Well 2013 is almost at an end and, to be honest, I am glad. This year has been one of my worst to date. There have been a lot of emotional and personal crises and everything in my life has suffered as a result.
At the end of 2012 I decided that I wanted to publish an erotic anthology. That never came to pass and I haven't really done much writing this year. However, I am now licking wounds that are starting to heal over and my Muse is slowly returning and giving me gentle prods in the direction of the written word.
Are you like me? Do you beat yourself up if you only manage to sit at your computer or with pen in hand for ten minutes? Do you curse if you find that, to your own eyes, you have written a load of gibberish?
I can't remember which famous person said that you can edit bad writing but you can't edit a blank page. All I do know, is that it is true.
So, even when I aren't in the mood for writing I apply that well used BOCHOK method and get on with it. I managed 2 hours the other day. Yesterday I managed fifteen minutes.
But the important thing is that I am writing, again.
I recently came across this Chinese proverb:
'Don't be afraid of growing slowly, only be afraid of standing still.'
This blog, the first for a long time, might seem like a lesson in how granny should suck eggs. It isn't meant to be. It's a little bit of encouragement for all of you who are feeling jaded, or being too self critical.
Relax and breathe. Every small step is a small step forward, and another step closer to your goal.
Remember, from little acorns.....
Those of you who follow me will recall that in my last blog post I mentioned that I had decided to have a go at writing some science fiction. At the moment I have written two short stories and have made plans to write two full length novels.
The first full length novel that I am going to try is based on the first short story I put down. There are still a lot of details to work out. However, I have decided to share a little snippet with you. It is proving to be a challenge, but an enjoyable one.
As I said before, romance and erotic fiction will always remain my first love but, with recent events, romance isn't top of my list of things to drown in.
It's been a very bad start to the year. 2013 is living up to it's number. The optimistic amongst you will no doubt say that it can only get better. Once you hit the bottom the only way is up. Hmm, I'm not sure, but I am putting on my water wings and starting to try and swim to the surface.
I had made plans to publish the first of an erotic anthology this year. That plan is on hold for the time being. For now, I am losing myself in aliens, spaceships, transmutation & Earth's survival.
I hope you enjoy the snippet below. Feel free to let me know your thoughts. It is still a work in progress. The story is called "The Enforcers" and is set 200 years in the future, following the story of James & his quest to find the truth after Earth has signed a deal with the Quent'ari race to save Earth from destruction...
It happened in the night.
Didn't it always? Bad things always happened in films after dark. Successful revolutions happened whilst the world slept. So it shouldn't have been a surprise that the deal had been struck in the twilight hours after hours of negotiation.
The so-called experts had been preaching that the end was nigh for years. They had averted a catastrophe and saved the world with their deal.
James shook his head and looked up at the sky.
The dreary gunmetal hue almost matched that of the ship hovering above him.
Two centuries had passed since the deal. Two hundred years since the earth's resources had been so depleted that the politicians, the traitors, had begged for help. Who could have known back then that transmitting a desperate plea for help across the infinite void of space would result in our first contact with aliens?
That it would come to this.
The drone of another ship overhead interrupted his thoughts. He cursed again, grimacing at the short, sharp zap of electricity in his head that reminded him that they knew what he was thinking.
He set off walking again, purposefully ignoring the curious glances of the other unfortunates. Everyone knew what the punishment would be if you committed treason.
First they zapped your nerves with a warning, nothing more than a buzzing reminder. If you continued to "misbehave" they whisked you away and fried a few more of your grey cells. After that, well, you simply disappeared....
Apparently I have gone over to the dark side this past week, and all because I am now the proud owner of an Apple Mac.
Times are hard and, to be honest, it wasn't something that my financial coffers could afford. However, it was a necessary investment for my sanity because, over the last few weeks, my old pc had started to drive me insane.
First, it struggled with the Internet connection, not helped by my ISP. I won't state names but have a wild guess.
Then, horror of horrors, it decided to encounter an error whilst I was editing my latest ms. That would have been fine if I could have saved it before it closed. Yes I do save as I go along, however there are times when you just get carried away. So, back to the story....
Mid edit my pc threw up an error box and shut my file down. No worries. All I have to do is re open it. Well, you would think, but no. Alas! Not only had my pc decided to close the file. It had also deleted it. All 55,000 words.
Yes I have backups, but it somehow isn't quite the same is it?
So, after having a rant at the pc and doing my best Basil Fawlty impression and hitting it a few times (not with a branch obviously), I decided that it was time to get a Mac.
I know, I know, you just need time, patience, imagination and pen and paper to write....and persistence (best not forget that huh?)
But, and here is the crunch.... if, like me, you aren't very techno savvy... get a Mac. Seriously, everything is just plug and play. No hassle. And the keyboard. Well, I am in love with it. It feels and sounds amazing. The typists among you will know what I mean.
So, I have no excuses NOT to write now. I can't blame my decrepit pc....
Anymore Mac owners out there? I am still finding out lots of things... but I love it. A sound investment. Let me know how you get on with yours. Do you love it? Any tips?
Oh, and save to Cloud. I am still saving to usb sticks but, after my recent fight with the pc, I am getting into the habit of saving to Cloud.
After the emotional few weeks that I have had, I have to say that my Muse has often struggled to come forth and inspire. However, over the last few days I have found glimpses of inspirational light. Okay, so I am trying not to look at the numerous projects that I currently have on the go and haven't looked at for a while & I'm seriously applying the BOCHOK method to get me back into the writing habit.
However, I have re-discovered the joy of writing poetry. Years ago, (well, Millenia actually if you go back to my school days), I dabbled in writing a few pieces of verse. They weren't brilliant, but they helped kick start my brain. This is not to say that poetry is any less difficult to write than a full length novel. It isn't, well not to me anyway. But it was quite exhilarating to write in a different style.
I read an article a few days ago that said that drawing is a good way of helping with the writing process. It works differently for different people. I believe that the writing process is a personal, unique experience, not least because everyone has different methods, styles etc. But trying a different art form or style is a good way of inspiring you. Let's face it, I bet we have all, at some time or another, sat and simply stared at our current project and wondered when it's going to shine.
Well, do what I did and try something different. I am even thinking of putting together a poetry anthology.
The next time you are sitting looking at your manuscript and cursing or wondering why you have only written ten words and crossed out 200.... grab a piece of paper and a pen and scribble a few poetic lines.
And just as proof that it works, I am bravely going to show you the first poem. It is still a work in progress, but I quite like it was certainly caffeine for my Muse.
Let me know what you think!
Eyes wander, hands twitch,
Pick up pencil, study light.
Curve of spine, breathing hitch,
Scratch of pencil, black on white.
Smooth as marble, skin that shines,
Image captured forever more.
Inspiration and intellect entwines,
A picture projected from minds store.
The artist works, his muse looks on.
His model waits, her pose so still.
A classic study, bright light casts upon
A masterpiece created - The page does fill.
Well, the first thing I should say is a Happy Easter to one and all!
The second is that it is good to be back!
For any of you who follow me, you will have noticed that I haven't been blogging for a wee while. I'm not going to bore you with all the details but, briefly, I have been having personal problems and just haven't had the time, energy or inclination to put pen to paper.
However, as the days have past I am slowly finding my muse again. Things still aren't easy, far from it, but I am finding that losing myself in writing, if only for half an hour each day, is quite cathartic. It is also a means to release a lot of emotion.
I have even started dabbling in poetry again. I haven't written any since leaving school but over the last few weeks I have scribbled a few verses. I'm no Sylvia Plath but I have found it an enjoyable experience and am even thinking of writing an anthology. Watch this space!
So, tell me, do you find writing helps during bad times? Do you find it soothing to escape into an imaginary world for a bit or do you, like I did in the beginning, struggle to find your muse? I would be interested to know.
And so, as a welcome back and Easter treat, I am offering discount on my two novels.
His Jilted Bride and His To Command are now available at half price until the end of April. Click on the link below and put in the coupon codes to obtain your discount.https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/JayneSykesHis Jilted Bride - Coupon code - UA49P His To Command - Coupon Code - PL27S
Happy egg hunting!!
What a difference a week makes. Okay, I promise I am not going to moan and rant about the cold weather, (it is winter after all), but it was bloomin' cold and I hate snow, even if it does look pretty, unless you're shovelling it up. There done!
So, it's been a busy week. When I say busy, I mean that I have now seen Les Miserables twice and cried buckets on both occasions. I'm off to see it again this week with my bessie friend. Yes people, it is a fantastic film. It does Victor Hugo's book justice. Okay, you could argue that it simplifies the story somewhat. Hugo's novel is 900 plus pages and there is a lot going on. However, if you take out Hugo's wonderful explanations about history and observations on society and its people, well, you are left with a novel about love, faith and hope. And those are the things that make the world go round and life worth living...aren't they?
I also adhere to the belief that if you can use film and media to get people reading, or even interested in picking up a Kindle or a book, then it is worth it. Films such as Les Miserables have a big impact on peoples' reading habits, particularly the young. I'm not saying that Hugo's work is the easiest to read, but if you stick with it, it takes you on a fantastic historical and social journey through the wonderful characters and their trials and tribulations.
And isn't that what we writers aim to achieve? To give their audience a moment, however brief, to lose themselves in the story so painstakingly and lovingly created?
I spent most of my writing time this week editing the first 1,000 words of my latest romance novel so that I could submit an entry to a competition. The prize is the publication of the novel. As I was crossing out and then adding, then repeating the process all over again, I couldn't help but think about how much the language and style of writing has changed since Monsieur Hugo's day.
I love reading - a must for a writer- but I sometimes feel sad that a lot of todays books are, well, small. I'm not saying that they aren't well written or that they don't engage...they do. What I am saying, is that there is just something so wonderful in the works of Tolstoy, Austen, Dickens, Hugo, Joyce, Bronte et al. Okay, I am a self confessed book snob and love a book that cold prop open 10 doors in one go.
And so I suppose I should head back into my little world of creativity and see if I can blast out a few more words. In the coming weeks, I am hoping to have more work to show you. Until then, I would be interested to know what you think? What's your favourite book? Your favourite classic? Do you like little books or doorstoppers?
Well, great excitement is in the air. Yes, I'm talking about snow!!! Did you really think I was talking about the long awaited film based on Monsieur Hugo's fantastic novel? The one I have been so excited about seeing since last year? (yes, I know that wasn't all that long ago!).
To be honest, I hate snow. No, that's not true. I love looking at it when I am curled up in front of the fire with a good book and a glass of fine merlot or cup of hot chocolate. I can even be tempted to go for a walk in the pristine stuff but I hate being cold. Just the thought of it makes me want to turn up the thermostat on the radiator.
Of course, apart from nipping to the local cinema to view Les Miserables this week, me thinks it is going to be a week to lock myself away in my study with my muse. I have a lot of editing to do but, guess what?...
Yup, you got it, my overactive brain is telling me to choose one of my lovely A4 notepads from the shelf, pick up my pen and start writing a fresh story.
There is something so exciting, so cathartic about opening a pad and putting the first pen strokes on that pristine white page. I have never been one for writing straight onto the pc. In fact, I find it difficult to be inspired when I look at a blank pc screen with the cursor flashing as though it is tapping its foot in impatience for me to get on with it.
Call me old fashioned but I love the feel and sound of a pen scratching and flowing across the page as my imagination casts me off into a world of make believe. In fact I get so carried way that, quite often when I come to read my words as I am typing them up and editting, I can't decipher some of the barely legible scrawl.
So, tell me, are you like me? Or with all this technology, do you prefer to type your first drafts? Or have you trained yourself to do that? I would be interested to know.
Also, here's something that people might be able to help me with...
I am pretty new to blogging and am considering having guest bloggers on my site. Does anyone know how this works? If so, any help or advice would be much appreciated. And if you would like to be a guest blogger well, even better.
Well, 2013 has started with a flourish. In this last week I have posted out two short story competition entries, scribbled a few ideas for future projects and finished editing my erotic anthology. Okay, it still needs some tightening, and the characters in two of the stories are behaving, or misbehaving, in the way I don't want them to, but I thought you might like to read an excerpt from one of the stories I am happy with.
The Fantasy Girl anthology features Eleanor, a girl who will act out your fantasy for a price. Unfortunately for her, that price comes at the expense of love and commitment....or does it?
I'm hoping to publish this some time in March, and have ideas for more in the series. Until then, enjoy this sneak peek and feel free to leave any comments....
Eleanor felt sorry for Daniel.
It must be so difficult caring for someone with whom you've shared your life ands dreams with for the best part of twenty years, knowing that, from now on, they will be trapped in a damaged body. Eleanor admired him for that. He hadn't turned and run like a lot of men would. At least like most of the men she knew.
She lay naked on the bed and watched as he stripped out of his clothes, meticulously folding each item and placing it on the chair.
When she had told her flat mate about Daniel, Sue had cried. Most men would have jumped at the chance to indulge in numerous affairs. Daniel's disabled wife had issued him a free pass to fulfil his needs elsewhere. He could do so with a guilt free conscience.
He had needs, but he loved his wife more. That's why he needed her - The Fantasy Girl. He didn't want role-playing or fantasy sex. His fantasy, if that's what it could be called, was much simpler. He just wanted some good, old-fashioned loving. He needed to connect. To feel whole again. Above all, he needed the company of a woman who could make him feel like a man in the most basic of ways.
Eleanor fondled her bare breasts and dipped her head, flicking her tongue over one of her nipples. Daniel joined her on the bed and lightly squeezed the other. He had soft hands. Warm hands. Gentle hands.
Once, Eleanor had found a lump in one of her breasts. The consultant at the breast clinic had had hands like Daniel. Only she knew that Daniel wasn't a doctor. He was an editor for a well-known publishing company.
That was why they always had to meet in this little hotel on the outskirts of town. Once, occasionally twice, a month he would call and arrange to see her. Some times they would spend the time talking without even having sex. Often, like now, Daniel didn't really want to talk. He just wanted to fuck. It really was as simple as that.......
Well, 2012 certainly flew by!
There were quite a few ups and downs for me during these last twelve months, but the biggest ups definitely involved my writing as I took the plunge into the self publishing e-market, learned out to format books, how to blog and a whole host of other things that can only improve my existence as a neurotic writer.
So, as this year draws to a close, it's time to look ahead to the coming months.
What plans do you have for 2013?
I don't make resolutions, primarily because they always end up being broken. Instead, I make goals. For example, I am currently in the middle of editting an anthology of 10 erotic short stories with the aim of publishing them some time in the coming months. I have a few ideas for short stories to submit to magazines and competitions, and I have a host of other projects that are jotted down on paper or are flying around my head.
I am also thinking about making changes to my website.
All exciting stuff. Watch this space. Next time, there will be a sample of my upcoming project for you to taste.
So, all that's left for this last blog of 2012, is to wish you a very Happy New Year and a very fruitful, productive New Year!
Well, I'm going to keep this post short and sweet.
It's been a busy week getting all the final preparations organised for Christmas. Yes, I admit, I am a bit of a grinch and this isn't my favourite time of year. I hate trailing around the shops trying to find suitable presents, even though I enjoy giving. I hate the mad rushes and the cold......
However, it has been a tremendous year for me. It has had a lot of downs but there have been many ups too, not least of which where my writing is concerned.
At the risk of sounding arrogant, I am going to say that I did most of the work. After all, I was the one who put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, and there were times when it became something of a chore. But this lil ol' me is also gracious enough to admit that I couldn't have done it without the love and support of all those around me - family, friends, fans & critics alike. It is down to you all that I have the encouragement to persevere.
So this Blog post is simply going to say this:
I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
And if this seems a little too sentimental, well heck, I guess it's that time of year!