#Jaye’s Journal ~ Week 50

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I suppose it was inevitable that an element of Charles Dickens a Christmas Carol should have descended on our house. Anita is very fond of this story and always watches at least one version of it at this time of year, but I have a feeling it has something to do with it being a new century and not just a New Year that is due to start in approx. 19 days’ time.

I am always a little apprehensive at this time of year, wondering what Fate has in store for us all, and at the same time trying to imagine new ways to make it better than this one.

A new century is rather special and needs to be planned with a bit more care than usual, I think. We have been blogging now for nearly 7 years and we have made some amazing progress and friends in that time, but so far, the sale of our books hasn’t exactly improved our lifestyle.

We would love to increase the number of our subscribers /friends, write more books and actually sell some of them.

Although I am very proud of all I have learned, I know there is so much more I need to know out there. Already, the to-do list is growing, headed by getting rid of that dreadful subscription pop up and replacing it with a better sign up form, coupled with finding new ways to connect with more readers.

Our newsletters need improving, and our presence on some media sites could be better too.

And I also need to find the time to start enjoying my long-abandoned hobby of craftwork again, and if I can, I think this would make 2020 a special time for me…

 

What do you want to do differently in 2020?

 

We would love to hear from you…

 

#Jaye’s Journal ~ Week 47

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I actually took the afternoon off yesterday.

My head was aching, so I switched off the PC, grabbed my gardening jacket and went out to our back garden. It wasn’t raining for a change, but the grass was much too wet to be cut. It was, however, very cold.

Every year about this time, I like to start putting the bonsai to bed. This involves removing all the fallen leaves and any weeds. Yes, even in those small pots we get weeds, usually brought by the wind. Sometimes, the local squirrels like to deposit peanuts and other seeds in them too, despite the thick growth of moss.

Once the trees are bare, I check for damaged or diseased branches. I also remove any branches that have appeared in the wrong place, so much easier to see at this time of year.

By this time my hands were freezing, so I cleared up the mess I made and rushed back indoors. I wasn’t outside long, but my head had cleared and I felt good. Nothing quite like fresh air for blowing the cobwebs away.

And although there is still more to do out there, I was glad to get something done.

Suitably refreshed, I spent the rest of the day working on the post I had promised for Colleen Chesebro about how I managed to create the well-received cover for SPB.

This involved several screenshots to show the process, for I find images far more helpful than words alone, so I am closer to being finished.

We recently sent out a newsletter to our subscribers, (which I feel could have been better, thanking everyone for their support for SPB and news of upcoming events.)

Any chance you could let us know what you thought of it?

We would really appreciate feedback, so future newsletters will be better and more interesting.

©jayemarie

 

 

Jaye’s Journal ~Week 45

 

Jaye's Journal x12

 

I have been so busy all year, writing (re-writing) and editing (and more editing) my latest detective thriller, Silent PayBack. Then there was the amazing book launch last month and some amazing reviews which totally blew me away, and it took some time for my brain to settle down again.

The past few days, finally being alone with my thoughts, so to speak, I have suddenly realised that the year is nearly over. In a few short weeks, it will be Christmas and then (and this doesn’t bear thinking about) it will be 2020.

2020!

Sounds exciting, doesn’t it?

I can’t help hoping that it will be a very special year, a new era for us all, maybe?

I had thought that I could take it a bit easier next year and not make any definite plans, preferring to wait and see, but my brain obviously didn’t get that memo and is busy having a field day, trying out different ideas on for size, in theory at least. So, one way or another, things have been creeping up on me.

Anita has a new book coming out, so I will be involved with all the editorial and promotional stuff for that, and we also plan to publish some of her wonderful poems.  (More news and images to follow!)  I have had no ideas for my next book, although the thought of a Christmas murder mystery appealed to me the other day.

I also want to learn how to use PowerPoint, and finally, get to grips with Scrivener. I have always been a loyal Word fan, but since I updated it earlier this year, it’s not the same anymore and everyone seems to wax lyrical on how helpful Scrivener is for a writer, so it might be time to bite that bullet, just to see if they are right!

There are a few family things that will be changing around me too, and I’m not quite sure whether to be terrified or not. Change doesn’t usually bother me though, good or bad, they usually just need some minor adjusting, but I have the feeling some of these changes will be serious and far-reaching…

©jayemarie

Thank you so much for reading my Journal, and please leave a comment or two!

Jaye’s Amazon Author Page:  https://Author.to/JayeLink

Jaye’s Journal ~ Week 42

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It had to had to happen, I suppose…

 

This weeks Journal will not be about my new book release, for I have waxed lyrical about Silent PayBack for what seems like a lifetime. (although, it does seem to be doing rather well, so thank you for all of your support!)

It won’t be about gardening or my bonsai either, because the constant rain has kept me indoors. I dread to think what will happen if it doesn’t stop raining soon. I will probably need an army of machete wielding volunteers to bring what is probably a jungle by now, back under control.

Seeking some new and interesting topics, I found this interesting article about the founder of the internet, Professor Leonard Kleinrock, while browsing Quora for interesting things to write about.

This Professor Kleinrock created the internet on 29th October 1969, and on this monumental anniversary, he has been having second thoughts.

He says that in the beginning, he was thinking about people talking to computers, not people talking to people… and that as engineers, they were not thinking in terms of nasty people behaviour…

I am puzzled by how long it took to come to this conclusion!

So, a New Connection Lab has been formed to welcome research into how to stop online evils, using something called Block Chain Technology, which sounds too much like tinkering with people and their reputations to me.

Apparently, this genius has discovered that this nastiness is far more than John X being nasty to Peter X. It’s nation against nation, and organised crime doing ‘big bad things.’

He says he doesn’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water, but do they really know what they are doing, or what the consequences will be down the line, any more than they did nearly fifty years ago?

Or are we heading for an internet like they have in China?

I wonder what else I can find on Quora?

 

 

Thank you for reading – please feel free to comment or share –

best wishes – Anita & Jaye

Jaye’s Journal # Week 41

 

Jaye's Journal x12

 

Does anyone really enjoy promoting their work?

 

At the beginning of the week I managed to bite the bullet and bravely announce the launch of my latest masterpiece, Silent PayBack. I asked for help from our writing/reading community and was very surprised by the immediate response that almost overwhelmed me.

Like a lot of authors, I am not fond of all the trumpet blowing that you need to do to send your brainchildren out into the world.  It usually comes as a great surprise to many writers to discover we prefer the peace and solitude of our writing caves, rather than the noisy, complicated world of publishing and promotion.

In the real world, parents send their offspring into the world to find their own way, confident they have equipped them with everything they will ever need to make a success of their lives. You see them turn away to return to the now empty nest, trying not to feel sad that this stage of their lives is over.

Writing a book is not like this.

We cannot simply stand at the door and wave goodbye, confident we have done all we can. We must go with our creation, often equipped with a virtual crowbar to prise open all those tightly closed doors!

This week, I am floundering around like a ship with no rudder. I stumble from one problem to another, making to do lists like there will be no tomorrow. If I do manage to achieve anything, it seems to happen by magic and not by intent.

I have done book tours before, with moderate success but always with the same low level of confidence, probably due to my lack of know how.

This time, however, I have tried to learn more about the process, in order to make it easier and ensure more book sales.

But between you and me, I cannot wait until I can retreat into my cave and pick up my favourite writing pen again!

 

para one

1.PayBack Memes.jpg

 

Huge thanks for everyone who has offered to help with the launch, and all those who have grabbed a copy at the Pre-sale on Amazon.

A bargain at just .99p or $.99 for one more week!

Amazon UK:  amzn.to/2p4xxzg

Amazon US:   amzn.to/2LXHgjO

 

#Jaye’s Journal ~ Week 40

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In many ways, this week was the worst yet for me.

 

I soldiered on, trying to accomplish something towards my impending book launch, but everything I touched turned to rubbish in my hands. I managed to reach Thursday without shooting myself, but it grew steadily worse. I knew if there was one more insurmountable difficulty, there was a danger of me running for the hills. I tried everything I could think of to escape the feeling of doom that was gradually seeping into everything I touched, but it wasn’t having a bar of it. Looked like I had found a branch of doom that was far more stubborn than I was!

I checked the weather again and although the entire week looked just as glum, with rain everywhere, that day seemed brighter, or was I just hoping for a little sunshine?

We hadn’t walked to our local lake in ages, having almost resigned into believing we couldn’t walk that far anymore. It was only about a mile and a half and quite a pleasant walk through town, but it was the return journey that always had us crawling home, groaning with aching joints. Desperation made me determined to dispel that idea and we set off, walking slowly and enjoying the fresh air. The sun was trying to make an appearance and I could feel the doom dropping away from me the further I walked.

We sat by the water, watching the assortment of ducks, geese and swans, going about their business. Most were busy hunting for food, while others were bossing each other about, causing short-lived arguments and noisy wing flapping that had the local children laughing. The sun sparkled on the water, the light breeze rippling the surface and for the first time in ages, I felt myself relaxing.

Anita was watching something on the far side of the lake, and I tried to see for myself. They looked like ducks, but something kept me watching, willing them to come closer. They took their sweet time but eventually they came close enough to see they were a pair of black swans.

I have had this thing about black swans ever since I worked near the River Thames, some forty years ago. My office window looked out over the water and I confess I spent more time than I should watching what went on out there. I hadn’t been in the job long before my new workmates introduced me to Smudge, a lone black swan who seemed to like that part of the river and could be seen every day. He once had a mate, but something had happened, leaving him alone. I knew that swans mate for life, and that Smudge would have to live the rest of his life alone. I was alone at that time too, so in a way we shared our loneliness. At least that ‘s how it felt back then.

The new arrivals made it to our side of the lake, and I watched them gliding about, completely engrossed in what they were doing. They ignored the other wildlife and seemed to be searching for more than food, or was I endowing them with the sadness I felt for Smudge all those years ago?

I took loads of photographs and tried to capture them both on video too, but either my camera malfunctioned or I didn’t press the right sequence of buttons. It seemed doom hadn’t quite disappeared after all, but at least the photos weren’t bad.

If the weather doesn’t improve, we may not walk all that way again until Spring and maybe we will see the black swans again. Now that is something to look forward to!

 

Thank you for reading – please feel free to comment or share for I would love to hear from you!   Best wishes from Jaye Marie

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jaye-Marie/e/B00O2ZUFOK/

Jaye’s Journal ~ Week 39

 

Jaye's Journal x12

 

Where I find out just how patient I can be

After having both cataracts removed from my eyes over the last few months, I have waited patiently for them to heal. In many ways, this was not a pleasant process.

My vision gradually became so much clearer and the increased amount of housework I have been doing will bear testimony to this. (the house is a lot cleaner now, as I tackle all the grime that I haven’t been able to see before, with or without glasses)

This new development is ironic in a way, and only serves to emphasise the fact that I still cannot see that well to read or use the computer.

I will still need glasses for close work, but until my eyes have healed, I must wear my old ones which aren’t working any better than before. In fact, my eyesight seems worse when I wear them as the prescription is wrong.

Doing anything became a tiring and depressing struggle as my new eyes constantly fought against them, and I couldn’t wait to get them changed.

Waiting to see my optician has been a frustration I could have done without, but finally the day arrived.

She was impressed by the level of improvement in my eyes and declared that my distance vision was now 20/20. My near vision has also improved substantially too, and I will need a much weaker prescription.

All of this was wonderful news, of course, but now I must wait for these new glasses to be ready, but eventually, the waiting will be over.

Talking about waiting…

I am having a little trouble organising the launch sequence for my new book, Silent PayBack, and if I don’t get my act together soon, I will miss the opportunity of successfully marketing it before Christmas. It has been the wrong time to finish a book, what with everything that has been going on (or not going on, if you see what I mean!)

It has taken me so long to edit and do all the necessary stuff that most of the joy has fizzled out along the way. I have been running on stubborn determination most of the time, I can tell you!

Right now, I am wrestling with the content of my launch newsletter that will coincide with the pre order date. I have been trying to understand the finer points of Mailchimp, the people who hold our subscriber list, but it seems the harder I try, the further away the answers get. Something I have never understood, so no change there!

Once, I did attempt to change to Mailerlite, who are supposed to be more user friendly, but didn’t get past the sign-up page. Now, I’m not stupid, (says she confidently) I can sometimes be slow to grasp the finer points but usually manage to get there in the end.

 

Although, I get the sneaky feeling that this may be another aspect of growing old, whether I like it or not!

 

Jaye’s Journal ~ Week 38

 

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I am a bit late writing my journal this week, due mainly to the last seven days being nonstop crazy. Every time I think we might get to relax and do some serious work, something else turns up!

The first half of the week was a nightmare what with no landline or Wi-Fi. I say no Wi-Fi, but I was piggy backing on my neighbours, so was able to do quite a lot on my laptop.

BTW… Does anyone know why Windows 10 doesn’t seem to have the facility to switch Wi-Fi sources? I have searched until I’m blue in the face but cannot find it.

I had hoped that life would improve once the status quo was restored but fate had other ideas. That was when a few domestic problems blew up in my face and at that point I wanted to leave the country as there seemed no point being enthusiastic about anything.

I tried to work but it was hopeless. I couldn’t concentrate. It was depressing, having what felt like a ton of spanners landing all over my plans to start the preparations for the launch of PayBack, my latest detective thriller book.

I spent most of yesterday trying to convince myself to shelve my plans until life settled down again, even though if the worst happened, this might not happen at all or at least take a very long time.

That was yesterday, but today I feel so much better about everything. In a way, I think I am challenging the fates to do their worst, for I know that once I am in this mood, I will fight to the death to finish what I start.

Just to seal my determination, I have been busy making a trailer, preparing promo material, and considering the makings of the first newsletter. You never know, I might even start writing dates on the calendar…

Watch this space for further developments!

©JayeMarie

 

 

#Jaye’s Journal ~ Week 37

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Emails: Do you find them delightful or disastrous?

There are days when I find our never-ending list of emails such a chore. Days when the list is stuffed full of messages from people I don’t know, and endless advertising.  Not to mention all the get-rich schemes and must-have courses that cost a fortune!

It can take two hours to sift through them all and this must be done twice a day, seven days a week.

Today was a good day. There were several beautiful poems, inspiring stories and articles that had me reaching for my notebook. Smiling one moment, then wiping the tears from my eyes the next. There was also a couple of helpful posts that might make my life more interesting.

I like to share the better and more helpful emails with our readers, when we get them, of course. I mean, you can never have too much of a good thing, and if we can cheer up or help at least one person each day, I consider that a good day.

There is one aspect of our email list that does concern us, and that is the amount of companies trying to fool you into opening their emails for fraudulent purposes. We are advised to ignore them and never open them, but if it’s a company you use or belong to, it can be worrying. Supposing it’s genuine and you really need to read it?

I mean, how are we supposed to know the difference?

Much more of this, and I can see that letter writing might be making a comeback!

#Jaye’s Journal ~ Week 36

 

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What exactly is a coincidence?

“A coincidence is a remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances without apparent causal connection…”

“A coincidence is something that is not planned or arranged but seems like it is. Technically, a coincidence is an occurrence of events that happen at the same time by total accident.”

****************

It doesn’t seem to matter what we talk about in our house, it can be on any subject but within a very short time we will hear or see a reference to it.

It could be an image we see on TV, or on a passing truck. Sometimes, someone will quote our words back to us while we watch a programme. I even find some of the key words of our discussion as answers or clues in my crossword puzzles.

It’s as if the Universe has joined in our conversation somehow…

Yesterday was the best yet.

We were working on Colleen’s Weekly Poetry Challenge and the image prompt was a discarded bottle in the desert with what looked like a letter inside.  I had printed out the image so we could discuss the best way forward.

Literally, within seconds, Eamonn Holmes on the This Morning programme on ITV, started saying that the genie was out of the bottle!

We are quite used to these coincidences, but this one had our jaws dropping!

There are times when whatever this is, seems to go crazy, firing coincidences at us repeatedly. It usually involves a subject we would love to know more about and creates an avalanche where we will see and hear references to it for several days.

We have heard that synchronicity, a term originally coined by Carl Jung, is supposed to mean a meaningful coincidence that can only be explained by a phenomenon of energy, but what does it really mean?

Are these happenings really signs from the universe, confirming we are on the right track, but which track and what are we supposed to do about it?

Can it really contribute anything to the way we live our lives?

 

©Jaye Marie