Exciting news and a small loss

Okay, so I’ve got some news I’m dying to tell you about, but I can’t tell you details yet. The first is that I am collaborating with a very dear friend of mine on a new book for kids. She’s a great illustrator and we work well together, so I am looking forward to doing that one.

The second is international. I’ve teamed up with a group of authors from the US, Australia and the UK to do a whole series of books, romantic thrillers. We’re just working out the details now, but we’re hoping to have the first book launched by the end of the year. I cannot wait to get started. I have already begun planning.

(Takes deep breath to calm down) Sorry I can’t tell you any more, but I will give you details as we go along.

So, back to reality, how are you? What’s been happening in your world? Apart from signing up for two projects, the rest of the week has been pretty mundane. The weather has been terrible, we lost a chicken (she died – I think it was the weather that did it, it’s been wet and miserable for weeks now), but on the plus side we still have three healthy chooks left. The dogs have been loving trailing through the mud on their wet and windy walks. Sorry, let me re-phrase that, the Yorkie and Jack/Chi have been loving the mud, the pug (who hates going out for walks and I have to force her to go) does not like getting her wee tippy toes wet. So we’ve been getting a fair bit of grumbling from her this week! 🙂

Millie – our Jack Russell/Chihuahua cross loves water and getting muddy. That’s her ‘crazy eyes’ look because I am holding up a ball – she’s ball mad – in order to make her look at the camera!
Casper – our Yorkshire terrier doesn’t like getting wet, but will happily put up with wet and mud in order to go a walk. He spends a lot of time sleeping and pacing between the living room and kitchen. I don’t know why.
Bonya – our pug, hates going walks, hates getting wet and spends her life sleeping on the sofa. She’s a lazy dog.

I’ve been beavering away at my uni course and have an assignment to hand in next week, but it’s a creative writing one and I am just loving doing it!

What else have I been up to? I attended a tarot reading at our local pub on Monday night. Let’s just say I was a bit sceptical when I went and I remain sceptical now. The guy doing the reading was nice, but the stuff he was telling me was way too general and I felt he kept looking at me for signs of information so he could add to it. Do you know what I mean? I think there are people who are genuinely psychic or something – and I’ve only met one who was so accurate it was scary – but most are just reading off their client. Anyway, we’ll see.

I am still making my way through M C Beaton’s Agatha Raisin books. They are a fab way of relaxing at night. I like to go to my bed at 9pm and read for an hour (sometimes two) before lights out. These are great books – I love the characters, I love the humour and the stories are great. It is murder and mayhem, but not so you can’t sleep at night (I don’t read dark murder stories or horror at bedtime because my mind goes into freefall with imagining things that go bump in the night and I can’t sleep).

Oh, I see it’s now raining again. It’s the type of rain that’s almost snow… you know the kind I mean? The type that when you look out you think ‘Is that snow?’ but it’s not settling. It’s not hail cos it’s too soft and too easy for the wind to blow about. Anyway, it’s bloody cold and miserable outside. I had to bring the chickens in last night and I kept them in a large cardboard box in the living room. They’d got soaked yesterday and were in their coop shivering. I was worried they’d get hypothermia, so I brought them in. Looks like they’ll be spending another night indoors tonight.

Right, I am off. Got another two blog posts to write and then I’m going to finish my assignment and then I’m going to start researching my kids book project. Til next time.

Dawn xx

Is it February already?

rain

Jeezo, January went fast this year. One minute we were celebrating the new year and the next it’s February! And it’s been a pretty soggy month already – although today is sunny, which is a welcome change from the torrential rain we’ve been having lately.

So, how have you all been? I hope you’re well. We’ve had the lurgy in the house again. The boy was off with it on Friday and I’m feeling dodgy today. It’s a nasty stomach bug which a lot of people around this area have been experiencing, if the amount of kids who have had to take time off school is anything to go by. Anyway, it’s short lived, so hopefully I’ll be over it soon.

So, what’s been happening in your world? Anything exciting happened lately? Please tell me, I need a bit of excitement. My life lately has been one long round of working, housework with the odd bit of fun things thrown in.

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Talking of which, I lunched with my friend from next door last Tuesday. We went to a lovely farm shop type complex called Ardardan, which is a five minute drive from where we live. My friend loves their lentil soup, so Ardardan has now become our place to go. I had a cheese toastie (grilled cheese sandwich) and we sat and had tea after. Ardardan offer a range of fab cakes, so I “forced” myself to have one. Okay, I couldn’t resist, it was a caramel apple granny cake and I just love it.

I also met up with an old (in the sense we have known each other for years) friend from work. We went to Rose and Grant’s at the Trongate in Glasgow. We both worked in that area before, so it was our local when we were there. Anyway, it’s a great place if you eat meat, are vegetarian or vegan. They do a great range of really nice food for everyone and their vegan food and cakes is delicious. I’m not vegan, in fact I am the total opposite, but I do love vegan food. I opted for the vegan square sausage  (a square sausage is a Scottish thing – it’s a beef sausage, without a skin, pressed into a loaf shape and then cut up into sort of square shapes before cooking. Square sausage – also called Lorne sausage – is fabulous in a crusty roll). Anyway, their vegan square sausage is very like the meat version, so you don’t feel like you are missing out. I can recommend their vegan and full Scottish breakfast too. Yum.

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I also attended a women’s business event in Helensburgh on Friday night. It was just a couple of hours and there were ten of us in total. Set up by Lesley, who owns the Beachcomber Café at Kidston Park in the town, the night’s aim was to bring local business women together to chat, support each other and share experience. It was really good. There was a great atmosphere and everyone got on. I was there not as an author but as a PR/Social Media business owner and I volunteered to set up their Facebook page, which I’ve done, and I hope to have that go live soon.

What else? I’ve heard no word back regarding the audiobook of Dusting Down Alcudia. Fingers crossed I hear back from ACX, the production company linked to Audible, soon. Regarding The Jacobite’s Share, Dusting’s sequel, I’m awaiting some proofs of the cover for that. I hope to launch that towards the end of March. Once I have some artwork, I’m going to start promoting it, so watch this space.

I’ve also been working hard on my draft script for a production company I have contact with. Don’t know if it’s going to be any good, but I am so loving writing it. Maybe this is my next career!! Anyway, we shall see.

This coming week will consist of working on my uni course, the script and some short stories. I’m also going to meet an old work friend who now teaches English in China (nowhere near poor Wuhan), but has been back in Blighty for a month now. We’re going for lunch and I’m looking forward to a catch up. Remember my Austrian trip? Well, my friend from there is coming back to Scotland next weekend and she’s going to be staying for a few days at my house. I cannot wait to catch up with both of them.

chooks

My chickens (see above peering in my patio door – they are so nosey) continue to produce lots of eggs, so I’m going to do a bit of baking later. A nice wee Victoria sponge I think! Yum. The hens are doing really, really well and love being able to wander about my back garden, scratching and eating grubs and bugs. I love watching them, they look so happy, especially when they take dirt baths. The dogs pretty much leave them alone, except Millie who just wants to play with them. They soon see her off, though. On Christmas day, our chicken Nugget (the big one second from right, above) chased her right across the garden. It was hilarious!

Anyway, I will leave you on that happy note and say adieu until next time! Have a great week.

Dawn xxx

Another birthday, another book, another week

winter 2

So, I am writing this blog sitting on my sofa in the living room whilst an old episode of Bones is on the telly and a storm brews up outside.  And I’m wondering what nuggets of information I should share with you this week.

Firstly, I think I should apologise for being a bit late with this post this week. I’ve been really busy. I’ve been working on my uni course and on building my clientele for my social media business. Then add to that all the things I do on a daily basis and all of a sudden it’s Thursday night and I’m thinking: oh no! I haven’t written one blog this week yet.

winter 1

Right, so let’s begin with the weekend. It was my birthday last week and to celebrate not only did my parents take me out for lunch, but my friends took me out for dinner. Weirdly both events happened at the same place – Padrone’s in Helensburgh – but I was happy to go as I love the restaurant. It does a fab pizza and really nice pasta. Yum. Had a fab time on both. Also met my sister for lunch today. We went to Bill’s in West Nile Street, Glasgow and had macaroni (yes, there is an Italian theme going on here) and a good old blether. She paid cos it was my birthday last week. Thanks to everyone for taking me out. Had a great time.

Was going to put the Christmas decorations up on Sunday, but as I was feeling foggy with a hangover, I decided it would be best not to. So, I spent much of the day lying on the sofa with the dogs watching Bones. I used to watch Bones years ago, then went off it. Recently, I’ve been in the mood for it, so have been catching up with the episodes I missed. It’s good. A lot of the things they do on it are ridiculous, especially how fast they solve crime, but it’s good old fashioned entertainment. NB the decorations went up on Tuesday and Wednesday. Couldn’t be bothered doing all in one day!

baubles

Been working on getting the audiobook of Dusting Down Alcudia done and out, but every time I upload it, I get an email back saying something else is wrong with it. Sigh. It’s not the recording of the voice, but room tone that’s missing. Anyway, I am going to work on it tomorrow and see if I can finally get it uploaded and accepted by the platform I’m uploading to. Watch this space for news. I will get this audiobook out soon if it kills me!! 😉

Currently reading Alternative Scriptwriting by Ken Dancyger and Jeff Rush. Just started it, so don’t have an opinion on it yet, but will let you know. Am keen to learn about scriptwriting. I really want to give one a go, so am learning everything I can about it. Early this year, I signed up to Masterclass and there’s a number of courses on screenwriting on there. S’good.

winter 3

Quick update on the chickens. For those of you who don’t know it already, I adopted four ex-battery hens in October. The poor wee souls were pretty bare about the bottom. I don’t know how their feathers disappeared from their posteriors, but it’s definitely linked to how they were kept before we got them. Did they pluck out their own feathers because they were bored and depressed? I don’t know. However, the chooks are looking a lot better these days. I’m allowing them to roam the garden in the afternoons and they are loving it. They are perky and curious, their combs are bright red and perky (unlike the pale pink, floppy combs they were when we first got them) and their feathers are starting to come in big style. They seem really happy and cluck softly as they scratch about the back garden. The dogs have been great with them. The pug seems oblivious to the fact that they are there, although she must smell them. We think she’s a bit blind and deaf (she is an old lady), so may not see them properly. She’s also very laid back, almost horizontal, so that could be it. Millie, our Jack Chi, is besotted with the hens. She just wants to sniff and play with them. However, the chickens aren’t so keen and she soon gets told off with a quick peck if she gets too close. Both her and Casper are keen eaters of chicken feed – you would think I don’t feed them! – so I have to keep an eye on them and make sure they don’t go into the pen when the chickens are out. Casper is also curious about them, but is a little scared of them. It’s hilarious!

Right, I am going to finish here and go and make myself a wee cup of tea. I drank copious cups of it at Bill’s earlier, but am in the mood for another. Til next time.

Dawn xx

 

 

 

Painting, linens and chooks

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I am exhausted. There is no doubt about it. All I want to do is lie down and sleep. You see, the kids are only just back at school having had two weeks off over the October break and during that two weeks I went a bit crazy and decided to decorate the boy’s room, empty and clear out the linen cupboard and get chickens.

The boy’s room was a nightmare to paint. I’d previously painted it yellow when the girl was born and the yellow took at least six coats of white paint to cover it up. Plus the boy wanted one of his walls a pale blue. Both of us worked on the room for about three days in total and it was a nightmare. It’s done now though… phew. I’ve also washed his carpet and I need to put his curtains up, three shelves and his DVD cabinet, but I’ll do that later today. He’s also got a new bed coming so that will have to be built.

I also cleaned out our linen cupboard. Both kids now have double beds so I decided it would be a great idea to clear out all the single bed sets and wash them to donate to charity. Five days later I am still doing washing – not because I have hundreds of bed sets, but because my darling children decided it would be a wheeze to add a tonne of their dirty washing on top of it. Sigh.

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Okay, on to the chickens. I’ve always wanted to keep chickens so applied to the British Hen Welfare Trust to take on four ex-battery hens. We got them on Saturday and they are lovely, although building their coup took hours and hours. We picked them up from a lovely house in Denny of all places and took them home. They’ve given us seven eggs already – all gone cos we’re greedy in here – and I look forward to getting some more. Unfortunately, the girls weren’t in the best condition when we got them, one of them was positively plucked, but I expect their feathers to grow and they’ll look lovely.

The only thing I was worried about regards the hens was how the dogs would react, but they’ve been fine. Casper had a bit of a bark at them this morning, but Millie (whose mission in life is to chase birds) has been more bemused than aggressive towards them. Phew.

So, with all that’s been going on in my life over the last week, I haven’t been doing any writing, studying or reading. Now that the house is almost back together again, I will be resuming my normal activities… well, once the house is cleaned and sorted. Because of the boy’s room being done and the chickens coming, there is stuff where it shouldn’t be and it’s driving me nuts. This afternoon is all about cleaning. Sigh. I hate cleaning.

Right, on that note, I will say goodbye for now. Til next time.

Dawn xxx