Anita Dawes & Jaye Marie

We Read – We Write – We Review


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The Importance of emails…

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Many posts are written about the importance of building your platform and having an interactive blog or website. And of course, you do need one of these, but that’s not all you need.

Managing your emails (and your mailing list) is one of the best ways of opening up channels of communication with so many like-minded people and keeping them open. I like to think of them as letters and look forward to seeing what is in my mailbox!

Clearing my emails every day has become something of an obsession with me, as I have mentioned before… but is the one thing I must do every single morning (and again in the evening if I have time)

I am constantly amazed by what I discover when I go through my emails. Today for instance, I learned a few tricks to cope with Windows 10. I joined a critique group and was invited to join another. I arranged a guest post; upgraded my broadband; and confirmed the last people on my forthcoming blog tour. Not to mention all the letters that are simply a joy to read! My email list is such a vast source of so many valuable instances.

I enjoy going through them all, reading and commenting, saving information and learning. Sometimes the day’s list is not so good, starting the day with so much frustration, but what can you do?

I find my emails far more valuable to me than Twitter or Facebook, although they do have their place in my working schedule. There are many different branches on this networking tree we build, but it helps to know the most important ones.

Even if my eyes are crossed after several hours of studying the list!


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This Way Madness Lies…

 

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I have found yet another way to drive myself mad. After the recent debacle with a mobile phone, I swore never to dabble with technology again…

But… for some peculiar reason, and I have no idea where it came from, I want a tablet or an iPad. Basically, something simple that will replace my laptop. I discover that pads cost a lot of money, and to pay out for something that I might not be able to use seems a bit silly. So I found a tablet with Windows 10 on it at a bargain price, and I was committed. Probably should be one of these days, but that is another matter!

for some peculiar reason, and I have no idea where it came from, I want a tablet or an iPad. Basically, something simple that will replace my laptop. I discover that ipads cost a lot of money, and to pay out for something that I might not be able to use seems a bit silly. So I found a tablet with Windows 10 on it at a bargain price, and I was committed. Probably should be one of these days, but that is another matter!

Now, I have heard all the flak about Windows 10, but resolved to master it. After all, if my main PC goes, I will have to anyway, right?  But I had enough fun with Windows 8 and should have known better.

The first thing you have to do is enter your Microsoft password, and everything is supposed to fall into place.

Only it didn’t.

Not at all.

Then I tried to set up my emails, but it wasn’t having a bar of that either. They just wouldn’t sync. And you never get an explanation with technology, do you?

Just a big fat nothing.

I remembered reading somewhere that the first thing that has to happen with Windows 10 is a hell of a lot of uploading. I checked this out, and there was a load there to be uploaded, but either it wasn’t ready, or didn’t really know what it was supposed to be doing. That’s when I switched the damn thing off and went back to the normality of my PC. Three days later, the upgrading did begin, indicating progress of some sort.

As to the rest of my technical world… the main PC is still buffering/crashing all the time and being generally annoying. WordPress has decided to muck about with any attempt to publish a post… What I wouldn’t give for a system that actually works!

Maybe the problem lies with the fact that my main PC is Windows 7, the laptop is 8, and the tablet is 10, maybe they don’t get on with each other? But why wouldn’t they?

There seems to be a constant battle between me and all three of them and I spend most of my days waiting for one machine or other to actually do something. Something I want them to do that is!

The men in white coats are waiting just around the corner, I just know it!

 

Several days have passed, and my desire to be more streamlined and efficient hasn’t…

I have seen an android tablet on Amazon, going for a song AND no Windows of any number! This could be the answer to my prayers, supposed to be easier to use …

I’ll let you know next week!

 

 

 


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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…