Category Archives: Coronavirus

What to do next?

Prioritising work is fiendishly difficult. How to decide what’s important and needs to be tackled first?

There’s no way of telling what will work in publishing until is does. My original intention as 2020 started was to promote myself as a writer and my Cornish Detective series as crime stories worth reading. I already had a blog about writing, a website devoted to my protagonist and various social media profiles. Adding posts to them might support my publishing career. Last Christmas, I uploaded the first four titles to KDP Select, a commitment I’d previously avoided. Book 5 would appear to coincide with holidaymakers appearing in Cornwall at Easter. I was 50,000 words into completing the sixth story. I had a plan! :rolleyes:

Then, everything went bonkers. While updating my Linux Mint operating system, it somehow gobbled up every document on the desktop. My fault, I think, as I inadvertently had another update running at the same time. Somehow, I’d saved everything to the Cloud except my work in progress! I wasted two months attempting to recover it, without result. As I struggled, the coronavirus took hold of the world. Slowly, I realised that the manuscript would have been unusable, as the story was set in 2020.

Slightly deterred, but not crestfallen, I refocused my energies to add another string to my bow by learning how to narrate and record my novels as audiobooks. The lockdown had further stimulated this sector of publishing which was already growing exponentially.

I chose Audacity as a digital audio workstation (DAW), which is free to use. I spent several hundred quid acquiring equipment. The Olympus LS-P4 Hi-Res Audio Recorder I bought wasn’t needed for home recording, but I intend to use it with a digital SLR camera I got to film videos about the stories out in the field.

I’ve been learning how to record audio files that satisfy Amazon’s ACX vetting procedure. The advice I received from Colony members who preceded me on this mind-blowing obstacle course was invaluable. My audio-files have finally passed ACX. All I have to master now is how to pronounce words perfectly!

Each novel will take at least a month to narrate and master, so that’s most of the rest of the year gone. I record in the evening, as the place where I live is quietest then.

Other activities I could be getting on with, include blogging, writing articles for the Cornish Detective website, making myself known on Twitter, my Facebook business page, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram and LinkedIn. I’m also writing the third novella in a series about an American Civil War veteran. I should be querying literary agents, my least favourite part of being a writer.

There’s always something to do being a writer!

How do you prioritise what to do next?

Do you have a set daily routine?

Or, do you mix and match?


Love In The Time Of Corona

Firstly, apologies to  Gabriel García Márquez for riffing on the title of one of his novels. Love In The Time Of Cholera is well worth a read if you’re wondering what literature to tackle while self-isolating.

One happy effect of the crisis, for me at least, is that friends and strangers have been more friendly. I don’t mean face to face strangers, as people are observing the keep your distance restrictions, more correspondents met on Twitter, Facebook and various dating agencies.

I’ve been computer dating for twenty years, meeting a woman who became a wife and making several good friends. I look at the sites every day, not with a view to finding a soulmate, more browsing in the same way as I look at cars, motorcycles and property that I’ll never have. This activity may be what prompted half a dozen lonely hearts to contact me in the last month. That’s about the number of messages I normally receive in a year.

Solitary people are forced to face what they want from life – and, for the elderly, that includes a last chance at love. I politely declined these advances, as I’ve sold my heart and soul to writing – who is a haughty mistress! 

There’s an increased warmth in messaging on Twitter and Facebook that is supportive. Friends I’ve been corresponding with for years are writing more frequently.

Displays of affection in the community, albeit at a distance, are forging bonds that will last beyond the crisis. It’s easier to spot who is a decent human being these days and who is a selfish rat, such as those who hoard supplies and those bosses who refuse to pay their staff or who fire them.

It reminds me of what my parents told me about how people pulled together in the Second World War.

In the UK, people have been applauding National Health Service staff:

Thousands of people have applied to join the 250,000 strong volunteer army that the government has appealed for. If that’s not loving, I don’t know what is.

What examples of love in the time of corona have you seen where you live?

Coronavirus: Natural Remedies

I’m not claiming a cure for coronavirus, but these natural remedies will alleviate the irritation of coughing:

I would add that Olbas Oi is effective in clearing airways…and it also works as a massage oil.

Ginger is mentioned in the article. I keep mine in the icebox of the fridge, which makes it easy to grate into pineapple juice; this concoction stops me coughing immediately!

I’ve praised garlic many times over the years. It won’t prevent you catching coronavirus, but it does help strengthen your immunity system:

I’ve been eating raw garlic since 1996, prompted to by having a stroke the previous Christmas. I haven’t had a cold in 24 years.

Do you have any home remedies?