Help Needed!

I am having trouble making decisions today, so I thought I would ask for some help.

I’m not happy with the cover on my novella, Apple Blossom. The story of fighting my way through Cancer. The one I chose seems to be totally the wrong colour.

But what do you think?

AAAAAA.jpg

Original Cover

AAA.jpg

New Cover?

 

Thanking you all in advance!  If this gets to be a habit, I may call upon you more often!

What Breaks your Brain? Or have you managed to avoid Insanity and Love the Internet?

 

imagesxxxddd.jpg

Fractured…

 

 

Some of you may be familiar with most of the trouble I have had since I began to organise our writing career on the Internet. It is probably simple for all you single people out there, but as soon as you are a partnership, trouble arrives big time!

Not that we could ever separate our writing business, not even to make our lives any easier. It is all far too complicated, but it works for us though, so that’s good.

We tried having separate websites, so as not to overcomplicate everything, but as we share a PC, this didn’t seem to work. Plus it was twice the work. So we reverted back to having a joint website on Blogger.  Still managed to confuse half the population, including ourselves, but all our links seemed to be working. But it still didn’t feel right, so I approached WordPress and discovered that we could actually share a website. How very civilised.

I have since managed to share Anita’s Facebook too.

Goodreads almost cater for the two of us, and we have our own pages, but only one of us can have our blog showing.

There are still a few places that refuse to understand, that although we share a PC, we do still have separate email addresses and passwords. I won’t name and shame, but they have driven me mad for the last time and I have resigned myself to sharing these awkward sites under Anita’s email address.

It goes without saying, that if I had known this marketing and promotion lark was so complicated, I might have had second thoughts, but on the whole, it has been interesting, and dare I say it, fun? The fact that I am almost certifiable is unimportant, as I think you have to be barking mad to approach a computer in the first place!

imagesxxxyyy.jpg

 

When I saw these lovely fractured pictures the other day, I was fascinated, probably because half the time, my brain is in pieces too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now it Begins!

When we made the decision the other week to re-edit and re-cover ALL of our books, we must have been out of our tiny minds. I double checked, and it would seem that we were super serious about all of it.  Six of Anita’s books, three of mine, and two that we wrote together.

I was quick to realise that this was a major job, and might take me a while. I would also have to do it one book at a time, for the involvement alone could make a grown man weep!

The first time I changed something we had written, I was optimistic. Changing a cover image was pretty easy, and changing the text wasn’t difficult either, but by the time I had ploughed my way through WordPress, Amazon, and Goodreads, my head was spinning.

Then there were all the promotional sites and Pinterest to see to. And just when I thought I had covered everything, I realised I had to create totally new posters for the books too and at this point the cracks were beginning to show!

I have no idea why I chose this book to start with, for my head was swimming with dozens of possible new covers, taglines, keywords. I just picked one out of the hat…

And this is what happened…

two minds x1 - Copy.jpg

sssw.jpg

The First Story…

A Midnight Clear

It was freezing cold on the Embankment, the river Thames flowing past with an insidious slithering oily sound in the darkness. Big Ben loomed out of the darkness behind her. It was nearly midnight and the air was crisp and pure, slightly uncomfortable to breathe. The clouds of her breath wafted away on a gentle but persistent breeze.

She thought back through the evening, remembering how she had decided not to dress up for the occasion, choosing warmth over style, grateful for the fur-lined hood of her jacket. She hadn’t wanted to roam around London with her friends, visiting pubs and bars looking for fun and the minute she had a chance to escape, she took it.

She wasn’t ready for fun, not yet. The scars of her broken marriage were still sore and she lived in fear that they would break open again at any provocation and she would weep uncontrollably. She could nearly go a whole day without thinking of the pain she had caused, leaving him wounded and helpless on the floor, begging her not to leave him. But she hadn’t hesitated or listened, it was far too late for any of that. If she hadn’t left when she did, she may have drowned in her misery and sunk without trace.

She didn’t hate him, only what they had become. Two lonely people, each trying to outdo the others suffering.

Their romance had been a fairy tale in the beginning. James, a fellow student at Art College, every young girl’s dream of a Prince Charming. Tall and slender, with dark wounded eyes, he almost demanded to be loved, all without saying a word.

The warning signs were there almost from the beginning. From the moody silences to the almost violent fervour that obsessed him when he painted. It was like living with so many different people, the one she fell in love with hiding somewhere among them.

If she was honest, she knew their relationship was doomed from the start, but had been unable to walk away. She imagined he needed her; such was his effect on her. The thought of causing him even a minute’s pain was unbearable, even when it became clear, he had no idea how much he hurt her with his self- contained attitude.

She began to feel like his mother, tolerating his moods and temper, desperate for any crumb of affection she may receive.

Their relationship continued to decay until it was almost gone. She had become invisible. He barely acknowledged her presence, and when pushed, would become violent. The day he actually hit her in the face, something inside her finally snapped and she stepped away from him. Something in her eyes must have told him he had gone too far, that this time she would leave him.

He was instantly contrite, and the small, ill- treated child made its appearance. He begged and pleaded for forgiveness, but his words never reached her heart. She pushed him away and walked out of his life, leaving him broken on the floor. Part of her would have rushed back to him, prop him up and get him back on his feet, but it was a part of her she would have to kill to save her own soul.

In the distance, the sound of revelry echoed around the streets of London, but it was almost eerily quiet where she was stood, looking down at the black water that was catching the glint of the Embankment lights. Here and there, the coloured lights on the bridge shone down on the water, making a magical picture in the dark.

She took a deep breath and the cold air felt almost solid in her lungs. The peace she felt at that moment was total, no regrets at all. She was free and it felt amazing. The overwhelming joy lifted her heart and her eyes began to water, distorting her vision.

Several yards behind her and without warning, Big Ben began to chime. Being this close, the sound was deep and resonated through the air. As it struck the hour, each strike seemed to build on the one before, and by the time it reached twelve her ears felt muffled somehow. The ground beneath her feet had gently shaken and she had felt the vibrations in the cement she was leaning against.

As the sounds faded away, the old year died, taking away the past and promising a better future.

Just a quick word about editing and a wonderful tool called Grammarly.

If you haven’t tried it yet, you really should, for it found over 80 misused commas in this first book. Apparently, I sprinkle them around like they’re going out of fashion!

Just to convince you that I am totally insane, I am also working on my latest WIP… It seems my brain needs to keep busy… and I’m not about to argue with it!

This Amazon Link may not work… for I forgot to check!  myBook.to/Shstories

Not One of the Best Weeks!

11391117_493581574127187_2727094128442763327_n.jpg

 

This was one of those weeks you try to forget. It was several years ago now and I’m not sure if it’s reassuring or not, to discover nothing much has changed around here…

 

Sunday

Of all the days for the cooker to decide to die, it had to pick a Sunday. There I was, doing my ‘master chef’ impersonation and everything on the hob was cooking nicely. Then I opened the oven door to check on the roast potatoes. The oven light and fan were working, but the potatoes were cold and raw.

Not to be deterred, for I try never to panic in the kitchen, I sliced and sautéed them and we ended up with a reasonable rendition of Sunday lunch.

Monday started just as brilliantly with bad news.  The cooker cannot be fixed until next week. Apparently, if you can believe it, every repairman in Hampshire is on holiday at the moment.  So great fun will be had by all, as we try to come up with alternative meals that do not involve the oven while praying the hob doesn’t decide to die too!

Tuesday  

This is not turning out to be my week at all. Climbed out of the shower, turning it off as I passed the taps, and nothing happened. Well, I say nothing happened, but the water did stop. The shower pump did not, however, and sounded as though it would blow up any minute.

There followed what could be a scene from a Monty Python film. Me, almost wrapped in an inadequate towel, tearing about the house, looking for something that looked like a fuse switch, or anything that would shut it off.

I couldn’t find one, but after a frantic telephone call, someone turned up who knew what to do and I could stop panicking.

Makes me wonder what tomorrow will bring…

Wednesday

Just as I thought, today brought more of the same when I tried to renew my driving licence. Anita’s was easy, so I thought mine would be too. Wrong! I have to be certified as fit, and only for 3 years at a time. Well, I wasn’t about to go down that route. I only wanted it for identification purposes anyway. Maybe it would be easier to renew my passport?

This turned out it to be very easy, so I could be jetting off to somewhere interesting any day now.

Thursday

I was so determined that nothing would go wrong today, I played safe and concentrated on routine tasks and things that could not possibly go pear-shaped. Pretty boring really, and by the afternoon I was more than ready for something a little more interesting, but the only thing I could think of was organising my image folders. It needed doing, but didn’t make for a fun afternoon!

Friday

Thought I would try to come up with some ideas for a short story competition. All I need is 4.000 interesting words in the form of a story. Anita has already entered, so I thought I would too. There is a risk, I suppose, that our writing partnership could turn into quite a competition of its own, but that can only be food for our ambition, don’t you think?

I hope everyone has a much better week…

 

Time to Think Again!

 

929487.jpg

A new week starts, a time when my enthusiasm usually renews itself, but there is a noticeable lack of ‘get up and go’. It was more like, ‘get your arse moving and see what you can muddle through this week!’

Last month’s USB failure, resulting in the loss of three weeks work, has left a sour taste in my soul, leading me to wonder if I should even be doing any of this promotional stuff. I have ended up juggling so many balls; I am in danger of losing sight of the original dream, consumed as I am with the need to find that one magic ingredient that will make it all worthwhile.

It is always possible that I am not destined for greatness, and I am happy to realise that. Relieved, actually, but that will not stop me from trying my best, and improving my work. (At the time of writing, I plan to re-edit my books and update the covers, blurbs and keywords. I have been having a long hard look and not entirely happy with what I see!)

Little by little, I think I am beginning to lose my edge, the ability to juggle everything and still keep my balance. I seem to recall that this has happened to me before, a long time ago. I was in a relationship, and as long as I obeyed the rules and performed as instructed, I was grudgingly allowed to breathe.

Of course, the day eventually came when I needed more than that when I was tired of the constant struggle to be the person that was required. This wasn’t the first time I escaped from tyranny and it wouldn’t be my last, but eventually, I found a better way to live.

My present struggle is beginning to feel the same, and the need to escape is growing again. This presents a problem, for I don’t want to run away from most of it. I have to find a compromise, a way to keep our options open and the dream alive. I have to stop trying everything and anything, looking for the golden goose, who, for all I know, gave up laying eggs a long time ago…

Out of the Blue!

New_1_DSCF2307.JPG

 

Saturday is the day when I try to catch up on all those annoying jobs that have been nagging at me all week.

Top of the list, was the so-called patch of grass laughing called ‘the lawn’. All the rain we have been having lately has made it grow long, almost too long for my old faithful mower. The grass was still a bit wet, but if I didn’t try to cut it today, it would only get worse.

I could have left it until later in the day, but something told me to do it now. It was hard going, and the mower complained bitterly, constantly jamming up with wedges of sodden grass. This job usually took me just ten minutes from start to finish, but today it took nearly an hour, but it was done. Anita helped to rake up the clumps, and then we went back in doors for a well-earned cuppa.

Twenty minutes later, it began to rain.

New_1_DSCF2311.JPG

 

Raining doesn’t really describe what happened next. It started to thunder down, looking more like sleet than rain. That was when the hailstones began, gradually covering the ground. We couldn’t believe what we were seeing, not in the middle of September.

This went on for nearly half an hour, creating a deep pile of hailstones that took a while to melt.

Is this any indication of the kind of weather we have coming?

And what about Autumn? My favourite season had better turn up next, but I have to admit it is cold enough already…

Once Upon a Time…

C-QfIwiXUAASN_C.jpg

 

This post was triggered by one I read recently by Sacha Black.

https://sachablack.co.uk/2017/07/24/5-tips-to-write-more-in-less-time–mondaysblogs/

It got me to thinking rather deeply about the writing process  and what we are prepared to do or give up in order to do it. This turned out to be quite revealing for me …

 

I never thought I would ever say this, but I have begun to realise something important lately. In my determination and busyness, some of the magic seems to have vanished. My writing has not become the be all and end all of my whole life after all. This came as a massive shock.

Don’t get me wrong,  I won’t stop writing, couldn’t if I wanted to, but a spark of creativity in one of the crafts I used to enjoy, has been calling me back and I realise now how much I have missed it.

There was nothing for it but to rearrange my schedule yet again to make room for it.

Maybe it has something to do with that old adage “All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy…” and looking back at the last three years, this would appear to be the case. I think I have turned into a very dull person.

I have almost driven myself into the ground, trying first one thing and then another in my quest to be a successful writer/blogger. So many things have been left behind in the process, but I have had a lot of fun along the way, meeting so many wonderful people. But I had a long hard look at myself the other day and realised that I was becoming exhausted… almost burned out. Added to all of that, is the knowledge that time is slowly running away from me, and I should at least try to be happy.

The spark that has re awakened in me gleams silently in the corner of my mind, waiting patiently for me to pick it up where I left off. Suddenly my mind is full of new possibilities, new ideas, as if I had never gone away from it. This spark is somehow connected to my soul and is the one thing that usually takes me to a calmer, more peaceful world. I know that connecting to this world again will reflect on the rest of my life, for I was in danger of forgetting who I really am and what I can achieve once I am grounded again.

In the beginning, I thought sacrificing everything else was necessary in order to focus on the main objective, which was becoming a successful author, but now it would seem that I have to make room for this spark or there is no point to any of it.