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Happy New Year!

It’s 2018… and I’m back!

It’s been a while, over a month I’d say, and I’ve missed blogging. Did you miss me? I bet you’ve had many things to keep you busy over the festive season. I have so many things to tell you and I hardly know where to start. 2018 is going to be such an active year for me.

Killing A Vampire

My biggest accomplishment in 2017 was finishing Book 3 of the Suckers Trilogy. I was able to send it to the beta readers before Christmas, and I’m receiving their responses back now. The few grammatical errors (tenses keep being my bane), the odd remark on character statements, but overall a positive reaction. I even received a pat on the back for two suspenseful chapters by Kathy Lance, an ex-director of an international school of linguists and now book reviewer for One Stop Fiction. She’s a tough one, writing very honest reviews, and her comment made me very proud.

I must admit I was a bit wary of this book when I began writing it. I have planned this story for a long time, and writing it according to ‘plan’ felt different than writing the first two books, which were written ‘from the wrist.’ Writing the interactions between the characters still felt exciting as they were new on the page, but I worried about the storyline once I finished it.  I wanted a grand finale and felt my story lacking. I discussed the issue with my family and they helped me improve it. Now I have revised the ending, got rid of the grammatical errors, and changed the wording here and there, I feel this story is a great ending to the trilogy and am ready to promote it.

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Christmas Celebration

Over Christmas, we flew to Holland to spend time with the family. We visited almost all of our dearest family and slept in four different beds in the seven days we were there. The weather was great, we only had rain the last day. We were very lucky to get a Maastricht city tour from my uncle, who has been a tour guide in one of Holland’s oldest cities. We visited the tunnels as well, which was very different from what I expected. We spent two days in the Efteling, a fairytale theme park, which is always a big hit with the kids. It was great to see everyone again and we were sad to leave.  I was glad to sleep in my own bed again though 🙂

What is 2018 going to bring?

Promoting

First of all, the promotion of my trilogy. I never thought I would ever write a book, so finishing three has been a major accomplishment in my life. It gives me a real boost and I’m looking forward to promoting them. I love writing and will continue. There are so many new ideas already flying around in my head.

Improving health

The new year also brings a new year’s resolution for me as I have never been this unhealthy and overweight in my life. Writing has been my passion and I have put all things aside for it. This year, I need to take more care of my body, my family, and my house. I have started doing yoga exercises and will begin doing some physical exercises as well. I’ll have to take it slow, as I’m as flexible as a door. Next to this, I fell on my wrist during ice skating on our holiday and it is still painful. Fingers crossed it won’t be a chronic issue.

 

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Family time

I also need to take out more time for my family as I feel like I have neglected them badly and want to spend more time with them. I’m going to cut our TV-watching dinners and eat at the dining table so we can have actual conversations. Cooking more interesting dinners and resolving the draft issues in the dining room will probably help promote this.

Renovations

2018 is also the year that we are going to have major renovations done to the house. We have decided that it takes too long to do everything ourselves. Sometimes you need to put a little water to your wine. The work doesn’t have to be perfect, as long as it functions and you can enjoy life instead of worrying about not having enough time. So, the kitchen and family bathroom are going to be done by someone else than ourselves. The kitchen project will cause some problems as last year, my husband decided to rip out the little kitchen in the basement ‘because it was ugly.’ We will now have to organize a makeshift kitchen in the dining room when we rip out the old kitchen. This will mean my previous resolution of having meals in the dining room will have to be postponed, but hopefully it won’t take a whole year (famous last words).

Reading

As I won’t be writing 24/7 anymore, I also hope to have more time to read so watch this space for some awesome book reviews!

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Do you have any new year’s resolutions or major plans for 2018? I’d love to hear what’s written down on your calendar 🙂

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I’m still alive!

I just wanted you to know I’m still alive. In case you wondered.

Holiday

I’m sorry for not posting for over a week now. I actually have been on holiday, but my dear husband didn’t want me to announce that while we were away. As I had just read the news that a famous football player had been burgled after he posted an image of him and his family skiing in Europe on Instagram, I agreed with him. We didn’t get burgled.

Where did we go? Tuscany, Italy. It was beautiful there, albeit a little hot. At some point, we had the car registering 45°C! We went there with my husband’s family and had a great time.

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In the meantime, we’ve been back for a week now and I’ve been working day and night on my Book 2 promotion. It is so much harder than I expected! Nothing seems to work with me.

Word

I have been struggling for about two days to get my three books (the Prequel, Book 1, and Book 2) to look the same (formatting-wise). I have been wrestling mostly to get the header and footer lines on the same height. Not that eBooks need headers and footers, but I had them originally formatted to be printed books (something that I’m going to postpone for now). Somehow, Word totally ignores you when you hit the ‘delete header/footer’ button. Yes, the text/numbering disappears, but the actual header/footer stays. So annoying. It took me forever to get them exactly on the same height (and not a mm off). If anybody else struggles with them, don’t hesitate to contact me. I think I can say I’m an expert now 🙂 .

Twitter

Next, I’ve been really pissed-off (pardon my French) with Twitter. I used to have an account called @JackyDahlhaus. Somehow this got deactivated due to spamming (accidentally, according to Twitter). I had no clue then and opted for another handle; @DahlhausJacky. As I’ve recently been looking into spreading ‘my brand’ over the social media, I was advised to have my brand name the same everywhere. Hence I needed to change my Twitter handle to my first one. I contacted Twitter and asked them to activate @JackyDahlhaus. ‘Sure, no problem,’ they said. And they did.

That’s when the problems started. As they activated the first account, they deactivated the second account. I lost all my followers (about 2500+ of them). No problem, I thought. I’ll just build it up again from scratch and get ‘real’ followers this time. People who actually read and like my books, not sexy snap-chatters, car sales people, or phoney army guys wanting ‘a friend’ and the likes. But when I tried to use the old account, it needed an email address first. I typed in my email address. ‘Sorry, this email address is already in use,’ was the message that popped up. Duh, of course it is, as it is attached to my second account. As this was now deactivated, I can’t get in it to remove the email address there. I have to wait thirty days to have it activated again. I’ve tried in multiple messages to Twitter to make them see the issue here, but all I get is automated responses with suggested actions that don’t help. Aaargh!

I have solved the problem for now with another email address I had made a while ago, but didn’t use. I’ll do for now. I just have to wait thirty days before I can have the other account activated again and remove my email address. would have been nice from Twitter to warn me to do this before they deactivated it.

Photoshop

Photoshop is another one of my peeves this week. It’s a great program and I love it, couldn’t do without it. Sometimes it drives me round the bend though. It’s not their fault, it’s my fault. I’m just not always as focused as I need to be and then I suddenly can’t find my images anymore. Or the black background of one book is not as black as the others, even though it’s made with the same ‘stock’ image. Or I can’t change a component of an image for no apparent reason. Very frustrating.

I’ll Live 🙂

I hear you think ‘She’s losing the plot!’ Not to worry. I’ll trundle on and make the most of it. I see this whole promo exercise as another learning curve. It’ll make it easier next time!

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Happy New Year!

Hello again everybody,

Happy New Year! I wish you all a year filled with love, laughter and healthiness (if that is a word 🙂 ).

I just got back from my holiday and am almost back into the routine of things. The washing has been sorted and lays piled up in the laundry, waiting for their turn. Suitcases have been emptied and await their storage in the attic. Pre-holiday mess has not been cleared by pixies, so will have to deal with this still.

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Also, an appointment with the GP has been made to unblock my ears. We went diving in the Maldives (I know, lucky me!) and I’ve got swimmers ear now. Never had the problem before and I have been diligent with cleaning my ears after every dive, but unfortunately it hasn’t helped this time. I sure hope they can fix the problem as it is a horrible sensation. I may try to use a home remedy of a mixture of rubbing alcohol and vinegar before the appointment. Waiting thirteen days with blocked ears to be seen by the doctor is a long time.

I found out this morning that my car has chucked a tantrum for not being used for almost a fortnight and refuses to budge from its spot. It starts up okay, just doesn’t want to move. Fortunately we are insured properly and somebody is coming to have a look at it within an hour. I feel disabled without being to move around as I please, so I hope it’s just some rusty break pads or the likes. Fingers crossed.

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Writing wise nothing has happened over the holidays, but I’m sure you can imagine why. I did get some reading done though and have finished The Hostile (by Joy Mutter), Vesta Mansion (by P.A. Priddey), The Second Guess, (by Keith Dixon), and am about halfway of The Keresa Headdress (by Larry D. Schackelford). Not as much as I had hoped, but still a good effort if I may say so myself. I will put some reviews up soon. My New Year resolution is to read on a daily basis. I will probably set an hour apart every day for this purpose.

Anyway, enough chatter by me. More writing news in the days to come.

xxx

PS: Nobody got infected by me after my visit to Holland. Phew!

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ADRD?

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…