NEW Blog site

Here is my new blog site. I’ll still leave this one up for a while, but am moving everything over to Wix, where I have my website. Just makes sense to have everything together and connected where possible 🙂

http://alicewhiteauthor.wixsite.com/aw01/blog

Hope everyone has a beautiful day!

thFH2WROS6

 

NEW Blog site

Here is my new blog site. I’ll still leave this one up for a while, but am moving everything over to Wix, where I have my website. Just makes sense to have everything together and connected where possible 🙂

http://alicewhiteauthor.wix.com/aw01#!blog/ux9u8

Hope everyone has a beautiful day!

thFH2WROS6

 

M.E., a book promo, the HP Stream x360, and a complete publishing contract.

What a week… actually… what a month!

Now… those who know me are aware of my medical condition, M.E. Aka C.F.S, (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), here in the US. A name I HATE as it implies that is all there is to the illness… I can tell you, it is not.

[If you don’t know what it is and are interested to find out, THIS SITE explains it best]

I have had a few relapses before, but in recent times, and for a good long spell of about 6 years, the M.E., although still “somewhat” symptomatic, had been in remission… until a few weeks ago, when I began to feel more tired than normal. In fact, exhausted. Especially in the evenings, which ruled out critique group for a few weeks. I knew what that meant – a relapse – and made the necessary adjustments to my life, (like the example above RE: critique group), meanwhile to kicking said relapse’s arse.

Well, I’m happy to say, (tentatively, don’t want to jinx myself!), I have been feeling a little better for the past few days – as far as the fatigue goes, anyway – so I shall be making a cautious return to critique group this week, and see how I fair from that. I still hurt, but that is pretty much normal for me, and still waiting for my concentration to improve again, so that I can get on with rewriting The Blue Door Trilogy, (perhaps for submission to a publisher, finally). I’m not going to change the story any, but I would like to improve the writing quality and tweak the style in line with what I have learnt since first finishing it back in 2008.

Speaking of those books.

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As my way of saying a big THANK YOU to all who have followed, bought books, offered invaluable advice, or otherwise been a huge support to me since I began my authorly journey, I have my self-published “Blue Door” books coming up for a FREE promotion from December 18th until December 22nd, (just in time for Christmas 😉 ).. You can access them all HERE or HERE, or click on the above picture of them.

A few weeks ago, just before the relapse as a matter of fact, I decided to upgrade my computer. I went with an HP Stream x360. Mine is “Blizzard White”, like those in the pictures.

HP Stream x360HP Stream x360 foldedHP Stream x360 folded back

If you have not already been made aware of this fabulous little machine, let me tell you how wonderful it is. I had an HP Pavilion G6 notebook, running Windows 7 – and I LOVED it! It never gave me a day’s grief in its long, productive life, I just needed something more up to date.

Sad as I was to say goodbye to my beloved Pavilion, this Stream more than takes its place. Not only does it do everything the Pavilion did, it does it better, faster, and with a touchscreen – not to mention the 360 keyboard, turning it into either a laptop, or a tablet, or anything in between. I also love the smaller size. My old HP was a 15 inch screen and rather heavy. The Stream’s screen is a petite-but-adequate 11.6 inches, and it is feather-light, compared to the Pavilion.

Now, for Windows 8.1. First, let me say; I will NEVER get a laptop with Windows 10. A previous blog post will explain why. 8.1, however, is fantastic. I really like how it keeps the best bits of 7, (not that there was anything remotely wrong with 7 at all), and melds them with new features. As a result, I could not be happier with this little darling.

And now the VERY BESTEST EVER news. Today, my completed publishing contract arrived in my mail box – signed by both parties. Now it’s REALLY official!! And I am so very thankful to have Snow Leopard Publishing as my publisher for “That English Lady” 🙂

thTBKDUVGS

I’m looking forward to receiving my first editing draft from them soon 🙂

Marketing Meeting :)

I had an excellent meeting with Snow Leopard Publishing’s marketing manager, Christian Lee today for

That English Lady!design (2)

Looking forward to receiving the marketing and production plan as a result.

I’m still excited to continue the, so far interesting, fun, and pleasant journey!

minion happy

Publishing Contract!!

I’ll make this short and to the point, as I feel it deserves blurting out…

I’ve signed with Snow Leopard Publishing for

That English Lady!

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The fact that they liked my submitted manuscript blew me away. To then go ahead and want to publish it… well, let’s just say…

I’m STOKED!

I’m excited to begin the journey!thTBKDUVGS

thFH2WROS6

HAPPY PLACE!

th

minion happy

So I tried this new-fangled “Windows 10″…

A few months ago, Windows gave me the opportunity to download their new OS for free. I procrastinated and procrastinated, then finally, on Monday evening, plucked up enough courage to download the thing.

First of all, it is an app-based system.Windows 10 Whilst I am sure this may work very well for some, I am NOT a fan. I had to go through ALL the settings and configure them so that the “apps” – which, by the way, along with its many other bells and whistles, I will never have cause to utilize – could not access any of my information – since it is automatically set up so that they can!

Secondly, you cannot get rid of “Cortana” completely. CortanaYes, you can switch her off and stop her from “getting to know you”, (that you have to switch her off instead of having to turn on the feature should tell you something), but you cannot obliterate her from your life completely. That blessed search bar, which takes up almost a quarter of your precious task bar space, won’t go away!

Thirdly, and most annoyingly, the “Mouse Delay” feature. Basically, when you type something ANYWHERE the mouse is delayed from working for a certain time afterwards, supposedly so that it doesn’t “move around” when you are typing… Like I said, annoying. It does have four settings; “Long”, “Medium”, “Short”, and “No delay (always working)”. I opted for the latter, since this feature was already driving me round the bend, and there seemed no way to get rid of it completely, but there was still a 3 second delay.

HUMBUG!

I’m a writer, and as such need my mouse to operate immediately if I make an error or need to find a passage quickly – do not need an imposed delay, which is NOT by the way present in Windows 7, ruining my flow.

So my verdict for Windows 10? In short;

I HATED IT!

Needless to say, I reverted to my beloved Windows 7 with immediate effect,Windows 7 and have a much renewed appreciation for this marvel of technology. I remember running it for the first time and loving it. This from a die-hard XP fan!

To sum up; 7 is like XP on speed with added benefits. 10 is comparative to Vista, (which I also hated),  in the annoyance stakes.

I shall never again give in to a replacement, until it is absolutely imperative!

Quite a month – quite a year, so far…

At the start of September, I had no idea what a month this would be. I was expecting most of it to be fairly quiet after turning fifty toward the end of August.

Well, expectation can be a curiously unpredictable animal.

I already posted about having the new bridge installed, and stupidly figured that would be our excitement for the month. How wrong I was!

After celebrating the first day of autumn—forever to be my favourite season—last weekend, Fayetteville hosted Bikes, Blues, and BBQ. This year, they incorporated Arvest Ballpark into the list of venues for a growing number of events. It hosted a huge car show on Saturday the 26th. We attended.

I will tell you: Although I have flown many times in big jumbo jets, I have NEVER been up in a helicopter, but at $25 for three minutes or $45 for six, darling Hubby felt this should be remedied. And so we opted for the latter option.

As the huge, red dragonfly took to the air, a wisp of wind caught my hair. With what followed, I was very glad to have sat in the back!

Hubby told the pilot to “skim the trees” and then “lean backwards and forwards”. Of course, I had no idea what this would entail. Wind as I had never before felt swept around my body like a dervish, and if not for the seat belt, I swear I might have tumbled forward.

I will admit it. I screamed. Held on tight. (And there Hubby wanted me to sit in the front? I DON’T think so!). However, having gone through it, survived, and subsequently relaxed into a “this isn’t so bad” frame of mind, I didn’t flinch the second time Hubby urged our pilot into shenanigans and very much enjoyed the rest of the adventure.

One word comes to mind when I recall that virgin helicopter flight.

Exhilarating.

Yes, I would definitely do it again. I did not take a video of OUR six minutes—with so much wind up there, it would have been foolish to have any loose objects at all, and I would likely have dropped the camera anyway—but I did manage to catch the helicopter taking off again afterwards. It’s included in this video I made of the whole car show experience.

Unfortunately, none of the videos we took of the Parade of Power—which was the next port of call—came out. But we got a good viewing spot as they all roared past.

The reason we went out on Saturday? Apart from the fact that I love bikes and cars
 Sunday was our wedding anniversary. Six years married! Where does the time go? We got to view the entire lunar eclipse from our front porch for our sixth anniversary. How special is that? Again, no pictures. Neither of our cameras would have done it justice.

As the “diamond ring” melted away on the right hand side, a full moon of blood-orange tinged with black flecks faced us, emanating a halo so subtle we had to squint to see it. Then, after an hour or so of ever changing orange hues and black flecks, another “diamond ring” slowly filtered into view on the left.

That meant we were done. After almost two hours of craning our necks to see the spectacle, we surely needed some down time!

But we are not done yet!

Yesterday, I received the news that I became a Granny! On the 26th of September, weighing 6lb 8 oz., little Lexi was born over in the UK.

So, yes. September has been quite the month, all told.

And, 2015 has been quite the year. I turned fifty, obtained a bridge over our creek, celebrated six wonderful years of marriage to my darling Hubby, took my first helicopter flight, AND became a Granny! After this year of firsts and milestones, I wonder what other surprised this year has in store


In October, I shall be attending the NIMROD conference in Tulsa—also a first—and in November, the OWL conference in Branson. I’ve been a member of OWL for a couple of years now. While I am certain both will provide their own adventures, I am not expecting anything. Least of all peace and quiet!

The Bridge Over The Creek (River) Wild

Almost four years ago, we moved into our beautiful home, which sits across a babbling creek.WP_20131212_015 Now, normally, it’s a placid, peaceful brook, but some of you may remember the various adventures involving this creek. Like the time it resembled a tsunami,

rose so high and moved so fast, even the UPS would not traverse it – let alone us. Watch the video here.

SO. We dreamed of a bridge. For four years. Saved up hard. For four years.Money

We hired a bridge builder – for $8,000 – and the bridge… WP_20150920_020our beautiful bridge… was set in its final place last evening.

Here is a video of its installation.

Loki’s Liberty

We have a large 117 lb. dog and a smaller 30 lb. dog, who get along famously together. Although, a strange dog in our yard would get, and has got in the past, short thrift from him!

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While the smaller dog, Layla, is a Sheltie mix and extremely co-operative regarding behavior, (including taking less than half a day to grow to love her “kennel”), the larger dog, Loki, is a Coonhound, German Shepherd mix, and is what we like to call an ADD –  attention deficit doggie.WP_20150410_018

I shall endeavor to explain: He is a very good boy, IF you can get his attention to begin with. The problems begin when his attention is already otherwise diverted – perhaps by deer walking down the driveway, (we live in the country), or a scent in the yard that has particularly taken his fancy. At these times, nothing else exists for him, except for his current object of desire, including us!

I had seen the shock collars, anti-bark collars, etc. but none seemed appropriate for him. We have a wireless fence – with the collars – but it did not work for him either, (although Layla was very responsive to it). Loki would just learn to pick up speed where the wire would “zap” him and carry on running. He knew it would cease as soon as he crossed the barrier.

At a loss, after almost three years of ripped leather collars and one snapped steel runner, we were forced to buy a heavy-duty collar and a twenty-foot chain so that he could go into the yard safely and spend time outdoors. Anchored at one end to concrete in the middle of the front yard, it means he actually has a forty-foot circle to in which to roam around. However, I never felt comfortable putting a dog on a chain and continued to seek an alternative that might offer him a little more freedom – but in safety.

WP_20150918_007[1]Recently, I came across one of the newer remote control SONIC training aids. It also has a “shock” option, but the two control methods are completely separate. I like that! We feel the buttons could be placed further away from each other, but I shall put forth that suggestion on my review of the product. Along with a half-mile range and rechargeable batteries, the great reviews of this device impressed me enough to give it a try.

The long and the short of it is – it works!

WP_20150918_006[1]I took him around the yard, leash-less, and used sonic command number one, the lowest, whenever he got too far away. I only had to do it twice, (so far), and he went back to the porch – which is exactly what we would want him to do – and lay down beside Layla.

For the first time, I saw something I never, ever thought I would see with Loki, and it had me quite choked. He was there on the porch, just lying down, settled and calm, with no intention of absconding

WITHOUT A LEASH!WP_20150918_001[1]WP_20150918_005[1]

It’s going to be a much different, freer life for Loki now, thanks to this wonderful device, and I am really over the moon for him! 🙂

My Dad. Always Missed, Never Forgotten.

I wrote this tribute to my darling Dad after he passed on November 16th last year. Fathers’ Day seemed to me the perfect time to share with you all what a truly wonderful man he was.

********************

Peter Halliwell, My Dad

15th October 1931 – 16th November 2014

Dad

Always Missed, Never Forgotten

Nothing has seemed normal here since I got the terrible and sudden news on Sunday, November 16th, of your passing. Numbness engulfed me when the words did not ring true. The sudden overwhelming freight train of grief crept up; silent and unnoticed, then careered with full force into my heart and crushed it. Despondence followed and haunts me still. Even the most mundane of tasks takes on a surreal air, as if I am not here at all. On autopilot. Crying at the drop of a hat when the emptiness of losing you consumes me and batters my broken heart.

Then I get to thinking.

“What would my Dad want me to do?”

I receive an answer from the ether in a flash.

“Remember, cherish, and celebrate his life. Tell all who will listen, so that everyone – even those who never had the privilege to meet him – will know and remember the good man Dad was.”

And so, I do what is in my soul to do. I write from the heart, and conjure up treasured memories of you.

Time without number, we’d snuggle up in our chairs, watching Last of the Summer Wine, and laugh at Compo, Foggy, and Clegg’s hilarious antics on the small screen. I’d comment with impish cheek how Foggy reminded me of you, and you would poke out your tongue in defiance and feign annoyance. But I knew it was just for show. That timeless television program will forever hold strong connections to you. Especially the episodes that include Foggy.

From a young age, I shared your love of melodies and rousing symphonic masterpieces, through your benevolent influence. You were responsible for my early and continuous obsession with Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto #2, and I will be ever grateful to you for introducing me to it. I love it still.

Whistling through your teeth, you’d sit with headphones on and eyes closed, oblivious to the world around you, conducting a symphony orchestra from a vinyl record. Listening intently to your whistling, and the echoes of a vaguely familiar melody. You’d turned up the volume in compensation for your reduced hearing from time in bomb disposal with the Royal Engineers, an army background that echoed in your impeccable manners, upright gait, and love of military films. I would try to guess which of your favourites you were enjoying so much. Mahler, Wagner, Vaughan-Williams? It didn’t matter. That the music had enveloped you with such sublime peace was enough. I smile broadly at the sweet memory, every time I listen to our beloved classical music. And I do so daily.

Your mastery of architectural excellence filled me with wonder, when I helped out at the office one summer as a Girl Friday. Working alongside you, I saw first-hand your talented hands in action, drawing straight lines on a large sheet of planning paper – without a ruler. That you had found your true vocation was clear, and my heart brimmed with pride whilst I witnessed a true artist at work.

I watched in awe when you crafted, with meticulous precision, model trains and boats, with those same talented hands, in your shed where we also shared cigarette breaks. How you manipulated those tiny parts into such magical works of art, which all who beheld admired, continues to amaze me. When one of your model boats gained a place in the Scottish museum, I burst with delight. And there, in that historic place, it rests, and will ever rest. A permanent and public testament to your incomparable aptitude for precise detail and your skill with a lathe.

You taught me how to sail in a full-sized dinghy drafted with your own hands, on Maxey Lake. A gust of wind caught the mail-sail, and my heart pounded a drum roll when the Syndia became vertical on the water, skimming the waves ever faster, until we leaned with our bottoms off the side as far as we could in the opposite direction. I thought we would tip up and fall in! But we didn’t. Thanks to your expertize and patient instruction, we handled the small craft – albeit with slightly dented dignity – and saved ourselves a soaking.

From little adventures to Ferry Meadows and boating trips on the Norfolk Broads, to the yacht that you, Mum, my brother, my sister, and I sailed down the river Thames when I was a child and plans for a small fishing dinghy, which you drew up recently especially for my husband and me. Boats have always been a part of our lives.

Sunday outings to zoos and wildlife parks. Trips to our beloved, mountainous Scotland, for which you nurtured a special affinity, ever since you met the love of your life, my Mum, there and married her more than fifty years ago. You always considered yourself Scottish at heart. The kilt you sent to us will always hang in our house. A cherished keepsake, eternally dedicated to you.

You surprised me on my sixteenth birthday with a beautiful model of my favourite plane, Concorde, which you had spent hours putting together especially for me. It still holds pride of place on my shelf. I gaze to my wall at a frame containing copper etchings of giraffes, painstakingly crafted by you.

Your favourite films included; The Battle Of Britain, Bridge Over The River Kwai, The Guns Of Navarone, The Vikings, Lawrence Of Arabia, The Italian Job (original version), The Cruel Sea, Zulu, and Ring Of Bright Water – a story that enhanced and nurtured a love for otters, one of your favourite creatures. I think of you whenever I watch any from that list, and I seek them out on purpose – especially now – so that I can feel even closer to you.

These recollections are just a slice of times we shared, but all my memories, sweet as the cakes you loved, vast as the oceans you adored, tall as the mountains you climbed and revered, and stalwart as the military echoes that ran through your life shall ever keep me company. Fond memories laced with tears, as the realisation that I shall never again look upon your beloved smile reasserts itself with renewed and sudden certainty. Time after time, and with no fair warning. All are tucked up inside, and I shall keep them safe, like the precious treasures they are.

You are sailing someplace else now.

Are you conducting your own orchestra with Mr. Mahler, Mr. Vaughan-Williams, and Mr. Wagner, and sipping your own Summer Wine?

I’ll miss you as the sky would miss the sun and the moon.

I am so proud to be your daughter.

Thank you for being MY DAD.

Rest In Perfect Peace, Dad.

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Until We Meet Again.

 Alice White © 2014