Out of the Shadows and Into my Book…

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For more than a week now, I have had this new character in my head. He has been following me around, watching my every move. I have tried to talk to him, in my head, you understand, but he has this enigmatic smile, and that’s all I get from him.

I think he wants me to figure out what to do with him, guess what he wants to do but so far, my brain is siding with him and refusing to cooperate.

This morning, I decided I would try to interview him, something I have done before with several of my characters, but you guessed it, he wouldn’t even sit down!

All I know so far is that I do want to write about him, and if I must go through hoops to do it, so be it!

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him nod just then, so it would seem the game is on…

At first glance, he seems an unlikely hero, at least for one of my books. Not very tall, and slender with dark eyes and long hair tied back in a ponytail. Simply dressed in a dark shirt and jeans. But there is an aura about him, he could be a magician, magically producing doves from balls of tissue or flowers from thin air.

He has moved a little closer. I seem to have his full attention…

He is probably something in law enforcement, a police officer or detective, or why would he have turned up on my doorstep? I get killers too, but somehow I know he isn’t one of them. I hadn’t intended to write another crime thriller, I fancied a change, something haunting or spooky perhaps.

There is another character in my head, and although this one looks harmless, all blonde and attractive, the boy next door type. But I know instinctively that he means trouble. Are these two men destined to cross swords? I am beginning to think they are…

I have a lot of thinking imagining to do and to save confusion; I will call the dark haired one David and the blonde William. I already know they are two very different people, and discovering what they are about will be very interesting…

Golden Memories…

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Due, I suspect, to the arrival of our Great Grandchild three weeks ago, an air of nostalgia has descended upon our household. All the old photographs have come out of hiding, accompanied by much reminiscing.

We thought we would share some of these golden memories with you…

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It was like having a time machine, going back to all those times and remembering them as if they were yesterday…

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Do you ever take a walk down Memory Lane?

AAAAA

 

One of our best Worst Ideas Yet?

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As if we don’t have enough to do, we have stumbled into what might possibly be either a brilliant idea, or the worst kind of madness ever to visit our house.

I’m not sure where this idea came from, but for some totally inexplicable reason, we are both equally enthusiastic about actually writing a mystery/thriller book together.

This may not work for a multitude of reasons, for we usually write in such different genres/and the arguments will probably reach hitherto unreached levels/we may end up killing each other!

We have started, and early indications would suggest it could possibly work!

Anita wrote the first section/intro, and I nervously followed. We average about 500 words each, but this could easily change when the musts get going.

Quite apart from being the most unlikely writing partnership, can you imagine what our respective muses must be thinking?

Other writers have done this, and in the past, we have often wondered how it would work. Now we will discover how hard it will be and if it will even work for us. And if we can do it without any of our legendary arguments, it will be a miracle!

Already, the conversations about the direction of the plot have been pretty spectacular, for we have such very different ideas about everything. The fact that I am the thriller writer around here stands for nothing, and my suggestions have not been well received, to put it mildly!

Today’s discussion ended with Anita suggesting that we start again, and this time write a spooky supernatural story.

We could, of course, but I am trying to finish my current WIP at the moment and all of this chaos is playing havoc with my schedule. It is my turn to write the next section, so I had better make it good!

The Clockwork Lion

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Not sure what I was looking for, but during my browsing the other day, I came across an article about a clockwork lion. The picture intrigued me, being a lifelong visitor of the lions in Trafalgar Square in London.

When I was a small child, I remember visiting Trafalgar Square a lot. It seemed like a magical place to me, what with the water fountains, thousands of pigeons and those enormous black lion statues.

So when I saw this article, I knew I had to know more about it.

“The four bronze lions of London’s central Trafalgar Square got a temporary addition on 28 January, with a clockwork sculpture of the animal unveiled to highlight the plight of big cats. The statue, made of clockwork mechanics, will stand in the square for just a day before being auctioned off to raise money for National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative, which says it aims to halt the decline of big cats in the wild.”

Time is beginning to run out for all of the big cats, and to put it into perspective, there are apparently more statues of lions in London than still roaming in the wild.

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The clockwork lion was designed by Sculptor Iain Prendergast, to deliver a poignant message about the plight of the big cats.  “On the body, mainly as if it was the inner workings of a clock, so it was cogs, levers and coils and all sorts of things like that,” he said at his workshop. “And then up to, obviously the eyes, we’ve got clocks in them, clock faces but yeah, it’s just looking at each little part of the clock, obviously the hands for the mane, just seeing whatever sort of links in with the actual physical resemblance of the cat.”

I was upset when I heard about the killing of Cecil, the famous African lion, but maybe something good could come out of it after all, for it sparked a global controversy and set off a backlash against the African hunting industry. Inspiring the creation of this incredible piece of art at the same time.

I think the gaunt frame, torn hide, and wide, harrowed eyes of the Clockwork Lion give a drastically different impression than the steady, powerful look of the famous Landseer Lions around him, dramatically illustrating the decline wild lions have experienced since the original statues were installed in 1867. The sculptor has made the lion seem very real, the agony on its face almost too painful to see. If I look at it for too long, it makes me cry.

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I have tried to discover what has happened to the lion, as it was only in Trafalgar Square for the one day. It was auctioned off to raise money for the Big Cats Initiative  but I could find no coverage of that. It would be a shame if it vanishes into obscurity, as I think it is an emotional piece of art…

(photographs the propert of National Geographic Big Cats Initiative)

 

 

 

 

Guest Posting…

 

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One of the first things I learnt when we started blogging, was the importance of sharing, for although the blogosphere is a crowded and busy place, it can feel like the loneliest place in the world.

That first year, before I learnt the finer points of internet communication (it was so complicated and confusing at first, with all the technical stuff you need to know, like all the linking and tags) we didn’t get many visitors.

We were adrift in a tiny boat, fumbling about in the dark. The thought of actually talking to complete strangers all over the world was both exciting and terrifying.

Gradually, we have become a part of this worldwide community and the support and generosity have been amazing. In turn, we like to support our fellow writers and bloggers, helping to promote their work, so all of you writers, poets and photographers, if you would like to have a guest post featured on our blog/website, you can contact us in the comments below this post.

We are happy to promote your work, as long as it is original, family-friendly material that is all your own work.

The average guest post is between 500 – 1000 words long. Please submit your article as a Word Document and images as email attachments.

We will also need a brief personal bio and links to your website/blog, along with links to your social media/Amazon/Goodreads Accounts.

We will…  create and schedule your post, letting you know the time and date of the post. We will also send you a link when it is published and post links to the article across all of our social media accounts, including our blog feed on Goodreads.

Our Caveat: We reserve the right to refuse any submission we feel unsuitable for our blog/website…

 

Re-posting Our Review: The Enhanced League by Craig Boyack @coldhandboyack

We are re-posting our review for Craig Boyack’s  The Enhanced League because he is having a promotion for it this week.

Such an unusual story and one that deserves as many readers/reviews as it can get.

So if anyone hasn’t read it yet, please do. And if you have, how about a review?

It doesn’t take long and Amazon make it sooo easy to do… click on the amazon link below and you will make Craig a very happy man!

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Amazon Link:  https://www.amazon.com/Enhanced-League-C-S-Boyack-ebook/dp/B073T5DH2Q/

The Enhanced league is a collection of short stories and anthems centered around a year in a fictional baseball league. It has a slight science fiction background. This league has a lot more pomp than you might be used to, and nobody seems to care if the players use performance enhancing drugs.
Stories involve existing heroes, up and comers, and falling stars. While there are the obvious stories that take place on the field of play, there are also human interest stories that take place around the baseball gyrations. These stories involve scouting, trades, ruthless business decisions, and even relationships.
I enjoyed researching and bringing you The Enhanced League, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. – CB

Our Review

I love the way Craig Boyack writes, I swear he could make the phone book interesting, so I was keen to read his latest story, which is all about baseball!
Not that I know much about baseball, but I knew the author would have included amazing characters and serious twists into it. The Enhanced League is the story of a baseball league where someone has thrown the rulebook out of the window. Nothing is as it should be, but far from being far fetched, the story line is eerily acceptable thanks to the author’s persuasive command of his writing!
At first, I thought this would be a collection of short stories, as these are something the author does really well. Instead it was a fascinating blend of characters, highly unusual situations and a hidden plotline, at first separate, but melding into the whole at the end. This was altogether innovative and made for a fascinating read.

 

About the Author

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I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.

I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century, and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.

I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.

 

Reblogging, is it really a good idea?

 

 

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We have been with WordPress for years now and always been happy with the facilities, once I had mastered them, of course!

Early last year, I had to upgrade our account in order to gain more media space. At the time, this seemed reasonable.

Imagine my surprise when it happened again yesterday. For a few minutes, I couldn’t believe we had run out of space again. Something had to be wrong.

I duly checked, only to discover it was true. If we wanted to use any more images, we would have to pay up.

When we first started blogging, I understood that this particular WordPress was free, but it wasn’t long before the costs crept in. First, it was the domain, then the first upgrade. We were still happy at that stage, for £30 a year isn’t much for a decent website.

This latest upgrade has shunted us up to nearly £70 a year, although to be fair it looks as though we are getting more for our money this time. I did wonder what it would lead to and why we seemed to have so many stored images, many of which were ones I hadn’t used?

It took me a while to understand why all these images were among our own, and that we were, in fact, paying for the privilege of having them on our site, by way of reblogging.

Now, we do a lot of reblogging. Sharing is something we have always done, right from the start. If I read something interesting or informative, I love to share it and spread the word. This is how the good stuff finds more people and can actually make the world a better place.

So, is it a good idea to reblog so much?

Will it be good enough to simply like and use the share buttons?

I have recently been reading about how you can reduce your image footprint by altering the size of your images, thereby not using so much of your valuable storage space. But what about other people’s images? We can hardly alter any of those.

If we do have to cut down on the reblogging, we will not stop sharing. But we would be interested to hear any feedback on this…

Once Upon a Time…

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This post was triggered by one I read recently by Sacha Black.

https://sachablack.co.uk/2017/07/24/5-tips-to-write-more-in-less-time–mondaysblogs/

It got me to thinking rather deeply about the writing process  and what we are prepared to do or give up in order to do it. This turned out to be quite revealing for me …

 

I never thought I would ever say this, but I have begun to realise something important lately. In my determination and busyness, some of the magic seems to have vanished. My writing has not become the be all and end all of my whole life after all. This came as a massive shock.

Don’t get me wrong,  I won’t stop writing, couldn’t if I wanted to, but a spark of creativity in one of the crafts I used to enjoy, has been calling me back and I realise now how much I have missed it.

There was nothing for it but to rearrange my schedule yet again to make room for it.

Maybe it has something to do with that old adage “All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy…” and looking back at the last three years, this would appear to be the case. I think I have turned into a very dull person.

I have almost driven myself into the ground, trying first one thing and then another in my quest to be a successful writer/blogger. So many things have been left behind in the process, but I have had a lot of fun along the way, meeting so many wonderful people. But I had a long hard look at myself the other day and realised that I was becoming exhausted… almost burned out. Added to all of that, is the knowledge that time is slowly running away from me, and I should at least try to be happy.

The spark that has re awakened in me gleams silently in the corner of my mind, waiting patiently for me to pick it up where I left off. Suddenly my mind is full of new possibilities, new ideas, as if I had never gone away from it. This spark is somehow connected to my soul and is the one thing that usually takes me to a calmer, more peaceful world. I know that connecting to this world again will reflect on the rest of my life, for I was in danger of forgetting who I really am and what I can achieve once I am grounded again.

In the beginning, I thought sacrificing everything else was necessary in order to focus on the main objective, which was becoming a successful author, but now it would seem that I have to make room for this spark or there is no point to any of it.

 

I’m at it Again!

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I have been noticing that KDP (kindle direct publishing) have been going on about how easy it is to create paperback copies of our books using their new system.  Just upload your files and they will do the rest.

I needed to change the cover image on The Scarlet Ribbon, so I thought I would have a go. I never know when or from where these ideas come, I just can’t seem to help myself!

I hadn’t gone far into the process, before I was informed that they didn’t like the format or the size of my content file and offered me a template to use. My first instinct was to run screaming from the office. But I must have been feeling like a bit of a challenge. (this does happen frequently and gets me into more trouble than enough!)

This turned out to be relatively easy to do, so I moved on to the cover image. This time they insisted it had to be a PDF format. I didn’t know what they were talking about. Not only had I never heard of such a thing, I didn’t have a clue how to change it. This is when I really should have run for the hills!

But determination makes me stupid at times, and I tried to change the format with Adobe. I used the image I used on the kindle copy, but the result was so huge, only a tiny piece was visible on the screen. Again, KDP offered me a template to make the cover, which I learned had to incorporate the front, back and spine. Red flags were now in evidence, and my temper was baying at the door. There was nothing for it, but to abandon KDP.

Two cups of coffee later, my brain was still trying to think of a way.  Up to now, I have always used Lulu for our paperbacks. They have complications too, but I have learned to manage them, so I decided to renew the cover on Scarlet Ribbon with them in an effort to rescue my sanity.

Everything was going well, until I reached the cover wizard. This is definitely the wrong name for this stage, for nothing magical happens when you get there. In fact, you need the stubbornness of a mule, luckily something I do possess, to get through it, as tasks never quite turn out as you intended. Sometimes I can spend an hour just getting the spine print right!

I uploaded the new cover image and placed it on the template. Cue instant groan. The title is too close to the top of the cover and has been cropped off. As my patience was still in attendance, albeit in tatters, I knew that all I had to do was create the cover again and lower the title.  But…

I couldn’t find the source image anywhere. I searched through my picture library several times, my mind spinning with the frustration. That was when I did run screaming from the office…

 

What will happen next?

Will I ever manage to publish the paper back for The Scarlet Ribbon?