First Quarter

Busy but ultimately bleak..

The new VAT proposals for Digital Vat set the year off to a busy start – I changed my Web Design helper to Sam Davies at Web Site Right and pushed ahead with the ideas I have been sitting on on that score.

I worked hard on Hacked Apart and finished that MS 22/03/2018.

Sadly the snow brought death – Tash – the mastiff featured in this blog sometimes – was put to sleep following an illness.

My Mum has been hospitalised for the last 4 weeks from a condition made worse by the vicious weather and her recovery is slow.

I started the next story in the Hacked series – it stands at about 3500 at the moment and I aim to keep writing that to The End and then return to editing the YA books.

Aim after Easter to return to regular blogging – and may the sun shine 🙂

Tash with us 2008- 2018


Glad To Be Indie…

I love being an Indie writer – but more to the point I love working with other Indies – cheerful, encouraging and friendly and all folk with a huge work ethic and customer service mentality.

This week I got the OK from the bank and the bank account was set up – I was quite impressed with their On Line team – their script allowed them to remember me – phone call to phone call – and that is more than the tellers in the real branch do who seem forced into the same script even if they see you 100 x /day 🙁 So  here I am in a new business then 🙂 Did’t think that was on the cards for 2018 but the dice rolled and I played the hand I was dealt and here I am 🙂 Continue reading


All Change Again Then…

So far 2018 has been about grabbing the opportunity that the EU Digi VAT decision has handed me – it matters little to me that I may still have to register for VAT MOSS -or not TBH – it  was the huge damage that earlier decision not to have a threshold did to my confidence and plans when I found out about it in 2016 – that has now been reversed – I may have to keep records but I won’t be liable for piddling bits of bloody cash to someone on the far side of Europe whose language I don’t speak.

Today I moved forward Continue reading


2018 – Strike while the iron is hot…

OK  – you guys are the second  to know – because at the moment you guys aren’t there and Holly Lisle’s guys and gals support me everyday 24/7! I went to the bank in the pouring rain to start the process of opening a business account for the writing – such is the state of banking today in provincial Britain that I caused them to rummage in a cupboard for anything with an actual phone number on for a Nat West business startup contact! Went home – Broad Band really incapable today – an hour + phone call with a nice bloke who was telling me all about his young son’s Kindle use ( minimal – I suggested he let him read on his phone – apparently the kid is 7 so doesn’t have a phone – that surprised me more – but as the kid likes real books better I advised (!) patience – yep I don’t know why people tell me stuff like this either  they just do! )
Any way about an hour and A HALF later the application had gone as far as it could – no idea now if that is a done deal or if it still needs to jump hurdles –
High Points – ‘How much income are you planning to have?’
‘Well none – I will give books away free in return for email addresses…’ I had guessed might happen.
Follow up question ‘But if you were selling the books what would they be worth?’
‘Depends on the Amazon etc scales and schemes and where the book falls in my series – I have 9 of them in two series  free – say £4.99…’ I thought was a best guess. Explanation of Book Funnel and print on demand svs that made me sound like I knew what I was talking about apparently as he liked those ideas
Plus – lengthy discussion on Digi Vat and international payments direct to me and not via a third party and registering for Tax else where  – some of those where best guesses too.
So ‘I dun it’ :) Am shaking a bit TBH – that butterflies feeling – not sure whether to laugh or cry – I wish he had made it clearer if there was a chance of a big fat ‘NO’ arriving in the post, by email or message etc – I think  it’s OK but I am a sceptical bugger – stuff should arrive 5-7 days – so a working week then – if I haven’t heard by next Tuesday… Now, I have to get to the next item on the agenda and TBH brain has emptied rapidly and I can’t find the list – how silly and yet not – I have been moving towards being an Author all my life and this is a very tangible step forward I suppose – without which I could be a Writer but not make my living from being an Author. Yep I am definitely emotional LOL:Flying::ThumbsUp::Peeking:
Tonight I have enjoyed Jo Penn’s pod cast  at  
And Darren Rowse intro to Blogging at
I have also downed the last half of a bottle of Chardonnay – not my normal habit but there was half a bottle left over from Christmas and I sat enjoying Orna Ross’s webinar – which I have lost the link to but is the first Tue in each month ( free)  I sat and partied quietly – Orna had technical trouble but kept calm and carried on 🙂
Why the party? Well today has been a long time coming – there still may be rejection ahead – banks and I don’t mix that well but I made a start and that is what counts – doing something not nothing 🙂

With Any Luck…

That is the mechanics of the sites tweaked a little – HTTPS sorted: Hosting moved  from Blue Host to via Bridport Radio so that I can avoid the time zone issues: The Domain name for the adult fiction site has been replaced with something marginally more suitable: And I have had a crash course in finding out what I don’t know after I have needed to know it. Continue reading


Life Saved by an Unlikely Hero – Dragon


Of all the blog posts I thought I might write – this ain’t one of them!

Dragon 13pro – yep the same one I have had kicking around the place infuriating me for years has finally come in useful. It and I – over the last few weeks – have transcribed from longhand over 175K words – that is me read it – it transcribe it – me light edit and divide between the writing software’s I use – Scrivener/yWriter and Novel Factory – and printed out as First Draft.

This has been weird as immediately before the ‘Ah Ha’ moment I had miserably been contemplating putting off my publication aim from the run up to Christmas 2018 to 2019 because no matter how I looked at it the transcription of the bulk of the series had to be done some when – and just after book one goes out would not be the time…

The Ah Ha moment? WAs Scott Baker doing the podcast rounds – Jo Penn, Mel Hammond and The SPF and SPP guys – and the actual point was realising that the reduction in quality work I had suffered between last summer and now was entirely down to using my RODE MIC directly in the PC because I was sitting at the desk and not using the free Dragon REC App on my iPhone that I used last year – instant flash as I unplugged and re plugged – and the rest is now a transcribed MS sitting on the desk!  Scot was pushing his new course and I signed up there and then – have yet to use it as I have been too busy transcribing  – but because of that effort I do now have time and reason to do that and the two other courses I have been waiting to do – that are now relevant and I have bought and paid for Just In Case – Nick’s  1st 10K readers and Mark Dawson’s similar one. I have some workshops along similar lines that Holly Lisle is reissuing that I am canarying with a bunch of others so I don’t think I am going to be bored!!!

But 🙂 Just In Case I saw a 31 Day course re taking better photos and using your camera from Darren Rowse’s team which has had me dusting off the old Olympus Traveller Gordon got me years ago – this is relevant to Dragon as well as I notice how heavily I lean on my iPhone now – if that packs up etc what do I do? Well, I use the camera – which means my phone battery doesn’t go flat so quickly.  I also realised – 2nd Ah Ha moment from Scot that the small – tiny – Steel dictaphone I bought – date is stuck 2007 – for £9.99 is also equally as accurate a combo as the iPhone/Dragon   and also has its own battery – both camera – which came with a tough outdoors bag and horse saddle ties and the dictaphone – which is tiny  -travel horseback much better than the iPhone which doesn’t even have a wrist strap so if I do manage to get it out of my pocket I am unable to let it drop if I need both hands on the reins suddenly!!!

The secret to me blogging here is me being out and about somewhere and taking photo’s which often remind me to post – and the secret to finishing the two MS I am working on is also likely to be me out and about dictating them rather than being stuck in here 🙂

The Editor is still after doing the story edit of Hacked Off in Aug which is cool. Hopefully, by Sept I will have done HA and H2B – or be close to finishing – but then it is to revise and edit the whole Quest Series starting with ‘In Plain Sight’ and get an booked Editor on board for that long haul – learn about the marketing and cover and format stuff – and the legal and business set up etc needs to be done…. But first things first – I need a new Big Picture Plan that now doesn’t include the long goal of ‘Type Up Q3 and Q4’ as it is done…:) So I am aiming for July 2017 – July 2018 which then leaves up  to 5 months to the time when I hope the book is already out there – and book two as the first will be the give away…

Interested in Paul Teage ‘s work and products at the moment – much the same as Joanna Penn caught my eye last year this time. And Scott Baker – without whom my Dragon would have been sent for sausages and I would be continuing the downward spiral in a train of thought that was taking me towards giving up if I am honest.

So it’s all to play for – Game On.



( Version B As dictated to Dragon) :)

Or The One Where Dragon Sits On Me…

My writing day.

Dragon 13 professional has finally taken flight and it has, without a doubt, saved my life. Scott Baker has been appearing on a few pod casts recently to support the launch of his Dragon Training School and his book, and also which joined the dots for me because I had been trying to get Dragon to dictate or transcribe Q3 and Q4 and it was hopeless.

Several weeks ago I actually went and bought paper notebooks – because I decided it was I might as well give up trying to get my Indie dream to work – and just write more longhand – as this is obviously just a friggin hobby – so the stories don’t need typing up!

I took them back and got my money back – and that was hard because I wanted to sit under a tree and just write on a proper bit of paper with a friggin pen…

I resigned myself heavily to the fact that I was going to have to sit down and do the 1500 – 2000 – 3000 even words/day to get Q3 and 4 typed up – because there was no point spending money on external editing by an Editor if those things hadn’t happened.

There it was – and it was always going to stop me. The fact that it wasn’t typed up and the fact I don’t touch type.

So Five/Six weeks ago this worked out at 11 ‘finished’ words per minute typing and that was fast as I could get – ‘finished’ = typed, spell-checked but not line edited  (as-I-wrote-it) copy that is also divided into Word Chapter files and Scrivener, Ywriter, and Novel Factory and printed and filed – which means that my remaining 175 K was likely not to be done this side of next Easter!

The thing that was very, very doubtful was whether or not I was gonna be prepared, to do the typing at all and that meant at best I was going to have to move the deadline of being ‘ready’ by a year Sept.

In which case I felt I was gonna lose all my credibility not just with perhaps other people, but with myself – and that’s hard. You can’t push yourself when you don’t want to be pushed because you think you’re making a mistake worse.

SO I’d got Dragon 13 out the box again – I’d done plenty of training last year out and about with it and the transcription was quite good then – but – I was really horrified to find that after the first three or four weeks  I printed it up what had looked pretty clean on screen (using Grammarly and Word Spell Check with just a glance at it) Only to come back to in high spirits and see the stuff that I thought was fine was absolutely full of what I christened Dragon Shit, it was horrendous.

Yes – the spelling was fine – I had searched the things I knew it did like calling ‘Doug’ dog or dug – but other these things I was word blind to and couldn’t ‘search for’ and they weren’t highlighted as they weren’t ‘wrong’ . It had changed the tense regularly – messed up when, were, where and will and added whole sentences of correctly spelt gibberish that it thought I said – I picked it up first when I printed out and 2nd when I got my kindle to read it to me OUCH!!!!

I couldn’t understand it because this time last year when the Scrivener iPhone App came out I was using Dragon REC with my RODE MIC and it was really good and I was very accurate – with it like that.

I couldn’t understand why now it suddenly was atrocious. In fact, when I applied my equation to it factoring the massive clean up time – the best I could do was three finished words a minute. I mean, that’s terrible.

Enter Scott Baker doing the rounds on the podcasts – Jo Penn’s, Mell Hammond’s and the SPP’s and SPF’s – the breakthrough came when he pointed out the best thing to do was to plug in your good microphone to your iPhone and use the free recorder application because the speech recognition software in your iPhone is better than is on the laptop!

I realised that the thing that had changed was WHERE I was – last year I was outside walking about using the iPhone and this year I had plugged the RODE into the Laptop as I happened to be at my desk !!! At that moment, I had a Ka Ching moment and I plugged it in and away I went and I discovered that I could get anywhere between 25 and 75 ‘finished’ words a minute and over the last five weeks I have been hammering away at it and I have now completely transcribed the whole of the remainder of the series.

I have about 10 chapters at the end left just to go through and divide up and print because I was doing one scene/ time read in/ transcribe it/ lightly edit/ divide it up/ run upstairs and print and file away/ write the count down and move on; but it appeared that I had rather more time at the weekends than I thought to actually do some work – but when there was no transcription ready I couldn’t do it – so  had  3 days I think of just simply reading and then transcribing to get to this point where it’s now done.

It’s an amazing feeling to have achieved something has been hanging over my head since I finished writing it three years ago and to achieve it apparently ‘just like that’- even though I’m completely knackered – and throat sore – it has opened up a realm of possibilities that I just had never thought of and the major point is that now I probably can be in a position to have that series, mostly edited, covered and ready to go out by 2018 autumn – 13, 14 months time –

If I had given up failing this wouldn’t be the case… but –

There’s no reason why I now can’t do that other than my own fear and inhibitions which have all come crowding round me. I must admit I am getting a whole range of negativity – might succeed/ might fail/ look stupid/it’s rubbish/ how embarrassing you now have to do this etc etc are coming at me thick and fast at the moment and I’m trying to deflect that.

So yeah that’s been a lifesaver – Dragon 13 professional and my iPhone and Scott Baker have saved my life. 🙂

I noticed that Scott had said something else that latched in my brain; I had a notification from the iPhone -like you do – which said that Dragon REC App might not work when the phone updated…and I know that Dragon is going towards a subscription thing for recording microphone and etc and it’s quite expensive and it isn’t as accurate etc etc and as far as I can tell is very expensive. . . So I figured that that is a distinct possibility that it might be the case that the Dragon record thing might not work with the iPhone at some point in the future – and also I’m very aware that my iPhone might pack up – in which case, I’d be stuffed and trussed and in the oven. . .  I noticed what Scott said about using and ordinary dictaphone and I remembered that when I bought  Dragon- I also bought a dictaphone.

It was £9.99 on Amazon and is a tiny little thing it’s not even got a brand I think it’s called Steel, back in the day I had no idea what I was doing and it was still in the box in the desk. I fished it out and tried it and it works as good as the iPhone J

So there’s no reason why – should anything happen to my iPhone I will be stuffed J

Scott Baker also brought a Dragon training course – and I’ve already bought it because he’s already helped me and there is going to be more!!!

On the train of thought about life without an iPhone I have also taken a good look at my old camera – a little Olympus Traveller 14/25 – I saw that Darren Rowse’s team have a 31ay spin off about taking better photos and learning to use your camera so I printed out my 65 page manual and signed up. One thing that gets me blogging is activity and a picture – when riding the horse I can’t use the iPhone as it doesn’t have a wrist strap even to guard against it falling and it is quite big to hold etc – my camera just hangs on the saddle in a tough bag and if something happens it isn’t my life handler that has just cantered off without me or been trodden on….:)

Now I have achieved the impossible type up and publication is a real possibility if I show up and keep working on it I think it is time to get on with the two big courses I have but haven’t started – 1st 10,000 Readers and Mark Dawson’s similar one – both very expensive courses I got  because I think that they will both be utterly relevant to what need to do but haven’t started as they weren’t relevant to ‘typing/transcribing’.

Holly Lisle has plenty to keep me busy as well that is new for me and I found a ‘new guy’ – Scott Teague, another from the Alli website and he’s got lots of how-to videos -all very pertinent to my next stage/steps and he has a great podcast I am already binging on J

Goals and Plans?

My long-term goals – and my short-term goals – have largely featured the fact that this ‘thrilling’ 350,500 words had to be typed up!

It’s been a feature of my goal setting for three years and was finally what made me jump from a day job I really enjoyed as a carer for our local authority Social Services…And it also played a part in me getting rid of my sheep flock and ‘standing down’ as an active farmer.

Now that mass of words is transcribed – bar enough of the rest of the Quest series and Hacked that I can use them when I’m playing with Scott’s course so I’ve got something fresh to do  that isn’t  huge – I need to re calibrate everything.

There’s also the fact at the moment I have not finished writing the first drafts of Hacked Apart or Hacked To Bits – but then my goal for them was to finish by Sept 2017 – and that IS still doable and I am still on course…

Editor Eileen is saying that she will invoice me next week for the story edit read through of Hacked Off – I’m very keen to keep that going just on the story level. It will help me with HA and H2 B but mostly it will help with the revision and editing of the Quest series  as I am bound at this stage to have made similar mistakes.

I want to be revising and editing Quest from Sept onwards – and booking someone for the long haul of editing that series with me these next 14 – 16 months while I also  . . SO those of the ways my goals are starting to re- emerge so far

I’ve repurposed the Extensor laptop with Vista as a second screen. It might not last forever, but it should last for a while.  I threw out lots of software from it and  I’ve just put back in the software that I actually need so that when I’m using Dropbox so it will open the files – it’s also – I think going to really bring in the capacity to have a whiteboard on the table because I got Scapple and Free Mind on it and at the very least I can put either the to-do lists for plot points or ideas up on it – so I don’t have bits of paper everywhere – it’s is not wholly portable because it it’s too old now and it needs it needs power, but equally it fits the space and is big enough for me to see things clearly and has a brain – unlike a separate screen.  And yes, it’s got Vista so – bits of it may stop working at some point but as long as I don’t do any actual writing on it – it will be fine J It is important to have a bigger second screen because my eyesight is not good.

I have also got around the horrendous experience of finding my Broad Band was too slow – and the 4Gee too expensive – for me to move stuff out of Dropbox to work on my spare machines with when my main machine needed a fan clean – by getting 2 separate Seagate 1TB hard drives – I use one one week and one the next so the off site stored one is never more than a week behind

SO/ 🙂 That’s my update for my writing day…

This morning  I’ve dictated this and I will go in  and  edit it – take the horse bit and post that in ‘Riding’ and this bit I will post later  in ‘Writing ‘ – what I want to do is go in and actually sit and write a ‘pantsed’ normal blog update with the same subject – and then I will post this ‘dictated to Dragon version with a light edit’ later just to compare the two –

If you have read both you can see what I see – I talk way too much!!!!!!!!!!

So if I am thinking of using Dragon with a few plot cards in my pockets to do first draft on – if it follows this non fiction voice/style difference then the ‘voice’ of HA and H 2 B will change drastically and they will rival War and Peace in length!!! Because in a 38 min walk I ‘wrote 4270 words!!!!! Happy Days!!!


Trust emergence?


Been moaning about this blog editor and Dashboard, as when looking back at Blog Library the titles were verticle – but given my seat of pants approach to life, let alone blogging –  a few verticle titles aren’t enough to make me get the Blog Spanners out. Today, I decided that I would spend 15 min checking the blogs and thinking about getting back to regular posting  – and the first thing I noticed – and ignored – was verticle titles and groaned ‘no change there then!’ and then, I ‘just wondered’ what would happen if I reduced the screen size on the Google bar to 90% – low and behold – my Library re appeared. 🙂

Lessons learnt from this?

Could be that if you don’t know what you are doing; don’t tinker till you have an idea. Trust emergence, as just ‘pushing buttons’ can take you places you don’t want to be – for as long as it will likely take to get back where you started – wiser about many things; excepting the issue in hand.

On the other hand, if I waited till I knew what to do, I would not act at all; and in the course of acting I eventually get the result I want – sometimes it is a long journey – but I get the result.

How to tell the difference between the time to wait and the time to act?

How important is it to the goal that this thing get sorted now? If life can continue – only inconvenienced – by the failing, then it is best to carry on: if life has stopped because of it, then act regardless.

Friday’s child … Is a long way from finished testing Mail Chimp!

Friday’s child … Is a long way from finished testing Mail Chimp!

It’s time consuming, learning anything new…

At least I had the sense to snap shot all the changes I made so that I could return to that which was working – if not pretty. The new one was just plain bad as it didn’t include the post and folks would have to click through.

I have at least made myself more familiar with the controls and means I can finally open up Nick’s 10k Readers Course which should help me fill in the rest of the blanks, meanwhile I will carry on the as and when blogging with the generic Word Press template – well I hope I will I guess I will see as soon as I hit publish now if today is going to be spent outside ‘filling buckets’  ( this is still a farm…) Or in here wishing I had sat on my hands and not tinkered with any of it – here goes …:)


New Tool In The Stable

 The Novel Factory. ( This is not an affiliate link 🙂 )

Noticed this on a Utube ‘How To’ from Alli. And I know I am a sucker for new shiny objects in the stationary and software dept but this one had the major plus of being cheap 🙂 – I took the free week but converted it quickly to a permanent bit of kit.

Gave it a test drive today – runs alongside Scrivener rather than replacing it for the planning and outlining – it will do a lot more than that – I love the clean interface and the fact it is blue based which I find inspiring and gives me little eye strain.

It also imported, without grumbling, whole MSs compiled in Scrivener, once I replaced the scene dividers with # # #. What is not to like about that?! No cut and paste finger tennis needed and whole series’ imported without a grunt from it or me 🙂

The Future…

I want to move to working on two screens and the laptop over the summer if I can, as having several things open at once and flicking between them on the laptop is getting to be a real PIA.  My small netbook, that I used to use as a small screen, got so choked by Dropbox and the gang that I had to gut it – it just about copes with One Note – and Gordon gets distracted by my file use on Dropbox if I use his laptop when he is away so I am saving up for separate monitors for mine.

The other issue for me with that is that my wings will be clipped for good as two monitors won’t travel far so new writing and editing alike will be bound in the top of the dairy loft – AKA The Cell. I am starting to get some practice in now with the new writing – I am moving from longhand and so I see no reason not to go to the loft for those hours.

I will miss taking the notebook and writing where ever I find myself, parked in the van, in someone’s yard, sprawled on Eggardon with the horse grazing nearby or on the end of the pier at West Bay; in 27, but most of all I will miss writing in my old kitchen at the table looking at the view between words and thoughts. Whilst I may be able to still work there sometimes, once we move back in I will get shunted out of the way again.

Happy days 🙂

Finished Line Edit :)

Finished Line Edit :)

What isn’t to like? Next Hacked Off heads to New Zealand and the brave soul who is going to Edit for me. Who knew I would get here? Let alone there!

I am also being coached by Nina Amir at the moment which is interesting and thought provoking. Nina has already called me out over the excuses I have been using to stop me taking the last steps I need to take every day to getting out on the horses again – and I am out again on Rufus and Bud will have shoes on next week.

Next up for me is new writing – well finishing the last chunk of Hacked Apart and then Hacked to Bits. Also, I need to start the typing again 1500/day to get through the last parts of the Quest series I write as Alex Allington so that it is ready to start launching Autumn 2018.

Goodness if I keep doing this I might actually get there 🙂



Mile Stones…

2017-04-07 07.55.03Hacked Off has gone to NZ…

That’s a big milestone – not all of it has gone, but first three chapters and chapter ten. Funny to think that it is that book that is going first. It’s what I have been working on since Dec 16 re the revision course with Holly Lisle and teaching myself to apply a consistent punctuation style with since New Year.

I am about halfway with the third draft for Grammer, Punctuation and Style. I intend to finish that pass then finish writing Hacked Apart and Hacked To Bits to first draft level over the summer and then get going on Quest which has been on ice since the house rebuilt two and a half busy years ago 🙂

This last week I started Coaching with Nina Amir to help me step away from the writing and reintegrate my life with the farm and with the horses that the building works generally interrupted. I have lived in the Agricultural year all my life – a season to plant etc and with an intrinsic view of life is a wheel – or a plough – depending on what I am doing! Either way, many things have made up that life and each has had its time on the calendar or place in the day.

I am thankful I had my writing dreams to lose myself in this last two years as my home emptied and was pulled down and re-emerged as not identifiably my home, my garden has yet to return to productivity and is just neat and tidy – definitely not my garden! Give me productivity any day! My farm was de-stocked – so  I felt ‘not a farmer’ anymore and suddenly when I stopped to think about it I wondered Who Am I? Where Am I? I have hardly ridden the horses and Brin was lost to old age, Tash reduced in capacity by the same… All there has been as a constant from old to new is writing – even my friends and contacts have moved from face to face to online…

Now it is spring time and I finally made enough progress to be able to send an MS off – serendipity played a roll – when Eileen offered to read through for me I said yes even though I hadn’t planned to even look for an Editor for HO till summer. What is there to lose? Whatever she thinks of it I know it was a book I wrote before I even had the internet or a laptop or iPhone so the fact I still have it in play is down to hard work with long hours and that is very much what farming taught me in the first place.  Writing has taught me to sustain concentration over many hours and given me a focus when my identity seemed to disappear in front of me – I even feel a bit like a ghost at times around here – I will too until the house has furniture and the garden grows safely rabbit proofed vegetables again…

Nina has taught me already to question my excuses – this week I have taken action  and ridden Rufus off the farm – and handled Buddy and been out on the pier with Tash – I have attended live group calls which are a challenge – I am used to talking with strangers and friends in text boxes – not hearing the emotion in their voices or letting them hear mine.

The wonderful weather this week has helped,  I did edit a whole chapter and leave my files ready to go next week again. The challenge there will be to integrate the writing and the riding  – having pushed self this week  I don’t want to stop when I get back to work – Rufus may not mind me when I am tired and anxious but Buddy and Flax do – and Rufus deserves better. Next week I will have to pay attention to my sleep and rest and tighten my strategies for providing watershed between my work and the rest of my life. 🙂  Look between ears and allow it to move forward – or ‘get out of my own way’ – I reached the Mile Stone by sheer will at times now I need to let my heart take over again 🙂



Been line editing and little else …

Good ol’ Scrivener…

I have mostly been getting to grips with the use of snapshots which make version control much easier.

I am also working on my ‘workflow’  in terms of developing an effective and reliable system that lets me ‘switch off’ when I leave the desk so I can enjoy my surroundings; not infuriate my family – by being constantly distracted; and be emotionally congruent enough that my horses don’t run away when they see me 🙂 Some days are better than others. 🙂



Editing Software

Editing with Hemmingway App.

Playing with bits of software…

All jolly good fun! Except when it isn’t.

Grammarly – paid version.

Pro Writing Aid -paid version.

Auto Crit – paid version ( Ouch!)

Hemingway App – paid version.

Initially, they produced panic as I fumbled around and then they produced versions like toads under a tarp.

Then I tried to please them till I decided that to do that till the coloured lights went out meant just having a blank page.

Yes learn and stick to one punctuation style – British English in my case. Yes find the repeats and long sentences…. but then INTERPRETATION is your game OR your manuscript goes from verbose to signage a two year old can read…

I worked out that I needed comparison before I re wrote the MS  so I typed in chunks of random novels and got reports on them  till I could see the ‘proportions’ of their manuscripts (finished, edited many times and published…)

No software will check out description, character or plot and it will only use words like ‘then’ to indicate ‘telling not showing’ – it will use sentence length to indicate pace and it won’t know what exposition is…. So based on its interpretation of the words you mostly use it will give you an indication of their effect. Unless you have access to a lot of stats of many other books in your genre and age group this will not mean that much.

These bits of kit are useful but will not replace an edit and are most use when they work out of the word processor you use is in my case MS Word – so Grammarly and Pro Writing aid. As extra steps are time wasters and printing out these reports is uneconomic on a novel of 130K! Not to mention impossible to then use… having all of them on screen at once is like using a stack of iPhones and I like some distance in editing ie I like to see more text rather than less as then you can correlate the data with the pattern on the page you see…

My experiences of the Tech Help at ProWriting Aid were appalling as I was told that it was ‘obvious what the colours related to…’ when I asked about a key for the colour code. That is a shame as that one was economical of time and money – but only if I understand the colours… Auto Crit guy, on the other hand, was amazingly helpful and sent me a screen film of him sorting out the issue – so I was sorted out in no time at all. ( If using Google Chrome screen size for this laptop is 67%)

Hemingway App is OK but without interpreting the four points it highlights with comparison to similar texts will reduce prose to signage promptly.

I have however, learnt a great deal these last two weeks and with Beth Hill’s Magic Of Fiction to hand as well it is engrossing me enough to continue.

I have also started actively thinking about and talking to Editors about the work so I am incentivised to get on with it:)

Not making time to Blog much as the broadband here is awful and I do like to include a photo – but not to the extent of waiting all day for it to load…

Happy Writing Days then 🙂



Great Start :)

Peddle Power.

Trying not to multitask unless…

I am listening to PodCasts, watching demos, reading blogs. Even then I get distracted and stop peddling – the ‘keep fitter’ plan is struggling to compete with stuff I am really interested in. I should probably not multitask but what are you supposed to do when riding a stationary bike and it is too dark to see outside?

Otherwise the writing month?

Went very well. I had some firm goals set and several calendars to organise me – this meant I had scheduled a ‘five-day’ edit of the manuscript I’d finished second drafting before Christmas. This was to take place in the first five-day week of the new year, and I had planned to do a continuity sheet and edit my dialogue punctuation – however, I checked out Grammarly, and some pennies started dropping on the Grammar and Punctuation front and I invested some time and money in some supporting textbooks and also Hemingway App which complements it nicely – and today I added Pro Writing Aid which is similar and complementary, but different.

No, I haven’t gone mad – I have just started to ‘see’ my mistakes and be able to apply the explanations to my work on a practical level – something that up until now I couldn’t do and I could only hope that this day would come!

The difference I find is that I can learn by doing and it instantly tells me I have a solution. It isn’t quick, and using separate systems is awkward and heavy on the print outs, etc.

The support books elaborate and assist, and I can see  I am making real progress in my levels of understanding, and I think adding value to the manuscript at this point – so that when I write on with the first draft, I can start to practice writing this way from the beginning.

I’m not sure how long this process will take – maybe a few weeks – but I think it is worth seeing through, so though I have rescheduled the calendars to allow for the extra work.

I have actually done a fair bit of brainstorming for the next two books in the series so all in all I am pleased with my progress in January 2017 🙂



Sunday 08/01/2017

Didn’t get out on Rufus though…

Enjoyed the week more than I thought – conscious of two halves of brain working together more – planned to input four ring files of old longhand notes/ cut out photos from mag’s etc and hand drawn maps into the Scrivener files – also on plan was to track down any info I had already transcribed to digital over the years and import that too – preferably without typing it all word by word.
Left brain decided that this would be ‘a good way to learn cast and plot details’ before moving on to my ‘Seven Day In Five’ Edit of the 2nd Draft of Hacked Off I have planned for next week which was designed to leave me with clean printed copy and both Scrivener and Word Files matching – and me ready to write on the remaining story in Hacked Apart and the complete 1st draft of Hacked To Bits…

How ever as usual I started on my first morning and was repelled/bucked off by the task at first contact – the right brain pointed out learning old notes as I typed in conflicting comments about character age was unhelpful to learn and only of interest to posterity – so I used the iPhone camera and snapped away at most of that and imported it – I then found any laptop /mem stick files and did the same – I found only a tiny amount of printed out material that I had no access to -and I photoed that too – very little of the fours files was typed.
I condensed the files so I have one Work In Progress file covering all three stories – and a YA that happened to be filed with it and one file each for the printed out first draft and a log hand note book, Ch /scene written sheet and the sticky plot cards I had already done – I added in files of recent brain storms and by Wed afternoon I was done – left brain sulking ‘it hadn’t learnt much’ right brain pointed out that reason for next week’s edit is not a story edit, it is to get out the continuity details I have used so I can continue the story – not debate a character’s age range over the years…
That said I started on online casting session looking at models and actors and scouting the few magazines I have about for mug shots – I went for several approximate images for each rather than Robson Green IS Sam etc – this was entertaining and made me see many of my male characters are not distinguishable so I need to work on that I also cast horse crew and dogs and continued ‘Off Piste’ to cast and crew of Quest.
It was a more creative approach than typing up old notes but the goal of having the notes in the Scrivener file ‘Just In Case’ has also been achieved.
I printed out several things I hadn’t had time to, organised my finances and started listening and reading to more business structure stuff to file away in my mind – in case I ever think this is a hobby 🙂
I then decided to tackle another Bete Noir of mine – grammar and punctuation styles and I had realised that another reason to edit next week is to make sure the whole document is consistent with one style – I had noticed that Scrivener is adding/changing – words and Word is removing the – so which ever I used when saving the scene doc will be saved which when compiled will be inconsistent – this is a big step forward for me to realise this. So I researched basic common style guides briefly and sorted out the couple of texts I have on the subject and I signed up for free Grammarly which works with Word – Mon am I will extend that to the weeks free trial they do and each scene in 2nd D HO will be put through it and Word ( I updated the Word grammar settings to ) having done that and extracted continuity info and cross reffed that in whole doc ie no xyz names – I will save doc and put into a new Scrivener + Word file under the original scene file.
NB it may be necessary and sensible to work in Word in a duplicate original doc with TRACK CHANGES switched on again to get used to this and also so I don’t have them accidentally save it as I remember having trouble printing a doc once before where this had been messed up.

Any story edits still required I will note but not do.

This gives a real purpose to next weeks read through, adds real value to the MS – and it may take more time but will be worth doing – at the end of it I will have continuity of characters etc and consistent images to write on from and I can pay attention when writing that I use a consistent style in the document – try to also take on board grammar requirements as I go.
At the end of this timed edit I want to have a consistent punctuation style/grammar and a continuity list – I want any purple edits done and a clean copy of the whole MS printed off – I have bought ink – I may need paper…

I was pleased with developments in my book keeping arrangements and also husband and I are instigating a joint calendar for Weekends and acting on it cautiously ie 1 month at a time… 🙂 This is for DIY still needed on house project – so we can move back in – and helps me plan ahead meals for weekends so we eat well but I don’t buy food that gets thrown as plans change etc. Which helps my feeling of financial control and satisfies my frugal mind as I don’t waste either money time or food and bolsters the feel good factor over Fri pm – Mon am so I can work on and not spend first half of week picking self up from the battle ground weekends were becoming as two people with different agendas collided spectacularly 🙂 Win Win

Re blogging I developed this template and used it – though not to publish – and I attended a Parelli launch and positively supported them whilst also representing my own views.

All in all a happy left brain as jobs ticked off list and a happy right brain as it has been allowed to be creative in the approach and both brains seem to know what they need and are getting on with it – just leaving me to deal with the usual insecurity of ‘should you be doing this? Wouldn’t you rather get a proper job?’ Which funnily enough I have deflected fairly easily in the face of progress on all fronts and the mindset that this is not a hobby and it is not a part time job it is now a full time job and a major investment by G and I. But it has full time job hours – which means I get to live around the edges of it as ‘free time’ I want the best of a full time job doing what challenges me in a place I love that suits my family and a life that is healthy – that is the hard bit – I haven’t done much to improve that this week – well I did eat more sensibly and I cooked – no instant curries…
All in all a very good week



Wed 04/01/17
Phew – I often seem to start a post on these lines – a blog post for me has a gestation and birth followed by a tidy up and slap on the bum to get it to take a breath. I am not conscious of this process so it isn’t painful to write it – only may be to read 🙂
I have worked hard recently on my levels of organisation within and without Scrivener and have made a big step forward in my understanding of the settings – in both Non-Fiction and Fiction Templates – and worked out how to use downloaded ones, design my own and save them for my use.
This means that today I have settled to write this not using the Blog editor in WP but in the Blog Post Scrivener file – only thing is that I can’t do formatting and layout or pictures at this stage. It remains to be seen if I do cut and paste this out and use it.
In order to help give me ‘an audience’ I have split the screen and uploaded some photos which are in Corkboard view above which I can use to stimulate me / make it feel more ‘live’ – the thing about writing straight on to the editor was the buzz of a ‘live performance’ often unscripted ad-lib based on the week or ‘a thing’/ photo etc – hassle with tech and photo’s often put me off the text .
Also cutting in an out of external outpost Blog editors is often too wild to handle between slight tech ‘finger tennis’ protocol issues and my rubbish BB which get in the way of the ‘performance’ – I have realised that while I plot my fiction and lay it out with structure, I am a ‘Pantster’ when Blogging – or as the Spell Checker suggested a ‘Panther.’
Well, may be not … as that suggests ‘Cougar.’ Not quite my demographic… ‘Hippo’ may be…:)
Anyway I digress, I now do have a functioning Series Bible for the Hacked books and individual project files with matching templates – woo woo LOL 🙂 This means that the hard copy very old notes and the old notes kept on a variety of iterations of software from Ywriter to One Note, Red Note Book and Evernote are now imported as are a whole array of ‘cast’ photo’s and images from all over the place – I have even got some little icons in the Character profile for the horse cast and the dog cast to have representations of each on their own files – that is way too cute to last – I am bound to stop doing that!
Am not planning on using the icons on the Blog or in media or the photos -unless they are mine or I have bought stock ones that licence me to use them – my new decorations are purely to pretty up the place and stimulate creativity and help me get through the ‘dark corner’ ( Primrose Cummins) to the other world where I play and work 🙂



1st Edit Finished at Last :)


I said I wanted this done by end of 2016 and then I narrowed that to 23/12/ 16 – so that I wouldn’t be distracted over the holidays or feel a failure starting the New Year. Then husband announced he was finishing work on the 21st ‘or’ 22nd and so I really had to motor – finished at some daft time for me – of 23.34 on 19/12/16  and  woke up the next day in The Brave New World where I have completed an edit and taken another leap forward and I bagged and tagged the old 1st Draft and the new 2nd Draft and shoved them in the shipping container out of The Tweaker’s way/

Knowing that the worst thing I could do was stop, I pushed on with the plan to resume 1st Drafting Hacked Apart and to write the 1st Draft of Hacked To Bits by Easter 2017 – this involves having a look at the material I already have – which is quite a pile – and inputting that into Scrivener over the Holiday period – this week is a 3 day week for me and next week a 4 day week so I hope to finish that inputting by then.

The first full 5 day week is set aside for getting out the new 2nd draft of Hacked Off and doing a 7 day revision on it leaving me as clean a copy as I can – with any notes and updates also inputted to Scrivener.

Choosing Scrivener Templates by comparing in split screen


The question is one Scrivener project file for whole series or separate? I have investigated a few templates – and when inputting I will give them a go or create my own but the basic Scrivener Novel template is plenty good enough and nice clean and simple…

All very organised – and then I ran away with a nasty bout of  ‘I can’t do it’ itis…which had followed a painful bout of ‘comparisonitis’ I suffered while reading Outlander 🙂

I got over these impediments, as I am getting over the self censorship issue I have had with keeping up blog posts since Brin died. Usually happy blathering on and on but having decided not to make folks cry talking about him too much – and because I didn’t actually want to share his last few weeks – I then started questioning every thought to blog and didn’t… It has taken a passing comment on my blog from a blogger I respect, to remind me to not beat myself up too much, but to pick self up and dust self off and carry on – after all I DID finish the edit  which was what I was aiming to do 🙂 Thank you Daisy Smith 🙂


1st Edit Resumed At Last…

1st Edit Resumed At Last…



I joined in with Holly Lisle’s live writing room that she had set up to support her students during NaNoWriMo and wrote a new first scene for this book based on the work I had done the last few months – I am pleased with it.

I have been collecting information and advice on big casts of characters – or ‘handling teams’ as I prefer to think of it 🙂 and I have a suitable pile of books, audio and ebooks to get through – I have gone towards more screen writing advice areas as most ‘How To Write…’ books say ‘avoid multiple protagonists and big casts’ – fine if you read those books first – and want to write the next Jack Reacher or James Bond, Marple or Poirot – but I had already written 6 books and series when I started looking at such advice 🙂 and personally I think that as I grew up with TV shows of multiple characters – from Scooby Doo to NCIS and GOT it would be a surprise if I did want to write about one character – and the books I read also tend to be big casts and long series of what ever genre.

Student Is Ready And Teacher Appears…

I have just finished back to back reading of the Winston Graham series Poldark – I am old enough to remember the first TV outing as well as this current remake so I thought it would be a good exercise to read them through – I did no research before doing this and it ended up being fascinating – it took me all the time my dog Brin was poorly and then just past his death – so 5 weeks to read through – and after I had finished with a (very) few questions in mind I googled the Author – I was amazed to find that the first had been published in 1945 and the last in 2002 the year before he died aged 95 – as some one who is writing series – though not adult historicals – I learnt a great deal about what the reader sees in terms of continuity and story line – the few hiccups I felt as I read coincided with a gap in production or characters growing up, a few references to action we never saw and wasn’t relevant and getting Ross to go else where to be a hero and superimposing a murder mystery at the end that didn’t really involve any main character etc etc which even they were so slight that had I read them on publication I doubt I would have felt them and in a series written over 60 years I thought it was an immense achievement of entertainment – I felt at the end of Bella as if there could have been one last book left to finish the tale – but that all in all one could guess the likely progress of them all so it didn’t really need spelling out:) The set piece scenes were so well researched they lived on the page and the humour was Laugh Out Loud – especially Pruddie and Jud – and I felt that the depiction of the Cornish native and working environment every bit as good as the Dorset ones of  Hardy.

And So To Work… 🙂




Best Laid Plans…

2016-10-10-09-09-12-sea-jpgOr All At Sea…

Spent most of my summer regrouping and working on my editing process alongside Holly Lisle’s course How To Revise Your Novel which I had started back on Dec 16th 2015 with Hacked Off.

I also needed to work with some of the software I use as there were things about it that didn’t work as I wanted and things I needed to learn.

But I had decided that come ‘clock’s change in the UK’ I would get back to editing that MS with a view to having a second draft of it by the end of the year – and then 5 weeks ago my little dog Brin had a stroke and everything changed as TBH I knew he and I were heading into an abys only one of us would return from – and I wanted to spent all the time he had left with him.

Brin recovered for a while – and then  a week ago last Fri had another stroke – and though he recovered enough to supervise the studio roof replacement on the Sat – by the Sunday morning it was clear to us that it was time to say Good Bye.

As any one who has animals knows this is a dreadful decision to have to make – that NEVER gets easier with practise – however much you celebrate a life that has shared yours happily and healthily for nearly 15 years it makes just no sense at all in the face of the irrevocable.

Brin lived a happy, warm, well fed life and slipped away quietly and peacefully  with all his people around him – just as he had been born – and we buried him in the orchard – that he supervised planting  – and next to his long gone friends Harvey and  Mandy.

This last week has been spent once more regrouping and making sure that Tash  – my mastiff – herself now 9 or 10 – is taken extra care of now she is an only dog, and my plans to resume the editing – and my blogging – and even riding the horses- just stopped in the face of the things I realised were more important.

But to day we moved on – Tash out and about supervising me fencing a field and then sleeping while I was joining in with a live writing room session organised by Holly Lisle re NaNoWri Mo – where I at last re started my edit and wrote a new scene ‘live’ and in company of her and some of her students around the world – which was fun.

I hope to resume my blogging now as I was 🙂