Work in Progress Wednesday…

As the pile of chapters slowly grows, I constantly find myself checking countless details. Like, did I mention what he was wearing, or when did she say that? I also lose the thread of the days in the story, which makes the timeline haphazard at best.

I don’t think I have paid this much attention to the timeline in any of my previous books, and it occurs to me now that this may have been a serious oversight.

I mean, days of the week are one thing, time of the day something entirely different.

And necessary?

Maybe it wasn’t so important in my other books, but it seems to be in this one. I know that some authors write their outlines on a calendar or a chart with Post-it notes so they can keep a check on the timeline. I cannot remember ever doing that, but maybe I did, and that’s why it was easy?

I never used to have these problems. Even now, in my dotage, I have instant recall of my previous books, every detail and plot twist, so why not now, with the current WIP?

I also seem to be incapable of just drafting the story, leaving the finer details for editing later. This has become necessary because of the trouble I am having remembering everything.

It is always possible that life has been more complicated this year. Both of us have recurring health problems which tend to distort our normal way of life, making what used to be simple into a very different matter.

I also have a long list of outstanding jobs, and I have often thought I should clear some of these in order to make more time for writing. For a long time, I have stubbornly believed that I could do both.

The proof of the pudding would suggest that I cannot.

Anita is feeling a little better today, and we are awaiting the birth of our new great-grandchild. The tension in our house is so strong we keep bumping into it!

Boy or a girl?

Problem Solving Patience?

So much for having a peaceful, restful weekend!

It’s not happening… my mind will not switch off and have a rest. I did try but ended up spending most of yesterday working on the WIP. I could have read a book, watched TV, or picked up my knitting. I did none of those things. Strangely, working on my book made me feel better. It also made me think more clearly than I have been lately.

So, what do I do now?

Time has become my enemy. I can see it now, lurking in the corner of my office, a sickly smile designed to make me feel useless and unable to cope. Yesterday proved to me that I can cope, but it has to be on my terms.

I have never been a clock watcher and have always taken my time, doing what I want to do. When did everything become so difficult?

I have thought long and hard about this. Something has changed, so is it me, or the jobs I do?

We all have jobs that we would prefer to leave on the table, but also some that we must do, no matter what. Then there are the jobs that we choose to do, even though we hate doing them. I think this may be where I will find what is causing me to lose my time and my patience.

Most of you would agree that marketing is the most frustrating and time consuming job of all, but I have to own up to not doing much of that lately. Then there is housework, but again, she says sheepishly, I haven’t been doing much of that lately either.

I feel better, knowing there is a reason. All I have to do now is find it and send it packing!

I sincerely hope your weekend brings you what you need… XXX

I am busy thinking!

Friday Feelings…

I am having another raven moment today, where unattractive thoughts are trying to turn me into a bear with a very sore head.

This week has not been particularly pleasant, what with both of us feeling under the weather. Almost nothing has been done as I haven’t had the desire or the energy to do it.

I am hoping that after a quiet weekend, some normality and enthusiasm will return on Monday, as I have some serious new developments to consider regarding The Mystery of Folly’s End.

Even when we are as far away from being a writer as it’s possible to get, those writing thoughts and ideas keep on coming, so I will need a clear head to sort them out. Another of my thoughts is about blogging and whether we want to continue or just reduce our activities a bit. These thoughts have been slowly gathering, made infinitely worse every time something changes and things that were easy, suddenly aren’t any more.

We don’t want to stop, as we love what we do, we just wish a lot of it wasn’t so hard…

This is One Hell of a way to start August!

This is one hell of a way to start August!

Tomorrow we are getting a new couch. This entails dragging the old one outside for collection.

Not a problem, right?


The last time we did this, for the two-seater, and not so long ago, I hurt my back and damaged my knee. What made matters worse was that we hated the new couch and had to drag the old one back indoors again.

I swore I would never do this again, but here we are again.

I can never understand why it is so hard to move a couch. It’s as if they take root in the carpet. They are heavy, awkward, and difficult to grip. The main problem for us, apart from the fact that geriatrics are not supposed to be doing these things, is the ill-placed storage heater in the hall, making it very difficult to manoeuvre a couch. Whose idea was it to put it so close to the front door?

Another problem from last time was the rather large handle on the front door. This caused a lot of trouble last time, so I decided to remove it.

The outgoing couch is a recliner and heavier than usual because of all the metal fittings. Luckily, the seat backs can be removed so the whole thing is not so wide. There was a time when me and Anita would have managed to get it outside with no problem. But that was then. Anita can’t do it now, not with her heart problem. Nowadays, we need a lot of help.

That’s where the number one son, mister muscles, comes in very handy.

We set to with optimism, always a good thing to have on your side, and the damned thing was soon outside, upside down in the front garden awaiting collection.

And it took us just fifteen minutes!

Truthful Tuesday 25th July

Today, I thought we would do something different, so when I spotted this post on pensivity 101, the idea of being truthful about our miserable excuse for a garden really appealed to me…

Unlike Fibbing Friday, the concept is quite simple in that Di asks a question, and you reply honestly and truthfully.
You can either leave your reply in the comments or write your own post and pingback to pensivity 101 and leave a link in the comments so that Di can find it.

Her question this week is about gardens.

Does your property have a garden?

We live in one of a row of four cottages, and we are all allotted a thin strip of garden. There are no fences, just a path separating our plots. Not ideal, but better than nothing, we thought.

It has never felt like our garden, but we tend it and try to grow flowers.

There are rules, of course. The garden layout is to be maintained as is, nothing added or taken away, so most of the time, I feel like a visiting gardener.

Do you prefer a lawn or paving slabs, hedges, or walls?

There is a lawn, if you could call it that. Moss and weeds make it hard to maintain but maintain it we do. If it were our garden, I would prefer the low-maintenance option of paving. There is a massive hedge on one side of our strip. Over six feet tall and four feet wide. Cutting this used to be my job, being the tallest in the family, but I am too old now. Unfortunately, Luckily, our neighbour cuts it for us now.

I dream of a walled garden, somewhere of our own…

If not, do you wish you had one?

A day does not go by when I don’t wish for a garden of our own, but we do have a courtyard that is private. This is where we sit in the summer and where all my bonsai live…

Just when I thought it was safe to go in the water…

I wasn’t expecting a bombshell yesterday, but that’s what I got.

Why is it that every time I think I am getting somewhere, something always happens to smack me upside the head?

This year I have been busy upgrading our books. New covers and blurbs and a thorough pass through Grammarly when it occurred to me that I needed to upgrade the print books on our bookshelf too. So I bought a paperback copy of my first book, Nine Lives. This is something I always used to do as proof positive that our books are as good as I can make them. Good to see them in print anyway.

It arrived yesterday morning, and it looks awful. I was so disappointed. The formatting is all wrong. The text is squashed on the page, and the margins are practically non-existent. Add to this, there are many blank pages.

Now, I know how to format a paperback book and haven’t changed the system I use, so these errors must be down to Amazon.

After nearly losing my mind and my temper, shortly followed by the overwhelming desire to run away and become a nun. All that work for nothing; did I really want to start all over again?

My first question was, if I cannot trust my old method any more, how am I supposed to get it right?

I wondered about Scrivener. They format your books, but I haven’t been able to learn enough about it. And Lord knows I have tried!

Funnily enough, and I’m not laughing, not inside, but just for a laugh, I read Amazon’s guidelines. They were the same as I remembered and how I always formatted our books. So what the dickens was going on?

So, I now have a new list. All I have to do now is find a truckload of patience to go with it…

Wish me Luck!

Going Backwards…

Since being self-employed and retired, (it can happen), I have always chosen what I want to do, and this has usually worked well for me. Somehow, everything gets done, and if I have to wait for another piece of the puzzle to finish something, I am happy to do this.

Just lately, though, I have begun to realise that doing things out of sequence is getting on my nerves and slowing down production.

Frustration has been a part of my life for a long time, following me around like a lame dog, so I have decided that it’s time to get all my ducks in a row, so to speak.

Just when I thought I had hit upon the answer to my frustration, I recently read an interesting post from David Gaughran, that wise and very clever Irishman who posts advice on writing and marketing for writers everywhere. In this post, Let’s Go Backwards, he suggests doing things backwards. (just when I was thinking of stopping this habit!)

In a nutshell, he suggests starting with the book cover and then writing the blurb. The idea is that you write the story to match the cover and the blurb.

I have often wanted to have the cover in front of me when I write, so these ideas seemed feasible based on the concept of visualisation.

To quote the great man himself…

Imagine: kicking off with a comprehensive review of potential categories on Amazon, and then commissioning the perfect cover to appeal to regular readers of that niche, writing the hookiest blurb to get those readers to click the Buy button, and then penning the actual story which is at home in that package…”

I am regarded as a bit of a freak in my family because I do most things differently from everyone else. Most of the time backward or, according to them, wrong. I even stir my coffee anticlockwise.

Should I change the habits of a lifetime, or should I continue to play catch up with everything I do?


On a lighter note, I made it outside this week, dodging torrential rain, I might add, to check on what was going on. The weeds are taking over, and the grass is aiming for an elephant’s eye. (sorry about that South Pacific moment)

Is there an easy way to get rid of mare’s tails?

The new dahlias continue to be disappointing. I bought them in five different colours, but all the buds seem to be yellow.

The new plant, I call it sea holly, is actually going blue. I couldn’t believe it. I’m sure it’s not supposed to be five feet tall, though…

How Hard is it to Actually Win?

Image by hansmarkutt from Pixabay

I do enjoy a tennis match, and every year I look forward to Wimbledon.

Having said that, however, not all tennis matches.

There are the ones where uneven players are at different stages in their careers, resulting in a disappointing match.

The best tennis comes from those players who are evenly matched, where neither gives an inch and the score remains frustratingly even. Winning these matches is incredibly difficult, almost impossible in some cases.

Of course, being performed out of doors, the weather plays a big part in the enjoyment (and the frustrations too). Mid-summer doesn’t make for an easy time, even when the rain stays away, as the heat build-up on the tennis courts can reach very high temperatures.

Added to this is the fact that matches can, and often do, last for hours. I often wonder how they manage to play and not drop from heat stroke.

The best matches are the ones that feature my favourite players. Uncomplicated, you might think, only one player to cheer for?

Today I watched one of the hardest matches I have seen in a long time.

Andy Murray, one of England’s hopefuls, recently recovering from hip replacements, is challenging Stefanos Tsitsipas from Greece.

A part of me will always root for Andy, partly because he is English but also because he never finds winning easy. He’s not getting any younger, either.

I love watching Stefanos, as he plays amazing tennis.

As I write this, the match is nearing the end. It’s still anyone’s game, and the score is even.

Who do I really want to win?

As a writer, I spend a lot of time studying people, even tennis players. They always reveal their personalities when they play.

At the moment, Andy is getting really frustrated, and it shows. Stefanos, in contrast, is calm and trying so hard to win; determination is carved all over his face.

I usually allow fate to decide most things. I often see this in action when the ball hits the net yet somehow finds its way over, scoring the point for the other player.

Right now, Fate must be sitting on the fence. Maybe she will make up her mind in a minute…

I’m not a very good fan, for I tend to root for the better player in any match, but right now, I cannot decide…

What a Week that Was…

Acer bonsai in Training…

I haven’t been around much this week, and for this, I do apologise.

I have been so busy; there literally hasn’t been a spare moment, but it has been a fun-filled, action-packed week. I have managed to clear some outstanding jobs that had been haunting me for weeks and also a few that I just had to tackle, just for the hell of it.

There has been carpet shampooing, cementing, garden blitzing and actually housework. You name it, and I have probably done it this week!

Even with all of this going on, I have managed to write up a storm, and the WIP is way past the midway now. Two of our books have new covers, and the marketing of these is ongoing too.

I am hoping that the new low-dose course of steroids that I have been taking has been the miracle maker, for I feel so much more like the me I used to know. The arthritis is still a menace, but somehow, not as depressing as it used to be.

The most amazing part of the past week has been the sheer joy of accomplishment, something that has been missing for a while. I even took the time to enjoy my bonsai instead of the usual duty visit.

The image of the acer at the top of this post was the one that caught my eye yesterday. It is far from being a proper bonsai, but such promise! This lovely acer is quite rare with its variegated foliage, and I adore the scarlet shoots of the new growth…

I wonder what I will get up to over the weekend…

Wishing everyone a glorious weekend!

Life Shattered ~ #The Sunday Whirl ~ #Wordle 661 ~ #Poetry

I seem to have fallen under a spell.
My world split in half
Life shattered
I call, no one comes.
My words shallow, meaningless
As I gaze into the distance
drifts of a past life become mingled,
with the dark cloud that hovers over me.
The world feels damp and dim, no sun.
When I wake from this nightmare
I hope the twitch in my mind is healed,
the world back together as I remember it…