Carnival, Agatha and finishing the audiobook – I hope!

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So the start of this week kind of started a bit slow mainly because I’m getting on in my years (I’m 50 this year) and I can’t hack it when my son wants me to take him to the Carnival.

In my defence, it was the big Irn Bru Carnival at the SEC in Glasgow, we were there three-and-a-half hours, the noise was deafening (lots of competing pop tunes played at ear splitting intensity) and there were loads of flashing lights – everywhere. I’ve never been one for the carnival. I did go to our local one in Neilston a few times in my teens, but I never truly enjoyed it. This one is indoors, in a big echoing shed type structure and there were loads of visual and aural stresses.

The boy was there with his friends who met us there, so, while the boys went off to enjoy the carnival, me – Methuselah that I am – went to the food court to sit and wait for them. And wait and wait. I bought myself a very ordinary hotdog with very ordinary chips and some tasteless chilli on top. That plus a bottle of water set me back £11 – daylight robbery if you ask me. It wasn’t that nice, but I ate it anyway. Then I tried to read my book, which was impossible due to the aforementioned noise and people and noise and flashing lights – oh yeah, and the noise.

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So, I sat on my tod for three hours waiting for the boys to get fed up and want to go home. They didn’t, but thankfully the boy (with whom the others had come with) had contacted his father to come and get them. So we had to wait another half an hour for him.

Anyway, I digress, back to sitting dolefully people watching on that hard wooden bench at that sticky drink laden bench table. The only good thing to come out of the event (apart from my boy have a ball with his friends) was the people watching. Oh my God, there were some sights there I can tell you. I don’t know what it is about some Glaswegians, but they wear summer clothes in the middle of winter. Sunday afternoon was really cold and, although the hall was warm, I wondered at folk coming out without proper winter clothes on.

And the fashion was fun too. There were lots of very young women, plastered with makeup, glossy hair scraped back in a ponytail or worn long, wearing the latest fashions. Some had their children with them or a gaggle of friends or their young looking boyfriends. One in particular, a young mum pushing a white pram (they always have white prams this type) was an attractive girl with too much makeup and eyebrows drawn into pointed perfection. At her side was a wee girl of about four in designer clothes complete with a dummy tit in her mouth and a huge bag of pink candyfloss which was almost as big as her. The mother was sporting a pale pink, fake fur skipcap. I’ve never seen one before. I didn’t think they existed. Anyway, the pair plus small baby in pram (I think, she had the hood up so you couldn’t see it), wafted past me en route to meet a young man I can only presume was dad. He had on long shorts, no socks, trainers, a t-shirt that showed off his tattooed arms and sported an earring in one ear. He was perma-tanned – like his partner – and his hair was rigid with some sort of wet look hair gel. Neds R Us.

Anyway, I eventually left the SEC around 4.30pm and we got home just after 5pm. The boy, who claimed all I had done was sit and do nothing all afternoon, couldn’t understand why I was so tired. Just wait til you’re doing this with your kids, I thought smugly, then you’ll see.

Anyway, enough of my tirade. How was your week? Was it busy? Did you get loads done? I am permanently busy.  Last week, I took some time away from studying and writing to go to a 4N networking meeting at the Hard Rock Café in Glasgow. It was really good. Everyone was really welcoming and it was good to meet new people – two of whom live nearby! I handed out some cards and connected with a few folk on LinkedIn so we’ll see what happens.

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I’m still making my way through the Agatha Raisin books and recently finished The Haunted House one, which was a fun read. I really like the books. They are a nice easy read and I enjoy the stories. I was sorry to hear that their author – and creator of the Hamish MacBeth books – M C Beaton (above) died over Christmas. Apparently, she was a lovely lady. Anyway, I look forward to starting the next one which is Agatha Raisin and the Deadly Dance.

Still reading the Pompeii book. It’s taking so long, not because I’m not enjoying it (I am), but because I’ve been binge watching Bones until late so haven’t had the time or energy to read when I go to bed. Plus I’ve been reading those Agatha Raisin books in between.

What else has been happening? I’ve been continuing to work on my script plus the finishing touches to the book blurb for my next in the Nina Esposito adventure series, The Jacobite’s Share. I sent that over to my book cover designer this week and hope to launch it by the end of March. Watch this space for more details!

Am still struggling to get the audiobook of Dusting Down Alcudia out. I’ve made the changes required by the company who will upload it to Audible, so hopefully I’ll be able to launch that soon.

Right, that’s it for today. Due to a glut of hen eggs, I baked over the weekend, so am going to have a cup of tea right now along with a fairy cake. Til next time.

Dawn xxx

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Plums, Miss Lister and Elizabeth Gaskell

Look at this small haul of beauties. Picked these from one of my plum trees this year. A plum tree – one of two – which was ‘cut back’ more than a decade ago by my late husband who had no clue what he was doing. It’s taken them all this time to recover. And I think tree number two has not produced any fruit. Anyway, I’ve picked this lot and hope to get some more. Need to take the step ladders out to get up to the higher branches, but I’ll do that tomorrow. This is a start.

And what do I plan to do with them? Make plum jam again. Last year, my friend Jane gave myself and our other friend, Tracy, a huge amount of plums from the trees in her sister’s garden. I made them into jam and it was delicious. I couldn’t get enough of it. So am hoping for more plums from that source again (if that’s okay, Jane!) and will add them to my small haul. Will share the results once the jam is made.

So, how are you this week? Fine and dandy I hope?? Hopefully, if you’ve been reading this blog you’ll know that I’ve finally finished editing my latest in the Nina Esposito series. The Jacobite’s Share is the sequel to Dusting Down Alcudi and is set in Perthshire, Scotland. It features our favourite archaeologist and treasure hunter, Nina, her sexy beau, Jay and a whole host of other great characters. There’s an ancient castle, attempted murder and a whole lot more. I am aiming to get the book out early next year, so watch this space!

What else has been going on?

Finally finished the above book. It was really interesting and Anne’s personality shone right through it. However, I was a bit sad that it ended before she met Ann Walker, whom she went abroad with. Would love to read those diaries especially as the TV series is based on her later life with Ann. Still it gives a lovely glimpse into her life in Georgian England and all the manners and expectations someone of her class had.

She lived most of her life in Halifax, which is just over ten miles away from Haworth, home of the Brontes. It is unlikely they ever met. I believe the Brontes would have been too far down in terms of class for Miss Lister, who was keenly aware of whom she should be consorting with.

The Brontes did not print their first book until 1846 (a book of poems by all three), which is some six years after she died. And then Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey came out the following year catapulting these young women to literary stardom. It saddens me that Anne Lister never got to read these amazing books and I would have loved to have read what she thought of them. She was a keen reader and was keen to learn at every opportunity.

Anne Lister.

Anne Lister died at the age of 49 in what is now the modern country of Georgia, with her ‘wife’ Ann Walker at her side. Her body was brought back to Halifax in April 1841 where it was interred within the church.

I feel quite sad that I have finished it now. Oh well, on to my next book which will be Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell, who did know the Brontes. Charlotte Bronte was a particular friend of hers. Elizabeth also knew Charles Dickens. Anyway, having enjoyed the TV adaptation of it, I cannot wait to start the book.

So, what else have I been up to? Well, I’ve been forging ahead with setting up my small PR and social media marketing business and hopefully have more jobs coming up. My OU course starts soon, but I’m going to get a head start on it by beginning this week (cannot wait!). I am in the process of writing another stand alone book about the havoc a genie wreaks on an unsuspecting young man. I have a murder book to edit and a young adult book to go over again.

On top of that, I’m busy trying to get the garden in order. The weather has been dry enough and cool enough for me to work on it. However, as I have a back that hurts at every opportunity, I have decided the best way to tackle the garden is by doing a bit every day. And it’s been quite enjoyable except for the fact that Millie keeps trying to escape into the neighbour’s garden due to a hole in the fence made by some stupid young guys cutting down some branches for me. Humph.They knocked some slats off and didn’t even tell me. I only found out about the hole when I heard Millie’s plaintive yelp coming from my neighbour’s garden. Being a small, quick dog she was impossible to catch. We got her eventually. Sigh. Won’t be getting those guys in to do the branches again.

Right, I am going to finish up here and wish you all adieu until next time.

Dawn xxx

New book title reveal!

Best news ever this week! Myself and the lovely Graham, my editor, have finished the final edits of the new book.

And now I can reveal its name!

The Jacobite’s Share is the latest Nina Esposito adventure and sees our heroine heading home to Scotland to search for a hidden Jacobite treasure as a would-be murderer is at large. The action takes place in and around Dundow Castle in Perthshire and features our favourite archaeologist, Nina, her lover Jay and a cast of new characters.

I am just working on formatting it just now – I literally just finished for the night – and will be getting back in touch with Mia, my book cover designer, to do the next cover. Cannot wait!

In other news, I have finally learned how to make proper tablet. Tablet, for my non Scottish readers, is a very sweet treat made from sugar, milk, butter and condensed milk. It’s incredibly good and very, very bad for you. Put it this way, there’s so much sugar in it, your teeth vibrate when you’re eating it! It’s delicious and can be a bit tricky to make, but I managed it!! Whoohoo!

tablet…yum!

Finally about to finish the biography of Miss Anne Lister. It’s not the book. I am really enjoying it. It’s been several nights of not reading because I’ve been too tired interlaced with evenings when I’ve been binge reading M C Beaton’s Agatha Raisin series. They are quick reads and highly enjoyable. And funny. Next on my list is Elizabeth Gaskill’s Cranford.

This week has been very busy as I’ve been working on building my social media marketing business and formatting The Jacobite’s Share. I’ve really enjoyed networking and meeting other folk in small businesses. Have also signed up for a number of free training courses run by our local Business Gateway. Got a few coming up in the next couple of months, so that should be good.

Right, am finishing up now. Got a book on SEO optimisation to look at. Til next time.

Dawn xx

Ten Things I Love About Being an Author

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  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: dawn@danelsonauthor.com
  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.

Book launch, China Mieville and the Marvellous Mrs Maisel

Hello everyone, how are you all? Hope you are well. Welcome to the new subscribers who have joined up since Christmas. Hope you enjoy my posts. Can’t promise scintillating conversation as my life is pretty mundane most of the time, but I’ll do my best to entertain you and the folk who have been subscribers for a while. Hello to you all too!

Right, onwards and upwards. Firstly, I’m just letting you know I am officially launching Everything She Wants next month. I’d like to do something online… like a question and answer session or something like that. Would that be something you guys would be interested in? I could do a live session. Fill in your comments below and if enough of you want it, I’ll do it. I’m just worried that if I set something up on, say Facebook, no one will want to chat to me and I’ll sit there like Billy No Mates, drinking my tea and feeling sorry for myself! 😉 I may even have to bribe a few friends to come on just to make me feel better. 😀

So, what have you all been doing over the past week? I have been very busy getting back into writing. I am just going through the agonies of editing the sequel to Dusting Down Alcudia. I say “agonies” because this is part of the process that I don’t like. It’s hard work and I always think the book is rubbish. Then there will be at least another three edits before I pluck up the courage to send the manuscript to my editor. Then, for a number of days, I will wait, chewing my fingernails with anxiety, whilst awaiting his verdict. Actually, the sequel isn’t too bad, but needs a bit of work on it. What I am editing is the rough story. That’s how I write. I get down the rough story and then go back and edit and re-edit it until I can look at it no more (all my author friends know exactly what I mean here). Eventually, I get a book I can be proud to publish.

I have also been getting back to proper, made-from-scratch cooking. After Ian died, my ability to cook seemed to fly out of the window. I always find my cooking suffers if my mood isn’t good so it’s not surprising that I: a) haven’t felt like cooking, b) didn’t cook much (ie properly) in the first year after he died – we lived on bung-in-the-oven stuff and takeaways (hey, at least my weans were fed! We’re all still alive thanks to that!), and c) tried to get back to my cooking last year, but failed a lot… I think I was still trying to get back on my feet properly. That’s what happens when a loved one died, especially your soul mate. The rug is completely pulled from under you and you spend a helluva long time trying to get back to some sort of normal self. Anyway, I am wittering on again. The point of this post is that I felt like making pizza the other night. So, I made pizza, with a recipe courtesy of my mum (for the base) and the pizzas I made were delicious. Here is proof of how professional they looked (this one is mine):

Can I just say – it was delicious and I thoroughly enjoyed every bite. I feel happier now I have made something good (like I used to). Next up, tonight we are having home-made burgers. Will let you know how I get on.

Talking of cooking, I recently bought a half price panini grill from Aldi (love that shop) so me and the boy have been happily making toasted sandwiches in it – not paninis. That will change tomorrow, for I plan to make my own panini rolls using a recipe from the excellent Mortgage Free in Three blog (once it is back up and running properly). If it’s not, I may need to contact Elaine who runs the blog and ask her for the aforementioned recipe. No matter, I will make my boy a proper panini tomorrow. No doubt, he’ll just want cheese as the filling, but that’s okay. That’s my favourite filling too!

The book I am reading just now is Perdido Street Station by China Mieville, which is an odd, but enjoyable urban fantasy, sci-fi, Steampunk novel.

Will let you know how I get on with it, but so far so good. I’m only at the beginning of it, but enjoying it so far.

Oh my God, but I have wasted a helluva lot of hours watching my latest obsession. The Marvellous Mrs Maisel is fab. I love it. If you have Prime, I would really recommend you watch this. It’s about a 1950s New York housewife who decides to become a stand-up comedian. It’s really funny. Her family are nuts, she’s nuts and it’s just all round great entertainment. Unfortunately, because I have been binge watching both series, I have now finished them. I am now bereft. Thank God I have today’s Outlander (also Prime) to watch tonight.

Okay, I am going to finish up here, but I will be back again with you soon… promise! In the meantime, here’s another wee bite from series 2 of Mrs Maisel:

You are welcome! Til next time,

Dawn xxx

A broken hand, Dusting is out and Apple Pie

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Hello everyone, how are you all? Hope you are all well and had a good day today. I had the best day I’ve had this week, but more on that in a minute. Do you like the image above? Well, I happened to be scrolling through a free image site and stumbled across some lovely stone images. As the descendent of a stonemason (true), I really love carved stone. So, to celebrate the art of stonemasonry, today’s blog is dedicated to beautiful things carved in stone.

Right, why was today the best day this week? It’s because I am no longer in pain. And why is that? Because my right hand is not broken (as I thought it might be on Tuesday – aka extreme pain day – or even yesterday – aka very painful day) and is recovering quickly. Here’s what happened – I woke up in the middle of the night on Monday night in extreme pain from the back of my right hand. I had no idea what I had done to it. I had not bashed it or hurt it that day. So, I got up on Tuesday in extreme pain (thank God for painkillers), got the kids to school and spent the day binge watching Grace & Frankie on Netflix (love that show, so funny) and debating whether or not to go to the hospital for an x-ray.

Any of you who have been following this blog for a while will know that I have spent a lot of time up at our local hospital over the last few years what with my husband’s illness and an extremely accident prone daughter (my son, who is 10, has been up there for the Minor Injuries Unit twice; my daughter, who is 13, has been up there about ten times). Anyway, I was reluctant to go, but I eventually relented and went yesterday. One examination and an x-ray later and it’s not broken. Phew. However the nurse did ask how it happened and here’s what’s weird – the only time I hurt it was last week when a tin of beans (or something similar) fell on it from the cupboard. That was extremely painful and the air was blue with expletives. Anyway, it hurt for a while and then the pain went away. Then I went to Pilates on Monday and it felt sore, but only when I put some weight on it. Afterwards, there was no pain…until the middle of the night. I can only think I have ‘reopened’ (for want of a better word) the injury. The nurse thought that might be it too. She said when the can hit my hand I had essentially tenderised my hand.  Ew, the thought of that.

Anyway, it stopped any kind of writing for two days. Today is the first day without any real pain and that has been good.

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The hand injury has also stopped me from doing much else this week apart from watching telly. It’s also taught me how much I use my right hand. I was seriously slowed down and it was driving me nuts, especially as I couldn’t write.

However, thanks to me setting things up…Dusting Down Alcudia is now available on Amazon here in both paperback, ebook and large print. If you haven’t already get your free character book from here.   Right, enough of the sales speak.

Regarding writing, I am still studying how to be an indie publisher, how to promote and market my books, and anything else I find useful. Currently reading Joanna Penn’s How to Make a Living From Your Writing, which will be swiftly followed by her Business for Authors. I can’t tell you how valuable I find Joanna’s books and her website, The Creative Penn. If you are a wannabe writer for both traditionally published or indie published fiction and non fiction, I would really recommend her books and website. I’m not telling you this to earn money, this is my actual opinion.

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I’ve been making apple pie recently. A friend in the village I live in gave me a big bag of apples from their apple tree and I made a huge pot of pie filling. I made two apple pies – one for us and one for my friend (well it’s actually her and her husband) – and I have enough leftover for another. Yum!

I have also been getting into making sour dough. My starter is started. His name is Fred and I have been feeding him all week. Fred lives on the island of my kitchen in a large Kilner jar. He sits there and bubbles and froths and generally looks happy. I am starting to think of him as a living being, which I suppose he is being all wild yeast. I will give him a couple of more days and then I am going to make sour dough bread. Wish me luck.

Due to aforementioned injury, I have been unable to hold books to read so I am still reading Radclyffe Hall’s biography. I am enjoying it, but I am yearning to get on to another book. Sigh. Maybe tonight I’ll got to bed early and get through a couple more chapters. What books are you all reading at the moment? Do any of you have any recommendations? Please message me.

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Okay, I am going to finish up now. It’s 7.38pm GMT and I am about to indulge in a cup of tea and a couple of chocolate digestives. My Dr Who loving son is currently watching older episodes of Dr Who (Christopher Eccleson) – thankfully it’s not that Fred movie again, hate that movie – and I am about to throw him off to watch another Grace & Frankie.

Looking forward to chatting with you again soon. Til next time!

Dawnxxx

 

 

Get free books, new FB page, my boards on Pinterest and much more!

The weather is so miserable and cold today that I have decided we need something to cheer us all up. So, throughout this post I have put in pics of cute animals. You are welcome.

Okay, the news from me this week. Well it’s been pretty exciting recently. I have been working a lot on my writing career and here’s what I’ve been  doing:

  • I set up a new Facebook page for me as an author. You can reach me at www.facebook.com/authordanelson
  • I hired a fab book cover illustrator to create the book cover for the newly revamped Dusting Down Alcudia. See more about her here.
  • and I’ve been doing a course on marketing books run by Nick Stephenson…it’s excellent
  • I’ve also set up a group called Dawn’s Diva who get free Advance Review Copies. If you’d like to join that group, email me: danelsonauthor@gmail.com with your own email address and I’ll add you to the list and send you a copy of Dusting Down Alcudia. After that, you will receive Advance Review Copies of future books plus the latest newsletters about my books. You can opt out at any time. Remember, it’s send me your name and email address to: danelsonauthor@gmail.com
  • I’ve been writing a new Young Adult book, but am about to edit the sequel to Dusting Down Alcudia soon.
  • I’ve also set up boards on my Pinterest account so you can see some of the inspiration for my books. See my boards here: www.pinterest.co.uk/danelsonauthor/
  • Phew, I have been busy!

So how have things been with you?  What have you been up to? I was through in Edinburgh last Tuesday to attend the AGM of the Society of Authors in Scotland, of which I am a member. I stayed for the lunch and got to hobnob with other authors, a couple of whom know a lady I know. We had a great chat and a good time.

Been out a lot walking the dogs without Bonya, our pug. Unfortunately, she had to get another cancerous lump removed and was housebound for about ten days. Now, anyone who knows our darling Bonbon knows she’s not a great walker anyway. She prefers to lie somewhere comfortable and snooze. However, because she wasn’t allowed to walk, she wanted to go. I felt guilty leaving her, but couldn’t risk burst stitches and infection. She’s doing great. She has recovered really well and is back to her happy wee self. However, apparently pugs are prone to these cancerous lumps and we expect her to have more of them in the future. That’s something we’ll have to deal with as and when she gets them. I hated having to leave her at the vets to her operation, just hated it. She looked so upset, but it was necessary. Hopefully we’ll not have to go through that again soon.

On a lighter note, as I said, she’s made a great recovery and was so well behaved when she got her stitches out. She’s an absolute trooper!

Finished all my  Sookie Stackhouse books. I think there’s one more I still have to read, but I don’t yet have it, so I’ll get back to Why Mummy Swears by Gill Sim and order Dead Ever After (the final Sookie Stackhouse book) from Amazon.

Right, I’m going to go now. Got 1000 words to write before dinner time. Until next time.

Dawn xx

 

 

 

 

Join my Readers’ Team for Free Early Copies of My Book and Other Stuff

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Well, hello, how are you? All well I hope. I haven’t written a long post for a wee while and it’s because I have been really busy writing, doing repair jobs around the house (they are never ending), decorating my bedroom (pale blue, it’s lovely) and preparing for a small house party last weekend.

With regards to the small house party last weekend, I had some family, close friends and a couple of neighbours around as a kind of extension house warming. I themed it on Alice in Wonderland (hence the figurines and pics of flowers) and spent three days making food for it. By the Saturday, I was exhausted even before one guest had arrived, but once they all started coming and the wine flowed, I got my second wind and had a fab time. The buffet went down well, we had music on so there was dancing, it was nice enough for some to sit outside and when it got dark my dad lit the fire pit. It was a great night and I’d like to thank everyone who came and for all their gifts and  good wishes.

I’ve also been working with my editor, the lovely Graham, to finish the final draft of Dusting Down Alcudia. I am now in the process of hiring an artist to do the front cover and have three quotes to look at already. I am looking to launch the book in November.

***HERE’S WHERE YOU CAN HELP*** I am looking for avid readers who would like a free Advance Reader’s Copy of Dusting Down Alcudia. All I ask for in return is you give an honest review on sales sites such as Amazon. I am currently gathering names just now and if you would like to be included, please contact me at: danelsonauthor@gmail.com

So why read the book? Well, let me tell you about it…

When top archaeologist Nina Esposito finds a famed treasure hunters’ journal, she knows it will lead her to a long-lost Roman necklace.

But when an ex and a rival archaeologist come on the scene, things don’t go quite to plan as the pair battle out for the right to her heart. Added to the mix is the shady character of a local billionaire who will stop at nothing to snatch the jewels from under her nose.

Now she has to navigate through her confused feelings and concentrate on finding the necklace before anyone else does. Failure just isn’t an option.

Fancy reading the book for FREE in return for your honest opinion? Then send me your name and email address to: danelsonauthor@gmail.com

So what else has been happening? Well, our wee pug Bonya has another lump, this time on her stomach. Because she had cancer last year, we had to get it removed and it’s being sent to a lab to find out if it’s cancer or not. Hopefully it’ll be the latter. The poor wee mite is snoozing on the sofa as I write. She’s all woozy and spaced out. Hopefully she’ll be back to near normal tomorrow. She is currently sporting one of those plastic head cones and looks hysterical. The operation went well so we’re expecting her to make a full recovery.

What I am reading at the moment. Well, I was lucky enough to pop along to Gill Sims‘ book launch of her latest hilarious book Why Mummy Swears. For any of you who don’t know Gill, she’s the blogger who brought us the incredibly funny Peter and Jane blog and the Sunday Times’ best sellerWhy Mummy Drinks. This is the sequel and it’s great. Good luck with the book Gill. PS was delighted to get my copy signed!! PPS was also very excited to meet Judgy Dog in person. He’s a lovely wee thing.

The kids went back to school yesterday. I bought the boy’s school shoes on Monday. Talk about cutting it fine this year? I did organise getting all their uniform at the beginning of July, though so my late buying of shoes is kind of cancelled out in the ‘being a bad mum stakes’. And what did mum do when her beloved offspring went off to school? Well I met the aforementioned lovely Graham (my editor) for lunch to talk Dusting Down Alcudia (for about ten minutes) and other books/authors (including the Brontes who we both love, for about two hours). We went to Café Andaluz and had a lovely time eating and talking.

So, there you are, that’s been what’s happening (-ish) over the last two weeks. Of course, more has been happening, but I am sure you don’t want to know about all the housework and dog walking and talking to other dog walkers (for ages, much to the dogs’ disgust) that I have been doing.  😉

Right, I am off to make dinner tonight. I have no idea what I am going to make. Haven’t had time to do a menu for this week yet. Sigh.

Til next time.

Dawn xx

The Incredibles, True Blood and Celebrating a 90th birthday


Well it’s been a very busy week this week at Nelson Towers! We’ve been to the pictures, went out for lunch (twice), visited a well-known Glasgow museum and helped my father-in-law celebrate his 90th birthday (Happy Birthday!). Plus have been knitting whilst binge-watching Foyle’s War (love that series, can’t think why I never got into it before!). And I’ve been writing…finished the first edit of my murder book. Phew.

So, let’s start at the beginning. At the start of the week, I took the kids out for lunch before we popped into the local cinema to see Incredibles 2, which was fab by the way. I loved the original movie and was not disappointed by the sequel. It was great. Love Jack Jack and the new baddie was great, although I’d worked out who it was about halfway through…mainly because it couldn’t have been the more obvious choice, but the other one. I know this sounds garbled, but if I put in the character names it may spoil the film for some. And I don’t want to do that.

This week I also met my talented illustrator friend Mandy Sinclair for lunch, which was lovely. We don’t often get time to meet, so it was good to catch up. We went to Bar Soho in Glasgow, which in my younger years used to be called The Fixx (I used to hang out there), and had a lovely lunch. It was the perfect place: not too noisy, good music and the food was nice. The boy was with us – he’s too young to be left at home – so after we parted ways with Mandy, we went to the Riverside Museum (which is the new name for the old transport museum) for a look around. I do love that museum, it’s full of such interesting old things such as steam trains, trams, old cars, old motorbikes and much more. It was pretty busy and we got around it within an hour. He then hit the shop and bought himself a lot of tat. I picked up a new mug for myself with an old poster on it denoting the joys of Saltcoats (an Ayrshire town next to the sea which has a fabulous beach). The last time I was in Saltcoats (I used to go there a lot as a kid) was with Ian and the girl, when the girl was still a baby. It was a hoot because she insisted on paddling in the sea (with us keeping very wary eyes on her) and her nappy got wet thanks to the waves and swelled up to about three times the size. She couldn’t walk any more because of that and had to be rescued. Happy days! Anyway, here’s the image that was on the mug (that’s me in the swimming hat…only joking!):

Yesterday, we helped my father-in-law, Edward, celebrate his 90th birthday. There were few family members there and some of his friends and it was a lovely afternoon. Myself and my brother-in-law did a small buffet and it was a good afternoon. Apart from my kids and my niece and nephew, I was one of the youngest ones there at the tender age of 47 and my brother-in-law in his 50s, so there was a lot of talk between the rest of them about their childhoods and reminiscing about this and that. Was interesting to listen to.

Today I am having a quieter day. Was exhausted yesterday evening because I’d spent a few hours in the kitchen making up the buffet, then we went to the party. We didn’t get back til after 5pm and by that time I was tired with a capital ‘T’. Anyway, I’m glad everyone enjoyed it.

What I am reading right now – I have now completed three of the Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris and am looking forward to going to bed tonight so I can get on to book 4, Dead to the World. I am loving the series. Am not surprised because I loved the tv series, True Blood. So, so good. Favourite characters? Eric Northman, the big blond Viking vampire closely followed by Alcide Herveaux, the werewolf.

 


Alexander Skarsgard as Eric Northman.

Joe Manganiello as Alcide Herveaux.

Right, on that note, I must leave you here.  I’m away to have some tea in my new mug and a slice of cheesecake that is whispering ‘Eat me’ in the fridge! 🙂 It truly is the simple things that make life so nice!

Til next time,

Dawn xxx

A small death and some great books on writing

Sam

It is with mixed feelings that I announce the passing of our guinea pig, Sam. Mixed because I was quite fond of the wee guy and am a little sad. However, being the sole caretaker and shoveler of his poo, I will not miss having to clean him out. RIP Sam…you were a good piggy, an excellent pet and a delight when you had your little conversations with yourself.

I buried him in the back garden next to my guinea pig, Darcy. The kids are untroubled by his passing, so we don’t have to deal with any explosions of dramatic grief, thank goodness. They basically ignored him, which is understandable on the boy’s part because he wasn’t his pig. He belonged to my daughter. Anyway, I now live in hope that he doesn’t get dug up by Millie – who has already tried to dig up Darcy. I’ve covered his little grave with a roof tile which is too heavy (I hope) for a small white dog to remove. We shall see.

So, how has your week been? Have you been enjoying the sunshine? I have and I haven’t. Being a northern person, I find the heat too much for me. Plus me and the kids were a bit unwell yesterday (Friday). I think the girl was suffering from a bit of heat stroke – her school had them all out doing PE in that horrendous high temperatures on Thursday. The boy was sick, I don’t know if it was a bug or the heat. I felt yucky yesterday – I think it was the heat. We are all fine now. Thank goodness. It’s a cooler day and we are staying indoors for most of the day.

I’ve been continuing to write the sequel to Dusting Down Alcudia. I am planning to re-launch Dusting Down Alcudia before Christmas (watch this space) and the sequel quickly after. My murder book is still on the back burner and I will start my first edit of it soon. I’ve also been continuing to studying marketing e-books and recommend Joanna Penn’s How to Market A Book. It is an excellent resource for anyone wanting to indie publish. The Miracle Morning for Writers by Hal Elrod (Author), Honoree Corder (Author), Steve Scott (Author), S.J. Scott (Author), James Altucher (Foreword) is another great book for would-be writers. It gives you hints and tips on making writing an every day habit and has great advice on getting your book published. If you are wondering why I – as an already published author – am reading these books is because I think all authors should know how to properly market their books. My work background is journalism and PR, which gives me a great start, but I didn’t know enough about other marketing avenues such as how to reach potential audiences, using social media and other great tips.

It’s been too hot to do much of anything so I have been staying inside and knitting whilst I watch telly. Above is a little lamb I knitted for my daughter – well she’s bagsied it! I don’t yet have a name for her (the lamb, that is, not my daughter who already has a name!), so if you have any suggestions, let me know. 😉

Books I have been reading – just finished Eloisa James’ Midnight Pleasures book which is a bodice ripper and was great fun. I haven’t read any romance books for years (unless you count things like Twilight etc) and I loved it. It was a great read. Totally predictable but really enjoyable. Haven’t chosen my next book to read yet, but I have lots. It’s too warm outside to read a heavy book (I leave Dickens and Scott and even Austen to read in the cosy winter months), so it will need to be something lighter.

Plans for the summer – we have none except that we all want to go and see the film Patrick. Yes, it’s partly because we have a pug and know how funny they are. Yes, it’s also because it looks funny. Anyway, that is the extent of our plans for the summer holidays. We aren’t going on holiday this year, but are looking forward to the next six-and-a-half weeks at home. I have bought the kids a new paddling pool (it’s quite large), a slip n slide and other outdoor games in the hope that the weather will hold and the kids can be prised away from their electronics to go outside and have fun. We shall see.

Anyway, I am going to finish my blog here for this week and shall leave you with a still from the aforementioned film. Here is the lovely Patrick (I think his real name is Harley)…

Til next time!

Dawn xxx