Anita Speaks…

I don’t know if its old age, pushing inspiration so far back, but my mind has this large empty space. It keeps telling me I will never write a new novel. That those 400 white pages scare the bejesus out of me.

So, I tell myself, try a novella, as it seems weeks ago when I last held the pencil. It would seem I am only good for short pieces and poetry. These, I still love to do.

Words press against my mind, asking to be written. Late at night, there are different kinds of thoughts. Words that do not want to be read by anyone.

Thoughts I must keep to myself. The kind of things you wouldn’t speak in daylight. They pop up like some kind of evil demon, a black shadow most of us would rather deny. Keeping the beast well caged, we try to get on with the day.

The rains stops, there is a rainbow. Sunlight through your window reminding you of the magic this world has to offer.

Old age disappears for a while. I grab at this new enthusiasm with both hands, wondering what I will make of it.

Watch this space! They are right, old age is just a number.

It’s as loaded as you want it to be…

© Anita Dawes 2021

Anita Speaks…

Anita’s First Rant Post!

Jaye has asked me to put pen to paper, so I apologise in advance if I offend anyone. Sorry!

I am naffed off at the idea of writing!

Everyone, and I mean everyone, the world and his wife, wants their words in print, convinced there are those who want to read them.

It has been said that there is at least one book in each of us, but to me that doesn’t mean it should be written.

Television personalities jump on the band wagon, knowing their name will carry some weight. However, not all manage the transition from actor to writer.

I can think of some that did. Dawn French, Fern Britain, and Judy Finnigan, to name but a few…

Sorry, I am beginning to sound like sour grapes.

Maybe so, but you can’t tell me that publishers are not thinking the same way. Jumping on a tv name to carry the weight of a new writer.

What about all those poor sods who have poured blood on their pages, to be so cruelly thrown onto the slush pile?

It’s a known fact that publishers get it wrong. This has been proven by sending them an already world-famous number one best seller, only for them to turn it down.

I know it’s a hard world to break into. Like a bank of fishermen, there are many that will never get a fish on their hook.

C’est La Vie…

*****

Once bitten by the writing bug, it doesn’t matter how long you leave your pen idle, or your computer turned off, you have been bitten, so you carry the disease, the curse. Your mind being the one thing you cannot turn off.

You write in the dark when you should be sleeping. You carry the unwritten words like a plague.

They push and poke at your grey matter, desperate to be on those clean white pages.

Write the words, you never know if this time, someone may want to pay you for them.

So, hold fire on that bonfire, don’t throw those pages on the flames…

© Anita Dawes 2021

Note from the Editor (Jaye)

We have been busy!

The new, updated and remastered edition of Bad Moon is almost ready to launch…

#Throwback Thursday : Shattered Figurines… (Det. Jo Naylor Series Book 1) Our 5* review for Allan Hudson’s brilliant new #Adventure Story @hudson_allan

 

 

Detective Josephine Naylor receives an email telling her where to find the last body. The messenger tells her “only you can stop this madness”. Discovering a shattered figurine on the corpse, she’s overwhelmed by the possibility it might be the one she sold in a yard sale. If so, she knows who the killer could be. She prays that she’s wrong…

Our Review

The opening chapter presents the detective, Jo Naylor, with a very important question. One she didn’t really want to answer but knows she must.

The next chapter, one year later, hits you square in the face with full on complicated and violent action as we discover what this story is all about.

Shattered Figurines is a surprisingly unusual detective story in that it doesn’t follow the usual plotline for this genre and the characters aren’t run of the mill either. The author has captured a very real element in both the story and the characters and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

I love a good detective mystery story and Shattered Figurines is one of the best I have read this year. I shall be first in the queue when the author writes another one in this series.

Jaye’s Week…

Which is better? To be mentally busy or actually getting your hands dirty?

Figuratively speaking. Of course, there are a few jobs to do that will involve a fair amount of grime.

Suddenly it seems, the catch-up list has grown out of all proportion. At least, it seems that way to me at the moment. Especially when this is the first time I am on my own in the help department. Of course, there have always been those jobs that have my name written all over them, usually because I am taller, stronger, and/or probably far more determined than is good for me at 77 years.

Yesterday afternoon, I attacked the garden. I thought I would get in first for a change, but even with a long-sleeved jacket, the lethal brambles managed to draw blood. Most of these are now in a pile awaiting removal. Revenge is sweet, even though my back is killing me!

Yesterday morning we had one of our brainstorming sessions. Anita isn’t strong enough to help with the catch-up list, but her mind is as sharp as ever, and she is keen to change our way of thinking when it comes to our writing. Some of our enthusiasm seems to have faded a little, which is not surprising, considering the past year. So, we have both agreed to work on novella-length fiction to introduce some excitement AND increase our output.  I can see the merit in this. I am still struggling to improve our blurbs, and one or two covers need replacing, but Books & Bonsai are all set for a lot more productivity!

I prefer to work in my office rather than anywhere else, which is probably why my gardening and housework enthusiasm is sadly lacking. There isn’t the time to get around to everything or the strength and energy to rattle through them. This year should be all about doing what makes us happy, and in our house, that means writing.

How about you?

Not all doom and brambles in our garden!

#FridayFlashback ~The Quest for Home #Historical Fiction @WordDreams

Driven from her home. Stalked by enemies. Now her closest ally may be a traitor.

The Quest for Home (The Crossroads Trilogy Book 2) Kindle Edition

Chased by a ruthless and powerful enemy, Xhosa flees with her People, leaving behind her African homeland, leading her People on a grueling journey through unknown and perilous lands. As they struggle to overcome treachery, lies, danger, tragedy, hidden secrets, and Nature herself, Xhosa must face the reality that her most dangerous enemy isn’t the one she expected. It may be one she trusts with her life.

The story is set 850,000 years ago, a time in prehistory when man populated Eurasia. He was a violent species, fully capable of addressing the many hardships that threatened his survival except for one: future man, the one destined to obliterate any who came before.

Based on a true story, this is the unforgettable saga of hardship and determination, conflict and passion as early man makes his way across Eurasia, fleeing those who would kill him. He must be bigger-than-life, prepared time and again to do the impossible because nothing less than the future of mankind is at stake.

Our 5* Review

The characters in this book are more than 850.000 years old and they live in a world that has been loving recreated by the author, Jacqui Murray.

This prehistoric world is not a kind place. Xhosa and her people must fight every inch of the way to survive and find somewhere else to live, after losing their home to invaders. In their quest, they take on warring tribes, hostile weather and possibly a traitor in their midst.

The pace is fast and the descriptions vivid, you find yourself travelling with them, experiencing everything to the point of exhaustion. You become one with the story, almost as though you were meant to be there.

I particularly liked the way the author interprets their speech, and this helped me to follow the story more closely.

Quest for Home is an unforgettable story of such grim determination and I cannot wait to read the next in the series…

 

Our Questions

  1. Was there really a giant upright primate like Giganto (Zvi’s friend)?

 There was! He’s called Gigantopithecus blacki. Extinct now, he was native to southeast Asia, China, and Indonesia where Seeker and Zvi lived originally.

 What does ‘strong’ and ‘weak’ side mean?

 Based on artifacts from 850,000 years ago (or longer), paleoscientists speculate that early man had a preference for right-handedness. That would make their right hand stronger than the left (though they didn’t identify ‘right’ and ‘left’ at that time). Because of this, my characters call their right the ‘strong side’ and left the ‘weak side’.

Book information:

 Title and author: The Quest for Home

Series: Book 2 in the Crossroads series, part of the Man vs. Nature saga

Genre: Prehistoric fiction

Available at: Kindle US   Kindle UK   Kindle CA   Kindle AU

Author bio:

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for  NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, In the Footsteps of Giants, Winter 2020, the final chapter in the Crossroads Trilogy.

Social Media contacts:

Amazon Author Page:        https://www.amazon.com/Jacqui-Murray/e/B002E78CQQ/

Blog:                                       https://worddreams.wordpress.com

Instagram:                             https://www.instagram.com/jacquimurraywriter/

LinkedIn:                                http://linkedin.com/in/jacquimurray

Pinterest:                                http://pinterest.com/askatechteacher

Twitter:                                   http://twitter.com/worddreams

Website:                                 https://jacquimurray.net

Muse less…

Diana Peach shared a lovely post the other day, about an interesting conversation she had with one of her muses. We have all been invited to share our own experiences…

I wasn’t surprised to find Samuel, my strange muse/mentor sitting in my office that afternoon.

The house was quiet, Anita was having a nap. I had planned to spend time on the WIP, but I already knew I would be wasting my time.

Summoning up the ghost of a smile, I wondered what I was in for this time. He never came just to talk about the weather.

“I’m surprised you can still smile, Jaye, with everything that has been happening in your world. I do not need to ask how you are, or Anita for that matter, as I have been observing you both for weeks.”

I breathe a sigh of relief and slowly sink into my chair. Here, at least, might I find some practical sympathy and advice?

“Now, there’s not much I can do about outside influences, but putting your writing back on track should help, as I have always found this to be a great help in my own life. For a start, your latest work in progress has been on a back burner for far too long. The secret of getting ahead is getting started and I am glad to see that you are making a start. But … your character ARCs need work, and your main character needs an ally. I also think you have the wrong point of view and at least one misplaced character.”

He proceeded to list everything that was wrong with my current WIP. Most of which made perfect sense, as usual. His comments uplifted me, and my depression retreated into the next room. My head bursting with fresh ideas, I just had to write them down.

I stopped writing and looked up to thank him, but he had gone, leaving just the faint memory of pipe tobacco smoke and the memory of his snowy moustache…

When I first started writing, people often spoke about their muses. I didn’t seem to have one or understand what they were going on about. I sometimes heard that Jiminy Cricket voice in my head but didn’t think that was what they meant. Anyway, that voice only ever told me what not to do, so not much help really.

I have had to be stubbornly independent for most of my life, always finding it difficult to accept criticism advice, so assumed I didn’t need a muse and quite happy without one.

So early in 2019, when I wrestled with Silent Payback, Samuel came to see me, and I finally had me a muse of my own. You can read about that meeting here… https://jenanita01.com/2018/11/19/jayes-journal-an-unexpected-visitor/

He only visits when he knows I need sorting out, and I often think of messing up, just for a visit…

© Jaye Marie 2020

What does it say?

Doodled by Anita Dawes

Here I am, in the living room
Watching TV, reading a book
today, the book lay open on my lap
Pen and paper at my side
As a word spoken can set me off
Yesterday, it was the word destiny
Something I have just read
Rewrites itself to end up in a poem
Not today.
My mind went on its own journey
This doodling isn’t something I am known for
I wonder what it says about me.

© anita dawes 2020

#Throwback Thursday ~ Out of the Shadows and Into my Book…

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This is how Silent PayBack began…

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…

And the rest, as they say, is history…

©Jaye Marie 2020

#Jaye’s Week …

Anita came home from the hospital after having the pacemaker fitted with a digital monitor, something that will be plugged in next to her bed to record her heart activity while she sleeps. This amazing gadget is linked to the hospital and can alert them and us in the event of another heart attack. It will also record if it has been called upon to restart or shock Anita’s heart back to a normal rhythm.

Knowing what to do when or if this ever happens, is extremely complicated, so the next home visit from the heart failure nurse will be full of questions.

And speaking of questions, there seems to be far too many answers now, none of which are helping us to know what is really going on at any one time.

In fact, we are more confused than ever as each doctor/person we speak to, seems to have a different explanation of what’s going on.

Anita is progressing, albeit slowly and that’s what really counts, isn’t it?

Ten days later, Anita began to have trouble breathing again, so it was back to the hospital to have her checked out.

It all seemed like the worst kind of Déjà vu.

Before the pacemaker was fitted, Anita was getting on well, doing small jobs around the house and even walking to town almost every day.

This simple procedure seems to have sent her back to how she was in the beginning, something she is not happy about!

They were very thorough with their checks, and everything was deemed normal apart from the fluid in her lungs, but no explanation as to why.

As the next lockdown starts, I am hoping to knuckle down and finally get cracking with the writing as my muse is getting so tired of waiting for me. 

I just wish she could learn to type!

Good luck to those of you who are taking part in NaNo this year!

#Tuesday Book Blog ~ CrossFire…with poem by Anita #MysteryThriller

CROSS X7.jpg

Excerpt from CrossFire

‘Do you know why we have brought you here today, Ann?’

Ruth thought she would ease her way in, rather than accuse her straight off, for triggering any hostility wouldn’t get them anywhere.

The woman stared at Ruth, her pale, colourless eyes searching for clues. ‘Nah… but I ‘spect you’ll get to it pretty quick…’

Ruth indicated a brown paper bag on the table beside her. ‘We found a pair of work boots at your house, Ann. According to your husband, they’re not his. Are they yours?’

Ann Taylor glared at Ruth. She seemed to be enjoying the interview, her arrogance showing through the previous nervousness. ‘Dunno, can’t see them can I?’

Ruth undid the bag and placed the dirty boots on the table. Most of the mud had dried and fallen off, but still didn’t seem like the kind of boot a woman would wear. ‘Are these your boots, Ann?’

Without looking at the boots, she shook her head. ‘Nah, I don’t think so.’

Ruth looked at Snow, but not for confirmation. She wondered why he was choosing to stay silent. What was the point of sitting in if he wasn’t going to contribute? Not that she cared, one way or the other. She had only looked at him to signify inclusion.

She looked back at the woman. ‘Are you quite sure, Ann?’

The woman shrugged her shoulders and refused to speak.

‘For the benefit of the tape, Ann Taylor has refused to answer.’

Ruth decided to read out the coroner’s report, detailing every bruise and damage to the child’s body. When she read the part about the boot imprint on the child’s back, she slid the photograph across the table in front of the mother.

‘Did you do this, Ann?’

When the woman didn’t answer, Ruth decided it was time to play the ace card, and she looked forward to it. This cold-hearted bitch of a woman was about to be arrested, but not before Ruth had enjoyed herself. ‘Are you aware that the person who wore these boots would have left significant DNA inside them?’

Ruth paused, watching as the realisation sunk in.  ‘And are you also aware that we have tested your DNA and it has been proved that you are the owner of these boots?’

The fear and shame were beginning to show on the woman’s face, and Ruth watched, wondering what she would do now. She didn’t have to wait long to find out.

Ann Taylor’s face seemed to implode, as the terror of being found out took effect.  ‘I swear I don’t remember that part… I know I were angry, but when she fell over and banged her head, I thought she was dead…’

‘So what did you do then, Ann?’ Ruth knew what had happened next, but not which one of them had done it.  ‘Were you aware that Amy was still alive when you dropped her into the canal?’

The horror was all-encompassing, as the woman realised the enormity of what she had done. She looked around the room, just once, before she started screaming…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~