Who Keeps Moving the Goalposts?

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My week of disasters began when the reblog button on our website vanished. Then I started to notice that other people had lost theirs too. I wanted to believe it was a glitch, that somehow the button would return, but nagging doubt told me a different story. While it was at it, it managed to convince me that I was on a downward spiral and it was only a matter of time before it would all be over bar the shouting.

I soldiered on, trying hard to convince myself that one way or another, I would be fine. I mean, the world wouldn’t end if I couldn’t reblog all my favourite posts, would it? Sue Vincent had shown me how to use Press this and  pingbacks on WordPress, so all was not lost.

Then our browser, Firefox crashed. Nothing I did, made any difference, it was gone. I had to switch to Internet Explorer, just to get some work done. It has none of the bells and whistles that some of the big names have, but it works. Looks like I am being forced to go back to the basics, but as long as it works and gives me no more trouble, I am fine with that.

In the middle of all this, I was offered Google Chrome on one of those pop ups. I hesitated for a while, then something made me accept. I hate getting used to new systems, so this was quite brave of me, considering. Everything went well with the changeover, and I loved their speed and efficiency in importing all of my favourites and data. It was one of the most painless transitions I have ever experienced. All of which, unbeknown to me, was setting me up for more trouble and disappointment.

I was doing my best to cope without the reblog button when I noticed something odd.

Every Sunday, I schedule a week’s posts on Buffer to be posted on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. I have been doing this for over a year now, with no trouble. I think it is great way to promote your work and spread your presence around the net.  But now, for some peculiar reason, our posts were not appearing anywhere! At the same time, Twitter was behaving strangely too, with duplicate tweets appearing like a rash.

The bit that really got to me, was finding out that all of our Buffer posts were finding their way to Facebook. I ended up so confused, I wanted to scream. No one seemed to know what I was talking about, let alone be able to help. Unable to understand what was happening or who could be doing it, I started to panic. I had to step away from the computer before I did something stupid!

Overnight, rational thought took over from nagging doubt and I managed to think clearly for the first time in over a week. I had no idea where the problem lay, so would have to systematically eliminate the possibilities, one by one.

The first to go was Chrome. Bit of a prime suspect this, as I thought my life was less complicated before I installed it. But, you guessed it. Nothing changed!

The people at Buffer were brilliant in offering helpful advice, but they had no more idea of the source of the problem than I did. I loved Buffer, they were so helpful and easy to use, always a blessing with my brain! But my instinct told me to change my scheduler. I waited another day before deciding to try and schedule a post with another scheduler. Not something I was looking forward to, as most of them were far too complicated for me. But I was determined to find out if it would succeed where Buffer might be failing. I was almost ready to do this when Buffer came back to me with another idea. I tried it out and it actually worked.

I suspect that Buffer has been tweaking a few things along with Twitter and WordPress. Why on earth do these companies insist on tweaking all the time?

Personally, I live by the motto, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!’

 

As I said yesterday, the dust has now settled, but it has left me a nervous wreck, wondering what will happen next. The only good thing about it all is none of it has stopped me writing. My current WIP is growing, and the one part of my day that I totally control. No glitches or gremlins!

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current WIP!

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You couldn’t Make it Up!

This week is turning out to be a nightmare…

Yesterday, my web browser crashed. For no apparent reason, or not one I was aware of anyway. And usual, the first I wanted to do, was run for the hills. I find it impossible to think straight when something like this happens, so these days I don’t even try. I calmly walked away… and found somewhere quiet to pull my hair out.

All joking aside, I kind of knew I had to find another browser, or revert back to good old Internet Explorer. That, of course, would depend on why the one I have had for years had suddenly given up the ghost. I didn’t really want all the hassle or find out something else was wrong or broken. So I did nothing and sulked for the rest of the evening.

Later, I googled the problem on my tablet and discovered other people had encountered this before, so I was blameless for once. It seemed the only option was to go with another browser and uninstall the offending article.

First thing this morning I chose Chrome, the Google browser. It made sense, for they run just about everything else on my computer, and within minutes they had taken over all my favourites and their log- in passwords. They automatically gave me my favourite homepage, something I usually have to do myself.  I was impressed by their speed and accuracy, so started the day a very happy bunny!

My subsequent good mood was not to last, however.

Just before lunch, I had cause to print some of my WIP, only to find yawning great gaps in the printing. This meant I had to spend time making the machine clean its own printing heads and nozzles. When I had finished, and successfully printed the material, my mood had jogged off and I didn’t want to do anything else. Just in case something blew up!

I spotted this infographic the other day. It perfectly sums up where I am at today, so thought I would share it with you…

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Cover Trouble…

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We were looking at our website the other day, as you do… and it was decided that the small sliding show of all our book covers looked a bit puny. We decided to remove the offending article and reinstate our book covers down the sidebar, complete with clickable links to Amazon.
Should be easy, I thought. I had done it before and remembered how to do it. A little fiddly, but not too difficult. We have eleven books between us so it would take me a while.
I managed to upload four of the covers before the trouble started. The fifth cover uploaded okay, but somehow it removed cover number four. How was this even possible, I thought?
I tried again, and the same thing happened. I kept on trying, because I’m stubborn, but couldn’t get it to work. I swear something happens whenever I try to do the simplest of jobs but thought I would retreat and see what happens tomorrow, before I lost it completely.
The following day, it seemed worse, so I decided to have a word with WP ‘happiness engineers’, and it makes interesting reading!

Me: “I am trying to add some images to my sidebar, but they just don’t appear…is there a limit to how many images you can have?”

WP: “Hi there, let me take a look…”

WP: “Is this the site you’re referring to? https://jenanita01.com/”

Me: “Yes.” (we only have the one…)

WP: “And you are trying to customise it here, is that correct?” https://wordpress.com/customise/jenanita01.com

Me: “I get an image from media and then go to widgets and images, I fill in the boxes and save, but then they just vanish…”

WP: “I see that one of the images is not displaying. The URL appears to be incorrect.”

Me: “but I get the URL from the media screen…”

WP: “Is this the image?” https://jenanita01.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/nl-kindle-x1.jpg

Me: “That one was successful, so was the Simple cover, and Bad Moon. I would like to add more.”

WP: “I don’t think ‘The Ninth Life’ is added correctly. I don’t see it on your page. Do you see it at https://jenanita01.com/ ?”

Me: “Yes.”

WP: “I see a broken image, like this: https://cloudup.com/cLWUMnMMqRV

Me: “I don’t understand, it looks all right to me. Why am I having a problem adding new images? I just clicked on the previous link and the image is not there. This happened a lot yesterday too.”

WP: “You should be able to add more images. I’m unaware of a limit. I’m testing right now and don’t see any problems. Can you tell me the steps you’re going through when you have problems?”

Me: “Something is wrong. Images that do appear suddenly vanish and others won’t upload at all. I choose an image from media (haven’t I said this already?) then I go to widgets and image, add the URL from the media page, fill in the boxes and save. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t, and sometimes it works but removes an image already there in the sidebar.”

WP: “Are you using the media browser at https://wordpress.com/media/jenanita01.com ?”

Me: “Yes.” (Slowly losing the will to live round about now…)

WP: “It’s important that you open the image and by selecting the image and clicking ‘Edit’. From the image editor, you can copy the URL (gosh I would never have thought of that…) Is this the process you follow?”

Me: (trying very hard to keep my patience and my sense of humour) “I don’t usually have to click on ‘edit’ as the URL is in the box already, so I just copy and paste. Is this wrong?”

WP: “The image for ‘The Last Life’ didn’t have the correct URL. You may need to change how you get the URL. This is how I get the correct URL: https://cloudup.com/clX8WY03S8V

Me: “That one didn’t upload at all. I will try this, and thank you for your help. Going now…”

WP: “Ok. If you have any more difficulty, we’re here to help. Have a great day!”

I love using these new ‘live chat’ thingies, so much better than an email, especially for a thick head like me. You see, not only do I hate technology (because I swear it hated me first) I have trouble understanding it too, even when someone tries to explain it to me. So having someone on the end of the line is usually better. I can keep asking the same question until something clicks into place.

I have to add, that WP is normally very helpful, often hitting the nail on the head when I have made a stupid mistake, so not exactly sure why it was different this time. But if anyone knows what I am doing wrong, or has a better way of explaining it, I am all ears!

This is Not the End!

 

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The editing for The Broken Life was going well and almost finished. All that was left to do, basically, was the final formatting for the e-book version.

Then I had a thought.  This happens to me sometimes, and I have learned to go with the flow and see where it takes me. And this one did seem like a good idea.

You see, I have this thing about endings. My writing tends to speed up as the end approaches, and this can play havoc with the tension, not to mention the dramatic conclusion of my story. It’s as if I cannot wait to get it over with. I did it with book two and my beta reader had to bring it to my attention. It was becoming apparent that I was doing the same thing with book three.

Endings should never be simple, especially in a mystery thriller anyway. The readers will be left feeling cheated if everything turns out all hunky dory, tidied away like a children’s story.

Quite apart from the fact that a tame ending will completely ruin all the other good stuff your book is full of. The best endings are the ones you never see coming, or at least you thought you did, but are mistaken. My favourites are the ones where you think you’ve reached the end, only to find the story goes on and bites you on the backside!

So I have a lot more work to do before this book is ready to fly. This one has been hard, probably because it is the last in the trilogy. So much harder to write than a stand-alone novel and so much more to think about and consider. Keeping the continuity going had me pulling my hair out on more than one occasion.

I haven’t written a trilogy before and I may not do it again, but it was an interesting undertaking, and challenging too…