#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?

 

 

Love Really does Make the World go around…

 

 

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Image by Pixabay.com

 

 

This week I have been thinking about all the different kinds of love there are, and how many I have had the good fortune to have shared. Unfortunately, this also highlighted the ones I haven’t or made a complete hash of, but you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs, right?  At least I can’t.

I miss not knowing my dad, and I really wish I had never known my mum. (but that’s another story altogether!) Then there were two husbands one after the other that I’m glad I don’t miss in the slightest.

I was told once long ago that I have two brothers somewhere, and they are possibly who I miss the most.  I watch Anita’s son and daughter sometimes and really envy their relationship. They do fight and argue sometimes, but they are always there for each other, instinctively knowing what each of them needs and offering it before the need to ask.

It would appear that missing things is one of the saddest aspects of growing old and I don’t care for it too much.  I don’t want to spend any of the time I have left complaining about this and that, bemoaning what was and what could never be.  My life has been what I could make out of it, good or bad, and I’m not really the kind of person who will waste any time worrying about all the ifs and maybe’s. What’s done, is done.

 

I was wondering what to write about this week, and then I started thinking about all the things I love now. (And I did need the reminder).

Which was a nice change from all the problems and mini-disasters that have been depressing my family and me of late and it lifted my mood considerably.

So much so, that when I ventured outdoors yesterday, battling against strong, chilly winds to run an errand, I began to notice things that I might not have seen last week. Mother Nature’s presence was everywhere, and I wondered if the weather would be kind and not ruin her efforts. But it was good to see them nonetheless, proving that Summer really can’t be far away after all.

 

Back to all the things I love at the moment…

I love having the strength of my family around me.

I love that I still have most of my health and some of my mental faculties. (More important than I ever knew it could be)

I love that I have learned so much this year, mainly from the people I meet online every day. (And I thank you all from the bottom of my heart)

I love that I am enjoying writing my books and loving every frustrating minute of it.

I love all the people (and I am sure you all know who you are) who, with their advice, patience and humour have inspired us so much.

watermark xjj

 

Fairies, Myths, & Magic: A Summer Celebration by Colleen Chesebro

 

Step into a world where fairies, dragons, and other magical beings converge in a collection of poetry and short stories inspired by the celebration of Litha, the Summer Solstice.

Meet Drac, a dragon cursed by his own poisonous deeds, and two pixies who help an old man remember a lost love. You’ll meet a pair of fairies with a sense of humor, and a young girl who fulfills her destiny after being struck by lightning. Learn what happens when a modern witch’s spell goes terribly wrong. Meet the Sisters of the Fey, a group of Slavic Witches who sign a pact with the Rusalki Fey to preserve their magic for the good of all.

Atmospheric and haunting, the prose and poetry, will rewrite the mythologies of the past bringing them into the future.

 

#Interview with the Author: Bad Moon by Anita Dawes #HorrorFamily

 

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Spotlight on the writing of Bad Moon

or

(An informal interview with Anita Dawes)

 

Today I have dragged Anita away from her writing desk and forced her to sit and talk to me about my favourite book (and I suspect, hers too)

Good morning Anita, make yourself comfortable and tell us how you came to write Bad Moon?

Hello Jaye, this is all a bit strange for me, I haven’t done anything like this before, so I am trusting that you are right and it might just be interesting and productive.

I began to write when I couldn’t stand all the voices in my head. They would not let me rest until I told their story, and once I started, I couldn’t stop!

I just love the minds of the people from West Virginia in America, their philosophy and their way of thinking.

What decided the plot of Bad Moon, was it just your imagination or did something trigger it?

I was in a bad place at that time in my life and I think escaping into another world, even one that was not sweetness and light, helped me a lot. There was a song that caught my interest, from Credence Clearwater Revival, about a ‘Bad Moon Rising’. You could say that that was my inspiration right there.  I think song lyrics are very emotive, you can usually come up with a good story to go with them. My book turned out to be the usual story of good and evil; you cannot get away from it, not in nature or human beings. Maybe knowing that what I was writing was not real, helped me in real life. It is possible.

 Is Annie a biographical character? Did you see yourself in her at all?

  No, I don’t think so. She turned out to be stronger than I could ever be.

 She seems a lot like you, somehow.

Does she? It was not intentional. My mother was the inspiration for the creation of Annie’s mother, and Annie’s father reminds me of one of my stepfathers. A long-suffering doormat. All of Annie’s relatives remind me of crows at a funeral.

But in the book, Annie’s father seems like a nice chap?

Yes, but he is weak, unable to control his wife or her relatives.

 Why did the title lose the word ‘rising’? And where did the idea for Pa’s grotesque carvings come from? They do sound fascinating…

 I had to change the title because there were just too many books out there with the same title. The idea for the carvings came from my imagination, although I loved the film ‘The Guardian’ with Jenny Agutter. There was an interesting tree in the storyline that could have sparked something.

I always love the macabre side, like the ‘Tooth Fairy’ in The Silence of The Lambs. Making things out of human skin is fascinatingly disgusting, but people have been doing it for centuries.

Despite all her good intentions, Annie has an incestuous relationship with her brother Nathan, before she falls in love with Josh. Did the thought of writing about incest bother you?

No, there is more of that going on than most of us realise. I believe it can be a natural occurrence, as the love you feel for someone – brother or no – can become so strong and overwhelming. It is possible to love more than one person too, we do it all the time.

Your next book ‘Simple’ is very similar to ‘Bad Moon’. Is that what you intended?

Yes, because I feel it is a part of who I am, and I love writing them.

Will you ever write another story like these two?

Maybe, but it has yet to be proved to me that people are interested in reading them, although I cannot rule it out as I may not be able to stop myself!

If anyone has any questions or comments, we would be pleased to hear from you!


Brilliant Review on Amazon!

OlgaNM
Bad Moon is narrated in the first person by Annie, a young girl who lives happily with her family: mother (Ruby), father (Jed), and older brother (Nathan). She adores her father, although her mother’s behaviour is far from exemplary (she regularly invites other men to her home and that results in incidents with her husband, who takes it out on the men and seem remarkably tolerant of his wife’s behaviour). At first, Annie is worried that she might end up becoming a woman like her mother when she grows up and thinks it is all due to her mother’s family (her father says that her mother was born under a ‘bad moon’ and she comes from ‘the Hills’ where people seem to have their own morality and rules of behaviour). The inhabitants of the Hills seem to be a directly related to those of The Hills Have Eyes or the banjo players in Deliverance. What Annie doesn’t know is that things are worse than she ever could imagine. She has lived all her life in a world of lies and secrets. She is convinced she must learn the truth to avoid history repeating itself and is prepared to go to any lengths to achieve that. The costs are high indeed.
Annie does not have much formal schooling (she decides to leave school when she realises things aren’t as they should) but she is extremely articulate, and some of the descriptions of the landscape surrounding her home, of her experiences and dreams, her mystical feelings on visiting the caves previously inhabited by a Native-American tribe, and her reflections are beautiful and lyrical. We might disagree with some of her decisions but it is difficult not to admire her determination. She never tries to be liked or makes excuses for her own behaviour (she might blame others at times, but despite not being a believer or having much in the way of role models, she does question her actions and tries to make things better), and she is neither all good nor all bad. It’s a testimony to the skill of the author that although Annie’s head is not a pleasant place to be in, we can’t help but wish she’ll succeed and live to see another day.
With themes including incest, rape, infanticide, murder, cannibalism, paedophilia and plenty of violence, this is not a gentle novel or an easy read. There is sex and violence, although these are not graphically rendered, but anybody with a modicum of imagination will be left with many powerful images difficult to forget. The strong intuition of the main character, the roles of fate, blood and family history and the communities portrayed turn this book into a tragedy where instead of kings and gods we have as protagonists a family in the outskirts of society and outside of history. (The historical period of the story and the outside society are not described in detail and this adds to the sense of claustrophobia an entrapment.)
If Annie is a heroine, a tragic hero or an anti-hero is open to interpretation and I haven’t decided yet. I’m not sure I’d like to meet her in real life, but I know I’d like to read more about her.

 

Jaye’s Journal # Week 20

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So far, this has been a good week, no major disasters or tinkering malfunctions. Apart from the new email format on BT, that is!

This is still driving me nuts, but I have discovered that the problem might be due to an ageing Windows 7 that will be discontinued at the end of the year. I have been warned to expect more of this kind of problem.

Which means I have a decision to make, one that will cost money, so I am dragging my heels a while longer. Quite apart from coughing up for a new pc, it means I will have to tackle Windows 10, not something I am looking forward to frankly.

ON THE EDITING FRONT

The editing of PayBack is progressing well, and the first two rounds are done and dusted. Next, I will run through each of the characters chapters. This is an excellent way to ensure that the story of each character runs true, with no yawning great holes or continuity errors. I love this edit, as it gives me the opportunity to get up close and personal with my favourite people and make sure I have presented them in the best possible light.

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING DIFFERENT

It seems like a long time since I had a really crazy moment. Just as I was thinking I was getting too old for crazy, one trotted up and tapped me on the shoulder.

I will explain if you promise not to call the people with the straitjackets.

Last month, I had my hair cut. To cut a rant short, I wasn’t happy with it. At all.

I have been patient, trying to decide what to do about it.

I usually prefer my hair to be on the short side as it is fine, wispy, and a bit curly, with a mind of its own. It usually prefers to do its own thing and resists any attempt to make it behave. Which most of the time is okay with me.

It grew quite long, and I have been wearing it pinned up, simply because I cannot stand it wrapped around my neck like a scarf.

Out of the blue (and this took me by surprise too) I grabbed a pair of scissors in one hand and chunks of hair in the other and chopped away. I had seen this done on films and must have secretly wanted to have a go.

Well, my hair is no longer hanging around my neck but is a tiny bit shorter than I wanted it to be. But I dare say it will grow again…

watermark xjj

 

 

#The Sunday Whirl ~ #Wordle 403

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Image by Leonard Bentley

Old London

The name’s Sparrow and this is my story.

Born on the wrong side of the tracks, the dark alley down by the Bull and Rag is home to many like me. Life don’t hold out no gold permit for the likes of us.

Unwanted, we live in the shadows. The fog of London turns us invisible, helping us to find food and old clothing. Anything we can find to keep us warm in winter. Twelve years now, I have seen many, much younger. Not all survive. When one goes, we shift the body under the street lights, where for once in their lives they will be seen. When we hear the siren, we know they have been taken away to be buried, a permanent home.

A plain wooden cross with no name, he’s a number. Someone should have loved him. One of these days, I will tear down this invisible barrier, the blocks that stand in my way. I will walk the streets of London in style. Men will doff their hats; ladies in their Sunday best will smile as I pass by. The name’s Sparrow, I am part of this world, I will be seen…

AAAAA

Far Below…

 

 

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Image by Pixabay.com

 

 

 

 

 

Far Below

 

Deep below in the castle dungeon, lay a red and gold dragon.

Chained to the wall, his colours fading as the years passed.

He could hear his mate calling, but he cannot break the chains. The fire no longer burns in his chest. Love is a fading memory, the egg she laid when last he saw, grown now.

He wished for her to leave this place, forget him, his freedom will not come.

For who would be brave enough to approach a dragon, whose foul food lay all around, fed by the master who captured him.

He too could be long dead, like the foul maggot stench the dragon lived in, hope slowly dying.

A new queen has taken the throne, a new broom sweeps through the castle.

On her wanderings, she found the dungeons. Peering down a large hole, the stench almost knocks her off her feet. She hears movement, a chain rattle. Someone was down there.

Her heart thumped.

She called the guards, demanding to know what lay below.

‘It is your father’s dragon, Mam and the one who flies above is his mate.’

‘Then we must set him free,’ she said.

‘You won’t find anyone who will go down there. They are afraid.’

‘Then I shall go, have a ladder placed here while I change my garments.’

This was done, and the queen descended, a large key in her hand.

The light from above illuminated the rot she stood in. A glint of red and gold flashed with the smallest of movements.

‘I need more men. This dragon will not die in my castle. A sling must be made. I want him transported to the sanctuary of my garden. I will wash and feed him. He will be saved. Go now, before I have you all tied in his place.’

The queen was never happier than when caring for her dragon.

Watching as his mate flew overhead, each day his strength returned.

Soon he will want to join her.

Everyone in the household thought her mad.

‘As soon as he is strong enough, he will kill her,’ they whispered.

This did not happen and the day came when he flew with his mate.

The day also came when she needed him to fight for her, to keep her reign and her castle…

AAAAA

May 9: Flash Fiction Challenge ~ Growing Old… #Poetry

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May 9, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about growing older. It can be humorous, dark or poignant. It can be true or total fiction. It can be fine wine or an old fossil. Go where the prompt leads!

 

 

I don’t look in the mirror these days, because there is a road map where my face used to be.

Time makes strange marks on all of us, some you cannot see.

From my window, I have watched my neighbours grow old. Two that used to walk to town, now in wheelchairs. One used to pedal his bike everywhere, now uses a stroller.

We are shrinking back to childhood.

Others I have watched through nine months, waiting to produce new life. Now that same child walks beside her mother on her way to school.

 I watch life go by…

AAAAA