Jaye’s Journal ~ week 15

Jaye's Journal x12

 

Are there days when you cannot cope with your chosen occupation?

I have had many jobs in my time and hated quite a few of them, but never thought I would ever feel less than love for writing.

Lately, I have been having days when things seem to be slipping, a digital carrying-on that can plague anyone who switches on a computer.

This week, I had more than one day like this. A fatal mixture of an old and feeble person trying to use an equally old and feeble computer.

The overall tone of the week surprised me, seeing as I had just typed those magic words at the end of my WIP, I should be happy or at least relieved, or optimistic reaching the end of what has turned out to be a fascinating if complicated story.

Secretly though, I knew why I wasn’t jumping around like an idiot. I am an idiot (most of the time), but that wasn’t the reason.

I was secretly terrified that, having written this unusual and complicated story, that I wasn’t competent enough to present it in the best possible light.

This is a story that I didn’t know much about initially, or how to write it. It has been one hell of a learning curve. The research alone took almost as long as writing it.

 

Something strange happened today.

I have recently changed the header image on our website, and that is what I expected to see when I logged on, but the picture I saw was not mine and one I had never seen before.

How was this even possible?

Also, the new header image had vanished. It wasn’t saved with all the other old headers, so whoever had changed it had run off with my new one.

Surely, this couldn’t happen, could it?

Perhaps it was a message from my muse, for I wasn’t happy with my choice, so maybe she wasn’t either…

watermark xjj

 

Jaye’s Journal… week 13

Jaye's Journal x12

 

 

Swings and Roundabouts…

 

I was watching Theresa May (the UK Prime Minister) this morning, and for the first time saw what looked suspiciously like signs of defeat. The normally serene and smart woman we are used to seeing looked tired and a little scruffy, as though she had been up all night. Which I suppose she might well have been, at this delicate stage of the Brexit negotiations. I got the definite impression that she is barely hanging on by her eyelashes.

I can identify with that state of affairs, for at 75 years old, with cataracts in both eyes and rampaging arthritis, I might be approaching the end of my rope too.

It has been a week of highs and lows, or swings and roundabouts if you prefer.

From a major disagreement with Microsoft, who thought I wasn’t me anymore and refused to accept several new passwords. They kept insisting I had to contact them on a mobile phone to resolve the problem. That was an even bigger problem for me, as I don’t have such a thing! But once I borrowed one, everything was okay again.

Then I finally managed to claim our website on Pinterest, something I had been trying to do all week.

I still don’t understand why any of this happened, or why using a mobile phone made Microsoft like me again, especially as it wasn’t mine, but that was the closest I want to get to HTML or all things SEO!

~~~~

The minute I feel life returning outside my window, it’s like a wake-up call for me to pull my socks up and get cracking. You never know, this could be the year when all things become possible.

Spring is finally here and the sun is shining, but it is very cold. I know this because I have ventured outside to check on the garden. I still call it a garden, even though I now need a machete to go very far! The grass has begun to grow, heralding the start of much fruitless pushing and shoving of my equally ancient lawn mower. Luckily, I think it can wait a while longer.

My Bonsai are all sprouting, cold or not, their winter sleep is over and it will soon be time to check their roots to see who needs a trim, fresh soil or a bigger pot. This is about all I am capable of these days, as I really cannot cope with the ever-present growth of brambles in my jungle of a garden. The last time I tried to tame them I had to retire wounded and bloody, so now they have my permission to run riot.

If I do get the urge to blitz them, I will get a flamethrower and do the job properly!

AAA (2)

 

Thoughts…

 

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Image by Pixabay.com

 

 

Jaye said I should think of something different to write about.

Short stories or romance, ghosts, hauntings, all of which I think I do.

Unlike Jaye, I am only good at one thing. The work I put out, good or bad, I can’t always tell until there is feedback.

I know that sometimes the pieces I put in front of Jaye have moved her to tears. So maybe there is something to them. Either that or she is just a soft Nellie. Who knows?

I can only do what comes from the pen. Good or bad, it is for others to judge.

I guess I can tell when the web is silent, the likes low.

Maybe Jaye is right, the pen has had its day.

Then again, we don’t always agree from one second to the next.

Unless there is a blue moon, and they don’t come around very often.

AAAAA

One of our best Worst Ideas Yet?

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As if we don’t have enough to do, we have stumbled into what might possibly be either a brilliant idea, or the worst kind of madness ever to visit our house.

I’m not sure where this idea came from, but for some totally inexplicable reason, we are both equally enthusiastic about actually writing a mystery/thriller book together.

This may not work for a multitude of reasons, for we usually write in such different genres/and the arguments will probably reach hitherto unreached levels/we may end up killing each other!

We have started, and early indications would suggest it could possibly work!

Anita wrote the first section/intro, and I nervously followed. We average about 500 words each, but this could easily change when the musts get going.

Quite apart from being the most unlikely writing partnership, can you imagine what our respective muses must be thinking?

Other writers have done this, and in the past, we have often wondered how it would work. Now we will discover how hard it will be and if it will even work for us. And if we can do it without any of our legendary arguments, it will be a miracle!

Already, the conversations about the direction of the plot have been pretty spectacular, for we have such very different ideas about everything. The fact that I am the thriller writer around here stands for nothing, and my suggestions have not been well received, to put it mildly!

Today’s discussion ended with Anita suggesting that we start again, and this time write a spooky supernatural story.

We could, of course, but I am trying to finish my current WIP at the moment and all of this chaos is playing havoc with my schedule. It is my turn to write the next section, so I had better make it good!

#Jaye’s Journal ~ week 8

Jaye's Journal x12

 

The workmen are still here, and they seem to have hit a problem. This is not the first time they have been digging the road outside our house, and they had a problem then too.

Much walking around, conferring with each other. You can almost see the head-scratching from here but has the advantage of keeping their noisy machines quiet.

This time, however, we have temporary traffic lights to put up with, and you guessed it, they are right outside our house. So although the machines are quiet, we are having to put up with traffic waiting for the lights to change. Cars are not so bad, but motorbikes are deafening!

The obvious frustration of the workmen has been having the reverse, positive effect on my own.  I am tackling the first structural edit of my WIP like a pro and my initial confusion has faded away like a bad dream. I cannot understand why this book had become so complicated. I never had this much trouble with the other three!

But despite interruptions and all the noise, the editing is going well, and most of our books are now on Smashwords.  Next job is adding the links to our book pages!

###

They have turned the machines back on and the noise is interfering with my ability to think straight. Time to get out of here and go for a walk!

When I heard about this local walk, one I didn’t know anything about, I almost declined, preferring to wait until the weather became warmer. It had stopped being quite so abominable, the sun was shining but there was a slight chilly wind.

But the lure of discovery was too strong to ignore, so available family members were invited to accompany us and off we went.

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It was just a ten-minute walk from our house, so an easy walk for me and my geriatric knees. Once outdoors, the chilly wind tried to remind us that Spring wasn’t here yet, but the sun kept us company as we walked along on our first excursion in 2019.

I hadn’t been out of the house for ages and was thoroughly enjoying looking at all the houses and gardens. Petersfield is an ordinary town, but even the ordinary can be fascinating if you have been incarcerated all winter.

From what we could see on our way to the walk,  people everywhere were on the move. Builders were busy, gardeners too. Windows were being cleaned and we all remarked on the amount of activity.

Nature had been busy too. New green growth and spring flowers had arrived in all of the gardens, and we were looking forward to seeing what we would find on the walk.

Tucked between the houses in an ordinary street, we saw the beginnings of a river, not much more than a trickle at this point. We also saw the mud on some of the pathways, and hoping this wouldn’t get any worse, we set off.

Although I have mentioned before that our Council keeps our town tidy, they obviously hadn’t got around to this walk yet. It was extremely wild in places, with fallen trees, undergrowth and a lot more mud, which made following the river (such as it was) rather difficult.

Now, I love a bit of a ramble. Climbing over trees in the mud is a fun day out for me, but my family don’t share my enthusiasm and at the risk of being nagged to death, I decided not to push it, and we turned around to make our way home.

I wasn’t too disappointed, for just being out in the fresh air felt wonderful.

Then I caught sight of something out of the corner of my eye. Something rather large was swooping around above our heads. Straining to see what it was, due to the bright sunshine, I couldn’t believe what I thought I was seeing. When it flew around us again, there was no mistaking what it was. A huge ruddy coloured bird with a massive wingspan and fan- like forked tail, it could only be a Kite. The first Kite I had ever seen in Petersfield!

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We stood and stared, mesmerised by the show he was putting on, almost for our benefit. When he finally flew away, we felt both elated and deflated.

But before we reached our house, we saw him again. It was as if he was reassuring us that he was here to stay…

watermark xjj

The View from my Writing Desk…

 

 

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Our Gum Tree

 

 

Although we live in a town, it isn’t an inner-city town. Tucked behind the South Downs in Hampshire, we are just 19 miles from the sea.

An ordinary town really, rows of streets spreading out from the town centre with all manner of shops and businesses. The local council keep it tidy and provide us with well-kept trees, bushes and green areas.

Sometimes, if you know where to look, you can find something special here, something that doesn’t quite belong. Hidden among the sprawling streets, small treasures can be found. Little rivers emerge unexpectedly, creating a magical atmosphere. ( I have recently found another such treasure. Post to follow…)

We have such an oddity in our back garden.

We all have trees and bushes in our gardens, but we have a giant gum tree. Far taller than our house, it dwarfs every tree for miles around.

It seems so much supple than other trees and maybe this has something to do with it being a gum tree. The leaves smell faintly of eucalyptus and it has such a graceful way of moving with the wind.

I watch this tree most mornings as I wait for my brain to warm up, but this morning we had the aftermath of Storm Eric.  The wind was fierce, so the view from my window was dramatic. Strong gusts tried to break the tree, viciously pushing and shoving until I thought one would give way. But the branches were so supple they simply danced away, ducking and weaving like a Whirling Dervish until the wind abated.

We could learn a lot from trees. Most of them have been here longer than we have and will remain long after we have gone. They survive, I think because they simply do what they were born to do and they do it well. They take what comes in their stride (so to speak) patiently waiting for the seasons to change or the wind to stop blowing.

A lesson for us all there, I think…

Colleen’s Weekly Poetry Challenge ~ Etheree

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Colleen’s 2019 Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 121, “Slow & Work,” #SynonymsOnly

 

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Run

for your

life, it’s time.

Just keep running

the black dog is slow.

His hunting days are over

he wants to follow you now.

Find a warm home, food, and comfort.

To sleep, dream by a warm, lazy fire.

You left food out, now he’s found his way home…

aaaaa

#Throwback Thursday: This Way Madness Lies…

Looking back on this moment of insanity, reminds me of just how far I have travelled!

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I have found yet another way to drive myself mad. After the recent debacle with a mobile phone, I swore never to dabble with technology again…

But… for some peculiar reason, and I have no idea where it came from, I want a tablet or an iPad. Basically, something simple that will replace my laptop. I discover that pads cost a lot of money, and to pay out for something that I might not be able to use seems a bit silly. So I found a tablet with Windows 10 on it at a bargain price, and I was committed. Probably should be one of these days, but that is another matter!

Now, I have heard all the flak about Windows 10, but resolved to master it. After all, if my main PC goes, I will have to anyway, right?  But I had enough fun with Windows 8 and should have known better.

The first thing you have to do is enter your Microsoft password, and everything is supposed to fall into place.

Only it didn’t.

Not at all.

Then I tried to set up my emails, but it wasn’t having a bar of that either. They just wouldn’t sync. And you never get an explanation with technology, do you?

Just a big fat nothing.

I remembered reading somewhere that the first thing that has to happen with Windows 10 is a hell of a lot of uploading. I checked this out, and there was a load there to be uploaded, but either it wasn’t ready, or didn’t really know what it was supposed to be doing. That’s when I switched the damn thing off and went back to the normality of my PC. Three days later, the upgrading did begin, indicating progress of some sort.

As to the rest of my technical world… the main PC is still buffering/crashing all the time and being generally annoying. WordPress has decided to muck about with any attempt to publish a post… What I wouldn’t give for a system that actually works!

Maybe the problem lies with the fact that my main PC is Windows 7, the laptop is 8, and the tablet is 10, maybe they don’t get on with each other? But why wouldn’t they?

There seems to be a constant battle between me and all three of them and I spend most of my days waiting for one machine or other to actually do something. Something I want them to do that is!

The men in white coats are waiting just around the corner, I just know it!

Several days have passed, and my desire to be more streamlined and efficient hasn’t…

I have seen an android tablet on Amazon, going for a song AND no Windows of any number! This could be the answer to my prayers, supposed to be easier to use …

I’ll let you know next week!

 

 

 

#Jaye’s Journal ~ week 4

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Jaye’s Journal ~ Week Four

 

We are halfway through the week and not yet free from the virus in this house. Just when we thought we had backed it into a corner, it seems to be having one last fling. There should be a sign on our front door, as we have been sneezing, coughing and aching ever since Christmas and we are at our wit’s end, wondering what we have to do to shake off the germs.

The weather isn’t helping either, freezing cold and miserable.

We try to keep working, more to keep our minds active than anything else, but all we really want to do is sleep. There was one very welcome high spot yesterday, when the letter from the hospital arrived, declaring me cancer free again for the third year since my treatment for breast cancer. So not all doom and gloom around here.

PayBack, my WIP is ready to edit, but I am dragging my heels a little, not wanting to begin when feeling less than capable.  I know it will be impossible to create any magic now. The pile of scribbled must do’s on my desk is getting higher, so I hope normal service will return soon before I drown in guilt!

In readiness for the wonderful moment when I can think straight, I have been making sure all my story locations are in order and as accurate as I can make them.

Despite feeling like death warmed over, I have been trying to get to the bottom of the Draft2Digital  mystery. When we first joined them, we were impressed by how easy it was to upload our books and all their promises to help make promoting our books easier. I did wonder why we couldn’t access other people’s books, but put that down to my limited knowledge, figuring I would probably discover more as we went along.

When several people reported problems getting our books, I had to find out for myself. An email to D2D didn’t provide any understandable answers.   To try and figure out how it worked, I tried to buy one of Anita’s books from their site. It was hopeless. I kept being directed to iTunes, which turned out to be just as hopeless. I have never used iTunes much, and only recently found out they sold books. After much googling to find help, I found out about iBooks.

To cut a long, boring story short, I think I have discovered that D2D is basically just for iPad or Apple users. I can access our books on iTunes, but can only buy them with an iPad. I think this is such a shame, even though the US market is huge so maybe not too bad in the end.

We still needed to increase our book distribution though, so have started uploading our books on Smashwords. com.

Hopefully, next week will see a more cheerful workplace, for I could use some productivity and optimism round about now…

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