Anita Dawes & Jaye Marie

Two determined authors, bulletproof and dangerous…


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Cover Trouble…

help

We were looking at our website the other day, as you do… and it was decided that the small sliding show of all our book covers looked a bit puny. We decided to remove the offending article and reinstate our book covers down the sidebar, complete with clickable links to Amazon.
Should be easy, I thought. I had done it before and remembered how to do it. A little fiddly, but not too difficult. We have eleven books between us so it would take me a while.
I managed to upload four of the covers before the trouble started. The fifth cover uploaded okay, but somehow it removed cover number four. How was this even possible, I thought?
I tried again, and the same thing happened. I kept on trying, because I’m stubborn, but couldn’t get it to work. I swear something happens whenever I try to do the simplest of jobs but thought I would retreat and see what happens tomorrow, before I lost it completely.
The following day, it seemed worse, so I decided to have a word with WP ‘happiness engineers’, and it makes interesting reading!

Me: “I am trying to add some images to my sidebar, but they just don’t appear…is there a limit to how many images you can have?”

WP: “Hi there, let me take a look…”

WP: “Is this the site you’re referring to? https://jenanita01.com/”

Me: “Yes.” (we only have the one…)

WP: “And you are trying to customise it here, is that correct?” https://wordpress.com/customise/jenanita01.com

Me: “I get an image from media and then go to widgets and images, I fill in the boxes and save, but then they just vanish…”

WP: “I see that one of the images is not displaying. The URL appears to be incorrect.”

Me: “but I get the URL from the media screen…”

WP: “Is this the image?” https://jenanita01.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/nl-kindle-x1.jpg

Me: “That one was successful, so was the Simple cover, and Bad Moon. I would like to add more.”

WP: “I don’t think ‘The Ninth Life’ is added correctly. I don’t see it on your page. Do you see it at https://jenanita01.com/ ?”

Me: “Yes.”

WP: “I see a broken image, like this: https://cloudup.com/cLWUMnMMqRV

Me: “I don’t understand, it looks all right to me. Why am I having a problem adding new images? I just clicked on the previous link and the image is not there. This happened a lot yesterday too.”

WP: “You should be able to add more images. I’m unaware of a limit. I’m testing right now and don’t see any problems. Can you tell me the steps you’re going through when you have problems?”

Me: “Something is wrong. Images that do appear suddenly vanish and others won’t upload at all. I choose an image from media (haven’t I said this already?) then I go to widgets and image, add the URL from the media page, fill in the boxes and save. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t, and sometimes it works but removes an image already there in the sidebar.”

WP: “Are you using the media browser at https://wordpress.com/media/jenanita01.com ?”

Me: “Yes.” (Slowly losing the will to live round about now…)

WP: “It’s important that you open the image and by selecting the image and clicking ‘Edit’. From the image editor, you can copy the URL (gosh I would never have thought of that…) Is this the process you follow?”

Me: (trying very hard to keep my patience and my sense of humour) “I don’t usually have to click on ‘edit’ as the URL is in the box already, so I just copy and paste. Is this wrong?”

WP: “The image for ‘The Last Life’ didn’t have the correct URL. You may need to change how you get the URL. This is how I get the correct URL: https://cloudup.com/clX8WY03S8V

Me: “That one didn’t upload at all. I will try this, and thank you for your help. Going now…”

WP: “Ok. If you have any more difficulty, we’re here to help. Have a great day!”

I love using these new ‘live chat’ thingies, so much better than an email, especially for a thick head like me. You see, not only do I hate technology (because I swear it hated me first) I have trouble understanding it too, even when someone tries to explain it to me. So having someone on the end of the line is usually better. I can keep asking the same question until something clicks into place.

I have to add, that WP is normally very helpful, often hitting the nail on the head when I have made a stupid mistake, so not exactly sure why it was different this time. But if anyone knows what I am doing wrong, or has a better way of explaining it, I am all ears!


8 Comments

Good, Bad, or indifferent?

death book

 

What is the most important achievement in an author’s life?

I can think of many thinks that are equally important, like

Completing a novel

Seeing your book in print

Being published, either traditionally or self

These are all important of course, but the one I’m thinking about is receiving good reviews for your work.

But apparently, according to Tara Sparling, there are better reviews we could get. Reviews that could sell more books than any of those 5-star reviews.

These are the bad reviews.

You may have heard the expression, “there is no such thing as bad publicity” and history has proved this to be true. The minute someone says how much they hated something, people immediately want to see for themselves.

Think of all the books that have been banned. People will break their necks to get a copy. Some of the best-selling books in the world started out by being banned.

Bad reviews actually contain more useful information for prospective readers, like…

“I didn’t like the main character, he didn’t have to be so mean…”

“this book is so depressing. Don’t read it unless you want to end up being miserable…”

“I hated the ending. Can’t understand why the author did that…”

“Too much violence/sex/ swearing in this book for me…”

So, I want someone to give one of our books a bad review, just to prove this theory…

Any takers?        (#Free copies available on request)

 

 


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The amended beginning to The Broken Life…

This is really a continuation of the recent post ‘The Critique’… I think it is a vast improvement on the original beginning. What do you think?

BLsss

DI David Snow has a serial killer to catch, a killer as mysterious as the crimes he commits.

Snow is due to retire, but not before he discovers why someone killed his sergeant and is now coming after him.

The killer seems to have a personal vendetta against Snow, but he is determined that no one else should die because of him. His efforts are hampered by the arrival of a new sergeant, ‘ruthless’ Ruth Winton, for she is not what she seems. Alarm bells start to ring when Snow realises she is after more than just his job.

 

It was almost midnight, the cold rushing wind the only sound in the empty, deserted streets. The detective was unaware that someone had been following him ever since he left the public house. This had not been a social visit, he had been looking for information, seeking to loosen a few tongues with the help of the local brew.

It had been another waste of his time, and his mood was as black as the night around him.  He heard a sound behind him and stopped walking, waiting for the person to come into view. When no one appeared he knew he was alone and more than a little drunk and frustrated.

As he stood in the middle of the road, something hit the side of his head, something hard and painful. He had been right, after all. Someone had been following him, and they had just thrown something at him. His senses began to fail as the pain intensified, his sight the first to go. As his knees buckled, he reached up, his fingers touching the alien object that was protruding from the side of his head.

The shock of realising what was happening accelerated his system failure, and he collapsed, his head hitting the road hard. As he lay dying, someone walked up to him and knelt down beside him. He couldn’t see who it was, or whether they were friend or foe, but he had the feeling it didn’t matter anymore anyway. The last thing he felt were the icy cold fingers on his face…

Chapter One

Detective Inspector David Snow stared at the black and white photograph, struggling to grasp why the familiar face of Jim Harris was looking back at him from the whiteboard in his office.

Snow’s brain refused to acknowledge that the man he had worked with for years wouldn’t be coming through the door again, grinning, with a Costa coffee in his hand.

Snow had attended the post mortem, feeling it was the least he could do for his friend. Jim would have been impressed, knowing how much Snow hated them. It had to be a mistake. Jim Harris couldn’t be dead. Why had he been out at that time of night? Snow found himself thinking like all the surviving relatives he had ever tried to console over the years, if you didn’t believe, it couldn’t be true, didn’t happen.

His job had been wearing Snow down for a while, and he was bone weary of the constant struggle. The last few years had been difficult, his energy never at full strength when he needed it most. Without Jim Harris, the future not only looked bleak, but it also seemed doomed.

Snow closed his eyes, remembering the optimistic presence, the calm and persuasive way jobs and problems were solved. No one else could diffuse a situation quite like Jim. They would replace Jim with some snotty-nosed Yahoo, intent on playing cops and robbers.

The sheer frustration of the situation threatened to ruin another working day, and the cheap pen he was holding snapped in two in his hands.

One piece of paper caught his eye, and he couldn’t look away. It was the preliminary coroner’s report. Blunt force trauma to the head, although not the cause of death. Skull penetration by a thin, pointed weapon still to be found.

What the report didn’t say, and never did, was why. Snow pushed himself away from the desk, the wheels of his chair squeaking on the vinyl flooring.  He stood, unsure and puzzled. What was the time? Or the day? He had no clue. He also needed a coffee.

 

On his way to the high street, the image of a wild-haired woman with sad eyes flashed through his mind. Kate Devereau had been a victim in one of his cases last year. Her ex-husband had taken it upon himself to slaughter everyone who had ever upset him. Kate was one of the few survivors, rescued by Snow himself. Because of the trauma, she had suffered a complete mental breakdown, unable to communicate or recognise anyone. Once in a while, Snow would see her, hoping for a miracle, but her eyes were as dead as the people she had lost.

Further down the road and out of the corner of his eye, the familiar flash of red hair signaled the imminent arrival of his neighbour and nemesis, Susan Miles.  It was too late to take evasive action, so he braced himself for the meeting.

‘How lovely to see you, David… but why didn’t you say if you needed something in town?’

He stared at her, trying to think of something non-committal to say, but the desire to be rude was overpowering. ‘I’m not shopping, Susan. I just needed a coffee … and a few minutes peace and quiet.’

They continued walking, his strides deliberately longer than hers, hoping her impossibly high heels would slow her down or at least trip her up, he didn’t really care which.

‘David, please slow down, I can’t keep up with you. I wanted to invite myself to dinner tonight, as I’m making your favourite…?’

She was really pushing it today, he thought. So many times, he had tried to explain that he neither wanted nor needed a replacement for his wife. Since Anne had died, he didn’t think about women like that. Even if he did, he wouldn’t choose Susan Miles. ‘Sorry Susan, I’m working late again. Too much work on at the moment…’

She frowned, and he could hear the wheels turning in her brain as she tried to think of something that would get her what she wanted. One of these days, he knew he would have to be blunt and put an end to her dreams of romance.

She had always been a problem. The reason Snow worked so late most of the time was to avoid her, and he knew he should have done something about the situation a long time ago. The trouble was, he didn’t know how to do it without hurting her. But if he wanted to retire, it would be time to retire her too, now wouldn’t it?

The whole idea seemed unattainable and impossible to fathom. Why wasn’t Jim still here, he would know how to make her leave.

(Feel free to pull it apart…I would love some constructive criticism!)

 

 


9 Comments

More Muddy Waters…

dddhui

 

Well, I have been simplifying and streamlining like a mad woman. I have cut and pruned, deleted and unsubscribed, all those things and places that I thought were a good idea at the time, but somehow never got around to learning. They have all been weeded out.

There seems to be a strong gardening influence going on here, don’t you think? This is probably because after I finish spring cleaning the inside of my head and my office… there is a load more of the same to do outside in the garden!

I have also been trying to complete all those projects that have been hanging around, and the story of my battle with cancer  ‘Apple Blossom’ is now on Amazon. Work is also continuing well on my non-fiction travelogue, and I am pleased with my progress so far.

 

All things considered, I  don’t appear to have so many balls in the air now, and feel the better for it.

That was when something amazing happened.

Anita and I have long wanted to write a book together, but despite regular discussions, we never seemed to agree on anything. No change there then! This in itself is not unusual in this house, but I digress.

Something was mentioned and caught our interest, and as we continued to talk, we could see the magic beginning to grow into a great idea. I won’t say any more, but I have the feeling it will be amazing.

I honestly believe that everything we have learned, every failure and disappointment, even the pruning casualties this week, have all been leading us to this moment.

So, from having too many irons in the fire, we have added another one!

And then disaster struck!

The internet had been playing up, constantly buffering and crashing, but I was patient, thinking it would right itself. When several days passed without improvement, I decided to refresh Firefox, my browser. All this managed to achieve was the total loss of all my bookmarks and password recognition and no possible way of retrieving them that I could see.

By this time, I was thoroughly disgusted with my stupidity, so I changed browsers, returning to Internet Explorer, which always seemed to work well enough on my laptop.

But… by then everything was going from bad to worse, and I wanted to shoot myself. Nothing had really changed, and I didn’t like the layout on Int.Explorer. All I really wanted was to stop all the buffering and delays.

This is a classic example of my prowess or lack of it when it comes to computers. I had to stop for the day round about then, as my brain was showing the signs of self-destruction.

The following day, my mind decided to work better, and I reinstated Firefox. I am still unable to get my stuff back, which means I will have to collect them all over again. But the buffering has now stopped, so that’s a small price to pay.

I cannot believe the mess I made, simply trying to make my life easier…

 


5 Comments

The Critique…

BL X4 (2)

 

The other day in a post, I mentioned a critique I received for Broken Life, the third book in my ‘Lives’ series.

I had been reading an article about Cathleen Townsend and how thorough a job she had done on a certain book. The writer swore it had made the difference between it being a good book and a great one. After a conversation between writer, the Cathleen, and me, she offered to analyze the opening chapters of one of my books.

It just so happened that Broken Life hadn’t been beta read… a huge oversight on my part and something I do usually do, so I leapt at the chance.

I wasn’t prepared for the result, however. Huge chunks of the text had been scored through, and the general indication was bad. My heart sank into my boots, and I slunk away, very ashamed of myself.

I spent two whole days thinking I was a crap writer, trying desperately to find a reason not to rip all my books into pieces.

Then something happened. I don’t know what made me read the critique again, and this time I could see what Cathleen wanted me to see. So I deleted the offending text and read it again. It was more dramatic, the content tighter, better befitting a crime thriller. Cathleen also suggested that an ‘action prologue’ a dramatic passage at the beginning of the book, either as a prologue or new chapter one, would give the reader an idea of the quality of the story.

I had never written one of these before, although I had read other peoples, and they do lend an extra element.

Broken Life has been updated and republished now, and this post is my way of thanking Cathleen Townsend for her valuable advice…

 


5 Comments

The Mind of a Killer!

 

lightning

I am in the middle of a technophobic meltdown at the moment, and barely keeping my head from exploding with frustration. I want to take an axe to every piece of equipment in my office and take up knitting again. (not really an option!)

Everything computer connected has been driving me nuts for a while now. Crashing, buffering or just plain ignoring me. So I decided to change browsers. Don’t ask me why, but I thought it was a good idea at the time. Well, you have to blame something, don’t you?

I switched from Firefox to Internet Explorer, only to discover I was no better off, and in some cases, worse than before. And in the process, I have lost all my bookmarks, and several programmes that I use a lot, like Buffer and Grammerly.

It has been suggested that I upgrade to Windows 10, and/or get a faster hub, all of which sounds like madness to me, but might be the way forward one of these days.

So I have spent two whole days and most of my evenings, trying to sort myself out again. Nothing else has been achieved in the mean time and I am not happy about that at all. Right when I was getting everything uncluttered and streamlined to help my appalling eyesight and failing brain cells!

But as they say, this too shall pass, and the sooner the bloody better!

What passes for normal service around here will, no doubt resume sometime over this weekend, and I am truly looking forward to it!


10 Comments

Muddy Waters…

 

ssdf

 

Getting an appointment with my doctor is becoming impossible these days, as he must be the most popular person in Petersfield, that’s all I can say. For several days I tried, finally giving up and making do with another doctor.

I wasn’t expecting much, to be honest, for me and doctors don’t normally get on. I swear they think I am a malingerer or something.

To be fair, she did check me over quite thoroughly I thought and did her best to assure me that there was nothing in my head that shouldn’t be there. The earache and four-week-old headache were dismissed, as it didn’t keep me awake at night so couldn’t possibly be that bad.  I don’t think she believed a word about my constant giddiness and nausea.  When I tried to describe the way my brain seems to ‘slide’ sometimes, I could tell she thought I was barking. A typical hypochondriac with possible dementia thrown in for good measure.

I left the surgery with a prescription for something to help with nausea, and when I got back home, I checked this drug out on the internet. Turned out to be a strong antipsychotic, not be given to the elderly or anyone with dubious brain activity. Taking it under these conditions, they said, “could result in death.”

Needless to say, that prescription found its way into the bin a bit sharpish. Whatever is wrong with my brain will just have to get on with it, or go away. I know which I would prefer!

In an endeavour to ease my symptoms, I decide to cut back my workload and time spent on the blessed computer. The optician had offered to darken my reading glasses to help with the glare, so I thought the future could be doable.

Once I took a good look at the situation, I realised I was on my own, regarding my future.  Assuming of course, that I had one. It was up to me to find a system that would work, as the alternative didn’t bear thinking about. War had been declared between me and everything I wanted to do.

My eyes would grudgingly allow me a little time at the PC/laptop/kindle before throwing in the towel, so I had to come up with a decent routine.

The problem with my knees was more easily solved, a comfortable pair of kneepads and I was good to go. Something I was pleased about, for I tend to do a lot of work on the floor. (don’t ask!)

The constant tiredness, headaches, and arthritis would be harder to manage, but not impossible with the help of copious amounts of soluble paracetamol.

After a cold hard look at my workload, I realised I had far too many balls in the air, or irons in the fire, whichever you prefer. I had to get out the pruning shears and cut back some of the things that really weren’t getting us anywhere.

All that searching for the magic answer/angle had to stop too. My life had to be simplified if I wanted to come out of this mess in one happy piece!

A further post about how I chopped and pruned may well follow, once I get past the pain of deleting and unsubscribing all the dead or dying wood in my forest!