Jaye’s Days… My Perfect Moment…

After what has seemed like a very long time, I have found my perfect moment.

I finally managed to get to the sea, and the sun was shining. A strong breeze from the water created some medium-sized but beautiful waves.

We had visited this beach the week before, but the weather was atrocious that day, and we nearly froze. The weather report was more favourable yesterday, so we made the journey again.

I have been trying to snatch a few precious moments to get my sea fix, and it was beginning to look like it might never happen.

The sea is my soul mate and very special to me. I need to commune with the spirits of the deep regularly.

Seeing how my health seems to be slowly deteriorating, I need to keep my soul happy, or I may give up. So yesterday was invaluable for several reasons.

Once on the seafront, the family were busy fussing about coffee or something to eat, but the sea was calling me, and I wandered slowly down the shingle beach and headed for the water. Almost immediately, the deafening sound of the waves beaching and the sweeter sound of the water filtering through the shingle lifted me out of this world. A world where I was completely at home.

I wanted to sit down, stay awhile, and enjoy the moment, but the shingle was wet, so I perched on a breakwater, mesmerised by the crashing waves.

I managed to film my perfect long-awaited moment on my phone, so I could share the moment with you…

Jaye’s Journal… From a Reader to a Writer…

From a Reader to a Writer

I have always enjoyed reading books. Mainly for the sense of escapism involved. Somewhere you can forget about your own life and live someone else’s, albeit vicariously.

It has been a blessing, sometimes more than at other times, depending on how my own life was going at that moment.

I honestly believe that reading books has kept me sane. They have taught me practically everything I know, for if I need or want to know how to do something, I turn to books to find out. Nowadays, we have the internet, but in my youth, all we had were books.

These days, something else has been added to my enduring love affair with the printed word. Putting it quite simply, they have inspired me to write. You could say that the art of reading could do this anyway, to anyone. But up until a few years ago, I was unaware of this. They were my retreat, my sanctuary. Nothing else.

But then everything changed.

I had always been a compulsive reader, consuming anything I could get my hands on. I didn’t discriminate and read everything. If asked to list my favourite authors, I would have been hard pushed, for I loved them all.

Somewhere along the way, I have developed a ‘criterion’. I no longer just read a book. My brain seems intent on sifting the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. Who knew it could have that kind of opinion?

Two pages into a book, and if it is not talking to me by then, I discard it and try another. These days I love the kind of books that inspire me and make my fingers want to pick up a pen. Not to copy or emulate but to write down how the author has made me feel. Sometimes I find myself with a book in one hand and a notebook in the other.

It’s as if a doorway has been opened in my mind. Artists say colours work for them; for me, it’s the power of the words and how they are used.

Something else has changed in me. I have always considered myself reasonably adept with the English language. It was my favourite lesson at school, and over the years, as I have said before, it has saved my sanity on many occasions.

For the first time in my life, I have doubts, and they are growing all the time. I have helped other people edit and proofread their books and have been totally convinced I was good at it. Many people (including an agent) once said that I was. I have also reviewed dozens of books along the way.

But that was before I picked up a pen and wrote a story of my own. I never expected it to be as hard as it was, for words usually came easily to me. But I discovered a very important fact about writing a book. Not only must it have a beginning, middle and end, but it must also flow, make perfect sense and be interesting to read.

It also has to have structure and subplots; the list was endless. I discovered to my horror that I was not as clever as I thought when the pen was in my hand! Words tend to come at me in a rush, short spasms of prose that seem quite eloquent at the time but appear quite truncated when you attempt to join them all together. So much so that I nearly gave up several times.

I began to seriously doubt I could ever be a writer, that this wasn’t something I could simply learn how to do. But I persevered, did my absolute best, and after my edits and even more soul searching, I uploaded it onto Amazon, thinking my work was done.

But I was wrong.

In my haste to achieve something that will hopefully outlast me, I forgot the most important step of all. Someone else should have read it first. Someone objective, who would come to it afresh, with no desire or agenda to bin it at the first error.

I learned that I can’t see my manuscript with a subjective eye. You cannot possibly hope to, really, because you have lived with it for so long. I wrongly assumed the reverse would be true, that the fact you created every word would make you more than qualified.

This was all so long ago, and I have learned so much more since then…

Jaye’s Days…

Jaye’s Days

One way or another, a lot of things have been neglected by me this past year.

At the beginning of the year, I spent a lot of time outside in the garden, so of course, housework was the last thing on my mind. I was busy writing, too, and that was the best excuse in the world!

When the weather turned, changing from drought conditions to never-ending rain, I was back indoors, but somehow the housework wasn’t high on my list of priorities.

I tried to maintain reasonable hygiene levels in the kitchen and bathroom, but cleaning windows, dust bunnies, cobwebs and hoovering weren’t filtering through my brain. That’s when it was time to release my book, and unfortunately, the virus came calling too.

I am not firing on all cylinders yet but determined to catch up on a few things. Namely the oven and the freezer. They are two of the worst and least favourite of all jobs. Inside the oven, a meat pie had leaked most of its gravy, leaving a rapidly burning pile of goo on everything.

Then I was attacked by a huge iceberg when trying to find the ice cream in the freezer, and if it had grown any more, I wouldn’t have been able to shut the freezer door!

Day One

I staggered the work, as I still felt fragile and started on the oven. I warmed the oven in the faint hope that it would help with the cleaning process, then removed all the shelves and sprayed cleaner all over the interior. I shut the oven door and put the kettle on for a much-needed cuppa. Yes, I know I haven’t done much yet, but still.

The rest of the morning, the kitchen became a battleground as the dirt was removed from the oven and transferred to every available surface in my kitchen.

This is what I hate about housework. You do one simple job and then have to spend ages cleaning up. Mind you, the oven did look lovely.

Day Two

Time to tackle the iceberg!

I had already frozen the ice packs, ready for the defrost. We are not one of those families who can run the freezer down to nothing; it will never happen! So I have devised a method that works for me and keeps the food frozen. It usually takes an hour to transfer all the frozen food to the fridge, accompanied by multiple ice packs, and to defrost the freezer. At this point, you are banned from opening the fridge door.

I turned off the power and inspected the accumulated ice. There did seem to be a lot more of it than I thought. Would one hour be enough?

I started spraying the de-icer, only to run out halfway through. Then I added several trays of hot water and waited for the big melt to begin.

After an hour, the lump of ice looked as big as ever.  I had no choice but to continue the process and pray it wouldn’t take much longer.

When two hours had passed, I assessed the progress. The ice had retreated but not by much. If I waited any longer, I risked losing the food, which was probably having serious thoughts about defrosting by now.

Out came the hairdryer, and on my knees, I gave the ice one last assault. I even bashed it with a wooden spatula in my desperation. But I had to concede defeat.

Maybe after Christmas, I could have another go?

I know housework can be boring, and normally I wouldn’t go on about it, but honestly, this is the most fun I have had in months…

©JayeMarie2022

November #BlogBattle: Cultivate

At the beginning of 2022, I had the overwhelming notion of cultivating something. Something I had never had much luck with before.

I chose tomatoes.

I had always wanted to do this, but previous efforts had always failed for one reason or another. This time, I was sure we would grow our own tomatoes.

I researched all the different types of tomatoes, confident I would make the right choice. Several packets of seeds arrived in the post, and I started to gather all the pots and soil I would need.

This was all happening when the year was young and hadn’t yet acquired that air of doom and gloom that would eventually descend and taint everything.

I felt like a proper gardener as I prepared the pots and planted the seeds. Every day I would inspect them, waiting eagerly to see the first pale new shoots appearing. I remember being so happy when the first seedlings broke through the soil.

Just one week later, I went outside to see my charges, to be met with the scene of a disaster. Something had attacked the pots, and the ground was littered with displaced soil and battered seedlings. I tried my best to replant them all, but inside, I was seething. Who or what had done this?

It seemed to take a long time for the seedlings to recover, and I secretly waited for them to curl up their toes and give up the fight. To be honest, that’s what I wanted to do, as my dream had been spoiled.

Slowly, they did recover and grew taller. Soon the pale yellow star-shaped flowers appeared, shortly followed by tiny tomatoes. Whether it was being so cruelly disturbed, the lack of sunshine, or the absence of luck, these tomatoes never grew very big. Disappointingly small, although definitely sweet.

I still wonder what had sabotaged my efforts and whether I will try again next year…

©JayeMarie2022

Jaye’s Week …

Good morning to all our friends, readers and writers everywhere. We hope life is treating you well. But if it isn’t, give it a good kick in the shins!

November already, and where did the year go?

We know where some of it went, as we are still trying to recover from a nasty encounter with the covid virus. We have tested clear, but not feeling well at all yet.

What has surprised me most about this virus is what it does to your brain. I have been trying (slowly) to pick up where I was before, but it’s just not happening. Which does not bode well for any reading and writing I want to do. Routine tasks seem safe, but anything that needs thinking about is basically a lost cause.  They call this ‘brain fog’, and it seems most people end up with it. I hope it doesn’t hang around for too long, for I distinctly remember having a long list of new ideas to implement.

Along with my crazy head, the weather is pretty crazy too. Torrential rain and gale-force winds are doing their best to keep us indoors, where a noisy extractor fan in the bathroom is driving us all nuts! It refuses to switch off and runs all night. Hopefully, we can get it fixed soon…

We will probably spend what’s left of the year trying to return to normal, but something tells me that ‘normal’ days could be a thing of the past. I have just heard that the Christmas turkey could be a memory this year due to more avian flu.

We dread to think what 2023 has in store for all of us, but early signs are not hopeful…

Anyone know what kind of clouds these are? We have never seen anything like this before…

Jaye’s Week… #Review #Poetry @MaeClair1

If I am honest, this week has not been much of a good one.

I found this very disappointing after such a wonderful book launch the week before.

Possibly an anticlimax, I suppose, but still disappointing.

Still no new appointment from the hospital, which has triggered so many thoughts, ( most of them bad) wondering what the future has in store. I suddenly realised that I am also my own carer, taking care of both of us. Looks like we must take care of ourselves these days, which is better than nothing I suppose.

Our medications are on automatic now, so diet and exercise are down to us, so we must do our best in that department.

The weather has allowed a little gardening this week, and it was good to be outdoors, but it didn’t lift my mood as well as it normally does. Life on the internet has been plagued all week by a Mcafee pop-up, insisting that my computer is riddled with virus and thereby doomed. Anita has not appreciated the amount of cursing that emanates from the office every time it shows up. When she asked me if there was some way to switch the bloody thing off, I had to admit I hadn’t given that a thought. I mean, where would I find such a switch?

At the bottom of the pop-up, it said via Microsoft Edge, so I went there, looking for something I could turn off. And I found it. Under notifications. I turned them off and the pesky thing vanished! Yay!

Things are looking up, I thought, wondering how long they would last.

I didn’t have long to wait.

Yesterday, I noticed a new review for Ghost of a Chance. Instantly, the miserable week faded away.

Mae Clair

4.0 out of 5 stars Dark crime fiction with a splash of the supernatural

Reviewed in the United States on 5 October 2022

Although this book is a continuation in a series, the author did a good job of establishing characters and their past relationships. As a reader I felt on firm footing. The story is told from alternating POVs, all in third person, with the exception of the MC, David Snow, a former DI, who has suffered a debilitating injury that has changed his career path. We get his POV in first person.

While the story itself is gritty, the writing is polished, and the pacing strong. The writer has a deft hand with dark investigative crime. A splash of the supernatural adds an intriguing element to this hard-hitting tale that explores the bleaker side of human nature and relationships.

Thank you so much, Mae!

Anita has just given me her latest poem, and I think it sums up the way we have both been feeling this week.

No Way Out

I am the ghost of my future
Not yet written
Each day is a dead end
Until you wake from sleeping
Walk among the living
Each step writes your own history
Good or bad, it comes by your thoughts
Dreaming puts a drop in the mix
The pink rabbit sitting on your chest
With no way to lead you to the truth
Your day ends the same way, sleeping
The days are not square or long
They are round, you keep going round 
In circles, until you write your way out…

©AnitaDawes2022


Have a great weekend folks, from both of us!

Letters to a Friend ~ Part Two ~ #Fiction

My Dearest Anne,

After receiving your letter last week, I had a lot to think about and to tell you. First, I am so pleased that Jack’s landscape business is doing so well that he has employed you to do the books. I will take up your suggestion of checking the census to see if I can find out more about Flo and Albert.

However, I must tell you, I decided to check the attic as you suggested and under a loose floorboard by the round window seat, I found love letters to Flo from someone called Margaret. From the contents, I could tell they were very much in love. I cannot tell if Albert knew about this.

The strange thing is, ever since finding them and reading them, Flo has been quiet. Not a peep from her all last week. Albert, on the other hand, is haunting my dreams. He stands beside my bed, telling me to look under the step. I can only assume he means the front step.

Can you imagine what Richard would do if I started digging it up? I can already see the men in white jackets arriving.

Night after night, Albert is most insistent, so I have decided to ask Richard if we can have a porch built. In light of having parcels left on the doorstep, he thinks this is a good idea. The builders will be starting in two weeks’ time.

It may be nothing, but I am worried as to why Flo is being so quiet.

I loved your idea of writing a book about this, and I am giving it thought.

Richard is still wondering why I use pen and paper rather than email. I tell him that emails are too impersonal when talking with a friend.

Looking forward to your next letter,

Your dearest friend,

            Alice

to be continued…

another episode of Anita’s WIP… possibly a new book! what do you think of it so far?

Today was Supposed to be a Good Day…

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

I must apologise for the confusion yesterday, as I have no idea why everything got so mixed up. If you didn’t notice, please ignore this post!

Today was supposed to be a good day, concentrating on doing all the things I enjoy, like creating a book trailer and working on more promotion ideas. So far, it has not been a walk in the park.

There had obviously been more tinkering going on overnight. The minute I logged on, I was plagued by something called Mcafee, insisting I had five viruses on my computer and simply must use their magic to get rid of them. Persistent little bugger, it just wouldn’t go away!

Then, I found that I couldn’t log into my emails. Apparently, they thought my provider didn’t exist anymore. Well, I spent the next hour checking everything I could think of, my temper growing all the time. Not sure what worked, but all of a sudden, my emails appeared, and I could start work.

That was roughly when I discovered I had posted the wrong material under a totally different heading yesterday. God knows what the recipient thought I was doing! I can only surmise that I need to take it easy for the rest of the day, give my poor brain time to catch up…

Jaye

Hope you have a better day!

Coming to Terms…

Image by Dominik Rheinheimer from Pixabay 

“Huge oaks from little acorns grow…”

This phrase has been running around in my head for days, and I’m pretty sure it has something to do with my present marketing endeavours for my latest story, Ghost of a Chance.

Marketing is not the easiest thing to do, at least with any degree of success, especially nowadays. Despite what else is going on, I am determined to stick with my plan.

Although I am presently running around like a headless chicken, preparing my latest work of art (I hope) for its release on 27th September, I have wanted to write a post on our other development.

Not an easy post to write, which is why I have been dragging my heels, but I need to write it to get it out of my head.

Since escaping from the hospital last week, I have been trying not to think about it. Especially what may or may not happen next.

Two years ago, when my sister had her massive heart attack, it was touch and go for weeks as they tried desperately to stabilize her. Once that was accomplished, they seemed to forget about her. Follow-up appointments fail to arrive, despite our doctor’s intervention. We do know what to do if the need arises, and they probably rely on that.

Fast forward to the present day and my own heart problems. After failing to unblock my artery, I was sent home with medication clearly designed to prevent any more blockages from developing. Supposedly, an appointment will follow at some point. Four to six weeks was mentioned for another procedure, but as the days pass, I have stopped waiting for the letter to arrive.

Maybe we are too old for them to worry about it anymore?

We have been made comfortable, and hopefully, we will stay that way.

And you know something, we are happy with that…

From the Two of us!

Jaye’s Days… #Silent Sunday

This plant is called Honesty, one of my favourites…

Image by Frauke Riether from Pixabay 

It is Sunday. 

Time to take a moment to catch my breath and my thoughts.

One of these should be easy, but not sure about the other.

To be honest, I don’t think that trying to catch my thoughts will be possible, as some of them have been safely packed away in a box, deliberately out of reach. 

This is sometimes necessary to make it through the day without screaming.

I often wonder what other people do when that elephant takes up residence. I suspect, like me, they ignore it for a while, hoping it will wander off and find somewhere else to play.

Because I cannot do anything about this particular elephant, I must pretend he’s not here. 

Just like I pretend there isn’t a blockage on one of my arteries…

Or a certain member of my family’s health seems to be slowly deteriorating…

Or that I haven’t a clue how we will manage if the bills get any bigger…

There… that’s all of it back in the box; now I can concentrate on all the good stuff.

Luckily, there is still a lot of it around if you know where to look…

Just when I thought it was safe to go back into the water, Microsoft Word has stopped working, and nothing I do has made it turn up. So, I have been forced to see if Google Docs is as good as they say… and I must admit, it’s not bad…