Jaye’s Journal x7

 

Jaye's Journal x12

 

It is the beginning of the week, the sun is shining and it seems warmer. Optimism had lifted its head and was smiling at me.

Then I heard a load of noise outside my house.

Close inspection from the front room window revealed a horde of workmen, clad in bright yellow reflective jackets. All busy moving heavy machinery and what seemed like miles of orange barriers right outside my front door. We would be drowning in noise at any minute.

They say there is no peace for the wicked, but I couldn’t possibly have been bad enough to warrant so many roadworks. This is the third time they have dug up the road outside my house!

Luckily, my office is at the back of the house, reducing the noise to an annoying buzz that I can almost ignore.

~~~~~

As I make a conscious effort to slow down, I have discovered that I am actually noticing so much more these days. Before, in the daily struggle to get more done, I think I was starting to lose sight of the trees.

This week, while editing the first twelve chapters of PayBack, my WIP,  I found not one colossal error but two.

The first stopped me my tracks. How many times had I been going over these chapters? I had already rewritten and restructured them and yet I had my protagonist driving to work several times, and in the same chapters, he was catching a train!

Finding this mistake almost floored me, but I tackled it and moved on.

The next error I found was a plot hole. Not a very big one, but a hole nonetheless.

 

When I edit, I keep a running storyboard, listing events as they happen. This is so important in a mystery thriller novel and usually avoids plot holes. For the first time ever, my system had let me down.

I decided to edit these first chapters again after correcting the first mistake. My writing senses must have been working overtime, for I could feel something was missing. I kept checking my storyboard but it seemed okay.

I never like to ignore my brain when it tries to tell me something, so I decided to compile a new storyboard just for my protagonist (the detective), as I had a feeling this would be where I would find the problem.

And I discovered a missing chapter.

Now, whether this happened during the rewrite, I couldn’t say, but it looked pretty obvious to me that I will need a few good Beta readers when I have finished.

Therefore, I have an important message to anyone who loves reading mystery thrillers. If you could read PayBack for me sometime in March, I will love you forever!

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Why Notebooks are essential (and magical)

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my latest collection

 

I spotted a post the other day by one of my favourite bloggers and instantly knew she was talking about me. I have a thing about notebooks. Notebooks are an essential part of being a writer, and they should be attractive to look at.

This is so important for the magical element of writing, as only good things can be written in such a notebook, and consequently, only brilliance can ever find its way out of one.

The difference between hastily scribbled, barely decipherable notes on scraps of paper and your notebook entries is nothing short of amazing. One important difference is the fact that your notebook entries will at least be readable. I mean, you will be using your very best handwriting in your lovely notebook, won’t you?

I know I do. I simply cannot spoil it with any of my messy scrawl!

Because of the special nature of notebooks, you will write better content in them too. A strange magic occurs when you open an attractive notebook, as it is almost a challenge to produce something special. Something that almost never happens with scraps of paper or post-it notes.

Our book, Lazy Days, about our first family holiday on a boat on the Norfolk Broads, was born in a notebook. Originally called our Captains Log, we wrote down everything that happened and everywhere we went. It was fun but only intended to be a keepsake. Nearly forty years later, we turned it into a book. All of our family loved reading it and remembering our adventure…

#Throwback Thursday: Updating the Dream…

This post was written in 2017, and I was amazed by how little life has changed!

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I had a major epiphany yesterday. I had just posted yet another book promotion post on our blog and found myself disliking it intensely.

I have never liked the ‘hard sell’ and conveniently  usually forget to do any, but if you want people to read (and buy) your books, you are supposed to do it well and often. But it always seems to leave a sour taste in my mouth, and I realised just how much I hate doing it.

It seems ok to do it on Twitter, probably because it’s quick and you don’t have to pretty it up. But here on our blog, it just doesn’t look right, so we have decided to stop doing it.

Our new books will get a mention, of course, plus any good news, but the constant blanket promotion will stop and be replaced with more interesting posts, something you would rather read, I’m sure.

Personally, I don’t think you need to plug away at your books anyway. The covers and links are all there in the sidebar, all you have to do if you’re interested, is click on the image and you go straight through to Amazon.

The pressures and stress of promotion have been gradually eating away at our writing time, and I am never sure if I’m doing it right, or in the right places.  Which was another reason for my decision.

Gone are the days when I could spend hours playing games or surfing the web, I just can’t do it anymore. After four or five hours my eyesight goes for a walk, the brain starts to seize up and I have to walk away. So my time is limited, and I have to find ways to fit everything in. If there is a way, you can bet I will find it!

Anita is now an official reviewer with Rosie Amber, something we both love doing, and we have been doing some beta reading for some of our fellow bloggers/writers, which is reviewing really, just more in depth. We will be asking for help in this direction for ourselves soon!

Revision is finally finished on our non-fiction book Lazy Days, the long awaited transcription of the logbook of a 40-year-old family holiday on the Norfolk Broads. We might have a blog tour for this one after it gets beta read.

Work has begun in earnest on our joint WIP. This is another thriller, and it will eventually be terrific once I complete the outline for the story AND all the characters.

The weather was kind for a few days, so I managed to repot some of my smaller bonsai, and it was actually brilliant to get out of my office for a while…

 

 

Jaye’s Journal ~ week six

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The Wonder Miracle of Survival

One morning a few days ago, I awoke to find the world outside my window had turned white, but it wasn’t the snow we had been promised. A thick frost lay over everything and a mist crawled slowly along the ground like a predatory animal. A perfect picture postcard.

I was up early and had the house to myself.  I was feeling so much better this week, so I sat down at my desk to edit PayBack, my WIP. At first, it went well, no apalling errors or plot holes, but after about an hour, I found a problem with one of the characters. A problem that needed serious thought, as the story hinged on this particular theme being right and written well.

That was when I discovered that my brain had not recovered enough from the mind-numbing virus that has been plaguing all of us these past few weeks, and was as cold and empty as the scene outside my window…

We did finally get some snow.

I say some rather scathingly because although the signs were promising and the initial snowfall encouraging, it fizzled out and stopped far too soon, leaving meagre patches here and there.

The temperature fell to bone-chilling depths, increasing my daily trips down the garden to make sure our feathered visitors had enough to eat.

It was after one of these trips, as I sat at my window and watched these lively little creatures happy to feast on the seeds and fat balls hanging from my favourite tree, that I began to think about their lives. So incredibly small and delicate, how did they keep warm all night in the bitter cold?

Where did they sleep?

In the safety of my home, I felt the cold. Even with the extra layers and thick warm socks. My mind was full of images of small huddled scraps of feather, spending each night roosting in a hedge while the temperature fell to new lows.

Worrying about them all was beginning to keep me awake at night, fearing the morning. However, the next morning, the same jolly crew appeared, unaffected by having survived one of the coldest nights for seven years.

They are just like us, with a tiny heart and blood. Flesh and bone covered with an inadequate supply of feathers. We wouldn’t survive out there, so what supernatural force keeps them safe in conditions that would kill you or me?

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February’s Speculative Fiction Prompt from https://mythsofthemirror.com

 

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Snow Storm

Molly the elephant lay dreaming

of a snowstorm, a blue dolls house stuck in a tree.

Tiny white mice huddled there on the roof.

“Fear not, I will set you free…”

She pushed and shoved with all her might

The tree held fast to mice and house.

A voice was heard from high above

“There is no need to shake with all your might

The mice can climb upon your back

to safety, you can carry.”

All night she trudged through deepening snow

the morning light was waking slow.

The blue house stood to the right

windows burning bright beneath the tree of evergreen.

Her family waking, lived outside.

Her dream she told, her mother smiled,

“There are no mice outside this house…”

aaaaa

Jaye’s Journal ~ week 5

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Nearly time, to be honest, I think, something I have been trying to ignore for some time now. It is becoming harder to pretend I am the same as I ever was.

It’s not just my general health, which, to be fair, is not brilliant. Or the eyesight, which is becoming a problem, along with arthritis.

I am talking about my brain.

Those magical grey cells that shuffle all my ideas around and manage to figure out the best way to make them work. At least, that’s what I have always imagined was going on!

Late last year, I started to notice a reluctance to come up with the goods. Things that were once simple and routine were becoming difficult and often forgotten completely.

We make excuses for this all the time. Stress, tiredness, or life daring to get in the way. But I think I knew the writing was appearing on that proverbial wall. Well, the first few words, anyway.

My family are very supportive and continue to be amazed but what I have learned and what I can still do, bless them. They say it is normal to slow down a little at 75 years of age.

Now, my hackles usually rise at the mention of my age and slowing down, but it is probably time I acknowledged that I am the elephant in the corner of the room and that it might be time to start to act accordingly.

Time to have a serious think about the future, and what we can actually achieve. It might well be time we slowed down, but frustration has other ideas.

There is still so much we want to do, so much more of the fun stuff to learn and enjoy.

Seriously though, I do appreciate the need to slow down a bit, but I’m sure that won’t spoil all the fun we are having!

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Just in Case you Missed it!

 

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The super moon captured above the Peace statue at Brighton, UK

 

 

The rare combination of a super blood wolf moon has given early risers a spectacular start to Monday.

Caused in part by a lunar eclipse, the phenomenon makes the surface of the moon appear a reddish hue while seeming brighter and closer to earth than normal.

While heavy cloud stopped some parts of the UK from seeing the sky clearly, other areas had a perfect view.

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