In the toy section, we found a display of over priced and overly fluffy toy chickens and birds and critters. The Big Green Gummi Bear quickly pulled the bunny ear from his pocket and posed it on top of one of pink fluffy chicken things, suggesting I take a photo and send it to Girl Child. I did.

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Her response a while later was “Hope you bought that.”

When I replied that we hadn’t, her immediate disappointment was expressed.

It was Hei Hei all over again….

The mummy in me knew we had to find one of those pink fluffy birds on the return journey or I’d never hear the end of this, especially so soon after not buying Hei Hei!

 On the way back north on Sunday afternoon we delayed our potty stop/coffee stop by 22 miles to reach the service station on the M6 where we hoped we stood the best chance of sourcing a pink fluffy chicken.

At Tebay services, we were in luck. They had one. He was duly purchased and carried unceremoniously by the legs out to the car. (Turns out it’s a female ostrich and not a chicken)

And so Not Hei Hei came to stay.

 

When we arrived home a couple of hours later, Girl Child was thrilled to meet Not Hei Hei and promptly sat at the dinner table with him beside her.

The blue fluffy bunny ear, which turned out to be quite a lucky bunny ear as the The Big Green Gummi Bear survived his marathon debut and ran a time he is content with, was returned to our baby girl.

With her big blue eyes wide and pleading, she asked me to fix her bunny.

So, for the first time in many years, I have just performed toy surgery and re-attached her blue bunny’s long floppy ear.

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Cue one happy Girl Child….. one 18year old happy Girl Child!

 

 

And the moral of this story is…. Never lose sight of your inner child 😉

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I’ll Take That As A Parenting Success….

I ventured into Boy Child’s bedroom earlier to collect his laundry basket. The sun was shining in and the wall above his desk caught my eye.

Now, I’ve been in the room countless times but I hadn’t really given this spot on the wall much thought before today. I paused to look and to read.

It made me smile.

This is what I was looking at.

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Every ticket, except his Alter Bridge ticket from SSE Hydro in Glasgow on 1 Dec 2016 as the venue staff insisted on collecting them in, for every show he’s been to. There are three up there that I wasn’t with him for – I’ll not point them out.

As I read though them I could remember highlights from each of them.

From nudging him and telling him it was ok to laugh out loud at comedian Daniel Sloss’ risqué jokes to the first rock show we attended on 23 May 2009. The very first band to take to the stage that night in the SECC were Black Stone Cherry and so began his love (and mine) of those boys from Kentucky.

There’s the ticket from the first rock show he stood at – Iron Maiden on 20 July 2011. I remember vividly keeping a close eye on him in the densely packed crowd. (He was only 13 at the time) There’s the tiny ticket stub from 16 May 2017 when we saw Iron Maiden again. I remember all too clearly Boy Child keeping an eye on me in one of the roughest crowds I’ve been in. We’d come full circle.

There’s the MTV EMA World Stage show with Slash and Biffy Clyro from 7 Nov 2014. Still can’t believe we got those tickets. It was a fan only event. Best value for £10 ever!

Then, less than a month later, we saw Slash live again and, thanks to Miss Janette, got after show passes to meet The Conspirators and were lucky enough to meet Myles Kennedy for the first time. The kind of night that dreams are made of.

A ticket from the Black Stone Cherry Nordoff Robbins charity show in The Cathouse (tiny venue) on 18 Nov 2016 also holds precious memories. That was an incredible show!

There are wrist bands from Tremonti shows where we’ve been lucky enough to enjoy a quick meet and greet after the set. They really are lovely guys.

A few picks don the wall too including a Myles Kennedy pick.

There are even some Ghost dollars.

Parenting is never an easy task. Kids don’t come with a rule book or a user guide. I wish they had!

What struck me in the sunlit room was that this wall represented parenting successes…lots of them! The simple fact that each of these tickets has earned a place on the wall is evidence of that.

I left the room with the laundry basket, a smile on my face and a warm fuzzy feeling inside.

 

A short while later there was a cry of “Mum, where’s the Blu Tack?”

As I handed over a small blue/gray cube of sticky stuff, I asked what he needed it for.

“To stick my Brian Fallon ticket up.”

Another moment of parenting success.

Ticket collage

What’s Your Trademark Scent?

perfume

The array of bottle sits on the shelf- which one to choose? Do you choose by label? By colour? By aroma?

No, I’m not talking wine bottles! I’m talking perfume bottles.

I’m not a “girlie” girl by any stretch of the imagination. Can’t really be bothered with all the fuss and faffing with hair, nails and make-up but I do like to wear perfume.

The only issue with this is that I’m allergic to the vast majority of them. I may love the scent but sadly most of them don’t love me.

Through trial and error over the years and a lot of sneezing and irritated patches of skin, I’ve found a core suite of fragrances by Philosophy that I stick with.

So, how do you decide which one to wear for the day?

Me? I tend to choose based on my emotions and mood.

The logic of this is as follows-

Pure Grace – for the days when you want to feel fresh and clean all day. A simple uncluttered day.

Amazing Grace – for those rare days when I’m feeling confident (A bottle lasts quite a long time)

Summer Grace – for when it’s a gorgeous day out and the world around you feels good or, at least, you want it to.

Pure Summer Grace – for the days when you need a reminder of a summer beach day (this bottle never lasts long!)

Baby Grace- my favourite – A scent for when you need to feel reassured. The one that whispers “Everything’s going to be ok.” A hug in a bottle.

 

So what kind of day are you having today?

 

 

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

 

 

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)

 

 

 

 

 

The End Is In Sight…..of my tether that is!

end-of-the-tether

It’s Monday and this isn’t a good sign….. I’ve reached the end of my tether!

Anyone who knows me will appreciate that I generally quite a patient person. Some of you might even say too patient but occasionally even I reach the end of my rope.

So where does the phrase come from and what does it really mean?

A little research ( not got the patience for extensive research this evening) revealed it’s a phrase used mainly in the USA and UK. It means to have reached the end of your patience, to be completely worn out, exasperated or exhausted.

So. What’s a tether in this context? Cue more Googling – a rope used to restrict the freedom of grazing animals by tying one end around their neck and the other to a stake in the ground.

tethered pony

 

Hmmmm…….

 

Pass me the scissors or a knife….this tether is being cut!

Normally to soothe me frayed nerves I would head out for a walk along the beach but its kind of cold and dark out there right now.

Virtual beach walk required before I settle down to continue the tale that’s shaping up to be Book Baby 4.

 http://livebeaches.com/rehoboth-beach-de/webcams/rehoboth-beach-boardwalk/

 I can almost feel the sand between my toes…..

 

(images sourced via Google – credits to the owners)

Introducing…….

Mary

Social media and the internet really have made the world a smaller place…..

 

An American Facebook friend recently commented on one of my promotional posts, drawing one of her friend’s attention to it. The common link here, other than Facebook, is music and books and on more than one level.

All three of us share a musical family “bond” – we’re all fans of Alter Bridge and part of the worldwide “AB family”

On another level, Mary and I have both written “rockstar” novels. In another twist, Mary has written her debut about a British Rockstar while my hero, Jake Power, is American. (Mary is American; I’m British)

I read the synopsis of The Guitarist on Amazon and was suitably intrigued so purchased the e-book there and then.  (I should say, the favour has been returned. Thanks, Mary)

 

I loved it! Loved Nicholas Trent too by the end (and Oliver).

 

I’ve already posted my short review on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Good Reads, happily awarding The Guitarist a well-earned  5 stars.

 

In case, you’ve missed it, here’s what I said

 

Great debut novel from Mary Ogden Fersner!

I quickly developed a soft spot for Nicholas Trent then gradually grew to love him as the story wove its magic.

There are aspects of this book that you can “hear” and others that you “feel” as you live the journey of the central characters.

One of the strengths of this debut is Mary’s descriptive style of writing where her words paint the picture before your very eyes, bringing it to life.

One minor criticism is that for my liking there are perhaps too many sub-characters and too many names to remember but, that said, it doesn’t detract from the strength and believability of the central characters.

I loved the human/normal element to this rock star….sorry. guitar player…..tale.

I’m really looking forward to discovering what the future holds for these guys.

Great read. Well done, Mary!

 

Now, us “indie authors” need to stick together here. It takes a lot of time and effort  ( slight understatement) to get a book into print and no small amount of personal courage to put it out there for the world to see. It’s also soul destroying, hard work promoting it once it’s out there.

 

In good old-fashioned “pay it forward” style, I reached out to Mary and asked if she would agree to answer a few questions to allow me to showcase her debut here.

 

So, ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to Mary Ogden Fersner, the author of The Guitarist.

MAry 2

 

Mary, how did it feel to finally see your name in print and hold your book in your hands?

 

Oh man, it’s the most incredible feeling of accomplishment I think I’ve ever felt! So exhilarating! Of course, the first time I felt it was with the novella I published prior to The Guitarist. I wanted to see how easy it would be to use CreateSpace/KDP, but I didn’t have a long work ready to invest. I had this novella which I eventually named, Cruise Encounter as near ready as anything else I had, and I experimented with that. Getting the galley was exciting, but receiving an actual box of approved books was great! It eased me into the self-publishing world and helped with invaluable lessons. (Shameless plug: Cruise Encounter is available as a paperback and ebook from Amazon.)          

 

What inspired you to write The Guitarist? Why did you choose to make your hero British?

 

To be honest, I’m a bit obsessed with Brits. I love the language, LOVE the accent, love the sense of humor. Naturally, I wanted a beautiful British man whispering sweet nothings into the ear of my ego-challenged American woman. Hahaha!! But he would have to have problems of his own to make a good story.

Hence, the inspiration. My husband experienced a pretty serious health problem in 2012 and if we weren’t going to a doctor’s office, we were home. That was the year the Tom Cruise movie, Rock of Ages came out. When one of my friends asked me if I wanted to see it with her, I didn’t realize how happy I would be just to get out of the house for a few hours. I had been in a five year writing slump at that point—and make no mistake, this is one of the cheesiest movies ever made—but when two of the characters sang the Foreigner song, “I Wanna Know What Love Is” to each other, a switch turned on in my head. I considered how hard it must be for an unattached, working musician on the road to find a lasting relationship—if he or she even wanted one at all.            

 

 

Will there be more about Nicholas and Caitlyn and Oliver (I liked Oliver) in the future?

 

I’m glad you like Oliver. Everyone seems to like Oliver. I’m seriously partial to the Bishops as a family. I think I invented them to be the warm, loving family my own was not. They weren’t as bad as Caitlin’s family, but they were not the Bishops. But to answer your question, Nicholas, Caitlin, and Oliver—especially Oliver—are in the novella, Cruise Encounter. The Guitarist was finished and “cooking” as they say, when I wrote the cruise story and I needed them. Because touring musicians often know each other, tour together, and are sometimes even friends, my characters will make appearances from one book to another even though the MAIN characters are ones the reader has yet to meet. Nicholas and Caitlin play a part in my next, as-yet-untitled, book in the Tools of Tone Series. I hope I can keep them there. Haha!

 

 

When did you first start writing? What motivates you to write?

 

When I was a kid, I always made up stories in my head involving characters I’d see on TV or read about in books, but I didn’t write any fiction—actually write it—until sometime in junior high school (grades 7-9). I don’t remember exactly which grade, but I was an early teen. The story was inspired by song lyrics and I’m still inspired by song lyrics. For Nicholas Trent’s backstory, the Def Leppard song “Paper Sun” from their 1999 album Euphoria, and a song called “Loose Cannon” from The Mayfield Four’s 2001 album called Second Skin gave me the direction I needed. 

 

 

 

 

 

How do you approach the task of writing a novel? Are you a master planner or are you “winging it”?

 

Oh, I’m definitely a “pantser.” Winging it by the seat of my pants. Hahaha!! And that’s why I always have so much editing to do. I let my characters lead the way and sometimes they go off on tangents that I need to lead them out of. The original draft of The Guitarist was 149K words and I ended up cutting out over 55K out of it. I cut characters and scenes I swore I had to keep, but in the end, they didn’t really add to the story. I’ve got a great Thanksgiving Day scene at Billy Farmer’s house that just had to go. That being said, I never throw anything away. All these scenes reside in my “Deleted Scenes” file so I can modify them for another story if the chance presents itself.

 

 

Where do you prefer to write?

 

I would love to say somewhere without distraction, but that does not describe my life. My desk is a dining room table that our dining area is too small to hold, and I write in between loads of laundry, letting dogs out one at a time, because God forbid they act like a pack and go out all three together. Hahaha!! Not to mention other household chores. Ugh! But when I’m really in the zone, none of that matters. I can’t be able to hear a television or music with lyrics. I like to have instrumental rock guitar music, the white noise of a fan blowing, or both at the same time. I write initial stages of any work longhand in a spiral notebook. I used to get allergy shots and I wrote much of The Guitarist in the waiting room of my allergist’s office, earbuds in, listening to my Neal Schon station on Pandora, waiting for my thirty minutes to be over. Even then, if I was on a roll, I’d stay and finish so I wouldn’t forget. 

 

You wrote a “playlist” at the end of the book (neat idea), who are your own musical idols?

 

Pretty much everyone who was listed, the main ones being Eric Johnson, Joe Satriani, Andy Timmons, Steve Morse, Jeff Beck, Neal Schon, John Petrucci—who incidentally does a great song with G3 called Glasgow Kiss. You should look it up on YouTube. It’s a great song. Some of the vocal bands I like are first and foremost Alter Bridge. Talk about inspiring lyrics! Papa Roach, Seether, Shinedown, Sixx A.M., The Virginmarys, Foo Fighters, Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators, The Mayfield Four, Theory of a Deadman, and many others. 

 

If you could meet one rock star or band and hang in a bar like Westie’s bar in the book, who would you pick and why?

 

Hahaha!! Who could I pick and not act like a goofy fangirl? I guess I’ll say Alter Bridge. I’ve met them a few times through meet and greets and such. They were on ShipRocked last year. I’m pretty good about being myself most of the time, and people I know have hung out with them. I know they are all lovely men and very fan friendly. But their music . . . it has meant the world to me. I mean, they have seriously ROCKED me, and they’ve also brought me to tears. What could I possibly say that could interest them? Hahaha!! I’m almost in tears now, thinking about it. I’m a goober, plain and simple. (sniff) Hahaha!! (It took me fifteen minutes to come up with this answer. Hahaha!!) Goober.

 

What advice would you give to other aspiring authors?

 

(Recovering myself) Just sit down and write. It’s a first draft. You don’t have to have the perfect opening line, you just need an opening line. It could be what you had for breakfast, or something interesting you saw while walking your dog, or it could be a rant about some careless driver. Write SOMETHING.

I have a writer friend who lost her husband last year. She desperately wanted to write about her grief, their life together, her life without him. But the words wouldn’t come and so she filled pages and pages with “s**t happens.” That’s all that would come out. Then one day, the words came in the form of haikus. Little tiny bits, seventeen syllables, but the words came.

So just start out with something, what you want to write will present itself out of the chaos. And then read it. This is SO important. Read it out loud. It will seem silly at first, but reading it out loud fixes so many problems in terms of editing. You HEAR when you’ve overused words, or need to change up sentence structure, or when voices begin to sound too much alike. You hear how it sounds and can see how to fix it. Also, find a writer’s group nearby. Share your work with them. Nothing helps like a fresh eye. You don’t have to change everything they may not like, but you can take the advice that makes sense to you and leave the rest. Your work will be better for someone else’s eye. I swear.

 

How much of you is in your characters?

 

Well, I have to admit there’s a lot of me in Caitlin, or at least there used to be. I grew up quite shy, with very low self-esteem. Being always overweight, I never considered myself pretty. I wasn’t “popular” in school. But I had close friends and eventually realized that my dad’s greatest gift was also mine: it was said that he never met a stranger, and once I conquered my shyness, I’m about the same way. I’ll talk to anyone. (Even though I have that problem with the Alter Bridge lads. Hahaha!!) And I have the same easy smile that he did. Those two things can override one’s looks, I’ve found.

Some people have told me they don’t much like Caitlin because she’s indecisive—she’s not a particularly strong female character. Unfortunately, I’m not a very strong female. Once one’s spirit is broken–one’s heart is broken—it’s very hard to recover. So when some little bit of flattery is received, given enough time, self-esteem can slowly rebuild. It’s a very long road from believing oneself is without worth to becoming a published author. Wow! Just incredible!! I’ve always wished to be much more Sheila Gregg (barring the criminal element, of course) than Caitlin, but it is what it is, as they say.

 

 

As a final question I asked Mary if there was anything else, any other little insight she wished to share here.

Well, you may ask, just where did this obsession with instrumental rock guitar come from, Mary O? Well, here’s the story. I’m old and I’m gonna age myself plenty right here, right now. We were surrounded by music in the house where I grew up. Music on AM radio, music on TV, my dad had his stereo and vinyl albums, my brother had his, and when I was old enough, I got a record player and began my own vinyl collection. But it was AM radio in 1968 that originally caught my ear with this song. I was a sophomore in h.s. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEzyrpfrPEI I knew the station played it in the afternoon and I would literally RUSH home from the school-bus stop so I wouldn’t miss it. Of course my musical tastes rolled with the times up until about 1987 when I first heard Joe Satriani play “Surfing with the Alien” on WIXV FM out of Savannah, GA. Man, oh man. That song changed my life. But it was THIS song that started it all.

 

 

 

Mary recently hosted a successful launch party for The Guitarist. Here’s a few photos from the event to let us see what we missed.

Mary 3mary-4-e1511164690195.jpgMary 5

 

 

 

 

Mary’s fantastic debut novel can be purchased via Amazon. Please take the time to check it (Remember, Christmas is just around the corner and books make great gifts….hint…hint)

 

Here’s the links:

 

Amazon.com

 

https://www.amazon.com/Guitarist-Hard-Rock-Fiction-Tools/dp/0972669388/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1510688279&sr=1-1

 

Amazon.co.uk

 

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Guitarist-Hard-Rock-Fiction-Tools-ebook/dp/B076J9PTGW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1510688321&sr=8-1&keywords=mary+ogden+fersner

 

Mary can be found on Good Reads too!

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15906772.Mary_Ogden_Fersner?from_search=true

 

And at her website:

 

https://www.writedogsrock.com/

 

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Mary for taking the time to answer my questions. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading her answers here as much as I did.

 

I am left pondering one thought….I wonder how Jake Power would get along with Nicholas Trent?