( 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!!!


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? 🙂








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. 🙂
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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.
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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 🙂

Dog Day Chronicles…

Took A Week Off –

Well  worked on Open House Surgery  – but it turned out that  the week – 10 days  I had planned for – was only 5 days including the weekend.:)

Gave me a chance to play with sound recording on my dog walks – many reasons and it turns out to be Good Fun 🙂 I have never enjoyed walking much as I tend to chunder on about things and come back depressed – running doesn’t let me get away with that but neither the dogs or me are up to a lot of running right now..

The sound recording keeps my focus on ideas and constructive thoughts – now I VERY much doubt I will ever link this in to Dragon and be dictating my fiction – and any jokes about me being a Dragon and a Dictator WILL get The Finger. Anything that keeps the mental Black Dog from following us  on our excursions is good – I do all the mindfulness  Black Dog crap collecting techniques I can – but the fact is just like dog walking anywhere these days you come back home with a stinking bag of something you wish you didn’t have to deal with…

Been reading and listening to Joanna Penn ‘Successful Author Mindset’ – really good – but then I like her style. Still reading ‘Barkskins’ -Annie Proulx – that is a delicious long read in a ‘savour every word kind of way’. I thrashed through Lorelie James latest and much craved ‘Unbreak My Heart’ the conclusion of her Sierra and Boone story that fans were waiting for  – bliss 🙂

I have picked up the threads of my rewrite earlier than planned and am pleased with progress.

Bit Of A Dry Update…:)

Hell – This Time we are living through is interesting though – may we all survive long enough to see it through.




Research And Stuff -Video, Dictation, Transcription in journal/blog.

Playing with video and sound recording in Blog post and journalling




Dragon – bought it at great expense a few years ago – comes on a CD that loads very slowly and I had issues with serial numbers etc – it says Y on the box but it is actually an X (!) – it really slowed my then Vista machine to the point I un installed it. But this week I re installed on W10 machine and it is faster,  but  the microphone is dire and so I use the integral one to the lap top which is vulnerable to back ground noise – I now have an iPhone 6 and thought I could combine the two – Hum- first there was ‘which app?’ then how to join the two? And find the files and then the lack of correction features and saving and …. I gave it up. BUT if you want to dictate and have it transcribed straight into Scrivener or via Dragon box thing you are kinda lumbered with Dragon.


I have Evernote Premium anyway which I use a lot – if you create a new note in Evernote on the iPhone and instead of typing you hit the little microphone sign in the keyboard area you can speak into the phone and the txt appears instantly and you can stop and start and correct and it all appears on your lap top ‘just like that’. Job Done.

Web Cam notes on the other hand are NOT video – they are stills only.


For use with the iPhone – One Note App works in the same way as Evernote for Dictation to Text – again – if you use the microphone within the key board. I guess it is down to which  soft ware you use or want to buy into, for the look and functionality look you prefer…(The one thing I remember about One Note though is that if you try and print from a Page or Note you have to be a bit careful that you don’t get the lot)

So for video for journaling?

The laptop’s own camera and camera roll work perfectly but if you want it with bells and whistles then – on the lap top – you can also video journal straight into OneNote and edit it and also sound record separately and picture and the sound quality aren’t  bad for no extra cost on programs that are already familiar.

The video journalling function doesn’t seem to be available in the One Note App, and as I said above in Evernote it is only still photos on either though video can be embedded.


The iPhone can be used to VDO Journal perfectly well and I would imagine be embedded in whatever you are doing – blog etc. But I do not know if that is what it is or is just a link to it


That is a still photo from the iPhone collection but the video was too big and 50 MB – As can be seen IT ISN’T here…! It did not up load so One Note cannot be used to put together a whole post and copy it here.

It took a smaller one but it still tells me it is loading several hours later! And neither is that here…




Video recording started: 11:06 29 April 2016


This obviously works if you click the link and how you might up load to the blog I do not know – I already noticed that the free Word Press Blog doesn’t let you upload video and my self hosted does but I will admit to not knowing the limits of that.

Still handy to know what I can and can’t do with this and I will practice up loading to the blog – and the above is what happened there -so far!

How is this useful use of my time this week?


Coming Soon…:)

Well I am at the ‘Write In’ stage and ‘Cutting’ stage of revision on Hacked Off and was looking to transcribe speech to text in some way – long and short of that is that IF I want to dictate to text in Scrivener then I need to practise with Dragon 13 but if I don’t want to buggar about with that at my desk ,I can dictate into an Evernote note any where I happen to be and then copy the text into Scrivener – or I could just write it longhand and type up/dictate and transcribe or type straight into Scrivener – life was probably simpler and less distracting when the choice was  Pencil, Ink, Biro or Type Writer. 🙂

Where did that morph into any relevance for journal keeping?

Trying to see if I could keep an ‘organisable’ video diary – with clips I could put up here – ANYTHING to avoid typing – but I think that unless I want to go on a major detour – photos and typed updates are just fine…:) 🙂 🙂

OK! I admit I was killing time till Husband goes back to work next week.

Quest Series - Book 1 coming soon.

Quest Series – Book 1 coming EVENTUALLY 🙂


Work V Ride – Truce, Defeat or Victory?

Well Who Cares What You Call It?



Work Life Balance is the trendy phrase.

OK – Well at least I was on the same see saw as my life even if I was neither on my horses nor on my game at work.

In consequence the horses and I did rather more relationship building than I figured I would be able to make time for – or as they probably look at it – they came in for their feed and hoof picking out  rather than having it in the field.

Buddy lost an off fore shoe but I walked mindfully around the 10 acre field following Whoooopeee skid marks till I found it. It came off clean  and the nails were still in it – Bud no more lame than before and no tractors will be limping off during silage making next year either..

The store lambs in my exit field are gone so end of next week I may venture out for some lead rope walks to see if the village is still there with which ever horse or pony volunteers – it also means there is no more excuse to be made – I must start running again – 6- 8 weeks to light evenings and I am a poorly muscled up writer and a low stamina walker so if I want to ride I had better get up and get out there and get on with it. 🙁 While I still can.:)

All in all my plan of keeping them out but bringing in in the day time worked very well – I got hands on the horses and minimal mucking out – they got due care and attention and a chance to roll in the bedding.

All mine!

All mine!

And I got my work done around them…


First Go To Research When Freed From Type Up…

Results of research into avoiding the type up of 360600 first draft long hand words of Q3 and Q4 this next year

Photograph the page with phone ( I am so old I still think that is odd!)
Upload to lap top.
Open Evernote
New Notebook
New Note
Save photo to Evernote

ISSUE – have to make notes underneath it out of sight  and possibly hard on eventual type up.

Return to uploaded photo
Open OneNote
New Section
New page
Copy photo and paste to the page.

Can make notes at the side to be seen on type up – ISSUE -BUT so far can’t see how to make photo long hand larger so can decipher some bits of poor writing
– this may be rectified by viewing OneNote App on Iphone

Test Photo Taken For Printing...

Test Photo Taken For Printing…

– NO I have found the zoom! ISSUE sorted!
Taken to printers they handed me back a perfectly legible and revisable  A4 sheet.
This is the Planes Trains and Automobiles of writing!!!!!!!!!

HOLD ME DOWN  this still may be a faff to sort out but it secures the work
In two places off paper and is nothing like as awful as typing crap  first draft that won’t make it through revision – 7×160 side A4 note books will take a while to get on to the system but if I get this right then I have just gained a year and a major chance to get this show on back on the road!

I will be able to write my new stuff along side the revision of the Quest series if I feel like it and it will STOP that series from taking over my damn life – it is a YA series but I have other things I want to do so the thought of spending too much time on it have been giving me chills – how much life have I left anyway? It may sell a few copies, it MAY sell well but it is just one product and if I have learnt anything in life generally it is


Though this doesn’t apply to sheep who are better if they are all in one field – yours.


And Looking Ahead – As You Do….

My Thoughts On An Editorial Calendar…

Finish type up of Q2, Scrivener file plus print out. This one I completed this week 🙂

Three Manuscripts

Three Manuscripts


Typed MS Q1 + Q2 + HO


= THREE MS ready to take through HTRN which kicks off 14/12/15


22 week course



Q3+Q4 Type up – Target = 369,600 words/7 black note books


Assume 260 days (5 day week) =1421 typed up words/day/5 days OR 7105/week


OR 21 sides long hand.

I would say that equates to 5 hours/week minimum if not 7 hours.


5 hours could be one long session  5am -10 am  or 1pm -5pm  or 5pm-10pm  one day /week


If this could be achieved as a priority each week then by this time next year when the others  have been through HTRN once etc and I am in a better position to get them read and formatted then these will be ready to HTRN to follow through.



I would rather try to think of doing it this way than 1 + 1/2 hours a day for 5 days which if I am revising or writing new may be distracting.



What if you took photos of each page and saved to Evernote and onenote – printed out from that? Turned into pdf or annotated?


4 sides typed every day  x 5 days/week  is about 20/week  and that means the 360600 is doable.



###TODAY I did 5 hours ?10/3 and did 12 pages – it was a BIG intrusion on the day.###


So  4 sides/day /5days /week = 369600 IN this next 12 months.


OR 20 sides /week BUT if that is 2 x 10 that is two whole  sessions each time you try


OR 80 sides/month over say 4 or 5 days in one week with a break from everything else. I am not drawn to that I think it gives the highest chance of giving up as once missed it is a huge cock up – one 4 side day missed is easily caught up.


Can you write 4 sides in one hour?








I still need to be around on social media, I need to maintain my blog and keep searching out new ideas and techniques /how to etc


Friday blog post needs to be maintained  as well as outposts -Make a list of topics you could talk on or each blog. But YOU must show up and do – that means Thursday or Friday am latest.


What about batch writing? I don’t think I have enough advance stuff to do that – tends to be journalistic personal experience or reaction or breakthrough find. I can drop mention the books as I go.


2016 needs to be focussed on getting the books out to market Nov onwards with marketing and development strategy in place and formatting and website shop etc organised -VAT and Tax checked out and sales cart in place.


Advertising etc needs thinking about  if advertising in mags/radio etc


2017 Q2 needs to be released just before Easter and HO


Q3 summer half term


Q4  in time for summer holls


If these segments are broken into more books than 4 then that wants adjusting.



Evergreens and We rode For series ought to be in production by then and HA finished and under HTRN to release Easter 2018


Aim is to have  1 evergreen and one YA out each year – standalone Ancestrous needs writing…

And then there are those who say you cannot hit a target you can not see and that looking more than three months ahead is pointless….

I think it is good to plan but foolish to write it in stone.




Once You Are In The Mixture -You Are Someone Else’s Cake…



Once you are in the mixture you are someone else’s cake…

This applies to membership sites and advice to find ‘outposts’ to blog on . However tempting it is because it feels companionable  and you might learn something…

Beware there is conflicting advice…

‘Hang out where your future customers dangle’  – this can backfire if the membership site becomes unsuitable and when other members also feel aggrieved and ripped off by them – you  have to either speak up or say nowt – and live with the consequences for you and your work/product of which ever choice you make.

‘Don’t build your house on a rented lot’ – this generally means self host your blog – a must if you aim to be commercial. Even if no one reads it for years…

‘Make your self useful on other people’s platforms’ – this one is a tricky one – we all want to belong and be useful – on someone else’s site – it can only be with their permission and not used as an excuse to blog about your product on their platform or against their ethics. You can also end up feeling used and fed up if your unsought efforts are unappreciated or feeling you are in the ‘hot seat’ if they cock up.

This Weeks Take Out…

Keep your best work on your own site and always link back to it.


Little Bit Of Heaven.

Amidst the craziness of living next to a building site – my once and future home – while now living and working in a mobile home – is the fact that the situation is pure Heaven – perched in my orchard next to the horses’ summer field and yesterday I took my desk out side and worked with the horses all day- me writing and them getting on with being horses.

The sky was intensely blue and the’ greens’ this side of the farm still intensely green – the bleached out tips of long grass on the old fort on the horizon cannot be seen from here, neither can the ripening wheat and the start of harvest. Here it is green and blue.

Husband prepared Ghost for the show this weekend – washing and polishing and all the usual pre show stuff – only advantage of showing trucks is no plaiting! Hoof oil is replaced by ‘Tyre Black’ – really:) But they still park in lines and sit next to them and then go for a trot up before the judge in the main ring. It is all huge fun and I kinda wish I was going – but I don’t like ‘visiting’ – go for whole weekend and join in is one thing but to ‘drop in’ feels naff…

They left and the stock, horses, dogs and I settled down to what I HOPE will be a peaceful weekend to write – and between you guys and I – I might get Buddy in tomorrow and ride. I will get the tack out for a check over today and if it doesn’t get too hot  give his mane and tail a brush and get him out on a rope to play- then see what tomorrow brings…

It is probably Buddy’s and mine anniversary weekend come to think of it, I must have had him a year exactly – having said I wouldn’t get another one – and he and I are the most unlikely pairing of the small writer and the tall racehorse who hack alone for miles – we get on very well – well we did till he had to have a tooth out and refitted and then I hit lambing and the house project kicked off in April – so I think we have had three rides since New Year…. But he is right there – here – now head and lips resting on the mobile home window giving me that  ‘Get up and let’s go somewhere!’ look or it could be ‘Where’s my hay?’

I hope Husband and lorry have a great time polishing at the show but I think on balance I have my prizes here and I very much hope this weekend I can chill out a bit and enjoy them.


Knackered Tonight!

Knackered tonight! Yesterdays research and activity surrounded interesting blogging sites and today’s has been all about researching  on line writing groups – many of whom I have joined over the years and not used in favour of one I very much enjoyed – but sometimes wings need to be spread and so I am checking out these others – what a selection too!

Horses have come up and stared at me through the office window a couple of times and I took my tea out and sat on the trough scoffing cheese on toast while they snuffled about me, inhaling mozzarella and pulling funny faces.

Tonight I need to be back in the office typing up for my two hours of ‘daily typing up’ I will get this draft ready to revise by the end if the summer – I hope.


Need To Pull Out Of A Tail Spin?

When nothing else matters and nothing else comes close…?

But suddenly you are falling through your dreams immobilised by some thing or other you never saw moving and the ground is coming up to meet you?

Ask your self one question –

Why Am I Doing This?

Hang on to the answer to save yourself.

Today life gave me a good poke off a cliff and as I tore my nails off on the ever shifting ground I heard my self shouting –


‘I am writing for my life.’ The answer came back. Nothing else comes close.

Writing = Freedom.

Avoid Falling Flat

Avoid Falling Flat

This in turn reminded me

‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail…’ I don’t plan to fail this side of hell.

So am back riding the desk horse and chasing my dreams across the page and the shadows from my soul.


Seven Sites That Have Helped Me Get This Far…

  1. http://www.writewords.org.uk/  On line writing and critique group I have belonged to for a few years.
  2. http://hollylisle.com/ On line writing school – The Best.
  3. http://www.parelliconnect.com/resources/dashboard You can’t get much better than this for horses.
  4. http://michaelhyatt.com/ + Platform U.  I like this guy. I like his style and I like his resources.
  5. http://rockingselfpublishing.com/ Wouldn’t have worked out how to adapt my WordPress site without his free video content.
  6. http://problogger.com/ Relatively new for me but encouraging me already.
  7. See below
West of West Bay  - as good a site as any to end the day ...

West of West Bay – as good a sight as any to end the day …

West of West Bay – as good a site as any to end the day at…


I am NOT affiliated to any of these sites they have just helped me and deserve a mention:)

‘What Would You Give Up For Your Dreams?’


Such an innocuous question – implies all kinds of things you should and shouldn’t do…

Freedom to roam?

Freedom to roam?

  1.  If you really believed in your dream you would do anything to get it… Hum but then there is the Zen thing and the Karmic thing … Will you care who you squashed when you look back? Will you find your self alone and wonder why?
  2. Then there is the whole health issue – one of my mentors right now is poorly and has been trying to ‘do it all’ – the evidence of potential burn out is right there for us looking in to see.
  3. Another mentor has been talking of getting enough sleep – which turned out to be pertinent to me – but freely admits at his stage in life he can design his own day every day – no boss, no kids etc etc.
  4.  Another talks of hating to be told to ‘slow down’ but at the same time goes on to point out that doesn’t mean at the expense of accuracy  or health…


 I have been working 17 hours + a day on my stuff and been proud to do it – except I look pale and chubby now and I am making mistakes and having to do things twice – in the end I made such a big mistake I lost the use of my series data on a piece of software and had a 24 hour day  – and then a 24 hour night to recover – when I woke up and took a look at self I realised that all things being equal giving up my physical and mental health ultimately means failure to achieve my goals of publishing the books any time soon – illness and accident can strike us all – deliberate self sabotage is stupid – but we do it all the time without even noticing.


 How are you doing?
          It seems none of us take advice or learn from the mistakes of others before we have too. – the blogging world would have fallen silent by now if that were not so – if you drive your self mad, lay waste to your body and soul and do it at the expense of those around you then what will you really achieve?

Will I take my own advice?

 Well I have stuck to a daily word limit on the typing up and a couple of days this week I didn’t do any but worked out side on the farm without beating self up for abandoning my calling…
 I haven’t had a headache this week yet or a neck like an iron bar – both of which have been constants this last few months.
 I cleaned out my area where I keep my exercise bike etc and found a carpet for my outdoor yoga.
Yoga mat, boots, old bike, rope and diving weights...

Yoga mat, boots, old bike, rope and diving weights…

I started each day with ‘putting in the big rocks first.’ In my case checking the sheep with the dogs on foot which will build up into my  running routine.

Will I stick to it?

Don’t know.

If I start dreaming of also riding my horses regularly again as well?

Desk top hprses only possible right now...

Desk top horses only right now…

 I start to tense up – this place IS a building site right now and being away from the daily Open House Surgery drama is not easy – so I have to think back to ‘put the big rocks in first’  and take action on the things I can do – the house IS still in NECESSARY surgery, and recovery time will be months – but there won’t always be so many people working at once and then I can be free to come and go.


Open House Surgery

Open House Surgery

If I stick to the things I can do now then when I get to the
point I can ride away I will enjoy it as my body won’t fall apart or the horse buckle at the knees…September is such
a nice month for riding anyway.

So this week it is ‘big rocks and baby steps while reaching for the stars’ 🙂 Or it will be seeing stars…