This past week has almost been the straw that nearly broken everything.
I mean, you can only struggle for so long, can’t you?
Bang your head enough times and something will break, and I guarantee it won’t be the wall!
I have recently discovered a new way (at least for me) of getting more book sales, but learning how to set it up is sorely testing what’s left of my remaining grey cells.
I managed to finish writing the interview with one of the characters from The Scarlet Ribbon for Lisa Burton, Craig Boyack’s amazing robot assistant. This aired on Thursday 20th.
This week was beset with gremlins and glitches, on the PC mainly. Caused, I believe, by an incompatibility with Chrome. Trouble is, I have run out of options, as I left Firefox for similar problems. There is always Internet Explorer of course.
Sometimes I am really fed up with everything not being quite right, despite working hard to make it so.
Then, Armageddon arrived.
We lost all connections with the phone line and the internet. And we don’t own a mobile phone!
We enlisted the help of Anita’s daughter and her mobile phone, and she managed to convince BT that we needed help and soon. I have to say that even if we did have a mobile phone, we wouldn’t have been able to follow all the instructions that she had to follow. From photographing the different parts of our phone system, (which involved downloading apps) to a series of complicated messages. Our minds were shattered and we weren’t doing any of it!
Somehow, we managed to get an engineer appointment for the following day, and this never happens!
To cut a very long story short, the engineer turned up this morning. When the light on our PC hub turned green, there was a big cheer. But our joy was to be short-lived.
For some reason, I couldn’t log on to our provider. At this point, I wanted to pull my hair out or run down the road screaming. I tried everything I could think of, every troubleshooting programme I could find, but the harder I tried, the more convinced I was that something was trying to kill my brain!
I tried to switch from Chrome to Internet Explorer, but this didn’t work either. I was almost resigned to telephoning BT and asking for help, but I hesitated. The last time I was forced to do that, I ended up more confused than ever.
In the end, I did manage to get Internet Explorer to cooperate and swiftly downloaded Firefox.
Within minutes, normality was restored and the rest, as they say, is history!
(Until the next attack by the ever-present gremlins, that is!)
As if we don’t have enough to do, we have stumbled into what might possibly be either a brilliant idea, or the worst kind of madness ever to visit our house.
I’m not sure where this idea came from, but for some totally inexplicable reason, we are both equally enthusiastic about actually writing a mystery/thriller book together.
This may not work for a multitude of reasons, for we usually write in such different genres/and the arguments will probably reach hitherto unreached levels/we may end up killing each other!
We have started, and early indications would suggest it could possibly work!
Anita wrote the first section/intro, and I nervously followed. We average about 500 words each, but this could easily change when the musts get going.
Quite apart from being the most unlikely writing partnership, can you imagine what our respective muses must be thinking?
Other writers have done this, and in the past, we have often wondered how it would work. Now we will discover how hard it will be and if it will even work for us. And if we can do it without any of our legendary arguments, it will be a miracle!
Already, the conversations about the direction of the plot have been pretty spectacular, for we have such very different ideas about everything. The fact that I am the thriller writer around here stands for nothing, and my suggestions have not been well received, to put it mildly!
Today’s discussion ended with Anita suggesting that we start again, and this time write a spooky supernatural story.
We could, of course, but I am trying to finish my current WIP at the moment and all of this chaos is playing havoc with my schedule. It is my turn to write the next section, so I had better make it good!
I am taking another trip in my Time Machine to a time at Clapham Common when we had gas lamps in our square. The man would come with his small ladder to light them every night, and again in the morning to put them out.
Mum would send us out to pick up the coal left in the road after the coal man emptied the sacks down the coalhole. He was always so dirty and so was the small boy that sat on the horse-drawn cart.
The man on his bike with the grinding wheel would call out, and mum would send me down to get her knives and scissors sharpened.
The one bike I looked forward to was the ice cream man. If I was lucky, mum would give me three pence for some of the best icecreams. So much better than what was in the shops.
Mum didn’t often have any rags for the rag and bone man, so I didn’t get a free balloon that often.
All these things seemed every day then. Looking back now, they are magic. All that fun without an Xbox!
The best thing of all was Billy Smarts Circus. They would pitch the tent on Clapham Common and very often, we would get in free under the canvas. Elephants, tigers, the clowns, and best of all, the high wire act. Watching them swing so free across the ring, never dropping one another. With my head tilted back, I could believe I was flying with them.
On my way home, I would stop for a while and watch the men with their model motorboats on the pond where they were allowed to play. I preferred the ones with sails, the old buccaneer kind.
Time to go home for tea, maybe I will take another trip on my Time Machine soon…
Earlier this year, I had my annual eye check-up. Not something I was looking forward to as I had the feeling that the slowly growing cataract in my left eye would finally be big enough to warrant being removed.
And it was. My optician said she would send her recommendation to the eye clinic at the Queen Alexander Hospital in Portsmouth. They would then, if they agreed with her, agree to see me to discuss the next stage.
Ever since that day, despite my eyesight fading fast, I have not been able to stop the nightmare of having someone slicing away at my eyeball.
But wait, the nightmare was about to get much worse.
The hospital duly agreed to see me, so it would seem I wouldn’t be escaping the knife after all. The day of my appointment arrived and the eye specialist, after administering drops to my eyes, proceeded to make his own judgement.
You could have pushed me over with a feather when he started going on about my right eye. How bad he thought it was and how he would be glad to sort it out for me. At first, I thought I had made a mistake (it does happen these days) but after a quick think, I realised it was he who had made the mistake. Of course, being a stroppy cow at the best of times, I wasn’t about to smile sweetly and thank him, was I?
Not on your life.
When I mentioned what my optician had said, he listened and then repeated what he was going to do, to my right eye. My turn to listen, and then I asked if he had received her letter. To be fair, he did find it in my file and read it but didn’t change his mind. He did, however, offer to see me again to conduct more tests.
To cut a long story short, I thanked him and left in a dignified manner. Straight round to my optician to see what she thought I should do. Her opinion was unprintable, but she did recommend that I go for the tests just to see what would happen. He is the only eye specialist around here, so it was worth checking out. If I didn’t like what he said, he wouldn’t see me for dust!
Two months later (this was last week) I presented myself for these tests. To say I had misgivings would be putting it mildly, but I needed to check this out, as my eyesight is getting worse by the minute.
Drops were administered and I waited for the tests to begin. But I was shown into the inner sanctum and told to put my chin on this contraption. After the briefest of inspections of both of my eyes, he sat back and I swear he was smirking and said they would be doing nothing to my eyes this year and maybe not next year either.
I stared at him with admirable composure, my mind turning somersaults. So many things could have happened then, and in my mind, I was tearing his hair out with my bare hands. After the briefest of pauses, I stood up, thanked him politely and turned to leave. As I reached the door, he said, “So good to see you again…” and this time he was definitely smirking.
Now, was I imagining all those things he had said about my right eye way back at the original appointment?
It would seem that I must suffer from my diminishing eyesight indefinitely unless I see someone else next year.
I wonder if this is even possible?
The other day, I thought I would pop into town to pick up some fresh veg. I didn’t expect or want to be too long, but fate had other ideas.
As I got closer to Waitrose, loud music began to filter through my preoccupied brain. This music seemed familiar, but I couldn’t place it.
I turned the corner from the High street and this huge figure came into view. And when I say huge, I am not exaggerating. At first, I thought it was the Michelin man. That chubby little man who advertises car tyres, only much bigger than I had ever seen him.
Then I saw something else. A large white American car with the Ghostbusters symbol emblazoned on the side. This was where the music was coming from.
Quite a crowd had gathered and most were moving in time to the music. But what was it doing in my town?
The huge figure was the marshmallow man from the film and stood as tall as most of the shops in the high street. Strung between his outstretched arms was a banner advertising the opportunity to hire both the figure and the car. At least I think that’s what it said.
So, a quick trip to the shops turned into much more than a walk down memory lane. I couldn’t wait to get home to tell Jaye all about it. And of course, we had to return to take some pictures!
After a better start to the month, when my Muse finally decided to cooperate, she/it has sloped off again. My normal early morning writing sessions have not been going well; consequently, WIP has not been getting any longer.
I must find something else to foster the creative spark in me, but this might be difficult, for even before I try, I have detected a certain miserableness creeping in. Obviously hell-bent on scuppering any or all of my endeavours.
This I think is because I have been feeling a little under the weather of late. That is such a weird expression, don’t you think?
Maybe it’s a hangover from the heatwave, but my get up and go has definitely walked!
Another reason for the blues is the garden. The grass, what was left of it, has grown long and I am not looking forward to cutting it.
Everything seems so difficult for me these days and even though I am willing, I quickly run out of steam and wish I hadn’t started.
Same goes for the dreaded 40-foot hedge in the garden. The heat has had the reverse effect on it and I may need a machete!
Although I have to ration my gardening into short bursts of activity, eventually the status quo should return, along with my Muse, I hope!
Back in the office, I have been doing battle with Amazon over some of our reviews. The ones we do for other writers. I did a recent survey of every review we have ever done (according to our records) only to find about 15 are no longer on Amazon, if they ever were. I will gradually repost them all and pray they get published this time.
I am also having a problem with Chrome. I switched from Firefox because it was driving me nuts and now I have discovered that Chrome isn’t any better. I am having to copy and paste every comment I want to make when I visit other people’s blogs. If I don’t, they vanish into the ether!
Recently, I found myself reading the promo material from someone called Nick Stephenson and much of what he said actually made sense and sounded doable, so with a following wind, we may be able to get more proactive!
I have also been putting together the material needed for Craig Boyack’s muse, Lisa Burton for one of her interviews with one of our characters. I am thinking of running a promo for Scarlet Ribbon in September, so this would fit in well.
On a lighter note, the road outside our front door has been repaired and we are finding tiny bits of sticky black tarmac all over our pale green hall carpet! I was despairing until I remembered we had a bottle of “Sticky Stuff” in the shed. This is for removing the residue from those annoyingly sticky labels. I tried it on the black marks and it worked a treat!
I love it when something actually does what it says on the tin…
See you all next week…