A Different Kind of Guest Posting

 

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I was minding my own business the other day when an idea arrived, but instead of my mind gently offering it to me, it smacked me upside my head!

What would happen if we could virtually invite one of our favourite authors to interview on the blog?

Think of the possibilities, we could interview anyone, the sky’s the limit…

At this point, my mind was galloping around like a six-year-old on a make-believe horse!

But … and there is always a but, isn’t there? Who would I choose?

Every time I thought of one, several others started elbowing him aside, making the inside of my head feel like a January Sale.

I tried to reassure them all that I would get around to all of them in due course, but of course, this wasn’t good enough. By their reasoning, my first choice would relegate all of the others to the status of second choice and nobody thought that was a good idea.

Another worrying thought marched up, briefcase in hand, waving frantically to get my attention among all the intense arguing that was going on. As if by magic, the arguing stopped and I waited for a pin to drop to prove I hadn’t gone deaf.

This newcomer strutted up and down like the solicitor he obviously had been, as he began to quote all the legal and moral implications.  I hadn’t given a thought about any of that, but surely, I would be on safe ground if I confined my interviews to authors who were no longer with us?

One by one, the list of reasons that gave rise to all of my doubts did their best to scupper what seemed like a brilliant idea at the time.

I argued that it would be okay if I kept to the facts and not fictionalise anything, but then I realised it would be boring.

As the idea curled up and died, I resigned myself to searching for other blog topics to write about instead. My brain, however, wasn’t taking any of this lying down and came up with another idea, one that had been suggested by one of my favourite bloggers, Craig (coldhand)Boyack.  He has Lisa Burton, this amazing robot muse to help him with much of his workload. He won’t say where he found her but hinted there may be more out there, waiting for the right writer to come along…

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So, why do we blog?

 

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We are constantly being told that reading more will make us better writers and that we should blog with enthusiasm to build up our presence on the web. But I find that some of the things we need to do seem counterproductive and time-consuming.

Don’t get me wrong, reading does make me think, and it probably improves my vocabulary, but sometimes this can be counterproductive too in that I end up reading too much, taking time away from my writing. When I first started blogging, I read everything I could get my hands on, desperate to learn the secrets of the black magic box of the blogosphere.

And admittedly, I learned a lot.

Just lately though, there has been a change in my attitude to all things blog related. It suddenly dawned on me that as bloggers, we are trying far too hard to be the best at what we do with our constant searching for the golden egg. The one that will magically cause us to become omnipotent.

But because we are so busy running around like headless chickens, we are losing sight of our focus, the real reason we blog in the first place. We might even be missing the plot or choosing all the wrong moves.

I have been concerned of late, that there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to do everything. What with the increasing amount of emails and time spent on social media, there isn’t much left for writing or blogging, come to that. Not to mention any new ideas that need to be explored or any of our other interests.

Apart from the reviews we do, I haven’t read a book simply for the joy of reading it in ages. I have begun to resent some of the demands made of my time too.

It could be time to step away and have a long hard look at what we do. Time to prioritise and cherry pick what we really want to concentrate on.

Life might be different when the dust has settled, but hopefully better. We have to concentrate on what we can do and do well, instead of chasing so many rainbows…

What does everyone else think?

 

 

Thoughts from Anita…

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THOUGHTS

You have heard that matter cannot be created, nor can it be destroyed.

It hangs around in one form or another.

Take me, for instance.

In the spirit world, we are constantly bombarded by thoughts from earth, so many with tears attached to them, so many prayers carrying heartache.

Why do you bother?

Your lifeline was decided from birth.

Praying, whinging and whining cannot change anything. You have to do it yourself, not on bended knees in some building made by a man called a church,

So please slow down on those thoughts that carry a wish, for you are planting seeds on concrete.

No matter how many times you water them by wishing, they will not grow.

All those good luck charms, holy relics, forget them, they are two a penny.

One good thought will push you on to a new line of destiny.

The right thought is like carrying a spare backpack. It will get you to where you want to be.

That one good thought was there all along, so watering it.

Remember, good luck is nothing more than cause and effect!

Lost Property/Word Office

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Lost Property Word Office

 

Words are funny things really and I had a funny thought about them the other day.

When we delete words or have them deleted by our magical computers, where do they go?

Is there a place, like a lost letter office, that files them away somewhere, ready to be used in their infuriating word swapping efforts?

This word swapping has just started happening on my screen and affects whatever I write. I usually notice it after I have posted a comment or replied to one. Too late to put it right so it looks as though I don’t know how to write. Pretty sure I didn’t instigate this either, although I think it might be something you can opt for? Not sure why you would, though.

Something else that has been happening for a while now and definitely shouldn’t in my opinion is this. Right in the middle of typing a sentence, the words stop appearing on my screen. In the beginning, I would wait patiently, hoping the missing words would turn up as they sometimes do, but lately, they don’t. Is someone or something stealing my words?

If I could touch type and keep my eyes on the screen, I would be able to notice the minute this happens, but unfortunately, I can’t so I am having to deal with yawning great holes in everything I write.

You would think after all these years, I could manage to touch type, wouldn’t you?

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Anger…

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“When you are at the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on…” Thomas Jefferso

 

What do you think when you read this quote?

Do you think of anger or frustration?

Or something else?

What is the best way to handle anger?

Is it better to hide it inside you, and never show what you feel?

Or should you vent your spleen, regardless of terrifying the cat?

Some people scream into a pillow or punch the wall… I tried that once and nearly broke my hand.

 

I have been surrounded by angry people for most of my life, and this has surely been the primary cause of the length of my own personal rope.

Having more patience than most people, it must seem as though my rope has no end, but I can assure you that you wouldn’t want to be around me if I ever do reach the end of it.

I have seen first-hand what a bad temper can do to both people and situations, and it’s never good. More damage is done in temper than almost anything else on this planet.

 

Over the years, I have become very good at controlling my emotions. I can be positively seething inside, but no one would ever know. Sometimes it is more difficult and I get perilously close to blowing a fuse. This is when I usually go for a walk.

Even if it isn’t far enough, it usually allows me to rein in some of my errant rope.

 

‘Give someone enough rope, and let them hang themselves…’

 

What do you do when you can see the end of your rope approaching?

 

The Serialisation of Nine Lives by Jaye Marie Chapter Five #WednesdayWriter #MysteryThriller

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Before I post the next chapter of Nine Lives, I would like to thank everyone for the support and helpful suggestions I have been receiving. All of which will help me make Nine Lives a much better book!

 

Chapter Five

Danny watched his sister walk defiantly away. She was carrying extra weight but still agile. She didn’t look as if she was getting old, and by rights, she should have done. With all the crap she had stuffed into her life, she was lucky to be breathing.

He hadn’t expected her to make it through the night. They said some of her arteries were completely blocked and the surgeon had to work hard to restore the circulation to her heart.

And yet here she was, striding down the road, looking for a taxi. They must have been wrong or talking about someone else. He shouldn’t  be surprised, after all that was Kate all over. Nothing fazed her for long and was just as well. Some of what life had thrown at her would have a lesser mortal reaching for the razor blades.

He watched her get smaller and smaller as she left the car park, wondering if she was all right. With Kate, it was hard to tell, one way or the other. She wouldn’t tell him, that’s for sure.

He tried to remember the last medical incident. Was it the gallstones or the hysterectomy? Neither was life-threatening and she sailed through with hardly a backward glance. Danny wasn’t there, of course, he kept a low profile when she was married to Jack, but he had his own way of keeping an eye on her.

He remembered the time she was rushed to the hospital when they were kids. She must have been about eleven years old. Kate nearly died that day when her appendix ruptured; it was touch and go there for a while. He also remembered how much he hated Matron for dragging Kate out of her bed that morning, thinking she just didn’t want to go to school.

He played up for weeks afterwards, trying to get some kind of childish revenge on the stupid woman, and ended up being thrashed with a coat hanger for his trouble. He often wondered if Kate ever loved him. She always said she never loved anyone. She certainly didn’t now and barely bothered to hide it.

 

As he slid behind the wheel of his car, he saw the state of it through Kate’s eyes. Christ, he was such a slob. He looked up in frustration and saw his reflection in the rearview mirror. Bloody hell, he looked like a slob. If he cleaned up his car (and his life too) he might stand a better chance with Kate. There was so much about his life that didn’t bear close inspection.

He sometimes thought Kate must be a sociopath, someone who couldn’t stand people, for she was never close to anyone. There were relationships in the past and none of them worked or lasted. There was her agent Samantha, and he would dearly love to know that story.

He tried over the years to forget the time when he was supposed to have hurt Kate when they were kids, but he couldn’t remember what happened. It was as if something had stolen all memory of that day. Did she remember? Was that why she didn’t like him? He did wonder if she just didn’t like him as a person, but weren’t you supposed to love your brother, warts and all?

Danny often wondered why he couldn’t remember what happened, was it that bad? He’d never been able to get Kate to tell him either so he always imagined it must have been dreadful. He felt guilty about something so there must be a reason.

He leant his head back against the headrest and closed his eyes, memories of when they were kids flooding back, like the incoming tide on a sandy beach. There were some good times, and those memories faded quickly along with the rest of their childhood.

It was a shame that other things didn’t, he thought sadly as he fought to stop himself drowning in the flood of recent pain and heartbreak. Why couldn’t he make himself forget it all?

The drug-ravaged face of the only other person he ever loved was never far away in his mind, haunting him and driving him insane with unspoken questions. Questions he tried hard to answer since that awful time when he lost both Angela, his wife and their baby son, and he never quite managed to come up with anything approaching a good enough reason.

He thought he must be to blame, or maybe there was something he should have done? More like something he hadn’t done, if the truth be known, that was usually the way of things. He had a complete catalogue of situations where he could either have salvaged something or simply avoided it if he thought to do something at the time.

He opened his eyes in a vain attempt to stop the images that were cramming themselves into his brain and making him giddy, but Angela’s face refused to move. Her face captured his soul that first day, a face both beautiful and incredibly sad, a face that pleaded with you to love her and save her from herself.

In seconds, the desire to rescue her from whatever bothered her outweighed caution of any kind. Angela was a slightly chubby, bubbly girl with a wild mane of multi-coloured hair and incredible eyes and being with her was like having a party every day. The signs were there, desperately waving red flags at him, and he chose to take no notice, confident he could carry her through anything even though he was far too busy trying to keep up with her.

The first time he found her collapsed on the floor of his bathroom, he should have realised she wasn’t just drunk but with one look at her mascara-streaked face and haunted eyes, all he wanted to do was take care of her and keep her safe. It never occurred to him until it was much too late she might have needed serious medical help.

So he dedicated himself to taking care of her, oblivious to the harm he was helping to hide and most of the time they were happy. He managed to keep his ‘angel’ as he called her, on the straight and narrow for long periods and didn’t condemn or accuse whenever she slipped from his care. He never knew why she needed the drugs or where she found them, despite following her everywhere.

For long periods, he completely forgot about his sister and this was probably a good thing, although he simply swapped one obsession for another. It didn’t matter, he found the one thing he always wanted, someone who needed him and wasn’t afraid to show it and for that alone, he would have forgiven her anything.

He smiled as he switched on the ignition, remembering how much he loved her. When it ended badly he never blamed her, not for a minute.

As he drove out of the car park, he tried again to think of a way he could establish a better relationship with Kate and knew he was wasting his time. She was the most stubborn person he ever met and today served to remind him of that fact.

He would keep an eye on her from a distance, as he always did, just in case she should ever need him. He could hope, couldn’t he?


 

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#WritersWednesday: Nine Lives #MurderMystery Chapter Four

Another chapter from Nine Lives for your critical eyes, and I am very pleased with everyone’s response so far! Be aware that you are helping a very grateful author with some of the finer points! And I love you all for this…

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Chapter Four

Kate awoke on Saturday morning and found herself in the hospital, practically chained to the bed by a mass of wires. She had the feeling she had come closer than ever to dying and was unimpressed to find herself still breathing.

She hadn’t slept well, despite all the morphine. Hospitals were noisy places and on top of everything else, she could swear she saw her brother Danny’s face last night or was it her imagination?

Kate needed to go to the bathroom and the machine bleeping alarmingly every time she moved made her feel like a prisoner. At least the uncomfortably tight clamp-like contraption was gone from her wrist.  She didn’t feel any different at all and she wondered why she thought she might, after all, she had been here before. Waking up when she shouldn’t have, continuing to breathe against the odds. Defeating nature seemed to be one of the things she did best, or was this just some melodramatic notion planted in her head by the annoying voice, or was it from all those spooky films she loved to watch?

She was beginning to think it was some kind of conspiracy but it wasn’t funny anymore.

In her youth, the idea she might be somehow invincible was a little exciting, a kind of payback for all the misery.

All her life, something had tried to kill all her hopes of happiness, replacing them with the awful knowledge that nothing would ever change – except to get worse. Little by little, it left her an empty shell and now she was getting older, she knew she would welcome death with open arms.  Something this voice didn’t seem to grasp.

She never connected the voice to any of this until recently, when she began to realise that whatever was talking to her seemed to know an awful lot about her, almost as if it was part of it.

Just how long had it been tormenting her? How many more times would she almost die before it left her alone because what kept happening to her was not of her doing, at least she didn’t think it was.

The hospital room had its own private bathroom, something Kate appreciated as she was in no hurry to socialise with anyone.  She would have loved a shower, but that would have to wait and made do with finger combing her hair and splashing her face with water. She was forced to dress in yesterday’s dirty clothes, so one way or another couldn’t wait to get home.

Studying her wet face in the mirror, she didn’t look any different; last night’s ordeal left no trace. She looked tired, but that was how she always looked these days.

Kate had been called attractive in the past, but there hadn’t been many suitors beating a path to her door. She had never loved anyone but came close once. The image of a young man materialised in her mind and she smiled, unable to help herself.


His name was Michael and he was special. She often wondered how he was now, and if he was happy. Kate was seventeen and on her own when they met. Her mother had died the year before and she was working as a part-time usherette in the local cinema to make ends meet. Michael was the trainee projectionist.

He had come down to the foyer to speak to the manager about a problem in the projectionist’s booth. Kate couldn’t hear what the problem was, and he smiled at her over the manager’s shoulder and in that moment she was smitten.

He looked like a Greek God and he had smiled at her!

His problem reported, Michael followed Kate into the storeroom where she was filling the tray with ice-cream tubs and lollies, ready for the intermission. He leaned against the doorframe, watching her. ‘What’s your name then?’ he asked, a smile lifting the corners of his mouth.

‘Kate.’ The word came out of nowhere as she realised she could speak after all.

He offered to walk her home after work and their relationship was born. He was the perfect gentleman, kind and considerate and once carried her in his arms over the mud when they were out walking. He was everything Kate ever wanted.

It was the classic love story. He was gorgeous to look at, tall with dark curly hair and incredibly blue eyes. For the first time in her life, Kate was so happy, but within a few short weeks, she was pregnant.

Kate couldn’t believe it, how could it have happened? They were so careful.

She seemed to know instinctively that the baby would ruin everything and tried to avoid telling him. He could tell something was wrong and put two and two together.

‘Is the baby mine?’ he said, suddenly interested in something outside the window. And in that moment Kate’s world collapsed completely.

She found out later his father had been sowing the seeds of suspicion right from the start. That she was ‘unsuitable’, working in a cinema. How many men had she already slept with… and where were her parents? What sort of person was she?

She didn’t understand his attitude towards her at all. She knew that father and son didn’t  get on and despite Michael’s warnings about his father being a stubborn old goat, he seemed a pleasant enough middle-aged man with greying hair and faded blue eyes. He appeared to like her when they met and liked her doing things for him. Why had it all gone so horribly wrong?

When Michael walked out of her life, Kate was devastated. What was she supposed to do? Despite her upbringing, or because of it, Kate knew nothing about the world she lived in, apart from the sure and certain knowledge it wasn’t a pleasant place to live in. She had no idea what a young, penniless and pregnant girl should do, and there wasn’t  anyone she could ask.

She tried to remember how her mother coped, but all she could recall was that food seemed to appear as if by magic. She knew her mother never paid the rent, simply looked for another room every time they were evicted.

Some man or other always seemed to be involved with her mother’s activities, was that how Kate was supposed to manage?

She needed time to get over the brutal pain of Michaels’s rejection; time to figure out what to do and where she could go. And time was not an option. A life was growing inside her, a life that would need her full attention in no time at all.


The young doctor who battled to save her life knocked on the open door; pushing all the old memories back into their box and bringing Kate back into the present. He seemed pleased to see her.  Did that mean he hadn’t expected to?

He shook her hand and said if she took the medication regularly and stopped smoking she would probably live considerably longer.

Longer than what, she thought, suddenly amazed she wasn’t desperate for a cigarette yet. She hadn’t given them a thought, what was that all about?

She vaguely remembered promising to stop when in her morphine delirium last night. After all the work they put in on her behalf, it seemed fair.  She thanked him and collected her medication from the Ward Sister. Kate found herself walking towards her brother who was waiting for her just outside the ward doors. So he was here last night. How did he know?

She hadn’t seen him in ages and didn’t  want to see him now. He seemed a lot older than she remembered, his face beginning to look creased and grey hair was appearing at his temples. He also looked as if he spent the night in a chair. Again, she wondered what he was doing there as he didn’t usually care whether she lived or died, and she had enough proof of that.

As they walked down the corridor leading to the main doors of the hospital, two nurses pushing a trolley rushed past them. Kate tried not to look at the person lying under the sheet, but it was too late. She saw the grey face of an old man who seemed already dead, reminding her of just where she was. A shiver ran down her spine and she started to walk faster, desperate to get out of there.

Her brother took her arm as they walked down the entrance steps. ‘You look great, Kate; a bit of a false alarm was it?’

She looked at him and shrugged, unwilling to share what happened to her, wondering how quickly she could get rid of him. ‘Why are you here Danny?’

He had the gall to look offended. ‘Your neighbour called me, the nosy one who always stinks of mothballs…’

She didn’t believe it for a second, and it was good to be out in the fresh air after the stuffy sterile atmosphere of the hospital. The day looked promising, weak sunshine was struggling to make itself known, but it was better than no sunshine at all.

As she followed Danny to his car, an ambulance sped past, its siren blaring a warning that some other poor soul needed to get to the hospital in a hurry. She wondered if they used the siren for her last night, but she couldn’t remember.

The old green Vauxhall was parked haphazardly and looked exactly how she expected it would. Bashed about, rusty and badly dented. A bit like herself, she thought, trying not to smile.

She didn’t  want to get inside, for she could see he’d been using it as a dustbin amongst other things. He was probably sleeping in it too if his circumstances had not improved in the years since she saw him last. He certainly smelled as though a change of clothes and a shower would be a good idea. His dark hair was filthy and he needed a shave, not too far removed from looking like a tramp.

She glanced around the car park, hoping to see a departing taxi. She didn’t care about hurting his feelings for he never considered hers. What was it about men?

Was it in their DNA, or didn’t they care?

No taxi was forthcoming, so it looked as though she would have to accept a lift home, but right then she would prefer to stick pins in her eyes.

‘Come on sis, get in,’ he said, opening the door, letting an obnoxiously stale odour drift past her nostrils.

‘My God Danny, do I have to? It stinks in there!’

‘Suit yourself, but it’s a long walk.’

He looked at her, hoping the little boy lost look would work on her once again.

Kate was not impressed and avoided looking into his eyes. He wasn’t her baby brother anymore; did he think his charm would work on her after all this time?

It was a long time since he’d been anywhere near charming. Now he was just a middle-aged old man with disgusting habits. The thought of being anywhere near him was making her feel slightly sick and a small sliver of shame crept in uninvited. Should you feel this way about your own brother?

She needed him to go away, and at that precise moment she realised for the first time since her promise to quit, she desperately wanted a cigarette. Oh to hell with him, she thought. And on the spur of the moment, she decided she would walk to the high street and find a taxi, despite the fact she could hardly put one foot in front of the other. She must be weaker than she realised and felt drained, all her old energy missing.  But she would find a cab if it killed her.

Kate started to walk away, trying not to laugh at the expression on his face.

‘Don’t be like that Kate; you must let me take you home.’

He looked upset by her rejection, and she didn’t care. She would do things her way or no way and that was that.

She was also going to find out exactly how he found her, for she knew for sure her neighbour had not told him.