A Writer’s Bucket List

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Like an ancient building, parts of me are wearing away, falling down or missing. My joints ache unbearably, and my head doesn’t work the way it used to. The eyesight is appalling and the memory almost non-existant.

I have been ignoring the signs for a while now, adopting the attitude of just ignore it, and it will go away… but try as I might, I cannot deny that I am getting old. Too old for so many things these days, but nothing I will ever admit to, not yet. If I want to do something, I will, even if it costs me later, as I can’t believe that my time is beginning to run out.

Already, certain members of my family are treating me like an ancient relic, constantly reminding me that ‘I have to be careful at my age…’  And that going up ladders or even walking into town on my own is just not on. In case something happens…

I catch them looking at me and know what they are thinking. I know I forget things and I’m not as steady on my feet these days, but seriously, I think I am fitter than most of them, even if it does take me longer to do things.

Secretly though, I quite like the slower pace, and the ready excuse (should I decide to use it) for not doing so much. In fact, I don’t remember saying no to so many things before, and I quite like it.

But before anything else gives up the ghost, I thought I would give some thought to some of the things I haven’t yet achieved. Not a proper bucket list, you understand, as riding a wild horse along the edge of the sea, or getting really close to Niagara Falls and getting soaked to the skin, is beyond even my dreams, this is purely connected to my writing and blogging endeavours.

My Writing Bucket List

Book trailers    Should do more of these, and/or improve the ones already done

Paperback copies of our books   Some of the covers/editing could be better?

My own blog tour   Could do another one?

Character Interviews   Could do more of these too

Guest posts   Always need more of these

Box set of my crime thriller series

Our own newsletter    A work-in-progress

A well-known author endorsement    Wishful thinking?

Write a best seller   More wishful thinking

Start a writing team    A work-in-progress

 

My memory lets me down again, as I’m sure there are more things I want to do, but you get the picture. And another thing… Anita is just two years younger than me, but not suffering from old age at all! Well, nothing she will admit to, anyway…

Oh well, I’m off to do some work on current WIP, that’s if I can remember where I was up to!

The Perfect Review

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Although I have only recently joined Rosie Amber’s review team, I have been reviewing the books I have enjoyed reading for a while now.

Reviewing is easy enough to do and it makes sense to tell the world (and the author) what you thought of it. Something we wish more readers would do, but that’s another post!

Most of our reviews have been well received, which was one of the reasons I applied to be an official reviewer for Rosie Amber to help other authors by spreading the word.

I had read all the guidelines for successful reviewing, but this week I slipped up, and badly. In my enthusiastic response after reading Suzanne Rogerson’s The Lost Sentinel, I included not one but two spoilers in my review! In my defense, when a book is as brilliant as Suzanne’s, you want to share the good stuff with everyone, just not key moments and I will admit, I got carried away…  Luckily, this was not one of Rosie’s recomendations,  or I would be out of a job…

Spoilers, you see, tell any prospective reader what happens at key moments in the book, and can ruin any desire to read the book. So what I did was bad…

After much red-faced embarrassment and a lot of humble apologies, I have amended the review and pray that I don’t do it again.

Not the first time my enthusiasm has landed me in trouble, but hopefully it will be the last!

Rosie Amber supplies these helpful guidelines, and I must remember them!

Book Title and Author Name

Genre

Book Setting – time and place

Introduce the main characters

Describe the storyline in general terms (avoid spoilers that give too much away)

How was the book set out? (If this was obvious) For instance alternating chapters from different characters, or chapters from different time periods.

What did you like about the book?

What would have made it better?

What didn’t you enjoy in the book?

Would you read another book by this author?

Your star rating.

And finally, add links (I’m always forgetting to do this!)

 

 

 

Not the Best Week…

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On Monday my new Android Tablet arrived. Plugged it in to charge, and instantly the screen was full of Chinese writing! Don’t say I had made yet another mistake!  I’m still reeling from trying to master Windows 10 on that other tablet.

Finished reading and editing the book review for Rosie Amber and emailed it.

Gardening is out, as a storm is forecast, and as much as I love a good storm, I draw the line at gardening in the pouring rain…

The weather was horrible on Tuesday, gales and lashing rain, so guess where I was all day!

I had a brave moment and switched on the new tablet for the first time. The Chinese characters had gone, and within minutes, I was up and running, connecting to everything with one HUGE smile on my face. There are just a few wrinkles to sort out, but so far, so good! For me, that is…

The weather couldn’t be more different by the middle of the week, beautiful blue skies and sunshine. The garden beckons!

Still cannot believe my luck with the new Tablet, it’s so easy to use! The technology demons must be having a day off!

Thursday was freezing cold today, so guess what I had decided to do today? Defrost the freezer!

But it had to be done, or I won’t be able to close the door soon, due to the ice buildup.

The new broadband hub arrived on Friday. They say all I have to do, is unplug the old one and then plug in the new. But there has to be more to it than that…

I have been putting this upgrade off for ages, for all hell usually breaks loose whenever I touch it, so I am expecting trouble.

I want to try and install the new Hub on Saturday. But before I do this, ever pessimistic, I am scheduling several days work, just in case everything crashes around my ears. But if you hear screams …

There were no screams, just an all-pervading sense of doom when I had to use a wi-fi hotspot as the hub refused to connect. Mind you, they did say something about an activation date. I seem to recall that was tomorrow…

What am I like?  (don’t all rush to answer…)

The Heart of the Matter…

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After my heart attacks three years ago, and my subsequent brilliant behaviour since then, I didn’t think I would be having any further trouble in that direction. I can still remember every gruelling moment of that time, and how near I came to shuffling off this mortal coil.

For a while afterwards, though, I was very nervous. Every twinge of heartburn (for that is how it started before) was met with chewed fingernails and immense trepidation. Probably a good thing in the end, for it made me a model patient. I took my medication religiously, even though most of it had a dire effect on my asthma.

I gave up smoking that day, and I like to think it was because the cardiologist asked me to but the truth is, I didn’t want to die, so I stopped willingly. I have taken steps to improve my health and fitness too, and think I am in a much better shape now.

So when I began to notice something odd going on in my chest, my spirits hit the floor. I was experiencing little thumps and fluttering’s, and although this doesn’t sound too serious, I worried. When I checked my pulse, I noticed gaps in the rhythm. Every couple of minutes, my heart would skip a beat, and not a shred of romance or excitement anywhere near me!

I have my own blood pressure machine for regular check ups, and I seemed to be fine, so I was confused. I had recently stopped taking the daily aspirin and the beta-blocker, as they were making my asthma so much worse. Maybe I should start taking them again and see what happened. The other odd thing was that my ticker behaved itself during the day, but come the evening, it had a field day. Sleeping wasn’t easy either, more because I was worrying than anything else I think, for I can normally sleep through anything.

And of course, the usual question presented itself. Do I bother my doctor with this? I have a check-up soon, so I could mention it then…

I know at my age there is so much you just have to get on with, and I do seem to have more than my share in that department, but my instincts were not clear. I usually know what to do, whether it turns out to be a waste of everyone’s time or not.  My dilemma is this, apart from the funny goings on, I feel quite well. Apart from arthritis in every joint, failing eyesight, a painful neck and hip, the list is getting longer.

I decided to wait a few days and see what happens…

Two days later… I have reinstated the beta-blocker but not the aspirin, and the thumps and fluttering’s have now stopped. So far, so good. I wonder what will happen next?

Old age can be so much fun, don’t you think?

The Crystal Horse (or my nemesis?)

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Most people know that I love puzzles and horses, so I was delighted when my son gave me this crystal horse puzzle for my birthday recently.

I had done these puzzles before and looked forward to completing this one.

Inside the puzzle box were 98 pieces of complicated and impossible looking clear plastic pieces, and one ridiculously basic instruction sheet. Was it my imagination, or did this puzzle look so much more complicated than the others I had done before?

Day One

For some reason, I decided to start with the horses head and quickly managed to assemble nearly 20 pieces, including the front legs.

That was when it began to go wrong. None of the pieces seemed to fit, and it was beginning to look as though a piece could be missing. I continued to try them all, but eventually stopped for the day sensing defeat waiting just out of sight.

Day Two

Today, I abandoned the head and turned my attention to the rear end of the horse. This was such an intricate puzzle, the pieces were small, fiddly and impossible to see clearly, for they were three dimensional with several layers and shapes in each piece, and my eyesight is not what it was. Using the chart and the numbered pieces, I sailed along and was soon halfway along the horse’s body before being stuck again.

Round about now I was wondering if I was getting too old for such a tricky puzzle, and I ended up walking away, feeling inadequate.

Day Three

I spent a long time looking at the charts, trying to figure out what I was doing wrong when something occurred to me. To read the chart correctly, you have to locate the number on the grid before you remove a piece from the framework. The pieces themselves are not numbered, and this was where the problem lay.

I double-checked the frames that the pieces were fixed to and it would seem I had one of them the wrong way around. This meant I had been using the wrong pieces.

For two long hours I struggled to continue, but with a sinking heart, I realise that this might be one challenge too much. I might just have found my nemesis.

So many years doing puzzles of every denomination and I had managed to find one I just couldn’t do.

Day Four

With a heavy heart, I had another look at the incomplete horse. I even watched someone assemble the same horse on YouTube, but it didn’t help me at all.

Then I remembered how I usually deal with frustrating jigsaws, trying every piece systematically until one fits. I sat down with more optimism than I thought possible and after a few minutes, a piece fell into place. The puzzle God must be smiling today, I thought and promptly fitted a few more.

Thirty minutes later, I slid the fixing rod through the horse’s body and fixed it onto the stand.  The puzzle was finished and my sense of achievement knew no bounds. Not least because it meant I hadn’t lost my Mojo after all…