Why I Want to Stick My Head in a Bucket and John Boyne is My New Favourite Author

So, how’s your week been so far? It’s Wednesday and I am truly suffering from hayfever today. Although the weather has got slightly colder and it was raining last night (so welcome – that heat last week was way too much for me), my allergies have gone into overdrive. I just want to dunk my face into a big bucket of cold water. That’s what I feel like doing.

Well, I’ve gone and did it. I actually started writing Envy over the weekend, my second book in the Sisters of Sin series I’m writing with international authors. I have about 4000 words written already. My plan is to write a minimum of 2000 words a day so that I have my first draft finished by the end of next month.  Wish me luck!

Just finished reading John Boyne’s A Ladder to the Sky:

It’s a superb book. I really recommend it. It’s about a handsome writer who will stop at nothing, including murder, to make it as a writer. Just when you think he can’t stoop any lower, he does. Even the ending is just him all over. I was glued to it, truly gripped. It is told from the point of view of various unfortunates that the protagonist, Maurice Swift, comes into contact with. This book was leant to my by my lovely friend Jane, who also leant me four other John Boyne books. Thank you Jane. You’ve made me a John Boyne fan. Can’t wait to start the next one.

I am also in the process of reading Craig Martelle’s How to Be a Successful Indie Writer:

It’s full of great tips on running your own indie author business. I’ve had this book for a while, but not read it. I decided recently that if I every want to make a go of being an indie author I better get my head down, learn everything I can and just do it.  Part of that is reading this book and three others in the same series, and I also wrote down some aims and objectives. You gotta have a plan!

Right, I am going to finish up here. Til next time,

Dawn xx

 

How to Keep a Pug Cool and the Delights of Silkies

So, it’s been just over a month since I last wrote and that’s because I’ve been trying to sort out the house to leave me free to write more. I’m nearly there. Got a couple more things to do in the garden and that’s it.

Plus the heat this week has been draining me and making me too tired to write. I need to get back into it…I know that.

So, how’s your month been? If you’re in the UK, no doubt you have been enjoying the fabulous weather we’ve been having lately.  Being Scottish, I have to say that I am not enjoying the heat and my poor pug is suffering. We have been sitting her under a cold water tap and soaking her to make her comfortable. We’ve tried everything else and this is what works best. She woke up panting this morning, so I soaked her again. It was 6.30am so I just got up. Poor Bonya. My other dogs are fine. BTW I am sitting on my Chesterfield sofa (green) in our living room watching a documentary about Gertrude Bell and Bonya is sleeping peacefully on the sofa beside me. Sleeping peacefully, snoring her head off and farting. We love her despite the farting. 😉

Exciting news – I bought three Silkie chickens recently to keep my one remaining rescue hen company and I’m in love. They are gorgeous. Nugget (aforementioned rescue hen) has been bullying them, but seems happier to have the company. I have one white one called Luna (like the one above) and two like this…

…called Buttercup and Zoa. They are softly vocal, like little squeaky toys, and I love them.

What I’ve been reading lately: I’ve read a couple of Mills & Boon Blaze books to see if I could write one. I really enjoyed reading them. I expected them to be much racier, but they were good. Now to choose a new book. Oh joy! I have a TBR pile that would kill me if it toppled on my. My friend Jane has leant me some of hers (I forget the author), so I’ll probably start on one of those.

What else have I been doing? I’ve been doing up my bedroom. It still has woodchip wallpaper on the walls (whomever invented that stuff should be shot – it’s bloody awful), which will have to stay put until I have a good week free to get the stuff off the walls. I remember it from the 70s and how hard it is to get off walls. I have, however, put up some new curtain rails and curtain hooks, bought a new mirror and researched some curtain material. I want my room to feel sumptious so am going to buy some dark blue velvet to make curtains and a bedspread. I do like some Art Deco curtains in red and gold, but my walls are currently blue, so blue curtains it will have to be until the offending woodchip is scraped off.

Right, I am going to love you and leave you now. I really want to see this documentary. Til next time (promise it won’t be so long).

Dawn xxx

Two videos, The Nevers and flexing my writing fingers

Hi, how are you all? Hope you’re well. Today, I’ve got a couple of videos to share with you. The first is just an awkward hello from me. Here it is…

That’s my very messy study in the background. I have loads of books and loads of bookcases, those behind me are a fraction of what I’ve got. It’s a bit of an addiction I’m afraid.

The second video is a wee advert for me and my books. What do you think?

I made it on a site called Boosted by Lightricks. I had a lot of fun doing it and plan to do many more. You have been warned!

Right, so what have you been up to over the past week or so? I’ve been really busy doing a few training and business development sessions. Plus, I also set down a plan which involves getting up earlier so I can write 1500 words of my latest novel. The aim was to get up at 6am and was supposed to start today. What time did I get up at? It was 7am. I must have hit snooze several times. Sigh. Anyway, tomorrow I plant to rise earlier.

The Nevers

Have you seen the new Joss Whedon series, The Nevers? It’s showing on HBO, stars a number of well-known and not-so-well-known British actors and is very good. I was hooked from the start. Disclaimer: I should point out that I am a huge Joss Whedon fan and loved Firefly, Buffy Vampire Slayer and Angel. God love them, but the kids have been indoctrinated into Joss Whedon’s genius from very early on and are also fans of his works. Anyway, please give The Nevers a look, it’s good.

Sex in the City

Apart from that, I’ve been binge watching Sex in the City. I was an avid fan of it in the 90s and early noughties, and hadn’t seen it since it finished (apart from the two films). I’d forgotten how funny it was. I watched it and was back in my 20s again. It was heaven. I love being nostalgic and Sex in the City brought it all back. I’ve completely finished the tv series and am now going to watch the two films. I never thought they were as good, but we’ll see.

My writing

Okay, the important stuff now. My writing. I’ve done very little lately so busy am I with my social media/PR work plus I had to do my end of module assignment for my uni course. That is now finished, so I have no excuses for not writing. Flexing my writing fingers as I type.

General Life

It’s been great lately. I’ve managed to see a few friends and relatives over the last three or four weeks. It’s been such a long time since we got together, it was fantastic to just be together. Scotland is hopefully coming out of this pandemic. However, the Indian variant of Covid is on these shores, there are cases here and I’m worried we’re looking at another lockdown. Fingers crossed that isn’t the case.

Right, I am going to finish up here and say goodnight. Am away to watch more of the The Nevers. Till next time.

Dawnxx

 

The Unsinkable Mary Patten

One hundred and seventy-five years ago a pregnant teenager took command of her husband’s ship, sailed around Cape Horn and made history.

Nineteen-year-old Mary Patten did it all for 56 days whilst fighting off a mutiny, nursing her seriously ill husband and battling stormy seas.

She, her crew and her husband made it back to San Francisco with no lives lost and the cargo and ship complete.

Mary Patten.

Find out more about this remarkable young woman on Medium: The Unsinkable Mary Patten. One hundred and seventy-five years ago… | by Dawn Nelson | May, 2021 | Medium

There’s also my article on a short history of the British seaside:A short history of the British seaside | by Dawn Nelson | Medium

If you like what you read, please give me a clap – click the icon at the bottom of the article. Thank you.

 

How to Start Writing Fiction

Here’s an article I put up on Medium yesterday and it got such a good response, I decided to share it with you here…

Writing is something that many people aspire to do. I don’t know how many times people have said to me, once they’ve found out I’m a writer, that they want to write a book.

But actually starting a book and, more importantly, finishing it are a whole different ball game.

Let’s get this over with first – if you think writing a book is easy, stop reading now. Even the simplest children’s book takes time and effort. Writing is hard work. So, if you’d much rather play your Xbox or watch tv, cheerio.

Right, everyone still here who actually wants to write? Let us begin.

I once taught writing for children at Glasgow University and I always loved the enthusiasm my students had for the subject. I told taught them many things, so of which I’m going to share today.

Note: this article is about all kinds of writing, not just for children, so please don’t leave.

Right, on to the good bit: getting started.

The first question anyone ever asks me is are you rich? For the sake of full disclosure, I should tell you I am not rich and never have been. The second question is: where do you get your ideas from? My answer: anywhere and everywhere.

I find getting ideas for stories easy. They are born through reading, through people watching, through things I’ve seen on television. I can be drifting off to sleep and suddenly an idea will pop into my head. They come more easily if I’m bored and my mind starts to wander.

I jot down the idea in a notebook or in my cell phone, and tuck it away for a later date when I can revisit it.

Here are other suggestions for gaining ideas for stories:

  1. Ask yourself ‘what if…?’ – What if that person were actually a time traveller? What if my next-door neighbour was a spy? What if my pet could talk?
  2. Take a scenario and give it a twist. Write down a regular sentence such as: The man walked down the street and met his mother. Now give it a twist: The spaceman walked down the gangway and met an elephant. It doesn’t have to be that silly, but should give you a little mind boost that will trigger other ideas.
  3. Look at street names or car number plates and create a character from it. Then ask yourself: who is this person, what do they do and what is their story?
  4. Cut some images out of a magazine or download and print them. Put them together and create a story from what you see. It could be an alpaca at the beach with an ice-cream seller or a tramp with a glamorous film star at a fast-food restaurant.
  5. Go to an outside space and people watch. Jot down their descriptions and what they are doing. Give them a name and a job. Start to work out who they are and what they are doing with their lives.

Hopefully, this has given you a little boost and you’ll start writing some amazing. Remember: in order to be a great writer, you should read, read and read some more. Read everything and anything. Read the greats and the not-so-greats…only then will you be able to recognise amazing writing and be able to produce some yourself.

I’m planning to do more of these short articles on writing, so keep an eye out.


Back to this week and there’s not much to update.  I was supposed to see a friend on Saturday afternoon, but it was so blustery here in the west coast of Scotland that we had to cancel. I just don’t find sitting out in a wet and freezing cold garden appealing.

Book update – am back planning the second of my Sisters of Sin books. I hope to start writing it next week. The first book, Greed, is currently with beta readers and I’m awaiting their views. * gnaws at nails nervously *

Reading – still on Babylon Berlin and it’s really good. The tv series has added a lot of back story to Gereon and Charlotte that is not in the book, but that’s okay. Still loving it.

TV – today I expect to finish all 11 series of Shameless and I feel bereft already. It was a wonderful series full of mad capers and I’ve loved it. Sigh.

Right, that’s it for this week. Till next time,

Dawn xx

Jeezo! I haven’t sat still

Well, it’s been a crazy kind of time in Nelson Towers lately. Since we’ve been easing out of lockdown in Scotland, my social life has rocketed. I’ve been able to see family (in the garden and in unseasonably warm weather, thank goodness) and friends. The friends part was last weekend when I went for a drink round to our local pub with my friend from next door and a couple of others. Then on Sunday, I joined two others for a socially distanced lunch in La Lanterna (great food btw) in the west-end of Glasgow and had a Zoom call that night with two women I’ve known since school (one I’ve known since I was four, the other since I was about 13).  It was busy, it was mad, but it was great. It killed me that I couldn’t hug anyone, but it was still so nice to actually be around people again.

So how’s your week been? What have you been up to? Are you guys finally getting back some normality in your lives? I hope so. Terrible news about India. My heart goes out to them. I’m afraid we’ll continue to see people dying from Coronavirus for some time yet.

Line of Duty

Anyway, let us move on to better things. Firstly, what was that last episode of Line of Duty all about? It just all felt so flat. I was one of the many disappointed fans. I can get that they were trying something different, but I don’t think it worked. Never mind, the rest of the series were amazing.

I also watched Shadow and Bone. I ‘ve never read the books, they are aimed at children (although that never puts me off, some children’s novels are amazing) and they were brought out well after I completed my childhood! 🙂 However, I did watch the series on Netflix and really enjoyed it. The first episode was a little meh for me, but I stuck with it and am glad I did. Ben Barnes (who as Prince Caspian in The Chronicles of Narnia) is still gorgeous and did a great job, as did the rest of the cast. I don’t want to go into it too much as I don’t want to spoil anything, but it is good.

Talking of good, anyone know when Carnival Row’s second series is coming out? I’ve now watched it about five times (something I rarely do) and I just love it.

Some of the cast from Shameless series 1.

Other tv I’ve been watching includes the UK (and better version) version of Shameless. I’m coming close the the end. There are 11 series and I’m halfway through series 10, and I’ve loved every minute of it. It’s funny, quirky, dirty and a damned good watch.

Reading – currently on my bed stand is still Babylon Berlin by Volker Kutscher. It is similar but different to the tv series (pictured), but very very good. I am halfway through it and thoroughly enjoying it.

What else have I been up to? Well, I’m continuing to write the script and I currently have a novel with beta readers. I’m a bit nervous about the latter, I really hope they enjoy it. Won’t be long till they’re back with their comments. Gulp. No matter how many books I write or how long I do this, I’m still worried that no-one will like my books. It’s the curse of the writer, I’m afraid!

Right, that’s me for this week. I’m actually focussing this entire week on my end of module assignment for my uni degree. But I’ve taken a break and snuck out to chat to you for a bit. Back to the grind.

Til next time,

Dawn xx