Jaye’s Best Day of the Week ~ WIP Wednesday

My days get busier than ever, so allocating just one is difficult. Wednesday is always WIP day, even though other things constantly get in the way. As usual, fate stuck his nose in, deciding my morning.

I started well, waded through the emails, checked comments on WP and made inroads into our media overload, almost ready to start writing…

When the mouse started playing up again.

Jumping around like an idiot, refusing to go where I pointed, not doing a bloody thing for my happy Wednesday. This happened last month, and I ended up buying a new mouse. Surely it can’t want replacing already?

So, I did what any self-respecting blogger should do, I switched everything off and moved to my writing chair.

I read an interesting post from Joan Hall today about WIP…

I was in heaven for the next hour as I worked on my current villain. I like my bad boys to be special and very human, so it’s always a pleasure to be in their company. I wondered why this was and if it said something about me? I mean, creating heroes doesn’t fill me with this much pleasure. Almost, but no cigar, if you know what I mean…

The other odd thing about writing is that I get such promising ideas while doing it. Ideas for different projects, so I must have a notebook beside me.

I also read another interesting post about Writing and Covers from the Story Empire. Timely, too, for I am wrestling with creating a new cover for one of our books.

I have also saved a copy of an article about Newsletters, something I really need to study.

It is lunchtime, and it’s been a wonderful day already … not counting the mouse! They say the devil works in clever ways…

Jaye

Jaye’s Weekly Thoughts…

or What the Hell do the Fates have in store this week?

When this week began, I was determined to do something, anything to make me feel as though I was still on the right page. Any page, mind you, so I left it up to fate to point me in the right direction.

This was before I realised I had a dental appointment. It has been cancelled so many times, I was beginning to think it would never happen, despite having had toothache for months. Not a terrific way to start the week, I thought, secretly hoping they would cancel again as I walked through town.

It was too nice a day for pain and/or discomfort, something that usually happens the minute I sit in the chair, and I wasn’t expecting anything less, as the plan was to remove an incredibly old crown and investigate the reason for the toothache.

I knew this would include the dreaded needle that always made my eyes water. Unavoidable, but after being stabbed like a pin cushion, I didn’t care what they got up to, as I wouldn’t feel a thing!

Turns out, the infection was extensive, YUCKY according to the dentist, so today’s visit was a good thing. Could this have been the reason for my dizziness and earache? Time will tell, but I really hope it was.

Back at home with a temporary cap on the now pristine stump, I tried to decide what I wanted to do with the rest of the week. The WIP, or overdue promotion? I had a list, of course, but reading it didn’t help at all.

What I need is a visit from the muse, someone or something to choose something and insist I do it. I still feel determined, even though my guidance system seems to be out to lunch, despite my good intentions.

I will sign off now and continue to hope for the best. I will let you know what happens, if anything, next week…

Jaye

Jaye’s Week, such as it is…

Jaye’s Week, such as it is…

My brain is so unfair.

It knows I am having trouble, but it wants to get cracking anyway. Keeps coming up with interesting and brilliant writing and promotion ideas that simply vanish before I have the time to get my thinking cap on.

Only five minutes ago, for example, it came up with a cracker. I told myself (and my brain) that I would check it out in a minute. But before I could finish reading the last email on my list, it had left the premises, gone for a walk. Vanished completely. This is what I put up with daily, it’s a wonder I manage to do anything these days…

not sure what these are called, but I love them!

Spending more time away from the computer does have its advantages, however. The recent lovely weather and the arrival of signs of Spring have sent me out of doors. I have discovered that gardening does not give me trouble at all, arthritic knees notwithstanding (or bending for that matter) and I am loving every minute!

Today I will be organising seed sowing. Tomatoes and dahlias. Next week I intend to finish repotting the bonsai that I didn’t get around to last autumn.

I must go now, for the words on my screen are swimming away from me.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, and I will see you again on Monday…

Jaye XXX

Bending instead of breaking? Part One

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

So many times lately, I have been approaching my desk grudgingly, forcing a degree of false enthusiasm that will hopefully carry me through the day.

The idea, of course, is that faking it will encourage the real thing, just as it has done so many times before. As I say, this usually works, but not this time. I feel worn out, mentally and physically exhausted, desperate to find something to get excited about.

The weather yesterday was foul, Storm Eunice was gradually building up a head of steam, and I was watching the big old tree in my garden begin to thrash about in the strengthening winds. With each violent gust, I was amazed by how far the branches could bend, then simply float back again in the lull, seemingly undamaged.

These images stayed with me for the rest of the day, to be joined by more scenes of destruction as I watched the progress of the storm on TV. I still hadn’t found the will to work, so closed the PC and left my desk, determined to do better tomorrow.

It was still windy this morning. The branches of the old tree were still moving about, although less violently than yesterday. Somehow, this triggered an avalanche of thoughts. I have always been the strong one in the family, managing to cope and handle whatever life has thrown at us. (and some of it still makes me cringe)

Up until recently, I always imagined I was invincible, that nothing could bring me to my knees, but secretly, this isn’t true anymore. My knees, back and brain are bending, possibly breaking and I need to find a way to cope with this change of circumstance.  I need to find a way to carry on and be happy while managing to keep everything else happy too.

I can see that tree from my desk, and it seems to be watching me too. It occurs to me that it does not choose to bend. Clever old Nature has designed it that way.

How has nature designed me, or is it a bit late to be asking?

To be continued

WIP Wednesday ~ The Bare Bones of it All…

Image by Paul Brennan from Pixabay

I seem to have a lot in common with the house I live in these days.

Like me, it is starting to crumble. Cracks appear almost as I watch, making me wonder if there is a time limit on buildings. I mean, how much longer can it stand. I hope it lasts a little longer than I do!

I have never liked this house much, it’s nearly two hundred years old and quaintly called a cottage. God knows why, as it has large rooms with very high ceilings.

Ten years ago, after the worst luck in our history, this house was a much-needed lifeline when we desperately needed one. We grabbed it with both hands, collectively, of course.

After the ancient and dilapidated static caravan, this house seemed like a mansion. We thought we could be happy here, even without central heating and on a very busy main road.

After the postage stamp of a garden at the caravan, I was in seventh heaven when we moved here. A communal garden shared with three other families; our given space was a long section of overgrown wilderness that begged me to roll up my sleeves.

Despite my efforts, this garden has always beaten me. I swear everything can grow faster than I can think. Over the years, it has gradually reduced me to the bare minimum of control.

I have tried to turn my brain off to avoid thinking about the futility of it all. As they say, it is what it is, and there’s not much we can do about any of it…

The past twelve months have quite literally been a nightmare with all those hospital trips; the uncertainty and the long periods of waiting have played havoc with our lives.

So many things have suffered along with our family. It has been a time of indescribable worry when we have had to make do, try to cope with the basics and ignore the pile of jobs that seem to lurk in every room (and garden)

Of course, the most neglected job (and I still call it that even though I love every aspect of it,) is my writing. It hasn’t been entirely abandoned, although to be fair, most of it has been going on inside my head.

As Anita’s health slowly improves, although not entirely resolved yet, I have found a few odd moments to scribble away at my WIP (Ghost of a Chance, book four in my DI Snow series) to the glorious word count of 20,573 words. I am reasonably happy with my progress, although in retrospect, the story is just the bare bones at the moment.

My first draft tends to be just a glorified outline, as I have learned to depend on my characters teaching me about their lives. As you can imagine, this usually results in a very messy first draft, as so much is added as I go along. It’s probably not how you should write a story of any consequence, but it seems to work for me these days.

A retired detective turns private investigator to solve a case the police dismiss. Injured on the job, Snow is forced into retirement, but not ready to stop solving cases. He witnesses a serious mistake which triggers a strong desire to help the victim, a helpless old woman.

An officer resents Snow’s interference and determines to stop him somehow. But other forces are at work here, frustrating all efforts to save the victim.

Can Snow control these forces that are at work against him, or must he suffer defeat again?

We are looking forward to a year of peace and quiet, time to recharge our batteries and catch up on all those neglected things. We also hope that this year will be so much better than the last one!

WIP Wednesday…

Where is my walk in the park?

There have been days in the last six months when I have had trouble doing anything writing-related. Days when I rely on autopilot to get me through the day.

What with all the worry about my sister’s health, my primary job as a carer has pretty much removed all hopes of my writing anything. Consequently, the current WIP, Ghost of a Chance, has become static. On a good day, I sit and look at it, hoping inspiration or something similar will turn up, but then duty or a problem calls, and I must walk away again.

Stubborn is as stubborn does though, and I have a new plan.

Ghost of a Chance has become a complicated mess with storyline plot holes big enough to swallow my desk and only two-thirds finished. I have realised that to keep writing, hoping it will make better sense as I go on, would be disastrous, eventually making the problem worse.

So, and I’m getting quite fond of that word, I have a new plan.

I have created a blank storyboard for all my characters, and I am slowly reading each chapter and placing them in what I hope will be the right places. This system should highlight the missing parts too, I hope.

Now I am no longer concentrating on the concluding chapters, I think I will be able to sort everything out, thereby making finishing it a real walk in the park. (Or at least something similar!)

Anita is home from the hospital, but far from well. We are taking good care of her and hoping for the best. And good news in two weeks at her check-up would be lovely too…

I wonder what 2022 will really be like…

Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

Every morning, without fail, I systematically clear my emails, which are mostly spam but something I cannot ignore. My day would not be right if I didn’t do this. Usually, I don’t have loads of rules, preferring to do what I like, when I want, but this one thing is a must-do job.

Then I log in to WP.

I read and answer any comments and then turn to the Reader List. It can sometimes take me over an hour to read them all, but I love every minute. On any one day, I communicate with people, new conversations, or ongoing ones—so many interesting chats about varied subjects from people all over the world.

When we began blogging over ten years ago, I never knew that it would grow into this huge, wonderful club where I can smile, sigh, laugh and cry, all in the space of an hour.

I marvel at the fantastic images and artwork, share in the joy of writers finally getting a break, share the sadness of losing either people, pets, or sometimes their minds (more common than you might think) and laugh at the antics of children and animals alike.

These lovely people have become our extended family, a family that share their lives, loves, and sometimes, even their limitations.

We began blogging to help further our writing careers, but somewhere along the way, it has become so much more than that…

I have been trying hard lately to be more organised, to find ways to stop life from getting in the way of everything, but it continues to beat me or find ways to slow me down.

There are days when I wish I could say okay, you win, and stagger away like a sensible old lady.

Not happening. There is still so much I want to do; in fact, the list seems to get longer every day.

I hope it’s just my imagination, but I seem to be getting slower, and shock horror! I am making more mistakes than usual. There were serious errors on my WIP, bad enough for me to want to scrap it and start over.

But I didn’t.

Being stubborn usually saves me so much eventually.

So, thank you to all our friends and followers… and hope we all have a better year in 2022…

The Ghost of Christmas Present…

Image by kalhh from Pixabay

The Ghost of Christmas Present

We really wanted Christmas to be special this year but could not possibly have foreseen what 2021 had in store for all of us.

For the first time ever, it feels right somehow that the year is slowly dying, slipping away unnoticed among all the chaos and misery.

We are feeling much the same way as the ghost of Christmas hovers in the doorway like an unwelcome guest, unsure, as we all are as to what will happen next.

2022 is just days away, a brand-new year.

A year we are beginning to think will be the same as the last.

This is normally the time when we start looking forward to a new year, convinced it will be the one to remember. Truth is, we are dreading it. Among so many other things, this year has shown us just how vulnerable we really are.

At the beginning of 2021, we were determined not to allow despair or depression in the door, and for a while, we managed to maintain a cheerful front. We carried on writing/blogging as usual but gradually over the months, we seem to have become so old, dare I say fragile?

This is how a total loss of control must feel.

I woke up this morning with the overwhelming desire to send all the misery, worry and complacency packing along with this dreadful year.

To rekindle the spark that will make us all feel alive again.

At first, we will probably have to ‘fake it until we make it’, push the envelope like crazy until life feels better.

We wish all of our friends and followers a wonderful New Year, a year full of promise and possibilities, and we will shortly be sending out the first of our 2022 newsletters, looking forward and planning a much better year…

Dead of Winter ~ Journey 11 ~ The Sumelazon Escarpment ~ #EpicFantasy ~ @teagangeneviene

Meet a new character in this Journey of Dead of Winter. She is a Deae Matres whose encounter with Gethin Gwilym has an unexpected result. Next in Pergesca, we get better acquainted with a noblewoman or “HaDritak,” who is an old friend of Zasha. She has a few tricks up her sleeves.
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Emlyn sees and experiences places, customs, and foods that are foreign to her. One of her gifts is growing.
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As the conclusion of Emlyn’s “Journeys” draws near, we see that our heroes are underdogs. They are out-manned, “out-spirited,” and under-powered — physically, magically, and politically. With no other recourse, they make use of deception and manipulation. Although, how can that possibly be enough?

Our Review

You tend to forget that Emlyn is so young and that this complicated and confusing journey must have terrified her at times.

So far, she has managed to face every crisis head-on, calmly, with a wisdom far beyond her years. Secret inner knowledge has guided her every step of the way.

A knowledge that I sincerely hope will stay with her until the end of the story, as I have a feeling it will become far more powerful as it draws to a close.

Powerful in ways only Emlyn will be able to control, and I hope she finds peace and happiness when the dust finally settles…

Jaye’s Week: From the Edge of Insanity…

My brain needs discipline, as I can no longer make it behave the way I want it to.

Mind you, it must be contagious, for my laptop and tablet are showing similar tendencies.

I have spent last evening, first with the laptop and then the tablet, trying to run through my emails from the comfort of my armchair.

The laptop was on a go-slow, so I switched to the tablet.

This annoying piece of crap decided not to respond at all. Patience personified, I kept trying, only for the battery to drain away faster than a chocolate teapot. Something it shouldn’t have been able to do since it wasn’t doing anything.

I can feel the day coming when I will take a hammer to both of them as I am not sure how much longer my brain can cope with these insanity-inducing contraptions.

It wouldn’t be so bad if I wasn’t aware of all the wonderful things they can do. When in a good mood, of course.

But I ask you, is it asking too much to have a piece of equipment that does what it says on the tin?

We wouldn’t stand for such substandard performance from any other electrical object, so why, for all that’s Holy, do we put up with it?

The main desktop PC is not immune to such shenanigans, it’s just sneakier. Its favourite trick is ignoring whole sentences while I am busy typing them.

I get no warning, no sign that something has gone awry. The first I know about it is when I try to read the work back, only to find yawning great holes where parts of my story are missing.

I tell you; it is beginning to feel like a conspiracy…

Speaking of a conspiracy, has anyone else noticed how difficult (annoying) Word is becoming? They seem to tinker with it almost every day and it is becoming a nightmare. I was reading a post earlier, where the virtues of Scrivener were explained, and how sensibly easy it is. Maybe I didn’t need Word anymore?

Any feedback on this, please?

On the bright side, and I do try to find this even on those grey days, nothing affects my pen and paper. Sometimes I am so glad that I can write, blissfully, as far away from technology as I can get. As happy as Larry, knowing that I am in total charge of the creative process. Until it is time to commit it to digital, that is!

So, to end on a much happier note, I must report that the mindset for the new WIP Ghost of a Chance, is firmly in place. I just need to find a better way of working on it.

But I have enjoyed being away from all the technobabble so much, that I shall be doing more of it!

Worry is a terrible thing, it steals the quality of life from right under your nose, reducing your world into a place of doom and gloom. We have been sitting on a massive worry these past six months and have refused to start the new year until we had good news.

I have desperately tried to keep everything normal, finish my WIP and keep the website going, but have to admit it was a poor imitation of the real thing, and I apologise for that.

I have not been sharing much of this with our friends and followers and this may seem strange after all your incredible support when Anita had that massive heart attack in 2020. Your love and good wishes pulled us through that terrible time, but when disaster struck again last year, it seemed far more serious, and we really felt that talking about it might make it worse.

Anita’s heart is still severely damaged, and despite having two stents and a pacemaker fitted, it only barely functions. When a series of lumps started to appear around her neck last year, the alarm bells started ringing again.

Because of the raging virus and all the hospital delays, it took months to have the lumps investigated. The consultant mentioned cancer and after deliberation, they finally decided to remove part of her thyroid. Surgery was a problem as they didn’t think her heart was strong enough, but they said that delaying it was not an option.

A nightmare time for all the family, especially Anita for she can’t abide hospitals at the best of times. My sister has never been ill and to be struck down by two life threatening illnesses almost at the same time seems very unfair. She made it through the surgery without incident, but we had to wait two agonising weeks to get the results of the tests.

By this time, we were all terrified and sick with worry, dreading the news.

The day of the appointment, I felt sick to my stomach but somehow kept a smile on my face. I think I held my breath when she was called into the consultants office, but five minutes later the door opened and she rushed out of the room, a massive smile on her face. We watched in amazement as she ran out of the ENT department to a standing ovation from the nurses.

By this time, we knew the news must be good, but I wanted to know how good. Just before we all reached the lifts, I caught her arm and made her stop walking. ‘Well,’, I said and waited.

She stood there and laughed at me, and I didn’t think she was going to say anything.

‘THERE IS NO CANCER,’ she shouted.

All the way home in the car, she kept saying those words, and her relief was wonderful to see. Despite the odds, her poor old ticker had survived the surgery and she was cancer free.

But four days later, we had to rush back to the hospital, as Anita was having trouble breathing. She is now back home, but it seems that worrying isn’t going anywhere after all.

She is looking better, although still very weak and breathless much of the time. The list of her medications grows ever longer, but … and you may have noticed this, none of what happened has stopped her writing her poetry.

Now all I have to do, is get my own head back together!