I’ve never hosted a book blog tour before so I hope this works out alright for Jaye Marie and Anita. I had the privilege of reading an early draft of this book and made a few suggestions of ways it could be improved. It reminded me of my own boating holiday on the Norfolk Broads in 1990. Jaye Marie and Anita had their boating adventure back in the 1970s and it marked the beginning of a partnership that has lasted more than 40 years and includes the publication of a dozen books.
Guest post (Anita)
Two years ago, when I first started hearing about Indie publishing, I never thought it would be something I could actually do, as the thought of anything to do with a computer filled me with dread.
I had been writing for years, and submitted my work to most of the mainstream publishers. Very nearly made it too, but as they say, a miss is as good as a mile! Which was a shame, for many people liked what I wrote.
So it didn’t take long for the idea of doing it yourself to become something I was determined to do. I enlisted the help of my sister, Jaye, as she is far more computer literate than I. More stubborn too!
What Jaye had to learn was incredible, and unbelievably hard. I tried to keep up with her, but there were days when even she was pulling her hair out. Some of it was easy, which tended to lull us into a false sense of achievement, but we persevered.
Eventually, we learned how to upload one of my manuscripts to Amazon, and I was finally a published author. (Well, sort of)
We didn’t stop there. We wanted to upload my other books and create paperback copies too, proof positive that I was truly a writer. One little success meant there could very well be others, and that was the best incentive in the world.
Learning how to do all that was a nightmare, but soon, four of my books were on Amazon and we were like a couple of Cheshire cats. We were tempted to stop there; after all, I now had four paperback copies of my books on my shelf, as well as the Kindle editions.
But we soon discovered that this was only half of the battle. Apparently, you need a platform, a reader friendly website to promote my books or they would remain in limbo. Then there was all the socialising and networking. So many writers were publishing their own books; we were a very small pebble in a very large pond!
We managed to create a passable website and established a presence on the internet. Not that this is the end of the story, there is no way you can rest on your laurels (that is if you even have some!)
Even if nothing monumental comes from all our efforts, we know we have tried our hardest. But we won’t stop writing, for that’s the fun part!
I had no intention of becoming a writer. I loved to read, and for most of my life, that was enough for me. More than enough really, for I am a compulsive reader and will read anything I can lay my hands on. Give me a bookshelf full of books and I will start at one end and read my way to the other.
Then I offered to edit my sister Anita’s books. She hates computers, so I offered to type them up too. Before I knew it, my brain began to explore what other things I could be doing.
I tried to ignore that inner voice, for I was busy enough already. Anita was writing faster than I could format, and there were all my other interests too. Gardening, DIY, dressmaking and a host of craft projects. I love to be busy, but it came to the point where something had to give, never mind add something else to the list.
I considered myself a writer when I held my first paperback copy of my book Nine Lives in my hand for the first time. Up until that magic moment, I doubted I would ever feel like a writer. But holding that paperback copy finally convinced me.
My favourite character didn’t really appear until book two, The Last Life, and his name is Detective Inspector David Snow. The fact that my detective looks a lot like Tom Selleck should indicate how fond I am of him. I just love writing about him.
That was then, and I have now finished writing The Broken Life, the third book in my mystery thriller series. The characters just turned up in my head, one by one, nagged me for weeks until I gave in, and listened. So you can never say never.
This genre came as a surprise, for I lean towards the supernatural, spooky kind of book, so I have no idea where the idea came from. If anything, I should have expected to write medical stories, as I always wanted to be a doctor, and these are some of my favourite television programmes.
My favourite fiction book just happens to be The Scarlet Ribbon, Anita’s supernatural mystery romance. I was the editor for this one and fell in love with it. And no, she didn’t have to pay me to say this!
My life has not been easy by anyone’s standards, and now I am growing old, I sometimes look back and wonder how I managed to get through it all. So, the perfect epitaph for me would be… “She did her best…” Even though I made a pigs ear out of most of it!
This novella is the true story of our family’s first proper holiday back in the Seventies. Looking back, I wonder what made us think it was a good idea, but despite all the things that could have gone wrong, we had a fantastic time. I was the Skipper most of the time, and for some reason decided to record our adventures in a small notebook. We were young and without husbands, Anita was a widow, and I was glad to be rid of mine. (and that is another story) Money was precious and scarce back then, but all the saving and sacrifice turned out to be worth every single memory we all cherish.
This notebook has been treasured and kept safe, despite numerous house moves and family disasters, as a symbol of our courage and determination. Renting a boat on the Norfolk Broads could so easily have been one of the stupidest things we had ever done, but even after 40 years, we have such good memories of that time.
Over the years, we often thought of making it into a proper book, but along with everything else in our often-complicated family life, it was something we never got around to. Until just recently, when we were looking for some old photographs, found the now fragile notebook and knew it was time.
It wasn’t as easy as we imagined it would be either, for our logbook writing skills leave a lot to be desired, but there was just enough information entered on those pages to get us started.
Connect with Jaye and Anita
Anita’s Author Page/Amazon Link : https://Author.to/AnitaLink
Jaye’s Author Page/Amazon Link: https://Author.to/JayeLink
Finally, here is today’s extract:
Everyone is awake early. When I stagger into the galley, Anita is busy making packed lunches for our trip into Yarmouth. I could hear some sort of argument going on in the girl’s cabin, but it didn’t sound too serious and no one was crying, so hopefully, it wouldn’t ruin our day.
The boys have finished their breakfast and were having a noisy game of Connect Four. When the winner, usually Darren, makes his brother’s counters fall from the machine, the clatter is deafening. Then Stephen accuses Darren of cheating which always starts another row, and I wait for it to start. At this rate, nobody will be leaving the boat today.
Anita appears and tells them to put the game away. ‘Go read a book, or do something in your cabin. I have to sort out the girls and their breakfast.’
And good luck with that, I thought, as I go to pump out the bilge. By the time I had finished and walked the dogs, peace had descended. Judging by the dirty looks passing between both girls, the problem would be aired again later.
We walk to the main beach and sit in the sun for a while. We find it too hot to sit there, so walk along to the Britannia Pier. The tanning competition has turned out to be a disaster, as most of us are turning a vivid shade of pink. Heidi’s poor little face looks like it’s been in the oven!
Yarmouth has two piers, but The Britannia was by far the most popular, with amusements, rides, dodgems and a ghost train. One thing is for sure, our legs will probably end up a lot shorter with all this walking!
There is a lot going on in Yarmouth, with amusement arcades, roller skating, a model village and the Sea Life Centre. The boys have a pony ride and Darren loved it, but from the look on Stephen’s face, he wished he hadn’t bothered.
Anita Jr. kept winning on the ‘Play Your Cards Right’ machine and her mother beat every score on the ‘Test Your Road Skills’ machine. This is quite remarkable, considering she hadn’t passed her driving test yet.
The rifle range was a riot. Most of us couldn’t hit a barn door, but it was a lot of fun trying.
On our walkabout, we come across this huge sports complex, very posh and expensive looking. It has swimming pools, a solarium, sauna, squash courts and bowling. I think they must take their recreational pursuits seriously here in Yarmouth. The largest pool has this fantastic machine which creates huge waves which run the length of the pool, once every hour.
Everyone is excited about the swimming pool, although I wonder how strong the waves will be. I have swum in the sea as a child when it has been a bit rough, and I know how much a strong wave can hurt or knock you off your feet. Once an hour is a long time to wait when you’re a child, so we explore some of the other surprises this pool had to offer. All along one side, the pool extends into a series of channels all created to look wild and natural. It was only after we had drifted into one of these, we realise there was a strong current pulling us along. It was a strange sensation and not one I liked much at first.
Then a siren sounded, heralding the first wave. I had no idea what would happen. Would there be the one big wave or a series of smaller ones culminating in the big one? We were about to find out.
Everyone in the pool falls silent as we wait for the waves to begin. They were hardly noticeable at first but gradually grew stronger. The water seemed alive, the waves slowly rolling towards us. The boys were having trouble keeping to their feet, so I move closer to them, just in case they need help. The next wave promises to be much bigger. It thunders down the pool, sending adults and children flying. When it reached us, Stephen stumbles and goes under the water, his arms flailing in the air. Darren seems okay, at least his head was above the water and he was laughing, so I grab his brother and hold him tight until he got his breath back.
When the waves stop, we leave the pool. Once we are dry and dressed, we treat ourselves to some chips. Everyone agrees the pool is amazing, but more than a little scary, but no one suggests we do it again.
Next stop was the Model Village. Beautifully laid out with recognisable buildings, complete with tiny trees, cars and people, including a dolls house sized Buckingham Palace. I could see the girls were impressed, and this takes some doing! There is a magnificent fish pond, full of multi-coloured goldfish. They know people mean food, so every time you reach out over the water, a crowd of eager fish gather, practically climbing on each other.
The Sea Life Centre looks amazing but seems far too expensive. When I point this out, several howls of disappointment assail me. I look across to Anita and could tell from the expression on her face that she wants to see it too. I whip out my credit card. We might never have a holiday like this again, we should make the most of it.
Once inside, we find ourselves in a dark blue world, lit only by the light coming from the tanks. It was all very eerie, but magical as if we were part of the underwater world too. They have turtles, baby crocodiles and some of the biggest fish I have ever seen. Judging by the kid’s reactions, it was worth every penny.
Situated among the tanks was a waterfall, cascading down the rocks, and it didn’t take us long to realise we could walk behind the curtain of water. I thought it would be cool behind the water, but it was rather hot and sweaty, like being in a bathroom after someone has had a hot shower. It was noisy too, so not a pleasant experience. Which was a shame, for the idea was amazing.
We decide to go back to the boat by bus. What with all the walking and then the swimming; our legs have seriously had it! We want chips for supper again, but they were shut, so we had to make do with sausage and beans on thick buttered toast, which isn’t bad when you’re hungry.