Conversations with my cat – 7

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This is Chester.  He’s been caught almost red-handed climbing the curtains.

Of course, he is all innocence, because the evidence is circumstantial.  He was sitting on the window ledge looking out, thinking ‘if only I could get out there’.

Now he’s thinking how much trouble he’s in and whether it will be his least favorite cat food for dinner.

No, I’m not that mean.

Not unless I catch him red-handed.

Reminiscing

I was sitting down discussing with my granddaughter how we’re going to approach what will become an author interview.

We were talking about how old I was when it was I first wrote a story, and what was that story about.

OK, that sent me back a long way into the distant past.

There was also a trick question; “What was the first story you read that put you on the path to wanting to become a writer”.

That was easy, Alistair Maclean’s HMS Ulysses.  I showed her a copy of the book.

But, back to the main question.

Grandparents are old, I said, older than your parents, so that should give you some idea.

When did I start writing, that required a little thought, and there were several triggers that gave me a date, where we lived at the time, the fact I used my mother’s old portable typewriter, and the fact I had not been long out of school.  I was, in fact, about 17.  It was 45 years ago; I’ll let you do the math!

What was it about; that I couldn’t tell her, but I said I had rescued a lot of old scribbling of mine and put them in a box to look at later when I had the time.

I guess that time had arrived.

And, yes, there was the book, the individually typed pages, some with corrections, unfinished.

The pages were brown with age.

The story, well, I read the first few pages, and it seems I’d started down the thriller path then, the story so far, an agent comes ashore from a trawler to a bleak and isolated village, perhaps on the Scottish coast,

The next question, understandably; “What was the first book you ever finished?”  That was The Starburst Conspiracy, soon to be published on Amazon.

It also led to a few more discoveries, including a book I had forgotten I’d written. And all of the short stories I’d written when at University.

The interview is proceeding.

The memories it is bringing about my earliest forays into the world of writing are priceless.

Conversations with my cat – 6

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This is Chester.  He is giving me the ‘Come back when you’ve rewritten the start’ look.

Yet another ‘disagreement’ over such a small matter!

Here’s the thing.

Like many authors with cats, I like to use Chester as my audience of one, my sounding board.  It is better to be reading to him, rather than reading out loud by yourself.

Reading what you have written often points out tongue tangling or ‘drippy’ dialog, and  unfortunate mix ups in words.  Proof reading sometimes misses these.

Hitherto, Chester has been patient, lying on the floor, or sitting on the couch.

I guess a few pats doesn’t go astray in the process.

But, this morning, reading him the new start to ‘First Dig Two Graves’ the sequel to ‘The Devil You Don’t’, he just gave me one of his angry ‘meow’s’ and left.

Obviously he didn’t like it.

Of course, after I re-read it again, I could see the problem, so the days writing is not over yet.

It’s all about the Cover

And, of course, the description.

Probably one of the hardest things for a first-time author is not so much the writing but what is needed after the book is written.

You need a good description.  Short, sharp, incisive!

There’s a ream of advice out there, and I have read it all.

And, still, I got it wrong.

Then there is the cover.

I wanted simplistic, a short description to give the reader a taste of what’s in store, and let the story speak for itself.

No.

Apparently, a good cover will attract the reader to the book.

When I tendered my books on various sites to advertise them, sites such as Goodreads, and ThirdScribe, all was well with what I had done.

Then I submitted my books to a third site and they rejected the covers as too simplistic and the descriptions mundane, and wouldn’t post them.

Wow.

There’s a huge blow to the ego.  And just the sort of advice that would make a writer think twice about even bothering to continue.

But…

Perhaps the person who wrote that critique was being cruel to be kind.

At any rate, I am changing the covers, and rewording the descriptions.

Will it be a case of ‘what a difference a cover makes’?

Conversations with my cat – 5

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This is Chester.  He’s contemplating the mess on the floor.

I’ve asked him many times to stop unraveling the extension cords or to play with it as if it was a ball of string.

I’m not sure he understands the implications of playing with electrical wires.

Yet.

He is recovering from the visit by our grandchildren.

Sometimes, when they’re very quiet, he assumes they have gone.  He comes down to see what’s for dinner, or if there are any ‘snacks’.

Then, suddenly he realizes they have not gone, and panic sets in.

Sometimes he gets away.

Sometimes he is trapped, and forced to take large doses of child affection.

Yesterday, it was very close.

 

Schedule, what schedule?

There are good days and there are bad days

Today is a bad day.

You know how it works, the night before you set out everything you’re going to do.

What could go wrong?

All those irritating little things have been taken care of, especially so you could spend this one day so you can ‘stick to the schedule’.

Those re-writes you were working on last night are just not coming together.

The three phone calls, the urgent request for a small job, the family member with a crisis (and how often is that crisis a storm in a teacup) and to top it off, the cat got shut out is now howling at the back door.

Concentration?  Gone!

Picture next morning.

No distractions.

Computer on, pages sitting in front of you, phone off the hook, no annoying calls, ideas are flowing.

You start…

The monitor dies.

Maybe tomorrow…

 

Conversations with my cat – 4

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This is Chester.  Hiding.

He is the proverbial ‘scaredy cat’.

He is in hiding, buried at the back of the shelving in our walk-in robe, one of the few places he thinks the grandchildren don’t know about.

Think again, Chester!

He pays scant regard to the fact he moults hair all over our clothes.

Efforts to fill the hole have been met with stiff resistance, the ‘blockage’ finding its way to the floor.

A bit like the blankets he doesn’t like on his bed.

Chester is 16 years old.  He has had a tumultuous relationship with my grandchildren, who, at first, wanted to terrorize him, and now, older and wiser, want to make friends with him.

Sorry, no can do.  You had your chance.

But …

He’s warming to the 15-year-old.  Perhaps because she is as tall as us, he is confused.

Her efforts to get him to sleep on the end of her bed have failed.

Perhaps we should switch beds, and I might win that battle after all.