My Date with the Dentist…

 

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image by Pixabay

 

 

The day I had been long waiting and dreading in equal measure had finally arrived… and I had the flu…

Suspecting some kind of conspiracy, I knew I had to keep this appointment, even if it meant I crawled there on my hands and knees. I had been patient, endured endless days of torment, wondering if the outcome would ever be worth the wait.

Today I would find out.

I felt like death warmed over, my throat raw and my body wracked with pain. I couldn’t stop coughing, my head was splitting and befuddled with copious amounts of paracetamol. My voice had been reduced to a croak and I had trouble walking a straight line in my weakened condition. I was in no fit state to keep this appointment and I knew it. Fate had decided to throw one last spoke in my wheel and yet I knew that if I gave up now, I would never have the strength to fight it again.

As the time of my appointment drew near, I argued all the pros and cons.

  1. My Dentist would probably take one look at me and send me home. That’s if I could even get there in the first place. I could give up now and go back to bed.
  2. If anything was wrong, I wouldn’t be able to voice my opinion with anything approaching conviction. It might be better to go back to bed.
  3. There was always the possibility that this appointment would be a waste of time, the teeth would be a disaster or not be ready. None of the previous fittings had ended well, so my fears had foundation. My bed was looking better with every passing minute.
  4. Maybe the Dentist would fail to turn up. He could have the flu too or have flown the country to avoid my arrival. Maybe a sinkhole had opened up in the high street, consuming the building I headed for? I should really go back to bed…

 

I was clutching at straws by this time, trying to justify the state of me with what might happen if I managed to stagger down the road. But I knew myself far too well. I would stagger down the road and defy him to send me home… my new teeth would fit… and the fresh air would do me good. I could pull this off, hell, I had done worse in my time and none the worse for it.

If it all goes pear-shaped, at least I can lie on my deathbed and smile at the world with a brand new set of pearly white teeth!

 

Later that day…

I walked slowly into town, and with every step, convinced I was mad and about to reap the results of my insanity. Not only was the building where I had last seen it, the dentist had turned up too. Two out of three is not bad, so I waited for the sword of Damocles to claim the last one. This was not to be, for the new teeth had turned up too.

To cut a long story short, and after much pushing, prodding and various bits were smoothed off, I walked home, still feeling like crap, but grinning at everyone I met with a set of teeth that didn’t feel like my own.

It will take a while, he says, before they feel normal again, due mainly to the length of time I have been without them. I could have said so much at that point, but I really didn’t have the energy…

 

Too Many Irons…

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Have you ever had the feeling that you have bitten off more than you can chew?

Well, right now I seem to have a mouthful!

I have just finished re-editing my first book, Nine Lives. This was after making the mistake of actually opening the book and reading a few pages. After I got over the shock of seeing how bad it was, I realised it needs either a major new edit or bin it. That wasn’t really an option, so I spent a couple of weeks going over it with a fine-toothed comb.

It now has a brand new cover and is republished on Amazon.

I have to finish the formatting for the paperback version, then I will have restored the status quo for this book at least. I will be repeating this process for my other two books, for they might need an overhaul too!

At the same time, I have been busy editing our holiday memoir, Lazy Days, getting it ready for publication. We wanted to enter it with Kindlescout but they don’t accept novellas.

If you remember, we entered in 2015 with Let it Go….. and I thought it did well. It didn’t win, but I enjoyed the exciting process!

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Now, what else have we been doing?

Oh yes, we have announced a book tour for Lazy Days in January 2018. The 8th to the 12th, if anyone wants to take part!

We will be taking part in Lizzie Chantree’s book tour in January for Ninja School Mum, and I am reviewing Sacha Black’s book Keepers for Rosie Ambers review team.

Seriously thinking of making some new book trailers too and I have been trying to make sense of my writing/ blogging bible. Over the years, so much information has been added, changed or deleted; it’s a bit of a mess. So I bought myself a new book to transcribe all the valuable stuff into. This undertaking might be the straw that breaks this camel’s back as I can’t make sense of my scribble. Why on earth did I let get it into such a mess in the first place?

What else?

Oh yes, we are planning a massive promotion for Anita’s book, Let it Go, starting with a Kindle promo next week. For some reason, we have neglected this book and this won’t do at all. So you have been warned!

 

Although we are very busy at the moment, I haven’t been able to do much work on PayBack, my new WIP, and not happy about that at all. But I am discovering that there is only so much you can get an ageing brain to cope with, unfortunately.

It occurs to me that doing one thing at a time sounds like a better idea, but how can you, when there is so much you want to do?

AWOL in the garden…

 

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The grass in my garden seems to get longer every time I look at it and really needs cutting. It hasn’t exactly been gardening weather lately and I have been tied up trying to be a creative bunny. Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. The truth sounds so horrible, I refuse to believe it, but I might just be getting too old!

So, I tell myself, and others, that I have to wait for the grass to dry and they seem to believe me. It does sound feasible. But the guilt was starting to get to me, along with the knowledge that if I left it much longer, (see what I did there?) it would be so hard to cut.

Fed up with all the excuses, I grasped the nettle and got the mower out. The grass was soaking wet, something I didn’t understand as it hadn’t rained for days. It has been a bit misty though, so that might have something to do with it.

Every few feet, I have to turn the mower over to remove the wads of wet grass that are jamming up the works. Much later, when I had assaulted the entire lawn, there were these piles of sodden grass at strategic places all over the place!

 

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I feel reasonably proud of my achievements despite all the aches and pains, and several years younger, although this might have been wishful thinking. In my new role as a sprightly gardener…I decided to plant my new apple tree. This is a very special tree, with two different kinds of apples on it. I had the thought to have my own apple tree a few weeks ago, something I have never wanted before, and when I saw a picture of this one, I knew it had my name on it.

Although at just four feet high, I might have to wait a while to see any!

 

 

All I want for Christmas…

is teeth!

 

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image by pixabay

 

 

Several months ago, I had to have a tooth out. It just couldn’t be saved, so it had to go. This resulted in my needing a new denture. At the time, whatever could go wrong promptly did and what they came up with just didn’t fit.

I don’t know why, but from their comments and excuses, I think they thought it was my fault!

Before I continue, I have to mention that my dentist, for the want of a better word, is National Health and I am an old age pensioner. Which means, basically, that I don’t pay for my treatment. Whether this explains the slipshod attitude towards my mouth, and me I cannot say. But I was told in no uncertain terms that I would have to wait until three months had passed before they could try again. Something to do with my entitlement…

Well, I did complain, but they wouldn’t budge.

So I waited…

 

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image by pixabay

 

In the interim, two more teeth decided to give up the ghost, developing nasty abscesses in the gum and they had to be removed too. Not a simple procedure either and they came out in pieces. Despite this ordeal, I considered myself lucky, as it could easily have happened after I had the new denture. That’s if you ever do, said the voice of niggling doubt!

Time has elapsed and I now have just two more appointments for fittings before they are ready, although I am not holding my breath!

So far, I have been without any top teeth for months, and I am getting REALLY fed up with soft food. There is only so much porridge a person can stomach you know. Although I have learned to successfully suck a slice of toast to death…

…and I did come into my own at Halloween, my toothless grin was very popular.

 

You wouldn’t believe what really upsets me though…

No matter how carefully I try, I can’t talk properly!

The family think this is all amusing, but they have no idea how hard it has been. How many different foods I have picked up to eat, only to realise I can’t and have to give up walk away. And before you ask, I haven’t lost any weight!

Stubborn as ever, I even tried sucking my way through a bag of crisps, but they just made my mouth sore.

So in four weeks’ time, with all my fingers crossed and a prevailing wind, I might just be able to smile at the world again and eat what the hell I like!

Progress Report! (Or how I learned to love my work again!)

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BABY STEPS!

 

I have been an editor/proof-reader for years and always considered myself reasonably good at my job. I never had any complaints, which is my benchmark for how good you really are. In fact, several Literary Agents complimented me on the quality of our submissions.

English was always my favourite subject and I read a lot of books, but never once considered being a writer. I was far too busy managing Anita’s books, back in the day when manuscripts had to be submitted to agents and publishers in a very particular fashion.

Over the years, we received stacks of very encouraging and favourable letters from both agents and publishers alike, almost leading to publication a couple of times but sadly, despite almost being good enough, Anita was never published.

This might have been why I didn’t think of being a writer, after all, I knew, better than most, just how bloody hard it was. But eventually, my muse arrived. This was just after the Kindle phenomena took off. Suddenly, everyone could publish their books on Amazon, and it was supposed to be so easy, anyone could do it.

I have to say, in fairness to all the wonderful writers out there, I did find it very hard to write a full-length book. 70.000 words seemed an impossible target, and I doubted my capabilities every step of the way. That first book taught me so much about plot and dialogue, character arcs and subplots, even though it made my head spin. The day I finished The Ninth Life, a sense of achievement crept over me as I realised I had become a writer!

That was in 2014, and I went on to write two more thrillers after that. Most of you will know the fun I have had finding the right covers for my books, but I didn’t worry about the content at all. After all, I checked them for spelling errors and I had my editor head on, so they had to be fine.

Or so I thought.

What happened to make me doubt myself?

I have recently written a memoir/novella about my fight with breast cancer and published it on Amazon. It received one review that commented on how short it was, and when I took a long hard look at it, I had to agree. Not only was it far too short, it could be a lot better. That was when I knew I would have to check my other books too.

I read The Ninth Life again last month and was shocked at the state of it. Where was all the brilliant writing, the competent editor, the jaw-dropping prose? To say I was disappointed would be putting it mildly, I wanted to crawl away and die. For nearly a week, I battled with unpublishing my books and throwing them away, for the thought of rewriting them seemed an impossible task.

Gradually, common sense prevailed. They were my babies, I was an editor, I could fix this.

One thought kept me going. If I can now recognise the faults in my writing, does that mean I have improved over the years? I am pretty sure I have, for I am looking at my work with a totally different mindset. Most of what I see is amateur, almost childish. There were so many repeated and wimpy words and adverbs by the bucket load. It probably would have been easier to scrap them and start afresh, but I am nothing if not stubborn, so I will improve all three books, or die trying! They might be the only thing I leave this world to remember me by!

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The Ninth Life is now called Nine Lives. It has been thoroughly edited to within an inch of its life AND has two new covers. What it needs now, is some fresh eyes to see if it passes muster, and while you’re at it, please tell me which cover you prefer?  

Are there a couple of beta readers out there, who like reading mystery thrillers?

Pistols at Dawn!

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I was alone in my office, head down, trying to catch up on the editing for Lazy Days, when I became aware of someone watching me from the doorway.

I looked up to find DI David Snow, Kate’s Snowman, standing there looking very fit and well. His retirement/holiday had done him the world of good.

“Hi, Jaye…”

The sound of his voice sliding over my name caused the usual flutter in my stomach, something I was delighted hadn’t changed a bit. “Hi to you too…what are you doing here? I thought you had retired or something.”

“No, I know that was your plan, but I had other ideas.”

I really should ask him in, make him sit down, but that could wait. I was enjoying the view far too much. I could tell he had something else on his mind, so I pushed aside the editing and reluctantly indicated the empty chair beside me.

Before he lowered himself slowly to the chair, someone else arrived and my heart sank when I realised it was my newest character, DS Mallory Davis. He had the lead role in my WIP Payback and was as different a character to David Snow as chalk from cheese. Undeniably sexy, though.

I must have looked surprised, maybe even a bit annoyed, for he began to apologise. “I can always come back later if you’re busy…”

Before I could speak, David turned to face him and invited him to stay. “What I have to say involves you too, so it’s just as well you’ve turned up.”

The atmosphere and testosterone levels in my office had reached dangerous levels, raising the hairs on the back of my neck. This was every author’s nightmare.

They were both looking at me expectantly, waiting for me to say something. In an effort to at least look as though I was in charge, I offered coffee, mainly to give me some thinking time.

“No, we won’t, if you don’t mind. This isn’t a social visit. What I have to say will probably cause you both trouble, but I have to get it off my chest.”

As I listened to David, it occurred to me that Mallory knew all about this, whatever it was. How was that even possible? Knowing I wasn’t going to like any of it, I asked, “Sounds like you both want something, so you had better just tell me.”

David began to speak, quietly and seriously about my WIP Payback. How it should have been his story. That he was my detective and the story was rightfully his.

Mallory listened patiently, his face giving nothing away, but I had the feeling he didn’t like what he was hearing. When David finished speaking, he stood up and walked around the room, and I was reminded again of a tiger stalking his prey. “Payback was never meant to be for you, David. It is a new concept with younger characters…”

David didn’t miss the emphasis on the word ‘younger’ and promptly stood up too. Both men circled around each other, making my office seem smaller by the minute.

I had a decision to make, and quickly before the situation got out of hand. The problem was even bigger than I first thought. Although I loved David, I couldn’t allow him to commandeer the lead in Payback. I had invested a lot of time and emotion creating Mallory, determined he would be a completely different character to David.

Before I could speak, David turned to Mallory. “I don’t mean that you should be deleted. I could never wish that on anyone. It’s just that I don’t want to be retired… and you…” turning to me, “have the power to do something about it!”

I had missed writing about David, but I was enjoying writing about Mallory. There had to be a solution that worked for all of us… and I had to come up with one fast.

Both men were watching me intently and it was important that my next words were the right ones. Thinking on my feet, I took a deep breath and ordered the pair of them to sit down.

“Right… Payback is Mallory’s story, and I will not change that. But there will be a new Snowman story. Not because you demand it David, but because I want to write it.”

I knew David would be the one to ask the question.

“When?”

I had my answer ready. “Give me a hand with the plot and I’ll write both stories in tandem. Should be fun, don’t you think?”

After they both left, I realised that I hadn’t actually solved anything… just made my life even more complicated, if that was possible. It might be fun, though…

 

 

 

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?

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Original Cover

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New Cover?

 

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