Nil Sleep Saturday Becomes Nightmare Week


Yes, that’s right.  I didn’t sleep at all between Friday and Sunday, last weekend.  To be fair to those following my blogs, I need to say that normal service is far from what we have right now!

The simple fact is that some events have conspired to make it impossible to focus on anything particularly well.  It’s family affairs with poor Jenny dashing about all over the place, on top of having had to return to work today after two weeks vacation.  I’m afraid that I’m thinking more about Jenny and the state of things with other family members, including the health of one who was rushed into hospital very early this morning.  So writing meaningful blog posts or doing any of the numerous other things I routinely do have been pushed aside for now.  Obviously, I’m hoping this is short term, but Life has no guarantees – beyond its infallible ability to kick you when you least expect it!

So, there you have it.  Fingers crossed.

(In the words of a song from Jesus Christ Superstar: Can we start again please?)

Birthday-Wedding Anniversary Combo!


Yep, with exquisite timing, tomorrow (28th June) is mine and Jenny’s Wedding Anniversary!  33 years wed, and proud of it.  This auspicious day will be followed by my birthday on 30th June.  That will be my 56th, which doesn’t sound much, considering I feel more like 156! LOL!  Jenny,  being the utterly wonderful person that she is, and always loving, braved a journey into the town centre – a place we detest visiting – to obtain my present (which is for both events!): a wireless mini-keyboard and mouse set from Maplins.  It’s fantastic.  No more trailing cables meaning I have to quickly set them aside for people to be able to get past me.  They are excellent quality, too – with a protective membrane that lies on top of the keyboard and a tiny usb ‘dongle’ which can be fitted into the mouse for transport, so it doesn’t get lost.  But there’s a huge downside!  Because the ink is extremely low in our printer – I can’t print anything out.  That means that, not only have I been able to buy Jenny an anniversary gift – I’ve also failed, for the first time in years, to make her a card.  I am extremely unhappy on both counts.  I hate myself for it, and for the health problems that have robbed me of the ability to do what’s not only right, but what has always been a delight.

Bragging Rights!


Yep, you read that right!  I’m exercising a father’s right to brag – about my kids!  Again LOL!  Well, two of them, anyway.  I’ve had no real news from Damien, so I can’t mention anything for him, unfortunately.

Reuben 20min sketch - rearing horse Take a look at this incredible ‘sketch’ drawn by Reuben, in just 20 minutes!  His partner, Dawn, is so proud of him, too, that she posted this on Facebook.  In fact, she’s taken to posting his sketches quite often, lately, since his return to art.  Sorry it’s not a ‘cleaner’ image bur it’s a photo’ and not a scan.  You can click on the thumbnail to see a larger image.

Apart from these sketches, Reuben’s making excellent progress with my book cover!  He drew two sketches and I have chosen which one he’s to work up into a colour piece.  I’ve pointed out to him that, if he does as good a job as I believe him capable of, then he could well find that other authors may be interested in him creating book covers, or even illustrations, for them too.  From what I’ve seen online, it could be a very useful supplement to his income.  When the next book is ready, I will be conducting my first ever ‘Cover Reveal’ for one of my own works.

l-plate-printable-template

Meanwhile, in a small town some 25 miles away, Emma is taking driving lessons, and doing very well too!  Conscious of some of the contortions expected of drivers, many of which they’ll never employ in real driving, I’ve advised her to make sure that she tells driving instructors and, eventually, the examiner, that she suffers from Fibromyalgia and that restricts her flexibility significantly.  Hopefully, that will make driving a more comfortable experience for her.  It would be a huge boon to her whole family if she passed her test.  It would reduce the fatigue she suffers from walking and open up their options for family outings.

No family related post would be complete without mention of Jenny!  She has been busy crafting, making blackwork cross-stitch pieces, as well as lovely little colour pieces, for various people’s birthdays, along with ,making their birthday cards.  She’s also making other things, like cots and highchairs out of card, using templates.  It always sounds so easy, when you say that a template is used.  Believe me!  It’s not!  The templates are good, but getting the job done right and looking good demands considerable skill, including choosing the right materials and embellishments.

And, in the immortal words of Elmer Fudd…. “That’s all folks!”

Shamed and Delighted


Shamed

Well now, what a time I’ve been having!  First, I suffered shame!  I, who have often warned of the many perils of the internet, got caught out!  I’m on LinkedIn, where I have spent a great deal of effort increasing my network of fellow authors, and others involved in the book business.  When I received a message from a contact asking me to rate them on their ‘online business card’, I naturally obliged.  More, I participated in the scheme.  It was an apparently buggy site, but I thought nothing of that – there are, after all, plenty of those around!  Part of the process is for the site to send a message to all your LinkedIn contacts, which it did.  That was about eleven or twelve days ago.   It was with considerable surprise, therefore, that I was alerted to the fact that the whole thing was a Spam/Phishing site, through a friend.  It seems that she received an invitation to rate me – on 1st May!  That was well after the original day.  Naturally, I immediately changed my password and scanned my computer.  Fortunately, nothing nasty got through my security!  Still, I’m ashamed that I was not more careful, as I normally am.

Delighted

This morning, around noon, there was a considerable clatter at our letterbox, followed by an enormous thump of something hitting the floor.  Upon investigation, I discovered a brown card mailing package.  Sitting down, I opened the package with some anticipation.  In the process, I discovered that the sealant used is rather unpleasant – adhering to the fingers with tenacity, coated in thin layers of the card.  Well, once I had successfully penetrated this sticky seal and the card unfolded, I revealed one of those things I’ve been waiting for with excitement: a paperback copy of my novelette Shade of Evil.

It may be difficult for some to understand, but this was a very special moment in my life.  Here, after many decades of desiring it, was one of my very own books – in real life!  The glossy cover, the beautifully printed text, the texture of the cream coloured paper.  It was almost overwhelming!  I’ve got the ebook copies, of course, but this was entirely different.  I read a few passages and made a discovery: somehow, the words no longer seemed to belong to me!  It seemed, to me, as if I had cut the final binds between myself and my work.  This book represents the fact that it now belongs to the world!

I didn’t retain possession of it for long.  In fact, I was only able to fondle it for about an hour.  Jenny took it with her, back to work, to show her colleague!

Meandering Through Saturday


Discovery

There will still be bad days, even with the new meds.  Had one Thursday, and today’s none too good.  Still, I’ll be fairly content if I get back to more good days than bad.

Well, Puzzle Me!

Yep, I’m doing puzzles again.  Crosswords, preferably cryptic, are a favourite.  I also like ‘killer Sudoku’ but can’t find any so I’m rattling through ordinary ones instead.  At least it’s a bit of mental exercise.

Double Disco’ Day

Today’s another double disco’ day for Jenny.  One this afternoon and another tonight. So, I saw her up until noon and probably won’t see her again until the early hours.  Bad timing with how I feel, but there’s no way I could ask her to stay home!  Between working full time and caring for me the rest of the time, she needs time off.

Requested Artwork!

You probably recall the mention of Reuben and his artistic talent.  Well, I’ve given him some food for thought.  I’m going to need a cover for my new novelette/novella.  I’ve given him the details and am now hoping that he can do the necessary.  I think it’s challenging, but then I don’t have anywhere near his talent at art!

I also suggested that he and his friends might like to have a go at making a video trailer for my books.  He’s not too optimistic on that one.  I just thought it might be fun for them.  We’ll see how it goes…

Paperback Perils

The first paperback copies of one of my novelettes hit a bit of a snag.  The printer made a mess of things by not cropping the covers square.  Not the fault of skoobebooks, though.  Keith there has done a great job, and still is!  Poor chap was mortified.

The other novelette that’s been being processed has now reached almost final stage.  With FeedARead, however, I can’t release the book for sale, even on their own site, until I’ve seen a proof printed copy.  The problem?  I’ve had to buy a copy!  Not amused!  Considering FeedARead are ‘Arts Council Funded’, it’s costing me more!

Needless to say, all future paperbacks will be put with skoobebooks!  At least I get a free courtesy copy from them, and genuine, one-to-one help and advice.  With FeedARead, all I get is pro forma emails that can’t be replied to!

Handicrafts

The other day, I considered doing some cross-stitch.  I’ve got a big project that needs to be completed.  Naturally, shortly after thinking about it, I discovered that it would be very unwise to do it!  I developed some very nasty little white, itchy lumps on two fingers.  I could just imagine what threads would do to them.  Project back on hold.  Most frustrating!

Follower Numbers Growing!

Since restarting this blog, and changing its mission, the number of its followers has increased rather dramatically!  I would like to think that it’s because folk have been enjoying my posts on Imagineer-ing, but there’s no way I can really make any assumptions.  Still, it’s a nice thought.  If you’re a new Follower – thanks!  If you’re not – thanks again – and I’m amazed you hung around for so long, when I wasn’t posting!  I’d love to hear from you, whichever you are: do you only read this one of my blogs or do you read Imagineer-ing too?

Disgusted and Furious! Update


I am happy to say that Imagineer-ing is back!  I received the following from WordPress.com:

Hi there,

Thank you for getting in touch.

Your site was flagged by our automated anti-spam controls. We have reviewed your site and have removed the suspension notice.

We greatly apologize for this error and any inconvenience it may have caused.

No comment….

 

Disgusted and Furious!


I really thought that this month could only get better.  I was wrong!

I fired up my PC this morning to discover that my Imagineer-ing blog has been deactivated!  No warning, no questions.  Just switched off!  And for what reason?  You can be confident of one thing:

I have not violated any terms of service!

So, just as things on that score, i.e. writing and publishing, are looking good – the whole world just comes tumbling down!  Sure, I know – that’s over dramatic.  To be honest, it’s exactly how I feel, though.  Going through a change in meds, involving the withdrawal of some potent stuff and inadequate replacement with new potent stuff, and therefore meaning my pain levels have gone somewhere beyond Jupiter for today and the next two days, at least.   Like many these days, finances have dried up and that has one significant consequence – no cigarettes – and yes, I know many will think “Good!” but, I really don’t need the withdrawal symptoms from that too!  And, an admitted codeine addict – I was ‘cold turkey’ for over a day and a half because I ran out of tablets.  So yes.  I feel extremely put upon!

Now, I’m pretty certain that WordPress.com don’t have people checking every single one of their hundreds of thousands of blogs.  Conclusion?  Somebody reported mine.  For what, though?  I make no money through the blog!  Yes, there are links to places where people can buy books, but the majority are not my books, nor do I receive any consideration for advertising the works of others.  I have been meticulous about making it very clear that I do not want anything in return – not even reciprocal links!  Perhaps, on the surface, it might appear somewhat commercialised, but the fact is that until this week, it wasn’t even that!  And it has only been so this week because of my health issues – during which time I allowed scheduled posts to take over – posts in which I had little to do.

The only other possibility is that WordPress.com are going to come knocking on every blogger’s door.  Or rather, changing the locks while they’re not looking.  Why?  Could it be a drive to increase income?  “Go Pro” or “Get our experts to do a ‘guided data transfer’” – both fiendishly expensive!  I really hope that’s not the case.

I have, of course, appealed.  I was ungentle, I admit.  I’m afraid that, while generally not overly temperamental, when I do get angry, then “fury” is a severe understatement!

Now, in theory, I could do one of three things:

  1. Start from scratch, using a new blog host, like (shuddering uncontrollably) blogspot – and I really don’t have the energy for that.
  2. Purchase a domain and web hosting, install WordPress.org, and plough through, reconstructing the blog as best I can – see conclusion to 1.

     

  3. Same as 2. but also paying for WordPress.com for the privilege of recovering all my hard work!

The problem with both 2. and 3. is: cost!  Quite simply I can’t afford to take up either option!

Final conclusion?  I am being penalised for not having money in any significant quantity, and without any consideration for the years of loyalty I have shown to WordPress.com!  And there was also no consideration on their part as to the consequences of their extremely high-handed methods!

I wonder whether this post will lead to further unhappy consequences?

What a mixed month!


April has turned into a really mixed month.  While the writing is generally going well, and a paperback edition of one of my novelettes almost here, other things have been less good.

A recurrence of pancreatitis to contend with at the end of March, early April, things on the health front were definitely not looking good at all.  The pancreatitis subsided again, but other things surfaced.  Most significant was the increasing level of chronic deep muscle pain in both thighs, making it impossible to get comfortable.  My doctor increased the dosage of one of my meds, which had a very limited benefit.  Within a few days, it was back to the same.  So, still no going out!  Well, no going out until today.  Time to see the doctor again.

Travelling across town is sheer torture, with all the damaged roads and road humps.  I also ran out of codeine more than a day ago, so no support from that.  I wasn’t in a very good state by the time we got there.  Still, the doctor made a quick decision.  He has changed my meds, which will mean 3-6 days of being very uncomfortable, but then we’re hoping for a significant improvement.  I’d keep my fingers crossed, but they’d probably get stuck like it!

The future of Jenny being able to cope with me, as my sole carer, has also been put in doubt.  The doctor suspects that she is developing arthritis.  It’s a big blow and now I worry about her, especially when she has to cope with getting my wheelchair in and out of the car, and things like that.  It can’t be helping her condition!

***

A remote control for the Sky+ satellite TV ser...Last night, I had cause to pause a movie on TV.  When I got back, the Sky box refused to play the movie!  More, it refused to do anything!!  Well, that’s to say, it refused to do anything expected of it.  Instead, it proceeded to alter settings on the TV display.  Now, the picture is entirely the wrong size and shape for the TV and we’re missing bits all around – not good when watching cricket and the current info’ is only half visible.  I’ve tried everything to restore things, to no avail, and I can’t find the TV remote, which has the controls I need.  In a word: frustration!

***

If I’m quiet over the next few days, here, on Imagineer-ing, and elsewhere, do remember that I’ll be trying to cope with the meds change.  Fortunately, I have two or three posts scheduled already for Imaginer-ing, so they’ll appear on cue.  I’m afraid I don’t have any advance posts set up here.

Have a good April and remember to make the most of every day!

Monday Mumblings


Another Monday – do they never end?  Every time I start to get into the swing of it being the weekend, I find out it’s Monday and I’ve missed the break!  I feel cheated every week.

Now, I know I’m fairly well housebound so it really shouldn’t matter what the day is, but the fact is that I like having Jenny home instead of working.  It’s not exactly helped that she has weird weekends.  One week she gets Saturday and Sunday off, but the next she only gets Sunday.  The fact that she also gets the Tuesday after the 2 day weekend off really doesn’t create what could be termed balance.

And this past weekend was a 1 day weekend.

There’s a feature of the 1 day weekend.  Normally, we go to visit our daughter, who lives around 25 miles away, using country roads.  That means we get to see her, the two granddaughters she’s given us and sometimes her partner, and maybe his eldest daughter.  It’s only fortnightly.  Unfortunately, the roads are so atrocious that when I’m at my worst (in health terms), I simply can’t take the punishment they inflict on me.  And that’s happened two times running, now.

Not that it would be any easier if she lived closer.  Both our sons live in the same town as us, and the roads in the town are either full of pot-holes or have road humps every few yards – some have both in abundance!  The rate at which my pain levels rise going even a short distance is ridiculous.  Jenny has dreamt of getting a local councillor in the car, with sharp rocks attached to their backs and thighs and taking them for a pleasant little tour of the town.  It would help them start to get the picture.

But there, Life’s like that and us mere mortals have no control over any of it.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

If you follow my other blog, Imagineer-ing, you’ll know that I’ve been very busy writing and blogging about reading and writing.  That’s why the knitting seized up.  Or, rather, the knitting seized up because I had hand problems and the writing surfaced instead.  Writing is also my first love, as an activity, together with reading.  I was writing novels when I was 13!  Life has blocked it at times, but the desire to write has never really gone away.  So, when I had to take a break from crafts, it was natural that writing take over.

Now, you may wonder that I can write but I can’t do crafts.  Both, after all, require a fair degree of finger use.  I can’t deny that, and yes, it really was finger problems that stopped the crafting.  Quite simply, writing using a computer has some major benefits!  There’s spell-check, for one thing.  My hands tremble anywhere from a subtle shiver up to major tremors that should register on the Richter Scale!  hitting the right keys on the keyboard can be challenging, to say the least.  But, unlike with physical crafts, a computer allows me to fix the errors!  Well, most of them, anyway.  And it’s a relatively painless process.  Then, too, all I need to write is the computer and my imagination.  I don’t need books, patterns, tons of materials.  It’s the most compact activity I can think of.

What’s really nice about writing is that you can share even more with others.  I started out publishing short story ebooks that could be downloaded free (and still can) and then recently progressed up to novelettes (longer than short stories but shorter than novellas – about the thickness of many small press poetry publications but usually with a lot more words!) that I sell at the lowest price I can – $0.99USD or the equivalent (excluding any local taxes like VAT).  And it’s truly gratifying that I have even had some sales!  Now I’m starting the process for publishing two of the novelettes as actual paperback books, which is exciting, though time consuming and much slower than publishing ebooks.  Of course, the paperbacks will cost more than the ebooks.  I’ve got no control over that.  Even so, it’s a thrilling time!

***

Well, I’ve bored you all for long enough, for now.  I’ll be back with more tedium for you to digest…

 

Wow! OMG and all that!


It’s been so long since I posted here!  I feel terribly guilty.  I have to admit that I’ve done no knitting and only a little cross-stitch.  I spent a fair while beading and making jewellery but have returned to my first love: writing!  I apologise to everybody for not being more active here, but I kept leaving it because I done nothing new and… well, time flies.

If you’re interested, I have a very active blog on various subjects around writing, called Imagineer-ing.  You would be very welcome to visit me there too!  It might even be fun.

I can’t promise that I’ll be busy with the needles again soon, I’m afraid.  I would love to be able to do everything I love, but it’s just not possible.

I do have a thought… I might turn this into a general blog, with all manner of subjects that reflect my life, such as it is.  I’ve no idea if anybody would find that interesting, of course.  I’d be delighted to hear your views on the idea!

All the best,

Steve