Anita Dawes & Jaye Marie

We Read – We Write – We Review


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Would You Like a Perfect Life?

 

Who wouldn’t?

But could you describe in great detail the perfect life you would have if you could create it yourself?

First, you have to decide on the basics, the where, what and when.  Then you will need to create a pros and cons list to help you compare your life now with one you want to create. List all the things/people/ scenarios that need changing and why.

Make a list of exactly what you would need to do to make it work. Then make another list detailing how nothing would change if you do nothing.

Do you believe in your dream and yourself enough to make it happen? Or do you intend to wait until everything looks easy?

Consider what would need to be done and if you could actually do it?

Do you trust yourself enough to make these judgements?

Do you find yourself making bargains with yourself – If I can do this then that is possible?

Once you know, really know what you want to do, are you brave enough to do it? Or will it be just a daydream, a constant torment of what you cannot have?

How do you get past the lifelong notion that good things only ever happen to other people? Have always happened to other people, like in the movies?

How do you get around the idea that you are too old to entertain any of this? Simply writing things down does not make things happen or fears go away.  Does it? No it does not.

If what you want to do or change is so huge, can you test yourself and the theory with a smaller goal? What else do you want or need, or is this just another stalling mechanism?

Maybe you should focus on something beyond your capabilities. (overreach yourself.)

This is something I do all the time.  I never think ‘I can’t do that’. Being a bit of an crafts person, I look at something I like, usually expensive or unattainable and think, ‘can I make one of those? and I have a go.

You know, most of the time what I come up with is pretty good, even if I do say so myself.  Maybe I was a forger or counterfeiter in a former life.  I think the moral is that you have to try, as you don’t know what will happen. (and it can be a lot of fun!)

 

My Not so Perfect Life

Throughout my life, disasters of one kind or another have befallen me, both before I was old enough to do something about them and afterwards.

I never made lists of the things I wanted to change, of all the things, people, events that were wrong in my life.

No, I just got on with life (such as it was) and soldiered on, changing what bits I could and keeping my mind on everything else that I wanted to be different.

Some things I have never been able to change, and it has not been for the want of trying! But my mind never lets go of the idea of my perfect life. My Shangri-La.

But again, nothing changes. Same old hopes and dreams and frustrations.

I know what I want, but something stops me from doing anything about it. So what the hell is it?

I have always resisted new things, but usually have the courage to do what is necessary. But this time, what I want is seemingly selfish and will upset a lot of people.

Is it worth it?

Will I regret it?

Do I still want to do it anyway?

We have to stop putting up with things- out of duty, guilt, pity- or simply the dislike of change.

We have to recognise what we no longer need. They say if you haven’t used something for a year, you should throw it away. (and that can apply to anything)

Start with little things and build up to the big stuff. Somewhere along the way you will get braver. (Hopefully)

Mark bad days on the calendar and at the end of the month count them. Were there more bad days than good? If there is,  something needs to be done and soon.

There are more bad days than I would like on my own calendar, but not as many as there once were. For not only have I changed a lot over the last few years, my acceptance levels are different too. I no longer yearn for what is obviously impractical and I’m afraid that has a lot to do with my advancing years. They say that youth is wasted on the young and I guess that’s right. I sure as hell wasted a lot of mine, but what is done…

Jaye


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Bucket of Dreams… reposted

The First Dream has happened again… so I’m reposting

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I have reached the time of life when you start to think of all the things you wish you had done. The proverbial Bucket List.
Usually this consists of something you have never done, but always wished you had. The one I am going to tell you about is something I have been trying to do for a very long time.
As a keen bonsai grower, the exquisitely beautiful flowering trees have always fascinated me. Usually far too expensive, so I didn’t have one in my collection.
So I tried the next best thing. I planted seeds, pips, fruit stones, anything I could get my hands on. Some of them did grow, but a lot of them didn’t. Peach stones in particular, are impossible, and what they never tell you, is that it can take years for a seedling to produce any flowers.
I have two cherry seedlings that I planted four years ago, and every Spring I watch and watch as the first buds appear. But so far, none of them have been flowers buds.
It tests your patience to the absolute limit, but you do it anyway, repeatedly.
Apple pips are never very successful I have found, for some reason, they get mildew and gradually die.

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The Year one Dream Came True

When we first moved to our present house in Hampshire, in the south of England six years ago, I noticed a Laburnum tree on a roundabout in the middle of town. You don’t see many of these anymore, as people are a bit put off by the fact that the seed pods are poisonous. Silly really, when you consider that most of the plants in our gardens wouldn’t do you any good either.
I love the Laburnum. Such pretty leaves, and in the Spring, long spikes of drooping yellow flowers cascade like a sunshine shower. I had to wait until the flowers had finished and the seed pods were ripe, and then I went and retrieved some.
To cut a long story short, they started to grow. The years passed, and every Spring I waited for the buds to appear. When no flowers appeared, I just assumed they would come along when nature was ready.
But this year something was different. What I first thought were just leaf buds began to change shape, becoming pointed. I showed them to Anita, but she doesn’t really share my passion for bonsai. She took a quick look and said I was imagining it.
But I was having none of it. I believed.

Gradually, the flower shoots emerged, growing steadily longer with each day that passed, some even had a faint tinge of yellow. Every day I watched as they grew bigger. I had finally done it. Something I had grown from the seed I collected had finally flowered.

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I wonder what will be next?

I look at it every day and marvel. Now I keep thinking about all the other things that should be on my list…

This is what a full grown tree looks like…

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Not one dull moment…

 

new-years-eve

Monday
I was going to start the week with lots of good intentions, but somewhere between feeling exhausted from our trip to the New Forest (future post) and the fact that the new baby next door kept us all awake half the night, that original idea took a walk without me.
Stuck to routine in the morning, didn’t think I could go wrong there…and then the repairman for the cooker turned up. I wish all my problems could be fixed as fast as this one, it must have taken him all of 10 minutes to whip out the broken thermostat and bung in a new one!

Tuesday
Today I was determined to concentrate on writing. But as I ran the tap before I filled the kettle, something strange had happened. The water was brown. I let it run for a while but it stayed brown. Not much chance of a cuppa at this rate, I thought.
An hour later, I telephoned the water company and they couldn’t explain it either. Eventually it cleared, but it makes you wonder what we are actually drinking. A short trip to the local shop for bottled water was in order.
In between dodgy water and phone calls, I did manage to get quite a lot of writing done.

Wednesday
The tap water has a strong smell of bleach this morning, so it was back to the bottle stuff. Hopefully the bleach will clear soon and the water will be fit to drink!
Went to use my Dragon recognition software, only to find it uncooperative for reasons known only to itself. Wrestled with it for over an hour before it decided to toe the line. My typing skills have suffered with my advancing years, so having a machine do it for you is brilliant. If you need to give your fingers a break, you should definitely try it. It’s not very expensive and very easy to use. Like all things digital, it does throw the occasional wobbly, but I couldn’t be without it.

Thursday
Today I decided it was time to run my WIP through the spell and grammar checker. Two gruelling hours later and what seemed like hundreds of corrections, the readability score was 79.5 which I thought was quite good. Wish I could get a handle on this passive sentence stuff though.

Friday
The minute I woke up I had the feeling it wouldn’t be a nice day. I had no reason to think this and no idea where the idea came from. I wasn’t always right, so I tried to ignore it.
But the brain must have heard this observation and decided it needed time off, refusing to cooperate in the slightest. When I finally switched on the computer, I found BT had sprung another change. BT Yahoo has now gone and everything has changed dramatically, so going through my emails was a nightmare.
Why do they keep doing this? Everything has to be new and different, upgraded and improved, why can’t they leave things alone? Some of us like what we are used to, slipper syndrome I expect…


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Would You Read This Book?

A look back, from Anita…

 

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Bad Moon was the first book I ever wrote, and came about I think, because I am slightly obsessed with the way the people in West Virginia talk.
Some people call them Hillbilly’s and years ago, there was a very funny television programme called The Beverly HillBilly’s. Maybe that was where it started, I don’t know.
I love the place too; it seems so wild and untamed. So much, I sometimes wonder if my father came from there and I have inherited something. I have it on good authority (from my mother) that he was an American.

 

So when this very distinctive voice began to speak in my head, all about her life and family, in no time at all I was completely hooked. Annie’s story is nothing like “The Walton’s”, no happy family in the usual sense of the word. They do seem to care for each other, but most of the time what they get up to is pretty hard to live with, a conclusion that the girl in my head had already arrived at.
The more she tries to change things, to make them better, the worse they seem to get. Horrible secrets are revealed and bad things keep happening, but this only seems to make her more determined than ever to leave all the pain and sorrow behind.

The trouble with writing such an unusual book is that most publishers won’t touch it with a barge pole. When I first wrote it, I tried very hard to get it published by the mainstream publishing industry. Most of them loved it, saying it was ‘powerfully written’. It very nearly made it, but, and it was a big but, they discovered to their horror that they didn’t know how to market it, and one by one they gave up on it.
I think it is a great story. It has everything, plenty of drama, horrifying storylines, love and passion, all wrapped up in a young girls rapidly growing sense of right and wrong.
I’m still trying to find people who will read it, and dare I say it, review it. It needs to succeed, if only because the book that came after, Simple, is based in West Virginia too and about a similar family group.
In some ways, Simple is worse, as it concerns bullying and the abuse of a mentally impaired family member.

I’m sure that if more people were aware of these books, they would receive more acclaim, but I fear my marketing attempts are inadequate at best.
I’m still in there, swinging… so who knows?

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The worst of times…

 

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Looking back to a week from hell…

When my desktop PC died and went to the shop to be resurrected, I proceeded to have, in some respects, the worst six days ever.
I haven’t had my laptop long and getting used to it was proving to be very difficult. Windows 8, I think, could send a saint mad and I’m no saint. But it was all I had so I had to buckle down and make the best of a bad situation.

Well, six days have passed, my PC is back and normal service can be resumed, I hope!
Apparently, they had to strip all the components from the motherboard, test everything to find the fault and then reassemble. This complete overhaul, by a wonderful company called Syn-Star, cost just £49 all in, although I did pay a bit extra to jump the queue. (I didn’t think I could survive too long without it, you see.) and I think it was worth every penny.
The time I was without it was not wasted, as being forced to use the new laptop for just about everything, I have had a major crash course in Windows 8. Although I still loathe and detest it with a passion, I can at least work with it now.

 

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In the meantime, I have discovered that two of our books need new covers (what was I thinking?) One of these books is in entirely the wrong category on Amazon as it not really a horror. It should really be renamed as maybe the word ‘Bad’ is not entirely conducive either.
Also with all this going on, I haven’t done any work on my book, so will be playing catch-up for a while.

In the midst of all this drama and frustration, I have discovered something called ‘PicMonkey’ and what fun it is to use. Normally I create our covers on ‘Paint’ but it doesn’t have the scope of ‘PicMonkey’.
Hopefully I can learn to create more impressive covers in the future.

 

 

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While all this was going on, I did manage to get away from it all for a while and take a walk around our lake, where I spotted this nest of baby ducks. The swans are nesting again, so that’s something else to look forward to.

 

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The Perfect Life (and how to get it…)

 

splash-sunrise-in-delray-beach-florida

 

                                  Would You Like a perfect life?

Who wouldn’t?

But could you describe in great detail the perfect life you would have if you could create it yourself?

First, you have to decide on the basics, the where, what and when.  Then you will need to create a pros and cons list to help you compare your life now with one you want to create. List all the things/people/ scenarios that need changing and why.

Make a list of exactly what you would need to do to make it work. Then make another list detailing how nothing would change if you didn’t.

Do you believe in your dream and yourself enough to make it happen? Or do you intend to wait until everything looks easy?

Consider what would need to be done and if you could actually do it?

Do you trust yourself enough to make these judgements?

Do you find yourself making bargains with yourself – If I can do this then that is possible?

Once you know, really know what you want to do, are you brave enough to do it? Or will it be just a daydream, a constant torment of what you cannot have?

How do you get past the lifelong notion that good things only ever happen to other people? Have always happened to other people, like in the movies?

How do you get around the idea that you are too old to entertain any of this? Simply writing things down does not make things happen or fears go away.  Does it? No, it does not.

If what you want to do or change is so huge, can you test yourself and the theory with a smaller goal? What else do you want or need, or is this just another stalling mechanism?

Maybe you should focus on something beyond your capabilities. (overreach yourself.)

This is something I do all the time.  I never think ‘I can’t do that’. Being a bit of a crafts person, I look at something I like, usually expensive or unattainable and think, ‘can I make one of those? and I have a go.

You know, most of the time what I come up with is pretty good, even if I do say so myself.  Maybe I was a forger or counterfeiter in a former life.  I think the moral is that you have to try, as you don’t know what will happen. (and it can be a lot of fun!)

                                  

My Not So Perfect Life

Throughout my life, disasters of one kind or another have befallen me, both before I was old enough to do something about them and afterwards.

Did I ever make lists of the things I wanted to change, of all the things, people, events that were wrong in my life?

No, I just got on with life (such as it was) and soldiered on, changing what bits I could and keeping my mind on everything else that I wanted to be different.

Some things I have never been able to change, and it has not been for the want of trying! But my mind never lets go of the idea of my perfect life. My Shangri-La.

But again, nothing changes. Same old hopes and dreams and frustrations.

I know what I want, but something always stops me from doing anything about it. So what the hell is it?

I have always resisted new things, but usually have the courage to do what is necessary. But this time, what I want is seemingly selfish and will upset a lot of people.

Is it worth it?

Will I regret it?

Do I still want to do it anyway?

We have to stop putting up with things- out of duty, guilt, pity- or simply the dislike of change.

You have to recognise what you no longer need. They say if you haven’t used something for a year, you no longer need it, so throw it away. (and that can apply to anything)

Start with little things and build up to the big stuff. Somewhere along the way you will get braver. (Hopefully)

Mark bad days on the calendar and at the end of the month count them. Were there more bad days than good? If there is,  something needs to be done and soon.

There are more bad days than I would like on my own calendar, but not as many as there once were. For not only have I changed a lot over the last few years, my acceptance levels are different too. I no longer yearn for what is obviously impractical and I’m afraid that has a lot to do with my advancing years. They say that youth is wasted on the young and I guess that’s right. I sure as hell wasted a lot of mine…

 

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The season changes

Julia Lund

Last of the summer roses Last of the summer roses

Today, as I sit at my desk in my garden room to write my first blog post in many weeks, the fragrance of autumn is in the air even as the garden clings on to the last signs of summer and I am reminded how much I love these times of year when one season hands over to the next. I even love it when winter begins to breathe its frosty breath across the last of autumn’s leaves; I love the anticipation of cosy fires and evenings snuggled as a family and Christmas to come – winter’s bribes for all the harshness of the dark, cold months it will surely carry in its wake.

Feeding an elephant Feeding an elephant

This summer, I’ve lost count of the thousands of miles I have travelled; I’ve touched an elephant, seen the wonders of the Swartberg Mountains looking as though they’d been…

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