A Christmas Wish…

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Writing your first novel is like giving birth to multiple children.

Very painful. Each one pushing and shoving, write about me, tell my story.

They follow wherever you go, even the toilet is not safe and sleep is something you get if you are lucky…

So you write it… good or bad… it’s the only way to get any peace!

But unlike the child you took care of for the first eighteen years or so, you shove this one out into the world the minute it is done, into a  stranger’s hands who you hope will like each new character. With any luck, they may even write a few words about it. Something like “well done…loved every word…I will leave two or three stars…good luck with your next one.”

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, and great success in the New Year!

Anita

 

Anita is right you know – make someone’s Christmas with a few kind words on Amazon… A review is the best gift for an author at any time!

Too Many Irons…

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Have you ever had the feeling that you have bitten off more than you can chew?

Well, right now I seem to have a mouthful!

I have just finished re-editing my first book, Nine Lives. This was after making the mistake of actually opening the book and reading a few pages. After I got over the shock of seeing how bad it was, I realised it needs either a major new edit or bin it. That wasn’t really an option, so I spent a couple of weeks going over it with a fine-toothed comb.

It now has a brand new cover and is republished on Amazon.

I have to finish the formatting for the paperback version, then I will have restored the status quo for this book at least. I will be repeating this process for my other two books, for they might need an overhaul too!

At the same time, I have been busy editing our holiday memoir, Lazy Days, getting it ready for publication. We wanted to enter it with Kindlescout but they don’t accept novellas.

If you remember, we entered in 2015 with Let it Go….. and I thought it did well. It didn’t win, but I enjoyed the exciting process!

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Now, what else have we been doing?

Oh yes, we have announced a book tour for Lazy Days in January 2018. The 8th to the 12th, if anyone wants to take part!

We will be taking part in Lizzie Chantree’s book tour in January for Ninja School Mum, and I am reviewing Sacha Black’s book Keepers for Rosie Ambers review team.

Seriously thinking of making some new book trailers too and I have been trying to make sense of my writing/ blogging bible. Over the years, so much information has been added, changed or deleted; it’s a bit of a mess. So I bought myself a new book to transcribe all the valuable stuff into. This undertaking might be the straw that breaks this camel’s back as I can’t make sense of my scribble. Why on earth did I let get it into such a mess in the first place?

What else?

Oh yes, we are planning a massive promotion for Anita’s book, Let it Go, starting with a Kindle promo next week. For some reason, we have neglected this book and this won’t do at all. So you have been warned!

 

Although we are very busy at the moment, I haven’t been able to do much work on PayBack, my new WIP, and not happy about that at all. But I am discovering that there is only so much you can get an ageing brain to cope with, unfortunately.

It occurs to me that doing one thing at a time sounds like a better idea, but how can you, when there is so much you want to do?

Now it Begins!

When we made the decision the other week to re-edit and re-cover ALL of our books, we must have been out of our tiny minds. I double checked, and it would seem that we were super serious about all of it.  Six of Anita’s books, three of mine, and two that we wrote together.

I was quick to realise that this was a major job, and might take me a while. I would also have to do it one book at a time, for the involvement alone could make a grown man weep!

The first time I changed something we had written, I was optimistic. Changing a cover image was pretty easy, and changing the text wasn’t difficult either, but by the time I had ploughed my way through WordPress, Amazon, and Goodreads, my head was spinning.

Then there were all the promotional sites and Pinterest to see to. And just when I thought I had covered everything, I realised I had to create totally new posters for the books too and at this point the cracks were beginning to show!

I have no idea why I chose this book to start with, for my head was swimming with dozens of possible new covers, taglines, keywords. I just picked one out of the hat…

And this is what happened…

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The First Story…

A Midnight Clear

It was freezing cold on the Embankment, the river Thames flowing past with an insidious slithering oily sound in the darkness. Big Ben loomed out of the darkness behind her. It was nearly midnight and the air was crisp and pure, slightly uncomfortable to breathe. The clouds of her breath wafted away on a gentle but persistent breeze.

She thought back through the evening, remembering how she had decided not to dress up for the occasion, choosing warmth over style, grateful for the fur-lined hood of her jacket. She hadn’t wanted to roam around London with her friends, visiting pubs and bars looking for fun and the minute she had a chance to escape, she took it.

She wasn’t ready for fun, not yet. The scars of her broken marriage were still sore and she lived in fear that they would break open again at any provocation and she would weep uncontrollably. She could nearly go a whole day without thinking of the pain she had caused, leaving him wounded and helpless on the floor, begging her not to leave him. But she hadn’t hesitated or listened, it was far too late for any of that. If she hadn’t left when she did, she may have drowned in her misery and sunk without trace.

She didn’t hate him, only what they had become. Two lonely people, each trying to outdo the others suffering.

Their romance had been a fairy tale in the beginning. James, a fellow student at Art College, every young girl’s dream of a Prince Charming. Tall and slender, with dark wounded eyes, he almost demanded to be loved, all without saying a word.

The warning signs were there almost from the beginning. From the moody silences to the almost violent fervour that obsessed him when he painted. It was like living with so many different people, the one she fell in love with hiding somewhere among them.

If she was honest, she knew their relationship was doomed from the start, but had been unable to walk away. She imagined he needed her; such was his effect on her. The thought of causing him even a minute’s pain was unbearable, even when it became clear, he had no idea how much he hurt her with his self- contained attitude.

She began to feel like his mother, tolerating his moods and temper, desperate for any crumb of affection she may receive.

Their relationship continued to decay until it was almost gone. She had become invisible. He barely acknowledged her presence, and when pushed, would become violent. The day he actually hit her in the face, something inside her finally snapped and she stepped away from him. Something in her eyes must have told him he had gone too far, that this time she would leave him.

He was instantly contrite, and the small, ill- treated child made its appearance. He begged and pleaded for forgiveness, but his words never reached her heart. She pushed him away and walked out of his life, leaving him broken on the floor. Part of her would have rushed back to him, prop him up and get him back on his feet, but it was a part of her she would have to kill to save her own soul.

In the distance, the sound of revelry echoed around the streets of London, but it was almost eerily quiet where she was stood, looking down at the black water that was catching the glint of the Embankment lights. Here and there, the coloured lights on the bridge shone down on the water, making a magical picture in the dark.

She took a deep breath and the cold air felt almost solid in her lungs. The peace she felt at that moment was total, no regrets at all. She was free and it felt amazing. The overwhelming joy lifted her heart and her eyes began to water, distorting her vision.

Several yards behind her and without warning, Big Ben began to chime. Being this close, the sound was deep and resonated through the air. As it struck the hour, each strike seemed to build on the one before, and by the time it reached twelve her ears felt muffled somehow. The ground beneath her feet had gently shaken and she had felt the vibrations in the cement she was leaning against.

As the sounds faded away, the old year died, taking away the past and promising a better future.

Just a quick word about editing and a wonderful tool called Grammarly.

If you haven’t tried it yet, you really should, for it found over 80 misused commas in this first book. Apparently, I sprinkle them around like they’re going out of fashion!

Just to convince you that I am totally insane, I am also working on my latest WIP… It seems my brain needs to keep busy… and I’m not about to argue with it!

This Amazon Link may not work… for I forgot to check!  myBook.to/Shstories

Time to Think Again!

 

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A new week starts, a time when my enthusiasm usually renews itself, but there is a noticeable lack of ‘get up and go’. It was more like, ‘get your arse moving and see what you can muddle through this week!’

Last month’s USB failure, resulting in the loss of three weeks work, has left a sour taste in my soul, leading me to wonder if I should even be doing any of this promotional stuff. I have ended up juggling so many balls; I am in danger of losing sight of the original dream, consumed as I am with the need to find that one magic ingredient that will make it all worthwhile.

It is always possible that I am not destined for greatness, and I am happy to realise that. Relieved, actually, but that will not stop me from trying my best, and improving my work. (At the time of writing, I plan to re-edit my books and update the covers, blurbs and keywords. I have been having a long hard look and not entirely happy with what I see!)

Little by little, I think I am beginning to lose my edge, the ability to juggle everything and still keep my balance. I seem to recall that this has happened to me before, a long time ago. I was in a relationship, and as long as I obeyed the rules and performed as instructed, I was grudgingly allowed to breathe.

Of course, the day eventually came when I needed more than that when I was tired of the constant struggle to be the person that was required. This wasn’t the first time I escaped from tyranny and it wouldn’t be my last, but eventually, I found a better way to live.

My present struggle is beginning to feel the same, and the need to escape is growing again. This presents a problem, for I don’t want to run away from most of it. I have to find a compromise, a way to keep our options open and the dream alive. I have to stop trying everything and anything, looking for the golden goose, who, for all I know, gave up laying eggs a long time ago…