Posted in D.S. Williams Worlds, Ramblings

Writing and Editing and Publicity… Oh My

One of the absolutely hardest things about being a writer, is firstly, the writing.  I watch some of the other writers I know, who publish six to eight books a year, and I take my hats off to them.  I know it involves a great amount of dedication, and more importantly, a lot of self-discipline.  None of which I seem to have in any tangible amounts 🙂

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I started off this year with a bunch of good intentions, and plenty of enthusiasm.  I was going to finish off six… yes, you read that correctly… SIX of my WIP’s.

It’s now May… and I’ve finished one.

What’s the problem? I hear you ask.

That would be Procrastination: and that capital ‘P’ is deliberate.  I can find absolutely anything in the world to do, other than writing a book.  There’s reading, of course, which is a wonderful alternative to actually doing anything constructive.  And then there’s organizing my movie collection.  And photo collection.  And downloading new pictures from Pinterest for inspiration for new books…

You see the problem.

But the thing I find even worse, the most difficult part of walking this path of being a writer… it’s the publicity stuff.  I am so incredibly impressed when my fellow authors announce they’re going to a convention, or doing a book signing.  I think they’re all so incredibly brave!

Me.  Not so much.

But this past week, I’ve been giving a great deal of thought to this writing gig, and my role in the writing world.  I think I’m brave enough now to say I’m an author.  With six published books, and another one in pre-publishing, I guess it’s a moniker that fits.  Even if sometimes, I don’t have the confidence to believe it myself.

But what I need to do now, is commit to this writing gig, believe in myself a little more, and work harder on sharing my stories and progressing and improving.  I don’t think I will ever, ever go down the convention/book signing path (Good grief!  How terrible would I feel if I had a signing and NOBODY TURNED UP!) but I am taking the advice of a very good friend, who tells me I should have a newsletter.

The prospect immediately filled me with fear, because who would want to hear anything from me?  What could I possibly have to say that was interesting?  Although I still have a tonne of doubts, I’ve taken my friend’s advice, and I’m formulating a newsletter to share with my readers.  And I’m telling myself, every day, that I am an author, and I do write things people like to read.

Now to push that procrastination to the side, and get on with those other five books scheduled for 2017…

’til next time,

D.S.

 

Posted in Book News, D.S. Williams Worlds, Ramblings

Nememiah 5 – Coming Soon!

It’s been a long (long, long, long) time coming, but the final book is now in the hands of my editor and beta readers, and will soon be winging its way to my publisher for final approval and publication.  I know everyone waiting for the book has been incredibly patient, and in many cases, have begun to get frustrated with the long delay between this book and the last one.

I have no excuses, other than the fact that real life got in the way.  No.  I’m not dead.  No.  I didn’t run out of ideas.  And no, I never intended to finish the series where it ended at the end of Book 4.  The fact of the matter is that I had a huge, unplanned blip on my radar in the form of a catastrophic mental health breakdown some two and half years ago, which was followed by a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder.  Which actually came as a relief, after years of being diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder which didn’t quite cover all the stuff that went on in my head on a day-to-day basis.

In recent months, I’ve finally gotten settled onto a good level of meds, which has led to my previously stifled creative flow being back in full force.  And so, I’m delighted to let people know that if they’ve hung around for this long, all the answers are going to be revealed.  And I love you and thank you for putting up with an abysmally long wait.  First reactions from beta readers have been extremely positive, and I’m hoping that you (the readers) will be satisfied with the final journey.

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Posted in Ramblings

The Bright Spots in the Mania

In what most would see as complete insanity, I’ve managed to find some bright spots in the current mania I’ve been struggling with.
When I’m feeling particularly anxious, repetitivity is the key to retaining whatever sanity I might have left. Consequently, in the past three or four weeks, I’ve been reorganizing my book collection (I did mention it a few weeks ago… and since then it’s become bigger than Ben-Hur in terms of the battle of Deb vs her books.)
It all started because I don’t like the arbitrary way in which Kindle organizes my books – mainly the fact that it doesn’t necessarily keep my books in the order in which I like them, nor does it necessarily keep series in order. So I went in search of a new program and decide to use Calibre to fix the metadata, and Moon Reader Plus for reading. Yes, yes, I know I could have used Calibre to do both, but Calibre isn’t ‘pretty enough’ for my reading tastes.
So I spent a considerable period of time organizing my books in calibre, placing them together in series, tagging them regarding subject and ensuring that all the names etc. were uniform in their writing. (I’m so OCD currently, I can’t stand initials not to be uniformly punctuated.)
Now keep in mind, I’m a book lover. I have all sorts of books, ranging from old classics (which I’m definitely going to read one day) to reference books for writing and publishing. We’re talking about roughly 1200 books here – although it has been boosted by about another 200 in recent weeks as I’ve struggled with the swings through depression and mania. So this has taken some time.
I was a little perturbed when I reached the ‘transfer the books from Calibre to Moon Reader’ because a lot of my changed metadata got lost in translation. Normally, al things being equal, I would have thought this through more clearly, but being the way I am… I didn’t. I proceeded to ‘tweak’ the roughly 1200 books until they were the way I wanted them in Moon Reader. Which took about a week – day and night – while I’ve struggled with rampant insomnia..
Which was about the time I realized that perhaps I should have thought harder about this and put the books onto my SD card, rather than the main memory on my tablet, which is kind of full..
‘No problem’, I thought. ‘I’ll just transfer all the book files to the SD card, and we’ll be all good. It’ll take a couple of minutes.’
Nope.
Moon Reader lost the plot, I lost the plot, and I decided to start all over again because I couldn’t figure out how to fix it. (I’m nothing if not determined when I’m manic. See? There’s a bright spot.)
So I began again, and noticed that when I returned the books from Calibre to Moon Reader, SOME (and I’m talking a minimal amount) of the books now had the right metadata,. Hmmm. Have no idea how that happened. Proceed to ensure all the book records are now safely stored on the SD card, and proceed with reorganizing all the books in Moon Reader. Again. Which has taken about another week, day and night. (I’m nothing if not persistent when things get in my head. See? Another bright spot.)
Got all the books nicely organized, then decided I might like to have a copy of them on my phone as well. (You know, for those emergencies when I don’t have my tablet and urgently need to read a book on a specific subject.) Don’t laugh. It could happen.
Go to put them on my phone, and realize I’ve got a problem, because now I have them transferred onto my phone… they all need reorganizing again. ‘No problems,’ I think. ‘I’ll just back up from the tablet and restore to the phone.’
It didn’t work. And I screwed up all the files on my phone. And just to make doubly sure I’d screwed up the theory, I managed to bugger them up on the tablet as well. (Don’t ask… this is just a side effect of my Bipolar madness.)
So I’m mooching around on Google, trying to find a solution to this issue (that determination kicks in again, because I’m not good at giving up in these circumstances)… and I come across a little message from some kind soul on one of the forums.
‘Don’t forget that you MUST resave your book files after amending the metadata to make the new metadata overwrite the old’.
Ah-HA!
Set up Calibre to rewrite the files overnight, and after a double dose of bipolar meds, go to bed. And actually sleep, which is such a blessing after weeks of insomnia. (See? Another bright spot!)
This morning, I take my brand spanky new book files, upload them onto Moon Reader… and everything is just about perfect. Everything is there, exactly where I want it to be, other than a few small tweaks to reorder book series which stretch into double figures. I hate them to be out of order, i.e. 1, 10, 2, etc…
And while my tenacity on this particular project has known no bounds… I decided to just upload exactly the same files onto my phone and leave well enough alone.

And in a postscript to those people who are going to come up with some reason why I shouldn’t have bothered, here are my reasons in advance.

1. Yes, I could just forgo the issue and put up with them on Kindle out of order and with incorrect punctuation – but that agitates me no end.
2. Yes, I’m aware that ‘real’ books don’t have the same issues. But they also tend to come in different sizes, and quite often, halfway through a series the publisher changes the ‘scheme’ of the covers, which just shits me to death. So they would drive me just as nuts as ebooks do when they’re ‘wrong’.
3. Yes, I’m nuts. But I think that’s already been well-established. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

And now, at last, I’m off to read a book in peace. And hopefully, get another night of sleep tonight.

 

Posted in Ramblings

Why I Need to Learn How to Say NO…

Have I mentioned how much I hate the GPS in my car? This is not a new situation, I’ve hated the GPS in my car since… well, since I got the GPS. Perhaps I’m too much of a free spirit (or too stubborn) to listen to a very annoying voice telling me which direction to head in, or perhaps I just cringe every time she mispronounces a street name. (i.e. Pinaster Parade in Ellenbrook somehow becomes ‘Penis-ter’, and for some reason she insists on pronouncing Mirrabooka Drive as though it’s a spell out of a Harry Potter book).
Anyhoo… yesterday, Bonnie picked up an extra shift at Gamesworld – not at Cannington, but over at their other store in Booragoon.
Now all things being equal, the answer to ‘Can I do a shift at Booragoon’ should have been a resounding no. I’ve swung from a manic episode, plunged into a depression, and swung back into manic in the past month – consequently I avoid driving because frankly, I’m probably dangerous behind the wheel and I’m not focused enough to be driving (in my opinion). But years of conditioning to automatically say ‘yes’ to all and everything I’m asked to do (regardless of whether it’s something I want to do, or I’m capable of doing) got in the way.
I said yes.

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And immediately began to stress over it, because Bonnie couldn’t get to Booragoon by public transport, and the boys were all at work, and Steve is currently in Sydney working – which meant I had to get her to Booragoon.
Which leads back to the GPS. I kind of know the way to Booragoon, but thought it would be better to use the GPS, because that way, (supposedly), I wouldn’t have to think about where I was going.
We set off (happily, leaving plenty of time at the other end for Bonza to figure out where in Garden City the Gamesworld Store happens to be) and ‘Miss GPS’ automatically shits me to death by insisting that I should turn left at Wharton Road, which I knew would lead me to Armadale Road, and from there, onto the freeway… which is the one road that I do NOT want to drive on. The freeway on the best of days makes my anxiety peak… and trust me, you do not want to suffer a panic attack on a freeway – it’s not good ju-ju.
Consequently, I tell Miss GPS to mind her own business and continue around the roundabout to continue up Nicholson Road. She decides she should ‘recalculate’.
We get along amiably until we get onto South Street, at which point she announces we should turn left onto Roe Highway… which leads us back to the freeway…
I can begin to feel tension rising in the my shoulders, and I’m clutching the steering wheel to the point where my fingernails are digging into the material, a sure sign that I’m heading towards panic. The roads around here are busy, and as I mentioned above… I probably should have said no.
Tell Miss GPS to mind her own business and continue down South Street.
She decides to recalculate.
We reach Murdoch and sure enough, Miss GPS is all ‘turn right, turn right’… onto the freeway.
At this point, I find myself in a turn right only lane, (to go onto the freeway) surrounded by traffic, and my stress levels increase.

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Manage to get out of that lane, call Miss GPS a few choice words in my head, and sail on down South Street. We get to the next intersection, and again, Miss GPS insists we should turn right, but by this time, I’m convinced that it’s a plot to get me back to the freeway…so I ignore her and continue.
Which is followed by Miss GPS assuring me, regularly, that now I need to TURN BACK.
Sigh.
Decide I have no choice but to turn back (and South Street is a very busy street too) and find that Miss GPS was actually right and we DID have to turn.
By now, I’m practicing my breathing exercises to avoid having to pull over, my palms are sweating, my heart is racing and I’m not a happy bunny.
Finally get to Garden City and I spend ten minutes in the carpark, punching random buttons on Miss GPS until I come across a ticked box which says ‘Always use freeways where possible’
Unticked the bloody thing and came home, where I proceeded to collapse into a chair and remind myself again why I shouldn’t attempt these things when I know the answer to the request should be ‘No, I’m afraid I can’t do that.’
I live in hope that I’ll learn this lesson.

Posted in D.S. Williams Worlds, Ramblings

So, it started with a desk…

The start of 2017 has seen me ‘prepping’ for a whole lot of book writing, with plans (in concrete, and written in blood, I swear) to publish six books by December.  I’ve organized, prepared, reorganized my whole approach to social media and cut back on how many ‘things’ I need to keep updated. (Hence why this blog page is now the home of me, my alter ego Leah Dempster, and my editing counterpart The Pedantic Punctuator – one blog is much easier to focus on than three.)

I got a weekly diary, planned out my writing/editing/publishing timetable, gave myself strict instructions on how many words a day would be written, and this week was set aside for ‘prepping’, before ‘writing’.

Hence why it started with a desk.

We have a little study in our new house, which I share with the Darling Husband.  When I say the study is little, I mean tiny.  Minuscule. And it is filled with computer equipment,  bookshelves, printers and all my crafting supplies.  (I used to do craft, until I started editing for a living, and writing books in between edits, so now I have a lot of craft supplies, which take up a lot of space, which require regular dusting, but otherwise don’t come out much.)  And my Darling Husband, although he’s the love of my life, is the antithesis to my OCD Bipolar nuttiness in that he keeps all his stuff EVERYWHERE… He is a lover of flat surfaces and covers them all.

Which leads to that desk issue.

Part of the ‘getting ready for my big 2017 writing projects’ is that I wanted a little space to do my writing.  I had it in our old house, because I had my little desk in our bedroom, with a potted plant, a cute little lantern, a candle and it was… my space.  In the new house, we made the decision to share the study, because there wasn’t quite enough room in the bedroom.  But the prospect of trying to write in the study, with all that… stuff…

I knew it would never work.  I’d be more inclined to start tidying up than do any productive writing.  So I woke up yesterday morning and decided to move the desk.

But first, I needed to rearrange some of the kitchen.

Why I hear you ask?  Well, it began with a need to make some space in the linen cupboard, because I decided that to get the desk out of the study and into our bedroom, I needed to get some of the stuff out of the study.  And while I was at it, I might as well begin organizing the study a little better because you know how it is when you move into a house, and you get to that point where you’re sick of unpacking and things just start getting shoved into the rooms willy-nilly?  The study kind of ended up like that.

So I wanted to reorganize some stuff in the kitchen, to fit the extra kitchen stuff which had collected in half of the linen cupboard, so that I could move some stuff into the linen cupboard from the study, and then I could get the desk out and into our bedroom

Simple.

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But then while I was at it, I had a brainwave.  We recently inherited a wonderful display cabinet from BIL & SIL, and we were considering getting rid of our old cabinet, but then I had a thought.  I could use the old cabinet in the study for better organization!  And get the desk out of the room, and while I was at it, completely rearrange all the shelves!

Perfect.

So consequently, to get my little desk out of the study and seven feet down the hallway and into our bedroom, I moved kitchen stuff around, got kitchen stuff out of the linen cupboard and got it into kitchen cupboards, moved blankets and things out of the laundry cupboards and into the linen cupboard, moved crafty stuff out of the study and into the laundry cupboards… and got the desk out of the study and set up in our bedroom.  Where it looks beautiful, and it’s my own little space and I’m going to be very happy writing in there with the morning sun streaming in through the window.

Which left me with a study which looks like a bomb had hit, shelves half-filled, other shelves empty, a filing cabinet which didn’t look right where it was, and numerous stuffed toys (I’m an addict) which needed to be organized.

So it turns out, moving my little ‘writing space’ into the other room constituted an all day marathon, ‘voluntolding’ the help of Son # 2 and Son #3 to help lift the really heavy stuff, and completely rearranging the kitchen, the linen cupboard, the laundry cupboards, the study and our bedroom to make it all ‘work’.

Mission accomplished!  And now, I’m ready for Monday to roll around because I’m all ready to write!

 

 

Posted in Ramblings

A Random Update…

Oh goodness, it’s been a huge month for my family, with a move from one end of the city to the other, after ten months of my DH and I living apart while he works on the Naval Base and the Gang of Four and I continued to live in Ellenbrook. With the beautiful daughter finishing up her secondary education in Ellenbrook, it was a strategic decision as a family to stay there and allow her to complete her final year.
Now though, with her last few weeks nearly finished we’ve made the big move which has been both wonderful, and as anyone who has moved house knows, extremely stressful.
We are, if I may say so, reasonably professional at moving house.  During our thirty years of marriage (and with twenty six years of those having a DH who is a serving member of the Air Force), we’ve moved quite a bit.  In fact, I think the count is up around sixteen or seventeen moves, in five different Australia states.
Despite this regularity of making moves, it never seems to get that much easier.  Sure, we’ve got the prepping and organising sections down to a fine art, but that final get-everything-packed/get-everything-moved/settle-into-the-new-house section of the agenda is always tricky, and always sheer hard work.
Since we moved in a couple of weeks ago, we have been dealing with trying to get our internet up and running – started organizing it a week or two before we moved, and now, here we are, two and a half weeks into the new house and still we don’t have internet available.  Honestly, you would think we were living in a third world country, but no, this is Australia, we are supposed to be a first world country, and yet, getting internet is probably one of the most difficult things to manage 🙂  Consequently, the DH and I have been providing internet to the Gang of Four (and ourselves) on a very limited trickle system.  While the DH has one of those teeny tiny internet boxy things, which provide wireless internet (he needed it when he was living on the naval base) – it costs a lot to use (we’re talking 50 bucks for 50 gigs, which doesn’t sound bad, but when you have a family of tech-savvy teenagers and young adults, 50 gigs lasts about 50 seconds!).
Consequently, everyone has been on a drought of internet access.  In desperation, I’ve been using my mobile phone as an internet hotspot to gain access to ‘the rest of the world’, but it runs at an internet equivalent speed of using a chisel on a block of stone.
We live in hope however, and after having two internet providers telling us they could provide ADSL2, only to turn around at the eleventh hour and say no, in fact, they couldn’t… this week, we’re hoping to at least get ADSL1.
It won’t be fast, but at this stage, we’ll settle for anything which actually works, is reliable, and is available on a full-time basis rather than our current erratic program.  And now folks, I’m going to sign of from my ‘hotspot’, and get back to writing.
Posted in Ramblings

It’s been another nutty day…

Been a while since you’ve all been subjected to an epic post in which we all get to giggle at the lunacy that is me. Today has been one of those nutty days, where things rapidly got out of control.
Tomorrow night we’re having a get together with BIL, SIL and MIL for the joint celebration of SIL’s Birthday and mine. (We share the same birth date.)
So in my wisdom, because I’ve gradually been getting back into baking, I decided to forgo ‘Plan A’, which was to go out to dinner, and replaced it with ‘Plan B’, in which I decided we would have a range of yummy finger foods… of which I would do some of the creating. As with all my brilliant ideas… it seemed like a good idea at the time.
This morning, I set out with purpose to create some of the finger food-style dishes we’d planned. First step, make up some Bolognaise Sauce in preparation for a batch of savory muffins.
Naturally, being a cluster, I managed to make quite a mess while cooking the meat, and had red pasta sauce all over the stove top. With the muffins finished and in the oven, while I had started on Recipe Number Two, I suddenly decided I’d better tackle clearing up the stove before I continued with recipe two.
While cleaning the top of the stove… the power went off. Didn’t take long to realize I’d tripped the safety switch, because Gizmo the Vacuum cleaner set of autonomously on his merry way – a sure sign that we’ve lost some power, not all.
Leave the messy stove, and the baking muffins, and head out the front of the house to reset the safety switch.
Hmmm.
Said safety switch refuses to reset, just keeps bouncing up and saying it’s been triggered by a safety issue.
Hmmm.
Head back into the house, and over the next 45 minutes, climb around furniture, behind cupboards, under beds and effectively twist myself into a decorative piece of macrame, while trying to single out the electricity culprit which is causing the problem. (Fortunately, I do remember to take the muffins out of the oven, which is still working perfectly.)
To no avail.
Clearly, this isn’t working for me… I still don’t have a clue of what is causing the safety switch to trip… and I’m getting a tad frustrated. I leave a text message with the Darling Husband, asking if he can ring me when he finishes work, so that I can pick his brain as to how I fix my current predicament. Go and stand out the front and study the meter box for a while, and realize that the safety switch controls four different areas of power, with four different switches. Through process of elimination, I manage to figure out that the ‘Zone 2’ is the issue. Back into the house, to try and figure out what area of the house that might relate to and discover it’s Adam’s bedroom, and the back wall of the kitchen.
With another 30 minutes of pfaffing about, I narrow down the problem to the kitchen… either the fridge/freezer… or the stove.
Hmmm.
Muck around with the fridge, giving myself a new hernia by pulling it out to get to the power point, unplug it, make the fiftieth trip out the front to try and reset the safety switch… and power stays on!
Progress!
Come back in, and discover something rather odd. Now that I’ve located the general area of the problem, and the power is back on… the stove top is acting a bit hinky.
As if possessed by a recently arrived poltergeist… the automatic ticky-ticky ignite-the-burner-things are all ticky-tickying of their own accord.
That doesn’t seem right. Study the stove top for a minute or two, trying to figure out what the hell is going on, and then it occurs to me. Perhaps, during my very industrious cleaning of the stove top, I’ve managed to short-circuit the ticky-ticky igniter things.
Hmmm.
Discover quickly that I can’t stop the ticky-ticky things, which is going to get very old, very fast. Aggravating noises tend to… well… severely aggravate me. I need to find a way to turn of the ticky-ticky things. And soon.
Turning off the power won’t work, because, as we’ve already discovered, the stove top and refrigerator/freezer are on the same ‘Zone’. Can’t leave the fridge/freezer not working, so now I need to figure out a solution. I don’t particularly want to ring DHA and tell them what I’ve managed to do, so I decide on a solution.
I’m going to fix it myself!
Investigate the top of the stove top and see some likely looking screws possibly holding it all together, so go off in search of a screwdriver. Wrong size screwdriver, so go off in search of another one. Finally get the stove top undone and lo and behold! I can lift the hotplates section up and off, so that I can see underneath to all the ‘worky stuff’.
Except that I don’t have a clue of how the ‘worky stuff’ works. And in the meantime, those ticky-ticky igniters are still driving me to within an inch of losing my mind. (Yes, I’ve done all that, with the power still on.) But I do discover that now, when I turn the gas knobs and push down on what’s left of the buttons… water is dripping out of them. I believe I’ve found the problem!
Attempt to pull out a wire that seems to be attached to the ticky-ticky things, which is about the same time as I discover that I probably shouldn’t be pulling at wires when the power is still on.
Yikes.
Go back outside (for the millionth time), and turn off the power again. Come back in, and pull out a couple of plugs which appear as if they could be the likely suspects. Go back outside, turn the power back on, come back in…
And the ticky-ticky things are still ticky-tickying.
Hmmm.
Touch another wire, get another mild shock, go back outside and turn off the power. Come back in, and pull out every single wire which looks like it could be involved with the ticky-ticky things. Go back out (feeling like I’ve run a marathon), turn the power back on and…
Success!
The ticky-ticky things, thankfully, have shut the hell up. A quick check confirms that I can light the hotplates with a match, and I decide this is the best option until the ticky-ticky things have had a chance to dry out thoroughly.
As I was partway through prepping the second recipe, I decide that I’ll put the butter in the microwave that needs to melt, and while that’s happening, I can put the stove top back together and move on with my day.
You just know it went wrong, don’t you?
Yep, in my wisdom, I put my 50gms of butter in the microwave… not for 20 seconds, which would be a sensible period of time for melting, but for TWO MINUTES and TWENTY SECONDS.
I realized my mistake, right about the time that the little bowl of butter explodes all over the inside of the microwave, covering every single surface in melted, buttery goodness.
Which is precisely the moment when the DH calls me, to find out what’s wrong… and proceeds to listen to the long, torturous disaster that has been my day in the kitchen. (And I can actually HEAR him grinning, over the phone, as I explain everything that has happened so far in my very ‘technologically precise’ manner).
While he’s not thrilled that I’ve been playing with live power, he is pleased to hear that I’ve found a solution. Kind of.
And that, my friends, is another day in the life of me 🙂