Jaye’s Journal ~ week 17

 

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For so many reasons this week has been a nightmare.

I received a letter from the hospital summoning me for another look at my cataracts. This has imposed a deadline on my editing, for after that date, I may not be able to see what I’m doing, depending on when or if they decide to do something this time.

Seriously though, I am getting really fed up with not being able to see properly. Everything is blurred, and print is so small.  And don’t get me started on the headaches!

Having a deadline is one hell of a way to buck my ideas up, that’s for sure.

Just when I was feeling positive about everything and things were moving  along swimmingly, BT decided to upgrade their email site, resulting in the most awful balls up. If this is what passes as ‘better’, I must be a monkey’s uncle!

Not only is it poorly arranged, but the layout sucks, AND it keeps going wrong! I mean, I don’t ask for much, just that things work the way they’re supposed to.

Moving on to what I’m supposed to be doing, the editing of PayBack. Right in the middle of thinking I was doing a brilliant job, I realised that somehow I was out of my depth. This turned into what the hell did I think I was doing, so everything crashed right there!

I am beginning to think my brain has finally decided to be old and past it after all. All without consulting me, I might add. I keep forgetting where I am in the process of editing, and what I’m supposed to be doing. I spread all these chapters on my desk, trying to make sure the plot was running smoothly. I found myself staring at them, with absolutely no clue. My head was empty, and I had never felt so lost in my life.

I don’t understand what is happening, for I usually breeze through editing. Hell, I was an editor long before I became a writer and love doing it. The chance to polish your story until it shines is a glorious part of writing, and here I was, unable to organise a piss up in a brewery.

Editing, as you know, is a series of systematically checking everything. You must be methodical and do things in the right order, something I seemed to have forgotten how to do.

For the first time in my writing career, I might need an independent edit…  Something I never thought I would ever say…

And if all of this wasn’t bad enough, I have eaten all the chocolate!

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Jaye’s Journal ~ week 16

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Every now and then, we get a wake up call, a wonderful moment when a magic light bulb illuminates an area in our brain. This usually heralds a brilliant idea, something ground breaking or so incredibly sensible, you wonder why it took so long to surface.

Then there are the other kind. The ones accompanied by that awful stomach churning, as you realise how stupid you are or have been.

Today, I had one of these, and it has done absolutely nothing good to my self confidence. I was re checking the enormous pile of helpful notes (I use this term advisedly) when the realisation hit me between the eyes.

We make all these lists of things to do, things to remember or try. Then we get a sense of achievement when we actually cross something off. Today, it was brought home to me, just how stupid that is.

I had been watching a trailers someone had made using a company called Animoto. That name rang a bell, but the memory didn’t follow on. Had  I already checked them out? And if  I did, what did I find?

Those of you with fantastic memories will not need the advice I am about to share, but I suspect quite a few of you, like me, will find it useful.

When we read something that needs checking out, we should have a place to record our findings. Either a page in a notebook or an index card in our follow up box. Write a simple assessment, was it good/rubbish/too expensive/unsuitable…and if you logged on to the site, record the URL and your password.

I have no idea why this has never occurred to me before, as I seem to spend my life revisiting sites, only to realise I had been there before. It will be so helpful to be able to see at a glance all the info.

Just think of the time saved!

P S:  Editing of PayBack is progressing very well!

 

 

One of our best Worst Ideas Yet?

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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!

#Jaye’s Journal ~ week 8

Jaye's Journal x12

 

The workmen are still here, and they seem to have hit a problem. This is not the first time they have been digging the road outside our house, and they had a problem then too.

Much walking around, conferring with each other. You can almost see the head-scratching from here but has the advantage of keeping their noisy machines quiet.

This time, however, we have temporary traffic lights to put up with, and you guessed it, they are right outside our house. So although the machines are quiet, we are having to put up with traffic waiting for the lights to change. Cars are not so bad, but motorbikes are deafening!

The obvious frustration of the workmen has been having the reverse, positive effect on my own.  I am tackling the first structural edit of my WIP like a pro and my initial confusion has faded away like a bad dream. I cannot understand why this book had become so complicated. I never had this much trouble with the other three!

But despite interruptions and all the noise, the editing is going well, and most of our books are now on Smashwords.  Next job is adding the links to our book pages!

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They have turned the machines back on and the noise is interfering with my ability to think straight. Time to get out of here and go for a walk!

When I heard about this local walk, one I didn’t know anything about, I almost declined, preferring to wait until the weather became warmer. It had stopped being quite so abominable, the sun was shining but there was a slight chilly wind.

But the lure of discovery was too strong to ignore, so available family members were invited to accompany us and off we went.

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It was just a ten-minute walk from our house, so an easy walk for me and my geriatric knees. Once outdoors, the chilly wind tried to remind us that Spring wasn’t here yet, but the sun kept us company as we walked along on our first excursion in 2019.

I hadn’t been out of the house for ages and was thoroughly enjoying looking at all the houses and gardens. Petersfield is an ordinary town, but even the ordinary can be fascinating if you have been incarcerated all winter.

From what we could see on our way to the walk,  people everywhere were on the move. Builders were busy, gardeners too. Windows were being cleaned and we all remarked on the amount of activity.

Nature had been busy too. New green growth and spring flowers had arrived in all of the gardens, and we were looking forward to seeing what we would find on the walk.

Tucked between the houses in an ordinary street, we saw the beginnings of a river, not much more than a trickle at this point. We also saw the mud on some of the pathways, and hoping this wouldn’t get any worse, we set off.

Although I have mentioned before that our Council keeps our town tidy, they obviously hadn’t got around to this walk yet. It was extremely wild in places, with fallen trees, undergrowth and a lot more mud, which made following the river (such as it was) rather difficult.

Now, I love a bit of a ramble. Climbing over trees in the mud is a fun day out for me, but my family don’t share my enthusiasm and at the risk of being nagged to death, I decided not to push it, and we turned around to make our way home.

I wasn’t too disappointed, for just being out in the fresh air felt wonderful.

Then I caught sight of something out of the corner of my eye. Something rather large was swooping around above our heads. Straining to see what it was, due to the bright sunshine, I couldn’t believe what I thought I was seeing. When it flew around us again, there was no mistaking what it was. A huge ruddy coloured bird with a massive wingspan and fan- like forked tail, it could only be a Kite. The first Kite I had ever seen in Petersfield!

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We stood and stared, mesmerised by the show he was putting on, almost for our benefit. When he finally flew away, we felt both elated and deflated.

But before we reached our house, we saw him again. It was as if he was reassuring us that he was here to stay…

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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

Weather Warning for the South of England…

We could take this warning with a pinch of salt… or make sure we have enough food and essentials, just in case…  I remember last time…

 

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A blanket of snow is expected to fall this week as Britons shiver on through a deep chill.

A band of rain is due to push east across England on Tuesday evening, bringing widespread snow to the south of the country overnight.

Around 1cm to 3cm of the white stuff is expected to accumulate “quite widely”, the Met Office said, with the possibility of 5cm to 10cm falling on higher ground.

A yellow warning is in place for the south of England, East Midlands and West Midlands from 9pm on Tuesday to midday on Wednesday.

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Depending on your point of view, this is one hell of a way to start the week!

#Jaye’s Journal ~ week 4

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Jaye’s Journal ~ Week Four

 

We are halfway through the week and not yet free from the virus in this house. Just when we thought we had backed it into a corner, it seems to be having one last fling. There should be a sign on our front door, as we have been sneezing, coughing and aching ever since Christmas and we are at our wit’s end, wondering what we have to do to shake off the germs.

The weather isn’t helping either, freezing cold and miserable.

We try to keep working, more to keep our minds active than anything else, but all we really want to do is sleep. There was one very welcome high spot yesterday, when the letter from the hospital arrived, declaring me cancer free again for the third year since my treatment for breast cancer. So not all doom and gloom around here.

PayBack, my WIP is ready to edit, but I am dragging my heels a little, not wanting to begin when feeling less than capable.  I know it will be impossible to create any magic now. The pile of scribbled must do’s on my desk is getting higher, so I hope normal service will return soon before I drown in guilt!

In readiness for the wonderful moment when I can think straight, I have been making sure all my story locations are in order and as accurate as I can make them.

Despite feeling like death warmed over, I have been trying to get to the bottom of the Draft2Digital  mystery. When we first joined them, we were impressed by how easy it was to upload our books and all their promises to help make promoting our books easier. I did wonder why we couldn’t access other people’s books, but put that down to my limited knowledge, figuring I would probably discover more as we went along.

When several people reported problems getting our books, I had to find out for myself. An email to D2D didn’t provide any understandable answers.   To try and figure out how it worked, I tried to buy one of Anita’s books from their site. It was hopeless. I kept being directed to iTunes, which turned out to be just as hopeless. I have never used iTunes much, and only recently found out they sold books. After much googling to find help, I found out about iBooks.

To cut a long, boring story short, I think I have discovered that D2D is basically just for iPad or Apple users. I can access our books on iTunes, but can only buy them with an iPad. I think this is such a shame, even though the US market is huge so maybe not too bad in the end.

We still needed to increase our book distribution though, so have started uploading our books on Smashwords. com.

Hopefully, next week will see a more cheerful workplace, for I could use some productivity and optimism round about now…

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#Wordle 387 Waiting… #Poetry

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Waiting

As I walk through the forest

I notice the leaves dancing

Like tiny ballerinas

I hear their song

As if played by an invisible violin bow

Music made by the very air we breathe

The sound calls to something

Born inside me before I existed

Wild, untamed, unknowable

The trees sing of a world I should remember

Of a love that waits in silence

That makes its own sound

Like blood rushing through your veins

Time repenting memories

Tiny pebbles of thought

Run like marbles through my mind

At night on knees, carpet bare

I pray for a dream to bring an answer

Sunrise rains through my window

Painting shadows across my wall

I know I am still waiting…

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#Jaye’s Journal Week Three

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Jaye’s Journal. Week 3

 

Despite still feeling like the remains of a dog’s dinner, I am determined to sort out the mess that is masquerading as my WIP, PayBack.

I knew it was a mess, but not how bad it really was. The experts say you shouldn’t worry about the state of your first draft, that it is more important to just get it all down on the page. You get to make it shine during the editing process.

I kept trying to tell myself this, but obviously wasn’t very convincing, so over the weekend, I tackled the first Act, all twenty sprawling chapters. After much rearranging and second thoughts, I reduced it to twelve chapters and felt quite smug pleased with my efforts.

This week has not been like that. All I can think is that some other idiot must have written the second Act. Although I was an editor long before I became a writer, this did not prepare me for the shambles I found. Continuity was simply not present. It looked for all the world like I had completely forgotten the basics. Instead of throwing it away in disgust, I kept reading, as a good editor should. There can be a brilliant story hiding under the waffle and confusion.Well, that’s what I hoped!

Gradually, I began to see what needed to be done to create a better story. The thread was there all along. PayBack would need substantial editing, but the framework was taking shape and I felt so much more confident about it.

I’m not sure how it all went so wrong, but my other books didn’t give me so much trouble.

 

Something else has been happening too. Even though I have been spending a lot of time sorting out PayBack, I seem to have more time available for other things too. I know this doesn’t make sense, but I have noticed before that time can stretch if you lose yourself in a project.

For all we know, time is not constant. This would explain why some days seem so much longer than others. All I can say, is I am grateful for the help, wherever it came from…

 

 

I am trying to discover just how good D2D is. They talk the talk and it sounds wonderful. So easy to have all your books on there and all that, but can they walk the walk?

Some of our prospective buyers have reported problems when they try to buy our books, so I am wearing my detective bonnet!

Has anyone else experienced problems with these people?

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