#Throwback Thursday ~ How Do You Achieve the Impossible?

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I have never been one to back down from a challenge, although there was that one time when we were considering renovating this house, only to find that half of the supporting walls were missing. Or the time when the previous owners had removed all the fireplace walls in the house, but not the chimney stacks on the roof, creating the granddaddy of all disasters, but I digress.

Just let it be said that there are some challenges you just cannot entertain.

Some challenges, however, beg to be taken on.

You know what you need to do. (more or less)  Thousands of people are already doing it, so how hard can it be?

It also helps if you have already mastered stage one…

For a rank beginner, writing a book was hard enough. Then I had to learn how to edit, format and upload it to Amazon. To be fair, once I knew the basics, this turned out to be reasonably easy. Although, knowing I could change anything was a get out of jail card, as my memory has more holes than a colander.

At that time, I thought that was all I had to do. Over the years since then, the truth has gradually dawned, bit by frustrating bit, pointing out that there was a lot more to it than that if you wanted to be successful. Even now, there are days when the enormity of it all makes my head spin.

What We Have Tried

Paid Book Promotion Sites… most of these do a good job, but they are expensive and the results were disappointing.

Book Tours… fun, but a lot of work. We met many people but didn’t sell many books or get reviews.

KDP promos… very good for putting your books out there and shifting a ton of free copies and that’s about all!

We have recently pulled most of our books out of KDP and placed them with Draft2Digital. Seriously thinking about going back to Smashwords too, as being exclusively on Amazon just doesn’t sound right anymore.

Over the last five years, we have sold a few books and received several wonderful reviews. We have established a popular website/blog and a slowly growing list of followers, and the fire of determination still burns bright. Almost every week, I try something new, either to do with books or marketing, something supposedly guaranteed to make our books bestsellers.

The Future?

We are contemplating having a go at advertising, even though we don’t have much of a budget they seem to be the way to go. If anyone knows better, please let us know?

We are constantly told that the best way to make it in this business is to keep writing until you finally create a masterpiece. Apparently, the more you write the better chance you have of creating something that cannot be ignored.

Surely, there must be a little more to it than that?

 

 

#BlogBattle: Airtight

May 2019 Blog Battle

Our word this month is:

Airtight

You can start writing at any time, but make sure you post your story by the 30th of the month to have your story shared here and on social media.

Once you’ve posted your story to your blog, put a link to it in the comments section, and we’ll add your story to the Battle Stories Line-up post.

Make sure to check back and read some of the stories of your fellow battlers. Leave comments to encourage these writers, and share each other’s stories!

 

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Airtight

 

A new neighbour moving in is always an interesting event. This time it was a smartly dressed man in his forties.

Within a week, he had alienated half of the neighbours on his side of the street with his constant complaints about the bins not being taken in quickly enough after being emptied.

Thank God I lived opposite. He was a real sweetheart.

Dave, in his seventies, lived next door to him with his Jack Russell terrier. He lost his wife last year, so a few of us take the time to care for Dave. Today, I could see Mr Jenkins, the new neighbour, standing inside Dave’s front garden.  His name was all he allowed anyone to know about him.

Today, having lost his cool, his voice loud enough to hear on my side of the street. ‘If you don’t stop that dog yapping, I will!’

Two days later, Dave was seen putting up posters. His dog, Mickey had gone missing. It didn’t take me two minutes to know who was responsible, after seeing Mr Jenkins digging a new patch in his front garden.

I went to the police station and found out he had been questioned and had an airtight alibi. I asked why they had questioned him, and they said one of our neighbours had reported him bullying his neighbour. I walked home thinking that nothing was airtight. I would find his mistake and put some air into his so- called alibi.

I decided later that night that I would dig up his new patch, so sure I would find Mickey. I was about to turn away from my window when I noticed a young man holding Mickey in his arms. I watched him knock on Dave’s door and saw the joy on his face. His beloved companion was back.

How wrong can one person be?

His alibi was airtight after all…

AAAAA

Interview With My Conscience…

 

 

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Image by Pixabay.com

 

Interview With My Conscience…

It was another Monday morning and I was asking myself the same old question. Why do I  bother with any of it? Anything that could possibly go wrong, usually does, and it was getting a bit wearing. Then my inner voice decided to join in the conversation.

Everyone feels like this sometimes, you are not unique you know…

Yes, I know we all have days when we think everything conspires against us, and life seems futile. Doesn’t help though.

You sound like a drama queen, one who is prone to over exaggeration…

I don’t think I have imagined the succession of near disasters that have played havoc with my life this year?

Okay, I will admit there have been one or two, but nothing to write home about…

How about my inability to successfully market anything. You have to admit I am hopeless?

Could be you’re just not smart enough, for it’s not exactly rocket science…

I can buy that one, for the results of my efforts speak for themselves.

You seem to be forgetting that you are OLD. That feeling of circling the drain is quite normal at your age you know…

There are days when I would agree, but others when I still feel competent enough for the job in hand.

But which of these days are the real ones, and not the ones that are the result of your own stupidity?

I know I have a few shortcomings, but there are also circumstances that are beyond my control.

Beyond your mental capacity, you mean…

A fine Jiminy Cricket you turned out to be, where is all the optimism, the encouragement?

I can only work with the material I have at my disposal. It’s not my fault if your grey matter isn’t up to scratch…

You know, all of this could be academic if my health gets any worse. I’m sure you have to agree that I am not imagining that?

I know it does all seem very real, but you have beaten the odds before, and will do again, I’m sure…

So, you would conduct my life differently, would you? You are coming across as a smug know-it-all, but you don’t drop any hints any more, do you? Isn’t that supposed to be part of your remit?

After a lifetime of trying my best for you, literally thousands of hints later, I have run out of ideas.  Banging my head against a wall is definitely not my scene…

So I am on my own now, you are retiring?

You still have your instincts, even though they malfunction far too often. It has brought you this far, however…

~~~~~

“Some of us get to choose how we live our lives, whether to depend on our conscience, or wing it with instinct.

Heaven knows which is best, and I think it also knows what will happen to us.  I could do with a ‘heads up’ round about now…”

The Sleeping Mind…

 

 

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Image by Pixabay.com

 

 

I woke this morning, wondering about the subconscious.

Does it play silly buggers in the space between our dreams while the conscious mind sleeps? Reminding me of while the cats away.

Why does the conscious mind wake us in the middle of a dream for a bathroom break?

What was it about that dream that you were not meant to play out?

Was it something the conscious mind could make a reality?

Are we saved by the two halves of us, even in sleep?

I cannot help but wonder.

Every thought causes a physical reaction.

Do our thoughts play out in that space between dreaming, where we have no control? Could this explain some of the strange things that happen during the day?

I have a feeling our subconscious mind could be a trickster, seeing as how it knows nothing about right or wrong.

It works only with our thoughts as if they are made of plastic, moulding them as best it can to the thought received.

A string of lights has a space between. Our dreams are the same, they come one after another, many forgotten by morning.

Do they fall into the space between?

Do they develop into something stranger?

Is the space dangerous? Can another enter, stay with us and live alongside us?

Is it the place we go when life is done and the lights go out?

Could it be a dream tower where the text of our lives is written?

If we could dream it, could we change the words.

Rewrite our own text with words and thoughts to bring the desired effect?

What if the space between is a playground where the future is written?

WHAT IF

A small word with a big meaning…

AAAAA

#Jaye’s Journal ~ week 4

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Jaye’s Journal ~ Week Four

 

We are halfway through the week and not yet free from the virus in this house. Just when we thought we had backed it into a corner, it seems to be having one last fling. There should be a sign on our front door, as we have been sneezing, coughing and aching ever since Christmas and we are at our wit’s end, wondering what we have to do to shake off the germs.

The weather isn’t helping either, freezing cold and miserable.

We try to keep working, more to keep our minds active than anything else, but all we really want to do is sleep. There was one very welcome high spot yesterday, when the letter from the hospital arrived, declaring me cancer free again for the third year since my treatment for breast cancer. So not all doom and gloom around here.

PayBack, my WIP is ready to edit, but I am dragging my heels a little, not wanting to begin when feeling less than capable.  I know it will be impossible to create any magic now. The pile of scribbled must do’s on my desk is getting higher, so I hope normal service will return soon before I drown in guilt!

In readiness for the wonderful moment when I can think straight, I have been making sure all my story locations are in order and as accurate as I can make them.

Despite feeling like death warmed over, I have been trying to get to the bottom of the Draft2Digital  mystery. When we first joined them, we were impressed by how easy it was to upload our books and all their promises to help make promoting our books easier. I did wonder why we couldn’t access other people’s books, but put that down to my limited knowledge, figuring I would probably discover more as we went along.

When several people reported problems getting our books, I had to find out for myself. An email to D2D didn’t provide any understandable answers.   To try and figure out how it worked, I tried to buy one of Anita’s books from their site. It was hopeless. I kept being directed to iTunes, which turned out to be just as hopeless. I have never used iTunes much, and only recently found out they sold books. After much googling to find help, I found out about iBooks.

To cut a long, boring story short, I think I have discovered that D2D is basically just for iPad or Apple users. I can access our books on iTunes, but can only buy them with an iPad. I think this is such a shame, even though the US market is huge so maybe not too bad in the end.

We still needed to increase our book distribution though, so have started uploading our books on Smashwords. com.

Hopefully, next week will see a more cheerful workplace, for I could use some productivity and optimism round about now…

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The Days are Far Too Short…

 

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Writers the world over must be grateful that someone invented Indie Publishing, but I wonder why they didn’t invent a better way of marketing the books we create while they were at it?

By better, I mean a way we can understand and implement, a system that actually works?

Now, I know I have a problem with technology, but I have tried my best to make head or tail out of it, and, overall, I have managed to understand and even utilise some of it.

Most writers are not wired to master marketing.  We want to write, not blow our own trumpets. The mere thought of being more visible than we have ever been in our lives is enough to chill our blood. We understand that we must make meaningful connections on social media, have book trailers on YouTube, for marketing is all about knowing, liking and trusting, but we also know there is so much more to it.

The experts say it is okay to begin with baby steps, sharing everything we do, but where do we go from there?

Do we…

Make a plan for our marketing activity?

Get excited about our progress and share the excitement?

Keep pushing the boundaries of our comfort zone?

Learn new techniques?

Try paid advertising, even though it is an expensive nightmare?

Keep changing all of our keywords, hoping to hit on some that work?

Need a newsletter, podcast, more trailers, FB ads?

Have we checked we are doing all we can on all the media sites?

I have tried most of these, but there are simply not enough hours in the day for everything!

There is no easy way we can implement everything we learn.

There is also the writing to consider, as this is the most important part of your marketing campaign.

Somehow, writers must learn to manipulate time, prioritise until our brains bleed, and hope we stumble upon the magic formulae…

(unless someone out there has already discovered it, and if you have, please let us in on the secret!)

 

Everything is Upside Down…

 

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This year has been a series of difficulties. More downs than ups, to be honest. So it should come as no surprise to anyone to see a Christmas tree, seemingly floating upside down in mid-air in our front room.

Being white, it looks ethereal, the string it is suspended on almost invisible as it moves slightly on invisible air currents.

It wasn’t easy to do, for these trees are not designed to be upside down, and the top part parted company with the base at the most awkward moment, almost resulting in our giving up on the idea and being conventional after all.

Beneath the tree, looking remarkably like Miss Havisham’s abandoned wedding feast from Dicken’s Great Expectations, we have created a display to reflect the dinner we will not be having in our house.

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The idea came to us because this Christmas will be like no other we have ever had or imagined. For the first time in the history of our family, we will not be here on Christmas Day. Relatives will not be arriving, full of Christmas cheer to share our carefully prepared feast of turkey and all the trimmings. There will be no fun and games at the table when we don’t pull the crackers.

There will be no toasting the cook or pulling the wishbone, not in this house, anyway.

We will all be somewhere else…

 

The next generation in our family is now of an age to change things, to take charge of traditional celebrations and create new ones of their own. This is the way with families.

It came as a bit of a shock for me and for a while I didn’t think I welcomed the invitation. For nearly fifty years, I have been cooking the turkey and mince pies, and I suppose I thought it would continue. I mean, what would I do with myself?

I have accepted the idea now, and the notion of someone else manhandling an uncooperative turkey into an equally uncooperative oven is making me smile.

It will seem odd to have nothing to do on Christmas day, but you never know, I might like it so much I will arrange it for next year too!

 

 

 

My Visitor…

 

 

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Another Visitor!

 

 

Ever since my mysterious visitor left me alone with my thoughts last week, I have been racking my brains, trying to place where I know him from and how to make workable sense out of his advice.

I have to tell you that not only am I none the wiser as to who he is, or whether he will come back, nothing has happened to my WIP either. To be fair, I haven’t been feeling well lately and I suspect my muse has gone and died on me. I don’t normally use this as an excuse, as I can usually plod on regardless…

But something else has been getting in the way.

The dizziness in my head has been bad, and at one point, I worried about having a stroke. Coupled with the news that my cholesterol level is trying to break all records, I ended up wondering if there was any point doing anything.

I have been having these dizzy days for a long time now, and they usually go away after a day or two, leaving me confused but back to normal. I was so glad when it finally stopped and my head cleared, that I found myself going through the WIP!

Stands back in amazement!

I have actually come up with a solution, one that should get things moving again. I am so near the end now, it would be a shame not to finish it. I have isolated all of my protagonist’s chapters and will work only on these until I have the ending wrapped up.

This idea occurred to me because the story of every character should be complete, with a beginning, middle and ending. If I can finish my antagonist’s story, making sure there are no gaps, holes or glaring mistakes, everyone else’s should fall into place around it. At least that’s the theory I have come up with.

I might be barking up the wrong tree, but there is nothing else in my head, so I will have to go with it if only to see what happens.

I have heard some weird ideas about other writers writing methods. Some start at the ending, others in the middle, so I’m hoping my idea isn’t as crazy as it sounds.

Watch this space for further revelations and developments…

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