Showing posts with label problems. Show all posts
Showing posts with label problems. Show all posts

Tuesday 29 August 2017

Sorting the Office Out...

You may have noticed I've been absent for a while. Well we're having a massive sort out at home.

Lots of things are going into boxes and into storage so we can create as much space as possible for the Electrician/Plumber to do the work needed.

This week it's the Living Room and Office.

It has given the opportunity to shift furniture around to improve the space we have.

Of course it's meant no writing is getting done- not what I'd planned for the summer- but it has given me the opportunity to catch up on my to be read list that was building up.

I'm currently reading Bill Bryson's 'The Road to Little Dribbling'. I picked up the paperback in Waterstones a few months ago, and friends have said how much they enjoyed his books, so I thought I'd try one.

I'm enjoying it so far, and I do like his writing style/voice.

Yesterday, keeping out of the way while the new storage unit was being put together in the kitchen, I read Stephanie Laurens 'An Irresistible Alliance' on Kindle. This was much better than the first of the three Devil's Brood Trilogy, and I'm looking forward to having time to read book 3, 'The Greatest Challenge of Them All'.

And a few days before that I read the first two books of Debbie Young's Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries ( Best Murder in Show, and Trick or Murder?). This is cosy crime with murder but no graphic detail. It as much about Sophie, bookshop owner Hector and the assorted villagers as the murder involved. Fun to read books most definitely.

That's my time up, back to sorting and packing...

sorting & boxing...

Monday 15 May 2017

Windows 10 Reinstallation is Not Scary...

I spent the weekend doing a clean reinstall of Windows 10.

For my friends who have already heard this- I apologise- but decided as I blogged about my initial trials and tribulations of setting up my (new) Windows 10 computer last year, I thought I might as well reveal this latest issue and solution.

At some point in the last 6-8 months something interfered with the Windows update system-despite the security and malware systems. I had the rare update fail to install, but usually they reinstalled the next time.

One of the advantages of Windows 10 is that the security updates are checked for and installed in the background, so unless you actually go into your settings and look at the update history you don't know whether anything important has failed to install.

It was pure chance I happened to look and saw a couple of big updates from the March Security update had failed, and failed... The system kept trying to install these updates and they kept failing. When I did the manual update they kept failing too...

Sadly the system doesn't alert you to this, which is a weakness. So I'd definitely suggest checking your update history now and then.

So off I went to the online tech support for Windows, and over the next 24 hours, five different (but very understanding) techs from across the globe tried to resolve my issue via remote access. Sadly each time this wretched update failed at the last moment- after the tech had signed off.

An important. task..
If you ever have an update that keeps failing you'll find an option to fix problems in Windows updates. You'll need to check your computer/laptops settings as they can be different.

Go to your computer's Control Panel, choose the Systems and Security option.

On my machine it's then Troubleshoot Common Computer Problems, and on clicking that you should be able to find Fix problems in Windows updates. Sometimes it will also say during the process something about administrator permissions, so just click that and then the next button. It will do it's magic and show you what has been fixed.

Every time my system was fixed, but it didn't stay fixed...

Eventually tech no.5 in Israel told me I had 2 options: a refresh, or reinstallation. Apparently the refresh would be a waste of time, and I'd be better off reinstalling. They sent me an email with the link to the info I needed.

March and April are the busiest months for me, so I put it off. Other security updates were installing okay.

Then this horrible ransomware issue emerged on Friday in the UK.

This was when my uninstalled big update of various patches became serious. My computer was not patched. And although I was not a company or big organisation, my computer was still vulnerable because of the missing patch.

So I did a final back up of anything not yet backed up. (You might like to read Simon Whaley's latest post over on his The Business of Writing site about backing-up your work.)

Then I read up on clean installation process, it was actually relatively easy. I was also able to reinstall from the Anniversary edition (that was released last Summer) rather than from the memory stick with the original version.

Go to your computer settings, then Update and Security. Select Recovery from the list on the left-hand side, it's just a matter of following the instructions and selecting the option you need.

The longest part was the downloading- though it does say you can continue to use the computer meanwhile. Once the installation begins you do need to be there as you're required to set the country and language, but it doesn't take too long; you just need to sign into the computer again each time as it needs to restart through the process.

Of course once it's all back in place you then need to go through all the settings just as if you'd just got the computer.

Most of the programmes (apps) I need I've reinstalled, and that important security update installed first time.

It's also solved some minor display problems I had: the missing sign-in at the top right of my blog screen reappeared, and on Facebook, where the stats show for individual posts, in the insights on my Carol Bevitt-writer and Serena Lake pages, they came back too. I hadn't associated them with my computer issues.

So far all is going okay.

I'll be blogging with some news and links on Sunday, so I'm glad the computer is fixed...


Sunday 10 July 2016

When You Can't Write...

I need quiet to write.

Reality at the moment is that there's very little quiet available.

So I'm not writing consistently, and the second draft editing is on hold until I have a clear head again.

Lots of stress from assorted sources led to mild depression building, and last week I wasn't functioning at 100%, more like 20%. So I cut back to essential tasks, stopped feeling guilty for all the things I wasn't doing, and concentrated on me rather than everyone else.

I'm probably back up to 75% functioning now.

My mind has unlocked and is starting to formulate story ideas again- thank you Sally Quilford, your comment on Facebook hit the switch I needed rebooting... (Can switches be rebooted? :) )

Meanwhile I've slowly been working my way through my York visit photos, renaming, tagging and where needed cropping. (Windows 10 does not make the tagging as simple as it was in Windows 7.)

I've started some background reading for a future project too, and making notes on a completely different long-term non-fiction item. Both of these don't demand the degree of concentration my work-in-progress needs, and I can do them in short spurts.

Depression can happen to anyone at any time of their life from mild to severe, so if you're not sure if you're experiencing this, there's a useful self-assessment tool on the nhs website, here.

I hope to get back to my blogging routine in the next week...

Meanwhile here's a happy picture to make you smile.
T-shirt of a cat in a garden in a
shop window...
(The Cat Gallery)

Sunday 15 May 2016


Yes, I'm guilty of procrastination. I don't intend to, but somehow time passes and then it's too late to get started because everyone is home again and I need quiet to write.

I'm recovering from three busy months, and there's been lots of personal life stuff that has been taking up the remaining time too. So the second draft rewrite really has been the last thing on my mind.

But I'm determined to make the most of the free time available- yes, I know I've said that before!

Having to shift all my office around while the computer was being replaced didn't help. It's not quite back to how I need it, so I'm going to concentrate on finishing that. There's still a few things I want but can't access easily, so times wasted searching...

I'm fortunate that I have the end of the old dining room to house my office, but it still has to double as a temporary storage area for other things until we've shifted other room contents around- that's slow progress.

Hopefully by the time I'm finished there will be enough fodder for me to write a short article on procrastination for one of the annual trophies at the writers' club- it's for non-fiction, and this year's subject just happens to be procrastination.

So I am sort of working... :D

Right, I need to get started, it's the recycling collection day tomorrow.

Do you have any anti-procrastination tips that you can recommend?

image courtesy of Stuart Miles &

Thursday 18 February 2016

Short Story Ready to Go - Almost...

I'm always surprised to discover my editing skills have improved.

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I have a short story that I wanted to revise to submit to Woman's Weekly.

My dilemma was that the story was too long for the 1,000 words, nor would it work at the shorter length, but it was too short for the 1,800 requirement.

So my revision became a rewrite to add words- about 400 in fact. It isn't a lot but I have to admit I didn't think I could do it without ruining the story.

I didn't quite finish last week, as a final few paragraphs needed to be looked at, even though I didn't think I could squeeze any more out.

But I did!

Actually I read through the whole story yet again, made more adjustments and my word count went up to as much as 1830, and then when I did my final edit it came back down to 1805.

Fixing the problem...
So where am I now with it?

Yesterday I printed the completed manuscript out and the cover sheet, addressed the envelopes and did a last minute read through.

That was when I saw it. No not the dreaded escapee typo, but one short line that didn't read clearly. So I'll sort it out and reprint, and read through again...

But it will be posted Monday. :D

Image courtesy of supakitmod &

Monday 16 November 2015

Making Progress...

Though it may not seem like it, I have been making progress on the writing front, amongst all the deadlines- not all of them writing related.

I have found that a few of the organisational changes that I've made over the summer and autumn have been helpful.

There's still a lot to do. I know there's one or two small boxes of writing related materials sitting waiting (in a currently inaccessible position) and in one of those boxes is likely to be the items I'm looking for- early research material for my Nottinghamshire story.

(Think there may be some heavy furniture lifting going on at my place over the Christmas holidays!)

Even without the missing items, I'm finding the second draft much harder than the first draft. There's detail to add, characters to add in or change, and new scenes to be written.

Story #4 in the queue decided to emerge from the mists as I sat waiting to collect a prescription at the pharmacy. I'm not certain what the time period will be. I thought it might be somewhere in the first half of the 20th century, but now I'm not sure...

Fortunately I had a spare lidded A4 box waiting. So I just need half hour to type out my notes from the quick scrawl in my notebook, and it can go to the bottom of the boxes pile.

As long as I can jot down notes on the new ideas I can keep them from interfering with my current work in progress. I'm just grateful the other ones are still dormant.

I have to concentrate on one at a time and not let the others distract me.

Actually I need 36 hours in a day... :(

Thursday 21 May 2015

Yes, I Need a Plan..

I've been thinking- seriously...
The past few weeks have been a struggle with my writing.

It's not that I've lost my enthusiasm, or lack ideas- still too many to get through- but I've realised that I'm a flexible planner; just writing the story as I go along doesn't work for me. I need thinking time...

While the current work in progress (the contemporary romance) has been evolving, I've learnt more about my characters, but they're still a bit too two dimensional at times.

It's okay when they're having an emotional scene, they come alive, but between times they flatten out because I don't know enough about them. While they talk to me I know they're holding important information back, and it's that deep down stuff I need to get to to round them out.

Also secondary characters and incidental ones have turned up as part of the plot, and while it's not essential I know a lot about the latter, I do need to know a bit more about the former.

At the moment I feel like bits of the border of the jigsaw puzzle are missing, and it's making it harder to complete the whole picture.

I also know there are important areas of research I need to clarify.

Usually I research as much as I feel I need to start with, based on the characters and my general plot outline, before I begin writing. But because I only had a few basics to start with, and a lot more questions have arisen as I've gone along, and I've had to note in the manuscript that info is needed on x.

Yes, I need to find out other information as I go along on my planned stories, but never in as much depth as I need with this current story.

I roughly know where I'm going with it, but I need a better plan, and more thorough character bios than I have at the minute.

And my historical novella is demanding attention too, the second draft has been on hold too long and I need to get back to it.

So I've decided that I'm going to spend the next week creating those detailed bios, and chapter outlines- they're not set in stone, elements can be moved around if need-be. And the really important research items will help.

I feel certain that once those are done I will make better progress, and hopefully get the first draft completed.

I now know the writing system that works for me. I just need to build on it to get the most words out of it.

Nothing is wasted, because the story will get written...

Image courtesy of jesadaphorn at www.freedigitalphotos,net

Sunday 26 April 2015

Catching Up...

After weeks of not adding to my work in progress due to lack of time, quiet, a stuffed up head and a second chest infection, I was really worried that I would find it difficult to get back into writing my contemporary romance, especially as I'd left off writing mid-chapter, with my heroine having to make decisions that could be good or bad, dependent on what she discovers...

I was surprised how quickly I got back into the flow.

Going with the 'write it and see' method has not suited me, and the contemporary romance will certainly need much more work in the second draft.

Even when I plan I'm flexible. Sometimes ideas expand or new ones emerge as I'm writing my historical romances, and they seem to fit in easier, whereas at the moment with the contemporary these additional bits seem to stick up like nails that haven't been hammered in properly!

I'm also anxious to get back to the Nottinghamshire novella too- the characters have started reminding me they are still waiting for the rewrite, and when will I start?

Along with a few ideas for shorter pieces- inspirations that have been percolating, and now keep popping up when I'm not expecting them to- usually when I'm meant to be cooking dinner, are distracting.

It's great there are all these ideas, but it doesn't help me get anything finished!

So I'm going to put some serious time in during the next couple of months, and try to be more organised.

There are short, mid and long term plans that I can dip into as and when needed.

I'm determined...

Monday 2 February 2015

Feeling Our Characters Emotions...

I'm roughly at mid-point in the first draft of my contemporary romance, and I'm now trying to get on with the post emotional scene (that was between my hero and heroine); but I'm finding it difficult to regain the distance I need for the next chapter...

I'd finally given my two characters the opportunity for their first proper clinch and kiss, even though that wasn't my hero's intention at the start of the scene. Then he drops the bombshell of why they shouldn't become more involved.

The surprise was how much it effected me.

On the surface his reasoning is quite logical, however awkward it now makes both their lives. My heroine has suddenly been shown possibilities and has then had them whipped away a few minutes later - she's obviously upset.

Even though I know that they will get their happy ever after by the end of the story, there's a boulder strewn road just at this moment...

We all experience, or observe, life events: birth, death, celebrations, bad news, good news, and devastation- both emotional and actual. So we can draw on those emotions and reactions- just like actors do. But it still takes a toll on our emotions portraying those things through our characters.

I have some reading to catch up on, and a short story to check over for sending out. So a few hours distraction will do me good...

Tuesday 11 February 2014

Now to Writing the Love Scene...

I know I could leave this until later, but I write sequentially, whether it's a first or last draft...

So I'm now at that stage where my hero, Hugh, has resolved his conflict, and Sarah has remembered enough to make sense of the past, so getting the pair of them together shouldn't be difficult, should it?

The storm has made it easier to create the opportunity, but why do two confident people then suddenly turn shy!

I know some writers, and readers, prefer the action to stop at the bedroom door. I've no problem with that.

I think it really is about the characters and how they feel. If you know your characters well then you'll know what is right for them.

I've never had any doubts about my current couple in the novella, they've clearly been attracted to one another from the moment they met again; and as their relationship has progressed, on the few occasions they've been able to kiss you could see the lighted fuse slowly heading for the powder keg...

But give them the opportunity to be alone together and for Hugh to propose...

I really can't blame either of them for this temporary hiccup, as they've both got issues that they've had to deal with. And their story is set in a time when there were moral expectations for young women.

When I went back to the scene today they were making progress, but I think they will only let the reader stay for a while before they demand privacy; they'll tell me when enough is enough...

As the final part of tying up the past has still to be finished to reach the happy ever after (HEA) it will only need one more chapter to complete the draft.

I know I said Chapter 16 was going to be the last one, but I was wrong, it will definitely be Chapter 17. :D

I've no doubt that when I begin the second draft and put in the missing scenes, some of the current chapters will change number. I may even end up with a couple more than I have now...

Thursday 14 March 2013

I'm Moderating Comments for a While...

Good morning all you polite blog readers and bloggers.

Just wanted to let you all know that I've had to switch to moderating all comments at the moment, due to anonymous spam comments getting through the filters and being published.

My blog seems to be getting more spam than usual, and despite the spam comments clearly being spam they are not being recognised as such.

So until the filters start picking these up, I've decided to temporarily move to moderating comments.

Sadly there seems to also be an issue with genuine comments not appearing too- despite the dashboard saying they are published.

So if you have commented and your comments haven't shown up within a couple of days, please let me know via one of the contact methods shown on the right of my blog page.



Edited to add: I've had to disable the ability to comment as anonymous. Apologies to any blog readers that used this facility previously to leave genuine comments.