machines, orange hair and scary monday



It is interesting when stuff goes wrong on the computer and cyberspace.

This week has been interesting.

Ignore the old curse ‘may you live in interesting times’, nothing major happened. My albertareads blog went haywire. Putting widgets into footer areas which didn’t exist! And leaving a bar advertising the theme across the top of the blog. The first I fixed eventually after applying some diminishing brain cells and logic to the problem. But the theme advert I had no way of working out.

I called the forum.
Please Help me.
They did splendidly.

They were all sure it was wrong code – I never touch the code I told them, I did not know how to check it.

Please Help.
They did.
It was two bits of stray code they put it right.
I am smiling again.

Before that happened my computer presented a totally blank screen. Nothing. Zilch. Switch on /off. Tightened connections. Switched of  at main. Walked away. Left the machine.

Phoned computer people, after many different calls I was told to read out the serial number.
Underneath machine.

Thought I needed to unscrew, searched for screw driver small enough to do, then when actually managed it he told me shouldn’t have done that. So had to screw back in.! Finding battery was easy actually. Thought one of clasps was looser than other – after he had vanished into a broken connection I got to thinking about loose catches. Turned machine on again & voila, working just fine, battery was loose was all.

Not the Internet though, had to wait two more days before that decided to come back to me.

Did I tell you have changed my hair from turquoise and pink to orange and copper!:)

hair2 still remains of blue in there will get brighter.







I have news, big news for me anyway. Tomorrow – Monday 9th I am going to a local reading group to discuss Ellen’s Tale with them.

Scary Monday!

I hate talking in public with the problem I have with getting words in the wrong order, and not being able to elucidate what I am thinking, but they assure me it wont be like a ‘talk’, just sitting around chatting. I think I can manage that- hope anyway. I do know two of them so that will help. Wish me luck please:)


 I wanted to start serious editing this month and it is amazing what can be done if no access to Internet is available:) However the backlog of commenting, emails etc that can accumulate in that short time is amazing.I have been trying to create an order to The Children’s Tale it has been written in bits over three years, through illness and depression, has changed it’s format twice and I have decided to pull it back to the format the others were written in, which will mean changing tenses all the way through!


I have been editing and on The Children’s Tale I clocked up just over 8,000 words of 2nd revision stage. So spelling, repeated words, basic punctuation, tenses and order has been established. Needs polishing next time round
On my memoirs (based on blogging) I have done my final edits on one section (approx 13,000) running spell check through again, checking for punctuation and missing words. Needs my friend from forever/editor’s tender touch now:)


Missed out a bit this week as I wasn’t up on cyberspace to post them. I sang from ballroom to choir and quoted Chesterton and Mused on Monday all the others remained in my Scrivener file down here
Researching: Been working hard on A-Z challenge in April and have the theme, plus 37 subjects could use. Now to weed out some and then try and match them to the alphabet.

Networking: managed to catch up on stuff I must do and am beginning to comment where I don’t have too.

Others: Still trying to build up numbers on my new Twitter @al_berta_ross if any would like to follow me on that one as well would be most grateful:)

Reading: after my readathon last month I took time out to read three urban fantasies for light relief. Had to re-read Ellen’s Tale again for tomorrow.

Life: Haven’t had much time for self this week, but managed another two scrumbles, didn’t really like my last journal page so am practicing re-cycling and painted it all over- very liberating. Got out twice but been too cold for me.

Hope everyone had a trouble free week and all the best for this coming one:)

How long is a chapter? help requested please


This week has been a good week on the whole if we discount the weather plummeting to zero again just as my daffodils decided to was safe enough to bud:(  Also had to have some blood tests to see if we can discover just why I am not picking up as quickly as I should now that heart has been stabilized.  Results next week so fingers crossed it’s just a matter of adjusting drug does.  My visit to check rat poison levels was good I have reached the desired level.

 I have a great time editing The Ancestors Tale – this has been in creation for over a year now – some parts written, some dictated – there is a difference – when I dictate I am using more varied and complex vocabulary! Who would have thought? Some written/dictated when I was well and some when ill – again a big difference – I can see this editing is going to be a complicated challenge but you know what – it’s a challenge that I am enjoying:)

 My Scrivener workshop has highlighted a few things to be looked at in the Ancestors.  One of which I am seeking advice.  More of that later.

 I am this year showcasing the previous three in the Sefuty Chronicle series before Ancestors appears at the end of the year.  AS I missed last year’s deadline for it – this showcasing is as a reminder and hopefully to garner some new readers and hopefully some up to date reviews.  Ellen’s Tale is on her way as a must read and the other two will finish in the next months. Then later in the year I will be organizing some tours – I need to get some reviewers first.

While Ellen is being showcased I have signed her up on Morgan Bailey’s novel nights in – 10 weeks worth of instalments.  Morgan offers this blog for books of no greater length than 100,000 words – Ellen is the only one of the three short enough –so I need to chop her up into ten 10,000 word sections.

 Now my –‘help wanted please’ – bit:

 All the Sefuty Chronicles are made up of archival material i.e. recordings- transcripts of recordings, letters and journal entries. Sections (chapters) are of varying length and Ellen’s Tale having no chapters at all – it is written in sections – Ellen Welfitt or Bix Sefune for instance – the whole interview in one section (chapter) so some are very long say 12,000 words some very short for instance 1500 words depending on who is being interviewed – also the transcripts are interspersed with letters – fairly short but collected together so there may be any from 1 to 5 letters in a section. I will need to put chapters in I think for this 10 week project.

 I have read that chapters of 2,000 words are easy to read – this seems very short to me (well it would wouldn’t it:)  What are people’s thoughts on the length of chapters?  Bearing in mind the structure of these books.  The overview of Ancestors is beginning to throw up a similar question how long should a section be?  Ancestors is slightly different in that there are 4 sections of archival material, but for the first time there is a main narrative running through it – the man reading the ancestors accounts of 100 years previous also remembers the past 40 years of his life. Would I need to have a different chapter structure for the memories?

 Does any of this make any sense? Have any of you read Ellen’s Tale – I think the formula works in any case people do come back for more so it can’t be so unreadable – but it does need some flexibility of mind to read.

 How long is a chapter?

ROW80. This week:

 Words: I have been editing like crazy.  It is NaNoEdMo – 50 hours of editing min in a month – concentrates the mind. All of The Ancestors Tale has now gone through autocrit and basic mistakes have been highlighted.  In the process I have re-arranged the order of events a little to make I hope a more pleasing effect.  Going through autocrat work in the removing of repeated words and phrases I am re-thinking sentence construction and so the story tightens and improves – a small miracle!

 Memoir is also going well the 2 workshops have helped a great deal here and I have sound framework and have begun to fill in the gaps exposed.

 Blogs: Only one this week for Insecure Writers, ‘Wonderful dysfuctional human beings’

 Workshops:    2 x memoir – great  –   1 x Scrivener – I have fallen deeply in awe of scrivener – I am so pleased I joined this workshop – I hadn’t realised just how amazing it was.

 Networking:   Bit of a struggle this week – but have done some every day.

 Next Week:  More of the same – mainly editing but hope to start actually writing some A-Z blogs for April – have some drafted and have decided on what to include under every letter except 2!

 I hope everyone has had a reasonable week and wish you all a good coming week.

How to write the second, the third, the. . .


Most of us, I would guess, begin with the single thought ‘I want to write a book’. We do not realize the commitment, hard graft and discipline needed. But hey, that’s alright, we learn those facts quickly. If we continue we do so is because, having learnt the lessons, still think it’s worth our while to inhabit strange imaginary worlds and sacrifice large parts of our ‘leisure time’

We write that first book but, what of the second? Now, I have never written two stand alone books, when I began I believed I was penning one book, somehow it turned itself into a series, don’t ask me how. I could not tell you.  A lesson I appear to have missed  ‘Plan your series before you begin’ do not make it up as you go along.  If do not plan, then, oh then, best beloveds, insecurity will be increased tenfold.

When I wrote Ellen’s Tale (a one off) I decided to set  the tale in the world of Archives. An historical research project. Fine. A student tries to piece together a 50 year old story of great significance to the world. All she has are a few transcribed interviews, a more experienced archivist and  books of the period.

Many people may not like the style of having different characters narrating basically the same story, but I thought I had moved the story along reasonably well. It is set in 2161. So much back story, which I had learnt can not flood the story, hints, and references is all. I had Ellen leave her safe home at the end and I apparently killed off the archivists as well!

Well,  somewhere half way through Ellen my mind had ordered me to write a second book, The Storyteller’s Tale. One needs a cliff hanger; I was present for that lesson!

So a series was being created, patchwork style. I knew the structure of the 1st book would become tedious over a second book, but how to keep it near enough to the first for it to remain a series. After  a little while  I decided this archival material could be just the one person narrating her story. This time archivists listened to an original recording. No other version of events. Okay.  I  smiled and breathed my relief – it worked.  I should have stopped there. Ellen was abroad in the wilderness with companions. How on earth could I present archival material in another, I  wanted to write a third.

This took me months to figure out. I was even planning by now, not winging it. Complicated planning. Jack’s Tale, the 3rd, caused me so much anxiety I almost gave up. After a great deal of angst I found an answer. Ellen is the narrator through most of this book, a collection of her letters (without the answering ones) and some journal entries continue the story of her and her companions. And at the major catastrophe of their life she takes up the recording machine and conducts her own research programme.

If I had been a nail biter I would be minus all the ends of my fingers after I launched Jack onto the world, I wasn’t at all sure this change of reporting would work. Somehow it did. My regular readers were still with me.

Last year I took a chance on a 4th, The Ancestor’s Tale, and wished I hadn’t.  I had run out of ideas and variations. Not for the book, no I had always known I wanted some of that back story. The Great Climate Wars that had been responsible for 8 billion dead! But the way I started it was dull, dull, dull – even I didn’t want to read account after account of doom and gloom. I know, I know, it is dystopian but even so.

Well I was laid low, as some of you know, spending more time on/in my bed than upright. Between the dozing and sleeping my mind was let free to wander. The anxiety about structure vanished. I wasn’t writing anything, anytime soon, so why worry?

In this freedom the answer worked itself out. The story is still being pieced together by the Archive. The story line now encompasses the period from the Great Wars right up to the current time 2161, but now there are some memories not recorded, indeed may never be so (the end of the story hasn’t been written yet:)and will be lost to the archivists, some that have been confined by a time restraint and so must wait until they can be included into the unfinished Chronicles. I love my imagination.

I have also worked out how the 6th and possibly last tale will work and be connected.

The present worry, one that is beginning to consume my thoughts and cause an upflare of anxiety again, is how can I write the 5th?

When this series is finished I shall write one offs only:)