Jaye’s Journal (28th May~ 2nd June)

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Last week began like any other, full of optimism and plans, doing what I love.

I had finished re-editing Anita’s book, Simple and created a new cover for it last week.  I haven’t updated the paperback yet or sorted out Goodreads. Changing anything is so bloody complicated, and I constantly worry about forgetting some minor (or major!) detail.

Up to 30.000 words on WIP now, and the further into the story I get I find out how inadequate my storyboard is. I ended up spending an afternoon updating it!

The cast of characters are running amok, and I thank God for Words search/find function, it makes it so much easier to find and check all the names and places.

I think I might be creating a monster, as this book has more characters and chaos than any of my other books. It’s a bit like being in charge of a runaway train!

Why is it that we plod along, thinking we are doing such an amazing job networking and writing when the marketing monster arrives and calmly informs you that your feeble efforts are rubbish?

But if you have limited funds for any paid advertising, what else can you do?

To cheer myself up, I watched copious amounts of the Chelsea Flower Show, as all those lovely gardens and flowers never fail to lift my spirits.

 

Moving on in a slightly more cheerful mood, we had a family birthday this week, involving a massive collection of family members. Will this be the year with no upsetting arguments, I hope so!

Towards the end of the week, I developed a very painful back. I have to walk almost bent double and painkillers are having a limited effect. Walking is out of the question but at least I can sit on the couch and at my desk, so might be able to get some work done!  We will have to starve until the situation improves, as I’m the only cook in this establishment. I’m trying not to feel guilty about this, but I’m not happy about any of it.

I assumed it had probably happened when I carried the heavy garden waste sack out to the kerb, something I have done many times before. It was only later when I remembered what we were doing the week before, that I realised the real reason for my pain. You remember, those couches we were juggling in and out of our house?

Proof positive, if it was needed, that it is time we started behaving like the old women we are before we break something permanently!

 

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New Cover Release of Simple by Anita Dawes #FamilyHorror

Simple, the second book in Anita’s stable, has been re- edited and supplied with a brand new cover!  We would love to raise the profile of this book, finding new readers and hopefully new reviews.

To this end, free PDF copies are available! 

 

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SIMPLE’S LIFE is a painful nightmare.

A huge bear of a man, but with the heart and mind of an innocent child, he suffers terrible abuse from his vicious and uncaring backwoods family.

Together with his half-sister Leanne, they are hunted like wild animals and suffer the terror of nearly being burned alive as they try to escape.

 

SHADES OF THE WALTON’S MEET DELIVERANCE!

Universal Amazon Link:  http://myBook.to/mySimple

Simple is the follow-up book to Bad Moon, Anita’s first book and is another story about the backwoods people of West Virginia. At the time of writing, some 25 years ago, it seemed as though Anita was channelling actual people, the stories so disturbingly real. Neither Simple or Bad Moon are pleasant stories by any means, being full of raw, powerful emotions and unbelievable cruelty.

This was long before the world of Indie publishing, so we approached traditional publishers with the help of a well-known literary agent. They all said the same thing, that they were impressed with the strong powerful writing, and that it was well written. But it wouldn’t fit with all the other books on their list. I can appreciate this now, as finding the right category has been hard. If only those publishers had the courage of their convictions and made room for Simple!

Simple is a nickname his cruel family have given him, due to him being mentally challenged and cursed with a terrible stutter. His real name is Ethan, and although a giant of a man, he has the heart and mind of a child. He spends his time in the woods, tending to wounded wild birds and animals.

His grandmother and brothers beat him for everything he forgets to do, and many things he shouldn’t have done. When his half-sister Leanne cannot bear to watch any more cruelty, they make a plan to escape. But when they try to run, they bring the wrath of their vicious family down on their heads, and the results are terrifying…

Extract from Simple

I couldn’t be sure I was heading in the right direction, I had no choice but to follow where my feet led me, hoping my instincts were right.

I walked for hours, and just when I thought I would never find them, I smelled wood burning and there was a hint of voices carried on the wind.  Why had no one grabbed me?  Jack would never have let an outsider close enough to smell our fires burning.  Closer, I could hear a fiddle and someone singing a song, not something I heard too often at Gran’s.

They let me walk right into their camp.  It had been built among the trees and the land hadn’t been cleared much at all.  The cabins were much the same as ours, made with logs cut from the forest. The only thing different was the moss growing on the outsides where not much light could reach. The cabins looked green, almost as though they were still growing.  It felt a lot colder up here, even though I knew the sun was still up. It should be setting soon, and Simple would be lying where I had left him, in the dark.

The sound of the fiddle stopped and a woman about Gran’s age stood up.  My feet suddenly felt about three sizes too big.  I stumbled, and then came to a standstill, unable to move.  What was I thinking of, coming here?  Going to town would have been better, would have changed my life, Simple’s too, possibly for the better.

The woman spoke, her voice deep yet softer than Gran’s.

‘What ye be wanting’ so far from home, young’un?’

I must have looked half beaten.  My dress was torn and bloody, filthy arms and legs, scratched and bleeding.  I hoped they didn’t think I was one of the crazy stories come to life. My thoughts finally slipped into my mouth and my words sounded like the damp dirt I stood upon.  The woman picked up a cup of water from the table, stepped forward and offered it to me.  She said, ‘They call me Belle Spiers hereabouts.’

The cool water tasted good.  Then all my words came out in a rush. 

‘I need help. Simple’s hurt, please you have to help me.’

‘Slow down girl, your words are running’ together like my boy’s heads when I need to put them in their place.’

I took another mouthful of water. ‘It’s Simple, his leg’s broke.  Uncle Jimmy left him back there in the caves.’

She interrupted me and called out for someone called Jimmy.  I felt my heart freeze, turn to ice, expecting Uncle Jimmy to appear.  The frozen waste where my heart sat, slowly melted when the older Man who had been playing the fiddle limped to her side, along with another Man who looked nothing like Uncle Jimmy.

‘Go see what this young’un has got herself into.’

Suddenly I had the strangest feeling she knew right off who I was and where I came from.  Even the name Simple didn’t move her any.  A few other faces came to see what all the fuss was about.  One of them was a boy called Zach with yellow hair like the sun, older than me but not by much. The one called Jimmy told him to come with them.

‘Gonna need more than old pa here to bring a log like Simple back up from the caves.’

It took a while, but his words sunk deep like the roots of a tree sucking at my brain.  He knew Simple!

Then the woman was speaking to me again. ‘Come in girl, we’ll get you cleaned up while waiting’ for the menfolk.  Hungry too, I’ll be thinking’.’

Orders slipped from her lips much the same as Gran; save no one seemed to mind.  Least of all the young woman called Jolene with a baby on her hip, who had been told to fetch food while I waited for a tub to be filled with water, warmed over an open fire.

Belle carried the last of the hot water in a much-used pot to her cabin, where she poured it into an old tin bath and told me to get in. ‘I ain’t carrying’ this water for you to let it grow cold.’

There wasn’t anyone in the cabin but Belle and me, so turning my back I took off my dress.  The hot water felt like a blanket, one I knew Simple could be doing with right about now.  I asked Belle, ‘How come you know Simple?’

‘He’s a soft soul, wanders up here sometimes.  I reckon he needs time away from your Gran.’

I was going to say she wasn’t my Gran but decided to let it lay.  I needed them to help make Simple well and I wanted to see the boy with yellow hair bringing him back. Something about him had made my heart skip a little, even though it was frozen at the time.

Jolene brought a clean dress along with the food, and Belle held out a large cloth I knew to be bought from town.  Must have been the way I looked at it made her say, ‘I don’t mind using’ what feels good, makes life pleasing’.

Jolene said, ‘Belle don’t usually let anyone use them.  Old pa traded his best fiddle for two the same last Christmas.  Good to see them out of the paper they came in.’

Seems Jolene belonged to Jimmy, and the baby was his too. It seemed funny to be able to hear that name without shrinking inside.  What would they do now, if they could see me here in the Spiers camp, with Simple being carried here for fixing? 

 

#Jaye’s Journal (or how to Juggle a Couch!)

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image by Pixabay.com

 

Most weeks in our house are usually a mishmash of incidents, some good and a few of the other kind. But whatever happens there is never a dull moment around here!

This past week has excelled itself, hurtling from one mini-disaster to another. At one point, I contemplated staying in bed, just to break the cycle, but as I am the nosiest person for miles, I couldn’t bear to think of anything happening without me. Seeing as how I was born with a sword in one hand and cleaning mop in the other, I could usually cope with anything!

It all started to go wrong when we spotted a fantastic bargain in our local charity shop, a two-seater couch in black leather. It was in perfect condition and a price that would n’t bring our bank account to its knees. So without thinking things through, we bought it, to be delivered the following day.

But what to do with the dilapidated broken down couch in our living room?

The local council have a collection service, so all we had to do was get it out of the house. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? In case you were wondering, it definitely wasn’t.

We are both in our 70’s and not the fittest people on the block, but we were determined. We would do this, even if it meant dragging the couch out of the house in pieces. A not so small nightmare later, two broken and bad-tempered women sat on the old couch in the front garden, swearing never again. We didn’t understand why it had been so difficult, it was a two-seater after all. We clearly remembered the day years before when it was first delivered, so either the couch had grown, or the house had shrunk.

The next day, tempers and difficulty forgot, the new couch was delivered and peace reigned once more. How I wish the story ended there.

At this point in the story, I can blame Anita for what happened next. She had seen (and fallen in love with) another couch in the charity shop, which she assured me, would be far more comfortable than our old three seater. You couldn’t make up what happened next.

To cut a long and painful story short, we bought the three seater and managed to drag the old one out. Slightly easier this time as it could be dismantled. Shame it was so bloody heavy though!

Shortly after the new three-seater was delivered, it became obvious that the blessed thing wasn’t comfortable at all, and had to go. By this time we were exhausted,  unhappy and tempers were flaring. Again!

After three days of juggling large, heavy and unresponsive pieces of furniture, I have banned the word ‘couch’ from ever being spoken of in my hearing again. The furniture we have will just have to last, for there is no way I am going to lift anything heavier than the kettle for the foreseeable future!

 

 

To Be or not to Be?

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This morning, as I was reading the news on my PC, there was an article about recognising the signs of Alzheimers or dementia, and as I am constantly being told that I am well on my way to having one or the other, I gave it a read.

I suppose it was inevitable at my age, 74, for the remarks to start because I must admit, I am nothing like I used to be. (Sssh, don’t tell anyone I said that!)

 For instance:

… How many times do I forget what I am doing, or what I was going to do?

… How many times do I ask the same question or misunderstand the answer?

… Trying to find the right words to express myself.

… Are my mood swings more pronounced? Although personally, despite public opinion, I think I am having more good moods lately.

… Then there are the changes in my vision. (Which are definitely caused by my cataract)

…Do I have trouble learning new skills? (This is not exactly new, I have always been a bit dense, but I get there in the end!)

 

But on the good side:  (That I managed to find a few of these pleased me no end!)

I haven’t yet got lost in the street. (Although I did recently forget my dentist appointment)

I haven’t yet staggered down the road, waving my knickers in the air. (And I hope I never do, but it could happen apparently!)

I have not lost interest in any of my projects or hobbies. Just the time I need to do them!

I can still do sums in my head and follow a plot. (More or less!)

I have begun to worry less about our progress, but wonder if this is down to losing the plot!

 

One of my main accusers is also displaying some of these telltale signs, so it is probably only a matter of time for either one of us falls foul to the disease of the aged…  This isn’t a competition I intend to win, however…

All joking aside, I am becoming a little concerned about the star of my brain. At first, it was amusing and on a good day, it can be hilarious, watching myself do the most stupid of things. Like going out for a walk without any shoes on, or forgetting to switch on the washing machine/computer/iron/oven and wonder why nothing happens. One the best ones was wondering why the kettle didn’t quite fit in the fridge. Even I had to laugh at that one.

All of this is beginning to affect my writing too, despite all the notes I make, and the frantic checking what I actually wrote yesterday.

I still get a satisfying buzz when I reach my daily total, but the extent of my elation is in itself alarming. I am having to work in short bursts, and this is playing havoc with my productivity!

I want to believe this has everything to do with the cataract in my left eye. It has been slowly growing for some years now and is finally large enough to be removed. As per NHS guidelines, of course. My vision is doing such weird things, but could it be affecting my brain too?

If anyone has any experience of this, I would be delighted to hear it.

 

 

I Nearly Missed Spring!

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In other years, as spring approaches, I have always walked around my garden, impatient to spot the tiny buds that seem to appear overnight on previously dead looking branches as mother nature gets moving. But what with the appalling weather and the worst flu I have ever had, I have been denied this pleasure. Until today.

The sun was shining and very warm, and this was the first time I felt well enough to step outside and be totally amazed at what has been going on in my absence.

The first thing I saw when I opened my back door and stepped out into the fresh air, were my bonsai collection. Most of my collection are Japanese Acers, displaying so many different colours in their tiny leaves. My oldest, at nearly fifty years, is at present a vivid scarlet when it first shoots into life, changing through the year from bright red to green and finally yellow.

The new leaves in Acers are always stunningly vivid, whatever their colour, and I was so pleased I hadn’t missed the initial display.

Further down the garden, the forsythia in the hedge is a brilliant yellow and nearby, my new cherry tree sports big pale pink buds, promising an amazing statement.

Everywhere I look, life is beginning again, such a cheerful sight after the miserable start to the year.

But not everything has waited for me. The white camellia has suffered frost damage, the creamy white blossom burnt around the edges. Then I notice that my new addition, a purple magnolia sapling, has no leaf or flower buds. The branches are bare, the one sad sight in my garden. It is such a lovely colour, and I hope it is just dragging its heels, not something worse.

As I stood there, enjoying the sunshine, it felt wonderful to be feeling so much better after one of the worst flu virus I remember having. As I stood there, a true gardener, I noticed how long the grass was already and wondered why weeds seem to grow so much faster than anything else does?

They say a weed is just a plant that is growing in the wrong place. This is an interesting theory, but weed or plant, they seem so very different to garden plants.

I feel like a weed sometimes, not quite in the right place and constantly being metaphorically cut back. And just like a weed, I always seem bounce back, stronger than ever.

At least so far!

 

Come out, come out, wherever you are…

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image by Pixabay.com

 

I have been trying to sort out my ever-growing collection of photographs as I am a bit of a hoarder; things have been getting out of hand lately. Actually finding what I’m looking for is proving to be not only impossible but downright frustrating, even though I know what I’m looking for is there somewhere.

I put my ultra-patient hat on and set to work, but soon realised that I might still be doing it this time next year, so I gave up. I would have to do a section at a time, fitting the time in as and when possible.

Fast forward to the following day, when I was looking for yet another image on Pixabay.com. If you have ever used this site, you will know that you have to enter your requirement in their search box and with one click, they give you pages of exactly what you are looking for.

I realised that this same system is in operation on many other sites too. There are search boxes everywhere, and this got me thinking. Why can’t we have a search box on our own image files?

Just think, instead of scrolling endlessly through dozens of folders and hundreds of images, you could just enter the relevant word and hey presto, no more frustration!

I just know that round about now, someone is going to tell me that there is already such a system. So, why don’t I know about it, and who is going to tell me how to get it?

 

A Quick Question…

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Do you know where the stories you write come from?

What if they have already happened in some other reality, time or space we know nothing about?

What if that is where it really comes from?

It reminds me of the saying to be careful what you wish for, so maybe we should be careful what we write and put back into the universe…

We Have Been nominated for the Real Neat Blog Award!

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Just one day after we were nominated on the Annual Bloggers Bash in the Best Pal category, we have been nominated for the Really Neat Award too! Two very good reasons for this delighted look on our faces…

We thank Stevie Turner for nominating us for this honour, and the rules are as follows:

 

  • 1.Put the award logo on your blog.
  • 2. Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
  • 3. Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog.
  • 4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like, and ask them 7 questions.
  • 5.Let them know you have nominated them.

Stevie has asked us these questions…

Just one day after we were nominated for the Annual Bloggers Bash in the Best Pal category, we have been nominated for the Really Neat Award too! Two very good reasons for this delighted look on our faces…

We thank Stevie Turner for nominating us for this honour, and the rules are as follows:

Whom do you admire?

This is an easy question, for we are surrounded by the achievements of several family members at the moment. One by one, our offspring have surpassed expectations and gone over and beyond the call of duty, causing much puffing up of chests and proud smiley faces. There are times when being a parent is the best job in the world!

Are You a Cat or Dog person?

This is harder to answer, for we are all animal lovers in our family. We have Merlin, a black and white cat who is 14 years old this year, and regularly dog sit a pair of young sausage dog puppies. But my favourite animals are horses…

Do you like city or countryside living?

Definitely the countryside or better yet, countryside by the sea!

Are you an outside or an inside person?

Always an outside person, I even write out of doors, weather permitting…

Do you still see people from your childhood?

I don’t think there were any people in my childhood, I am an orphan and remember being a bit lonely most of the time…

Facebook heaven or hell?

Neither, it is just an online social club, to meet and communicate with other writers/bloggers…

Do you like your holidays hot or cold?

I prefer action, adventurous holidays, so like the weather to be clement. My idea of hell is to sunbathe in a hot climate…

So, now it is our turn to nominate some people for ‘The Real Neat Blog Award’ and ask them seven questions.

Here are the eight people we have nominated:

sknicholls

Rathertoofondofbooks

Besonian

Tina Frisco

Rachel poli

Nottomatoes

Deborah Jay

Here are your questions everybody!

  • Can you just stop anywhere or must it be at the end of a chapter?
  • Do you play music or have the TV on when reading?
  • One book at a time or several?
  • Do you ever write in your books?
  • Do you have a specific place for reading?
  • Do you use bookmarks?
  • Which author do you really admire?

 

I hope we have done this correctly, as it has been a while and just a bit rusty!