What Breaks your Brain? Or have you managed to avoid Insanity and Love the Internet?

 

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Fractured…

 

 

Some of you may be familiar with most of the trouble I have had since I began to organise our writing career on the Internet. It is probably simple for all you single people out there, but as soon as you are a partnership, trouble arrives big time!

Not that we could ever separate our writing business, not even to make our lives any easier. It is all far too complicated, but it works for us though, so that’s good.

We tried having separate websites, so as not to overcomplicate everything, but as we share a PC, this didn’t seem to work. Plus it was twice the work. So we reverted back to having a joint website on Blogger.  Still managed to confuse half the population, including ourselves, but all our links seemed to be working. But it still didn’t feel right, so I approached WordPress and discovered that we could actually share a website. How very civilised.

I have since managed to share Anita’s Facebook too.

Goodreads almost cater for the two of us, and we have our own pages, but only one of us can have our blog showing.

There are still a few places that refuse to understand, that although we share a PC, we do still have separate email addresses and passwords. I won’t name and shame, but they have driven me mad for the last time and I have resigned myself to sharing these awkward sites under Anita’s email address.

It goes without saying, that if I had known this marketing and promotion lark was so complicated, I might have had second thoughts, but on the whole, it has been interesting, and dare I say it, fun? The fact that I am almost certifiable is unimportant, as I think you have to be barking mad to approach a computer in the first place!

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When I saw these lovely fractured pictures the other day, I was fascinated, probably because half the time, my brain is in pieces too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Voices in Your Head?

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My first book, The Ninth Life came into being mainly because I became intrigued by the notion that most of us hear voices in our heads at one time or another.

From Pinocchio to Joan of Arc, people have been hearing things and sometimes a little voice can change history, and not always for the best.

Kate Devereau, the ageing artist in my book, has been hearing a voice all her life. Never sure if this is good or evil, she makes a point of ignoring everything it says. Would her life have turned out differently if she hadn’t?

Some people call this the voice of our conscience, a bit like Jiminy Cricket, but how many of us really listen or even obey its commands?

I personally don’t hear any voices, but sometimes I just know I should have done things differently, and have suffered the consequences…

When I researched this topic, I was amazed by just how many famous people have heard voices, going back as far as Moses. Some of these people were convinced they were hearing the voice of God; some thought a heavenly host had visited them. Whereas, on the other side of the scale, if a voice talked you into committing a crime, they usually lock you up and throw away the key.

Personally, I like the idea of a wise voice, advising and helping us with life’s problems. Pointing out the error of our ways would be very handy in our house.

But how many of us would dare to trust it?

 

Excerpt from The Ninth Life

… as the pain rolled on and on, Kate just wanted to die. She knew no one was going to rescue her, they never had before and it was a little late to start believing they would now. For some reason, she knew it was her lot in life to suffer, to be alone and be miserable, no matter how hard she tried to make her life any different. Surely, it was time for the curse on her life to stop? The voice in her head had said otherwise, apparently, there was much worse to come. But what could be worse than this, she thought.

Once the pain started to make her want to push, it all became a little more bearable. At least she felt more in control of the situation, not just lying there helplessly, being tortured.

The baby, a boy, was born that evening and nobody could have been more pleased it was over than Kate herself.

Throughout the ordeal, the voice had kept up a running commentary about her life being ruined. How she had wasted every opportunity and how sorry it was. The last bit surprised her, for she had always thought it disliked her. It had never said anything with any hint of kindness in it before. If it was simply trying to depress her even more than she was already, it had succeeded…

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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…

#Free on Kindle!

Today, and until Monday 2nd October, The Broken Life is #free on Amazon Kindle!

Please show it some love everyone, and then maybe tell me about it!

 

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DI David Snow has a serial killer to catch, a killer as mysterious as the crimes he commits.

Snow is due to retire, but not before he discovers why someone killed his sergeant and is now coming after him.

The killer seems to have a personal vendetta against Snow, but he is determined that no one else should die because of him. His efforts are hampered by the arrival of a new sergeant, ‘ruthless’ Ruth Winton, for she is not what she seems. Alarm bells start to ring when Snow realises she is after more than just his job.

… It was almost midnight, the cold rushing wind the only sound in the empty, deserted streets. The detective was unaware that someone had been following him ever since he left the public house. This had not been a social visit, he had been looking for information, seeking to loosen a few tongues with the help of the local brew.

It had been another waste of his time, and his mood was as black as the night around him.  He heard a sound behind him and stopped walking, waiting for the person to come into view. When no one appeared he knew he was alone and more than a little drunk and frustrated.

As he stood in the middle of the road, something hit the side of his head, something hard and painful. He had been right, after all. Someone had been following him, and they had just thrown something at him. His senses began to fail as the pain intensified, his sight the first to go. As his knees buckled, he reached up, his fingers touching the alien object that was protruding from the side of his head.

The shock of realising what was happening accelerated his system failure, and he collapsed, his head hitting the road hard. As he lay dying, someone walked up to him and knelt down beside him. He couldn’t see who it was, or whether they were friend or foe, but he had the feeling it didn’t matter anymore anyway. The last thing he felt were the icy cold fingers on his face…

Amazon Universal Book Link:  myBook.to/BrokenLife

 

 

New Review for The Scarlet Ribbon

Just have to share the news! Anita’s book, The Scarlet Ribbon has just received another lovely review!

 

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Top customer reviews

on 15 September 2017
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It’s rare these days to find an original concept in fiction but Anita Dawes has created an unusual story here. Maggie has been knocked down by a car and is in a coma, aware of her surroundings but unable to communicate. While in the coma, she also occupies an alternate world somewhere between life and death. Here she meets David and Annie, two characters who will continue to haunt her when she emerges from her coma. The novel is beautifully written and the characterization is strong; the reader is rooting for Maggie from the start. It took me a little while to get into this story but from the point Maggie comes out of her coma I couldn’t put it down. The whole premise is thought provoking and I’d particularly recommend it to people who are interested in concepts of
the afterlife. In particular, the ending will stay with me for a long time.

Editing ‘Lazy Days’…

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My learning curve has taken a bit of a battering lately.

I have always been painfully aware that I have a lot to learn, and that my non-fiction writing could be missing that special element that would lift it from good to being brilliant.

It was to this end that I posted a request for beta readers for Lazy Days to try to steer me in the right direction. Although I only received one offer, it turned out to be the right one for me. All of my shortcomings were described in detail, along with helpful advice as to the best way to remedy them.

As I said, Lazy Days is non-fiction and not something I have had much experience with, but I was beginning to suspect that some of my failings might be affecting my fiction work too.

Briefly, I expect my readers to have a crystal ball, as I tend to leave out far too much detail. In my defence, I think this might have something to do with long years of being an editor, writing endless synopsis, but hardly a good enough excuse really. We are constantly being told to ‘show and not tell’ and I don’t think I do either most of the time.

I have just finished the first post beta edit and nearly doubled the word count, which kinda proves the point. An improvement, but I know I have barely touched the surface.

I also know that I have my crime thriller books to edit, once I master Lazy Days.

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This post is also a call for more beta readers for our Writers Group Inky Fingers, for although I am still trying to improve my own writing, I want to help other writers too. So if there are more writers like me out there, come and be a member of Inky Fingers and let’s share our knowledge!