#Jaye’s Journal ~ week 32

 

Jaye's Journal x12

 

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Have you ever had one of those weeks when you have been so busy you haven’t had time to think?

Has your to-do pile grown so big you’re having nightmares about dealing with any of it?

At the end of every day do you wonder why you don’t seem to have achieved anything, despite being on the go all day?

Well, this week was the closest I have ever been to hell without getting burned. The stress levels in the family were at crisis level for a while and none of us coped with it very well.

The WIP (PayBack) is finally finished (I think) and I have just uploaded it to KDP as a draft, so I can have one final read through on Kindle. This is such a brilliant idea! It’s like reading someone else’s book!

Which is handy, because I was getting really fed up with constantly reading my printed copy. On Kindle, I should be able to spot anything that might have slipped through the net.

Time to start preparing the launch. I have been organising like crazy in my head and have a pile of notes on the subject, but now I must make all the right decisions, as PayBack might just be my last book and I want to do it proud, so to speak. Stopping writing doesn’t bear thinking about really, but I found this one so hard to write. I never thought I would ever stop, but the jury is out now, so who knows what will happen once the dust has settled.

First, I must get past the second of my cataract removals next week, and I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to being able to see properly again. The last few weeks have been a nightmare, what with the good eye fighting the bad one all the time. Everything I have been doing lately has been managed just a few inches from the PC screen. (I have been Mr Magoo for long enough) All of this was giving me serious headaches and my neck and back muscles are never going to forgive me.

The housework (what housework?)  has suffered and the garden is a mess, and to be honest, the mountain of outstanding jobs is beginning to look impossible to climb, but who knows, we must be in the running for at least one miracle.

Pity we don’t get to choose which one!

AAA (2)

#Jaye’s Journal ~ week 26

Jaye's Journal x12

 

As I get closer to the end of editing PayBack, my WIP, I keep thinking about the strange visitor I had just before Christmas. The man who appeared out of nowhere and literally put his finger on what was slowing down the plot in my writing.

Remember him?

You can read that post HERE

Back then he had been so insightful about the lead character in my book, something I greatly appreciated at the time. Then, this morning he had strolled back into my office as if it was the most natural thing in the world. I had no idea where he had come from or even if he was real, but what was he doing here now?

I had a good look at him while his attention was caught by something on my monitor. He wasn’t from this world, for his clothing was old fashioned. The resemblance to Mark Twain was striking, every inch the famous writer and riverboat captain.

I have long been a fan of his wisdom and sense of humour, so if this was indeed him, who better to mentor me and speak to me about my writing.

But how could I tell him he had wasted his journey, as the book was all but finished. I didn’t need his help now. I had to say something but didn’t want to seem ungrateful or rude, but had to say something, didn’t I?

His kindly eyes twinkled as he looked at me and to my relief, I knew he would speak first.

“I see the masterpiece is almost finished, ma’am and I presume from the satisfied look on your face that you think the hard work is done?”

I didn’t know what to say. I mean, what can you say to someone who is probably just the figment of an overtired brain?

“Yes, the book is almost complete, and I am reasonably happy with it.” I waited, wondering what he would say next, but he didn’t seem in any hurry to divulge the reason for his visit. He strolled around the office looking at my collection of books. The computer kept drawing his gaze, but it didn’t warrant a comment.

“I have been thinking about you and how you plan to market the book. Do you actually have a plan?

His question surprised me, mainly because I hadn’t given much thought to how writers managed to sell their books back in his time. I knew his books were popular, but how did they get that way? By all accounts, Mark Twain wasn’t a very good businessman and bankrupt at one point due to bad investments.

So how could I ask his advice about the right way to promote my book?

I heard a chuckle and turned to find him smiling at me.

“I assume by your lack of an answer, that you don’t have much of a plan and by the puzzled look on your face I can also assume that you don’t think I am qualified to offer any advice on the subject?”

He had just succeeded in making me feel both rude and stupid, but he had hit the nail on the head.

“That was wrong of me and I apologise, but your turning up like this is a little unnerving you know. Just how did your books become bestsellers?”

He tweaked his snow-white moustache between his fingers as he thought about my question. “I made many mistakes back then, but I also learned something very important.  The most important lesson was to stop trying to sell my product and sell myself instead. You see, if you can make people like you, they will want to buy your book. It really is that simple.”

My mind was racing. Was this why most of the articles I read always stress the importance of communication?

When I looked up to thank him, the room was empty. He had vanished as suddenly as he arrived, and I wondered if I would ever see him again…

AAA (2)

 

Strange Encounter…

 

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Image by Pixabay.com

 

 

I was in my favourite charity shop yesterday where the manager was having a book sale. I try never to miss these. I was busy browsing when a customer asked what I liked reading. Offering two books from the shelf she said that she read the first one in a day. I thanked her and placed them on the pile I had beside me, thinking that was the end of the conversation.

‘If you don’t mind my saying, your aura is very bright, the colour strong.’

I could have said that I was not surprised, as browsing for books always has that effect. She went on to say, ‘I’m sorry, my name is Deborah and I read auras. Yours is particularly fascinating as you have words dancing around your aura. They need to be written, a book maybe?’

This I had never heard of and must have looked surprised.

Touching my elbow, she said, ‘Oh, you already write, don’t you?’

She could have been my grandmother, so I didn’t want to offend her. I could tell that other customers were now listening. I didn’t tell her that I had written a few books and lost a few changing from floppies to discs, I should say. The remaining ones safe on their USB’s.

I thanked her for her time, saying I needed to get home. Before I managed to get away, she reminded me not to let the words go to waste. ‘They won’t float there forever, write them. It could be your best one yet.’

I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I hadn’t written a complete book in years. The odd ditty for the internet is all I can manage these days.

Once safe inside my house, I looked through the books. Looking at the two she recommended. Everything I don’t remember by Jonas Hassen and Seeing Angels by Emma Heathcote -James.

I have yet to read them and I wonder if there is a message inside waiting to be found.

Maybe a strange Eureka moment?

AAAAA

Time to Think Again!

 

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A new week starts, a time when my enthusiasm usually renews itself, but there is a noticeable lack of ‘get up and go’. It was more like, ‘get your arse moving and see what you can muddle through this week!’

Last month’s USB failure, resulting in the loss of three weeks work, has left a sour taste in my soul, leading me to wonder if I should even be doing any of this promotional stuff. I have ended up juggling so many balls; I am in danger of losing sight of the original dream, consumed as I am with the need to find that one magic ingredient that will make it all worthwhile.

It is always possible that I am not destined for greatness, and I am happy to realise that. Relieved, actually, but that will not stop me from trying my best, and improving my work. (At the time of writing, I plan to re-edit my books and update the covers, blurbs and keywords. I have been having a long hard look and not entirely happy with what I see!)

Little by little, I think I am beginning to lose my edge, the ability to juggle everything and still keep my balance. I seem to recall that this has happened to me before, a long time ago. I was in a relationship, and as long as I obeyed the rules and performed as instructed, I was grudgingly allowed to breathe.

Of course, the day eventually came when I needed more than that when I was tired of the constant struggle to be the person that was required. This wasn’t the first time I escaped from tyranny and it wouldn’t be my last, but eventually, I found a better way to live.

My present struggle is beginning to feel the same, and the need to escape is growing again. This presents a problem, for I don’t want to run away from most of it. I have to find a compromise, a way to keep our options open and the dream alive. I have to stop trying everything and anything, looking for the golden goose, who, for all I know, gave up laying eggs a long time ago…

#Tuesday Book Blog – Let it Go…by Anita Dawes

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Book Description for Let it Go…

You read about families where everyone is happy and life is wonderful.

That wasn’t my family.

My mother coped patiently with a drunken, obsessive gambler of a husband and a daughter with an insatiable sexual appetite.  I loved my father, but he kept us one step away from the poor house.  Loving my sister was harder, basically because she hated me and constantly brought trouble to the door.

Me? I couldn’t wait to grow up and live my own life.

Then everything changed. Unbelievably, Dad won a guest house in a card game and suddenly we were off to a new life in Cornwall. A beautiful place, steeped in legend and mystery.  Would trouble leave us alone now, or was it merely biding its time?

Trailer:

Trailer:

You will probably wonder at my unlikely choice of video, but the words of the song really echo the essence of Anita’s book. At least, I think so. 

What do you think?

 

Out of the Shadows and Into my Book…

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For more than a week now, I have had this new character in my head. He has been following me around, watching my every move. I have tried to talk to him, in my head, you understand, but he has this enigmatic smile, and that’s all I get from him.

I think he wants me to figure out what to do with him, guess what he wants to do but so far, my brain is siding with him and refusing to cooperate.

This morning, I decided I would try to interview him, something I have done before with several of my characters, but you guessed it, he wouldn’t even sit down!

All I know so far is that I do want to write about him, and if I must go through hoops to do it, so be it!

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him nod just then, so it would seem the game is on…

At first glance, he seems an unlikely hero, at least for one of my books. Not very tall, and slender with dark eyes and long hair tied back in a ponytail. Simply dressed in a dark shirt and jeans. But there is an aura about him, he could be a magician, magically producing doves from balls of tissue or flowers from thin air.

He has moved a little closer. I seem to have his full attention…

He is probably something in law enforcement, a police officer or detective, or why would he have turned up on my doorstep? I get killers too, but somehow I know he isn’t one of them. I hadn’t intended to write another crime thriller, I fancied a change, something haunting or spooky perhaps.

There is another character in my head, and although this one looks harmless, all blonde and attractive, the boy next door type. But I know instinctively that he means trouble. Are these two men destined to cross swords? I am beginning to think they are…

I have a lot of thinking imagining to do and to save confusion; I will call the dark haired one David and the blonde William. I already know they are two very different people, and discovering what they are about will be very interesting…

Are Your Decisions Based on What you Eat?

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I read something strange the other day, something that really made me stop and think. It has been discovered that being hungry actually impairs your judgement.

Here are the articles that prompted this post.

“New research is discovering how metabolic state and the nutritional quality of food influence risk-taking and decision-making behaviours in animals and humans. The metabolic state can have a serious impact on risk-taking and decision-making in humans and animals…”

When Hunger Leads to Anger: Noticing External Influences on Mood

By Nate Kornell Ph.D

Internal states, like hunger, affect us more than we imagine.

The decision to grant a prisoner parole is not something to be taken lightly. It should be considered as seriously and objectively as possible. As a new study of Israeli judges shows, however, these decisions are influenced by a lot more than the lofty ideals of justice. They’re also influenced by snacks.

The researchers investigated the percentage of parole cases that were given favorable rulings. They found that as mornings wore on, the judges became less favorable. But after a meal break, they became more favorable again–followed by the same downward trajectory. The Economist has a figure that says it all: Hungry judges give less favorable rulings.

Perhaps it’s not surprising that people get grumpy when they are hungry. (There’s even a term for it: hangry.) But two things are interesting here. First, hunger had huge effects on a decision that should be, and presumably was, taken very seriously. The scale of the finding itself is pretty amazing. Second, like the judges in the study, most of us underestimate the effect hunger has on behavior.


Could this be why I have been having trouble concentrating lately? Ever since I reinstated the diet in order to take some of the weight from my ever-complaining hip, I have been unable to string any decent thoughts together. The more I try, the harder it seems to get.

The current WIP has suffered, and even the everyday stuff has been difficult to assimilate. Maybe we shouldn’t deprive ourselves of anything, in order to think and feel our absolute best?

I mean, we all know that a good meal usually leads to a good mood?

Anita has just reminded me that years ago many artists ended up starving in a garret somewhere. Makes you wonder which came first, poverty or starvation?

I can believe that depriving ourselves of anything will have a detrimental effect on our performance, as everything is more difficult if you are tired or hungry. I can still remember the torture when I tried to give up smoking. Luckily, a mild heart attack solved that problem and I stopped immediately!

Personally, I don’t want to revert to my previous gluttony for my arthritis demands there must be less of me. So, is there a solution to this quandary?

There has to be a way to convince my subconscious self that I am perfectly happy with the odd hunger pang, and that it needs to ignore the mountain of stress that erupts every now and then like Vesuvius.

Maybe then I can get back to writing 1000+ words a day!

 

 

 

#Throwback Thursday ~ How Do You Achieve the Impossible?

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I have never been one to back down from a challenge, although there was that one time when we were considering renovating this house, only to find that half of the supporting walls were missing. Or the time when the previous owners had removed all the fireplace walls in the house, but not the chimney stacks on the roof, creating the granddaddy of all disasters, but I digress.

Just let it be said that there are some challenges you just cannot entertain.

Some challenges, however, beg to be taken on.

You know what you need to do. (more or less)  Thousands of people are already doing it, so how hard can it be?

It also helps if you have already mastered stage one…

For a rank beginner, writing a book was hard enough. Then I had to learn how to edit, format and upload it to Amazon. To be fair, once I knew the basics, this turned out to be reasonably easy. Although, knowing I could change anything was a get out of jail card, as my memory has more holes than a colander.

At that time, I thought that was all I had to do. Over the years since then, the truth has gradually dawned, bit by frustrating bit, pointing out that there was a lot more to it than that if you wanted to be successful. Even now, there are days when the enormity of it all makes my head spin.

What We Have Tried

Paid Book Promotion Sites… most of these do a good job, but they are expensive and the results were disappointing.

Book Tours… fun, but a lot of work. We met many people but didn’t sell many books or get reviews.

KDP promos… very good for putting your books out there and shifting a ton of free copies and that’s about all!

We have recently pulled most of our books out of KDP and placed them with Draft2Digital. Seriously thinking about going back to Smashwords too, as being exclusively on Amazon just doesn’t sound right anymore.

Over the last five years, we have sold a few books and received several wonderful reviews. We have established a popular website/blog and a slowly growing list of followers, and the fire of determination still burns bright. Almost every week, I try something new, either to do with books or marketing, something supposedly guaranteed to make our books bestsellers.

The Future?

We are contemplating having a go at advertising, even though we don’t have much of a budget they seem to be the way to go. If anyone knows better, please let us know?

We are constantly told that the best way to make it in this business is to keep writing until you finally create a masterpiece. Apparently, the more you write the better chance you have of creating something that cannot be ignored.

Surely, there must be a little more to it than that?