Jaye’s Week (Not the Best I’m afraid!)

The week hasn’t started yet, and I’m already worrying enough for six people.

You see, because I haven’t been posting about my sister’s health lately, most of you probably think she is doing well. The truth is somewhat sadder, I’m afraid.

Although Anita really did appreciate everyone’s good wishes last year, she said she needed to move on and concentrate on getting better, so asked me to stop the updates. The loss of her health has come as a shock to all of us, including Anita as she has always been the healthiest member of our family. We have since discovered that although she is the head of the family, always first with help and advice when we all need it, she is the worst patient in the world and exceedingly difficult to take care of!

Despite her will power, (and most of mine!) there are still days when she struggles to breathe and has very little strength. Her quality of life drags on the floor and some days we fear for the worst. We are constantly being assured that the pacemaker thingy is doing its job, but at the same time, they admit to the setting being very low to avoid straining her severely damaged heart.

Eventually, our concerns filtered through to the consultant, who rang our house and spoke to Anita at length, resulting in appointments for several tests this week. An Echocardiogram and an Angiogram, blood tests etc. A stent was mentioned, too, so all being well, we may eventually have good news.

In the meantime, though, I am having trouble concentrating on anything, but desperate to keep busy…

#Friday FlashBack: Jaye’s Week

After much searching, comparing and pulling my hair out, I finally found a PC that had everything I wanted at a price I could almost afford. I have this problem with shopping online, as I never seem to end up liking what I buy. Never been any good choosing anything and always get it wrong.

It arrived yesterday, and my old friend nagging doubt turned up with it.

Much smaller than I thought it would be, although I believe this is the new trend, and still managed to look pretty scary. Immediately, I found a possible problem. The activation label clearly said Windows 7, even though I thought I ordered Windows 10.

So, I might have done it again and chosen the wrong one.

Because of the Bank Holiday, I had to wait until Tuesday to telephone the company, for there was no way I would start switching over until they reassure me.

Switching over PCs is not something I enjoy or am any good at, as my tech skills are dismal at best, so at this stage I was still asking myself why I had actually volunteered to do this.

One of the reviews stated enthusiastically that all I had to do is take it out of the box, plug in all the cables and then switch it on.

That I just cannot believe.

The way things are going though, I may never get that far to find out.

While I waited, it was business as usual on my old less than faithful pc, despite the frequent crashing, freezing and crazy spelling games it plays. But it gave me a nasty moment this morning.

I switched it on, and instead of my pretty screensaver, the screen was plain blue. There was no icons and no Wi-Fi. I feared the worst. Had it beaten me to the punch?

That would be ironic, wouldn’t it?

A brand-new PC that I don’t want to install and my old one commits Hara Kiri on me!

After a reboot, everything was fine again, at least for the moment…

Moving swiftly on to the designated torture day…

I had been dreading this day for so long and was one of the reasons I delayed doing anything about it. I heard so many bad reports about Windows 10 and was more than happy with my old faithful Windows 7, but as they say, all good things must come to an end.

The new computer came with it already installed, so I had no choice but to hunt for my thinking cap, put it on and see what, if anything I could do with it. There was quite a long wait for the new pc to load or whatever it had to do. They said it would take time but wasn’t expecting three hours of thumb twiddling!

What followed was one of the worst moments of my life. I stared at the alien screen, trying not to feel as sick as a parrot by the sheer enormity of what I had done. (and still had to do!) And what was rapidly turning into what I might not be able to do.

I retired wounded for the day, not having mastered any of it.

I have a book, aptly called Windows 10 for Seniors, so I spent the evening going further into the depths of insanity, reading anything that sounded helpful. But none made any sense to me.

The following day, inspired by my refusal to quit, I switched the offending machine back on and played around, pressing everything in sight and seeing what happened. I found help screens that weren’t very, then tried to connect using my Microsoft account password.

You don’t want to know how long that took.

One day on, and I have surprised myself. Things are magically beginning to work!

There have been a pile of things I had to fix, one of them involved the speakers, which for some reason didn’t want to work. The sound, when I found out how to turn it on, came out of the tower thingy and sounded as though there was an idiot trapped in there.

Basically, and this really hurts to admit, I think I like my new computer and can foresee a bright future. A poor future, for along with the cost of the thing, I had to cough up for a brand-new version of Microsoft Word too…

I’m off to start uploading thousands of my images and files, so not going anywhere this weekend.

I hope everyone else has a good one though…

FlashBack from May 2019

Jaye’s Week from 2018… Insanity

From the middle of insanity…

I think my brain needs seeing to, as I can no longer make it behave the way I want it to.

Mind you; it must be contagious, for my laptop and tablet are exhibiting similar tendencies.

I spent last evening, first with the laptop and then the tablet, trying to run through my emails from the comfort of my armchair.

The laptop was on a go-slow, so I switched to the tablet.

This annoying piece of crap decided not to respond at all. Patience personified, I kept trying, only for the battery to drain away faster than a chocolate teapot. Something it shouldn’t have been able to do, seeing as it wasn’t doing anything.

I can feel the day coming when I take a hammer to both, as I am not sure how much longer my brain can cope with these insanity-inducing contraptions.

It wouldn’t be so bad if I weren’t aware of all the wonderful things they can do. When in a good mood, of course.

But I ask you, is it asking too much to have a piece of equipment that does what it says on the tin?

We wouldn’t stand for such substandard performance from any other electrical object, so for all that’s Holy, do we put up with it?

The main desktop PC is not immune to such shenanigans; it’s just sneakier. Its favourite trick now is ignoring whole sentences while I am busy typing them.

I get no warning, no sign that something has gone awry. The first I know about it is when I try to read the work back, only to find great yawning holes where parts of my story are missing.

I tell you; it is beginning to feel like a conspiracy…

On the bright side, and I try to find this even on those grey days, nothing affects my pen and paper. Sometimes I am so glad that I can write, blissfully, as far away from technology as I can get. As happy as Larry, knowing that I am in total charge of the creative process.

So, to end on a much happier note, I must report that the mindset for the new WIP is firmly in place. I have enjoyed being away from all the technobabble so much that I shall be doing a lot more of it!

I wrote this post way back at the end of 2018, and not much has changed since then!

Jaye’s Week ( In the garden, not the Office)

Yesterday afternoon I had planned on writing and working on a trailer for one of Anita’s books, but the sun was shining, and I couldn’t be asked.

We sat outside, drinking coffee, surrounded by all the jobs I have been neglecting so far this year. Not really my fault, for the weather hasn’t exactly been conducive for gardening lately. It’s either been freezing cold, raining, or both. So, I wasn’t feeling too guilty.

Maybe a little guilty about some of my bonsai perhaps, as there are a couple that desperately need repotting as they have used up all the goodness in their soil. There was also an orange blossom that I bought earlier in the year that has outgrown its pot.

Before I knew it, I was hard at work, and enjoying every minute.

I was also promising to spend a lot more time in the garden in future.

My favourite, at the moment

They say you are closer to God’s heart in a garden, and all I know is I am always happier when up to my elbows in rich garden soil, surrounded by all the wonders of nature.

I thought I would close with some of my favourite bonsai, the acres. Especially the ones with different colour variations in the leaves. I love the Lacy ones too and have included the one that refused to be a bonsai. It outgrew every pot I put it in, and eventually I planted it in the garden.

I hate to say this, but in a way, I hoped it would rain tomorrow so I could catch up on my writing! (or maybe not!)

Jaye’s Week…

The other day I was on my knees, trying to organise some space in the dark, unvisited reaches of my office, when I thought I spotted something familiar lurking in the corner of the room.

I couldn’t reach to pull it from its hiding place, so continued to sort through the pile of accumulated rubbish   paperwork.    All the while wondering what it could be and why it seemed to be hiding from me.

I finally came across the folder I had been looking for and flipped through the contents, hoping it really was what I had been hoping for. It didn’t take long for me to decide it wasn’t, and that spark of enthusiasm I had been so carefully nurturing dissolved into a puff of smoke and vanished.

I had been so sure I would find it today. I sat back on my heels, despair flickering in the back of my mind. Then I remembered what I had caught a glimpse of earlier. Was it still there?

A quick glance told me what I already knew. It had gone, whatever it as. Just like all those hopes and dreams I was so sure I would find this morning.

I made my way back to the computer, determined to rescue the rest of the day, even with my missing enthusiasm.

I couldn’t be more stubborn if I tried, which often comes in handy in the absence of enthusiasm, and before long I was back in the saddle, so to speak.

In our effort to explore possibilities, I had tried my hand at Book Funnel again, just to see if I could make it work, and this time, joined two promotions. Thrillers for Free and June Crime Fiction Giveaway.

The first one is for Thrillers for Free which will run until the end of June

https://books.bookfunnel.com/shelbygriffin/f401xzosnh

The second one is for June Crime Fiction Giveaway which also runs until the end of the month.

https://books.bookfunnel.com/junecrimefiction/npble90yjl

If you could click on these a few times I think it would help our journey!

Watch out for our newsletter next week for some interesting developments!

Jaye’s Week…

The workmen are still around, and they seem to have hit a problem. This is not the first time they have been digging up the road outside our house, and they had a problem then too.

Much walking around, conferring with each other. You can almost see the head-scratching from here but has the advantage of keeping their noisy machines quiet. 

This time, however, we have temporary traffic lights to put up with, and you guessed it, they are right outside our house. So, although the machines are quiet, we are having to put up with traffic waiting for the lights to change. Cars are not so bad, but motorbikes are deafening!

The noise is interfering with my ability to think straight. Time to get out of here and go for a walk!

When I heard about this local walk, one I didn’t know anything about, I almost declined, preferring to wait until the weather became warmer. It had stopped being quite so abominable, the sun was shining but there was a slight chilly wind.

But the lure of discovery was too strong to ignore. It was just a ten-minute walk from our house, so an easy walk for me and my geriatric knees. Once outdoors, the chilly wind tried to remind me that Spring wasn’t properly here yet, but the sun kept me company as I walked along on my first excursion in 2021.

I hadn’t been out of the house for ages and was thoroughly enjoying looking at all the houses and gardens. Petersfield is an ordinary town, but even the ordinary can be fascinating if you have been incarcerated all winter.

From what I could see on my way to the walk, people everywhere were on the move. Builders were busy, gardeners too. Windows were being cleaned.

Nature had been busy too. New green growth and spring flowers had arrived in all the gardens, and I looked forward to seeing what I would find on the walk.

Tucked between the houses in an ordinary street, I saw the beginnings of a river, not much more than a trickle at this point. I also saw the mud on some of the pathways, and hoping this wouldn’t get any worse, I set off.

Although I have mentioned before that our Council keeps our town tidy, they obviously hadn’t got around to this walk yet. It was extremely wild in places, with fallen trees, undergrowth and a lot more mud, which made following the river (such as it was) rather difficult.

Now, I love a bit of a ramble. Climbing over trees in the mud is a fun day out for me, but my family don’t share my enthusiasm and at the risk of being nagged to death, I decided not to push it, and decided to call it a day.

I wasn’t too disappointed, for just being out in the fresh air felt wonderful.

Then I caught sight of something out of the corner of my eye. Something rather large was swooping around above my head. Straining to see what it was, due to the bright sunshine, I couldn’t believe what I thought I was seeing. When it flew around me again, there was no mistaking what it was. A huge ruddy coloured bird with a massive wingspan and fan-like forked tail, it could only be a Kite. The first Kite I had ever seen in Petersfield!

I stood and stared, mesmerised by the show he was putting on, almost for my benefit. When he finally flew away, I felt both elated and deflated.

But before I reached our house, I saw him again. It was as if he was reassuring me that he was here to stay…

Jaye’s Week ~ Time for a change?

We are constantly told that reading more will make us better writers and that we should blog with enthusiasm to build up our presence on the web. But I find that some of the things we need to do seem counterproductive and time-consuming. Confusion is not a happy place to be, so my brain has rooted out its thinking hat. Not sure if that might be an oxymoron!

Don’t get me wrong, reading does make me think, and probably improves my vocabulary, but sometimes this can be counterproductive too in that I end up reading too much, taking time away from my writing. When I first started blogging, I read everything I could get my hands on, desperate to learn the secrets of the black magic box of the blogosphere.

And admittedly, I learnt a lot.

Just lately though, I have noticed a slight change in my attitude to all things blog related. It suddenly dawned on me that as bloggers, we are trying far too hard to be the best at what we do with our constant searching for the golden egg. And because we are so busy running around like headless chickens, we are losing sight of our focus, the real reason we blog in the first place. We might even be missing the plot or choosing all the wrong moves.

Lately, I have been worried that there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to do everything. What with the increasing amount of emails and time spent on social media, there isn’t much left for writing or blogging, come to that. Not to mention any new ideas that need to be explored, or any of our other interests.

Apart from the reviews, I haven’t read a book simply for the joy of reading it in ages.

It could be time to step away and have a long hard look at what we do. Time to prioritise and cherry pick what we really want to concentrate on. Don’t ask me what, for my brain hasn’t got that far, yet. I just know it is time for something new, exciting even. How about that?

Life might be different when the dust has settled, but hopefully better. We have to concentrate on what we can do and do well, instead of chasing so many rainbows…

What does everyone else think?

Jaye’s Week…

This year, we are determined to put our writing house in order and try to do something new and vastly different.

Advertise!

We haven’t done this before, mainly because we couldn’t afford to, plus the not so small matter of not understanding the best way to do it.

But I have been reading up on the various ways of advertising, beginning with Amazon. Along the way, we have discovered so many things that should be in place before we even think of advertising!

  • Book covers must be brilliant and look professional.
  • Blurbs must be brilliant too, carefully worded to grab potential readers attention.
  • Content must be edited to within an inch of its life, and you need more than a working knowledge of keywords.
  • All books must be thoroughly and expertly edited!

I checked all our covers last week, and at least two need an upgrade. Bet you can guess which ones!

If you can’t afford to have your covers made by an expert, it can be challenging to come up with a keeper, but I am determined to try.

Blurbs have always been anathema for me, I try my best but cannot come up with anything I am happy with. At this rate, we will never get around to advertising!

I am determined to re-edit all our books and have enlisted the paid version of Grammarly for the job. Worth every penny, by the way, it finds all the errors in an efficient and friendly manner. I am always shocked to discover just how many!

All of this means I am neglecting the current WIP, but determination is calling the shots, and Anita is stepping up with posts of her own. Follow up posts will be posted on our progress and as many of the delights of advertising/marketing that I manage to discover!

Of course, we welcome any helpful comments on this subject…

Found these gorgeous flowers tucked away in a corner of our jungle!

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