Anita Dawes & Jaye Marie

Two determined authors, bulletproof and dangerous…


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Cover Trouble…

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We were looking at our website the other day, as you do… and it was decided that the small sliding show of all our book covers looked a bit puny. We decided to remove the offending article and reinstate our book covers down the sidebar, complete with clickable links to Amazon.
Should be easy, I thought. I had done it before and remembered how to do it. A little fiddly, but not too difficult. We have eleven books between us so it would take me a while.
I managed to upload four of the covers before the trouble started. The fifth cover uploaded okay, but somehow it removed cover number four. How was this even possible, I thought?
I tried again, and the same thing happened. I kept on trying, because I’m stubborn, but couldn’t get it to work. I swear something happens whenever I try to do the simplest of jobs but thought I would retreat and see what happens tomorrow, before I lost it completely.
The following day, it seemed worse, so I decided to have a word with WP ‘happiness engineers’, and it makes interesting reading!

Me: “I am trying to add some images to my sidebar, but they just don’t appear…is there a limit to how many images you can have?”

WP: “Hi there, let me take a look…”

WP: “Is this the site you’re referring to? https://jenanita01.com/”

Me: “Yes.” (we only have the one…)

WP: “And you are trying to customise it here, is that correct?” https://wordpress.com/customise/jenanita01.com

Me: “I get an image from media and then go to widgets and images, I fill in the boxes and save, but then they just vanish…”

WP: “I see that one of the images is not displaying. The URL appears to be incorrect.”

Me: “but I get the URL from the media screen…”

WP: “Is this the image?” https://jenanita01.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/nl-kindle-x1.jpg

Me: “That one was successful, so was the Simple cover, and Bad Moon. I would like to add more.”

WP: “I don’t think ‘The Ninth Life’ is added correctly. I don’t see it on your page. Do you see it at https://jenanita01.com/ ?”

Me: “Yes.”

WP: “I see a broken image, like this: https://cloudup.com/cLWUMnMMqRV

Me: “I don’t understand, it looks all right to me. Why am I having a problem adding new images? I just clicked on the previous link and the image is not there. This happened a lot yesterday too.”

WP: “You should be able to add more images. I’m unaware of a limit. I’m testing right now and don’t see any problems. Can you tell me the steps you’re going through when you have problems?”

Me: “Something is wrong. Images that do appear suddenly vanish and others won’t upload at all. I choose an image from media (haven’t I said this already?) then I go to widgets and image, add the URL from the media page, fill in the boxes and save. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t, and sometimes it works but removes an image already there in the sidebar.”

WP: “Are you using the media browser at https://wordpress.com/media/jenanita01.com ?”

Me: “Yes.” (Slowly losing the will to live round about now…)

WP: “It’s important that you open the image and by selecting the image and clicking ‘Edit’. From the image editor, you can copy the URL (gosh I would never have thought of that…) Is this the process you follow?”

Me: (trying very hard to keep my patience and my sense of humour) “I don’t usually have to click on ‘edit’ as the URL is in the box already, so I just copy and paste. Is this wrong?”

WP: “The image for ‘The Last Life’ didn’t have the correct URL. You may need to change how you get the URL. This is how I get the correct URL: https://cloudup.com/clX8WY03S8V

Me: “That one didn’t upload at all. I will try this, and thank you for your help. Going now…”

WP: “Ok. If you have any more difficulty, we’re here to help. Have a great day!”

I love using these new ‘live chat’ thingies, so much better than an email, especially for a thick head like me. You see, not only do I hate technology (because I swear it hated me first) I have trouble understanding it too, even when someone tries to explain it to me. So having someone on the end of the line is usually better. I can keep asking the same question until something clicks into place.

I have to add, that WP is normally very helpful, often hitting the nail on the head when I have made a stupid mistake, so not exactly sure why it was different this time. But if anyone knows what I am doing wrong, or has a better way of explaining it, I am all ears!


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Imitation…

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Is imitation the sincerest form of flattery? It is supposed to be, but I think not. Not the way most people do it, anyway.

I have always hated imitation of any kind, for it always seems to take something away from the original. Why do we need to have substitutions when we already have the original? Why can’t they leave well enough alone?

It doesn’t seem to matter where you go, whatever field you are interested in, there will always be someone trying to copy or improve something.

My pet hate is the remakes of all my favourite films. I watched the new (and supposedly improved) Ben Hur with my family, (it was either that or revising!) But even with all of today’s wonderful new technology, it wasn’t a patch on the original film with Charlton Heston.

I love to watch all kinds of people at work. Artists, sculptors, craftspeople, even plumbers and mechanics. I think this is because my nosy brain just wants to know how thinks work. My favourite programme at the moment is Artist of the Year and watching how all the different artists go about creating original and unique pieces of artwork.

What I cannot stand about these programmes, are the so-called experts who try to tell the artists that what they have done is wrong and how they should have done it. Sometimes the thoughtless and callous way they pull the work apart is so cruel it makes me cringe.

To my mind, no one has the right to condemn or criticise a work of art. Either you like it, or you don’t, but don’t presume to know better tan the artist.

As a writer, I subject my work to beta readers and editors so that errors can be pointed out and corrected. This is normally done in a constructive, helpful manner and not in a condescending “I know better” attitude.

Critics always sound so false, their remarks too self-serving and the damage they can do to any fledgeling artistic genius should carry a health warning.

I personally have had at least one scathing critique of my writing, one so bad I wanted to shred every page and then crawl away and hide in a cupboard.  When you realise that it is only an opinion and probably not meant to kill the tiny shoots of creativity in your soul that you can pick yourself up and move on.

I may not be a great writer or even a very good one, but I am trying my best. At the end of the day, that’s all we can ever do. But what we do produce, whether it is good, bad or indifferent, it is original and not some cocked up imitation…

(and before you all reach for your keyboard, I know I have just criticised quite a lot of people… my bad!)

 


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Work in Progress…

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Today, I finished uploading our holiday journal to the PC. While I had been doing this, it was interesting to discover just how little information I had managed to write down all those years ago. For instance, we visited Norwich, one of the largest and oldest cities in Norfolk, and all I wrote down that evening was one and a half sentences, and they were cryptically short sentences too.

Now, I do remember being far too busy enjoying ourselves to worry about the content of a journal, but a little more detail would have been nice. I shouldn’t really complain, for my writing habits haven’t changed much over the years. Because of my appalling memory, I scribble copious amounts of cursive notes on anything within reach, only to look at them a few days later and wonder what the hell I was trying to say. And that’s when I can actually read them!

Editing this WIP will be difficult, to say the least, as I am fishing through parts of my brain that haven’t seen daylight in years, so I am enlisting the help of everyone who was there with me to add their memory to mine. But after several cries of “Bloody hell, Jaye, that was 40 years ago!” it looks as though I am on my own with a memory that has always resembled Emmental cheese.

Which brings me to a question. If this book turns out to be 40% fact (remembering) and 60% fiction (imagination) which category do I put it in?

All answers seriously considered…


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Work in Progress… or Plain Sailing!

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I have been sticking like glue to my routine with this new project, determined to finish it no matter what else is going on.  See previous post here

I write at least 1000 words first thing every morning, regardless of any other work, research or queries that I do later in the day. Although this might seem like ‘baby steps’ to some writers, I am more than happy with the results.

In the previous post, I remember saying that this project would be comparatively easy, as I had the journal to go by.The journal that I kept, with all the dates and information about the journey we undertook almost 40 years ago.

That seemed to be true at the time, but having started to write it, I find it won’t be easy after all. On the surface, all the facts seem to be there. But when I decided to use a map to keep track of the routes we took, I discover gaps in the entries, leaving no clue as to how we got from A to C. Sometimes we seem to have jumped from one location to another with no visible clue as to how we got there! My memory is no help either, for how many of us can remember in specific detail, what we did 40 years ago?

So no, it won’t be plain sailing after all. A good title there, though, I think.

Despite all the drawbacks, I am enjoying myself, which was the reason for undertaking this project in the first place. I am thoroughly enjoying the walk down memory lane (even though the route is full of potholes!) We were all so young and optimistic back then, none of us with any idea of how our lives would turn out.

This new book, apart from being a light-hearted account of a family journey, will stand as a testament to the enduring strength of our family. For, despite life’s turmoil, we are still united as a family and well deserving of this tribute.

That’s if  I manage to locate and fill all the pot holes!

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PS:  One of my favourite authors, Valerie Poore,  has just published a similar journey, “Faring on a shoe” and I have already bought a copy to see how an expert handles this genre!

 

A travel51oroymmfil-_ac_us218_ogue about a dream come true. After seven years of owning their barge, Hennie-Ha, seven years involving catastrophe and crisis, Val and her partner finally go ‘faring‘ to France for the first time.

This travelogue is about the places they visit and the people they meet along the canals on their route from the Netherlands, through Belgium and into northern France.

It tells a gentle story about how they experience their life on board during the four weeks they spend cruising.

Written as a journal, the reader joins them on their travels through rain and shine and reveals how day by day, Val learns to cast aside the stresses and demands of the real world and to appreciate life’s simplest of pleasures to the full.

There will, of course, be a review forthcoming!


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My Epiphany

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scvincent.com/2016/12/14/run-midnight-haiku/

I have never once thought that blogging could be detrimental to your health, but just lately I have come to realise that it can be.

Surely not, I hear you say, and I will admit it doesn’t seem likely. Not on the surface, anyway.

I was nervous when I first started blogging. Could I get to grips with the technology involved? Would I be any good at it? Would anyone ever talk to me?

A million questions. All very natural when you embark on a new adventure. And although at times it has been a frustrating and difficult journey, overall I have enjoyed every single minute of it.

So what on earth am I on about?

This post was triggered by one of Sue Vincent’s haiku’s, (shown above with the link to her amazing blog.) for it really made me think about  how far I have come, and what the future may have in store for me.

Just lately, a strange alien feeling has been creeping in, insidiously, like wisps of smoke. The blogosphere is like a mirror, reflecting everything you and other bloggers do.  And as a good proportion of bloggers are writers, you get to see what their lives and careers are like.

It can be very reassuring if they are struggling just like you, facing the same problems and difficulties, but the successful ones are an inspiration, showing you what you can accomplish if you work hard.

I have been blogging for nearly three years now, and have met some amazing people. Helpful, considerate people, generous with their advice and friendship. You become part of their world, a world where anything is possible and you can afford the luxury of dreaming.

I can hear some of you tapping your fingernails, wondering where all of this is going, so I will try to explain.

Everyone says that with patience and hard work you can achieve your goals. But I have been patient and worked as hard as I can, but no nearer to anything even remotely like my goals.

And this was my epiphany… maybe my goals are wrong?

Something must be wrong for my enthusiasm seems to be dying. Optimism and faith seem to have left the building. There is something else going on at the moment, although I refuse to accept that it has anything to do with the price of eggs!

I have been thinking about the New Year, and it is clear that I must come up with some resolutions that work, before the men in white coats come to take me away!