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Michelle's corner

Michelle Knight. Writer, photographer, programmer, truck driver and general, all round nut case. Life is a journey and that's what this blog will probably end up being. Let's see where we go, eh? ;-)

Currently reading

Your Beauty Mark. All You Need to Get the Hair, Makeup, Glow, and Glam.
Dita von Teese
Progress: 208/256 pages

Booh yah....

In GENIE I wrote about Spy Fly. In the meantime, in the real world, we now have RoboFly .... https://newatlas.com/robofly-tetherless-flying-insect-robot/54621/

Even the tax office is a critic

I earn so little as an author that the tax office shut down my self assessment portal account. After some conversations, I sent them details of how much I'd earned as an author.... and got a rebate of £34.50 ... I know I don't sell many books, but... man... that hurts!


I thought I could write....

The bathroom needs re-working. The kind of re-working where everything is ripped out and started again. I thought, "OK, I can take a few weeks off work and while they're working on the house, I can make a good start on the next book." ... oh, was I mistaken.


There's dust everywhere, and I have to cross my legs for long periods as our only toilet has to go out of commission during certain work phases. I mean... honestly... if I even attempted to write this into a book, no one would ever believe it.


Post from Facebook

I'm slowly deleting all my posts on Facebook, and one of them I thought I'd post here, to keep it safe :-)...


Dedicating a book to someone you care about is so very, very difficult. How do you wrap up years of friendship, companionship, laughs, tears, hugs, walks, warm evenings together over glasses of wine, cold evenings together over a hot cup of tea ... in just a few words on a page?

Companion and Leader won't be re-written

It took a friend, a sit-down and a few beers. The nub of it is that I'm still not a good enough writer to do them justice. I'd just be making different mistakes. I'm among the first people to admit that I've got a way to go, before I become a decent author.


I'm not happy with the decision... but I think it's the right one.

Amazon Is Burying Sexy Books

Here's the article on Motherboard - https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/bjpjn4/amazon-erotica-best-seller-rankings-removed


In the last few days, word has spread among independent erotica authors on social media that Amazon was quietly changing its policies for erotic novels. Five authors I spoke to, and several more on social media, have reported that their books were stripped of their best seller rankings—essentially hiding them from casual browsing on the site, and separating them from more mainstream, safe-for-work titles.

There seems to be little rhyme or reason to what gets deranked and what doesn’t. Ann Mayburn, an erotica author, told me in Facebook direct messages that her science fiction romance featuring “vibrating alien penises and ejaculation that's purple and tastes like candied violets” still has its ranking, but another novel, a BDSM romance, has been labeled as erotica and “sent to the no-rank dungeon.”


The question now is what are readers... customers... who enjoy these kinds of novels,  going to do about this?

To change, or not to change... that is the question

I'm facing an epic decision over the next few days. Whether to re-write The Companion and The Reluctant Leader.


Later this week, I'll be with a friend as we go over the car for its pre-MOT check. After the work is done, we traditionally sit back with a bottle or two of beer, and chew the cud. The re-write is front and centre of discussion.


She's read shed loads of books in her many decades of life, and reckons that I should just leave them as is. Personally, I know that I made the mistake of writing my legacy work while I was still in "film script" mode, which is where the written word leaves key things in the hands of the actors and director. Cinematography has different ways of approaching things and has its own way of making an impact. So those first two books are wanting.


But they are my legacy work (as far as I'm concerned) and I want them to be the best they can be. However, I'm also aware that a book can never be perfect; you have to let it go at some point and let people make of it, what they will. I already have enough feedback on Companion to know where its shortcomings are.


Bring on the discussion.... and the beer, of course.

Wisdom from Groucho Marx...

“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.”

The devil follows me....

— feeling shocked

A lesson before the book has even arrived...

In a world of next-day delivery, something inside me believes that this is the Dalai Lama teaching me a lesson in patience, even before the book has arrived :-)


This is definitely on my list...


The Physical World






I want to tell you a story....

This, is an Aiwa HS PX-303. Actually, it's an HS PX-30. I thought I'd better own up before some eagle eyed person calls me on it. The difference? This one's from Japan. At the moment, it won't run. Why? I've removed all the major capacitors and the new ones I need won't even be manufactured until June. That's how difficult it is to get the parts for these suckers.



One of the reasons I've been quiet around here for a while is... oh.. hang on. Let's start at the beginning.


When I was young, I was a student. Being away from home, I was facing the most difficult decision of my life... the decision to change sex. I was lucky in that I was in Sheffield, and also in Mensa. I had access to a number of people who pulled no punches. If I decided to go ahead, it would likely mean the loss of my family, my friends, starting life all over again, but this time, alone. You can see how this would lead to a lot of sleepless nights.


This unit kept me company as I walked the streets of Sheffield at night, playing music in my ears as I turned everything over in my mind, putting one foot in front of the other in the darkness.


The other thing that kept me diverted was Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. Still only about a quarter written by that time, I would see lonely Christmases through with a pile of books and a smaller pile of chocolate.


Well, firstly, the unit pictured above isn't the one that spent so close a time on my hip. No. That unit was stolen before I left Sheffield in the mid 90's and I never had the money to get another one. The thing that had been closest to me in my darkest hours... well, I don't need to tell you guys how I felt.


That was, until recently. I've been looking for a replacement for many years, but these days they are as rare as hens teeth. In December I joined a forum, by chance. In short order a kind soul in France sent me two units on the proviso that if I manage to fix them both, that I return one to him. Also, another one was sold to me from Japan, from someone in America, but was posted from Israel. Now it's in the UK. Yes, that's how convoluted this got, in very short order.


As it happens, the forum had gone through a bit of a rough patch, and there was more than ten years of precious posts, locked in a database. Well, I offered my services, free gratis, as you do. Took a while, but I created an engine to traverse the old database and bring back the knowledge that had been built there over all that time. Also, to give access to the pictures and documents that had been recorded as database gibberish.


Out of nowhere, as means of thanks, the owner of the forum (who lives in Spain) has offered for one of these units to go to Slovakia to be repaired. Talk about as ye sow, so shall ye reap.


All this is without addressing the issue of the battery, of course. The lead acids are long dead, but someone in China is installing new technology in the old housings. I have one here and need to track more. I'm talking to someone in Hong Kong who does miracles with old games consoles, who is acting as in-between, because I don't speak Mandarin... but that's a whole different story.


So... I'm hoping that by the summer of 2018 comes, that I'll be able to walk through the sunny countryside, listening to Tony Robbinson narrating Discworld on cassette. If I'm really lucky, my friend, who has been listening to audio books for years in the car, will have a copy of Colour of Magic narrated by Nigel Planer. Now that would be a treat...


So now you know one of the reasons why I've been quiet for so long. If you happen to see a picture of me, one day, out in the sunshine, holding one of these decks in one hand, and a cassette of Discworld in the other... then you'll know that a long and painful ghost, has been put to rest.


(and this is the short version, by the way!)


Incidentally, April will likely see the re-write of Companion and Leader, as I've taken two weeks off to supervise the bathroom being ripped out and rebuilt... but that... as they say... is a whole 'nother story.


From years of searching, to three, all in a matter of weeks...


Fraudster targets voice actors for book narration scam

In the UK, a convicted fraudster is out and striking again, this time targeting voice actors for audio book narration. - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-43230847

When librarians troll...

A good bookish link that made me laugh this morning - https://www.boredpanda.com/funny-librarians-jokes/


So what's happening here? Well, I'm waiting for the point where I have to take two weeks off, in order to re-write Companion and Leader.


Those two weeks depend on the schedule of the person who is coming to replace the bathroom... including some sections of the walls.


Yes... I've been busy... but not how you think !!!




Anyway, I needed a laugh this morning.

How's this for a holiday... running your own book shop for a few weeks.

Yes, apparently in a Scottish town, you can take a holiday to take over the reins of a book shop.


Seriously !!! - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-42536927/holidaymakers-flock-to-run-bookshop-in-scottish-town

So... what happened?

Everything has been on freeze here. Most of the writing goals I had for the end of the year have gone to pot. Many people are having troubles at this time of year, and I'm no exception.


When on solid ground, you can fly so high that you can travel all of time and space. When that ground underneath your feel feels like sand, then it can be difficult to get the day to day done, because you're always watching to see if you're about to sink.


That's pretty much what's happened here. Also, I don't know when that sand is going to solidify to cement again. Or if I'm going to sink.


I only have statutory holidays this year, so I'm not sure whether I'm going to be able to finish and review the VonTeese book. I certainly won't be writing anything.


Maybe in another few months, I'll be able to fly once more. There's plenty to write about.


Best wishes to all. Hopefully, I'll have something of more substance to contribute soon.