There comes a time in everyone’s life when difficult decisions can no longer be put aside for another day. One has to ‘bite the bullet’ and just do it…
Several years ago, my mother decided she no longer wanted the inconvenience of having to declare miniscule royalties received from her fiction novel ‘A Tangled Web’, and therefore had the book unpublished. Her first book, a memoir entitled ‘When the Wind Blows’ came out of print at least twenty years previously; and though she can still pride herself as being an author, she no longer has anything available in print to show for it. However, at the age of 95, and in not such good health, being a published author is the least of her concerns.
As I approach my seventh decade, where my own health leaves a lot to be desired, mum’s most recent illness, which hospitalised her for a week, has made me realise how precarious life really is. It’s not that I didn’t already know this, I’ve only to look back in my own life time to see how many people, even some very close to me, didn’t make it to old age before death took them.
For me though, I’m far from being ‘on the last leg of my journey’, well at least I hope not, but one never knows what’s coming when you wake up each morning. As my second father-in-law used to say: “Every day is a birthday”. He knew that each new day counted, because the uncertainty of life was never too far away.
Toward the end of last year (2019) I completed writing my memoir. I named it ‘In Pursuit of Happiness’, but despite several submissions to various literary agents, the book remains unpublished. I chose that title, because it appeared to me, as the most apt in how my life has panned out. Between the numerous different aspects, such as health, education, friendships, work, and romance, that make up a person’s life, when it came to mine, none ever seemed to strike a cordial note. I can’t say my entire life has been a disaster, but nor can I say it has been a complete success. I suppose one has to admit there are always disappointments in life. For me though, when I look back at my own, there just appears to be too many let downs.
What can I tell you about myself? Half the time I raise that same question when I stare at my reflection in the mirror. ‘Who are you . . . or, more to the point, what are you? The answer is always the same: “I don’t know”. One thing is certain: I am creative. I can draw, paint, cook, even write… The latter, though, might be questionable – yes, I can write, but am I a successful writer? I suppose that is another question, within a question; and as ever, a question that can never be truly, or honestly, answered.
Since adolescence, I have always written things: be they short stories, poems, lyrics for songs, or articles for newsletters or magazines. It seems ironic that I have been able to achieve such, especially as educationally I was always behind my peers in achieving the relevant grades for advancement, and found myself repeating years in order to obtain the necessary scholastic qualifications. What didn’t help, was to have started life not knowing a word of English until after my sixth birthday – but that’s another story. Since then, and not until reaching my thirtieth year did, I discover being in possession of a chromosomal disorder that plays a crucial part in one’s learning abilities, as well as having other, more serious, complications which I shan’t delve into here (these are divulged at length in my memoirs, should they ever be published). So, to be able to write anything at all, let alone two non-fiction books and several fiction novels, is nothing short of a miracle.
In total, including my unpublished memoir, I have written thirteen books. These, apart from ‘In Pursuit of Happiness’, are all shown here on this blog site. You’ll find the book tabs above in the main header.
So, getting back to where I started: ‘Biting the Bullet’. Just recently I have been having problems with Amazon, to the point where I have now been locked out of my account. The issue I have, is that I don’t, as yet, own a smartphone, an inconvenience that will soon be remedied, only because I have no choice. To change my password on Amazon they first send a numerical code to my mobile phone, which is then transposed onto the account using my laptop. Then, and this is where the trouble starts, they text a security code in form of a link to the mobile which needs to be clicked on to finalise; and there lies the problem – I don’t have a smartphone, so the link is rendered utterly useless. Unfortunately, society has deemed, and assumed, everyone owns one of these blasted contraptions, which of course, they don’t. But this is only a tiny speck on an elephant’s back as to why I’m writing this, what is becoming a long-winded, article.
Although I have now been residing in France close on five years, I haven’t fully let go of my old life in Australia, as one never knows what the future has waiting for us; and I suppose a part of me hopes to return one day. Being a practical person however, I also know that the chances of that happening, at least in the near future, as being close to zilch. At this point in time, my principle concern is whether or not I’ll be permitted to remain in France. Being a dual national: British/Australian, I arrived in France using my British nationality, as Britain was at the time a member of the European Union, so having a residency permit was unnecessary. This of course changed. No sooner had I arrived in France and purchased a property, that Britain held a referendum and the majority voted to leave the EU. Now of course, I require a residency permit to remain – I shall need to apply for one in the next few weeks. Should I fail to be granted such, the question will be: “where do I go from here? Back to Australia? Return to England?” Your guess is as good as mine! In truth, it would be easier to take an overdose of pain killers and never wake up the next day, as the thought of relocating again at my age is unthinkable.
The one certain thing that I have decided to do, however, is to follow my mother’s example. I no longer want the hassle of dealing with my self-published books. I have four on Smashwords which were published in 2012. They are:
‘Smithy’s War’ a non-fiction WWII history book,
‘Poetic Whispers’ a poetry anthology of works written by my mother and me,
‘To Tell Three Tales’ an anthology comprising of three short children’s stories, and
‘Beneath Southern Stars’ a historical romance novel, which was the first book assigned to my pen name Louise Roberts.
I have therefore decided to ‘bite the bullet’ and unpublish all four, especially as sales of them have come to a standstill. So, if anyone has wanted to buy one of these books and has put it off for another time, then now is that time, because soon it will be too late. I will be unpublishing them by month’s end. The last of the four however, I will offer to Luminosity Publishing so that all of Louise’s books can be held in one place. I hope they’ll accept it, otherwise it will just be filed away in a USB with all the others.
I expect however, that I shall continue to write, for how long though, God only knows; but I still have plenty of stories floating about in my head that don’t want to fade. I just need to sit down and concentrate hard enough to complete them. At present, there are three stories where I have penned about four chapters each and have stalled. Two are for Louise’s ‘Romance in War’ series, and one is a sequel to ‘Out of the Darkness’ – my crime fiction novel. I also have, teasing my brain, a further tale linked to ‘Beneath Southern Stars’ and in all likelihood, it will be this one that will get completed first as it has been dominating my thoughts of late.
So, my friends, this is where life takes us: one decision after another, some are good, most are bad; but in the end, whichever one you make, it will lead you down a path that’s not at all clear to fully appreciate, but have no option other than to follow it to see where it will lead.
I suppose time, however long it should be, will tell whether unpublishing those four books was the right thing to do.
I sincerely pray you all continue to make the correct decisions for yourselves. For me, I know deep down in my heart, that taking away the anxiety of dealing with Smashwords, as a blessing that has been waiting to happen for a very long time.
I will finish in wishing you all to take care and stay safe with the uncertainty of what this horrid Covid-19 crisis has dealt our entire world; and as a writer, hope Louise Roberts’ books will continue to be read and appreciated.
RLB – Tomewriter