We all seek to escape from reality, for a brief moment or maybe longer

And that’s where escapist entertainment comes in.

Television in the form of a comedy, dramedy, or drama, in series format or just a good movie, gives us that temporary respite from everything that’sd going on around us.

For a longer respite we turn to a book, sometimes an action-packed thriller where the plot could be only too real or a flight of fancy that just borders on the unbelievable.  Or maybe a good romance, just to remind us, or reinforce the notion that there can be a happy ending.

But the trouble these days is finding the time as more and more everyday stuff impinges on our lives, making less time for everything else.

Stories have got shorter, e.g. the advent of the ‘novella’.

Mills and Boon head the right idea, making their romance novels fit into 187 pages, not too long and not too short.  I don’t know how they did it, I tried writing one, and no way would it fit into 187 pages, but then it did sneak off into the thriller category.

It might be why science fiction and fantasy books are so popular.  If we’re going to leave this world for a while, why not go all the way to another world.  Things have to be better there, don’t they?

It’s probably why I can come up with so many ideas about being anywhere but here, in this reality.  It is probably one of the most boring existence because I cannot work, and in retirement, other than tormenting grandchildren, gardening, which I never really liked, and house renovations, which there are only so many you can do, there’s very little else.

It’s probably why most of us don’t read or view real life.  We already have that, we don’t want to be reminded of it.

So…

Time to get back to my other reality.

Who wants to go on a treasure hunt, and why does it have to be so hot!

My mind will not rest.

Down here, it is summer, and the last few days have been rather hot, well, it is summer after all, but tonight it is particularly hot.

So, as I can’t sleep, I’m lying on the couch staring at the ceiling, otherwise known as the cinema of my dreams.

Where am I?

Well, the location is in keeping with the weather, hot, humid, and cold drinks are mandatory.

 

I have no idea where or when I got sucked into this game of searching for treasure.  Boggs had been reading some newspaper article relating to a Spaniard who had survived a shipwreck off the coast and had supposedly come ashore dragging his treasure chest, all that he could save from the sinking ship.

I think my priorities may have been slightly different.

Standing on the beach where Boggs believed the man came ashore, we looked inland at the coastal plain now overbuilt with holiday houses and apartments, behind that, some parkland, under threat from the developers, and behind that, the mountains.

I could guess what Boggs was going to say next.

“It has to be somewhere in the mountains, a cave perhaps.”

My map told me there was a mountain face for about 25 miles in either direction and rising to two to three thousand feet up.  I didn’t calculate the area, I just considered it big.

“If he came ashore here, dragging a heavy chest, and barring all of this building, he would take the most direct route inland.”

He pointed in the direction he thought the Spaniard took.

My eyes followed his arm and stopped at a beacon halfway up the hillside. 

That was a long way, pulling a heavy chest.

“Not up the hill, maybe, but somewhere along the base.”

“And don’t you think every man and his dog would have made the same assumption, and covered the ground already.”  The treasure hunt was beginning to bore me.

His expression changed, the sort that told me he might not have considered that possibility.  Boggs was like that, always thinking he had the original idea.

“Perhaps, then, a drink and more thought on the matter.”

We trudged through the soft sand to the bar just off the sand, a small place called The Spaniard.  A sign on the window said ‘Treasure Maps for sale’.

 

Well, the bar was air-conditioned, and the beer was cold.  I have one myself and see where this cinematic experience goes

© Charles Heath 2019

 

“What Sets Us Apart”, a mystery with a twist

David is a man troubled by a past he is trying to forget.
Susan is rebelling against a life of privilege and an exasperated mother who holds a secret that will determine her daughter’s destiny.
They are two people brought together by chance. Or was it?
When Susan discovers her mother’s secret, she goes in search of the truth that has been hidden from her since the day she was born.
When David realizes her absence is more than the usual cooling off after another heated argument, he finds himself being slowly drawn back into his former world of deceit and lies.
Then, back with his former employers, David quickly discovers nothing is what it seems as he embarks on a dangerous mission to find Susan before he loses her forever.

http://amzn.to/2Eryfth

whatsetscover

It’s good, it’s bad, and at times it can be very, very ugly

It was as if Microsoft Word was sent down from that place in the universe where a group of torturers sit around a table to find new ways of making our lives just that little bit more difficult.

I mean, most of the time it works really well and behaves itself.

But…

Then there are the times, usually when you are stressed about a deadline, or you are nearly at the end of what you believe to be the most brilliant writing you have ever put on paper.

Then…

Disaster strikes.

It could be the power goes off, even for just a few seconds, but it’s enough to kill the computer.  It could be that you have reached the end and closed Word down, thinking that it had autosaved, all the while ignoring that little pop up that says, ‘do you want to save your work’?

It’s been a long day, night, or session.  You’re tired and your mind is elsewhere, as it always is at the end.

You always assume that autosave is on.  It was the last time, it has been since the day you installed it however long ago that was.

So…

When the power comes back on, you start the computer, go into Word, and it brings back all the windows you had open when the power failed, and the one with the brilliant piece you just wrote, it’s just a blank sheet.

Or up to where it last autosaved, which is nowhere near the end.

Or it didn’t save at all.

You forget the software updated recently and that always brings changes.  Usually unwanted changes.

By which time you have that sinking feeling that all is lost, deadline missed, brilliant work lost, it’s the end of the world.

You promise yourself you’re going to get Scrivener, or something else, where this doesn’t happen.

Or if you’re like me, you put the cat on the keyboard and tell him to sort the mess out.

Conversations with my cat – 8

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This is Chester.  He gets impatient when it is dinner time.

He also has a ‘thing’ for plastic bags.

I’m not sure what it is, but he has to lick them, and sometimes thinks a bag stuffed with rubbish or clothes is either his bed or the kitty litter.

I tried to tell him that the bag had medicine in it and that he hates getting his flea treatment every month, so there was nothing in there for him.

Another discussion lost.

Sometimes he is either hard of hearing, or, being a male cat, I honestly believe has selective hearing!

Reading a newspaper can be like reading a good book

Why?

A lot of writers, particularly those who write murder mysteries or conspiracies, used to be either law enforcement or journalists.

A lot of writers have a background in journalism like I have.  Some work for major newspapers or did, and after the first bestseller retired to write more.

But reading newspaper accounts of events, no matter what the subject, somehow takes on the persona of a good story.  It has to if it wants to engage the reader.

There are elements of truth, there are elements of conjecture, and all the while you have to wonder, can this all possibly be true?

What’s that old journalistic adage my editor once told me?  Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

My aspirations of a Pulitzer prize died right there.

Perhaps it’s true.

But for just one minute, let’s examine a possibility or two about the news.  Does it depend on the journalist’s personal feelings, or if not, the view of the editorial staff, who sometimes rewrite a piece to suit a certain editorial slant?

Let’s say we don’t like the current President.  Nothing that is written will be positive, though it will generally stick to the facts, and make them work towards a particular end.

Let’s say we like the current President, and what he’s doing.  We will take the facts and write a glowing piece about all the good he is doing.  There is no doubt that the story will ignore certain facts that might seem detrimental.

But that works for both sides of the fence.  No one seems to want to sit on the fence.

I once watched a show called Braindead when alien ants from outer space came to earth and started eating parts of brains.  It happened to be in Washington, it happened to eat politicians brains, and it exacerbated the animosity between the Democrats and the Republicans.  It was very funny, but who knew it was dead right about the parties, and it’s leaders, brains half eaten or not.

They should air it again in this current political brinkmanship climate to show everyone just how Washington politics works, or in reality, doesn’t work.

Then there’s fake news.  What is fake news exactly?

Using the wrong facts?  Painting a white sheep black?  Or just reporting one side of the story?

As a writer, I now view the newspapers as the number one resource for finding plots, conspiracies, and just plain oddities, mainly because the truth, if it is the truth, really is stranger than fiction.

 

It takes more than a New Year’s resolution to get your time management under control

It’s something that I have never been able to get a handle on, and I seem to stagger from one day to the next without getting anything done.

Over the years many people tried, some with limited success, others completely failing.

I guess I’m one of those freeform sorts of people and I guess it goes with the star sign, Gemini.

Yes, I’ve been to those time management courses with the books and diaries to seem to want you to time manage your life.  I considered it bit like micromanagement where your supervisor had access to the diary and put in the work, the estimated time and when it was expected to be finished.

I didn’t work well with deadlines.

But oddly enough most of the jobs I’ve had over the years have involved time management of one sort or another and I have survived.

Now, in semi-retirement, I really need something to organize my days so something gets done.  As a writer allocating 12 midnight to 2am for writing doesn’t seem to be a good idea.

Unfortunately, it is the best time for me to write.

Anyone else out there with the same problem, and if so what was your answer to the time management problem?