Tag Archives: #newfiction

And relax….. who am I kidding?

flower collage

Well,  Book Baby 4’s cover has been revealed and the release date announced  so I guess it’s time to relax….NOT!

Now the hard word starts as I stress over proofreading, editing, spelling, grammar, formatting……..

I will though, on occasion, attempt to sit back, relax and enjoy the colours in the garden and maybe even write a little too  #amwritingbookbaby5 #JakeandLori

Advertisements

And the cover of Book Baby 4 looks like….

Ellen final version front cover

And Ellen will be released on 1st September 2018 in both e-book and paperback formats via Amazon worldwide.

Pre-order details to follow nearer the time.

Clock’s ticking…..EEEKKKK!!!

 

Cover Reveal Event – all welcome

Ellen cover reveal banner
Folks,

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

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

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

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

Alternatively, please check out my Facebook author page :

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

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

I look forward to seeing you all there 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How long does it take to write a book?…a Book Baby 4 update

“How long does it take to write a book? “A question I’ve been asked more than once!

“As long as it takes,” is my stock answer.

However, with regards to the first draft of Book Baby4, 603 days is the real answer.

 Yes, I’ve FINALLY finished the first draft!!!! WOO HOO!!!

 This one has put up a fight, I can tell you! However, I’m pleased with the first draft that I have written.

 Writing the first draft of anything can be a challenge. When it’s done, you’re left with something that in places is far from perfect but in others is spot on. Already, I know in my heart, there are a few scenes that need a little TLC so I guess this is where the real work begins.

 There’s a quote that’s kept me going when the words have failed to flow..

sandbox

 

 So, after 603 days, what do I have to show for my efforts?

Well, I have this….

20180528_205735

 

Already 70% of it has been typed up and re-drafted (first time round). That portion has had it’s first spell check/grammar check treatment too.

There’s still a huge pile of work to be done between now and this Book Baby’s actual “birth”. To keep the pregnancy/birth analogy going, I’d say I’m in the first phase of labour.

I have a title in mind….. no, I’m not revealing it yet.

I have a cover design half-formed in my head…. no, I’m not revealing that just yet.

I have a birth date (publication date) in mind…. No, I’m not sharing that yet either!

Patience!!

With the help and love and support of my “Infamous Five”, my wonderfully patient alpha readers, it’s time to build some sandcastles.

Now, who has the bucket and spade?

bucket and spade

(quote and bucket and spade image sourced via Google – credits to the owners)

Silently Watching At Eostre – part eight

dark angel

Spring was perhaps the dark angel’s favourite time of year. There were plenty of young animals in the fields to provide easy succulent meals for her. If she was careful, she could disguise her lamb kills as dog attacks, easily diverting attention towards any number of local pets who were allowed to roam off their leads. While the fresh lamb’s blood was a delicacy, it didn’t satiate her hunger the way that human blood did.

Meals since the Winter Solstice had been lean. She had risked only one human kill. During a January gale, she had snatched an unsuspecting passenger from the deck of the ferry that traversed the river every hour.  Now, after months of rabbits, deer and, more recently, lambs, she was truly ravenous.

At this time of year, she preferred to seek young blood to rejuvenate her. It had crossed her mind many times over the years to snatch a child but, even in her transformed state, that was a moral step too far. When she had been reborn over two hundred years earlier, her creator had laid down three basic rules to survival.  

1 Never kill a child prior to it reaching sexual maturity

2 Never kill an expectant mother

3 Never drink from the bloodline of your creator. 

The first rule remained the only one unbroken. 

She ran her tongue over her broken fang and allowed her thoughts to linger on the runner. Oh, what she’d give to be able to savour that exotic, rich, ferrous blood of his! If she closed her eyes, she could see him in her mind’s eye and still taste him. Forbidden fruit indeed but what was she to do with him?

 

After a large family dinner to celebrate Easter and several stolen pieces of his children’s chocolate Easter eggs, he knew he needed to set off for a long run to burn off the calories. Time was marching on. Easter already! ..and he was  acutely aware that he hadn’t been following his desired training schedule. The Bank Holiday Monday offered the ideal opportunity to set out for a longer run. Not wanting to miss out on too much quality family time, he’d set his alarm early, leaving the house just before seven as the sun rose over the horizon.

With open countryside surrounding him and his favourite playlist playing in his ears, he ran at a respectable pace towards the local reservoirs. At such an early hour, he passed no one. Everywhere was still. The birds were singing in the hedgerows and trees. The water of the reservoirs was glassy still. It was an idyllic setting for his morning run.

After a few miles, something off to the left in one of the fields caught his eye. Several crows were gathered round it and, as he slowed his pace to focus his vision on it, he realised that it was two dead lambs, their throats freshly ripped out. Initially, he thought that they must have met their deaths at the fangs of a dog but, as he ran on, he wondered……

Subconsciously his hand went to his neck, touching the very spot where those deadly fangs had pierced his skin. He hadn’t allowed himself to think about the dark angel for a while. In fact, he’d gone out of his way to avoid her and avoided even driving through the village, opting instead whenever possible to take the narrow country road out onto the main dual carriageway. She fascinated him but terrified him at the same time. The thought that she still wanted to talk with him made his blood run cold. “Forbidden fruit,” she had said to him the last time their paths had crossed. He knew she intended to talk to him at some point but he wasn’t convinced it was a conversation he wanted to be party to.

 

Warm spring sunshine was bathing the still graveyard but the angel sat in the cool of the shadows, picking pieces of sinew from between her teeth with her long, pointed fingernails. Lamb for breakfast had been fine but she still craved human blood.

A familiar scent on the air caught her attention before she heard the rhythmic thud, thud, thud of the runner’s feet as he ran hard up the steep hill past the church. Soundlessly, she got to her feet, crossed the small cemetery and stepped out into the road at precisely the same moment that the runner reached the rusty gates at the entrance.

“Good morning, son of Perran,” she said with a smile.

“Hey,” he gasped breathlessly.

“Come,” she instructed, beckoning him to follow her into the cemetery. “Time to talk.”

“I don’t have much time,” he replied, desperately trying to think of something to stall her.

“You have sufficient time. Come!”

Obediently, he followed her up the stone steps then left along the gravel path towards a bench that remained in the shade.

“Sit,” she commanded bluntly as she herself sat carefully on the wooden bench, mindful of her majestic wings.

Choosing a spot as far along the seat from her as possible, he sat down.

“I need to tell you a story,” she began quietly. “No need to look so scared. You’re perfectly safe from me….well… for now.”

“I am?”

“Yes. We share the same bloodline,” revealed the angel, gazing into his dark eyes as if searching for his very soul. “If I were to try to drink from you, I’d die within a few hours. One of the golden rules. Never drink from the bloodline of your creator or his descendants.  You, son of Perran, are a descendant of the man who made me who I am.”

“I am?”

The dark angel nodded, “The wound I inflicted on your neck proved that. Those few delicious drops of blood poisoned me. Were nearly enough to end it all but, as you can see, I am quite recovered. Well almost.”

She bared her fangs to him. Immediately, he noted the broken tip of one of them.

“The tip is embedded in your neck,” explained the angel, reaching out to touch the spot.

His neck had begun to throb as soon as he had approached the church and the toothache had returned when the stone walls of the cemetery had come into sight. Now, for the first time in weeks, he felt warm, fresh blood trickling down his neck.

“How? Why?”

“How? Because I attempted to drink from you. Those few poisonous drops were divine,” she replied, savouring the bittersweet memory. “Why? That’s what I am trying to figure out. Minor injuries like a broken tooth usually regenerate and heal within a day or so. This has been over nine months and there is nothing I can do to heal it.”

“The place on my neck won’t heal either,” he acknowledged, reaching up to wipe away the fresh blood.

“In over two hundred years, I’ve never experienced this,” she stated looking almost insulted. “However, it means we are connected by more than bloodline. So, I’m going to offer you a choice.”

“A choice?” he echoed a little anxiously, edging forward on the seat ready to escape if need be.

“Yes. A choice,” she repeated, her green eyes boring into him. “The choice to either become like me or the choice to kill me.”

“Why?”

Smiling at his puzzled expression, the angel said, “To kill me would end the loneliness, the suffering, save the lives of the innocent. To become like me, then…. well, who knows what our futures would hold, son of Perran.”

“Why would I want to live a life like yours?”

“You wouldn’t have to live as I choose to,” she countered calmly. “There can be a partial transformation first. You can live your life as normal, watch your family grow up and grow old. You, however, will age at a far slower rate. You will remain fit and healthy. Able to run for more years than you would otherwise. Then, once your family are gone, together we can seek answers to why we’ve been bound together like this.”

He stared at her, struggling to comprehend what she was saying.

Effortlessly, the angel got to her feet, spread her wings and prepared to depart.

“So, I wouldn’t need the wings if I can live my normal life?” Once spoken the question sounded ridiculous and he flushed in embarrassment.

“Reach a decision first, son of Perran, then we can discuss the finer points,” she suggested with a mischievous smile. “Its not a decision to be taken lightly. Not one to be rushed.”

He looked up but the mid-morning sun was shining straight into his eyes. He blinked and looked again.

The angel was gone.

A single black, purple tipped feather lay on the ground at his feet.

 

(image sourced via Google – credits to the owner)

 

 

 

The Last Emoji (flash fiction)

 

There had to be thousands of messages in the chain he was scrolling through….. and he missed receiving them.  Those silly emojis that she’d used. The crazy conversations of emojis alone that they’d both understood perfectly. Messages that would ping into his phone at all hours of the day and night. Random and bizarre. Short and sweet. Occasionally an annoyance. … an annoyance he now sorely missed.

For two long weeks the thread had been virtually silent. All the recent messages had been one way. All of them had been his.

With a sad smile, he looked at the last one he’d received from her

                Beach time 🙂 🙂 🙂

                Have fun 😎 Be careful 😀

 

She’d never reached the beach that day.

It was a news report shared on his timeline by a mutual friend that had delivered the news of the accident. The brief report had made his blood run cold.

Those first few days had been touch and go. From a distance, he’d waited for news, thankful that his sister-in-law was a nurse in the ICU. He’d made every excuse he could to visit her at work that week. Offering her lifts, coming into the hospital to let her know that he was there, hoping to seize the opportunity to visit Room 5.

The opportunity finally came three days after the accident. He’d arrived early to collect his sister-in-law from her last in a run of night shifts and, needing to confide in someone, he’d told her the gist of his friendship with the patient in Room 5. Luck had been on his side. There was no one sitting with her.

For less than ten minutes he was allowed to visit in secret. They had been the shortest ten minutes of his life. She had looked so peaceful, despite the tubes and IVs and the incessant bleeping of the machines keeping her alive. Nervously, he’d held her hand and talked to her. He’d kissed her on the forehead before he’d slipped unseen from the private room.

Now, ten days later, he couldn’t remember a word he’d said but he could’ve sworn that she had squeezed his hand ever so gently. Wishful thinking? A reflex reaction? He’d never know for sure but it made it easier to bear if he kept believing that she’d known he was there.

It was after that that he’d started to message her again. Short messages. His usual random messages as if nothing had changed.

                Morning 🙂

                What a shitty day! >:D

                Car broke down again. Hate buses 😥

                Night. Sleep well  😉

                Long day. Work’s fried my head 😕

 

And so they went on……

The day he heard that he’d lost her forever, he’d sent another message

                😥  xx

Even though he knew she was gone, he’d kept messaging her. He could see on his phone that they were all unread but sending them, holding onto the connection,  eased the searing pain of his unspoken grief.

After the funeral service, he’d messaged her again.

                You’d have hated that! SO not you! Not one song that you’d have picked ha ha  :’)

 

Now a week after he’d said his final goodbye alongside her family and friends, he sat on the wall looking out over the river in his lunch hour, scrolling back through their message conversation. Re-reading some of the old messages made him smile, triggering memories of happier times.  In the mix of short text and emojis, her personality was still alive.

In his heart and his head, he knew he couldn’t keep messaging a ghost. He had to stop ….  but he didn’t want to. Then he began to worry that her family might be able to read the message chain. A wave of panic washed over him. Silently, he prayed that she’d been as careful with their messages as he had.

What happened to folk’s social media after they died? Would her timeline just sit there growing old and out of date? Would it be deleted and be gone forever?

A swift Google search informed him that nothing would happen to it until the family reported her death to the host site. Knowing how thorough her family could be, he guessed that the death would be reported sooner rather than later  and the account “memorialised”. That at least would be something to hold onto in the darker moments of the days and weeks to come.

He had to let go. He had to say goodbye.

With a heavy heart, he typed one final message. 

                    Miss you  😥

He hit send then stuffed the phone back into his pocket. Time to get back to work.

As he walked across the car park, his phone vibrated twice.

Two notifications.

Pulling the phone back out, he glanced at the screen.

One notification. One message.

The notification was the change of status of her account to “memorialised” and her friends list had all been notified.

His heart sank.

The message almost made him drop his phone. It was from her! How? Why? His mind raced. Rationalising things swiftly, he deduced it must have been stuck as a draft and the suspension of her social media account had triggered it to send.

He opened it.

                   ❤ U x

He smiled.

 

 

 

 

January……

motivation collage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the result……

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

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

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

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