Jaye’s Journal ~ week 29

 

Jaye's Journal x12

 

There have been so many ups and downs this week, and I’m giddy.

The first few days I couldn’t do right for doing wrong. Jobs I do on a regular basis were going wrong and as for some of the new stuff I am trying to learn, don’t ask.

At one point I thought my brain must have gone for a walk, as I couldn’t understand a bloody word!

This was bad enough, but then I discovered that some of the work I thought I had managed to do, was in fact, rubbish. Add to all of that, I was trying desperately to get used to Windows 10 and a new version of Word too, and everywhere I went, everything seemed to have been updated or changed, sometimes for the worse. My life was becoming unbearable (as a writer/blogger anyway!)

So, during all of this, when I turned up at the hospital for the post-surgery check up on my new eye, I was delighted to be told it had healed beautifully and was behaving brilliantly. Not that I was getting the benefit much as the other eye seems worse by comparison. I seem to spend most of my time with one eye shut, but at least something had turned out all right.

The next few days were a strange mixture of joy and confusion as my good news was slowly suffocated by everything malfunctioning. This Windows 10 is the devils work and my laptop seems to be joining forces with it, almost convincing me to find a better way to spend my time!

What kept me going was the determination to rescue that Oak sapling and encourage it to be a bonsai. I knew this would be hard to do, but the idea wouldn’t leave me alone…

Tune in later this week for how it all went!

AAA (2)

 

#Jaye’s Journal ~ week 19

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I still have to juggle the laptop and computer, just to wade through my email list. Whatever is wrong, BT either doesn’t see it or could care less, despite my wordy complaints.

Days passed, and I learned how to cope with my malfunctioning emails. I am sure it helps to be stubborn like me.

Then they sent me an email, asking for feedback for their recent changes. I couldn’t believe it. Had they received my complaints? Or were they under the impression that I liked the mess they had created?

Needless to say, I did answer their email, but I wasn’t polite. At all.

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING WEIRD

Our hot water system is on a timer, and we always have plenty of hot water. So I was surprised to find it barely warm when I washed my hair. Investigation revealed that a switch had been turned off.

Strangely, no one had touched it, so I turned it back on.

Next day, it was lukewarm, and again, the switch was turned off. Either we had a paranoid interfering ghost, or the switch was faulty.

I couldn’t imagine what kind of fault would do this, so when it happened yet again, I reported it anyway. Maybe a new switch would solve the problem.

We are quite used to strange goings on around here. Remember that mysterious red light reflected in our front room window? We never did find what was making it and it is still there. Read the post here

FINALLY, SOMETHING REALLY GOOD HAPPENED

The beta read I ordered from Fiverr.com last week came back yesterday from Sara Mae. I opened the file, feeling more than a little apprehensive. To be honest, I expected the worst. Maybe Sara would find my story ridiculous or substandard and return it to me unread.

Imagine my delight to discover that Sara absolutely loved it. She was very thorough, pointing out what could be changed to make it better. Most of the points she raised were sensible and logical. I could clearly see what a difference it would make.

This was a trial run to see if it would be workable, ready for PayBack, my WIP and it most definitely was.

So if you need a beta read or help with anything writing related, you know where to go…

watermark xjj

 

 

 

Jaye’s Journal ~ week 18

 

Jaye's Journal x12

 

This week, I must have found my sensible hat, for most of last week’s problems have just faded away, leaving the rest of them easily managed.

My WIP is written in three acts. Acts one and two have been edited to within an inch of their lives, run rough Grammarly and finally spell checked. Progress indeed!

I am really impressed with Grammarly. It finds all of my mistakes and their suggestions aren’t bad either. It is so easy to use, and my readability has increased tremendously since using it. It really is helpful and doesn’t muck about with the formatting, unlike some I have used before.

The third act needs the works thrown at it now, and after that, I will do the final read through, checking there is enough magic. Also considering having it read to me by the new feature I have discovered on Word.

Despite all of this incredible progress, my dismal eyesight is making everything a nightmare. My eyes get so tired with all the straining, but I am determined to finish the WIP and make it the best yet.

I have also started an experiment with Fiverr.com. You have probably heard of them, they offer all kinds of writing-related services at reasonable rates. For the princely sum of £12, a very accomplished woman is beta reading one of my other books. She has masses of glowing reviews, so hopefully will do a good job.

I hope she does, for I need all the feedback I can get, especially with this new book coming out soon.

 

This week’s Rant

I may have mentioned this before, but I love going through my emails. Some people find this a chore, but to me, they are a wealth of interesting posts and valuable information on some fascinating subjects. Twice a day, (yes, we get that many) I get to explore, discover and enjoy so many delights.

BUT… because BT has recently tinkered (updated) the way we get them, what was once a joy, is now a bloody nightmare!

It refuses to obey me, argues with me and then freezes, so I end up switching to my laptop just to keep my sanity. BT made the mistake of asking what I thought of their improvements this morning, so I let them have my opinion, both bloody barrels!

And a word to the wise, I hear that Twitter is planning an update too!

watermark xjj

 

 

Jaye’s Journal ~ week 15

Jaye's Journal x12

 

Are there days when you cannot cope with your chosen occupation?

I have had many jobs in my time and hated quite a few of them, but never thought I would ever feel less than love for writing.

Lately, I have been having days when things seem to be slipping, a digital carrying-on that can plague anyone who switches on a computer.

This week, I had more than one day like this. A fatal mixture of an old and feeble person trying to use an equally old and feeble computer.

The overall tone of the week surprised me, seeing as I had just typed those magic words at the end of my WIP, I should be happy or at least relieved, or optimistic reaching the end of what has turned out to be a fascinating if complicated story.

Secretly though, I knew why I wasn’t jumping around like an idiot. I am an idiot (most of the time), but that wasn’t the reason.

I was secretly terrified that, having written this unusual and complicated story, that I wasn’t competent enough to present it in the best possible light.

This is a story that I didn’t know much about initially, or how to write it. It has been one hell of a learning curve. The research alone took almost as long as writing it.

 

Something strange happened today.

I have recently changed the header image on our website, and that is what I expected to see when I logged on, but the picture I saw was not mine and one I had never seen before.

How was this even possible?

Also, the new header image had vanished. It wasn’t saved with all the other old headers, so whoever had changed it had run off with my new one.

Surely, this couldn’t happen, could it?

Perhaps it was a message from my muse, for I wasn’t happy with my choice, so maybe she wasn’t either…

watermark xjj

 

Jaye’s Journal… week 13

Jaye's Journal x12

 

 

Swings and Roundabouts…

 

I was watching Theresa May (the UK Prime Minister) this morning, and for the first time saw what looked suspiciously like signs of defeat. The normally serene and smart woman we are used to seeing looked tired and a little scruffy, as though she had been up all night. Which I suppose she might well have been, at this delicate stage of the Brexit negotiations. I got the definite impression that she is barely hanging on by her eyelashes.

I can identify with that state of affairs, for at 75 years old, with cataracts in both eyes and rampaging arthritis, I might be approaching the end of my rope too.

It has been a week of highs and lows, or swings and roundabouts if you prefer.

From a major disagreement with Microsoft, who thought I wasn’t me anymore and refused to accept several new passwords. They kept insisting I had to contact them on a mobile phone to resolve the problem. That was an even bigger problem for me, as I don’t have such a thing! But once I borrowed one, everything was okay again.

Then I finally managed to claim our website on Pinterest, something I had been trying to do all week.

I still don’t understand why any of this happened, or why using a mobile phone made Microsoft like me again, especially as it wasn’t mine, but that was the closest I want to get to HTML or all things SEO!

~~~~

The minute I feel life returning outside my window, it’s like a wake-up call for me to pull my socks up and get cracking. You never know, this could be the year when all things become possible.

Spring is finally here and the sun is shining, but it is very cold. I know this because I have ventured outside to check on the garden. I still call it a garden, even though I now need a machete to go very far! The grass has begun to grow, heralding the start of much fruitless pushing and shoving of my equally ancient lawn mower. Luckily, I think it can wait a while longer.

My Bonsai are all sprouting, cold or not, their winter sleep is over and it will soon be time to check their roots to see who needs a trim, fresh soil or a bigger pot. This is about all I am capable of these days, as I really cannot cope with the ever-present growth of brambles in my jungle of a garden. The last time I tried to tame them I had to retire wounded and bloody, so now they have my permission to run riot.

If I do get the urge to blitz them, I will get a flamethrower and do the job properly!

AAA (2)

 

Jaye’s Journal ~ Week 9

 

Jaye's Journal x12

 

This week the weather has been the least of our worries.

We were all too busy worrying about the imminent arrival of our new baby.

Tension had built to breaking point and all of our stress levels were on overload.

We knew the date he/she was expected to arrive, but it was beginning to look as though baby had other ideas. It became impossible to concentrate on anything else.

Somehow, the days passed but no work was being done. Nothing creative anyway. We busied ourselves with chores we could do with our eyes shut, trying so hard not to give voice to our concerns.

The day baby chose to arrive seemed surreal. Everyone seemed to be holding their breath, but finally, she was here. Perfectly beautiful and content to sleep through the constant stream of family members, all eager to see her.

The release of tension left me drained, and instead of picking up my WIP to resume editing, I wanted to run and shout, go somewhere or do something to replenish my mojo. It was a sunny day, the wind was chilly, but I didn’t care. I needed to be near the sea, as nothing else has ever soothed my soul like the ocean.

For once I didn’t get an argument and we piled into the car and took off. Half an hour later, I stood on the shingle. The tide was in and a strong wind was creating dramatic waves that crashed on to the beach. My eyes filled with tears at the sight and sound of it, and I relaxed for the first time in days.

I had my camera with me and tried to capture the majesty of the moment. The wind had turned icy, and by the time I had finished, my hands were almost blue with the cold. But my mojo felt as if it had been born again.

Altogether, a very special day if you ask me…

 

 

Jaye’s Journal x7

 

Jaye's Journal x12

 

It is the beginning of the week, the sun is shining and it seems warmer. Optimism had lifted its head and was smiling at me.

Then I heard a load of noise outside my house.

Close inspection from the front room window revealed a horde of workmen, clad in bright yellow reflective jackets. All busy moving heavy machinery and what seemed like miles of orange barriers right outside my front door. We would be drowning in noise at any minute.

They say there is no peace for the wicked, but I couldn’t possibly have been bad enough to warrant so many roadworks. This is the third time they have dug up the road outside my house!

Luckily, my office is at the back of the house, reducing the noise to an annoying buzz that I can almost ignore.

~~~~~

As I make a conscious effort to slow down, I have discovered that I am actually noticing so much more these days. Before, in the daily struggle to get more done, I think I was starting to lose sight of the trees.

This week, while editing the first twelve chapters of PayBack, my WIP,  I found not one colossal error but two.

The first stopped me my tracks. How many times had I been going over these chapters? I had already rewritten and restructured them and yet I had my protagonist driving to work several times, and in the same chapters, he was catching a train!

Finding this mistake almost floored me, but I tackled it and moved on.

The next error I found was a plot hole. Not a very big one, but a hole nonetheless.

 

When I edit, I keep a running storyboard, listing events as they happen. This is so important in a mystery thriller novel and usually avoids plot holes. For the first time ever, my system had let me down.

I decided to edit these first chapters again after correcting the first mistake. My writing senses must have been working overtime, for I could feel something was missing. I kept checking my storyboard but it seemed okay.

I never like to ignore my brain when it tries to tell me something, so I decided to compile a new storyboard just for my protagonist (the detective), as I had a feeling this would be where I would find the problem.

And I discovered a missing chapter.

Now, whether this happened during the rewrite, I couldn’t say, but it looked pretty obvious to me that I will need a few good Beta readers when I have finished.

Therefore, I have an important message to anyone who loves reading mystery thrillers. If you could read PayBack for me sometime in March, I will love you forever!

watermark xjj

 

 

#Jaye’s Journal: November

 

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So many empty promises!

I have posted about e-mails before. About how rewarding, interesting and useful they are. However, just lately, something has been happening to them.

Something bad.

Something that is ruining not only my enjoyment but also possibly the future of communication, as we know it too. Most days I find informative articles and valuable information, all shared by fellow bloggers. Sometimes we meet new people who have just begun to blog, wanting to join our list of subscribers. Then there are all the people we discover who we want to follow. It is a huge worldwide social club, one that has taught me almost everything I know about blogging and social networking. Some of the best hours in my day are spent reading e-mails.

That is until this new menace started appearing. Every single one of them promising a gift, a prize or some other amazing offer. All the ones from the companies you don’t have dealings with are bad enough, but at least you know for sure you haven’t qualified for any of their offers. But what about the ones from the companies you do use?

It can be quite disconcerting to read that your favourite store has singled you out (as a valued customer) for a huge discount or some other prize. Hard not to click on that one!

They are all bogus claims, trying to get you to click to register your claim, and once you do, you open the door for any malware they have at their disposal. I can no longer tell the real from the bogus, so I ignore them all. And every day there seems to be more and more.

I often wonder how many people are fooled and taken in by these claims, only to have their systems corrupted or worse.

Hopefully, this menace will die a natural death, but I know what will happen. These people will come up with yet more ways to wreak havoc, as it’s what they do. I just wish they would leave my e-mails alone!

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#Jaye’sJournal: 17~22 September

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A very good week.

It had to happen I suppose, after weeks of struggle and getting precisely nowhere, things are looking up!

Not only do we seem to be more productive, it is reflected in our stats for everything else has improved too.

We feel better in ourselves and have more enthusiasm than a cartload of monkeys.

My work in progress is progressing in leaps and bounds and almost writing itself. Anita’s pen is smoking hot, so it’s not just me.

And all those depressing thoughts about the upcoming editing of PayBack have taken a hike too, and I am actually looking forward to it! Even the weather is being nice!

No problems whatsoever with any of the equipment, thank the Lord!

Nothing radical has happened or changed, so why has life done a U-turn?

It’s as if someone has slipped me a pair of rose-tinted spectacles, for everything I see looks so much better than before.

(I just hope this isn’t the calm before the storm…)

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P.S:  Our list of followers has been stuck on 997 for weeks now, and we would love to hit the 10000 mark!  Would there be three people out there, feeling generous this morning, just to make this week perfect?

 

#Jaye’s Journal 9 – 15 July

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Last week was such a frustrating time for me, as the end of my rope seemed to be getting ever closer.

The backache didn’t want to leave me, fluctuating between good and bad days that I swear would try the patience of a saint. This is something I have never professed to be, so maybe I had it coming. I was to blame for it in the first place, lifting all those couches, so I must take the punishment without moaning.

Despite the pain and frustration, I approached the WIP, only to find an alien pile of scribblings that looked only vaguely familiar. I read the last chapter but nothing occurred to me, no clear direction, nothing. I went back even further, with the same results. My heart sank to the floor as it was beginning to look as though I would have to start again.

At this point, my brain nearly went crazy. I wanted to cry, scream, or leave the building and couldn’t make up my mind which. Fortunately, I have a running storyboard of sorts, with a tenuous thread running to the end, something I have not done before, so I studied it, desperately seeking inspiration.

But my brain wouldn’t budge.

By now, I was beginning to feel as though I had lost whatever writing ability I thought I had, along with my muse. Not that she has ever been a great help to me, more the opposite really. She can argue the hind legs off a donkey and can always find at least three reasons why something won’t work, so I’m not missing her half as much as the contents of my brain.

Right in the middle of all this frustration, the PC started crashing and buffering, something it has been doing a lot of lately. I normally wait patiently until it gets its act together, but after two horrendous days of not being able to get even the simplest of tasks done, I made a decision.

Firefox would have to go. It had crashed on me for the last time.

I downloaded Chrome with my fingers crossed, but so far, it has been fine. Now all I have to do is find out where my writing mind has buggered off to!