It’s hard to write a blog when you’ve done nothing :-)

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Hello, hello, how are you all? Here’s another blog from lockdown. Not that I’ve that much exciting news to tell you. Above is an image I took of the River Clyde the other day. Not only proof that we’ve been having gorgeous and unseasonably warm/dry weather lately, but that the Clyde can look blue sometimes. The tide it out in this image and that’s Port Glasgow across the way, but it gives you an idea of how nice it’s been around here. Thank goodness, because I think if the weather had been dreadful things would be a lot more depressing for all of us who are having to stay indoors at the moment. People are already complaining of boredom and feeling depressed, awful weather would have made that worse for them.

I’m not going to ask you what you’ve been up to because, let’s face it, no matter where you are in the world, you are more than likely staying indoors to help stop the spread of Corona Virus. Instead, I’ll just ask you what you’ve been up to. Have you been watching copious amounts of telly? Started a new hobby? Baked until your fingers bled? Gardened until there’s barely a green bit of the garden left? 😉

I’ve been watching tv, but in small amounts. I’ve taken to watching Carnival Row again. Yes, again, for the fourth time. I love it that much. I’m also considering watching Game of Thrones again too. You see, apart from Killing Eve (which is bloody brilliant), there’s not much on the telly I want to watch right now. There haven’t been any decent history programmes or documentaries, I find a lot of comedies dire and I don’t watch soaps. So, it’s back to old favourites. I’m loving Carnival Row all over again and seeing things I didn’t notice before on the three other times I watched it.

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Here’s a pic of two of my dogs on a local beach. It’s a riverside beach and not the nicest of beaches, but it’s great for dog walking and the dogs don’t seem to mind the stones and detritus thrown there by the river.

What else have I been doing? I am writing, writing, writing. Just finished 2000 words of my assassin book plus did another few pages of my non fiction book. I’ve sent a tv programme I wrote to a scriptwriting competition. Not sure if it’s good enough, but we’ll see what happens. I’ve also been doing bits and pieces around the house – you know, the wee things that need done but never get done because you’re so busy. I have a whole list of those to do. Sigh. Well, I’m not going anywhere soon so I’d best be getting on with them! 🙂

A big hello to any newbies who are following this blog. Welcome and thanks for joining us. I’m please to say I have 831 subscribers to this blog and a few more subscribing to my newsletter. If you want to receive the newsletter,  add your email address to the Mailchimp signup form to the right of the page.

Right, depressingly, I have nothing else to tell you. I dream of going out for lunch some time soon with friends or taking the dogs and kids up to Oban for the day or going to my parents’ house for dinner. And I keep telling myself ‘It’s not forever, we will get back to normality soon.” I hope that’s true!

On that note, I wish you all a good week ahead. Stay safe and stay sane. Til next time

Dawn xx

PS big shout out to my aunt who turns 70 this coming week and to my friend Mark who has a birthday too. Happy birthday to you both.

 

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Writing, Gardening and Joanne Harris

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Well another week has gone by and the world is still on standby. We are stuck in a routine that is the same day in, day out and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. I am so thankful that no-one I know has been killed by Covid 19 and so sorry for those who have lost loved-ones. It’s a nasty, horrid disease that is still so worrying for everyone. Thank God for the key workers who are doing a fab job!

Right, I once said this blog is a space for happiness and so I will try to cheer you all up with my goings on this week. 🙂 How has your week been? I’ve been incredibly busy writing: writing my first book for our book series (we = the international writers I’m working with on an exciting new book project series) and I’m more than 13,000 words into it (woohoo!), writing another project with a friend (6,500 words down – there’s a lot of research in it), and writing up notes on my uni course. I do it every single day and, while I enjoy it, it is tiring. However, I gave writing the boot this morning to do a bit of work in the garden and managed an hour of weeding before my back got too sore. I intend to be back out later tonight to put out my garden ornaments in the back and will continue weeding tomorrow. I am so loving this good weather we are all having – it’s so nice to have warm, dry weather in April. That almost never happens here! As I write this, the heating is off (as it has been for days now), the patio doors are open and I can hear a neighbour cutting his or her grass.

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So, what else has been happening at Nelson Towers? Well, let me see! Hmmm. I have been keeping up with my Zumba class, which has been brilliant. Our teacher is doing the classes via Zoom (ironically!) and, although the connection is sometimes a bit flaky, it’s still good to be exercising.

I watched the first in the new series of the Great British Sewing Bee. I LOVE that programme. Can’t wait until next week for the next one. Talking of watching telly, have any of you been watching the new Killing Eve series? It’s already magnificent. I think this programme has got to be one of THE best things on telly, that and Fleabag (who could forget the sexy priest?). And, of course, I’m watching Outlander although I’m a bit disappointed that it’s not as exciting as previous series, but hopefully it’ll pick up. Don’t get me wrong, I still love it and I still watch it avidly, and I will love it forever.

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So, that’s really what I’ve been up to. Of course, we’re all still socially distancing ourselves in Scotland, so I’ve been keeping up with friends and family via Zoom. Thank God for technology. If this had happened ten or 20 years ago, things would be so much worse in terms of keeping up with family and friends. We would only have the telephone, which is good, but it’s not as good as seeing your parents laugh or your nephew do something daft or your sister’s gorgeous home-made fairy. Well done, V. I’ve also been having conversations with friends over wine or tea or sometimes just a glass of water. And my kids pop in in the background and wave at them all or have a conversation. Well, when I say ‘kids’, I really mean my daughter. My boy is too glued to his games machine upstairs! 🙂

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Talking of kids, I am lucky in that both of mine are at high school and, therefore, I don’t have to help them much with their work. They do it themselves and come to me if they are stuck and (in the case of the boy) to prove that he has done something. How are you all getting on with home schooling?

Right, that’s it for me. I’m away. I’ve got a webinar to attend with one of my all time favourite authors, Joanne Harris who wrote (amongst many excellent books) Chocolat. Until next time.

Dawn xx

PS in case you’re wondering, all pics in this post are not of my garden. I wish my garden was as nice! Maybe one day! 🙂

Madam C J Walker, Stargate and the Chippendales

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Hey everyone! How are you all? Hope you’re all well and keeping safe! Here at Nelson Towers, life is pretty dull and monotonous, but everyone is in the same boat so we are just getting on with it.

Last week, I did feel really down at the beginning of the week (I’m definitely not alone on that, I know), but that soon lifted especially when a friend sent me a short video of a Chippendale dancer dancing with a pile of toilet paper. It was so ridiculous I couldn’t stop laughing and it brought me out my funk. I think I was feeling so down not because I’m in the house all day – I work from home so that’s not a problem – but because I was worried and feeling out of sorts because I wasn’t in control of my own destiny. The thing about Corona Virus is we don’t know who has it, we don’t know if we have it and if we do get it, we don’t know how severe we’ll get it. On top of that is the worry about family members who are more vulnerable. I like to be in control of my life, so all this not knowing was doing my nut it. However, after the said video, I felt a lot better. Just shows you that having a laugh can do wonders for your mental health. Plus I have great friends who have been a real support.

Right, enough of the ‘Rona as I’ve seen Corona Virus referred to on social media, and on to my writing life.

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So, being stuck inside hasn’t been all bad. I’ve started writing my new book project which I can’t tell you too much about yet – it’s too early – but that I will give you small bits of info every now and again. I’m a member of the Romantic Suspense Writers group on Facebook and nine of us have come together to produce a series of books under the R S Wilde author name. That is all I can tell you right now. All I will say is that this collaborative has been amazing so far. The girls – most of whom are from America, but there’s two of us in Scotland and one in Australia – have been brilliant to work with and we’re all really enjoying the process.

The sequel to Dusting Down Alcudia, The Jacobite’s Share (see image) is now out and available on a range of formats and in a range of shops including Amazon, Barnes and Noble and others.

The Jacobite's Share ebook cover

I am still waiting for ACX to sign off the audiobook of Dusting Down Alcudia. Sigh. This has been a long trek. It’s mainly to do with my not understanding stuff about audiobook production, but is now at their end. Hopefully, they’ll sign it off soon and it will be available on Audible. Then I will crack open the champagne and celebrate for this has been a long and harrowing road! 🙂

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News on my other secret project with my illustrator friend, Mandy. I’ve started writing it and am about a third of the way through the first draft. It’s a really interesting project and I’m loving doing it. More on it later.

Other news, I’m still doing my OU course, but because of Corona Virus, our end of term exam has been cancelled. I am not devastated by this as I’m one of those people who never does well in exam conditions. They’re going to look at our year round assignments to get a mark.

I’ve been spending a lot of time watching telly – as you can imagine – and I stumbled across a very good drama series on Netflix called Self Made based on the life of Madam C J Walker (1867 – 1919), America’s first female self-made millionaire. Sarah had a rough upbringing being born to former slaves near Delta in Lousiana and she was the first in her family to be born free after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. Her parents died when she was a child and she suffered hardship growing up.  Life got better after she set up a hair and beauty business for black women with her third husband, Charles Walker, in the early part of the last century. Although they divorced in 1912, Sarah continued to build the business, opening salons and factories across America, and went on to employ thousands of (mainly) women. Apart from being a hair care entrepreneur, Sarah was also a philanthropist and political activist. She died in 1919 at the age of 51 from kidney failure. She’s buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, New York.

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Madam C J (Sarah) Walker, American entrepreneur, philanthropist and activist.

Octavia Spencer, one of my favourite actresses (I loved her in Hidden Figures), takes the title role in the show and Tiffany Haddish plays Madam C J Walker’s daughter, A’Lelia. It’s really good, I’d recommend it. Other cast members include Blair Underwood, Carmen Ejogo and Kevin Carroll among others.

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Other things I have been watching include Witness with Kelly McGillis and Harrison Ford. I’d forgotten how good the film was. I don’t think Kelly McGillis is a particularly great actress, but it was still an enjoyable film. Also watched the Stargate film starring James Spade and Kurt Russell. I used to watch the TV series, being a huge sci-fi fan, but had never seen the film. It was actually really enjoyable. The sets and the way the film was shot was stunning and it was a good old fashioned sci fi adventure. I kept looking for French Stewart who plays one of the soldiers in it. I’m used to him being Harry Solomon in 3rd rock from the Sun, so it was a nice surprise to see how attractive (and manly, let’s face it Harry Solomon is not manly) he really is in another role.

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I am still ploughing my way through the Agatha Raisin books and loving them. They are so enjoyable to read and so easy, just perfect for this weird time.

Right, I am going to say adieu here and wish you all a good day. Please stay safe my friends and we’ll talk soon.

Dawn xx

New Covers and a New Way of Living

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So, I’ve been looking at the books I have up for sale at the moment and I’ve been taking advice and I’d done everything that I was advised to do, except change the book covers. So, it was with a heavy heart that I’ve finally taken the decision to change my book covers. I loved my originals, but readers just weren’t buying the books. So, with my sensible business head, I’ve taken additional advice ref the book cover design and here’s my two new ones. Above is Dusting Down Alcudia, below is The Jacobite’s Share.

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These are the ebook covers, hence the odd shape. Anyway, I’m hoping these will attract more people. If they don’t, I’ll just have to accept that nobody wants them OR that I’m way ahead of my time! 🙂

So how are you all doing at this weird time? I haven’t been over the door today and it was okay, but I’ll need to get out with the dogs tomorrow. I’m lucky in that I live in the countryside so I can take them for walks without meeting many people and the people I do meet tend to keep their distance now. We dog walkers are a friendly bunch and have now taken to hailing each other over the park. It’s not the best way, but it’ll have to do just now.

Today, I spent all day redoing my book covers and tomorrow I’m going to get back into writing and my OU course. The past few days have been terrifying as everyone goes into lockdown and I just hope everyone stays well. I know that’s not going to happen, that this virus is horrible and spreads quickly, but one can hope. It’s been difficult trying to get it into my kids’ heads that they are pretty much house-bound, they don’t really understand the severity of this pandemic, but they are finally accepting it. I don’t want to scare them, but I have to make them realise how bad this situation really is.

My dogs, bless them, live on in blissful ignorance and make us laugh on a daily basis. Here are images of my fur babies to cheer you all up. The pics were taken by my friend Anne-Janine who is a great photographer. These were taken on her phone. She’s so talented. The dogs are (in order) Millie, Casper and Bonya.

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Casper

Bonya

Right, I am going to finish up here. I’ll be back next week. Like everyone else, I’ve been knocked for six with this Corona virus pandemic. Til next week,

Dawnxxx

 

FREE BOOK – Get your copy now!

To celebrate the launch of my new book,  The Jacobite’s Share (on sale from March 27), I’m giving away some free copies of the first book in the series: Dusting Down Alcudia. Get your FREE book here: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/o1qu2vd2pf

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Nina Esposito, archaeologist, is on a mission. She’s flying to Mallorca to locate a magnificent Roman treasure that’s been lost for centuries.

But, when a formal love and a work rival vie for her attention, Nina finds herself locked in romantic rollercoaster. Which one is truly worthy of her? And do they have ulterior motives other than winning her heart?

Added to the mix is a Spanish billionaire who will stop at nothing to get the jewels for himself.

Who will get to the treasure first? Will Nina’s heart be broken along the way? And can she really trust either of the men in her life?

Join Nina on a breath-taking journey of discovery that takes her from the dusty fields of Mallorca to the diamond brokers of Amsterdam. As she soon finds out: there’s everything to play for when you’re Dusting Down Alcudia.

 

THE REVIEWS:

5stars

“A terrific, fast paced action adventure that I couldn’t put down,” Janice Mitchell.

5stars

“This romance is full of great characters and is a fantastic story. I can’t wait until the next one is out.” Laurina Hewson

 

 

 

Title reveal and a week that’s run away from me

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The past couple of weeks have been very unsettling with all the things going on with regards to Corona Virus. So, I have decided to ignore it all and lighten up your day with some images of spring and a quick lowdown on what I’ve been doing.

This week, apart from doing my social media business, I’ve been working hard on a number of projects. The secret book series is still ongoing – I still can’t tell you much about that yet, but I will – I edited a short story I had written a couple of weeks ago, I’ve started work on my children’s history book (another secret-ish project) and I’ve been sorting out my new novel, The Jacobite’s Share. I’m just waiting on my cover designer to tweak the covers for me, but so you don’t have to wait too long, here’s a quick sneak peak:

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I love it, I hope you do too. The book is being launched in a couple of weeks time and I’ll let you know the details nearer the time.

My friend came down from Glasgow last Thursday to borrow my sewing machine to sew some cushion covers. She hadn’t sewn anything since childhood and, let’s just say, she’ll have to come down and do it all over again. 🙂 However, we had a lovely time catching up. I think we put the entire world to right!! We ate pizza and cheesecake, drank copious amounts of tea and chatted about everything and anything.

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I’ve been busy doing my uni course too. We’re looking at the conditions of the working classes in the north of England in the early 19th century along with Charles Dickens’ Hard Times. It’s very, very interesting and I remember studying this in History in High School. We’ve got a big exam coming up in June so I’ve been looking  at what that might entail too. I must admit I’m a bit nervous about the exam. I haven’t sat an exam since I was 20. Yikes!!

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I’ve been baking bread again and making up dinners for the freezer. I have a small table top freezer, as well as a bigger freezer, and the little one is filled with home-made dog food courtesy of my mum. She had made them for my dogs and her dog for the period of time she and my dad were going on a cruise. NB she makes her own dog home-made dinners, so when he stays she makes them for my dogs too! Now the cruise was meant to take place next month, but unfortunately has been cancelled because of Corona virus. So, now I have a small freezer full of dog food – my dogs are lucky dogs!! They love their granny’s home-made dinners. They are so spoiled. Dinners I have been making for we humans include Sloppy Joes (an American recipe for minced beef which is lovely), Bolognese sauce and chicken. I’ve been using my pressure cooker again and it’s becoming less scary to me! 🙂

Right, I am going to finish up here. I’m going to make a cup of tea and put my feet up for a little while.

Til next time,

Dawn xxx

 

 

 

 

Madam Butterfly, the Lurgy and Book News

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Okay, so this week started well, and then quickly descended into not so good a week. It began with me and a friend going back to the Royal Concert Hall on Sunday night to see the wonderful Madam Butterfly. It was so good. The music was gorgeous and the opera singers were amazing. I, of course, had a good sob at the end when she dies, but I just loved it. What was funny – and this is typical Glasgow – when the cast were coming out to take a bow, the guy who played Butterfly’s husband, Pinkerton, was boohed. Then he got applause and a cheer. Elena Dee played Cio Cio San (Butterfly) and Giorgio Meladze was Pinkerton. The whole thing was just wonderful. I loved it.

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So, unfortunately, Monday was the funeral of an old friend. I didn’t manage along to the church service, but I did go to the crematorium where her daughter gave a really lovely eulogy.  She had a good send off and will be missed, she was a lovely lady.

Monday was also when the dread Lurgy really started to take its hold on me.  I had felt a bit of a cold coming on on Sunday, but by Monday I was feeling really rough. And I’ve been feeling rough all week. Today is the first day I’ve felt a little bit better. Anyway, hopefully that’s me on the mend. I had to cancel all my exercise classes, lunch with friends, tea and buns with friends today, and going to see my parents tomorrow – was too unwell and didn’t want to infect anyone else.

Anyway, I am feeling better, so hopefully it’ll lift before next week.


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Anyway, I dug out my electric pressure cooker today to make something for the freezer. I’m always a bit nervous with pressure cookers, but I made Sloppy Joes and it’s turned out really nice.

I also made bread in the bread maker using a just add water packet and it turned out really nice. So nice the boy has eaten half of it already!

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Not my bread, but it looks like it.

Okay, on to writing news. I’ve chased up the Dusting Down Alcudia audiobook and hopefully that will go on sale soon. The ebook and paperback book will soon be available in mobi and epub files at many more retailers very soon – this means more people can read it on more devices. So, watch out for that. Everything She Wants will also be available in this way too.

Regarding my two secret projects – these are ongoing, I will hopefully be able to tell you more about them soon!

What I am reading – currently reading Hard Times by Charles Dickens for my uni course. Loving it. And am also reading M C Beaton’s Agatha Raisin: As the Pig Turns, which is very good.

What I’ve been watching – the boy was off sick this week (Wednesday and Thursday), so we’ve been watching Star Wars films. I’ve also been watching Outlander, which I love, love, love.

Right, that’s my week, not very full due to illness, but not bad either. Til next time,

Dawn xxx