Life, but not as we thought it would be…

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In an effort to ignore what will be happening tomorrow, I have been burying my head in the computer, trying to catch up on all the things I haven’t managed to get around to on the newly installed Windows 10. Some days I love the new arrangement of everything, but days when it defeats me are still happening.

In my wildest dreams, I could never have dreamed what I would be getting up to in my advancing years. Just goes to show how far you can come if you let yourself dream big.

I have always hated anything to do with computers for they are illogical, slow and complicated. I firmly believe they were sent by the devil to drive us all mad. At least, that’s what happens in our house!

But it wasn’t always this way.

There was a time when the idea of a machine with such amazing capabilities did seem like a fantastic advantage. But my first encounter with one, some thirty years ago, probably ruined me for life. This was when it was in its infancy, and you had to upload or input reams of data to do even the simplest thing. My son was playing chess on this strange looking box and I wanted to have a go. What he forgot to mention, was if you made even a small mistake in entering this data (which seemed to take hours) you would get a big fat nothing. Stubbornly, I tried and tried but failed to get it to work.

Fast forward to just a few years ago, when Indie publishing started making headlines.

Despite my earlier disappointment, I felt myself warming to the idea. I wouldn’t have to input masses of data like before, so maybe it would be easier to use. We all know the answer to that supposition, don’t we?

I still hate computers with a passion, but I do appreciate just how wonderful they are if you can learn the ropes. I still have days when I could beat mine to death with a mallet, but this is more to do with my stubborn brain than anything else. Because they can sometimes do so many amazing things, it encourages us mortals to reach for the stars.

Way back at the beginning of my blogging career, I can remember wondering if I would ever write a book, and now I have written three, well, five if you count the non-fiction ones and am close to finishing another. At the time, I was happily editing Anita’s books. I never thought a muse would bother me.

When it did, I was astonished by just how addictive writing can become. The most surprising thing was the behaviour of my characters. They became like old friends, and I enjoyed their company so much, the first book turned into a series. Even now, they are nagging me to let them loose again!

It has been an amazing and often terrifying journey, from that first ever blog post to eventually formatting e-books, paperback copies and book trailers. Learning how to put a book together was hard, but the writing was the best part, once I convinced myself that it was something I could do, after all.

None of which was easy for the biggest technophobe this side of Microsoft, someone who battles technology every single day for that magical moment when realisation dawns and I finally understands how things work.

I am well past retiring age now, but I am busier than ever and have no intentions of slowing down or stopping, for where would the fun be in that?

This journey still has some mileage, however, for there are a few things I haven’t attempted yet, and several that need improving. So I won’t be putting away my thinking cap just yet.

As they said when I was at school, “There is always room for improvement…”


The demons are not just inside the machine…

 

 

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Images by Pixabay.com

 

 

It’s official, I hate my laptop. I would go so far as to say that I hate all computers. The laptop is one of those touch screen ones, and apparently, I have the wrong kind of finger. And it’s not just the one, I have tried them all. The slightest touch has things flying about all over the place, and then there are those other times when I can stab at the screen like a maniac and absolutely nothing happens.

The demon that inhabits the main computer has now moved into the laptop, doing all kinds of things that are totally out of my control. If anything finally kills my dream of being a reasonably successful author, it will be a computer of some sort. My ageing brain is no longer capable of the kind of mindless patience (or insane tolerance) that is needed to use them.

I am convinced they are here to drive us all insane, starting with me.

Just when I thought life couldn’t get any worse…

It has occurred to me that it is quite possible, or more than likely probable, that the weird things my PC has been doing of late, might just mean something is dying inside that metal box. And if I am right, this could mean it will be giving up the ghost just when it is most inconvenient. With this thought firmly lodged in my by now worrying itself into a coma brain, I toddled off to Amazon to see how much a replacement would cost. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I can get a certified refurbished Dell for literally peanuts. Windows 10, 64 bit and all the basics.

Panic over, I could handle it, whenever ‘it’ decided to reveal itself.

Now if I could just get my head around all these new improvements that are taking place at most of the sites I regularly use, there might be some danger of progress being made around here…

Once more with feeling…

For some reason that I haven’t managed to figure out yet, the muse has wandered off. I haven’t added to the word count on WIP, or written any blog posts either for what seems like a long time, but is probably only a day or two. I keep getting these blank moments and trying not to equate them to my old age or the dreaded D word. It crossed my mind that whatever is wrong with the PC might just be contagious, as I also get long periods of quiet in my head, a bit like being becalmed at sea in a boat. Not that I mind any of this weirdness, as it sure makes a change from depression…

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Ten Things I love Most in the World

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Ten Things I love Most in the World…

1. Mother Nature has been the number one love in my life for longer than I can remember. My idea of heaven would be to live in a forest with a river nearby.

2.  The way I feel about horses goes way beyond love. Sometimes I think I must have been a horse in a former life, from the strong and powerful connection I seem to have with them.

3.  I have always been a bit of a freak for thunderstorms. The noise, barely contained power and the majesty of the lightning speaks to me in ways I cannot describe.

4.  Whenever I have spare time, and even when I don’t, I have to track down a puzzle. It can be a jigsaw, a computer game, or a simple game of solitaire. My idea of heaven.

5.  Something about the smell of the sea communicates directly with my soul, and I think I could easily live on a beach. They say that salt water is a good healer, so how much more could sea water do?

6.  The art of bonsai has always fascinated me, and over the years, I have collected some of my own. Like having children, they need so much care and attention, but give back so much more to their carer.

7.  My love of writing has grown out of my love for reading, and my appreciation of all my favourite authors. On the good days when I don’t doubt my abilities, it is the best thing in the world.

8.  Most people hate the rain, but I love it. Getting soaked to the skin is an amazing experience, and if there is thunder and lightning too, so much the better!

9.  Making people laugh has to be one of the most rewarding things you can do. I love to know I have lifted someone’s spirits just enough to make them laugh.

10.  I never thought I would enjoy blogging as much as I do, when I first started. In the beginning, I was hopeless, didn’t have a clue and knew no one. So much has changed since then…

Ten Things I Hate Most in this World

1.Cruelty of any kind comes top of this list, for there is far too much of it in this world. It is far easier to be kind.

2.  Rudeness comes a close second, as I cannot understand the need for it. It closes too many doors that eventually will refuse to open again.

3.  Arguments. Every time I get involved in one, I want to crawl away and die. Life is much too short to argue.

4.  Hangnails are my least favourite thing, and I get some shockers. No matter how careful you are, your fingers get sore.

5.  I hate the cold. As I get older, it’s becoming a real problem. Sometimes, even on a mild day, I have trouble keeping warm.

6.  Things that go wrong. I’m a bit of a perfectionist and try very hard to get things right, but far too often these days, it just doesn’t happen, no matter what I do.

7.  Computers. These should be on the top of this list, as they tend to drive me insane. They are illogical and unreasonable, but we know we cannot do without them.

8.  Feeling helpless. Closely linked with number seven, this is what PC’s do to me. Nothing else on this planet can make me quite as angry as a computer.

9.  Injustice. I hate all forms of injustice, acerbated by the certain knowledge there is nothing you can do about most of it.

10. Weakness. Mainly my own. So many things I wish I didn’t need to do, like the biscuits I cannot leave alone. How I can be so strong with everything else, but such a wimp when it comes to food is a mystery…

Would anyone like to share their likes and dislikes on our post? We would love to hear from you…

©2018 Jaye Marie

Reasons to Continue…

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I am beginning to think that becoming a successful author must be as difficult as winning the lottery. Either that or you have to be born lucky.

On my quest for a brilliant book and perfect cover, I have had to stretch my brain quite a lot. Not for the writing, that’s the easy bit, but all the rest of it. All that hunting for the right cover image, not to mention the marketing and promotion.

All of this of course, involves that demonically possessed box of tricks on my desk. You probably call yours a computer, but I am not so polite!

That thing that crashes or freezes at just the wrong moment, usually when I have spent what seems like hours trying to do something, only to lose it. That place where all knowledge lies, IF you manage to find it and have the kind of brain that can first decipher and absorb most of it.

I am not computer literate, but I do enjoy a challenge. The fact that I have managed to learn so much is testament to my stubborn streak and unending patience, remarkably well demonstrated by my latest endeavours.

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So, back to the one problem I cannot seem to resolve, which is manipulating images to come up with new and exciting covers and pictures for the blog.

I had read somewhere that removing boring backgrounds and substituting better ones was easy, even without Photoshop and I was determined to learn how.

I spent more time than I could spare, watching endless demo’s and tutorials, only to try it for myself and fail miserably, cursing my brains inability to understand what must be simple for most people.

I gave up for a while, admitting defeat and resigning myself (and my books and blog) to mediocre images. However, the bit was still between my teeth. I had to learn how to do it, somehow there had to be a way. YouTube is a wonderful place for learning how to do almost anything your heart desires, and it really is amazing what you can find when you look.

While I was browsing, getting annoyed that all I could find were Photoshop posts, I suddenly realised that the word PowerPoint sounded familiar, so I investigated. Sure enough, it was included in the Word software I have on my PC. I discovered I could remove the background of any image that I had, and it was sooo easy.

So who needs Photoshop anyway? I hear it is expensive and complicated, so that rather excludes me. I try to stay away from things like that.

Who am I kidding?

Since then, I discovered Canva and Picmonkey, both brilliant sites for mucking about with all those images, and managed to learn all about scheduling on Buffer, which is invaluable if you want to be effective on Twitter.

So the beat goes on, and I’m not finished yet, as I suspect I am barely scratching the surface of what I could learn if I try…

Reasons to Continue…

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I am beginning to think that becoming a successful author must be as difficult as winning the lottery. Either that or you have to be born lucky.
On my quest for a brilliant book and perfect cover, I have had to stretch my brain quite a lot. Not for the writing, that’s the easy bit, but all the rest of it. All that hunting for the right cover image, not to mention the marketing and promotion.
All of this of course, involves that demonically possessed box of tricks on my desk. You probably call yours a computer, but I am not so polite!
That thing that crashes or freezes at just the wrong moment, usually when I have spent what seems like hours trying to do something, only to lose it. That place where all knowledge lies, IF you have the kind of brain that can first decipher and absorb most of it.
I am not computer literate, but I do enjoy a challenge. The fact that I have managed to learn so much is testament to my stubborn streak and in dominatable patience, remarkably well demonstrated by my latest endeavours.

So, back to the one problem I cannot seem to resolve, which is manipulating images to come up with new and exciting covers and pictures for the blog.
I had read somewhere that removing boring backgrounds and substituting better ones was easy, even without Photoshop and I was determined to learn how.
I spent more time than I could spare, watching endless demo’s and tutorials, only to try it for myself and fail miserably, cursing my brains inability to understand what must be simple for most people.

I gave up for a while, admitting defeat and resigning myself (and my books and blog) to mediocre images. However, the bit was still between my teeth. I had to learn how to do it, somehow there had to be a way. YouTube is a wonderful place for learning how to do almost anything your heart desires, and it really is amazing what you can find when you look.
While I was browsing, getting annoyed that all I could find were Photoshop posts, I suddenly realised that the word PowerPoint sounded familiar, so I investigated. Sure enough, it was included in the Word software I have on my PC. I discovered I could remove the background of any image that I had, and it was sooo easy.
So who needs Photoshop anyway? I hear it is expensive and complicated, so that rather excludes me. I try to stay away from things like that.

Who am I kidding?

Do You Love Your PC?

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Watching the news the other morning, basically trying to discover if there was any respite from all this appalling weather, there was a story about children as young as six and seven in Estonia that were being taught not only to use computers but to program them too. I watched them as they made a small robot move around and Skype like professionals, their little faces animated and eager. Something suddenly struck me, they were having fun!

What a great idea I thought, then they won’t grow into incompetent adults like me, unable to grasp even the basic fundamentals.

I seem to have been struggling with some computer or other for more than 30 years. The very first time I was introduced to the little square box of torment was when someone suggested that I could play chess on one and that it was easy. All I had to do was program it in and I was all set.

Well, I tried.

For hours, I sat and entered all these numbers and symbols only for nothing to happen. No chessboard appeared, but was I daunted? Not a bit.

I knew it had to be complicated, but also knew quite early on that I probably didn’t have the sort of brain that was obviously required. I eventually I sought help, to be told I must have mistyped the series of numbers. Apparently, if just one digit is missing, nothing will happen.

This will never catch on, I thought. It’s far too complicated. You would need to be Einstein at the very least, someone I was so far removed from as to be on another planet!

For years, I stayed away from anything that looked even remotely like a computer until I was introduced to Amstrad, the word processing machine. I had been typing up Anita’s manuscripts on a battered old typewriter and the thought of something quicker and more efficient was more than enough to get me interested.

It was quite easy to use, with the added bonus that there was a printer attached. In many ways, the Amstrad was magic and before long, I was well and truly hooked. It also had the facility to play solitaire, something I am addicted to, even now. This eventually led me to a proper computer, which turned out to be a lot easier than the first time I tried, as there was no more programming required. This is what progress is all about I thought, but sadly it was me that hadn’t.

Even now, there are days when my PC refuses to do even the simplest of things and kicks me into touch. I have to storm out of the room, defeated once again as I find most things to do with a PC very complicated, confusing and irrational. How much easier it might have been if I had learned the basics at school.

Watching those children in Estonia actually enjoying their computers and smart phones, I was green with envy, if only because I believe you should always enjoy what you do or it’s just no fun.

It is a quandary, because I do enjoy writing, and almost enjoy formatting, uploading, and all the other stuff you have to do to self-publish these days. But on those dark days when my computer is uncooperative and makes me feel totally inadequate, I wish that I had been taught how to use a PC properly.

I have learnt so much from just trial and error, and on a good day even a little proud of my achievements, but there is so much more I wish I knew. Sometimes I think I could write a book about all the stuff I want to know, but that would help no one, would it?

Children are our future and so are computers. It was good to see them hand in hand and having fun…

See you all next week, maybe the weather will be a little kinder then for us all…

© 2015 Jaye Marie