You couldn’t Make it Up!

This week is turning out to be a nightmare…

Yesterday, my web browser crashed. For no apparent reason, or not one I was aware of anyway. And usual, the first I wanted to do, was run for the hills. I find it impossible to think straight when something like this happens, so these days I don’t even try. I calmly walked away… and found somewhere quiet to pull my hair out.

All joking aside, I kind of knew I had to find another browser, or revert back to good old Internet Explorer. That, of course, would depend on why the one I have had for years had suddenly given up the ghost. I didn’t really want all the hassle or find out something else was wrong or broken. So I did nothing and sulked for the rest of the evening.

Later, I googled the problem on my tablet and discovered other people had encountered this before, so I was blameless for once. It seemed the only option was to go with another browser and uninstall the offending article.

First thing this morning I chose Chrome, the Google browser. It made sense, for they run just about everything else on my computer, and within minutes they had taken over all my favourites and their log- in passwords. They automatically gave me my favourite homepage, something I usually have to do myself.  I was impressed by their speed and accuracy, so started the day a very happy bunny!

My subsequent good mood was not to last, however.

Just before lunch, I had cause to print some of my WIP, only to find yawning great gaps in the printing. This meant I had to spend time making the machine clean its own printing heads and nozzles. When I had finished, and successfully printed the material, my mood had jogged off and I didn’t want to do anything else. Just in case something blew up!

I spotted this infographic the other day. It perfectly sums up where I am at today, so thought I would share it with you…

grantsnyder3.jpg

Advertisements

Brainstorming Sisters!

 

book-2803664_1920

Have you ever noticed that when something stalls in one area of your life, it affects everything else?

This was what had been happening in our house for over a week, so my sister, Anita decided that we should have one of our brainstorming sessions this morning. Something we do now and then which usually benefits either my book or hers.

Only this time, it was me, the writer, that was being brainstormed because I was on the verge of a major meltdown over my current WIP.

Somehow, the conversation became all about how I write. The genre, the characters and the way I think about everything. She knew I had been having trouble and had some definite ideas about improving it.

Now, although I usually hate my work being criticised, I have to bow to her greater ability as a writer. She never struggles with plots or character problems, just gets on with it. Her characters don’t argue with her either, and I have always considered that a good sign! She can write more in one day than I can in a week.

So I allow her to say what’s on her mind, not that I have ever been able to stop her! But, all joking aside, she has been a great help to me over the years. The reason I can call myself a writer has a lot to do with the example she sets.

I think she is a natural writer. She doesn’t have to think about it or worry constantly about the plot. Whereas I do. I don’t find the writing process easy at all and this morning I may have discovered why.

I hadn’t really thought about my protagonist at all, thinking the antagonist, or serial killer was all important. That somehow everything would simply revolve around him, which I now realise is not the way to go about it.

I had been digging myself into a dark hole, trying to figure out what I was doing wrong, so I needed to sort the problem out, and fast!

Brainstorming with Anita can be a dangerous venture, as neither of us accepts criticism well. But when you are wedged between the proverbial rock and a hard place, you have to do something about it…

Sometime later, after harsh words, temper, tears and finally realisation, (all from me, BTW ) it was agreed that I hadn’t lost the magic, it was a temporary lapse, something that could be fixed. Finding another way of approaching the problem may be the way to go, and maybe a rewrite. Or another story all together…

 

If you don’t hear from me again, it means I have walked into the sea…

 

The Final Straw…

IMG_0316

 

The bay windows in our living room have long been a source of annoyance. Over the years, we have had an assortment of curtains and blinds, but none were good enough to pass muster. Every time we walk into the room, our eyes are drawn to the awfulness of it all and the long-standing conversation argument begins again.

Every now and then, we try something new, desperately hoping that this time we will love the result. Personally, I have long given up hoping for a miracle, but have to at least appear enthusiastic and go along with whatever is suggested. After all, I share this house, so don’t always get what I want, even if this is just the semblance of a quiet life!

The first experiment was Venetian blinds in a lovely turquoise colour. As I seem to be the only one in our house that knows which end of a screwdriver to use, it fell to me to install them. This was reasonably difficult and took a while, but eventually, the blinds were installed and in working order.

Trouble was, no one liked them.

It was discovered that an unpleasant optical effect occurred every time you tried to look through them, this effect caused nausea and giddiness so they had to be removed, and in a hurry!

The next exercise in futility was roller blinds. The windows are an odd shape, so buying ready- made blinds were out of the question, and suitable kits were purchased from Amazon, along with spray stiffener for the fabric. We used an old pair of expensive curtains to create the blinds and eventually, after much swearing by yours truly, we had a set of blinds to install.

They had barely been up to the window when we knew we hated them. Probably because I have a wonky eye and can’t cut straight to save my life!

Our next idea involved installing these curtain poles, so we could have eyelet curtains. These always hang so well, so we thought we were on to a winner this time.

I quite liked the first pair we bought, but Anita didn’t. She complained bitterly about the colour/pattern for weeks until I gave in an ordered another pair. When they arrived they were approved of, but the trouble started when I hung them up. One curtain was several inches longer than the other!

If this wasn’t so funny, I would have screamed.

Not a problem, I said… the shop will change them.

But they were temporarily out of stock. We waited patiently, but they didn’t get any more. We talked about lengthening one and shortening the other. Guess who gets that job!

Then I had an idea. I would look elsewhere. And I did. Found a lovely pair online, had them sanctioned by Anita and sent for.

The day they arrived, I carefully ironed them, ready to hang, confident that we had finally nailed the curtain problem. Seconds later, an ear-piercing shriek rents the air, and Anita pointed at the bottom of the curtain, which was floating a good four inches above the window ledge.

My temper lets go and I wanted to rip them to bits. Why was it so ********* difficult to buy a pair of curtains that actually fit?

To cut a long story short, our money was refunded and we could keep the curtains…

Not sure what they thought we could do with them!

I have a feeling that this story will go on forever, or until I lose my mind or move house…

Only you have no idea how hard THAT is!

Reblogging, is it really a good idea?

 

 

Festisite-Reblog-e1476127991998.png

 

We have been with WordPress for years now and always been happy with the facilities, once I had mastered them, of course!

Early last year, I had to upgrade our account in order to gain more media space. At the time, this seemed reasonable.

Imagine my surprise when it happened again yesterday. For a few minutes, I couldn’t believe we had run out of space again. Something had to be wrong.

I duly checked, only to discover it was true. If we wanted to use any more images, we would have to pay up.

When we first started blogging, I understood that this particular WordPress was free, but it wasn’t long before the costs crept in. First, it was the domain, then the first upgrade. We were still happy at that stage, for £30 a year isn’t much for a decent website.

This latest upgrade has shunted us up to nearly £70 a year, although to be fair it looks as though we are getting more for our money this time. I did wonder what it would lead to and why we seemed to have so many stored images, many of which were ones I hadn’t used?

It took me a while to understand why all these images were among our own, and that we were, in fact, paying for the privilege of having them on our site, by way of reblogging.

Now, we do a lot of reblogging. Sharing is something we have always done, right from the start. If I read something interesting or informative, I love to share it and spread the word. This is how the good stuff finds more people and can actually make the world a better place.

So, is it a good idea to reblog so much?

Will it be good enough to simply like and use the share buttons?

I have recently been reading about how you can reduce your image footprint by altering the size of your images, thereby not using so much of your valuable storage space. But what about other people’s images? We can hardly alter any of those.

If we do have to cut down on the reblogging, we will not stop sharing. But we would be interested to hear any feedback on this…

History Repeating…

 

 

 

burnout-2165865_1920.png

image by Pixabay.com

 

 

I have always wanted to believe that history doesn’t repeat itself, and prayed that I would never have to relive some of the pain and tragedy that has stained my life. This, I have discovered, is merely wishful thinking, although, thankfully, I haven’t had to relive the heart attack and cancer.

I have discovered that we can repeat other people’s mistakes too, often some that we swore on a stack of bibles we would never do. For example, my life has almost been a mirror image of my mothers, something I really despise myself for. Some of the things I have done, I did without the knowledge that she had beaten me to it, so to speak, so what’s all that about? Are we destined to do certain things, or is it merely coincidence?

Early in my life, I suffered from back pain. Over the years, x rays revealed nothing and I was told repeatedly to go home and rest. After twenty years of this, I broke down and begged them to do something. A special x-ray, involving injecting dye into my spine, revealed several crushed discs. I was literally on the verge of paralysis. Recovering from the surgery was a nightmare and I literally had to learn to walk again. It was all worth it, for in the 30 years since I have never had a backache.

But…

The nagging pain in my hip has been gradually getting worse for months now. It could mean a new hip, not something I envisaged at my time of life. The pain spreads across the base of my spine, reminding me all too well of the years I suffered from my back.

I have since had an appointment with the doctor to discuss the findings of the x-ray and subsequent treatment. According to the x-ray, my hips are fine, but there is substantial arthritis in my lower spine, so the pain won’t go away and has to be managed. Before I went, my imagination was running riot, reliving the awful memories of so long ago. If I had to choose which horror to repeat, it wouldn’t have been that one, so this at least was a blessing.

What I need now, is to adjust my diet to try to relieve arthritis, so any advice on this score will be most welcome!

Update for Broken Life #MysteryThriller by Jaye Marie

Once upon a time, Jaye fell out of love with the cover and title for the third book in her #mysterythriller book Broken Life. And if you know her at all, you will know this happens a lot.

So, after much deliberation, we went from…

zzzzz.jpg       DDTY.jpg

We both love the new version, and hopefully, it will not need to be changed again!

CrossFire is now available on Amazon here, and the paperback is on its way!


Book Description:

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.


Book Excerpt:

‘Do you know why we have brought you here today, Ann?’

Ruth thought she would ease her way in, rather than accuse her straight off, for triggering any hostility wouldn’t get them anywhere.

The woman stared at Ruth, her pale, colourless eyes searching for clues. ‘Nah… but I ‘spect you’ll get to it pretty quick…’

Ruth indicated a brown paper bag on the table beside her. ‘We found a pair of work boots at your house, Ann. According to your husband, they’re not his. Are they yours?’

Ann Taylor glared at Ruth. She seemed to be enjoying the interview, her arrogance showing through the previous nervousness. ‘Dunno, can’t see them can I?’

Ruth undid the bag and placed the dirty boots on the table. Most of the mud had dried and fallen off, but still didn’t seem like the kind of boot a woman would wear. ‘Are these your boots, Ann?’

Without looking at the boots, she shook her head. ‘Nah, I don’t think so.’

Ruth looked at Snow, but not for confirmation. She wondered why he was choosing to stay silent. What was the point of sitting in if he wasn’t going to contribute? Not that she cared, one way or the other. She had only looked at him to signify inclusion.

She looked back at the woman. ‘Are you quite sure, Ann?’

The woman shrugged her shoulders and refused to speak.

‘For the benefit of the tape, Ann Taylor has refused to answer.’

Ruth decided to read out the coroner’s report, detailing every bruise and damage to the child’s body. When she read the part about the boot imprint on the child’s back, she slid the photograph across the table in front of the mother.

‘Did you do this, Ann?’

When the woman didn’t answer, Ruth decided it was time to play the ace card, and she looked forward to it. This cold-hearted bitch of a woman was about to be arrested, but not before Ruth had enjoyed herself. ‘Are you aware that the person who wore these boots would have left significant DNA inside them?’

Ruth paused, watching as the realisation sunk in.  ‘And are you also aware that we have tested your DNA and it has been proved that you are the owner of these boots?’

The fear and shame were beginning to show on the woman’s face, and Ruth watched, wondering what she would do now. She didn’t have to wait long to find out.

Ann Taylor’s face seemed to implode, as the terror of being found out took effect.  ‘I swear I don’t remember that part… I know I were angry, but when she fell over and banged her head, I thought she was dead…’

‘So what did you do then, Ann?’ Ruth knew what had happened next, but not which one of them had done it.  ‘Were you aware that Amy was still alive when you dropped her into the canal?’

The horror was all-encompassing, as the woman realised the enormity of what she had done. She looked around the room, just once, before she started screaming…


Jaye is working on updating Book Two, The Last Life as we speak, so watch this space for another new cover!

 

2017…

 

DSCF1791.JPG

my little miracle… December 2016

 

 

I have tried to write this post several times, but such are my emotions for the past twelve months, I have not been able to find the necessary enthusiasm or inspiration to make me pick up my pen. Even then, I didn’t realise that this had been happening far too often this year.

I don’t have a list of disasters or calamities to show for the way I feel. There has been nothing I can put my finger on and say, ‘There, that’s what it was…’ so why does it feel as though there should be?

I have to admit that progress was made in 2017 and we have the statistics to prove it. Our mailing list is growing and we have more lovely followers and visitors to our website too. Nothing earth-shattering or momentous has befallen us, but nothing gut-wrenchingly awful either.

Trying to describe why it felt like a bad year just wasn’t happening, so I turned my attention elsewhere.

The weather had decided to be kind, so I went outside for a breath of fresh air. Most of my bonsai looked bare and forlorn, silently dreaming of warmer days, but there is usually one to cheer me up at this time of year. I have written about the Azalea before, that it has been my little miracle. (here)  How I rescued the bedraggled plant many years ago and tried to save its life. I have never managed to get it to thrive, but it faithfully produces these beautiful white flowers every year at Christmas time. A double miracle really, for they are not supposed to bloom then.

I could see something was wrong, long before I got close enough. Where were all the flowers? There were just two, with none of the usual splendour. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement.

New_1_DSCF2421.JPG

 

Had I treated it well enough? Had it been attacked by beetles or some other pest? I tried not to think that it might be dying, finally giving up the struggle. On closer inspection, I saw that there were many new leaves beginning to grow, renewing my hope for the coming year.

The feeling I had at that moment, mirrored the way I felt about 2017, and I realised why it felt that way. We too struggle all year to achieve this and that, and all those small disappointments pile up without our noticing until the heap threatens to drown us.

We need to do something about this state of affairs before the New Year begins, so we can go forward with optimism.

I just hope the answers turn up a darn sight quicker than this post!