This is the post I wrote when I finished writing Silent PayBack, my fourth novel.
I still remember wondering what the world would make of it, but so pleased it did reasonably well. Well, I thought so anyway.
So I have not been pleased with my progress of late, thanks no doubt to the on-going abomination and various other problems.
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 Silent PayBack, 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.
so here I am again, trying to create the impossible. (at least that’s what it feels like!)
I now have the actual storyboard on the wall in front of me, but the plot, characters and possible outcome are all still inside my head. Will any of it ever transfer to the pc screen?
I am eighteen and my life is broken I need a new one. With no idea how or where to find one. Some would say I am too young to give up on life. They would feel the same if they had a hundred lifetimes stuck inside their heads Their voices, their faces swirl around like a cyclone All vying for attention, needing to be heard To be remembered. There is one girl that shows up more often than the others. She looks like me, could almost be a twin All but for the scar on my chin. Riding home on my bike from college, I hit a small pothole I flew over the handlebars and landed flat on my face. Helped up by a passing stranger, who gave me a hanky for the blood dripping from my chin. Walking the rest of the way home, I realised I could no longer hear the voices in my head They were all gone. I was the only one left I felt ready to begin my life again…
It was another Monday morning in front of the computer 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…”
Kate sat at the table in the Vestry with her head in her hands. She couldn’t believe Jack had found her again, in spite of all the Snowman’s security. She kept seeing the ivory roses, blood dripping from the petals, laid on the altar like an offering. Only Jack could have thought of something that macabre.
The blood reminded her of what had happened to her beloved Dylan, her silver tabby. Jack had ripped him apart in her kitchen, strewing blood and fur all over the floor for her to find. At least this time, she wouldn’t have to clean up the mess.
Why had Michael gone outside?
She knew he was having trouble coming to terms with the fact that their relationship was over. After all this time it must have been a bitter pill to swallow. But going against David Snow’s specific orders was foolish and irresponsible. Maybe his depression had grown bad enough to warrant taking such a risk. Or had he wanted to die?
The voice disapproved. ‘I did ask you to try and be kind to him, Kate. Even though you couldn’t love him, you, of all people, should have treated him better than that…’
It was true; she could remember feeling that bad. Jack had that effect on most people. Just knowing he was out there somewhere had made her suicidal in the past, and the feeling wasn’t too far away at the moment.
The Snowman should have let her see Michael, her imagination couldn’t be worse than the real thing. Right then, it didn’t seem real, and she kept expecting to see him come through the door at any minute. She wished with all her heart that she had run away the first time she suspected Jack was back on the scene. Michael’s sudden reappearance had reawakened all her old desires and dreams, rendering her incapable of thinking straight.
Fate was too cruel. Why had it conspired to bring Jack back into her life at that particular time? If he hadn’t arrived when he did, her brother would not have died and the chain of destruction would have broken.
She wanted to run away but suspected there was no point. Jack would find her wherever she went. The knowledge sunk in that none of them were safe anymore, if they ever were. What would it take to be rid of Jack for good?
Kate heard the door open but realised the noise had come from the wrong side of the room. As she raised her head to investigate, a damp, sweet-smelling cloth covered her face. She struggled against it, but he was too strong.
Some things in life defy comprehension, but that doesn’t make them any less real. Or deadly.
When a familiar crow drops a cryptic scroll at Shawnee Daniels’ feet, she’s compelled to open it, even though everything in her power warns her not to. Mr. Mayhem—the most prolific serial killer the North Shore has ever known—claims her life is in danger. He “claims” he wants to help her, but just last year he threatened to murder everyone she loves.
While Mayhem taunts her with oddly-placed feathers, like The Creator left at his crime scenes, an interstate killing spree rocks Massachusetts and New Hampshire. A madman is decapitating men and women, dumping their headless corpses on two area beaches. But what Shawnee soon uncovers shatters all she’s ever known, her memories shredded, the whispers of the past in shambles on the ground.
Can she find the strength to move forward, or will the truth destroy her?
Another remarkable story in the Mayhem series and the main character, Mr Mayhem gets even better!
Infuriatingly enigmatic as always, I love the way he adores his crows, his wife, and even Shawnee Daniels in his own inimitable way.
I loved reading the fascinating history about the Navajo Indians and the importance of the eagle feathers.
They say that all good writing should leave you wanting answers, and Silent Mayhem, the third book in the series is chock full of questions as it gears up for the next instalment.
In the meantime, I have a few of my own…
How, exactly, can a cold-blooded killer be so kind, and believe that Shawnee had killed anyone?
How did he cure her mysterious illness and why did he want to keep her safe?
And who is this Navajo skinwalker?
I can thoroughly recommend Silent Mayhem, the pace might give you a coronary though, so you have been warned!
( For the visually challenged reader, the image shows a tiny mouse sitting in a wicker basket. There are a couple of grocery lists and some dry pantry items in the background)
It was going to be another hot day and I was up early, trying to catch up on the editing I was desperately trying to finish.
I worked solidly for an hour and the heat was beginning to build. Instead of the early morning freshness, each breath of air was warm in my throat.
Sitting at my desk, pen in hand trying to pretend I was writing, I stared out the window, wondering how long this hot weather would last.
I hate being hot and sweaty all the time. They had promised a thunderstorm later, so that was something to look forward to.
From my window, I had a good view of the garden hedge and its half-clipped state taunted me. It had been abandoned when the hot weather struck. It looked ridiculous, with one side neatly clipped and the top and other side sprouting long shoots like a mad hairstyle. I itched to finish it, but not until the heat let up a bit.
That was when the tapping began.
It seemed to be coming from next door, something we used to hearing. They have a small boy who delights in banging anything he can find on the walls.
As we patiently waited for the noise to stop, I began to imagine someone in trouble, tapping out a message to summon help. This is an occupational hazard for writers, we use any opportunity to create scenarios.
The tapping sounded like Morse code, but with no recognisable pattern. We discussed different reasons why the person in trouble couldn’t shout and that was when we wondered if there was anyone at home next door. It was a school day, and both parents worked, so the mystery was getting deeper.
Anita decided to check and knocked on their front door. When no one appeared, she looked through the windows just in case there was someone lying on the floor.
By now, the tapping had reached a seriously annoying level and I wanted to scream to make it stop. It was louder in the kitchen, but every time we walked into the room, the tapping stopped. Almost as though the tapper could see us and was patiently waiting for us to leave.
As the time went on, the incessant tapping seemed to be increasing, becoming more urgent.
We went through all the possibilities, like could the fridge be making the noise. It did produce odd clicks now and then when defrosting, but nothing like what we were hearing now.
Was there something in the wall, trying to munch its way out?
We have bats in the roof but have never heard them. Anyway, the bathroom was between the kitchen and the roof, so it wasn’t likely.
The kitchen floor was solid concrete, so the tapping couldn’t be coming from there either.
It was almost lunchtime and the tapping had been constant all morning. Our nerves were frayed, and the rising temperature added to the desperation.
That was when Anita mentioned that the tapping sounded metallic and she remembered the mouse trap.
This was one of those humane traps, where the mice can go in to eat the cheese but cannot get back out again. We bought this a long time ago when Merlin started bringing mice into the house. He never kills them you see, and we were for ever chasing them around the house to put them outside.
Now, normally, when one of his playmates has found the cheese, he lets us know so we can release it. For some reason, this time he hadn’t.
I slid the trap out from under the cupboard and peered inside. I couldn’t see a mouse, but the cheese had been nibbled. I took the trap out into the garden and lifted the lid. Instantly, a tiny but very determined field mouse appeared and leaped to freedom.
Problem solved and peace returned to the household.
Now, where is that thunderstorm?
This post brought to mind when the first of these visitors began to arrive, and the terrible circumstances that ensued.
If you would like to read these posts, you can find them at the following links…
Every now and then, we get a wake-up call, a wonderful moment when a magic light bulb illuminates an area in our brain. This usually heralds a brilliant idea, something groundbreaking or so incredibly sensible, you wonder why it took so long to surface.
Then there are the other kind. The ones accompanied by that awful stomach churning, as you realise how stupid you are or have been.
Today, I had one of these, and it has done absolutely nothing good to my self-confidence. I was rechecking the enormous pile of helpful notes (I use this term advisedly) when the realisation hit me between the eyes.
We make all these lists of things to do, things to remember or try. Then we get a sense of achievement when we actually cross something off. Today, it was brought home to me, just how stupid that is.
I had been watching a trailer someone had made using a company called Animoto. That name rang a bell, but the memory didn’t follow on. Had I already checked them out? And if I did, what did I find?
Those of you with fantastic memories will not need the advice I am about to share, but I suspect quite a few of you, like me, will find it useful.
When we read something that needs checking out, we should have a place to record our findings. Either a page in a notebook or an index card in our follow up box. Write a simple assessment, was it good/rubbish/too expensive/unsuitable…and if you logged on to the site, record the URL and your password.
I have no idea why this has never occurred to me before, as I seem to spend my life revisiting sites, only to realise I had been there before. It will be so helpful to be able to see at a glance all the info.