Just one day after we were nominated on the Annual Bloggers Bash in the Best Pal category, we have been nominated for the Really Neat Award too! Two very good reasons for this delighted look on our faces…
We thank Stevie Turner for nominating us for this honour, and the rules are as follows:
Just one day after we were nominated for the Annual Bloggers Bash in the Best Pal category, we have been nominated for the Really Neat Award too! Two very good reasons for this delighted look on our faces…
We thank Stevie Turner for nominating us for this honour, and the rules are as follows:
Whom do you admire?
This is an easy question, for we are surrounded by the achievements of several family members at the moment. One by one, our offspring have surpassed expectations and gone over and beyond the call of duty, causing much puffing up of chests and proud smiley faces. There are times when being a parent is the best job in the world!
Are You a Cat or Dog person?
This is harder to answer, for we are all animal lovers in our family. We have Merlin, a black and white cat who is 14 years old this year, and regularly dog sit a pair of young sausage dog puppies. But my favourite animals are horses…
Do you like city or countryside living?
Definitely the countryside or better yet, countryside by the sea!
Are you an outside or an inside person?
Always an outside person, I even write out of doors, weather permitting…
Do you still see people from your childhood?
I don’t think there were any people in my childhood, I am an orphan and remember being a bit lonely most of the time…
Facebook heaven or hell?
Neither, it is just an online social club, to meet and communicate with other writers/bloggers…
Do you like your holidays hot or cold?
I prefer action, adventurous holidays, so like the weather to be clement. My idea of hell is to sunbathe in a hot climate…
So, now it is our turn to nominate some people for ‘The Real Neat Blog Award’ and ask them seven questions.
Here are the eight people we have nominated:
Here are your questions everybody!
The last few weeks have given most of us quite a lot of the white stuff, either gently layering and soon to melt away, or thundering great drifts of it, causing mayhem.
I love how the world looks when transformed into a magical land and have shared several beautiful photographs. But what I am about to show you takes some believing, I know I didn’t, at first!
This , I thought, was totally unbelievable, and it stayed floating above my bonsai trees for two days. Every now and then, the wind would catch it and make it tremble and I expected it to fall at any minute.
I tried to see what held them up (for there are two of them) but have to assume they were caught in a web…
I’ll bet you didn’t know that snow could float! I like to think it was magically floating, just for the hell of it!
My week of disasters began when the reblog button on our website vanished. Then I started to notice that other people had lost theirs too. I wanted to believe it was a glitch, that somehow the button would return, but nagging doubt told me a different story. While it was at it, it managed to convince me that I was on a downward spiral and it was only a matter of time before it would all be over bar the shouting.
I soldiered on, trying hard to convince myself that one way or another, I would be fine. I mean, the world wouldn’t end if I couldn’t reblog all my favourite posts, would it? Sue Vincent had shown me how to use Press this and pingbacks on WordPress, so all was not lost.
Then our browser, Firefox crashed. Nothing I did, made any difference, it was gone. I had to switch to Internet Explorer, just to get some work done. It has none of the bells and whistles that some of the big names have, but it works. Looks like I am being forced to go back to the basics, but as long as it works and gives me no more trouble, I am fine with that.
In the middle of all this, I was offered Google Chrome on one of those pop ups. I hesitated for a while, then something made me accept. I hate getting used to new systems, so this was quite brave of me, considering. Everything went well with the changeover, and I loved their speed and efficiency in importing all of my favourites and data. It was one of the most painless transitions I have ever experienced. All of which, unbeknown to me, was setting me up for more trouble and disappointment.
I was doing my best to cope without the reblog button when I noticed something odd.
Every Sunday, I schedule a week’s posts on Buffer to be posted on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. I have been doing this for over a year now, with no trouble. I think it is great way to promote your work and spread your presence around the net. But now, for some peculiar reason, our posts were not appearing anywhere! At the same time, Twitter was behaving strangely too, with duplicate tweets appearing like a rash.
The bit that really got to me, was finding out that all of our Buffer posts were finding their way to Facebook. I ended up so confused, I wanted to scream. No one seemed to know what I was talking about, let alone be able to help. Unable to understand what was happening or who could be doing it, I started to panic. I had to step away from the computer before I did something stupid!
Overnight, rational thought took over from nagging doubt and I managed to think clearly for the first time in over a week. I had no idea where the problem lay, so would have to systematically eliminate the possibilities, one by one.
The first to go was Chrome. Bit of a prime suspect this, as I thought my life was less complicated before I installed it. But, you guessed it. Nothing changed!
The people at Buffer were brilliant in offering helpful advice, but they had no more idea of the source of the problem than I did. I loved Buffer, they were so helpful and easy to use, always a blessing with my brain! But my instinct told me to change my scheduler. I waited another day before deciding to try and schedule a post with another scheduler. Not something I was looking forward to, as most of them were far too complicated for me. But I was determined to find out if it would succeed where Buffer might be failing. I was almost ready to do this when Buffer came back to me with another idea. I tried it out and it actually worked.
I suspect that Buffer has been tweaking a few things along with Twitter and WordPress. Why on earth do these companies insist on tweaking all the time?
Personally, I live by the motto, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!’
As I said yesterday, the dust has now settled, but it has left me a nervous wreck, wondering what will happen next. The only good thing about it all is none of it has stopped me writing. My current WIP is growing, and the one part of my day that I totally control. No glitches or gremlins!
My brain must be like Emmental cheese these days, soft, spongy and full of holes. I am getting really fed up with trying to think and decide what to do, or even knowing if the final decision is the right one. As they say, if I had half a brain, I would be dangerous!
I can’t decide (or remember) if I have always been like this, or if this state of affairs is yet another symptom of my advancing years.
Time is becoming problematic, far too much of it is spent second-guessing. Wouldn’t life be more efficient if all deliberation could be removed? Easier to pick a winkle out of its shell with a pin, I hear you say. But I am heartily sick of wondering which item to buy, which programme to watch, whether to cut my hair, the list is endless.
Added to my inability to choose anything, is the sure and certain knowledge that whichever one I pick, it will be the wrong one. Always is. I never get anything right on the first try.
Could life be more like plotting a book?
Now, I know that many writers don’t believe in plotting. They believe their characters will do most of the hard work for them, and I have experienced this first hand too. But other writers firmly believe in careful plotting, even using a story board.
All my life, I have been a ‘winger’, hurtling from one idea to the next. Sometimes getting it right, but more often not. Advancing age has changed all that. I no longer have the time for hit and miss. Decisions I make now, have to be right, although how this will happen, remains to be seen.
Now, I am still virtually new to this writing business, and with the idea of getting it right first time (could be a novelty in itself!) I tried plotting. With a lot of practice, I’m getting better. So much so, that the sequel to my fourth book has been thoroughly plotted, storyboard and everything. But this is not something you could really do with your life. Too many decisions, and so many ways of dealing with them.
In addition, other people tend to make your life awkward, sometimes it seems, just to be bloody minded.
Could it be as simple as throwing a dice?
Then I remembered something. (It does still happen sometimes!) I once read about a man who always made every decision with the turn of a dice, and apparently, his life was glorious. Maybe it was worth a try, as my way was getting me nowhere.
On second thoughts though, that sounds worse than ‘winging it’.
But if I were younger…
They say there are ‘two sides to every story’ and ‘everything happens for a reason’, but what if neither of these things is true? What if it is as simple as right or wrong?
Could it be that when life gets too difficult, we are simply trying to force wrong into being right?
Should we blindly follow our instincts?instincts,
Recently, I have been thinking back through my life and all the different choices that I had to make. To that small, persistent voice that nags you, insisting you do this or that. How many times had I ignored it, thinking my own choice was better, usually for all manner of reasons? Would my life have been better if I had obeyed that still, small voice? If I had not always chosen the path of least resistance, the path that always looked inevitable. Maybe the choice that looked the hardest, the most impossible, would have turned out better than what actually happened?
Maybe then, I wouldn’t have so many things to be sorry for, so many people I should apologise to.
If there is such a thing as reincarnation and I get another chance to live a better life, I hope I remember some of the things I have done wrong, all of the people I have hurt, and do it better next time…
God Bless and see you all next week…
Have you ever noticed that when something stalls in one area of your life, it affects everything else?
This was what had been happening in our house for over a week, so my sister, Anita decided that we should have one of our brainstorming sessions this morning. Something we do now and then which usually benefits either my book or hers.
Only this time, it was me, the writer, that was being brainstormed because I was on the verge of a major meltdown over my current WIP.
Somehow, the conversation became all about how I write. The genre, the characters and the way I think about everything. She knew I had been having trouble and had some definite ideas about improving it.
Now, although I usually hate my work being criticised, I have to bow to her greater ability as a writer. She never struggles with plots or character problems, just gets on with it. Her characters don’t argue with her either, and I have always considered that a good sign! She can write more in one day than I can in a week.
So I allow her to say what’s on her mind, not that I have ever been able to stop her! But, all joking aside, she has been a great help to me over the years. The reason I can call myself a writer has a lot to do with the example she sets.
I think she is a natural writer. She doesn’t have to think about it or worry constantly about the plot. Whereas I do. I don’t find the writing process easy at all and this morning I may have discovered why.
I hadn’t really thought about my protagonist at all, thinking the antagonist, or serial killer was all important. That somehow everything would simply revolve around him, which I now realise is not the way to go about it.
I had been digging myself into a dark hole, trying to figure out what I was doing wrong, so I needed to sort the problem out, and fast!
Brainstorming with Anita can be a dangerous venture, as neither of us accepts criticism well. But when you are wedged between the proverbial rock and a hard place, you have to do something about it…
Sometime later, after harsh words, temper, tears and finally realisation, (all from me, BTW ) it was agreed that I hadn’t lost the magic, it was a temporary lapse, something that could be fixed. Finding another way of approaching the problem may be the way to go, and maybe a rewrite. Or another story all together…
If you don’t hear from me again, it means I have walked into the sea…
The last balloon has popped… the last drop of champagne has been drunk…
There is nothing quite like the morning after a good party, is there?
All that remains to be done are to notify the winners of the Book Quiz, and to thank everyone who took part, or came along to enjoy the party over on Facebook.
We need a day or two to double check we have a list of all of the winners, so we will be in touch in due course. Some of you have wanted to know the answers, so here is the complete list!
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
― Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
“It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived.”
— Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird
“Do I love you? My God, if your love were a grain of sand, mine would be a universe of beaches.”
— William Goldman, The Princess Bride
“We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.”
—J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
“Get busy living or get busy dying.”
— Stephen King, The Shawshank Redemption
“My advice is, never do tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the thief of time.”
— Charles Dickens, David Copperfield
“He’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”
― Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights
“Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth” – Charles Dickens Great Expectations
“I am haunted by humans” – Markus Zusak The Book Thief
“I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.” – Lewis Carroll Alice in Wonderland
signing off until tomorrow…