With Any Luck…

That is the mechanics of the sites tweaked a little – HTTPS sorted: Hosting moved  from Blue Host to Stackcp.com 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 🙂



Writer’s Retreat…

2016-10-07 12.13.47.jpgPeaceful – with view.

Writing Week…

Good place for inspiration –  which was just as well – as it turned out I needed some for the  WIP I am story editing right now. Much walking about the fields these last few weeks talking to Dragon and then – depending on the Dragon’s ‘windyness’  editing the transcriptions  – new addition to the Tech Dept’ was a tiny fur thing for the MIC – looks like a dead mouse on my jacket – but it dealt with the growling wind that Dragon was suffering with 🙂 I have less transcription editing to do now and I can actually ‘see’ my ideas.

Next step will be to work them into the plot on scene cards – and play about till I am happy – then get on with the rewrite. I would like to have this draft done by the end of this year.

Reading this week?

‘How To Blog A Book’ by Nina Amir – very interesting and giving me ideas for this book I am  editing now and for the non fiction projects I have on the go at the moment.


September Sun To October Mornin’…



Last blooms of the Queen Elizabeth rose.

Inspiration came about the story I am taking through Holly Lisle’s revision course on the 23rd of Sept – it gave me enough to write the thread I was struggling with right through the end of the series -but the next few days I felt bereft – I jumped in the van, I went to the beach, the harbour, coffee shops, the old fort – I walked the dogs and I couldn’t find ‘it’ again – then I realised I didn’t need to find it – it HAD given me all I needed to go on with for the next two books after this one – I had dictated it into Dragon and Dragon had transcribed the excited ‘ramblings’ and the notes had been stored in Scrivener – revelation and slight embarrassment and then delight as I felt free enough from the constant nagging ‘thinking’ about the books, to really enjoy being with the horses and head out with a friend for a ride, I took Rufus for that long planned walk and even found I was in the ‘right place’ to deal with Flax reminding me be likes to bite me!


Flax and Rufus grazing under the willow tree I grew from a cutting when we came here – reminds me of home in The Purbecks 🙂


So sunny September – with it’s blissful days – has given me fantastic progress on all fronts, fiction story edit, non fiction project and most importantly – getting out and about 🙂






 October mornin’s have now arrived – and it’s all  ‘glow n go’ 🙂

Glow n Go :)

Glow n Go 🙂

And yes – that IS a picture of me riding Flax :)- may be one day I will again! Who knows? 🙂









Dragon Trained…Using Windows 10, Dragon and iPhone 6 for transcription and dictation.:)

Using Windows 10, Dragon and iPhone 6 for transcription and dictation.


Dragon training…

1. Install Dragon 13 Premium version or above on lap top.
2. Install (both FREE) Dragon Remote MIC APP and Dragon Dictate MIC APP on the iPhone 6.
3. Set up a separate user profile for Dragon remote MIC APP and DragonDictate MIC APP I have also set up a separate user profile for Dragon desktop on my laptop.


         Do one lot of training and save it and when it wants you to retrain for each thing – chose that file – it will save you HOURS:0 🙂 This was easier to set up than one user profile with many dictation sources. However the Dragon desktop or laptop profile ALSO needs to have set up a separate dictation source for the Remote MIC APP and for any microphone that you have to plug into it. Windows 10 does not support an external microphone that has two connectors you need to buy a USB external stereo sound adapter and you need to buy an SC3TTRS to TRS adapter with your microphone and they all need to be joined in tandem/in line before your Windows 10 machine will hear what you say and you can train your Dragon profile.
         The microphone that I bought was a RODELav microphone which I can use directly into the iPhone 6 to record to Dragon Remote MIC and DragonDictate MIC without having to have earphones in constantly, the microphone is tiny and clips onto clothes and gives a very good sound quality. This microphone if connected in a way I described above gives a very good sound quality when dictating straight to the laptop as well. (Thanks to Joanna Penn for the  tip with that 🙂 )
         It is important that if you use DragonDictate MIC when you are out and about that you open DragonDictate profile on your laptop when you want it to transcribe ditto you must have Dragon Remote MIC profile open if you wish to use the wireless function between the iPhone and laptop and not use an external microphone. It is possible to have one profile and more than once source of audio input but while I was setting this up I found it was easier to work on one thing at a time – it can always be changed later and any way only I use this machine…:)
         It is possible to use Dragon Remote MIC with your laptop running Windows 10 instead of the inbuilt MIC on the Windows machine by following instructions for paring the two machines wirelessly – there is a very easy nuance U Tube video for this.
          It is not easy to wirelessly transfer and transcribe recorded audio from DragonDictate MIC to a Windows 10 laptop running Dragon because the file is in the wrong format/does not transfer out of the Dragon web site in a recognisable form for some reason – it is possible if you follow the instructions and you have an Internet connection to wirelessly transfer your dictation to the Dragon website where it can be viewed and listen to – but it is better to connect the iPhone 6 to the computer and open iTunes if you want to transcribe it.
         With iTunes open and your phone connected choose APPS scroll down till you see DragonDictate MIC click on that, and your recordings will appear on the right-hand side and then you scroll further down for the opportunity to save. Save the audio file to a place on the desktop/laptop – NB avoid saving to Dropbox if you wish to do this quickly as audiofile takes a while to sync.
         Having saved by copying and pasting to a desktop/laptop file, open Dragon and choose transcribe audio by following the on-screen instructions to select the audio file from the desktop file, and click okay and it will appear on-screen, when you have finished checking through, ‘save as’ to the file of your choice on your laptop. This will not have deleted the original audio file on iTunes or on your phone.
         It is possible to transfer files wirelessly between the iPhone 6 and the Dragon website as long as you don’t use Chrome to open the site and follow the links- no idea why but you just use Edge and that works- those files need to be copied and pasted into the free software called Audacity in order to be turned into WAV files which Dragon can read they can then be saved in the manner mentioned above and used exactly the same way.
        If Dragon dictate has not been used for the recording then any other recording source i.e. Voice Memo on iPhone 6 can also be transferred the same way BUT Voice Memo is in MP4 file format so it also needs to be run through Audacity before going to Drangon for transcription.
         To ‘run through’ Audacity simply install audacity use it to ‘import the audio file’ and then click on the X the top right corner to close it – it will then tell you that you need to use the ‘export’ button – I found that as audiofiles can take a while to load this option wasn’t always there instantly – but if you wait a few moments it appears once the file has uploaded – choose ‘export’ and export to your desktop/laptop file and it will automatically be saved as a WAV file – without you having to do anything to it at all. However Audacity does provides a good mechanism for replaying and for editing if you want to…
        One mistake I made was in thinking – having watched several YouTube videos and read quite a few how-to’s – that I needed to use the phone’s Wi-Fi and cable at the same time – this is not the case and in fact Windows 10 does not allow you to transfer wirelessly to Dragon in a format that Dragon can read. Once I realised this I was able to develop a system of recording and transcribing, at the moment I’m dictating this straight into Dragon box using the lapel microphone and connectors, I could also have used this microphone plugged into the iPhone 6 which was placed adjacent to the laptop and if I had it would also be necessary to go into the settings of the iPhone 6, and turn the ‘autolock’ to ‘never’ – as when you are using Dragon Remote MIC with iPhone 6 and the ‘autolock’ kicks in Dragon remote MIC stops, does not remember what you were saying and this can be very annoying if you are reading/revising a draft and not concentrating on the screen.
         I have owned Dragon for several years and not successfully managed to produce a transcription until this last week – I did not understand that there was not a good tie-up between Apple products and Windows and I did not understand the file formats that were involved MP3, MP4 and WAV so I got some very unreliable results – which put me off using it as it became so distracting! Now I have worked out that I need to have the correct format file -which I can get by using the free software Audacity to convert to the correct format anything that I’ve previously recorded – say in Voice Memo iPhone 6 which is MP4. I can pretty much transcribe anything I want and I am very impressed by the speed it does this.
         I use DragonDictate with my RODE LAV microphone when I am out walking for notes, first draft thoughts, prose and for my non-fiction projects and for generally thinking out loud. I find this works really well even when fairly windy and when I come indoors I simply download the audio and see it transcribed – I generally do not edit as I go – I can easily search the transcription even if it has little punctuation – I am teaching myself when thinking out loud to say ‘full stop new paragraph’ every now and again – so that the ideas are broken up on the transcription page and are easy to search. Before I worked this out I would have to listen to my audio notes to know what I’d said – which was quite time-consuming – now while I’m making a coffee it’s doing a printout and I can file it for future reference or delete it.
         I tend to store a copy of the audio in Evernote by copying and pasting. Each time I do this I sync as it takes a while – and I do not encourage anyone to synch more than two files at any one time if they want carry on working with the laptop – equally if you use Dropbox as much as I do – choose your moment to move audio files into dropbox as it is again time consuming.
         A tip from Joanna Penn I heard recently – when dictating for audio, and you make a mistake – if you need a clean audio file – is to clap – then as you run it through -say Audacity – you can see a spike on the graphic where the mistake is you need to sort out. I am only keen to be able to transcribe rough ideas for saving and to produce transcription to screen of first draft at the moment so I don’t need this myself – yet 🙂
         There are other microphone makes, and probably other third-party software that could be used instead the ones I’ve mentioned – these are the ones that I have used, not ones I’m affiliated to in any way. I found several useful YouTube videos from Nuance software about DragonDictate APP and Dragon Remote MIC APP, and through listening to Joanna Penn – on some of her recent broadcasts The CreativePenn.com and Facebook live epsodes – I have managed to piece together the problems that I was having with Dragon and the iPhone 6 – and work out that why the combination was not working for me was down to the fact I was running Windows as opposed to an Apple Laptop AND that this version of Windows would not recognise a single conected MIC jack microphone – it may do but not with my level of skill:)
(If you are using Apple to Apple or Windows 10 to other Smartphone this isn’t relevant and Windows versions on lap tops with a separate MIC and Headphone jacks can also plug and play other MICs without USB etc)

Dragon Training And Other House Keeping…


Dragon training…

Badges added…

The Haynet badge/link I have been trying all year to work out how to get it on the Blog and with help – again :)- of Simon Whistler’s Rocking Self Publishing Site and his free course -with a close examination of the video on ‘sidebars’ I managed. My blog s are available on Haynet amongst their many other featured countryside blogs and this is NOT an affiliate link but it will take you to their site for a look see…:)

The ALLi badge I must admit I got carried away with -as I am an Associate Member and I can use their badge BUT I hadn’t realised it IS an affiliate link -so if you click on it and decide to join them your self I apparently get some dosh which I need to point out to you. 🙂

Next piece of housekeeping then is to find a short piece of code that says all that  legal stuff without me having to to it every time I post 🙂

To see badges on side bar – scroll on down below  🙂 🙂

More Dragon training required now – I may be some time – Deanarys I am not. 🙂

On the plus side seeing transcription of dictated first drafts of Q3 and Q4 appearing as if by magic on the screen makes reading endless texts to a sleepy Dragon and fighting file transfer protocols between Microsoft and Apple devices and third party puddle jumpers seem worth it.

Actually ANYTHING that gets the books nearer publication is worth it to me …:)


Arrival At Point Of Departure…

Arrival At Point Of Departure…

I had never noticed that for someone who doesn’t travel that often, I have come to think of some of my writing adventures as train journeys – when I dropped out of Platform University earlier this year I had the sensation of standing on the platform ( no pun intended ) watching that train leave with out me and I have been bumming up and down the tracks joyriding ever since – but now here I ‘stand’ shiny shoes and new books ready to get back on board and leave this point for the next stop.



Have signed up for First 10K Readers Nick Stephenson’s course and also two of Joanna Penn’s about the business side of writing. Moths have escaped wallet.

As it turned out my schedule for this year  – which included taking Hacked Off through Holly Lisle’s  live class of How To Revise Your Novel  16/17 – was fairly destroyed – not least because the rest of my schedule was based on me spending all my other time typing up the first drafts of Quest 3 and Quest 4 – this of course didn’t happen due to husband being home for 3 weeks over Christmas and then 100 days which meant me typing all night and editing all day were frowned on 🙂 – he even wanted a cooked meal !!! 🙂

Anyway the up shot was that Hacked Off did get undivided attention – as did the course – but now I want to bring my learning experiences back this side of The Pond – when I first started this there were no UK based courses out there and the terms ‘Indie Author’ and ‘Indie Publishing’ didn’t really exist here – but now some of the earlier adopters of the US and Australian sites  are successful and experienced enough in the fabulous Indie World Of Everywhere Else  to start making the Indie Publishing UK a reality – and I intend to support them – no disrespect to my previous mentors and the many friends I have made on my International Surfing Student travels who I will still be working with but ‘The Time Has Come…’ and in this case that is to come home and be part of the scene here as it grows and to make sure that my legal base for my writing is UK sound in terms of Tax and Vat etc and given that Brexit IS coming I think this is the time to stick around. 🙂

The other ‘New Arrival’ is that having had four months to have a damn good think about what I am doing and what my plans are – without  Q3 and Q4 being typed – at this point. This has been a big pondering point as I had decided that Hacked Off would be got ‘Out There’ first and then Quest – but the penny dropped this week that a book written under my own name aimed at adults, which is the first in a trilogy, will not do much – even if it is free – to help a series of books written under my pen name Alex Allington that is aimed at YA.  Whoops.

So…. Finish my rewrite of Hacked Off that I am doing now – then revise that. After that – finish the first drafts of Hacked Apart and Hacked To Bits –  roughly aim for end Jan 2017.

Then both writing names have a series for me to start to prepare to offer for sale – after I have found an Editor – or actually two of them as I have realised that they might need different ones! SEE – It REALLY is a learning curve – or perhaps a Learning Trajectory  – that must be my creative streak having me simultaneously studiously waiting on a platform to get on a train while my alter ego catapults, tumbling over and over, through the stratosphere… 🙂

There is only one cure for that – write more books. 🙂


The One Where I lose The Post…

The One Where I lose The Post…

OR The One That Got Away….

First time Evernote has not saved something for some reason I was working on – this weeks Blog post. Ah well. That means I get to blather on about something else ‘off piste’ – Um Er… you can rearrange those words but not include ‘half’ – because it is breakfast time and I am not. 🙂
2016-08-15 06.11.29
I has been a blissfully hot dry week here in Dorset – today is thick fog but it smells wonderfully fresh so I don’t mind 🙂
I have been ‘on holiday’ from the fiction writing  and reconnecting the horses in my soul with the real ones in my field.
Yesterday I rode Buddy out to Powerstock Station and around by Smokeham and back – he was great and we had a good look around – bits of new path here and there – old gates leaning more one way than the other- a branch dropped – the ‘railway’ apples coated in the thick dust of the old RWL, the Africa Wood is taller and thicker than it was in May.
It was good to be out – I have got to the age were some of the people of the landscape are no longer with us and as I rode around, I found my self remembering them out with their dogs, working their fields or chugging on the quad bike with spaniels draped about – I didn’t feel sad I felt glad to be alive and still seeing this and able to remember them where they were happy too.
2016-08-17 10.29.33
I have been in the company of my two New Forrest ponies Rufus and Flax a great deal this week – they are not ridden any more  – and that happened more by accumulated facts of life than design – but it struck me earlier this year when I was reading  Linda Kohanov’s books Tao Of Equs and Riding Between The Worlds that – the esoteric aside these two lads need to be free – being left in a single field – or part there of as it tends to be with smaller portly ponies is not what these two were born into – they were born wild. Now I am not about to turn them lose and I live a fair way away from the NF anyway but I realised that being out of that paddock and around me – going for a walk etc or what ever WAS being free.
It has taken me a while to start to put this into practice as the three of us are short on the leg and the grass grew way too high for me to walk with them and not fall over or be dragged over by them – horses get just as agraphobic/herd/yard/stable/field bound as we do and as herd animals with the same reasons – safety – the less they do the more they feel unsure and unsafe ‘out there’ and I had started to notice that being here on the farm was causing anxiety even between fields or a trip to the shed or for the farrier – or being separated briefly – none of these things were issues for the little guys in the past as they arrived -with another – at 5 months old and as there was three of them and one of me they quickly got used to ‘one goes out and everyone else stays’ – not so much now and change in routine however small is an anxious time – as much for those left behind as those who go.

Rufus has some pretty uncomfortable health issues and Flax derives most of what confidence he has from his brother’s leadership and though Flax gets on very well with Buddy – neither are the leader that Rufus is – the boss mare’s son was born to rule – and he does with hooves tipped with iron and teeth sharp to snap order into the field life – it is obvious to me that should Rufus become distressed beyond our ability to care for him  then a decision will have to be made about his future – and the future of the others will be much more painful for them and confusing if they do not have their muscle memories of doing things without him – or each other – that it is OK to come with me for a while to see the sights etc. Now Rufus is not so uncomfortable right now that any of this is more than a sound idea to start putting into practice – he also may benefit from some exposure time without his rugs as I do often wonder if being so wrapped up makes some of his skin issues worse and him more intolerant and sensitive…



With the house project on the back straight now and the book I took through the revision/editing course in my mind – I am starting to re group the life I had before the Open House Surgery – the sheep have obviously gone resulting in ‘grass from Hell’ issues this year – which I will need to plan better for next year – or once again be marooned in a sea of the stuff. I have basic websites and good contacts for learning the things I will need to know to take the books from Scrivener to sales platforms. I am giving myself till the ‘dark evenings’ to make a business plan and strategy to take me to the following time in 2017 that I can work on WITH the horses in my soul in my life. They will in turn exercise me and ‘fill the buckets’ – as those Guru types say – as an Ex Agricultural Student type and What Not – there are only two kinds of buckets – water buckets and those full of s..t. Handy that I am also looking to get the Veggie garden re fenced and in production – that always needs water and buckets of s..t – I think that is what the trendies used to bang on about ‘holistic’ living – as another Ag Student Type once said – when asked about the Food Conversion Rate for pigs – ‘Two buckets of food in = two buckets of s…t out!’ In my case I am looking for a return more in terms of Word Conversion Rates for my time spent filling buckets away from my desk. 🙂

“I’ve written half this book watching Rasa, Merlin, and Spirit perfect the lost art of doing nothing. Chinese Taoists call it wu wei, “not doing,” and horses are particularly good at it.” from “Riding Between the Worlds: Expanding Our Potential through the Way of the Horse” by Linda Kohanov

I knew I would find this quote if I looked as I look at mine doing precisely that beyond this window as I type or may be they have as Primrose Cummins in Silver Snaffles would say ‘have gone through the dark corner’ with out me – however in view of their need to be free – as I see it – Rufe and Flax have started inhand work with me in my own fields – while the fields are still cattle free – as the cattle arrive in ours I will move the horses play ground to the neighbour’s fields I run and think about expeditions off the place 🙂
Apparently a trip down to the Vets  and back is the equivalent of climbing 21 flights of stairs – so says my iPhone thing – and it also thinks that me riding is ‘steps’ – hugely impressed that I get awarded steps for riding – my average has been struggling to get above 12k/day – I had apparently done 14k before 10am today!!!! Anyway both Flax and Rufe enjoyed their relative freedom to come with me and do something as Buddy takes a day off looking at the view and stuffing himself with grass.
Flax as ever is waiting for me to get up there and do what I do

Flax waiting to go somewhere with me…


Five Pubs Challenge And Truck Fest Weekend Extra…

Which means I get a weekend almost alone – Gordon dashed home through he holiday traffic on Friday night and he and his friend Chris washed and polished Ghost and off they went in convoy – Chris this year in our car rather than a truck and clutching a new tent – as it was nearly dark when they left I imagine all sorts of fun and laughter putting that up in the lines of show trucks.
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Neither I nor the horses are fit enough to go on the Five Pub Ride – but it might be something I can aim to do next year as it is on the doorstep, requires not travel and lots of folk do it on foot/bike or horse + may be the road will be repaired at Uplodders by then – as it remains shut following the road collapse in the spring and the villages remain segregated. I will peddle my 20 km on the exercise bike instead though and watch out of the window. 🙂
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I took a quick trip to the Coop this morning before the A35 started filling with holiday makers going or coming back from their trips – I have a thing for flat breads at the moment and I wanted some Massa Farina but that would have meant a trip to the market – something that wouldn’t be quick- however gorgeous it might have been to hunt around my favourite home town’s sumptuous market and wend my way through the packs of locals hitting the place early while the pavements have air spaces and before the amazing bands and entertainments stop the movement the closer to the Bucky Doo you get and the closer to lunch time – the combo of which will have you inside any one of the amazing eateries -then you won’t leave till sundown and the night scene fizzes away till dawn – Coop it was then but I did spot some interesting Dove Farm gluten free flour that had a high proportion of the Massa Farina I wanted in  so I headed home and made pancakes with a mix of that and Dal flour with yogurt and turmeric  – yum. 🙂 Nearly time to have some for lunch as a salady wrap. 🙂
Mum got her plants watered around her little studio, her pots have been very pretty this year, and her wild strawberries brought with her from the Purbecks have been fruiting in the crevices of paving and pots they have invaded all summer. When the garden gets sorted out I intend to set some runners in the wall etc – I remember her making wild strawberry jam as the plants loved the quarries and hazel wood land we were surrounded by. Yum. 🙂
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I got Rufus and Flax in to the stable and I peeled off Rufus’s gear that he wears to keep insects off him and I Vaselined his head and combed his mane before putting the the eared fly mask back on and re-covering him. I rubbed baby oil and tea tree into his under carriage as he has made it raw and I took off his socks and treated his afflicted heals and re socked him – he had a good go at the salt lick while I did all this and then he had the most important part – The Special Pony Pills – of which he gets two – for being such a Good Boy – Flax gets one because Flaxes only need one – he isn’t poorly. (Other wise described as ‘mints with holes’)
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The dogs have been taking it very easy this am supervising – and as the sun has gone in and a cooler sea mist is lightly circling us I think an after lunch  stroll is in order – and as I ate two pancakes stuffed with veggies and salad and have only achieved a min of 3326 steps today according to my phone I think if I am not careful I will be Zzzz-ing too 🙂 Where are the leads?
Sea mist blew in and around us keeping us cool on our walk, I recorded a Dog Day Chronicle episode en route and my boots got quite wet – the mist blew away leaving it fresher and brighter.
As the dogs returned to their slumbers I went and caught Buddy with a couple of those Special Pony Pills and gave him a nice groom and we played for a while – he was still tense and sometimes skippy but not too bothered – I saddled him and we went to the bigger grass area and continued with the rope games – bigger space, better footing and he trotted and cantered on with more confidence and less stiffness.
Back at the shed I asked my self ‘Does this horse look ridable?’ and the answer I got back was ‘yes’ so I hopped on and off a few times and then did a passenger ride around and about and looking at the view for half and hour or so ending up with some weaving in and out of the barrel maze without me touching the reins. Cool. Turned him back out.
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Another session of that order and we can head out somewhere 🙂
Beautiful evening here now – Eggardon, having appeared from the wraiths of mist, now has sun dapple flanks and cloud shadow puppet films playing on the steep bits.
Another dog walk I think after their tea and then a few km on the exercise bike for me – bath and read – BLISS :)Sunday Morning.Getting darker in the early mornings already the yard lights came on as I walked past. Sunday very early is one of our few quiet days here – traffic noise – but there are a few ‘flappers’ abroad this morning ( plastic wrapped suitcases and trailers full of holiday gear ) I wonder if there are little kids asleep on the back seats or if like I used to they are noses pressed against the window counting off the familiar landmarks till they are there…
The day of The Five Pub Challenge – looks hot an dry but yesterday
afternoon the sea mist blew in and cooled us a little – I rode Bud last night for the first time since May around the higher fields here which was nice, sat in the grass and took pictures of the sunset on third dog walk of day and then inflicted 20KM on the exercise bike on self !
 SO much easier now it has been oiled!!!! Not sure the same can be said of me 🙂 But it isn’t hurting my joints like running was and it is slow so suits the need for me to take it steady. AS far as it can be measured -given it is 40 years old and basic – I seem to manage between 30 and 40 km /hour ‘speed’ and since oiling has now worked, it is about a turn and a half off the easiest setting – last night it took me the length of a Podcast to cycle the 20 – I reckon that was 50 min -when I first bought this I was in early teens and used to do 10 KM in 20 min everyday before school and the speed this was at 12 Oclock on the dial so at 52 after an inactive year for me I am not entirely surprised it is taking me over twice as long at half the speed – but as joints aren’t aching and I am still raising my heart rate and ‘perspiring’ I will stick with it rather than the running for now.
The yoga DVDs didn’t really get into the day – the floor in the house is now good to lie on even with a cut off chunk of carpet and with no curtains and being on the side of a large busy road me trying to hold my big toe in the air or get up off the floor from my ‘on my back dog pose’ could be a danger to traffic.
Did a fair amount of time on the non fiction and on my calendar/work process/ post HTRN thoughts re potential publication for fiction – thoughts and plans are beginning to form and come together – REVIEWING  given what I know now, compared to what I knew this time last year, when I set out my longer term work structure against what I has happened in real life and what I have achieved.
I know for sure
I still want to get my fiction stories into shape for the Indie market.
I want to write new material an revise some other projects in my portfolio.
I want to build my Blogs.
I still want to ride my horses – as opposed to keeping them as pets unridden.
I want to get fit enough to do both.
I want to get the house straight.
I want to get the garden fenced this Autumn so it can be got ready for veggie growing again next season.
I need to be fit enough for digging the garden over or controlling the hired rotavator ( !)
I enjoy contributing to the forums I am a member of – or as I said to my sound recording last night ‘The Floorums’ which is a blooper I think will stick in my head – so I want to continue to do that.
This last month I have taken steps literally to instigate the fitness improvements and with the mad grass cut down I have moved the horses cente stage and started them being more active alongside me.
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Spent Sunday morning doing a session with Buddy on the long rope  and then I rode him around the barrel track I laid out – just walking and steering without my reins ‘focus riding’ and then I brought Flax in and we played dressing up in tack – it has been a while – 2 years + since I made any attempt to hack out on him but he is always first to say hello and the last to give up on the hope he might get to go somewhere with me … Anyway he is still too chubby for his saddle – even though he has lost 50kg since May weigh in – he needs to shift the same again to stay in good health.  We had a session on the ropes and around the barrels which he adores and is beginning to be so focused that he can be unclipped to go freestyle.
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Not making any plans to hack out on Flax but I see no reason why we can’t take advantage of the slightly quieter road below – due to the closure – to do a little bit of walking about and sight seeing again as though there is still traffic it is not ‘through’ traffic which might give us a chance to regain our nerve and traffic skills on foot.
I sit on Buddy this afternoon again – he is happy to be caught for two Magic Pony Pills but still a little bothered by the idea of wandering around the barrels so we just sit and then we go to a corner and practice what he needs to do when I place my leg on his side – I am tiny so it is far from his girth. Standing with his face in the right angle I simply apply my right heel on his side and look behind to the right – his bum moves away I take my foot away and look forward – I repeat this with my left leg – nothing happens this time and he frets – I repeat the nudge and he moves over we just stop a while and then we do that again – the right leg gets a prompt response but the left leg gets little but a head toss, I kick my feet out of the stirrups and push my finger in behind my knee on the left side – he moves over smartly looking surprised – I wonder if the square saddle cloth is numbing the sensation as well as the fact my legs are so short.
We go over to the far side and look at the view – he frets I look out for 5 Pub Challengers – he snoozes – we move and stop and look and snooze a few times then walk back to the barrels and do figure eights all around and in and out all the ways we can – I boost the energy up little and we swing along – a little trot – he anticipates a turn and jogs on but I hear that tension sheath sucking noise so drop it back to a walk – we stand and gaze again and walk around again and then I look at my watch and i have been on board an hour and my legs feel like it even though we have not gone out of walk nor left the safety on the field  – I rub him down and take off the tack, pack it all in the van and turn him out early with Flax and Rufus – after a good refreshing drink he goes to sleep with them in the sun and I bring the van back up the field  – Gordon and Chris will be home soon full of tales from the ‘Fest’ and I want to be showered and ready to hear all about it.:)
Happy weekend all at Alexander. 🙂2016-08-13 19.58.18.jpg
Brin aged fourteen and a half 🙂