Tag Archives: #newfiction

Twisted Silk – a dark tale (adult content)

Black-Silk_028ebb56-bb9b-4406-a338-657e70170b66

 

The text message had been quite clear. She knew the rules, knew how to play his game.  Christ, she should after twenty-five years of marriage. Only this time, she planned to add a few moves of her own.

As instructed, she arrived at the hotel at four thirty, entering the room with the key card he had given her at breakfast. Room 413- his favourite suite in the small boutique hotel. They’d spent many anniversaries in that room and she knew it intimately.

The room looked identical to it had the year before as she entered. With a smile, she removed the black wig she had worn and shook her red hair free. She stuffed the wig into the side pocket of her overnight bag then set it down on the floor. Carefully, she hung her coat up in the wardrobe. She kept her long satin gloves on.

A bottle of champagne sat in the ice bucket beside the bed, two lead crystal flutes on a silver tray beside it.

She had an hour to finalise her preparations. Keeping her gloves on, she began to undress.

 

By five thirty, she was sitting on the edge of the bed ready to greet her husband. She had spent a little extra time on her makeup, ensuring that it was perfect. The black silk lingerie that he had requested that she wear wasn’t exactly what she felt comfortable in but she knew the role she had to play.

Behind her on the bed lay the “toys” he had requested that she bring from his personal collection at home.

She had opened the champagne, poured two glasses, ensuring that the additional “surprise” in her husband’s glass was fully dissolved. To calm her nerves, she drained half of her own glass in one gulp then topped it up before adding the rest of the powder to the bottle, wiping the neck clean.

The click of the key card in the lock caused her to jump. Could she pull this off? She owed it to herself to try.

“Good evening,” she purred as her husband stormed into the room, slamming the door behind him.

He barely grunted his reply as he dropped his phone and car keys onto the dressing table.

Praying her hand stayed steady, she passed him his glass of champagne.

“Happy anniversary, master.”

“If you’re a good girl, it will be,” he stated before draining the glass, just as she had hoped he would.

“I’ll be good, master. I promise,” she replied, taking his empty glass and refilling it.

He took a sip then set the glass down.

“Allow me to help you, master,” she suggested.

Slowly she slid his suit jacket from his shoulders and hung it carefully over the back of the chair. She loosened his tie and draped it over the jacket. With trembling gloved fingers, she undid the buttons of his crisp white shirt. As she slid it off, she allowed her fingers to caress the backs of his arms just as he preferred.

Without a word, he took another mouthful of champagne, then sat on the bed and invited her to remove his shoes. Slowly, allowing him to savour his view of her full breasts, she bent to slip the Italian leather loafers from his feet. Ignoring the pungent aroma, she removed his sweaty socks then gently massaged his feet.

“Enough,” he barked standing up.

“Of course, master,” she replied, her tone dutiful but not overly submissive.

She unfastened his trousers and slid them down his slender thighs. He side stepped out of them as the material pooled on the floor at his feet.

Carefully, she folded them and laid them on the chair beside his jacket.

Before she could return her attention to him, he’d reached across the bed, selected his “toy” of choice, a riding crop, and smacked her hard across her ass. The blow stung and she gasped, biting her lower lip to prevent herself from squealing. A squeal would earn a second, third or even fourth blow.

“Too slow,” he growled as she turned to face him.

“Sorry, master.”

Already she could see his cock hard and erect in his boxers.

“Bend over.”

Obligingly, she bent over the bed, baring her bare butt cheeks to him. Her black silk thong hid nothing and offered no protection. She bit down hard on her lip as he cracked the crop across her buttocks twice more.

“Resume,” he commanded before draining his glass.

“Yes, master,” she replied.

The black silk negligée had slipped, revealing more of her breasts and the crests of the dark areola that surrounded her nipples.

Smoothing out her long satin gloves, she sensuously slid his boxers down his long legs. His erect penis stood proud as she bent down to fully remove his shorts. He staggered slightly as she lifted his feet in turn for her.

For a split second, as he stood naked before her, she was reminded of how attractive he could be. Without being asked, she refilled his glass.

She handed it to him. As he drank deeply, she saw him sway a little.

Her heart skipped a beat.

“Change of plan,” he declared, setting the glass down and lifting two silk cords from the bed. “On the bed on all fours. Hands on the bedstead.”

Obediently, she moved into position, staying stock still as he tied her wrists to the wrought iron bedframe. His knots were loose and sloppy, she noted with relief.

Crack went the riding crop as he whipped her across the butt once more, leaving another fresh red welt among the many.

Roughly, he grabbed the thin fabric of the thong, ripping it off with ease. His coarse hands roughly shoved her legs further apart. With a primal grunt, he thrust into her hard and deep.

Clutching the bedframe tightly she felt him lean over her. Felt his breath hot and stale on her neck.

“Happy anniversary,” he hissed before biting her hard at the back of her neck.

Totally disregarding her pleasure, he continued to thrust his erect penis into her hard and fast. His movements were clumsy and rough.

In her heart, she began to panic. Had she misjudged this? Was her plan about to fail?

Suddenly, she felt his weight slump down onto her back and his cock slide from inside her. Quickly she shuffled up towards the top of the bed, allowing her husband’s drugged body to collapse on the clean white linen duvet.

Time was now short.

Swiftly she wriggled her wrists free and removed the cords from the bedstead. Using all of her strength she wrestled the naked form of her husband onto his back, his un-satiated erection going flaccid in front of her.

She reached under the pillow and withdrew the knife, selected from their own knife block that morning. Placing the knife in his left hand, she wrapped her own gloved left hand over it and guided the knife over his right wrist. The sharp blade slit through the thin skin of his inner wrist with remarkable ease, opening the vein as planned. Breathing hard, she switched hands and repeated the action with the right, slashing deep into his left wrist. She let his hand fall to his side, the knife still loosely in his grasp.

Blood poured from the open veins soaking into the duvet.

She paused for a split second, then lifted his right hand along with blood stained knife for a second time. Leaning her body weight to it, she drove the knife into his abdomen.

Blood oozed from around the edges of the blade.

Time to tidy up.

 

Luck was on her side. There wasn’t a drop of blood on her or her gloved hands. Methodically, she wiped her own empty glass clean and set it back down on the silver tray. She gathered up the sex toys and returned them to her overnight bag.

In the bathroom, she removed the remains of the black silk lingerie, stuffing the tattered fabric into her bag. Using her make up remover, she wiped away the thick layer of foundation, revealing her natural pale complexion complete with cigarette burn scars on her cheek. As she dressed, she caught sight of her thin body in the mirror, wincing anew at the dozens of cigarette burns, some old some fresh, on her body and her breasts. She ignored the pain of the bruising on her ribs to twist round to inspect the bite on her neck. His teeth marks were clearly imprinted in her skin and were already turning a deep purple colour.

It was finally over.

Meticulously, she tucked her long red hair up into the black, bobbed wig. She lifted her coat from the wardrobe and slipped her arms into its warm soft sleeves. With her Jackie O sunglasses on to hide her face, she lifted her bag and left the room without a backwards glace.

Freedom awaited in the hallway.

 

One week later, she sat in a different hotel in a different city reading the newspaper that had arrived along with her breakfast tray. On page seven, she found the article she had been looking for – “Business Tycoon Takes Own Life As Company On The Brink Of Collapse.” The by-line detailed how he had been found by a member of hotel staff. The coroner had ruled that his death had been caused by an overdose of tranquillisers mixed with alcohol and multiple self-inflicted knife wounds. A statement from his lawyer confirmed that the IT firm was in ruins and that he had been on the brink of bankruptcy. The journalist went on to reveal that the family home had been saved from the business collapse as it had been in his reclusive widow’s sole name. He continued that the mansion had recently been sold to a mystery buyer and that the grieving widow had been unavailable for comment.

Sitting back, she closed the newspaper and smiled.

 

(image source via Google -credits to the owner)

 

Advertisements

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?

 

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)

Fifteen Weeks To Go…..gulp!

My lunchtime meanderings this week have brought home to me just how quickly this year is flying by!

It doesn’t see like any time at all since I was looking up at the trees that border the salt mine’s car park thinking, “Oh look! New wee shoots and leaves!” Today I walked past those same trees looking up and thinking, “Wow! I love these autumn colours!” (These particular trees put on a stunning display of autumn reds and golds every year.)

IMAG2937_1

This swift change of seasons (did we actually have summer?) has got me thinking….

Back at the start of the year, my first blog post of 2017 detailed some goals I’d set myself. (Here, see for yourself  https://coralmccallum.wordpress.com/2017/01/05/a-new-year-means-new-goals-and-a-fresh-chall )

Now, nine months later, how far have I got with these?

Upon reflection, and after a brief surge of panic about the fact that we are almost half way through September, I’m ok with where I’m at…I think.

Goal number one was to complete, edit and publish Book Baby 3. This was always the primary goal for 2017 and it has been safely ticked off the list. Book Baby 3, otherwise known as Bonded Souls, was let loose on the world on 15th April and, to date, no one has said my baby is ugly.  Bonded Souls is on Amazon sitting alongside it’s siblings, Stronger Within and Impossible Depths, and like them on Amazon.co.uk, is boasting five glittering stars. (It’s still waiting for it’s first rating on Amazon.com  … hint…hint)

Bonded Souls 6x9draft fv

I still find it totally surreal to see the three books. Complete dreams come true moment.

5stars

Goal number two was to write the first draft of a new novel…GULP! A tall order.  Well, I still have fifteen weeks of 2017 left and, to be honest, I’m going to need every minute of them. Book Baby 4 – no, it’s not a Silver Lake tale – is somewhere between a half and two-thirds written but progress is slow. For a few weeks there, my new imaginary friends really didn’t want to play nice! Over the past couple of weeks, they have all been better behaved – thanks goodness- and I finally feel as though I might be getting somewhere. This first draft may be adding a whole new dimension to “rough” draft but with a bit of luck (and peace and quiet) I might just get it down on paper on time.

20170913_202833

I am now silently praying that time slows down so that my chances of finishing it before midnight on 31st Dec increase!

Wish me luck!

 

p.s.   for all you Silver Lakers, Jake and Lori keep interrupting my train of thought with Silver Lake ideas….book four in that series will happen!

A Little Sneaky Peek Into The After Life

depositphotos_11800051-stock-photo-spotlight-blue-on-smog-background

I read recently that if you’re struggling with a storyline as a writer then you should try interviewing your characters. An intriguing thought……

My current cast of characters are putting up a bit of a fight and progress on my first draft of Book Baby 4 has been a bit stop/start. I’ve found myself wandering off at a tangent and writing some short fiction pieces instead of focussing on my first draft. I’ve also made numerous notes of ideas for the next Silver Lake tale (currently pencilled in for 2019) Perhaps part of the issue is that Jake and Lori and the others won’t wait their turn!

Anyway, time to try to regain control over my current delinquent characters…… 

As agreed via email, I’d arrived at Glasgow’s O2 Academy at three o’clock to interview up and coming band, After Life. The five piece band who are based in London are currently on tour supporting Aussie rockers, Bodimead.

Instead of being shown into one of the art deco venue’s dressing rooms, Rocky, After Life’s father-figure manager, escorted me up to the venue’s balcony and suggested I take a seat while I waited for the two members of the band to arrive. Firmly and a little bluntly, Rocky said I’d have thirty minutes with them and not a minute more.

Down below on the stage, Bodimead’s crew were finishing setting up for the show and I wondered if I was going to be lucky enough to catch some of their sound check and a glimpse of their front man, Flynn.

A couple of minutes later, I was joined by Taylor Rowe and Luke Court, the lead guitarist and bass player from After Life. Both of them flopped down into seats in the row in front of where I was sitting and greeted me with a warm hello.

Before I could ask my first question, Taylor began waxing lyrical about the art deco beauty of the venue. I quickly established that this was their first trip to Glasgow and asked how they’d found the city so far.

“We arrived quite late last night so all we really saw in the dark was the hotel, the restaurant and a couple of bars,” confessed Taylor. “I went for a walk this morning. There’s some stunning architecture around here.”

“And a lot of hills,” muttered Luke. “Our hotel is at the top of a vertical street!”

This is After Life’s first tour with their new female vocalist, Ellen Lloyd, so I asked the guys how the band had changed since she’d joined them.

“We listened to hundreds of auditions a few months back. Well some of us did,” began Taylor with a wink to Luke. “Ellen’s was the one that really stood out as being different.  She has an incredible voice. Really impressed us at the first rehearsal. She’s brought a whole new dimension to our show. A theatrical element that we hadn’t explored before.”

“And a shit load of talent,” added Luke. “I’ll be honest, I didn’t hit it off with her at first but her voice really blew me away. She’s got so much talent. Wait till you hear her tonight. She can convey so much emotion with only a few notes.”

I commented that I’d hoped she would’ve been able to join us but Taylor apologised for her absence, explaining that she was resting her voice ahead of the show. Conscious of time, I asked both musicians about what  I could expect from their set later on.

“A visit to the After Life,” joked Luke with an infectious laugh. “No, seriously, we hope you enjoy the show. We’re playing mainly our own material with a couple of covers thrown into the mix. Usually we have time for eight, maybe nine, numbers before our Aussie hosts call time. It’s an eclectic mix.”

Taylor added that several of the songs had been written or co-written by Ellen and were due to be recorded next month for their debut album.

“We’re booked into a studio in London for five weeks. Just hope it’s enough time to get it all recorded. We’ve still a few songs to write too,” admitted Luke. “Exciting times in the After Life.”

Casually ,I probed if this was Luke’s first studio experience, enquiring if he’d not recorded anything before with his uncle. Luke is the nephew of reclusive guitarist, Garrett Court, of Royal Court fame.

“Despite the family history, I’ve never recorded in a proper studio before,” revealed the band’s bass player. “My uncle lives in New York these days. The last few times I’ve visited, he’s had me working in his music store. It’s an Aladdin’s cave of guitars. Total guitar geek heaven. Garrett likes to play this game with his customers where he tries to match them to an instrument rather than let them choose what they want.”

“Be fair,” interrupted Taylor. “From what you’ve said, he’s pretty sharp at it.”

“Yeah, he is,” agreed Luke.

I asked if Garrett had seen his nephew play with After Life.

“A few times. Not recently. Not since Ellen joined us. We were hoping he’d make it over for the London show but he had other commitments.”

“So, what commitments are in After Life’s immediate future?” I asked curiously.

“Well, we’ve seven shows left with Bodimead, including tonight’s. Then we’re playing a full set at Wales Open Air on 5th May. Rocky’s given us a week or so off then it’s into the studio on 13th May. Beyond that, we’re not sure. We hope to get the record out around the end of October or November time so we’ll get some shows booked for around then,” explained Taylor. “It’s all starting to pick up pace. Rocky’s already hinting at going over to Europe or even the States at the start of next year.”

“I’d love to tour America,” declared Luke with a grin. “Play some of those venues that you only read about in magazines. Would love to play some of the clubs on Sunset Strip or a show in Vegas.”

I joked that he’s the band’s true “rock star” in the making.

“Maybe,” he confessed suddenly seeming almost shy. “It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. It’s the dream coming true.

To finish, I asked Taylor what his dreams for the future look like. He thought for a moment or two before answering my question. “I hope the record does well and that we can start to make some money from this game. I’d love to be able to buy my own house. My own bolt hole. I’d love to see the band grow and sell millions of records and play sell out headlining shows but, on the other hand, I’m not sure how I’ll feel if we end up playing arenas if I don’t have my own space to call home.”

“You’re just a beach bum at heart,” teased Luke.

“Yeah and I’m not denying it,” laughed Taylor. “I grew up on the beach surfing, playing guitar, beach bonfires and stuff. I miss that after a while in the city.”

Out of the corner of my eye I could see After Life’s manager approaching. I asked the guys if Rocky was as strict as he appeared to be. They exchanged glances and laughed.

“He tries to be,” said Taylor. “I live with him and his wife Lizzie when we’re in London. Ellen too. He keeps us all in line, especially Luke, our party animal here, but it’s really our drummer, Jack, who’s the strict one. He takes no nonsense. Rocky can usually be talked round, especially if its Ellen doing the asking. On the other hand, if Jack says no then it’s a no and not even Ellen can sweet talk him. Well not yet anyway. She’s working on it.”

 A few hours later, I was standing downstairs in the venue, beside the bar, watching After Life out on stage. This is a band worth watching. There’s a raw energy to their performance. A passion for the music and a rare synergy among them. Their mysterious front woman, Ellen, plays a witch/priestess persona on stage, using her flowing black cloak to dramatic effect during the songs. Her voice is one of the best and most versatile female rock voices I’ve heard over recent years but I can’t help but feel there’s an air of fragility to her too. There’s more to this songbird than meets the eye, I feel.

With a puff of smoke and some clever lighting, she vanishes from the stage. Vanishes to the After Life.

image sourced via Google – credits to the owner

 

 

Silently Watching At Lammas

dark angel

A tiny vole scuttled around in the damp leaf mould in the icy cold, dark mausoleum. Sniffing the air cautiously, it ventured out from the safety of the edge of the tomb and moved slowly across the stone floor. It’s tiny paws barely made a sound as they pattered across the room. Pausing momentarily, the vole sniffed the air again. Something sour tickled its twitching whiskers. More cautiously, it proceeded across the open space. Just before it reached the sanctuary of the far side and the tiny crack in the stone that would lead to freedom, it’s paws touched something coarse and ridged. Feathers! Realising what it was, the vole accelerated to safety, reaching the escape route just as the dark angel began to stir.

For forty long days and nights she had lain on the floor suffering an agony that she had never felt before. The excruciating pain had begun in her throat as she had flown back to the mausoleum on mid-summer’s night. It had burned like fire down through her chest as she had flown the few short miles. Her strength had also been waning as she had landed clumsily in front of the stone doorway. The last strands of her energy had been drained as she had pulled the door closed behind her. It was then that the full force of the pain consumed her. Agony exploded inside her, searing into her stomach. With a howl of pain, she had collapsed on the floor, dipping in and out of consciousness for the next forty days.

The vole scampering across the tips of her wings had roused her.

As she lay in the darkness, weakened and virtually lifeless, the dark angel deduced that she had been poisoned. Something she had consumed on mid-summer’s night had been tainted.

Slowly, she pushed herself up into a sitting position, the world around her spinning as she did so. A sharp pain shot through her mouth, causing her to gasp. Toothache? Disbelievingly, she ran her parched tongue over her teeth. The tip of one of her fangs was missing. With her energy reserves so depleted, the dark angel knew she would need to feed before she could regenerate the tip.

 

Glancing in the mirror, he put his left hand up to the wound at his neck. Almost six weeks had passed since he’d suffered the mystery puncture wound and still it refused to fully heal. A dark purplish circle about the size of a five pence piece marked the spot. The wound had never scabbed over but, instead, there was an almost blister-like covering to it. Occasionally, it throbbed deep inside his neck.

As his fingertips brushed the delicate blister, it burst and oozed fresh blood once more.

“Bugger,” he muttered to himself. “Not again.”

Despite both his wife and his running buddy’s nagging, he’d refused to see a doctor about the mystery wound. It was clean. There was no obvious infection and he wasn’t suffering any ill effects from it. In fact, if anything he had felt more invigorated and full of energy over the past few weeks. He had argued with both of them that it would heal in its own good time.

“I’ll be back in an hour,” he called out to his wife. “Maybe a bit more.”

Closing the door behind him, he settled his earphones into his ears, cranked up the volume on his iPod and loped off down the hill. A few short minutes later the hill evened out a little and he was faced with three choices- left took him up into the countryside and the trails, straight ahead took him through the housing estate and meant he’d have to run past the yappy dog’s house or right would take him down past the graveyard. He still avoided that road where possible after the strange encounter on it last Halloween. He didn’t feel keen to explore the trails without his buddy by his side. However, he had no desire to tempt that damn dog to take a bite out of calf. The graveyard road seemed the lesser of the three evils.

Midgies swarmed round him in clouds as he ran down the tree-lined road. The mild, damp weather had brought them out in droves. Much as he loved the warmth of late summer evenings, those tiny flying devils certainly took the edge off the enjoyment. Halfway down the narrow road, a sharp pain shot through his mouth. Toothache? With a groan, he kept running, silently cursing the thought of a visit to the dentist.

As he reached the village’s main street, the pain vanished as quickly as it had appeared.

With a sigh a relief, he headed for the coast road, looking forward to stretching his legs for a few miles. Ever since the incident with the two dead deer, he’d been training hard, finding a new turn of speed and extra stamina. On their twice weekly trail runs, his buddy had been struggling to keep pace with him, causing him to temper things when he was out with him. Now, on his own, he was free to set his own rhythm.

 

Almost an hour later, he was back at main street, still feeling fresh, despite having run around eight miles to the ferry terminal and back, and was faced with his usual dilemma – straight ahead up the hill past the yappy dog or left up past the graveyard? He didn’t fancy being a late evening snack for the dog so, again, he opted for the shorter, steeper graveyard road, praying silently that the light breeze had dispersed the midgies.

 

Wearily, the dark angel sat on the marble bench seat that ran round three sides of the tomb. She had scanned the immediate area for wildlife, hoping to track down an easy meal to rejuvenate her enough to fix her fang. The pain from it was an incessant throbbing. A mortal pain that she had long since forgotten. Trying to block it out, she trained her attention to the area outside the mausoleum, listening to the sounds of anything that could serve as a meal. Forty days without blood had taken its toll on her as well as the effects of the poison. Thinking back to mid-summer’s night, the dark angel fathomed that one of the deer must have been poisoned. She would need to be more careful in future. With a smile, she remembered meeting the runner again, albeit too briefly for her liking. With a sigh, she recalled how she’d almost been allowed to dine on his rich, exotic, ferrous blood. A divine meal yet to be savoured.

The rhythmic thud of feet approaching up the road caught her attention. Her mind was immediately filled with a vision of him powering his way up the hill towards her lair. In her vision, the dark angel could see the vein pulsing in his neck, the skin covered by a sheen of sweet sweat. Ever acute, her senses picked up on the puncture wound on his neck.

A sharp pain stabbed through her damaged fang as a cold realisation struck her.

 

Outside on the road, oblivious to the ancient mausoleum that was hidden by the trees, the runner felt the toothache return. Same canine tooth as before, only this time the pain stabbed right up into his cheek bone. He also became aware that the wound on his neck was throbbing. Casually, he rubbed his hand across his neck. His fingertips came away covered in fresh blood. Not for the first time, he wondered whether there was something in the wound. There was a definite pressing, pulsating feeling deep in his neck. Perhaps his wife and buddy were right. Perhaps he should get the wound looked at. He vowed to make an appointment with the doctor, after he’d seen the dentist about his toothache.

 

As his footsteps receded, the angel set staring down at her feet, not fully believing what she had just uncovered. Could it be true? How could it even be possible Carefully, she ran her tongue over her broken fang, certain now that it’s missing tip was lodged in the runner’s neck. With equal certainty, she now knew what had poisoned her. It had been those few delicious drops of his blood…but why?

 

(image sourced via Google – credits to the owner)

For info –  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lammas

 

Silently Watching On Midsummer’s Night

dark angel

An act of indiscretion had confined the dark angel to her lonely mausoleum for almost six months. Several impulsive acts of indiscretion; several acts of abomination that had stunned the close knit village community into deep, dark mourning.

After her missed opportunity on All Hallows Eve, desperation and hunger had got the better of her judgement less than a week later. As the family community had gathered round a huge bonfire for the annual fireworks display to commemorate Guy Fawkes, she had swooped down, snatched a young woman from the edge of the crowd and disappeared soundlessly into the night with her. One bite was all it had taken to silence her victim. In the sanctuary of her mausoleum, she had drunk deeply from young woman’s blood, realising too late that her victim had been pregnant.  With the bangs from the fireworks echoing through the night sky, the dark angel had let out a howl of anguish. Even for her, this had been one kill too far. A breeding female should never be drunk from. One of the golden rules of her lonely existence.

From a distance, she had watched the village mourn the death of the young mother-to-be; had stood silently in the shadows observing the girl’s funeral, noting that her grief stricken husband held two small boys, twins, by the hand as the coffin was lowered into the earth.

Her carelessness had angered her. Her frustration had driven her to seek more human blood to rid herself of the taste of the young woman’s hormone filled nectar.

On Christmas morning, she had feasted on an old man in the graveyard who had come to pay his festive respects to his late wife. His blood had been watery and tainted with the prescribed medication that had kept him alive.

Less than a month later, she had swooped down on a lone mountain biker, who had been roaming the trails above the village. There had been an exotic taste to his thick fresh blood, hinting at origins from warmer climes than this God-forsaken Scottish village. Yet again, she had feasted on one of the small community. How was she to have known that he was the son of a popular businessman, destined for sporting greatness? What did it matter to her? His young, virile blood had tasted divine and finally quenched her thirst for a while. The taste of the forbidden young mother-to-be finally banished by the taste of his exotic elixir.

 

Summer was always a lean time for the angel. There just weren’t enough hours of darkness to allow her to hunt. Her three kills in four months had drawn too much attention to the local area, meaning she would have to hunt further afield but it was too light to travel unseen. The local media were spreading tales that the village was cursed.

Patiently, she had bided her time in the cool darkness of the abandoned mausoleum until hunger pangs had gripped her. The evil in her soul was craving more and more human blood to sustain her. Writhing in agony on the floor of the tomb, she had resisted for as long as she could before having no choice but to risk an early evening foray for sustenance.

Under the cover of a cloudy midsummer dusk, she had spread her magnificent, black wings and soared over the village, heading towards the hills behind. Relishing being outside once more, she soared high over the narrow road for almost an hour before spotting three adult deer on the edge of the forest.

Lightning fast, she swooped to the ground and had her fangs deep in the neck of one of the deer before her slender, leather clad feet had touched down in the bed of pine needles on the ground. As she drank deeply, savouring the gamey taste of the doe’s blood, her nostrils picked up another familiar scent, a heady, ferrous musk mixed with sweat. Listening closely, she heard it – the gentle rhythmic thud, thud, thud of a runner approaching.

 

Ever since his encounter with the dark winged apparition at Halloween, he’d avoided running through the village, preferring instead to pound the forestry trails in the hills behind the house. The spate of sudden, unexplained deaths in the community over the winter months had unnerved him, as it had many of his friends and neighbours. He’d avoided venturing out in the dark but, now that summer was here, he was loving the long, light, warm nights.

Feeling a little guilty at upping the pace, he’d dropped his running buddy half a mile back, enjoying the freedom to run at his own naturally quicker pace. Since he’d sped up, the midgies didn’t seem to be biting so much.  He could feel them in his spiky hair and his eyebrows. As he ran, he pondered how fast a midgie could fly.

He rounded a bend in the trail and stopped in his tracks. The hairs on the back of his neck were on end; the birds had stopped singing in the surrounding trees. Everything was silent. A dead deer lay in the middle of the path, it’s throat recently ripped open.

Behind him, he could hear his friend approaching; hear his heavy breathing as he gave it his all to catch up. He glanced back to see if he was in sight yet but the path was deserted.

Turning back towards the deer, he let out a gasp.

A dark winged female, with waist length raven black hair, stood between him and the carcass. Her piercing green eyes were boring into his very soul.

He stood frozen to the spot as she stepped towards him.

The purple tipped feathers of her wings rustled softly as she moved gracefully to stand at his shoulder. Unable to take his eyes off her striking, alabaster features, the runner noted the fresh blood at the corner of her mouth.

She reached out a long, slim hand with long, pointed, purple nails and traced her finger tip around the outline of the tattoo on his upper arm.

His heart was pounding out of his chest.

Closing his eyes, he felt her breath on his neck.

 

Thud. Thud. Thud.

 

“There you are!” gasped his running buddy. “You trying to kill me with that pace, mate?”

He opened his eyes. The dark angel was gone. The deer carcass had vanished. Turning to face his friend, he muttered, “Sorry. Just needed to stretch my legs for a bit.”

“Hey! You’re bleeding!” exclaimed his breathless friend. “You ok?”

“Bleeding?”

“Yeah. It’s running down your neck.”

Reaching up with a trembling hand, he felt the sweaty skin at the side of his neck. Sure enough, his fingertips came away covered in fresh blood.

“Shit. Must have caught a branch back there.”

“Must have been a thorny one. That looks like a puncture wound,” stated his friend. “Come on. Let’s get you home and get that cleaned up. It looks nasty.”

Together they set off at a leisurely pace along the trail towards the housing estate.

 

High up in the trees, the angel looked down on the scene. Thwarted again but at least this time she’d been able to savour a taste of a meal yet to be enjoyed. Running her tongue over her fangs, she sighed as she lingered over the final drop of his divine blood.

 

 (image sourced via Google – credits to the owner)