Tag Archives: #MondayBlogs

A Dragon’s Tale….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Actual cover pic

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

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

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And also a limited edition guitar pick.

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

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

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

She’s also a symbol of  love and friendship.

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

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

(Huge thanks to Tubi at Forevermore Tattoo in Glasgow)

 

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

 

Amazon.com links –

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

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

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

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

 

 

Amazon.co.uk links –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

or Forevermore’s website

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Clock’s Ticking…..Book Baby 5 is almost here…..

The clock’s ticking and the To Do list is growing with last minute things…. Yes, it’s almost Book Baby 5 “birth” day.

I literally have a To Do list for the week…. don’t believe me? Here it is:

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That’s the simplified version! The rest of it is still in my head.

 

So, with just over a week to go till Book Baby 5 aka Shattered Hearts arrives, am I ready to let it fly free?

Eh….maybe……

Shattered Hearts release date promo pic

 

The Kindle e-book version is complete and uploaded (still to double check that…) It’s also available for pre-order via Amazon – links are at the bottom. I set myself the target of obtaining 25 pre-orders and I’m still a few short… just saying 😉

 

The final paperback proof has arrived and I am still checking the corrections I made. Once that’s done, I need to upload the final document to Amazon.

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eARC copies have been circulated to various book bloggers (If you are a book blogger and wish to review Shattered Hearts please let me know.

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The book launch day is almost, kind of, sort of planned out- I still need to finalise that then source the necessary photos to accompany it before scheduling all the posts on my author page.

Missed the invite? Not to worry, here’s the link. Please feel free to drop by on the 6th December.

https://www.facebook.com/events/411240452895257/

Book promotion is an ongoing challenge so I’ve been promoting Book Baby 5 while continuing to promote the other books in the Silver Lake series plus standalone spin-off Ellen. I find book promotion soul destroying, if I am being honest. It is the toughest aspect of being an indieauthor. So, in the interests of ongoing book promotion, the purchase links are also at the bottom.

Over and above, I still have this blog to write plus gig reviews to post, two social media fanpages for a real live rock star and the day job to do. (Yes, I work full time)

Oh and I’m a writer so there needs to be some time set aside to write…..

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And so it goes on…..

This is where my mantra really comes into play

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These last few days, like the last few days before the arrival of any baby are stressful and filled with expectation. I just hope that the “birth” of Book Baby 5 is painless!

 

 

Shattered Hearts

Amazon.com link

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZY8ZSDM

Amazon.co.uk.link

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07ZY8ZSDM

 

Silver Lake series

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

 

Ellen

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

 

Amazon.co.uk link   http s://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07FYHKR44

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Enjoying sunrise from 3000 miles away

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Three things in life that I love are the beach and watching the sun rise and set. Actually managing to achieve these becomes more of a challenge at this time of year however I have a secret weapon – well, a virtual secret weapon.

There is one beach that I love but, unfortunately, it’s 3000 miles away from the place I call home. This is the beach that I have based my Silver Lake books around and its been way too long since I sank my toes into its sand.

And my secret virtual weapon – a local webcam.

One morning last week, the blue light of early dawn ( the photo above) caught my eye as I logged onto my laptop. It was 11am in the UK and 6am at the beach( or was it 7am – the clocks changing has me confused about the time difference!) .

For once I had time to spare and therefore  the time  to watch the sun rise over my beach. Want to see?

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and finally at 9am the town of Rehoboth Beach was starting to come to life and go about its day.

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I might not have physically been there but I could taste the salt in the air, hear the waves lap up on the shore and sense the town of Rehoboth Beach coming to life. It might have been a chilly October sunrise but it warmed my heart.

 

Sometimes all you need is a little imagination and you’re there……

 

 

 

If you want to check it out for yourself, here’s the webcam link

https://www.livebeaches.com/webcams/rehoboth-beach-boardwalk-webcam/

The Motivational Power Of The Humble Post-It Note

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I’ve confessed before on here that I’d be lost in life without Post It notes. I use them daily both at home and at work in the salt mine but did you realise the motivational potential they contained?

No?

Read on….

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and my personal favourite

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So, go on, make someone’s day today or tomorrow or the next day or whenever you think they need some kind words and leave them a Post It 😉

 

Today is not for lengthy blogs….

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Today is National Suicide Prevention Day.

It’s not a day for wordy blogs.

It’s a day to pause, check up on those friends you’ve not reached out to in a while.

If there’s a change in a friend’s behaviour or mood, check they’re ok.

Go for a walk with them.

Go for a coffee with them.

Be there for them.

 

Who cares if one more light goes out?…. I do

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tm8LGxTLtQk

 

 

Credits to the owner of the image

Credits to the owner of the video- shared via You Tube

What Happens Next Monday?…….

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I’ll start this week’s blog with an apology….. technically there isn’t one. A blog that is.

My creative focus has been on finishing the first draft of Book Baby 5 and I’m almost but not quite there. Another three or four productive hours should finally see it complete- albeit a few weeks later than  originally planned.

Unusual for this stage in my creative process, it’s more or less all typed as well as written and it’s not naked!  Well, it has a bare bum as I’ve not finished the back cover for the paperback edition but it has a front cover.  🙂

I already revealed it’s title a while back – Shattered Hearts – so what is there left to reveal?

The cover and the release date……..

Watch this space and my author page next week…… all will be revealed.  😉

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

 

Shattered Hearts

 

 

 

What Local History Are You Missing Out On?……… A Medieval Castle Perhaps?

How often do you drive or walk past the history on your own doorstep without so much as a second glance?

I’ll confess …. maybe not quite daily but it’s a regular occurrence and it transpires I’m not the only one in the house who does so.

Less than 10 miles from our house there’s a 15th Century castle. A national tourist attraction. Do you know how many times I’ve visited it? Until today, once! (Hangs her head in shame.)

So, on a dreich Sunday afternoon, Girl Child, the Big Green Gummi Bear and I decided the time had come to visit the castle. (About 15 years ago I had taken both Boy Child and Girl Child there but neither of them remembers it!)

Newark Castle sits on the banks of the River Clyde near Port Glasgow.

It was built circa 1480 by George Maxwell and is one of the finest late-medieval buildings in Scotland. Both the Gatehouse and Towerhouse date back to that era as does the Doocot in the grounds. The rest of the castle was remodelled in 1590 by Patrick Maxwell, transforming the cramped medieval castle into an elegant Renaissance mansion. Both the north wing and east wing were remodelled and the grounds transformed.

Today, the castle stands pretty much as it did back then.

Newark Castle

 

Newark Castle is a veritable labyrinth spread over three levels. It also boasts one of only three surviving anti-clockwise staircases to be found in Scotland’s castles.   You enter via the 15th century Gatehouse which leads through to the cellars, kitchen, bakehouse and the Towerhouse cellar. There are numerous staircases giving access to the upper floors. From the Towerhouse cellar you can climb up to the roof lookout point. It’s quite a twisty climb! From the wine cellar, there is a staircase leading straight up to the great hall. A further staircase leads from the kitchen to the great hall.

The upper level has a long gallery running the length of the north wing and this is where the laird’s private chambers and, including the rooms in the east wing, the family bed chambers and guest rooms would have been. One bedroom features original wood panelling and a rare example of a wall bed.

The windows in the east wing afford a view over the grounds and the Doocot (dovecot) whish has survived from the 1480’s. Doocots were popular in the 15th century as the pigeons (doos/doves) provided a source of fresh meat during the long winter months.

Newark Castle floor plan

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This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

The building is well worth a visit.

Equally intriguing is the history of the owners through the ages.

The land that the castle stands  on belonged originally to the Denniston family but became part of the Maxwell estate in 1402 when Elizabeth Denniston married Sir Robert Maxwell of Calderwood.

At that time, Newark was part of the barony of Finlaystone, an estate some five miles to the east. ( http://www.finlaystone.co.uk/ ) If the Denniston family had a castle it is highly likely that it formed part of the Finlaystone estate.

In 1478 George Maxwell inherited the barony of Finlaystone and within a few years was being styled as “George Maxwell of Newark and Finlaystone”. This all ties in nicely with the construction dates for the original castle buildings. It is also documented that in 1495 James IV visited Newark Castle whilst on a mission to quash disturbances in the Western Isles. (It’s likely that the laird would have had to surrender his sumptuous bed chamber in the Towerhouse to the king during his stay.)

Over time the Maxwell family became a powerful and influential family in the area. Historically, the most notable member of the family was Sir Patrick Maxwell, who was the laird of Newark Castle circa 1580. Initially, he was held up as a pillar of society, well-educated and a justice of the peace as well as being the architect behind the extensive remodelling of Newark Castle in 1590. He enjoyed the patronage of James VI. However, there were two sides to Sir Patrick. He was a wife beater, a child abuser and a murderer. He reportedly murdered two members of the Montgomerie family from Skelmorlie some twelve miles to the west of the castle. Sir Patrick also quarrelled with his son, Patrick, and was implicated in his untimely death. Undoubtedly his wife, Lady Margaret Crawford, suffered worst at his hand. She was married to him for 44 years and bore him 16 children! After years of abuse and ill-treatment she finally escaped from his clutches in 1632 and fled across the River Clyde to Dumbarton. Sir Patrick never answered to the charges raised against him as by that time he was too ill to travel to Edinburgh to face trial and it’s assumed he died shortly thereafter.

New-port Glasgow (modern day Port Glasgow) became a bustling trading post during the 1600’s. The castle’s laird, George Maxwell soon became involved in this merchant trade.

When the last Maxwell laird died in 1694, Newark Castle and its grounds were sold to another influential businessman, William Cochrane of Kilmarnock.

The 1700’s saw trade in the area continue to flourish but sadly the castle began to decline and it changed hands several times. The Cochrane’s sold it to the Hamilton family who in turn sold it in the 1820’s to a London banker, Robert Farquar. In 1825, Robert Farquar’s daughter married Sir Michael Shaw-Stewart, another well known local family from Ardgowan estate in Inverkip some eight miles west ( http://www.ardgowan.co.uk/ ) Newark Castle remained under the care of the Shaw-Stewart family until 1909 when it was entrusted to the State. Today it is curated by Historic Scotland.

During the 18th and 19th centuries the castle was leased to various tenants. The grounds too were leased out to local market gardeners. One tenant was John Orr, a ropemaker with a rather unusual side-line business. He traded in wild animals (panthers, leopards, bears etc) purchased from passing ships that arrived into the port. It is presumed that until he found a buyer for the creatures that they were kept in the castle’s cellars, giving rise to rumours that the castle was haunted as the locals reported strange howling during the night.

Newark Castle is a historical gem that in more recent times has been hidden, literally, by the Clyde’s shipbuilding industry. For much of the 20th Century it was surrounded to the west, east and south by Ferguson’s and Lamont’s Shipbuilders. As the shipbuilding industry fell into decline in the 1980’s Lamont’s closed its doors and was subsequently demolished, revealing the castle’s southern and eastern exposures to the world once more.

Today, but for how much longer, Ferguson’s still remains to the west of Newark Castle, a modern-day industrial neighbour to this discrete medieval gem.

castle and yard

 

 

If you want to discover more about Newark Castle check out the site below:

https://www.historicenvironment.scot/visit-a-place/places/newark-castle/

(some images sourced via Google – credits to the owners)