#Jaye’s Journal ~ week 14

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My week began with a state of confusion.

Before you say it, my weeks are always in a state of some confusion, but this time it felt different. All the clocks in the house were wrong, and my brain couldn’t grasp why. It was only when I noticed that the clock on my PC was exactly one hour ahead, that the penny dropped and I realised that BST (British Summer Time) had begun…

Hoping the confusion had gone, I set to rewriting the end chapters of my WIP, PayBack. The previous ending had been annoying me, and again, I couldn’t put my finger on the reason. The only thing running through my mind was that it hadn’t ended the way I thought it would. Right now, I would give anything to have the brain I used to have. You know, the one capable of multitasking and thinking of more than one thing at a time. It also knew what was happening most of the time.

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So, back to PayBack. It has been an interesting story to write. The main character, David Mallory, has all kinds of problems. Problems most of us have not encountered before. Writing about him has had me evaluating my own life. I have had issues too, but nothing like his.  I knew it was important to give his complicated life the justice and outcome he deserved and I would rewrite until I was satisfied I had done that.

Outside of the writing den, two jobs were outstanding. The windows are so dirty we couldn’t see out of them, and the grass was becoming dangerously high. I say dangerous because if I don’t cut it while at a manageable level, the mower throws a wobbly and chucks great clods of compacted grass all over the place. This causes me to throw a bigger wobbly, and you can hear the swearing for miles around!

The weather prevented any window cleaning, something I didn’t complain about! But the grass looks lovely now, if only for five minutes!

I  also managed to acquire the bragging rights for successfully creating some 3D book cover images with DIY Book Design. These will look wonderful on the new promotional posters I am planning for all of our books. I am claiming these rights because learning anything new usually takes me a month of Sunday’s!  Either it was very easy, or I’m getting better!

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Jaye’s Journal ~ week 11

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Do you ever think that fate is not on your side?

That every time you think you have it sorted, something comes along and puts obstacles in your way, every single time?

After what seemed like a long period of confusion, my muse slipped back into gear last week, enabling me to make some headway with PayBack, my WIP.

I always write first thing in the morning, long before most of the world wakes up. I have been enjoying the return to normal and I can tell that the WIP has appreciated it too.

That phrase springs to mind, ‘It’s a glorious day, watch some buggier ruin it,’

That was when the computer crashed.

Just to prove a point, the kitchen light failed too. Not as simple as changing the light bulb, this needed one of those circular tubes, something most shops don’t stock any more. Luckily, Amazon is not most shops and I managed to order one. We will have to cook and prepare our food by candlelight until it gets here, but not too much hardship.

The computer is another matter.  It needs replacing, and I cannot really afford to at the moment. I just pray it lasts a little longer!

 

Caught a glimpse of the news this morning, where they were going on about this new survey a photographer was involved in, about people with birthmarks. They were trying to increase awareness or something along those lines.

I was expecting the usual, oddly placed patches, so was not prepared for what some people are born with. Huge dark areas, covering most of their bodies. One poor man had a birthmark all over his face. And really pretty women, almost invisible behind the ugly marks.

When I think of all the things I moan about, they fade to nothing compared to their daily torment.

Then, for some reason, I thought of all those people who cover themselves in tattoos. Not the odd artfully placed roses or butterflies, but the random haphazard determination to cover every inch of their skin.

Sometimes, I think our DNA or whatever controls our lives, has it backwards…

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#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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#Jaye’s Journal: An Unexpected Visitor…

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My office is usually a quiet, peaceful place. Unless something goes radically wrong and I am having a rant.

Today was almost such a day, but I was trying hard not to lose it, determined to figure out what I was doing wrong and why my WIP was proving so difficult to get right.

I have to sit with my back to the door, something I wish I could change but the layout of the room doesn’t allow for any change. So when I sensed someone standing behind me, I assumed it to be one of the family.

‘Ma’am, that is surely a crying shame…’

The soft gentle voice of a man, inches from my ear should have alarmed me, but my curiosity had the better of me and I wondered what he was talking about. Although I wasn’t entirely sure if I had imagined it, I answered. ‘Pardon?’

‘I have to say that character is all wrong, you know…’

By now, I knew I wasn’t imagining it, but insanity seemed a better fit. I was also fascinated, so decided to play along and see what happened. ‘How do you mean?’

‘If you will permit me to sit down, I will explain…’

I nodded, aware that I was about to see who my mysterious visitor was. I watched as this white haired, distinguished and a slightly familiar gentleman walked past me to sit in the only other chair in the room. He reminded me of someone, but my brain was stumbling around like an idiot at a genius convention.

He had kindly blue eyes and an enormous, also white moustache, a bit like Albert Einstein, but I was sure it wasn’t him. He sat there, next to me, calmly watching me with an amused expression on his face. I wondered id he, like me, wondered what he was doing here. I decided to ask. ‘I feel as though I should know you, but what are you doing here in my office?’

His bushy white eyebrows were moving slightly, reminding me of caterpillars.

‘Ma’am, I have no idea how I arrived here, but judging from what I just read on your notebook, I must be here to lend a hand, so to speak.’

For the next hour, we talked about my progress as a writer, my WIP and one character in particular. I had been worried about this one, so it was refreshing to have another clearly expert opinion.

‘The problem, Ma’am is this. You have not brought him to life yet. He needs to have a life, smell the coffee, and do normal things like a regular human being. He will die soon anyway…’

‘Where did you read that? And please stop calling me Ma’am, my name is Jaye.’

‘Oh, I didn’t read it, Jaye. The poor chap never eats, so he won’t last long…’

I was embarassed but had to laugh. My visitor was right. I had been so involved with the plot; I had forgotten to give him a life. My eyes returned to the chapter on the desk in front of me, eager to see with fresh eyes just what a pig’s ear I had made of it all. It occurred to me to thank my visitor for pointing out what had been wrong all along, but when I turned my head in his direction, he had gone and the chair was empty…

I tried to continue working but my brain was busy trying to remember where I had seen the old gentleman before…

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Jaye’s Journal (from the middle of insanity)

 

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My brain needs a disciplinary, as I can no longer make it behave.

Mind you, it must be contagious, for my laptop and tablet are exhibiting similar tendencies.

I have just spent the best part of an hour, first with the laptop and then the tablet, trying to run through my emails from the comfort of my armchair.

The laptop was on a go-slow, so I switched to the tablet.

This annoying piece of crap had decided not to respond at all. Patience personified, I kept trying, only for the battery to drain away faster than a chocolate teapot. Something it shouldn’t have been able to do, seeing as it wasn’t actually doing anything.

 

I can feel the day coming when I will take a hammer to the both of them, as I am not sure how much longer my brain can cope with these insanity-inducing contraptions.

It wouldn’t be so bad if I wasn’t aware of all the wonderful things they can do. When in a good mood, of course.

But I ask you, is it asking too much to have a piece of equipment that actually does what it says on the tin?

We wouldn’t stand for such substandard performance from any other electrical object, so for all that’s Holy, do we put up with it?

The main desktop PC is not immune to such shenanigans, it’s just sneakier. Its favourite trick at the moment is ignoring whole sentences while I am busy typing them.

I get no warning, no sign that something has gone awry. The first I know about it is when I try to read the work back, only to find yawning great holes where parts of my story are missing.

I tell you, it is beginning to feel like a conspiracy…

On the bright side, and I do try to find this, even on those grey days, nothing can affect my pen and paper. Sometimes I am so glad that I can write, blissfully, as far away from technology as I can get. As happy as Larry, knowing that I am in total charge of the creative process.

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So, to end on a much happier note, I have to report that the first draft of PayBack, my WIP, is almost finished. I have enjoyed writing it so much, that even the thought of all that editing is not denting my good mood in the slightest!

Jaye’s Journal 16th ~ 21st July

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I Have a New Muse!

This may be one hell of a coincidence, but I would like to think it was some kind of divine intervention.

As you may know, I have been getting more and more depressed with my writing inertia. I just couldn’t summon up anything that would stimulate me into picking up my pen with anything resembling enthusiasm.

Quite by chance, Anita found this cute ornament when out shopping. It was an elephant surrounded by six baby elephants. I thought it was lovely, but didn’t think anything of it.

Just a few hours later, I was going through my writing and notes yet again, moved to read the last few chapters of my WIP, when something strange happened. I could suddenly see exactly what was holding me up. Several problems were ruining the flow, involving confusion with at least two chapters.

The rest of the afternoon was spent recapping, reorganising and getting the flow moving again. I was back on track and firing on all cylinders!

When I say that an elephant made me do it, I should explain why I was convinced that the ornament Anita brought home that day had somehow waved a magic wand over me and solved my problems.

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You see, Ganesh, the elephant God, is one of the best-known and loved deities in the Hindu religion. So who is this elephant-headed fellow, and why is he so popular?

He is known as the Lord of Good Fortune, the Lord of Beginnings and the Remover of Obstacles.

He is also the patron of the arts and sciences and of letters. Devotees believe that if you worship him, he will grant success, prosperity and protection against adversity.

So why does he have an elephants head?

The most famous story of all explains that the Goddess Parvati, wishing to bathe, created a boy called Ganesh and assigned him the task of guarding the entrance to her bathroom. But when her husband Shiva returned from battle, he was denied access by the boy. He killed the boy in a fit of rage, cutting off his head with his sword.

Parvati was terribly upset, so Shiva sent out his warriors to fetch the head of the first dead creature they found, which happened to be an elephant. The head was attached to the boy’s body and was brought back to life.

The elephants head symbolises wisdom and the gaining of knowledge through reflection and listening.

Did the spirit of Ganesh come to help me with my problems?

Could he be my new muse?

I like to think so…

 

An Interesting Development

Not exactly been a great week for anything really, what with the weather and all. I don’t know about anyone else, but I find it hard to think or concentrate while in a sauna. For that is just how it feels right now.

My back continues to ache, despite my new exercise regime. I read somewhere that if your pain is worse on rising in the morning, but improves after 15 minutes, the culprit is likely to be your mattress. Describing my mornings very well, I think.

I prefer a firm mattress and to be honest, you could bounce a coin on the one I have been sleeping on. But is it too firm for someone of my advancing years? Anita offered to swap mattresses with me, just to see what would happen.

The difference the next morning was remarkable. I actually made it to the bathroom without screaming! I had to buy Anita another mattress, as there was no way I was giving her mattress back.

In all probability, all this time since straining my back, I have been adding to the damage every time I go to bed. Maybe now, my back has a chance to get itself back to normal. That’s if there is any normal to be found at the moment.

Embarrassing Moment of the Week!

Having recently changed the cover on Anita’s book Secrets, I had also changed the paperback version and was waiting for it to arrive in the post.

When it did, we marvelled at the loveliness of it, and then looked inside.

The inside was not Secrets, but The Scarlet Ribbon. Somehow, the wrong book file had been used, and I don’t think it could be Lulu’s fault, so the accusing finger of fate pointed at me. I am still not sure how this happened, but I hope it doesn’t happen again, as I don’t appreciate being the laughing stock in my own office!

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Jaye’s Journal: 11th ~ 16th June

 

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MONDAY: The new week begins and I’m not having a great time of it. The pain in my back continued over the weekend and shows no sign of abating yet.  I will try to carry on blogging as usual, despite being in agony, as I intend to keep up our presence on the web and work on my WIP, for it will give my mind something else to concentrate on. I’ll update you on this theory later in the week!

TUESDAY: The muscle spasms seem to have stopped and I am glad about that, but the pain continues.  Anita offered to massage my back with the Ibuprofen Gel and found some of the muscles in my lower back knotted into hard lumps. I am deformed!

My mood has sunk to a new low even for me, as I feel so helpless. The high spot of my day is staggering to the loo after climbing the stairs on my hands and knees!

WEDNESDAY:  I received a telephone call from my GP. The results of my recent urine test show a nasty kidney infection, so maybe the pain in my back isn’t from juggling couches after all! Antibiotics are winging their way to me, so relief should be arriving soon after with a little bit of luck.

THURSDAY: Another depressing day. Pain is no better and the frustration of being unable to do even the simplest thing is taking its toll. Everywhere I look, there are jobs that need doing, jobs I just cannot do at the moment and I want to scream, as in my depressed state I imagine I might be incapacitated for the rest of my natural life.

FRIDAY: I awoke the next morning with a strange revelation. The pain seemed to have receded a little during the night. It might have been my imagination, but it did feel different. I realised that it hadn’t hurt so much during the night either. One hour later, I knew something had changed. The crushing pain had indeed lessened and walking to the kitchen didn’t have my body begging to sit down.

Against Anita’s better judgement, I decide to have a shower, as I desperately needed one. We have a strong handrail over the bath, so all should be well. The pain passed an opinion on my activities later on, but even then, it wasn’t as bad as it has been.

I hope that I have turned a corner and will be back to normal in no time, although I do know I will have to be patient! All of which is a pain (no pun intended) as I have discovered that my muse has gone into hiding. Apparently, she doesn’t do pain!


 

 

 

Jaye’s Journal (28th May~ 2nd June)

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Last week began like any other, full of optimism and plans, doing what I love.

I had finished re-editing Anita’s book, Simple and created a new cover for it last week.  I haven’t updated the paperback yet or sorted out Goodreads. Changing anything is so bloody complicated, and I constantly worry about forgetting some minor (or major!) detail.

Up to 30.000 words on WIP now, and the further into the story I get I find out how inadequate my storyboard is. I ended up spending an afternoon updating it!

The cast of characters are running amok, and I thank God for Words search/find function, it makes it so much easier to find and check all the names and places.

I think I might be creating a monster, as this book has more characters and chaos than any of my other books. It’s a bit like being in charge of a runaway train!

Why is it that we plod along, thinking we are doing such an amazing job networking and writing when the marketing monster arrives and calmly informs you that your feeble efforts are rubbish?

But if you have limited funds for any paid advertising, what else can you do?

To cheer myself up, I watched copious amounts of the Chelsea Flower Show, as all those lovely gardens and flowers never fail to lift my spirits.

 

Moving on in a slightly more cheerful mood, we had a family birthday this week, involving a massive collection of family members. Will this be the year with no upsetting arguments, I hope so!

Towards the end of the week, I developed a very painful back. I have to walk almost bent double and painkillers are having a limited effect. Walking is out of the question but at least I can sit on the couch and at my desk, so might be able to get some work done!  We will have to starve until the situation improves, as I’m the only cook in this establishment. I’m trying not to feel guilty about this, but I’m not happy about any of it.

I assumed it had probably happened when I carried the heavy garden waste sack out to the kerb, something I have done many times before. It was only later when I remembered what we were doing the week before, that I realised the real reason for my pain. You remember, those couches we were juggling in and out of our house?

Proof positive, if it was needed, that it is time we started behaving like the old women we are before we break something permanently!