Inspiration…

 

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This quote gave my optimism quite a boost. Much needed after recent events, I can tell you.

 

Sometimes, depression tries to creep into our lives, hoping we won’t notice.

I have felt it gently nudging me this past week, every time something refuses to work or I cannot make it work where I could before.

Sometimes I wonder why I talk myself into trying something new, for I don’t really have that kind of enquiring mind, not any more anyway. Either that or I am finally becoming too old to put myself through it.

Take this new and much talked about idea of being able to put reviews on BookBub.

Easy to do, they tell me.

So I find out how it can be done, make copious notes and try to do it. Only to discover that it is only for the US.

Then there is this new (to me) of promoting your books through your subscriber lists. It sounded great and doable. But… and there is always one of those, isn’t there?

I made a start on Mailchimp, our subscriber list people and somehow managed to export our list! I have no idea how or why I did that and have it on good authority that I have only exported a copy and that our list is still there, but I am still worried that somehow my list will vanish into the ether.

So, enter nagging doubt, thinly disguised as depression. I ask myself why bother, why do I care if we only sell a handful of books? Why do I torture myself every single day?

It could well be time to hang up my intrepid dancing blogging shoes and settle for some comfortable slippers…

But will I?   Not on your life!

Death on the Stairs!

 

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When I first saw this photograph, I was shocked at the stupidity of it.

Trying such a death-defying stunt just to decorate a stairway seemed a very stupid thing to do.

Then my mind took me back to the early days when we did so many silly things, trying to put food on the table when the kids were small. I remembered the house that we were hired to decorate. Gloss paint on all the woodwork and a very expensive wallpaper on all the downstairs walls and of course, the stairs. Nothing very complicated, we thought. A piece of cake…

Now, I am very tall, but that doesn’t help with old houses with high ceiling

We had a ladder, but that wouldn’t be any good on the stairs. Then I remembered the exercise bar that I had at home. The kind that spans a doorway so you can do pull-ups. With a bit of luck and a following wind, we could clamp it across the stairs to take the other end of our scaffold board. Make sure it is firmly fixed and level, then we could balance the stepladder on it to reach the top of the wall.

At this stage, I have to confess that I don’t like heights. I get nauseous and more than a bit giddy, but we needed the money.

Praying to all that was Holy, and armed with a carefully pasted and folded length of wallpaper, I ascended the ladder. It was very wobbly and I fully expected to fall and end up in a heap at the bottom of the stairs, wrapped up like a parcel in soggy wallpaper.

Those of you who have papered a wall will know that a fair bit of stretching goes on as you align the paper, trim the top and smooth all the bumps and air bubbles away. Several times, I swayed precariously on one leg but managed to complete my mission.

What I didn’t know at the time, was all the near heart attack moments that Anita was having as she tried to keep the ladder steady. She was in the perfect position to see just how dangerous it was and how close we came to disaster.

We had a lot of fun in those days, taking incredible risks, and some impossible jobs. This particular job was memorable for another reason too.

The owner of the house had several celebrity friends and they would often have to duck under our ladders as they came and went. The best day of all was when Bucks Fizz visited, and Mike Nolan signed his name on Anita’s arm! They signed their latest record for us and told the world about the crazy girls who were decorating their friend’s house!

So, taking risks was worth it that day!

Not every job had such high spots. Like the time Anita knocked over a tin of white gloss paint all over a dark chocolate coloured carpet! The owner caught us trying to scoop up the paint with spoons, and we expected our marching orders (or worse!) But they couldn’t have been nicer about it.

By the way, how are you supposed to wallpaper stairs?

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We want to send a very big THANK YOU to those readers who boosted our follower list to 1000 last week…

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#Poetry: Life…

 

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Image by Pixabay

 

 

Life

For every new life, another must take their last breath.

It is the way, the balance.

What soul did my child take, in order to be my son?

Whose soul do I carry in this eternal circle of life and death?

Are we all secondhand beings from this pot of life?

Do we carry another’s sin, their memories?

Will this colour the path we choose?

Can one be born without stain, fully new?

Why do we dream while waiting to enter this world?

Are we born knowing too much?

Is this knowledge extinguished with our first breath?

Can a new soul be born without a memory of life before?

What kind of being would this be?

©Anita Dawes

#Jaye’sJournal: 17~22 September

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A very good week.

It had to happen I suppose, after weeks of struggle and getting precisely nowhere, things are looking up!

Not only do we seem to be more productive, it is reflected in our stats for everything else has improved too.

We feel better in ourselves and have more enthusiasm than a cartload of monkeys.

My work in progress is progressing in leaps and bounds and almost writing itself. Anita’s pen is smoking hot, so it’s not just me.

And all those depressing thoughts about the upcoming editing of PayBack have taken a hike too, and I am actually looking forward to it! Even the weather is being nice!

No problems whatsoever with any of the equipment, thank the Lord!

Nothing radical has happened or changed, so why has life done a U-turn?

It’s as if someone has slipped me a pair of rose-tinted spectacles, for everything I see looks so much better than before.

(I just hope this isn’t the calm before the storm…)

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P.S:  Our list of followers has been stuck on 997 for weeks now, and we would love to hit the 10000 mark!  Would there be three people out there, feeling generous this morning, just to make this week perfect?

 

The Life of a Writer… with advice from @AriMeghlen

 

 

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Image by Pixabay.com

 

 

The life of a writer is not what I thought it would be in the beginning.

Maybe years ago it was what I imagined, but in these digital times, it has changed so radically from that idyllic, if rather a romantic notion of what being a writer would be like.

These days, we all wear so many different hats, it’s a wonder we get around to writing anything.

What with the constant struggle to come up with interesting posts; reviewing all the books we read; trying to find new and effective promotional ideas.

Not to mention all the thinking, worrying, emails and planning, there are not enough hours in the day!

So when I read Ari Meghlen’s post on organising your life better, my interest was aroused! In this post, she recommends assigning different days for specific jobs and not deviating from this agenda. This could work, but not sure about using an alarm clock to keep me on track!

I have long attempted to devise a routine that would help me to get more done, but the harder I try, the more complicated and slower I seem to get.

I have always had a problem with rules and restrictions. Or rather, fate seems to have on my behalf. The minute I decide on a certain idea, a timetable or schedule, you can just bet something or someone will come along and wreck it!

I try to be more productive, especially with my writing, and one of the ways I have found that actually works is to try and write 1000 words every day. As I am up long before anyone else in my family, I can usually manage this with ease. So in one area at least, I have it covered!

Ari has some good ideas HERE on her post; does anyone else have anything to suggest that would improve the lives of us desperate to be better organised writers?

#Writephoto ~ Spectral

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Lady of the Mist

The broken down gatehouse standing outside our village, shrouded in mist. Its history long forgotten became a place for Tommy, my brother and I to play, let loose our imagination. I became King of the Round Table in that house.

As an adult, I am still drawn there, those old walls hold echoes of my youth. My memory of Tommy, I feel it more in this place than my mind can grasp.

It is 6 am, the mist is still thick, the gatehouse barely visible. The mist has a strange effect on the eyes, almost alive, forever moving.

I stood still about a yard from the walls. I had noticed a movement that didn’t belong to the mist. A woman, almost transparent like a glass butterfly, her long hair swinging to some unheard music. Her dress reached her bare feet, she held her arms high above her head and my heart beat in tune with her dance. A strong rhythm that felt familiar.

If I moved closer, would the veil between us allow her to see me?

My feet moved of their own accord, I was drawn towards her. This wonderful spectre  invited me to dance with her. What brings her here?

Is she waiting to meet someone, a lover who has forgotten that she waits?

How long has she been waiting, my lady of the mist?

The mist was fading and soon she would be gone. Foolishly, I tried to touch her, to hold on to her. The feeling that shot through my arms held a memory that struck my heart. It was me she waited for!

Like the morning mist, she was gone. I stood there barely breathing. We had been lovers in a time long past. Will my lady of the mist be here tomorrow?

Please let it be so, for I will be waiting. I know there are times when the veil is thin. I will wait for such a time when maybe she will see me. Know me through the body I wear now. I wanted to tell her that I would find her again, that we would live, love through a new lifetime.

I walked home alone, knowing it was my turn to wait…

 

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Another lovely photo prompt for #Writephoto from Sue Vincent…

The Joy of Editing…Reposted

 

I have edited many books in my time, and usually, start at the beginning and go through the draft that way.

This is how I edited my first book “Nine Lives” and I think for a debut, it turned out quite well. It was meant to be a one-of, but the characters had other ideas. Or wasn’t it supposed to end the way it did?

So I was literally forced to continue the story, and when it was time to edit it, an interesting idea occurred to me. I have no idea where it came from, and I don’t think I have heard of other writers doing the same.

This sequel had turned out to be quite complicated. Maybe sequels are, I have no idea, not having written one before. The idea of editing all of the character’s chapters separately seemed like a logical and workable thing to do.
That way I could see if the threads of the story (and their lives) were running fluently and whether there were any gaping plot holes anywhere.
Well, I found quite a lot of holes and several lapses of continuation, leading me to update my running storyboard yet again.

At times, it seemed all I was managing to do was make it even more complicated, and I despaired. As I get older, there seems to be far too much despair happening around me, but I digress.

There are four main characters in “Out of Time” and all are so different from one another, so I concentrated on each one in turn. I found that I could enter their own space and really get to know them personally. The result seems deeper and more rounded, and it is almost time to reunite them into the final book.

There is just one problem though; it falls short of the 60.000 words I was aiming for. Should I rustle up a bit more, or leave well enough alone.

What would you do?

© 2015 Jaye Marie

Heathcliffe: the unanswered questions by Sue Barnard @AuthorSusanB #LiteraryFiction

Yesterday, we posted this as being for Rosie’s Review Team #RBRT but it was an error. For some reason, my brain went out to lunch and never came back! Getting old you know…

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“It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now…”

Cathy’s immortal words from Wuthering Heights change Heathcliff’s life. At just seventeen years of age, heartbroken and penniless, he runs away to face an unknown future.

Three years later, he returns – much improved in manners, appearance and prosperity.

But what happened during those years? How could he have made his fortune, from nothing? Who might his parents have been? And what fate turned him into literature’s most famous anti-hero?
For almost two centuries, these questions have remained unanswered. Until now…

Our Review

 I remember liking Heathcliffe rather a lot when I read Wuthering Heights all those years ago. I was ever a romantic and his story appealed to me and I have never forgotten him.

This was one of the reasons I bought this book, as I too had wondered about the rest of his story.

It couldn’t have been easy to fill in the blanks, so to speak, but Sue Barnard is to be praised for adhering to the original complicated storyline, and I found her account to be the most likely truth behind Heathcliffe’s missing years. It not only sounded right but rang true to his character.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and could have said so much more, but not sure if even small spoilers would be acceptable. I mean, everyone knows what happened at the end of the original story. It’s just a shame the author couldn’t have rewritten that too…

 

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Sue Barnard is a British novelist, editor and award-winning poet. She was born in North Wales but has spent most of her life in and around Manchester. After graduating from Durham University, where she studied French and Italian, Sue got married then had a variety of office jobs before becoming a full-time parent. If she had her way, the phrase “non-working mother” would be banned from the English language.

Sue has a mind which is sufficiently warped as to be capable of compiling questions for BBC Radio 4’s fiendishly difficult “Round Britain Quiz”. This once caused one of her sons to describe her as “professionally weird.” The label has stuck.

In addition to working as an editor for Crooked Cat Publishing, Sue is the author of four novels: The Ghostly Father, Nice Girls Don’t, The Unkindest Cut of All and Never on Saturday.

She is also very interested in Family History. Her own background is far stranger than any work of fiction; she’d write a book about it if she thought anybody would believe her.

Sue lives in Cheshire, UK, with her extremely patient husband and a large collection of unfinished scribblings.

In addition to working as an editor for Crooked Cat Publishing, Sue is the author of four novels: The Ghostly Father, Nice Girls Don’t, The Unkindest Cut of All and Never on Saturday.

She is also very interested in Family History. Her own background is far stranger than any work of fiction; she’d write a book about it if she thought anybody would believe her.

Sue lives in Cheshire, UK, with her extremely patient husband and a large collection of unfinished scribblings.