Anita Dawes & Jaye Marie

Two determined authors, bulletproof and dangerous…


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Good, Bad, or indifferent?

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What is the most important achievement in an author’s life?

I can think of many thinks that are equally important, like

Completing a novel

Seeing your book in print

Being published, either traditionally or self

These are all important of course, but the one I’m thinking about is receiving good reviews for your work.

But apparently, according to Tara Sparling, there are better reviews we could get. Reviews that could sell more books than any of those 5-star reviews.

These are the bad reviews.

You may have heard the expression, “there is no such thing as bad publicity” and history has proved this to be true. The minute someone says how much they hated something, people immediately want to see for themselves.

Think of all the books that have been banned. People will break their necks to get a copy. Some of the best-selling books in the world started out by being banned.

Bad reviews actually contain more useful information for prospective readers, like…

“I didn’t like the main character, he didn’t have to be so mean…”

“this book is so depressing. Don’t read it unless you want to end up being miserable…”

“I hated the ending. Can’t understand why the author did that…”

“Too much violence/sex/ swearing in this book for me…”

So, I want someone to give one of our books a bad review, just to prove this theory…

Any takers?        (#Free copies available on request)

 

 


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More Muddy Waters…

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Well, I have been simplifying and streamlining like a mad woman. I have cut and pruned, deleted and unsubscribed, all those things and places that I thought were a good idea at the time, but somehow never got around to learning. They have all been weeded out.

There seems to be a strong gardening influence going on here, don’t you think? This is probably because after I finish spring cleaning the inside of my head and my office… there is a load more of the same to do outside in the garden!

I have also been trying to complete all those projects that have been hanging around, and the story of my battle with cancer  ‘Apple Blossom’ is now on Amazon. Work is also continuing well on my non-fiction travelogue, and I am pleased with my progress so far.

 

All things considered, I  don’t appear to have so many balls in the air now, and feel the better for it.

That was when something amazing happened.

Anita and I have long wanted to write a book together, but despite regular discussions, we never seemed to agree on anything. No change there then! This in itself is not unusual in this house, but I digress.

Something was mentioned and caught our interest, and as we continued to talk, we could see the magic beginning to grow into a great idea. I won’t say any more, but I have the feeling it will be amazing.

I honestly believe that everything we have learned, every failure and disappointment, even the pruning casualties this week, have all been leading us to this moment.

So, from having too many irons in the fire, we have added another one!

And then disaster struck!

The internet had been playing up, constantly buffering and crashing, but I was patient, thinking it would right itself. When several days passed without improvement, I decided to refresh Firefox, my browser. All this managed to achieve was the total loss of all my bookmarks and password recognition and no possible way of retrieving them that I could see.

By this time, I was thoroughly disgusted with my stupidity, so I changed browsers, returning to Internet Explorer, which always seemed to work well enough on my laptop.

But… by then everything was going from bad to worse, and I wanted to shoot myself. Nothing had really changed, and I didn’t like the layout on Int.Explorer. All I really wanted was to stop all the buffering and delays.

This is a classic example of my prowess or lack of it when it comes to computers. I had to stop for the day round about then, as my brain was showing the signs of self-destruction.

The following day, my mind decided to work better, and I reinstated Firefox. I am still unable to get my stuff back, which means I will have to collect them all over again. But the buffering has now stopped, so that’s a small price to pay.

I cannot believe the mess I made, simply trying to make my life easier…

 


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The Critique…

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The other day in a post, I mentioned a critique I received for Broken Life, the third book in my ‘Lives’ series.

I had been reading an article about Cathleen Townsend and how thorough a job she had done on a certain book. The writer swore it had made the difference between it being a good book and a great one. After a conversation between writer, the Cathleen, and me, she offered to analyze the opening chapters of one of my books.

It just so happened that Broken Life hadn’t been beta read… a huge oversight on my part and something I do usually do, so I leapt at the chance.

I wasn’t prepared for the result, however. Huge chunks of the text had been scored through, and the general indication was bad. My heart sank into my boots, and I slunk away, very ashamed of myself.

I spent two whole days thinking I was a crap writer, trying desperately to find a reason not to rip all my books into pieces.

Then something happened. I don’t know what made me read the critique again, and this time I could see what Cathleen wanted me to see. So I deleted the offending text and read it again. It was more dramatic, the content tighter, better befitting a crime thriller. Cathleen also suggested that an ‘action prologue’ a dramatic passage at the beginning of the book, either as a prologue or new chapter one, would give the reader an idea of the quality of the story.

I had never written one of these before, although I had read other peoples, and they do lend an extra element.

Broken Life has been updated and republished now, and this post is my way of thanking Cathleen Townsend for her valuable advice…

 


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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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A Walk Back in Time…

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Today dawned bright and sunny, such a contrast to the grey miserable days we have been having lately.  Even though it was bloody freezing, we felt compelled to go for a walk, and we could always pick up something nice for tea on the way home.

The frozen grass crunched under our feet as we walked to town and huge clouds of steam from our mouths followed us down the road. On the way, we noticed just how many front gardens were showing signs of life, with bright green shoots bursting bravely into the winter sunshine, reminding us that Nature was already preparing to give way to Spring.

We walked around the town, looking in some of the windows, not really interested in buying anything it was just great to be out in the fresh (all though freezing ) air. Before returning home, we decided to visit the Physic Garden, one of our favourite places in Petersfield and situated just off the high street.

 

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This garden is from an ancient time and was originally used by apothecaries to grow herbs for medicinal purposes. It is well cared for, and the complicated knot gardens are well worth seeing. They also have a collection of the oldest fruit trees I have ever seen, most of them supporting quite an array of mistletoe.

It is a walled garden and very old, one of the oldest places in our town. Most of the original planting is still going strong, some plants that we have never seen before. We tend to pop in whenever we are passing, as there is always such a lovely ambience when you walk around, almost as though time is hesitating, waiting for you to catch up…

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My Latest Project (or self-inflicted nightmare!)

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A long time ago when I was younger, I kept a journal. Just the one you understand, which is why it has always stood out in my memory as being more than a little special.

The occasion it covered was special too. A family holiday,  something we hadn’t done before and would never do anything quite like it again. Although we didn’t know that at the time.

I have carried this tattered little notebook with me through all the years, kept it safe when not much else survived the journey. I always intended to develop it into a proper story.  As a journal, it is hardly more than a collection of observations, made in the midst of all the glorious chaos of that magical time. It does, however, chronicle all the dates and places, which will guide my memory down that almost forgotten lane.

As yet is has no title, and rummaging around in the darkest corners of my mind is slowing the creative juices down to a trickle, making writing difficult. It seems so much harder to write a personal memoir, than creating something out of nothing.  Looking back, it is hard to believe that our mainly dysfunctional family did any of those things and lived to remember them during those two special weeks in that long ago summer.

I can feel the memories awakening, each one beginning to grow, eager to be remembered. It will be an emotional experience, reliving all those wonderful moments.  Moments that were never to happen again. So many of our dreams are only realised the once, and although this is better than never happening at all, they are so much more emotional for their brief life…