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…
A Very Happy New Year
Anita and Jaye
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!
I like my green bowl
To me it’s beautiful
It had to have pride of place
Placing a faux candle inside
My family teased, saying “it won’t help.”
My bowl became a precious glowing shell…
In an effort to ignore what will be happening tomorrow, I have been burying my head in the computer, trying to catch up on all the things I haven’t managed to get around to on the newly installed Windows 10. Some days I love the new arrangement of everything, but days when it defeats me are still happening.
In my wildest dreams, I could never have dreamed what I would be getting up to in my advancing years. Just goes to show how far you can come if you let yourself dream big.
I have always hated anything to do with computers for they are illogical, slow and complicated. I firmly believe they were sent by the devil to drive us all mad. At least, that’s what happens in our house!
But it wasn’t always this way.
There was a time when the idea of a machine with such amazing capabilities did seem like a fantastic advantage. But my first encounter with one, some thirty years ago, probably ruined me for life. This was when it was in its infancy, and you had to upload or input reams of data to do even the simplest thing. My son was playing chess on this strange looking box and I wanted to have a go. What he forgot to mention, was if you made even a small mistake in entering this data (which seemed to take hours) you would get a big fat nothing. Stubbornly, I tried and tried but failed to get it to work.
Fast forward to just a few years ago, when Indie publishing started making headlines.
Despite my earlier disappointment, I felt myself warming to the idea. I wouldn’t have to input masses of data like before, so maybe it would be easier to use. We all know the answer to that supposition, don’t we?
I still hate computers with a passion, but I do appreciate just how wonderful they are if you can learn the ropes. I still have days when I could beat mine to death with a mallet, but this is more to do with my stubborn brain than anything else. Because they can sometimes do so many amazing things, it encourages us mortals to reach for the stars.
Way back at the beginning of my blogging career, I can remember wondering if I would ever write a book, and now I have written three, well, five if you count the non-fiction ones and am close to finishing another. At the time, I was happily editing Anita’s books. I never thought a muse would bother me.
When it did, I was astonished by just how addictive writing can become. The most surprising thing was the behaviour of my characters. They became like old friends, and I enjoyed their company so much, the first book turned into a series. Even now, they are nagging me to let them loose again!
It has been an amazing and often terrifying journey, from that first ever blog post to eventually formatting e-books, paperback copies and book trailers. Learning how to put a book together was hard, but the writing was the best part, once I convinced myself that it was something I could do, after all.
None of which was easy for the biggest technophobe this side of Microsoft, someone who battles technology every single day for that magical moment when realisation dawns and I finally understands how things work.
I am well past retiring age now, but I am busier than ever and have no intentions of slowing down or stopping, for where would the fun be in that?
This journey still has some mileage, however, for there are a few things I haven’t attempted yet, and several that need improving. So I won’t be putting away my thinking cap just yet.
As they said when I was at school, “There is always room for improvement…”
Doing my best to install my new computer with the least amount of hair pulling, I found myself remembering the first time I challenged my brain cells. The post that follows, is five years old and signifies how far I have come since then…
I did something stupid today. In fact it began a few weeks ago, when the tiny germ of an idea slipped into my mind and wouldn’t go away.
It was something someone said about how they wrote and blogged from the comfort of their bed. Often too ill or uncomfortable to get up, but still wanting to do what they love most, which is writing. I have this mental picture of this person, snug and comfy in her pyjamas, ensconced in bed with her trusty laptop, and the idea just took root in my head and began to grow.
Not that I want to write in bed, but with my ever increasing workload, I have to make even more time available to me. Who knew the writing and self publishing world would create this much work, I certainly didn’t in the beginning.
For a long time now I seem to spend most of my evenings with puzzles and Sudoku while the family watch television. I love most of the programmes and it is good to relax at the end of the day, but find it increasingly hard to see them properly as my distance glasses make me so very giddy and ill I cannot wear them. Consequently I find myself just listening and limit my eyesight to things I can do on my lap as my reading glasses are fine.
I have discovered that I cannot read while the television is on, but can manage other things, like writing notes. You can see where I am going with this, can’t you?
The thought of having a laptop has interested me ever since the family members bought theirs, but always dismissed the idea as pretty stupid as I am basically a technophobe. You know, someone who hates technology with a passion, usually because we are hopelessly unable to grasp the basics, let alone all the clever stuff.
I have struggled to learn how to use a computer, my mind obviously not properly equipped with the necessary bits to understand or implement the information that I do eventually manage to discover.
This is where it has paid dividends to be one of the most stubborn people on the planet. Something I am more than proud of, as because of this, I have achieved much more than I think I would otherwise have done.
Computers are brilliant but confusing, time saving but frustrating, and I am more than sure they lead to insanity, at least in my case.
But… I have mastered my computer, how hard could a laptop be?
I saw one I like the look of, a combined laptop with a tablet which made it very versatile. Just what I needed to make better use of my evenings.
It arrived yesterday. As I unpacked it, the shiny red alien exterior gleamed in front of me. I looked at it and thought, ‘Now what do I do?’
The instructions were sketchy to put it mildly, apparently all the information is on the machine and you learn as you go. (That’s if you get as far as switching it on) I was instantly terrified. What on earth had I done?
I ignored it for over an hour and went about my business, but found myself sneaking looks and wondering if I could possibly…
To cut a long story short, I did finally pluck up the courage to turn it on, and for several hours I blundered about, pressing this and swiping that, until I had a rough idea of what to do. What made it worse for me I think was that it came with Windows 8, where I am used to Windows 7, but having said that, it is a marvellous piece of equipment and I should be able to accomplish a load more work with it.
Once I have ironed out all the wrinkles, both its and mine of course!
See you soon,
Thanks to Colleen Chesebro, and her weekly poetry challenge, most of us have heard of Haiku’s, Etheree’s and all manner of wonderful forms of Japanese poetry.
This one Anita has not tried before. It is called a Haibun.
A broken bridge across a lake of blue, I take my chance to see the other side.
Where flowers grow of strange shimmering hues.
My fortune lies along the path I see, but In whose footsteps do I follow?
What will I find! A chance is taken, just in time.