No Dirty Dishes Day

Today is all about washing up – one of the chores we all love to hate and try our best not to do. Anyway, today I say: “Hang the dishes, let’s make sure we don’t have any to wash today!” Here’s how: eat out, eat off paper plates (that you can put into the recycling) or go to someone else’s house for dinner.


It’s Been One of Those Really Nice Days

Today has been one of those days that has worked out really nicely. It all started a couple of weeks ago when I arranged to meet an old work friend for lunch. I hadn’t seen my friend for a long time and it was nice to catch up.

We arranged to meet at Epicure of Hyndland for lunch today, but when I got there, the restaurant – which is in Hyndland Road in Glasgow’s west-end – was undergoing a refit and, therefore, closed. I was half an hour early so I wandered up Hyndland Road a bit and my eye was, of course, caught by the lovely little Hyndland Bookshop. I cannot resist a bookshop, particularly the independently owned one and I swear I was only going in to pick a few birthday cards for future birthdays of friends and relatives. Anyway, I picked up these lovelies:

I like them so much I am thinking of framing them rather than giving them away (sorry, friends and relatives). Anyway, whilst perusing the books, someone called my name and there was a friend I hadn’t seen for about four years standing behind the cash desk. We’d kind of lost touch. So, I spent a happy ten minutes catching up with her and promising to do lunch soon and I handed her the cards and this book to pay for them:

However, she gave me the book as a gift because we haven’t seen each other for ages. How lovely is that? Thank you my dear friend. I greatly appreciate it.

I was still a little early for lunch when I left the bookshop so I went next door to the Marie Curie charity shop for some treasure hunting. Hyndland is a very nice area in Glasgow, so you get great stuff in that shop and I picked up this Paul Costelloe leather bag for Β£20. Bargain! Apologies for the poor picture quality.

Then I went to meet my friend and had a lovely lunch. So, there you are, a lovely day. Plus it was sunny and warm, so you couldn’t have gotten a nicer day.

Things took a wrong turn, however, when it was time to go home. Well, I took a wrong turning…several times. I was aiming to get to Hyndland Rail Station to get my train home, but couldn’t find the bloody thing. I Googled it and somehow went off in the wrong direction. Had I only continued walking the way I was originally walking I would have gotten to the station quicker. Anyway, several wrong turns and then a few right ones later and I eventually got there. Phew! I don’t know what it is about that station but I can never find the bloody thing!

So, how was your day today? In fact, how’s your week going so far? Isn’t the weather lovely here in the UK this week so far? It makes everything seem so much cheerful. Hope you’re having a great time.

Right, and on to the most important point of this blog – Game of Thrones. What did you think of yesterday’s episode? I was so disappointed Cersei didn’t meet a nastier end. And what the hell was Dany doing? What’s gotten into her these days? She was so nice before and now she’s just awful? She seems to have turned into her mad father. It was a ‘phew’ moment when Arya and Jon survived. Cannot wait until next week’s final episode. Cannot wait and dreading it at the same time for it will be the end of Game of Thrones and I will miss it. I’m also a bit worried it will be rubbish. We shall see next week, won’t we?

Right, I am going to finish up here. The kids have the Queen/Freddy Mercury biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody on the telly just now and I can’t help but sing along…it’s a bit distracting. So to the strains of We Are the Champions, I shall say goodbye until next time.

Dawn xxx

Limerick Day

To start you off on Limerick Day, I give you one Edward Lear limerick (above). You are welcome!

Named after the Irish city of Limerick, limericks are a type of verse form championed by Edward Lear and usually full of nonsense or fun…and some times a bit naughty.

If you want to celebrate this centuries old form of poetry, why not pick up a book of limericks and read them to your friends and family. Or make up some of your own!!

Recovering from GoT and other things

So, after many years of my trying to get him to get his hair cut short, the boy has finally made up his own mind to do it. He asked me to take him to a local Turkish barbers where his very good friend goes – it must be the ‘in’ place for 11-year-olds to get their haircut! I took him two days ago, after school and when I was tired after having a hard day working on books and stuff. We went in, he was taken right away and I was delighted to see his long-ish mop being reduced to a much more manageable and neater short haircut. What I didn’t envisage is what happened after he had gotten the cut. He did nothing but talk about it and admire himself in the mirror all the way home, all that evening and into the next day. And if I had to smell his hair (which was gelled) one more time, I would have screamed! I know what gel smells like, my darling boy, I was a teenager in the 80s! πŸ™‚

Anyway, he’s stopped going on about his hair now – thank goodness – but informed me last night that I was rubbish at gelling his hair and he would do it from now on. Let’s put it this way – my gelling skills are SO much better than his going by the hairdo he went out with!! ha ha ha

So, how are you today? Hope you are all fine. I’ve had a busy couple of weeks writing and studying and visiting various people. I am still recovering from the trauma of a stupid accident I had at the local dump a couple of weeks ago. It was my own fault. I saw the piece of picture frame glass sticking out of the binbag before I dumped it at the dump and yet I still managed to cut my finger on it. It was a deep cut for not only was the blood flowing down my hand and dripping on the ground (it looked like there had been a murder!), but my fingertip was tingling indicating the cut was deep enough to have effected a nerve. More than two weeks later, the finger is healing – I should have gotten some stitches in it but I’m fed up going up to our local Minor Injuries Unit (the girl is particularly bad at injuring herself) so I didn’t – but if I accidentally touch the wound, the nerve sings and it’s bloody painful. By singing I mean the type of pain you feel when the dentist, poking around your mouth to check for holes, accidentally touches an unsuspecting and unguarded nerve. You nearly hit the roof. I have that in my right index finger. But, hey ho, it is yet another minor injury to add to all the rest. Well, you did wonder where the girl got her clumsiness from? πŸ™‚

What else has been happening here? A friend of mine recently turned 50 – happy birthday Mark! – and I’ve been carrying on writing and editing my novels. I’ve also been studying my uni course and this year’s module is coming to an end at the end of this month. I have loved every minute of this course, it’s hard work, but so worth it. I’m doing a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing with the Open University and it’s brilliant. Did you see the programme on the OU on the BBC celebrating 50 years of it being in existence? I had no idea Harold Wilson had been behind the push for the OU along with Jenny Lee. Good on them because it opened up a whole load of opportunities for adult learners. Anyway, I look forward to starting the next module in October – once I finish and submit my final assessment that is!

Talking of television programmes, it would be remiss of me not to mention Game of Thrones (all today’s images are dedicated to this amazing series) and the Battle of Winterfell. Oh my God! What an episode that was. It was so good I had to watch it all over again and I still had my heart in my mouth all the way through it (even though I knew what would happen). And this week’s episode, although not exciting, was still good on a number of levels, although why they had to kill off Missandei, I’ll never know? She was a great character and her romance with Grey Worm was just a lovely part of a show where lovely things rarely happen. I shall miss her. And Tormund (my second favourite character next to Tyrion) was hilarious – love that character. However, as a major fan of the series, I know there will be further deaths to come and I wait impatiently for the final two episodes with a silent prayer on my lips: “Please God, let Cersei die horribly!”

Anyway, moving on, I am currently reading Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Making of a Marchioness. You will know the author better as the writer of Little Lord Fauntleroy and A Little Princess, which are lovely books. The Making of a Marchioness is a great book about a poor gentlewoman who catches the eye of Marquis who asks her to marry him, which she does. Then she has to contend with his cruel and jealous nephew and his wife who are desperate to get the Marquis’ money for themselves. It’s another reprint from Persephone Books and I’d recommend it. It’s a good read.

Right, I am going to finish up here and say adieu for today, I have a whole list of things I need to do today. Til next time.

Dawn xxx

Lost Sock Memorial Day

Today is Lost Sock Memorial Day, a day when we mourn the loss of that one sock you cannot find for love nor money despite turning the house upside down looking for it.

Yes, if you have ever lost a single sock (and let’s face it, we all have), now’s the time to say a silent “Where the f*** is it?”, dig out its twin and find a new use for that one sock. Or throw it out. Whatever is easier.

Five Things That Drive Authors Crazy

Generally we authors are quite a mild mannered bunch. We like to be sociable, yes, but we also like to sit back and observe and be quiet for a while. However, there are a few things that drive us crazy and here’s just five of mine:

  1. I hate to say it, but I really don’t like people asking: “So, are you still writing?” Yes, I am and, no, I really don’t want to tell you what my latest book is about because it’s complicated and would take too long and…well, I’ve spent three hours on it today and I’m all puffed out where writing is concerned. Sorry.
  2. People assuming I am rich because I am an author. Authors do not make a lot of money on the whole. There are some authors who have made tonnes of cash and good luck to them, but, like most of my authorly peers, I haven’t.
  3. People telling me they’ve always wanted to write and they have a great idea for a book, and then telling me they don’t have the time to write it. And then they go on about their story idea for at least an hour whilst I wilt under the strain of trying to be polite. If you really want to write, you will find the time. If you put in the hours and actually get something down (such as a few thousand words), then I’ll happily talk to you about it. If you are just gassing about writing without doing it, I am really not interested.
  4. Non writers thinking writing is really easy and that anyone could do it…especially children’s picture books (NB I don’t write children’s picture books and that’s because they are actually quite hard to write and to do well). If you think you can write a book, go ahead. I will be happy for you when you get it published. If you have never written a book and think it’s easy, it’s not. It’s hours and hours of hard work to write and some more to edit and then market.
  5. People asking me to critique their manuscripts. Sorry, too busy. I have my own life, my own career and other things going on. I know I sound harsh, but I just can’t spare the time and neither can my fellow authors.

Oh, and here’s another one and it’s a biggy! I really hate it when people take a writer’s work and distribute it for free without permission. That is theft. As far as I know, it’s not happened to any of my books, but I know some writers that has happened to. Like downloading illegal free music, downloading an illegally gained book is basically taking an author’s livelihood away from them. You’d be angry if someone stole your wages, so why do you think it’s okay to take the wages of writers (and other people)?

If any of my author chums have any other pet peeves, feel free to leave a comment below.

Right, moaning over. Til next time!

Dawn xxx

Ten Things I Love About Being an Author

  1. Getting the story down – often, a story will be whirling around my head for days or weeks or, occasionally, years. It’s like there is a little person with a pointy stick prodding my brain every now again saying: “Hoi! When are you going to write me down?”
  2. Getting to make things up and letting my imagine run away with me.
  3. Watching the story unfold in my head – I see the stories in my head and watch the characters and their situations rather like I’d watch a film on tv. I watch and I write down what I see, hear, feel etc.
  4. Choosing names for the characters – I love it when I come across a truly fabulous name that I can use for a character. It might be something that’s just popped into my head, something I’ve seen on a street sign or a car number plate, or a name I’ve heard or misheard. Then a character takes shape around the name quickly followed by the start of their story.
  5. Drinking tea and eating chocolate digestives as I write. This is one of my favourite things to do. I don’t know why, but when you get a chocolate digestive and dunk it into a perfect cup of tea it just goes so well with writing. You dunk it, then you take a bite and enjoy the melting chocolate and suck the liquid from the crumbling biscuit base and it melts in your mouth and it’s somehow just perfect for those moments when you are thinking about what you are going to write next.
  6. Organising the printing and cover design. I’m not a fan of editing my book because I have to do it at least four times before I am happy with the novel, but I love the next bit. And that is getting it ready for printing (ie formatting my book – I do this myself) and then getting a designer to design a cover. This latter part can be a bit nerve wracking because I am always desperate to like what the designer comes up with, but it’s great when you are presented with amazing designs… as I was. Thankfully.
  7. Getting the book up and ready for sale, and finally getting a copy of the finished novel. This is great for both traditionally published and indie published book. You spend months and months writing the book, then there’s all the editing and organising of various things (such as promotions and marketing) and then finally you have the book in your hand and it just feels lovely.
  8. Sharing my book with friends, family and the general public. I love presenting my parents with my latest novel. It’s the same delight I used to get when presenting them with something I had made in primary school! I love it when I can share it with my friends and with fans. In case you didn’t know, I run an Advance Reader Copy group whereby readers can get free and early copies of my new books. All I ask is if you put up a genuine review of the book on a book selling website. If you are interested in joining my current group, nicknamed Dawn’s Divas, email me your name and email address:
  9. Talking to other writers and people who love books about writing and reading. Discussing favourite books and recommending new things to read.
  10. Making new friends via writers’ groups, book bloggers and with people who have become fans. I just love chatting to different types of people, especially if they are as passionate about reading and writing as I am.

Happy Easter Everyone

Hello everyone and Happy Easter. Hope you have had a great day. Not being religious, I don’t celebrate the true Christian meaning of Easter, but me and the kids do enjoy Easter eggs and having some time off (the kids have a long weekend off school which means a long lie for everyone… well, -ish. The dogs still get me up early!). Anyway, hope you’re enjoying today.

The weather here in Scotland has been fantastic the last couple of days, which is not normal. We’re normally grey skies and cold and rain. However, it’s been hot and sunny and dry. Fabulous. Except the good weather has ramped up the pollen count and I’ve had to spend all day today indoors as my hay fever is horrendous. I am sneezing non-stop, my eyes are red and itchy and my nose is running like a tap. Yes, I look just gorgeous today! πŸ™‚ Anyway, enough of my moans I’m still determined to enjoy the day.

So, what’s been happening in your world this week? I had a friend through for lunch on Friday. I haven’t seen Hina for years – we tend to keep in touch via Social Media – so she came through for a catch up. Several hours later, we realised it was now into mid evening and unfortunately Hina had to go home. She lives near Edinburgh which is a good two hours train and car journey from where I live. It was lovely to catch up with her though.

I have been doing a fair bit of studying this week. The first module of my uni course is coming to an end quite soon. I won’t know what to do with myself when it’s finished! Plus have been honing my editing skills in preparation for my writers’ services business taking off.

Reading: just finished Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens novel. Loved it. Very funny. I am sure I read somewhere that someone is making a film of it, so can’t wait for that to come out.

Talking of films, I decided I was doing no work yesterday (well, except for the usual housework), so sat down last night and binge watched two films. Firstly, with a glass of Chardonnay in hand, I watched Stardust, the only film I like more than the book. This never happens to me. I want to like the book more, I usually like the book more, but the film is so much better. Then I watched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Being somewhat of a day dreamer myself (well, I was when I had more time to get bored in my life), I just love this film. Ben Stiller stars and directs this movie and it’s just lovely, one of my favourites.

This morning, I decided to view Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, which was an enjoyable film. Tom Cruise running around saving the world with Cobie Smulders (of the Marvel Universe films). Just what a girl needs when she’s eating her breakfast and having a ‘jammies morning’.

Tonight’s viewing may be Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, a stunning adaptation of the Winifred Watson novel starring the amazing Frances McDormand in the title role. The book is better than the film, but only just. This is an amazing film and one of my all time favourites. I’ve read the book at least four times and seen the film about five. Hmmm, sounds like a plan.

Oh, talking of watching things, has anyone seen the documentary about Avicii, Tim Bergling? I downloaded it from BBC iplayer. It’s a lovely tribute to Tim, but very very sad. All the way through it, he’s pleading to stop playing live shows and, it appeared to me, being ignored by his agent. It was as if his assurances that any more live appearances would kill him were being treated as if he was over exaggerating the circumstances. Why do people not take these desperate please more seriously? Anyway, I was sad when I heard he had died last year because he was a very talented musician and song writer, and this documentary made me sad for him and his family all over again. It was a good documentary though, so watch it.

Right, let’s end this blog on a happier note. I would tell a joke, but I am terrible at telling jokes, so here’s a wee cute pic (not one of my dogs, I must say) from Loomis and Long:

Til next time!

Dawn xxx