You won’t guess what this photograph is…
I desperately need a new camera, for its absolute crap at taking night photos…
But I tried to capture it anyway, and although it’s terrible, it did make me laugh!
This is the view from our front door, and the white light is the street lamp.
Drum roll please… the orange light is… THE MOON …
To say I was disappointed would be putting it mildly, but compared to what is going on at the moment, nothing to speak of really…
Hoping everyone is keeping chins and spirits up… difficult, I know, but one day we will laugh about it. (at least I have been told that we will)
The lockdown and isolation has entered the Den of Doom (my office) with a vengeance this week.
We have tried desperately to maintain an optimistic attitude about everything, including all those annoying PC malfunctions. I seem to spend more and more time trying to catch up, meaning I never manage to get around to anything creative anymore.
So much so, our respective muses have been AWOL for days!
Undaunted, I had been looking forward to working on the new bonsai shelves. The wood has arrived and so did the freezing weather. I don’t do freezing to death as my old bones refuse to function below a certain temperature.
So, the waiting will continue…
Shame, for I was looking forward to spending hours away from the computer.
In the middle of the week, I started what I thought was a bad cold, streaming nose and sneezing. Of course, I immediately thought I was dying, but relieved to discover that sneezing is not a symptom of the Covid19 virus.
When the tickly cough arrived, I slipped into denial in a hurry.
The experts say that most people will only get mild symptoms and recover quickly, but not people over 75 who also have serious medical problems like heart conditions, asthma and hypertension, also like me.
Denial is a wonderful coping mechanism and I’m pretty sure I’m not dying. In the past I have beaten some usually fatal conditions, so not expecting to lose this battle either if it turns out that I do have it.
The good news is my temperature is normal and I feel fine…
99 words, no more, no less. It’s a simple constraint, an easy-to-master literary art form, and a powerful writing tool for creatives and entrepreneurs. Writers calibrate the usefulness and beauty of 99-words through weekly flash fiction challenges.
January 30, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a postal carrier in an extreme situation. Even if you base your story on a true one, focus on the core trait of this postal carrier. Go where the prompt leads!
I have the best postman
No matter the weather
Rain or snow
Pushing his post trolley
Getting more snow
Around the wheels
As he goes
He’s not so young these days
I think he’s a superman
He has a shiny red nose
I decided to have a hot cup of tea
Waiting for him
Warm his back on my hall radiator
Thaw out for five minutes
We have a lot in common
Not least, my favourite place
It’s the one place he likes to take time off
No matter what the weather…
Everything you are looking for
Is in the future
Often held back by fear, doubt
Leave that in 2019
Walk into 2020
With a light heart
Let the future come to you…
I suppose it was inevitable that an element of Charles Dickens a Christmas Carol should have descended on our house. Anita is very fond of this story and always watches at least one version of it at this time of year, but I have a feeling it has something to do with it being a new century and not just a New Year that is due to start in approx. 19 days’ time.
I am always a little apprehensive at this time of year, wondering what Fate has in store for us all, and at the same time trying to imagine new ways to make it better than this one.
A new century is rather special and needs to be planned with a bit more care than usual, I think. We have been blogging now for nearly 7 years and we have made some amazing progress and friends in that time, but so far, the sale of our books hasn’t exactly improved our lifestyle.
We would love to increase the number of our subscribers /friends, write more books and actually sell some of them.
Although I am very proud of all I have learned, I know there is so much more I need to know out there. Already, the to-do list is growing, headed by getting rid of that dreadful subscription pop up and replacing it with a better sign up form, coupled with finding new ways to connect with more readers.
Our newsletters need improving, and our presence on some media sites could be better too.
And I also need to find the time to start enjoying my long-abandoned hobby of craftwork again, and if I can, I think this would make 2020 a special time for me…
What do you want to do differently in 2020?
We would love to hear from you…
Feeling mighty proud of myself today, as I have beaten the dreaded meatgrinder!
For those who don’t know, this is the complicated system that all books must go through to be included on Smashwords.com and Silent PayBack made it on the second attempt!
The first time, the cover image was too small and that was easily fixed.
Now, you don’t have to buy a copy, just read a bit and say what you think. Pretty please?
We are constantly being told how important it is to have our work read by someone else before we publish. Even when our ego convinces us that our WIP doesn’t need this, that we have in fact, done a marvellous job!
My ego must be having time out, as I knew from the start that my current WIP, PayBack, needed a miracle or a beta read at the very least.
For so many reasons, PayBack was hard to write at times. This was the first time my writing confidence had faltered, and I worried about it a lot.
PayBack is a crime thriller and I love writing them, even though creating all the twists and turns can test my brain to its limits. This time there were some unusual elements that I had never written about before, all of which threatened possible multiple pile ups and confusion if I allowed it to run amok.
Add to all that the miserable year I have had, what with my eyesight deteriorating and various other problems, it was a miracle I managed to write at all.
When I finally finished writing it, I knew it would need all the professional help I could afford. In this respect, I am lucky, for two books back I found myself a brilliant and reliable beta reader, Sara Maew from Fiverr.com and I think she is amazing.
I know that some of you recommend more than one beta reader or an editor, but even with the best will in the world, I cannot stretch my pension that far. Fiverr is very reasonable, and in my experience, Sara could easily command high prices for the work she does.
I am very confident in her abilities. She will find all my errors, plot holes, howlers and missing elements, and suggest ways to improve them. I also love that she includes praise for all the good bits!
The results of the beta read came in a twenty-page report and covered all the weak spots and errors. More dialogue was suggested, and the plot flow was far too erratic, but after reading this report, my confidence soared for I knew PayBack was fixable and would be a great read.
Criticism can be destructive, leaving both you and your book in a worse state than before, but Sara manages to fill me with such confidence, inspiring me to work on her suggestions to make PayBack not only perfect, but shining!
Next week, I hope to start the foundations for my marketing plan…
Streets Ahead is a book promotion idea created by Stevie Turner over on MeWe.com
This week is the turn of Robbie Cheadle and Kim Blades and their wonderful collection of poems…
Open a New Door is a poetic peep into the lives of the poets, Kim Blades and Robbie Cheadle, both of whom live in South Africa.
The book is divided into four categories: God bless Africa, God bless my family and friends, God bless me and God bless corporates and work. Each part is sub-divided into the good, the bad and the ugly of the two poets’ experiences, presented in rhyming verse, free-style, haiku and tanka, in each of these categories and include colourful depictions of their thoughts and emotions.
The purpose of this book of poetry is encapsulated in the following tanka and haiku poems:
What drives me to write?
To share my innermost thoughts
The answer is clear
It’s my personal attempt
To make some sense of this world.
Like the unfurling petals
Of the Desert Rose
Both Kim and Robbie have a similar style of writing blank verse, some of the themes too are identical. Realism is the hallmark of their poetry, as they talk about life and people in clear words; imagination takes a back seat. Deeply moved by poverty around her, Robbie has highlighted it in many poems. If ‘The Boys under the Bridge’ brings out the plight of the homeless youth, The Silver Lining underlines the uplifting spirits of a youngster carrying a load of recyclables with abandon, The Beggar’s Child mocks at the apathy of the passers-by but ‘The Golden Light’ focuses on helping the underprivileged children of a school in a squatter camp with books – a wonder gift for them.
Kim seems to be an ardent animal lover because many of her poems celebrate wild life and give a vivid description of how a cheetah hunts its prey, how mother cheetah nurtures her cubs, how a lion lies on golden grass, even her Utopia mentions “stamping buffalo.” Iconic South African birds too catch her attention to inspire a poem. The opening lines of ‘Lessons Learned in a rural village’ seem to be inspired from William Blake’s poem ‘The Little Black Boy.’
Some of the poems are too personal and comment on how life unfolds, offering unforgettable memories, moments of exhilaration and dismay, travails of a working mother and insecurities of an empty nest but they all make life worth living. Heaviness of this book would linger around you even when you finish and put it away. I enjoyed it.
I learned a valuable lesson this week.
Turns out I was wrong to assume that Lulu.com (the paperback people) and Amazon would get their act together and show the PB copies of our books alongside the e-book editions.
To be fair, I think I must accept some of the blame for this, as I used to change our book covers all the time, as I was never happy with them. This probably upset the applecart somewhere along the line.
It shouldn’t make any difference; I hear you saying and you’re probably right. After all, if they allow you to make these changes, they should be prepared to fulfil their side of things and do it properly, don’t you think?
Over the years I have been involved in this amazing self-publishing world, I have learned not to assume that just because people say something will happen, it very often doesn’t.
This all came about because I happened to click on one of our paperbacks on Amazon, only to find it had one of the old covers showing. I have never thought to do this before, for if I want to buy one of our paperbacks I go to Lulu, where they are cheaper for authors.
Then I checked the rest of them, only to find out four more had old covers and two weren’t there at all.
I checked our account on Lulu.com and all our PB books were present and correct. But when I asked why they weren’t all on Amazon, they didn’t understand my problem.???
So, I asked Amazon the same question only to be told that I didn’t have an account with them.???
Round about now I was rapidly losing the will to live. I knew that Amazon/CreateSpace had this facility where you could make a paperback edition, but I also remembered this involved a one-piece cover, something I had no idea how to do. Imagine my surprise when I discovered things had changed since their merger and it was now possible to make a one-piece cover using our own cover images. This was wonderful news, the only drawback was, the background colour is black. Which is fine is it goes with your cover image, but I wish there was a way to change that. Maybe there is, and I just haven’t found it yet.
To cut a long story short, I have been busy making covers on KDP with Amazon, and removing our books from Lulu.com…
And on a more serious note, PayBack is with the beta reader this week, so getting nearer to launch day. I will be posting about this as soon as the dust settles!