Tag Archives: fiction

With A Glow Of Hope In Her Heart

When you have a dream and your blood boils with determination, it is hard to foresee the number of hurdles you will face on the course ahead. Hope is such a dynamic force. Like a ship opening up it’s sails with confidence, a naive young woman can unwittingly sail into fierce storms she never imagined.

When Luciana Ranallo boarded her flight at Bucharest, all she saw was a dazzling future. Her father believed in her. His email to her at Christmas breathed even more confidence and conviction that she could do anything she dreamt of, she could conquer the world. Her mother was not quite as enthusiastic about little her Lucia departing from her home. It was clear that Dorota was full of anxiety about her twenty-one year old daughter, who was as stubborn and strong-willed as her Italian father Marco, who had only been in the same room as his daughter nine times in her life. But Dorota Luciana would never settle until she left Brașov and went to explore the world for herself, starting with London.

Light, Light Bulb, Electric Bulb, Bulb, Electricity

For her sake I am glad that Luciana’s hopes were so vibrant that when arrived at the block of flats in Dalston where a friend of her father’s lived, she hardly noticed the yellow stained walls and ceiling, overflowing ashtrays and recycling boxes full of beer cans and empty sardine tins, and the obnoxious stench floating out of the bathroom.

Luciana was thrilled that she had made it. Tommaso spoke to her in Italian at a pace she was unable to comprehend. She had grown up hearing Romanian and Hungarian, and although she could understand her father’s mother tongue, she missed half of what Tommaso was telling her. She did catch that he was going out and would be back later. He had pushed a pile of takeaway menus in front of her before departing. Luciana was not hungry. She had left her home over eighteen hours earlier, and now all she wanted to do was close her eyes and sleep.

She sent a text message to her sister asking to tell her mama that she had arrived in London and would call her the next morning. Ten minutes later, she was fast asleep. She slept through the music blaring from the flat above. She slept through the screaming from across the road. She slept through Tommaso slamming the front door when he returned home at half past one in the morning. Sirens from police cars and ambulances did not wake her. Her first night in London was a peaceful one. She slumbered obliviously to the frantic buzz of one of the cities in this world that is never really asleep.

Summer Holidays

I have a holiday ahead of me. It is a staycation – as in it will be within the UK (why go through the stress of an overseas holiday this year?) I will be visiting my family. I cannot wait!!!

There are some things I want to do…and I have postponed them, feeling I simply did not have the time, at least I did not have the time to enjoy them. Looking at wedding dresses for a start.

I also am itching to write. I have two stories I am desperate to write. One is of a girl who comes to London from a European country – full of dreams. She arrives in London before the Europe referendum back in 2016, before the 2020 Pandemic. So a lot happens. Here story is one of dreams, challenges, hope, disappointment, betrayal, persecution, love, heartbreak, courage, endurance and of course she is going to have a happy ending. Why would I write a book without a happy ending? It is based on the real life experiences of so many of my own dear friends. I have been writing bits and pieces in my spare time, but I need to weave it all together.

I have another story in my mind – a story about forgiveness. It is pure fiction, but it is inspired by the forgiveness that took place between Jack and myself. I don’t feel I can write our own story yet, even though Jack thinks it would be a great idea. But I can use our experience for inspiration, and draw on the memory of the feelings I experienced when we were estranged, and how delicate trust was when we were trying to make peace and restore the damage. It is currently a complex storyline, and I think I needed to peel away some of the detailed layers.

I have a feeling that my summer holiday will be so packed with family members and friends, it is unlikely I will have time to work on my writing. I guess I am longing for lazy hazy days of summer to roll on and on and on, and not to have any scheduled or deadlines to inhibit me!

Sunflower Field, Landscape, Scene

A Year In The Life Of Howard McAllister

March 2020 – Howard found a sext-message on his girlfriend’s phone from some guy named Nick

April 2020 – Howard lost his wallet and had to wait for two weeks for a replacement bank card

May 2020 – Howard found a strangely shaped mole on the side of his torso

June 2020 – Howard lost his grandfather who had been in ICU being treated for Covid for eight weeks

July 2020 – Howard found a new route to work that meant not passing the hospital where his grandfather died

August 2020 – Howard lost his face mask on the way back from shopping in Westfield. He was not allowed on the bus and ended up walking home in the rain.

September 2020 – Howard found his boss snogging one of the cashiers in the stock room

October 2020 – Howard lost the chance to see his parents because he had a cough and a temperature

November 2020 – Howard found a note from his girlfriend saying she could not take any more and was moving out

December 2020 – Howard lost any glimmer of confidence in the government as Christmas was cancelled for London

January 2021 – Howard found a twenty pound note underneath the sofa cushions

February 2021 – Howard lost his job when the store closed and everyone was made redundant

March 2021 – Howard found an online support group whom he could talk about his dark feelings


his little post is my response to this week’s FANDANGO’S FLASH FICTION CHALLENGE

Melody Finch – The Writer, Not The Bird

I had a surprise the other day. I was showing a colleague at work how they can find my books on Amazon and next to my book appeared what seems to be a brand new children’s eco-fantasy book entitled “Melody Finch”. I read the description….a girl turns into a bird…and her educational adventure focusing on Australian wildlife.

Now, simply on the basis that they have given their book the best possible name out there, I will be buying and reviewing their book. Look out soon for a CARMEL’S CORNER post devoted to “Melody FInch”, the children’s book!

Anyway, I just want to make clear, I am the writer Melody Finch, I am not a girl who has somehow been transformed into a bird. I am Caramel and I generally write romantic comedy mixed with learning about life, about ourselves, about relationships and about how to overcome challenges and thrive.

You see….that is who I am. Melody Finch – the epic adventurer who seems to have come through challenges with pizazz and not only has lived to tell the tale, but can sing it out with gusto!

Melody Finch books include the following:

First Car Fling


Passing my driving test was the most amazing feeling on earth! I remember looked in the newspaper to see if there were any cars I could afford. For £300 I had my very own set of wheels.

That night after I picked up my new car, my friend Adrian and me went for a drive. I drove and I drove and I drove. Adrian and I sang our hearts out all the way from Milan in Italy, all the way to Edinburgh in Scotland!!

Woooh hooh! Driving license is the greatest freedom! No looking back for me!


The short post above was my response to the….

…hosted by Cyranny’s Cove

The Lantern


My heart was beating as I listened to my grandmother tell me about how for years she was secretly courted by a wealthy young man, despite his family being dead against their relationship.

During all those years that he and I snook away for romantic rendezvous…

We ne’er showed

Our secret code

At his abode

…to any other soul. It was a mysterious unspoken language between he and I. All those years when we were kept apart by the most miserable of circumstances, his rich aunt who detested that my father was a mere tradesman. She announced our union would be a disgrace to the noble bloodline from which she descended, and forbade him to see me.

However, with his encouragement Auntie would go away for the occasional trip to Lyme or the New Forest on one of her little vacations. My beloved would always hasten to give me that sign, so that I knew that apart from the servants, he would be alone at home and could receive me…

I’d see that light

That meant we might

Make love that night

…and I would rush down to the manor house, squeeze through the gap he had created in the perimeter walls and make my way through the pristine gardens. I had to climb the trellis erected for the wisteria, to reach his balcony. He would be there waiting to lift me over the stone balustrade.

It was terribly exciting, terribly romantic. He would kiss each one of the scratches I had incurred in my climb up over the gnarled twigs that scraped against my soft skin. He would hold me in his arms, whispering to me that it was agony not being allowed to see me.

Eventually your Grandfather spurned his rich aunt’s wishes in choosing to elope so he could marry me. In outrage, his aunt cut him out of her will. Your grandfather gave up his inheritance for me.

After his crabby aunt had passed away, he went to visit his second cousin who had received the inheritance and made just one request. Your grandfather asked for the lantern that hung in the porch on the south side of the house. His request was granted, and we fixed it up in the vestibule here at the cottage we raised our children in.

The lantern that for eight years proclaimed the message I was longing for:

“The coast is clear

You need not fear

Come in my dear”



This was my response to FANDANGO’S FLASH FICTION Challenge:


Lost In This World

Image by TanteTati from PixabayI have been writing another fictional story. I don’t know where it came from…but I suddenly find that I have a lot of material. I copied and pasted what I had already written into Microsoft Word and in three weeks, I have written 60,000 words. I have the rest of the story in my head, and time permitting I will try to type it up. Then I need to edit. Editing is painful!

It’s kind of a story of a young woman who is lost and alone in many ways. She has no living family members. She has no close friends. She works and plays and tries to find somewhere, something, that resembles love. But she is another learner at love and makes lots of mistakes along the way. I am developing her character carefully. I am still not sure how I want her story to end. Will she find real love? Will she just learn to live with loneliness? Will there be a hero or rescuer? Will she conquer alone? I have lots of ideas, but I expect that by the time we get to the conclusion, the questions her story has raised will point to one answer.

Anyway…now I am trying to play around with how to start the story. I have made a start, but it needs more time and attention:

Man, Woman, Composing, Dispute, Thoughtful, ProblemsIt’s still fresh in my mind as if it was just yesterday that he walked up those stairs. I still feel that clench in my gut as I felt the threat of him approaching. The hairs stood on the back of my neck. My face was stern, my body stiff, my voice cold.

I did everything I could to send out the message I did not want to speak to him, that he was an unwelcome invader. I was hostile and unresponsive to his friendly questions. I gave him monotone yes and no replies. He detected I was not at ease with him. He persisted cautiously, maintaining an appropriate distance.

Somehow he managed to figure out why I was there on my own. He carefully broke down my defences. I gave in. I gave up. I gave him a chance. I still remember it all vividly.

Man, Woman, Composing, DisputeI am not sure where to begin to tell you our tale. I know my side of the story better than his. But I often think that for a stranger to hear, it makes sense to know how he it must have played out for him. For him it was all fairly simple, straightforward. For me it was anything but simple. It was complicated and crazy and contorted.

Before I let you see what happened from his perspective, let me introduce myself. My name is Hayley. Hayley Buchanan, born in 1987 to Paul and Collette Buchanan. I lived the first few years of my life in Galesburg, Illinois. I left home to go and study English Literature at the University of Virginia.



Breathing Life Into Characters

rsughbg Since the first part of my LEARNERS AT LOVE series was published, I have been slowly scrutinising every word. I have painstakingly corrected grammar and punctuation. I have also got to know my characters much better and learnt more about the expressions they would use and their habits of thought and action.

It’s a very enjoyable process, but one that it seems you have to be devoted to (for a time period that is). Perhaps I went about it all the wrong way. I have post-edited. It would have driven me crazy to have to edit like this before ever publishing. I don’t think Annabelle Riley’s story would ever have been published if I had to keep postponing it because of a paranoid perfectionism.

You have a character in your mind, and you have to make them seem real in your story. You have to get to know who they are are what made them that way. It’s really fascinating, especially from a psychological point of view.

rusdjdbjafI’ve started to develop another character recently, Leah Carter. I have already decided she is not going to have her full story published. She is more personal to me and the men I have loved. While there are thousands of miles between Jack and me, Leah is in some ways helping us share what we cannot. After I send a part of Leah’s story to Jack, he reads it and sends something back. Maybe, it’s a bit like cybersex but more personal and way more erotic. We are talking about scenarios we have already shared, reminding each other of intimate moments together.

I have ideas for other characters though. I would like to develop the story of Anna and Natalia, two sisters from the LEARNERS AT LOVE series. I also have a character in my head who is inspired by an amazing colleague of mine. I would love to weave a fictional tale of how she finds love.

When Leaving The House Is An Ordeal

Corona, Mask, Full Face, Coverage Mike knew that he had no choice. He had spent two weeks trying to book a slot for home delivery on the supermarket’s website. But every time he checked there were no slots left.

He opened the cupboards…all he could see was forty bags of dried pasta. He had run out of everything else. There was nothing he could make a sauce out of. He didn’t even have any oil or salt left.

Realizing he was now going to have to venture out to the local supermarket in person, he went to his store cupboard to pull out his “bag-for-life”. To reach his shopping bag, he had to pull out the two hundred toilet rolls he had managed to squeeze into his store cupboard.

Mike then spent ten minutes preparing himself to leave the house. He placed his makeshift PPE over his face and finally put on his bright yellow marigolds. He opened the door and set off down to the supermarket.

On arriving at the PriceDropper Supermarket, Mike joined the back of the queue that stretched across the entire carpark. Forty minutes later he finally entered the doors and was able to fill up his shopping basket.

Mike walked back up the hill with his groceries. On reaching his home, he put his hand into his pockets to pull out his keys. Damn! Mike had left the house without his keys. Mike tried to locate his phone. Double damn! Mike had left the house without his phone.


Apparently…It’s World Book Day

bukThe BBC News had a report featuring children around the country who will be engaged in reading activities in recognition of World Book Day.

So I thought…since it is apparently, World Book Day…why not drop a post on you to mention that Part Two of The LEARNERS AT LOVE Series is on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback formats. This part is called WHERE IS THIS PLACE THEY CALL “HOME”?

It continues Annabelle’s epic journey as she learns about herself and about love. I loved this part of her story.

You may have seen my posts a while ago about Part One of The LEARNERS AT LOVE Series, which was entitled WE HIDE WHAT WE HATE ABOUT OURSELVES.

Thank you so much for the wonderful support and encouragement. Writing the story of a young woman who wants to be happy but has been afraid to seek help with her mental health been an amazing journey. Publishing it and receiving feedback from others has been such a joyful experience!


At the moment I am fine tuning Part Three, but it is taking me longer than I hoped because I have so very little spare time at the moment. But it is 80% there. I’ll let you know when Part Three is live and kicking on Amazon.