ADRD… Attention Deficit Reading Disorder…

I wondered if such a thing existed; ADRD, or Attention Deficit Reading Disorder. Unfortunately the acronym is already taken and stands for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders. Such a shame, as I bet I’m not the only one who’s mind wanders off whilst reading. As being a member of #FARG I try to help other authors by reading their books and leaving a review on Amazon. I am a rather prolific writer, my fingers can barely keep up with what my mind tells them to type. As fast as my mind thinks, so slow it reads. As my eyes travel across the pages, trying to take in all the individual words, I struggle to keep my mind from wandering off into another direction. It takes about three attempts to read what is on a page. What happens in my mind is something like this:

“Well, lad, you’ll be eight soon. You should be brushing your own hair by now.”

I still have to tell my daughter to brush her hair every day, she’s nearly fourteen…

When was the last time she washed it? It looked rather greasy this morning…

I’m so glad I had my son’s hair cut the other day, looks so much better on him than that emo look…

Shame about the pimples though, I wished he took more care of his face…

A bit of fresh air would do him good, like a nice outdoor holiday…

I liked our holiday in the Maldives, that was great for you skin, getting a tan and all…

But most of all I liked diving and snorkelling, loved the colours of the fishes…

So you see, before I know it I’m thinking about colourful fishes swimming in tropical waters, whilst my mind should be back in the late nineteenth century, thinking about a little boy called Johnny who is about to die.

Please tell me I’m not the only one…


I received a badge…


Yay, I have twenty followers! Actually I have twenty-one now, but I passed the 20 mark today, yay! Not that twenty is a particular number for me, apart from the age I wished I was looking like, but WordPress found it worthy to mention.

I would like to thank all my followers for following :). I hope you find my blogs worthwhile in the way that, hopefully, you learn something from it, makes you think a bit more, and improves your writing.

If there are some particular topics you want me to address, feel free to let me know; I’m happy to comply.

Yours truly,

Jacky Dahlhaus



Lessons Learned #9b

More figures of rhetoric

Things are almost back to normal in this household, so here’s another Lessons Learned on a Friday.

As promised, here are some more figures of rhetoric, as per the book ‘The Elements of Eloquence’ by Mark Forsyth. It is amazing how many of these, thought to be forgotten, figures of rhetoric are used in current writing. If you don’t understand the description, just google it and hopefully it will be more clear. I found Wikipedia very helpful. However, if you want funny/interesting examples, buy the book! It’s giving extremely useful examples, very known ones which I can’t give you due to copyright infringement, but most of all it’s very funny…

Picture 67

I’m sorry for the long list, I hope you can keep your concentration whilst reading it. I couldn’t, hence the separation into two lessons. Maybe I should’ve used three… :). I still, for the life of me, can’t remember the terms, but that doesn’t take away that I like what they stand for, very much, as most are new to me!

Rhetorical Questions:

  • Erotesis – A question is asked in confident expectation of a negative answer
  • Epiplexis – A question whereby a person seeks to convince and move by an elegant kind of upbraiding (a lament or an insult)
  • Anacoenosis – With this question no reply is really sought or required, thus softening what is really a statement or command
  • Procatalepsis – The speaker raises an objection to his own argument, in the form of a question, and then immediately answers it
  • Hypophora – The speaker poses a question (not necessarily to his own argument) and then answers the question
  • Anthypophora – The reply to the hypophora, spoken by somebody else
  • Subjectio – A series of hypophora
  • Aporia – A question to which you really don’t know the answer

Hendiadys – The use of two words linked by the conjunction “and” instead of the one modifying the other

Epistrophe – The repetition of the same word or words at the end of successive phrases, clauses or sentences

Tricolon – When a sentence is composed of three parts perfectly equivalent in structure, length and rhythm. Sometimes the last one is longer (always the last one)

Epizeuxis – The repetition of a word or phrase in immediate succession, for vehemence or emphasis

Syllepsis – A single word is used with two other parts of a sentence but must be understood differently in relation to each

Isocolon – A sentence is composed of two or more parts perfectly equivalent in structure, length and rhythm

Enallage – Using a tense, form, or person grammatically incorrect

Zeugma – A single word is used in relation to two other parts of a sentence although the word grammatically or logically applies to only one

Paradox – A statement that contradicts itself and yet might be true (or wrong at the same time)

Chiasmus – Two or more clauses are related to each other through a reversal of structures in order to make a larger point

Assonance – The repetition of vowel sounds to create internal rhyming within phrases or sentences

Catachresis – A word or phrase is being applied in a way that significantly departs from conventional (or traditional) usage

Litotes – An understatement is used to emphasize a point by stating a negative to further affirm a positive, often incorporating double negatives for effect

Metaphor – A figure of speech that refers to something as being the same as another thing for rhetorical effect. It may provide clarity or identify hidden similarities between two ideas. Where a simile compares two items, a metaphor directly equates them

Metonymy – A thing or concept is called not by its own name but rather by the name of something associated in meaning with that thing or concept

Synecdoche – A term for a part of something refers to the whole of something or vice versa

Transferred Epithets – An abnormal, unexpected change of two segments in a sentence (adjective is applied to the wrong noun)

Pleonasm – The use of more words or parts of words than is necessary or sufficient for clear expression

Epanalepsis – The repetition of the initial word (or words) of a clause or sentence at the end of that same clause or sentence

Personification – The related attribution of human form and characteristics to abstract concepts

Allegory – An extended metaphor; to convey hidden meanings through symbolic figures, actions, imagery, and/or events, which together create the moral, spiritual, or political meaning the author wishes to convey

Hyperbole – The use of exaggeration

Adynaton – The form of hyperbole taken to such extreme lengths as to insinuate a complete impossibility

Prolepsis – A description is used before it is strictly applicable (amongst other explanations of prolepsis)

Scesis Onomation – Originally a sentence constructed only of nouns and adjectives (no verbs). Now it also is a rhetorical technique used to emphasize an idea by repeating it rapidly using slightly different words that have the same or a very similar meaning

Anaphora – Repeating a sequence of words at the beginnings of neighbouring clauses

There, now you can put some eloquence into your writing.

Have a Happy Writing Weekend!

Copyright infringment!

How I feel when I find my work illegally available for free…

Through my dear friends at #FARG it came to my attention that my second novel, Succedaneum – Raising A Vampire, was available as a free download on an obscure pirate website. I was furious!

I entered my first novel into the KDP Select program and had a free promo day last week. It is a common strategy to make your first novel available for free, so people get hooked an buy your sequels. Hence my second novel has never been available for free. These pirates must have bought it, converted it into a PDF and are now handing it out for free. WHY?

First of all my book is copyrighted, to offer it to anybody without my permission is an infringement of the law. Secondly, why would they want to rob me of my income? I worked hard to make this book happen. It cost me time and money, lots of it, to make something beautiful that brings enjoyment to others. Why do they want to punish me for this?

I saw this entry on the internet the other day about people paying just under £5 for a coffee that is made within minutes and then tipping the barista as well. These same people are complaining that a book, a work that somebody has sweated over for months if not years, something that will give them hours of reading pleasure, is too expensive at £0.99! This is just wrong! Why do people value books so little nowadays? True, indie books can be dodgy with bad storylines and atrocious grammar that make you cringe with every spelling mistake. But there are those of us who have pride in their work and have our work edited and proofread professionally, which costs lots of money… not to mention the time we spend on it…

Illegally downloading a book for free is like a kick in the nuts for an author. Some argue that it is a form of publicity. How else are people going to notice that you exist and have written a book? Lots of people have favourite authors because they were lent a book, they didn’t buy the first one. There is something to say for this. To find my book available on this website was a bit of a pat on the shoulder. Apparently they thought that people were interested in my books. I have no idea how many people have actually clicked on the ‘download’ button. I have no idea how much money I could have retrieved to cover my costs if these people would have bought my book. I only know how many books I still need to sell to have this happen and, according to the current indie book stats from Amazon, this is very unlikely to be in the near future…

If you truly want to support good writers, please please, pretty please, BUY their books!


I miss writing!!!

I miss writing!!!

Last Monday I had to cancel my writers’ group meeting as I was too knackered from getting up at 5am to fly to London and pick up my kids from Heathrow. The rest of the week I spent most of the time behind my computer promoting my book, spending time learning how to tweet and joining all these FB book clubs.

The time I didn’t spend behind my computer I have been plastering my bedroom walls. It’s an old house and I use Plaster of Paris to fill the cracks in the lath and plaster. In case you have never worked with this, you can only make up half a handful at a time as this stuff sets incredibly fast. After filling about 10cm you need to clean all your tools again. Hence filling all the (many) cracks makes for extremely slow progress.

Due to all this I also have missed on a whole week’s worth of my Creative Writing course on FutureLearn. It’s an incredibly good course, I’m learning a lot from it and from the interactions with my fellow students, which I am now missing out on :(.

My family is coming over to visit us in two weeks time, so before that I need to have plastered, sanded, re-plastered, re-sanded, painted base layer on ceiling and walls, painted final layer on ceiling and walls, re-painted final layer on ceiling and walls…

I miss writing!!!

On the bright side, as promised, here’s some more wonderful writing for you to pick from:

Food Gift Recipes From Nature’s Bounty: Easy & Delicious Recipes to Make and Share for Every Occasion, by Lilly Brock

Sell the Pig, by Tottie Limejuice

183 Times a Year, by Eva Jordan

A Camino of the Soul, by Katharine Elliot

The Second Captive, by Maggie James

Games People Play, by Owen Mullen

Changing Times, by Shaun L. Griffiths

Lessons Learned #10

Crash course on Twitter…

Sorry, no Lessons Learned #9b yet! But I haven’t forgotten…

Today I would like to share with you what I learned this last week doing a promotion for my first novel, Succedaneum – Living Like A Vampire.

Someone in FARG mentioned that their book sold better when she put her price up, suggesting that people are looking for quality work instead of books full of grammar and editing issues. That sparked my interest and I upped my price from £0.99 to £2.99. I started on Sunday and boosted a FB entry to get my book seen for a week. This  cost me £11. On Tuesday I still only had three copies sold, amounting to £2.78. This was not going to get my advertising cost back.
As the sales had been down for a fortnight before that, and after suggestions by some lovely people, I enrolled my book into KDP Select on Wednesday and entered it into a promo, free for one day, on Thursday.

I did a speed course in Twitter, using Advanced Twitter Strategies for Authors – by W H Sutherland,  and got Tweepi, Socialoomph, and was suggested by a fellow author on FARG. I used Tweepi to double my Twitter followers. I started with about 45 (which took me over a month) and currently have 100 followers. helped me to create Amazon book links that directed people to their own country’s Amazon. helped me to shorten those links (and create specific named ones, which, with hindsight, weren’t shorter smile emoticon ) and be able to write more about my book in the tweets. Socialoomph (free version) was my best friend. With this I could schedule tweets over the day. The problem is that Twitter doesn’t allow spam (repeated tweets), which  only was apparent after the first five tweets. I had to re-arrange, re-word, re-direct my tweets, which cost more time and stress than I had anticipated.

All in all I managed to get three messages out on Wednesday, spaced over the day (not mentioning the free promo coming up yet, as I didn’t know yet). Yesterday I sent out eighteen tweets, of which two were in the early morning of today (as the US times are different). I didn’t do more after that as I ran out of ideas of what to write and they would certainly be seen as spam.

Next to that I put out a message on my website, on my FB site, and went through FB sites FARG provides in their Files, putting my add up on as many FB book sites that let you put in visitor entries and joined a number of groups on which I put my add up too. The acceptations for the groups were rather late (as I asked in the morning and it takes time for people to get back to you), so, memo to others, get accepted into these groups at least a day before you run your promo!

So, what is the result of a stressful day? My book was downloaded 123 times! It seems such a small amount compared to what I have read that others had on their promo day, but I am happy with it. My genre is rather specific, action/drama/humorous vampire romances are not everybody’s cup of tea. Apart from the fact that 99.999% of the world’s population (if not more) doesn’t know I exist smile emoticon. I hope the people who downloaded it actually read it, like it and leave a review (of course!). And maybe, just maybe, they will buy the sequel…

As promised, here are some more great books from wonderful people:

Who Killed Little Johnny, by Kathryn McMaster

Intercepted, by Susanna Seigler

Riot Score, by Simon Maltman

Arrival, by Chris Gallagher

The Second Captive, by Maggie James

Download your FREE copy now!

Get my first novel for FREE today!

My first novel, Succedaneum – Living Like A Vampire, is available as a FREE download on Amazon today!

Get your FREE copy at !


Succedaneum - Living Like A Vampire5

With a little help from my friends…

Where would we be without a little help from our friends?

I’ve got to say it, I’ve joined the Fiction Authors’ Resource Group (#FARG) on Facebook recently and it was the best move I have made in a long time! The authors in the group are so helpful and always available. We are all indie authors, helping each other and trying to make our books visible to people, struggling for reviews and working against the cheaters who, somehow, get their books on No.1 without any reviews at all!

Thanks to them I now have a better chance of my books being visible on Amazon, via Facebook and Twitter. As a thank you I promised to share their books with you. Most of them are crime thrillers and great ones too! I will give you five books per blog until I run out. Have your pick…

Shut up and drive, by L M Krier

Altered Life, by Keith Dixon (this one is FREE!)

A Barrow Boy’s Cadenza, by Pete Adams

In the Shadows, by Tara Lyons (audiobook),

Murder on the Levels, by Frances Evesham

It’s that easy…

It’s scary how easy it is to ship children to the other side of the world…

For those of you who write crime novels, I would like to share my story with you regarding human trafficking. Apparently it’s really simple…

As you may have read in my previous blogs, my children recently toddled off to the other side of the planet for a nice, short holiday. We, their parents, couldn’t come with them, so they travelled as unaccompanied minors. Most airlines don’t take thirteen-year-olds unaccompanied, but Singapore Airlines does. There were forms to fill out, of course, that needed to be witnessed and shown when requested. As we live in Scotland and Singapore Airlines doesn’t frequent our local airport we had to escort them to London, which we did.

Forty-eight hours before travelling it appeared that we couldn’t check-in our kids online, because they were unaccompanied minors. That’s okay, we understood. We were concerned, though, that the seats would be fully booked by the time we got to the airport and the kids would not be sitting next to each other. My husband called the airlines and was assured that all would be sorted once we checked-in on location.

Once at Heathrow airport, we went to the Singapore Airlines desk to get the unaccompanied minors forms witnessed, but hey didn’t want to know any of it. ‘They will take care of you at the special check-in,’ they told us. So we queued up at the special check-in. My DH showed the lady the forms he filled in, but again, she didn’t want to know about them. ‘They will take care of that at the gate,’ we were told again. My husband stood there, with his passport and papers in his hand, flabbergasted. The lady didn’t check his passport, nor the forms. We could have picked up any kids of the street, who happened to carry their passports, and shipped them to some obscure country! But, then again, there was always the gate…

We said goodbye to our children and told them that we would hang around the departure hall until they had boarded the plane, just in case there were problems at the gate because the paperwork wasn’t witnessed. We kept in contact with them through our mobile phones during that time. As soon as our kids were through customs and the security check, they went to the gate. And lo and behold, nobody wanted to know about the forms there either!

The rest of the journey went uneventful. We had given our kids very strict instructions on how to behave whilst travelling (just contact me if you want more specifics) and they arrived safely on the other side, being picked up by my friend there.

On the way back the story was slightly different. At the check-in desk at the airport the lady behind the desk did have a look at the forms, signed them and made copies of them and offered our children to go through customs with the other unaccompanied children ‘so they wouldn’t be patted down.’ Of course they did go through a security check (fast lane), but it sounded very much like you can let your kids smuggle whatever and let them travel unaccompanied as they will be able to get away with it.

The only other person taking some interest in them being unaccompanied was the customs officer back in Heathrow. This is the conversation they had. Are you accompanied by an adult? No. Do your parents know where you are? Yes. Where are they? Dad is at work an Mum is on her way to collect us. Have you contacted her? Yes. Where is she now? I don’t know. So you haven’t contacted her? Yes, we did. Why don’t you know where she is then?Because she is still on an airplane. So what are you going to do when you get through customs? Go to Café Nero and wait for her. Okay, here are your passports, enjoy your day. So parents, bring your kids to Café Nero, apparently your kids are totally safe there!

As you can tell I am not impressed by the way unaccompanied children are dealt with during international flights. Maybe you say that I should have organised somebody from the airlines to accompany them. But if you have a connecting flight with another airline you need to inform both of them who is doing the drop off/pick up and nobody wants to give names. We tried. Fortunately our kids are mature beyond their age and have travelled internationally multiple times. We picked Changi airport for the stopover as we knew they know it well and they had no trouble finding their way. Nothing went wrong this time, but I am not taking my chances another time!

A Preview…

What would life be like when your children don’t live at home anymore?

No, no, I don’t have another book out yet (that is wishful thinking!). I am talking about what life would be like without having your children living at home. Ours have just been visiting their friend in Australia, thanks to a very accommodating mother (thanks, Donna, you are a trooper!) and I will pick them up tomorrow after a ten-day absence, the longest they have been from home without us.

So, what has it been like? Did I get terribly melancholic? Did I get bored? Did I fight with DH all the time? Nope, none of these. Did I party? Did I jump with joy? Did I think I finally had my own life back? No, I can’t say I have either. It had it’s pro’s and con’s. What I liked was not having to clean up after them all the time. And not having a ton of washing to do. And being able to cook without anybody complaining that they didn’t like it. That’s about all the pro’s I can think of. The con’s are slightly more numerous. I had to do the poop scooping myself (yuk!), I had to empty the dishwasher myself, I missed the routine of seeing them off to school and picking them up in the afternoon, I missed our chats whilst having a cup of tea in the afternoon. Basically I missed their presence, the house is a lot more quiet without them.

I guess I am fortunate that I have a really good relationship with my DH. Before we became romantically involved we were very good buddies. I suppose that makes a difference in the long run. Yes, I do argue with him now and again, and I have in these last few days (no exception there), but I didn’t have any breaks removed because the kids weren’t there. We know each other inside out and take each other as we are. I don’t know if that is the secret to a life-time relationship, but it sure helps. DH had planned the time off to work in the house, not knowing the kids wouldn’t be here. So we didn’t plan to be with just the two of us. It was the first time in nearly fourteen years that we had such a long time together. And it worked. We didn’t work in the house as much as we wanted to, but we had fun. We slept in nearly every day, we went out for breakfasts, lunches and dinners (not all of them on one day and not every day, mind you), and we worked together. It worked.

Now I know that I won’t mind my DH’s retirement. I know it’s still fifteen to twenty years away, but it’s nice to know anyway.

I do hope the kids will visit often though…