Anita Dawes & Jaye Marie

Two determined authors, bulletproof and dangerous…


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Cover Trouble…

help

We were looking at our website the other day, as you do… and it was decided that the small sliding show of all our book covers looked a bit puny. We decided to remove the offending article and reinstate our book covers down the sidebar, complete with clickable links to Amazon.
Should be easy, I thought. I had done it before and remembered how to do it. A little fiddly, but not too difficult. We have eleven books between us so it would take me a while.
I managed to upload four of the covers before the trouble started. The fifth cover uploaded okay, but somehow it removed cover number four. How was this even possible, I thought?
I tried again, and the same thing happened. I kept on trying, because I’m stubborn, but couldn’t get it to work. I swear something happens whenever I try to do the simplest of jobs but thought I would retreat and see what happens tomorrow, before I lost it completely.
The following day, it seemed worse, so I decided to have a word with WP ‘happiness engineers’, and it makes interesting reading!

Me: “I am trying to add some images to my sidebar, but they just don’t appear…is there a limit to how many images you can have?”

WP: “Hi there, let me take a look…”

WP: “Is this the site you’re referring to? https://jenanita01.com/”

Me: “Yes.” (we only have the one…)

WP: “And you are trying to customise it here, is that correct?” https://wordpress.com/customise/jenanita01.com

Me: “I get an image from media and then go to widgets and images, I fill in the boxes and save, but then they just vanish…”

WP: “I see that one of the images is not displaying. The URL appears to be incorrect.”

Me: “but I get the URL from the media screen…”

WP: “Is this the image?” https://jenanita01.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/nl-kindle-x1.jpg

Me: “That one was successful, so was the Simple cover, and Bad Moon. I would like to add more.”

WP: “I don’t think ‘The Ninth Life’ is added correctly. I don’t see it on your page. Do you see it at https://jenanita01.com/ ?”

Me: “Yes.”

WP: “I see a broken image, like this: https://cloudup.com/cLWUMnMMqRV

Me: “I don’t understand, it looks all right to me. Why am I having a problem adding new images? I just clicked on the previous link and the image is not there. This happened a lot yesterday too.”

WP: “You should be able to add more images. I’m unaware of a limit. I’m testing right now and don’t see any problems. Can you tell me the steps you’re going through when you have problems?”

Me: “Something is wrong. Images that do appear suddenly vanish and others won’t upload at all. I choose an image from media (haven’t I said this already?) then I go to widgets and image, add the URL from the media page, fill in the boxes and save. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t, and sometimes it works but removes an image already there in the sidebar.”

WP: “Are you using the media browser at https://wordpress.com/media/jenanita01.com ?”

Me: “Yes.” (Slowly losing the will to live round about now…)

WP: “It’s important that you open the image and by selecting the image and clicking ‘Edit’. From the image editor, you can copy the URL (gosh I would never have thought of that…) Is this the process you follow?”

Me: (trying very hard to keep my patience and my sense of humour) “I don’t usually have to click on ‘edit’ as the URL is in the box already, so I just copy and paste. Is this wrong?”

WP: “The image for ‘The Last Life’ didn’t have the correct URL. You may need to change how you get the URL. This is how I get the correct URL: https://cloudup.com/clX8WY03S8V

Me: “That one didn’t upload at all. I will try this, and thank you for your help. Going now…”

WP: “Ok. If you have any more difficulty, we’re here to help. Have a great day!”

I love using these new ‘live chat’ thingies, so much better than an email, especially for a thick head like me. You see, not only do I hate technology (because I swear it hated me first) I have trouble understanding it too, even when someone tries to explain it to me. So having someone on the end of the line is usually better. I can keep asking the same question until something clicks into place.

I have to add, that WP is normally very helpful, often hitting the nail on the head when I have made a stupid mistake, so not exactly sure why it was different this time. But if anyone knows what I am doing wrong, or has a better way of explaining it, I am all ears!


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Good, Bad, or indifferent?

death book

 

What is the most important achievement in an author’s life?

I can think of many thinks that are equally important, like

Completing a novel

Seeing your book in print

Being published, either traditionally or self

These are all important of course, but the one I’m thinking about is receiving good reviews for your work.

But apparently, according to Tara Sparling, there are better reviews we could get. Reviews that could sell more books than any of those 5-star reviews.

These are the bad reviews.

You may have heard the expression, “there is no such thing as bad publicity” and history has proved this to be true. The minute someone says how much they hated something, people immediately want to see for themselves.

Think of all the books that have been banned. People will break their necks to get a copy. Some of the best-selling books in the world started out by being banned.

Bad reviews actually contain more useful information for prospective readers, like…

“I didn’t like the main character, he didn’t have to be so mean…”

“this book is so depressing. Don’t read it unless you want to end up being miserable…”

“I hated the ending. Can’t understand why the author did that…”

“Too much violence/sex/ swearing in this book for me…”

So, I want someone to give one of our books a bad review, just to prove this theory…

Any takers?        (#Free copies available on request)

 

 


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The amended beginning to The Broken Life…

This is really a continuation of the recent post ‘The Critique’… I think it is a vast improvement on the original beginning. What do you think?

BLsss

DI David Snow has a serial killer to catch, a killer as mysterious as the crimes he commits.

Snow is due to retire, but not before he discovers why someone killed his sergeant and is now coming after him.

The killer seems to have a personal vendetta against Snow, but he is determined that no one else should die because of him. His efforts are hampered by the arrival of a new sergeant, ‘ruthless’ Ruth Winton, for she is not what she seems. Alarm bells start to ring when Snow realises she is after more than just his job.

 

It was almost midnight, the cold rushing wind the only sound in the empty, deserted streets. The detective was unaware that someone had been following him ever since he left the public house. This had not been a social visit, he had been looking for information, seeking to loosen a few tongues with the help of the local brew.

It had been another waste of his time, and his mood was as black as the night around him.  He heard a sound behind him and stopped walking, waiting for the person to come into view. When no one appeared he knew he was alone and more than a little drunk and frustrated.

As he stood in the middle of the road, something hit the side of his head, something hard and painful. He had been right, after all. Someone had been following him, and they had just thrown something at him. His senses began to fail as the pain intensified, his sight the first to go. As his knees buckled, he reached up, his fingers touching the alien object that was protruding from the side of his head.

The shock of realising what was happening accelerated his system failure, and he collapsed, his head hitting the road hard. As he lay dying, someone walked up to him and knelt down beside him. He couldn’t see who it was, or whether they were friend or foe, but he had the feeling it didn’t matter anymore anyway. The last thing he felt were the icy cold fingers on his face…

Chapter One

Detective Inspector David Snow stared at the black and white photograph, struggling to grasp why the familiar face of Jim Harris was looking back at him from the whiteboard in his office.

Snow’s brain refused to acknowledge that the man he had worked with for years wouldn’t be coming through the door again, grinning, with a Costa coffee in his hand.

Snow had attended the post mortem, feeling it was the least he could do for his friend. Jim would have been impressed, knowing how much Snow hated them. It had to be a mistake. Jim Harris couldn’t be dead. Why had he been out at that time of night? Snow found himself thinking like all the surviving relatives he had ever tried to console over the years, if you didn’t believe, it couldn’t be true, didn’t happen.

His job had been wearing Snow down for a while, and he was bone weary of the constant struggle. The last few years had been difficult, his energy never at full strength when he needed it most. Without Jim Harris, the future not only looked bleak, but it also seemed doomed.

Snow closed his eyes, remembering the optimistic presence, the calm and persuasive way jobs and problems were solved. No one else could diffuse a situation quite like Jim. They would replace Jim with some snotty-nosed Yahoo, intent on playing cops and robbers.

The sheer frustration of the situation threatened to ruin another working day, and the cheap pen he was holding snapped in two in his hands.

One piece of paper caught his eye, and he couldn’t look away. It was the preliminary coroner’s report. Blunt force trauma to the head, although not the cause of death. Skull penetration by a thin, pointed weapon still to be found.

What the report didn’t say, and never did, was why. Snow pushed himself away from the desk, the wheels of his chair squeaking on the vinyl flooring.  He stood, unsure and puzzled. What was the time? Or the day? He had no clue. He also needed a coffee.

 

On his way to the high street, the image of a wild-haired woman with sad eyes flashed through his mind. Kate Devereau had been a victim in one of his cases last year. Her ex-husband had taken it upon himself to slaughter everyone who had ever upset him. Kate was one of the few survivors, rescued by Snow himself. Because of the trauma, she had suffered a complete mental breakdown, unable to communicate or recognise anyone. Once in a while, Snow would see her, hoping for a miracle, but her eyes were as dead as the people she had lost.

Further down the road and out of the corner of his eye, the familiar flash of red hair signaled the imminent arrival of his neighbour and nemesis, Susan Miles.  It was too late to take evasive action, so he braced himself for the meeting.

‘How lovely to see you, David… but why didn’t you say if you needed something in town?’

He stared at her, trying to think of something non-committal to say, but the desire to be rude was overpowering. ‘I’m not shopping, Susan. I just needed a coffee … and a few minutes peace and quiet.’

They continued walking, his strides deliberately longer than hers, hoping her impossibly high heels would slow her down or at least trip her up, he didn’t really care which.

‘David, please slow down, I can’t keep up with you. I wanted to invite myself to dinner tonight, as I’m making your favourite…?’

She was really pushing it today, he thought. So many times, he had tried to explain that he neither wanted nor needed a replacement for his wife. Since Anne had died, he didn’t think about women like that. Even if he did, he wouldn’t choose Susan Miles. ‘Sorry Susan, I’m working late again. Too much work on at the moment…’

She frowned, and he could hear the wheels turning in her brain as she tried to think of something that would get her what she wanted. One of these days, he knew he would have to be blunt and put an end to her dreams of romance.

She had always been a problem. The reason Snow worked so late most of the time was to avoid her, and he knew he should have done something about the situation a long time ago. The trouble was, he didn’t know how to do it without hurting her. But if he wanted to retire, it would be time to retire her too, now wouldn’t it?

The whole idea seemed unattainable and impossible to fathom. Why wasn’t Jim still here, he would know how to make her leave.

(Feel free to pull it apart…I would love some constructive criticism!)

 

 


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Imitation…

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Is imitation the sincerest form of flattery? It is supposed to be, but I think not. Not the way most people do it, anyway.

I have always hated imitation of any kind, for it always seems to take something away from the original. Why do we need to have substitutions when we already have the original? Why can’t they leave well enough alone?

It doesn’t seem to matter where you go, whatever field you are interested in, there will always be someone trying to copy or improve something.

My pet hate is the remakes of all my favourite films. I watched the new (and supposedly improved) Ben Hur with my family, (it was either that or revising!) But even with all of today’s wonderful new technology, it wasn’t a patch on the original film with Charlton Heston.

I love to watch all kinds of people at work. Artists, sculptors, craftspeople, even plumbers and mechanics. I think this is because my nosy brain just wants to know how thinks work. My favourite programme at the moment is Artist of the Year and watching how all the different artists go about creating original and unique pieces of artwork.

What I cannot stand about these programmes, are the so-called experts who try to tell the artists that what they have done is wrong and how they should have done it. Sometimes the thoughtless and callous way they pull the work apart is so cruel it makes me cringe.

To my mind, no one has the right to condemn or criticise a work of art. Either you like it, or you don’t, but don’t presume to know better tan the artist.

As a writer, I subject my work to beta readers and editors so that errors can be pointed out and corrected. This is normally done in a constructive, helpful manner and not in a condescending “I know better” attitude.

Critics always sound so false, their remarks too self-serving and the damage they can do to any fledgeling artistic genius should carry a health warning.

I personally have had at least one scathing critique of my writing, one so bad I wanted to shred every page and then crawl away and hide in a cupboard.  When you realise that it is only an opinion and probably not meant to kill the tiny shoots of creativity in your soul that you can pick yourself up and move on.

I may not be a great writer or even a very good one, but I am trying my best. At the end of the day, that’s all we can ever do. But what we do produce, whether it is good, bad or indifferent, it is original and not some cocked up imitation…

(and before you all reach for your keyboard, I know I have just criticised quite a lot of people… my bad!)