Better Late than Never!

All the indications are pointing towards a much better week for all of us, a little more freedom in the world and less problems for us to deal with, so feeling extremely optimistic.

Last week I really found myself rolling with the punches so often I lost track of everything. The truckload of family troubles had gathered momentum and what with worrying about Anita’s health, a large part of me wanted to just crawl into a dark cupboard and stay there.

The weekend was a game changer for most of our troubles. Fate obviously decided to play fair for once and with a bit of wangling, most of the bigger problems have faded away like a bad smell.

No news from the hospital yet about the MRI, but Anita seems to get a little stronger each day. She is really fed up with all the restrictions (and me being on her case!) I must be really careful not to overdo the nagging as she is a bit like a dodgy stick of dynamite! I mean, how do you stop someone worrying, when they were obviously born to worry?

The book tour for Anita’s new book, Annie’s Song began on Saturday. We will be posting all the websites involved every day to allow people to comment. This is the first time we have enlisted the help of Silver Dagger Tours, which has turned out to be more than lucky, for one way or another we didn’t get to do much promoting of Annie’s Song.

Best laid plans, eh?

With the dust barely settling, my mind is already wondering what to do next. I had some serious thoughts about the current WIP and might shelve it to make way for something different. Maybe something that has nothing to do with detectives?

We have been a bit lax with the newsletters this year, so must do better there too…

And finally, has anyone anything to say about STORY ORIGIN?

Sounds a bit like Book Funnel, but is it something we should be looking at?

Hoping this is a much better week for all our readers too!

Why I am reposting Broken… #Poetry

 

 

Broken coloured shards of light

inside a kaleidoscope

caught inside a tumble dryer

that’s how my life feels.

Broken, trapped inside a bubble

waiting for someone to burst it

let the pieces out, try to put them back together.

How can one life be so fractured, splintered?

How can I have wasted so much time

on a fool with no eyes to see?

Was he blinded by the shards of light

from an ancient woodland?

Did the light remove part of his

knowing, his ability to love?

Can my love remove the blind?

I am reposting Anita’s lovely poem today because I am broken.

Somehow, I have become a virus victim. I don’t think it is THE  virus… but today all bets are off!

my temperature keeps soaring, but not having trouble breathing, so not really sure of anything yet. I do feel a little better today, so maybe it is on the way out!

Thinking of you all,

Jaye

 

 

 

Progress Report! (Or how I learned to love my work again!)

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BABY STEPS!

 

I have been an editor/proof-reader for years and always considered myself reasonably good at my job. I never had any complaints, which is my benchmark for how good you really are. In fact, several Literary Agents complimented me on the quality of our submissions.

English was always my favourite subject and I read a lot of books, but never once considered being a writer. I was far too busy managing Anita’s books, back in the day when manuscripts had to be submitted to agents and publishers in a very particular fashion.

Over the years, we received stacks of very encouraging and favourable letters from both agents and publishers alike, almost leading to publication a couple of times but sadly, despite almost being good enough, Anita was never published.

This might have been why I didn’t think of being a writer, after all, I knew better than most, just how bloody hard it was. But eventually, my muse arrived. This was just after the Kindle phenomena took off. Suddenly, everyone could publish their books on Amazon, and it was supposed to be so easy, anyone could do it.

I have to say, in fairness to all the wonderful writers out there, I did find it very hard to write a full-length book. 70.000 words seemed an impossible target, and I doubted my capabilities every step of the way. That first book taught me so much about plot and dialogue, character arcs and subplots, even though it made my head spin. The day I finished Nine Lives, a sense of achievement crept over me as I realised I had become a writer!

That was in 2014, and I went on to write two more thrillers after that. Most of you will know the fun I have had finding the right covers for my books, but I didn’t worry about the content at all. After all, I checked them for spelling errors and I had my editor head on, so they had to be fine.

Or so I thought.

What happened to make me doubt myself?

I had written a memoir/novella about my fight with breast cancer and published it on Amazon. It received one review that commented on how short it was, and when I took a long hard look at it, I had to agree. Not only was it far too short, it could be a lot better. That was when I knew I would have to check my other books too.

I read Nine Lives again and was shocked at the state of it. Where was all the brilliant writing, the competent editor, the jaw-dropping prose? To say I was disappointed would be putting it mildly, I wanted to crawl away and die. For nearly a week, I battled with unpublishing my books and throwing them away, for the thought of rewriting them seemed an impossible task.

Gradually, common sense prevailed. They were my babies, I was an editor, I could fix this.

One thought kept me going. If I can now recognise the faults in my writing, does that mean I have improved over the years? I am pretty sure I have, for I am looking at my work with a totally different mindset. Most of what I see is amateur, almost childish. There were so many repeated and wimpy words and adjectives by the bucket load. It probably would have been easier to start afresh, but I am nothing if not stubborn, so I have tried to improve all three books, or die trying! They might be the only thing I leave this world to remember me by!

 

More Important than Silence!

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Image by Pixabay.com

There will be no #Silent Sunday post this week, as I was reading Jill Dennison’s lovely post about Hugging and decided we needed these more…

Here is an excerpt…

“Today is for hugging friends! Hugging has been around for millennia and is practiced by almost all cultures as a way to connect with others without using language. Hugs have traditionally been given in may scenarios: as a greeting or goodbye, for sympathy or congratulations, and for gratitude, support, and affection. The word “hug” seems to have come from “hugga,” an Old Norse word meaning “to comfort.” “Hug” was first used around 1610, to describe a wrestling hold. It began being used for its current meaning in the 1650s.

Hugs may release a hormone called oxytocin into the bloodstream. This hormone, produced in the pituitary gland, helps lower blood pressure, heart rate, and the stress hormone cortisol. It also reduces anxiety, improves mood and memory, and increase bonding and closeness. Those who hug often tend to have increased empathy for others. In order for hugs to be beneficial, those participating must trust each other and both want to hug. Otherwise, the opposite effect happens and cortisol levels rise, causing stress.

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Image by Pixabay.com

I love a good hug and feeling sorely deprived of late. So this post is for everybody who feels the same.  Consider yourselves well and truly hugged today!

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Image by Pixabay.com

 

#Throwback Thursday~#Out of Time… with poem by Anita #MysteryThriller

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Out of Time

Kate’s life, her mind, is out of time

A savage wind took all

But the brush from her hand.

Her thoughts crash like a wild storm.

She no longer has the will to speak

One last blow to strike

A fake wedding planned by Detective Snow

To trap the beast that waits without.

Will Jack be snared or run again?

The snowman, as Kate calls him,

Will stay with her until the end…

©Anita Dawes

Excerpt from Out of Time…

Kate sat at the table in the Vestry with her head in her hands. She couldn’t believe Jack had found her again, in spite of all the Snowman’s security. She kept seeing the ivory roses, blood dripping from the petals, laid on the altar like an offering. Only Jack could have thought of something that macabre.

The blood reminded her of what had happened to her beloved Dylan, her silver tabby. Jack had ripped him apart in her kitchen, strewing blood and fur all over the floor for her to find. At least this time, she wouldn’t have to clean up the mess.

Why had Michael gone outside?

She knew he was having trouble coming to terms with the fact that their relationship was over. After all this time it must have been a bitter pill to swallow. But going against David Snow’s specific orders was foolish and irresponsible. Maybe his depression had grown bad enough to warrant taking such a risk. Or had he wanted to die?

The voice disapproved. ‘I did ask you to try and be kind to him, Kate. Even though you couldn’t love him, you, of all people, should have treated him better than that…’

It was true; she could remember feeling that bad. Jack had that effect on most people. Just knowing he was out there somewhere had made her suicidal in the past, and the feeling wasn’t too far away at the moment.

The Snowman should have let her see Michael, her imagination couldn’t be worse than the real thing. Right then, it didn’t seem real, and she kept expecting to see him come through the door at any minute. She wished with all her heart that she had run away the first time she suspected Jack was back on the scene. Michael’s sudden reappearance had reawakened all her old desires and dreams, rendering her incapable of thinking straight.

Fate was too cruel. Why had it conspired to bring Jack back into her life at that particular time? If he hadn’t arrived when he did, her brother would not have died and the chain of destruction would have broken.

She wanted to run away but suspected there was no point. Jack would find her wherever she went. The knowledge sunk in that none of them were safe anymore, if they ever were. What would it take to be rid of Jack for good?

Kate heard the door open but realised the noise had come from the wrong side of the room. As she raised her head to investigate, a damp, sweet-smelling cloth covered her face. She struggled against it, but he was too strong.

The room went dark and then faded away…

 

#Jaye’s Journal… Enjoying a happy moment!

 

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I have been escaping to the garden more and more lately. The weather has been slowly improving, so I should be able to start working on that very long list of jobs that need to be done.

The need to escape, even to the garden, has been gradually building as the news of this evil virus gets worse.

Everyone is getting edgy, wondering how bad it might get. I have always been an optimist, but I can feel it straining to assert itself.

The shops are empty, and the worry swings between getting sick or starving to death. Some choice, eh?

But… (changing the subject, as I’d rather not dwell on things I can’t do much about)

My bonsai are waking up and this never fails to cheer me up, although this year it seems to be just a little subdued.

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My Acer says hello…

I have been busy making sure I have everything I need for the repotting marathon, and the wood for the new shelving should be delivered soon.

The rain-sodden grass has been trying to dry out and although I didn’t feel like cutting it, I thought I had better get to it. Just as well I did, for it poured with rain the following day.

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The rest of the garden is waking up too and did my heart good to see my favourites have survived for another year.

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My favourite Camelia

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Not sure what this is called, but I love it!

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Forsythia, everyone’s favourite

Back indoors I try to come to terms with the virus situation. I can forget everything when I’m in the garden, but it waits for me the minute I come back in.

So many things are likely to change and to be honest, I’m terrified. The situation gets worse every day, yet no one seems to know how bad it will get.

Every time I wash my hands, I think about the people who have already died and pray there won’t be many more.

That a miracle will arrive and save us all…

 

©Jaye Marie 2020

 

This is me, being positive…

 

Thinking, is it ever a good thing to do…

I have been told that thinking is a dangerous thing to do at my age.  It is possibly a dangerous thing to do at any age, if you think about it, for who knows where it may lead?

But I quite like thinking, and all the things that trigger it off. Like books and pictures for instance. What I could do with is some method of retaining said thoughts, as they usually evaporate like so much smoke, never to be seen again. I make notes on everything in a vain hope of remembering all the good stuff, and it works some of the time.

Then I am told ‘what do you expect, at your age?

But this is the difficult part. My mind does not feel old, even though it seems to have more holes in it than my favourite cheese, and when I see or read something that stirs my imagination, I am back in my prime, having a sneaky feeling that this is not all there is for me.

Sometimes I must admit that I really don’t want any more, I am too tired to even consider the possibility. But then there are the other days– days when you forget just how old, and how stiff you are and that you find it difficult just going to the shops and back.
Days when you choose to ignore the sands of time slipping through your fingers and find yourself considering the most amazing possibilities.

Of course, this may be what happens as you approach old age. I don’t know, I have no experience or knowledge of it, not having done it before.

But if you can think, you can dream. And if you can dream I believe you can do anything… at any age!

©Jaye Marie 2020

How do you get rid of the elephant in the room?

 

Last week was such a frustrating time for me, for so many reasons and the end of my rope seems to be getting ever closer.

These good and bad days I swear would try the patience of a saint. This is something I have never professed to be, so maybe I had it coming. Despite the frustration, I approached the new WIP, only to find an alien pile of scribblings that looked only vaguely familiar. I read the last thing I wrote but nothing happened, no clear direction, nothing. I went back even further, with the same results. My heart sank to the floor as it was beginning to look as though I would have to start again.

At this point, my brain nearly went crazy. I wanted to cry, scream, or leave the building and couldn’t make up my mind which. Fortunately, I have a running storyboard of sorts, with a tenuous thread running to the end, something I have not done before, so I studied it, desperately seeking inspiration.

But my brain wouldn’t budge.

Maybe, I thought, had I chosen the wrong genre?  I wanted to deviate a little and drop the crime element. Try something that didn’t need detectives crawling all over it, like a psychological thriller.

By now, I was beginning to feel as though I had lost whatever writing ability I thought I had, along with my brain and my muse. Not that she has ever been a great help to me, more the opposite really. She can argue the hind legs off a donkey and can always find at least three reasons why something won’t work, so I’m not missing her half as much as the contents of my brain.

All this confusion has triggered off some very serious thinking about my future in the cyberworld. Not sure if it’s me or has everything suddenly become more complicated? I am forgetting things more and more and find myself doing the oddest of things (like trying to put the kettle in the fridge) so perhaps it is me.

This needs a lot more thought (if this is even possible these days) so will see you all next week with hopefully some better ideas for the future!

©Jaye Marie 2020

 

 

 

 

Another Chance to read Ancient Evil…

 

This was our first contribution for Diana Wallace Peach monthly word prompt Challenge! Such an awe-inspiring image…

Image by Stephan Keller

Ancient Evil…

The frozen face of a still white moon

Hung against the starless sky

Remembering Zolon crouched below

His hand clenched on ancient evil

Where men were swallowed

Bones crushed by ice white teeth…

                      ©anitadawes 2020