Blog surrender – you have been warned!

Okay, so you know how this blog was originally set up to link in with my DarkIsle books (hence the name!) and over the last few years I’ve barely mentioned the aforementioned books? Well, that’s going to change a little bit…okay Aldiss, I’ll tell them…Aldiss wants me to tell you it’s going to change a big bit.

Aldiss, give me a minute, I am just telling them!

What I am trying to say (but being rudely interrupted) is that Bertie and Aldiss have requested…no, that’s not the right word…demanded that they have a day each week to talk about Murst and what’s been happening with them, Morag, Montgomery and Shona since the last book was published. (I am telling them Aldiss, shhhhh!) They said that the blog was boring and that nobody wanted to know what a boring author was saying about her boring life (cheek!), so they wanted a chance to make it better.

So, starting tomorrow, for the next few Mondays. No, Aldiss, I will not promise it will happen forever more. Why? Well because you two have the attention spans of gnats and I don’t see you keeping this up. Okay, okay, we will see and I’m sure you’ll do it. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, it’s starting tomorrow.

Oh, Aldiss wants me to put a couple of pictures of himself and Bertie in this post. Where is Bertie, Aldiss? I thought I said he had to be here to get his photo taken? Where is he? What’s he doing in Edinburgh? Oh, visiting his Aunt Matilda. Okay, so it’ll just have to be you. Okay, okay, I will put up the baby pic first.

Here is Aldiss as a baby…

Aldiss as a baby. Sorry, I have been corrected: Aldiss as a cute baby.

And here’s one of him now in one of his favourite places: the bins round the back of Beba Bruce’s Wonder Bakery in Murst:

Can I go now? No? Alright, I’ll put in a drawing of Bertie instead. Is this one you drew? Yes? I don’t think so Aldiss. Someone is telling porkie pies! Anyway, here is a rather charming picture of Bertie:

Can I now tell them about what’s been happening at my house this week? Yes? Thank you. Yes, goodbye Aldiss, see you later.

Phew, he’s away now. Actually, he’s not wrong about my life being a bit boring lately. I have been working hard on my new book for adults and I’ve been outside working on the garden, which was badly needing some work done on it! Still reading Stephen King’s The Gunslinger and enjoying it.  I also attended a local Beer and Gin Festival, which was fun just for people watching alone. We arrived somewhat later than many of the attendees who were two sheets to the wind by the time we got there. I went with a couple of very good friends and we had a fab time chatting, people watching and then boogying in the live music tent.

Right, tomorrow I will leave you in the capable hands of Aldiss and Bertie. I really am not sure about this. Sigh.

Til next time

Dawn xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Birthdays, lunches, reading, making…but no tinsel

I am not doing it. Not yet. No sir. There will be no baubles, tinsel or elves on this blog this week. They might appear next week, but this week is strictly Christmas free. It’s not that I am being bah humbug about this, but I like to leave Christmas decorating until nearer the big day. So you’ll not be finding Christmas decs up at my house just now…that’s a job for this weekend or maybe next week.

So how are you? Hope you’ve had a good week. I’ve been really busy over the last couple of weeks with social events galore. I have barely been in. Last month, there were five family birthdays and four practically family (but not blood or marriage related) birthdays (ie close friends) to celebrate, including my own and the boy’s. Most recently me and the kids were at an 18th party at my friend’s house. Her daughter, who is just lovely and I wish I could adopt her, turned 18 and there was a big family bash. It was a great night. I thoroughly enjoyed it although I partook of too much wine and suffered for it the next day. Happy birthday E…have a great party weekend with your friends this weekend.

I’ve also been lunching and that’s thrown my diet right out of the window so have decided to ditch it until after Christmas when, I hope, my new kitchen may be usable. Talking of that, the extension has been going on good guns: the roof is on, the windows in and they are doing the insulation as I write. Am so excited. It’s already looking amazing.

Other big news and DarkIsle is now available in a special 10th anniversary edition. So go and buy it now. If you know me personally I will be happy to sign it for you.

Also want to give a wee mention to my Uncle Ian who sadly died this month. He was a lovely man, an ex Glasgow policeman who was full of good humour and a brilliant mimic. He will be missed.

What else have I been up to? I’ve been knitting away for my new Etsy shop called CosyCosy Studio (link is here: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/CosyCosyStudio?ref=shop_sugg). I’ve only got a few things on there just now, but will be adding to it. Would appreciate genuine and helpful feedback on my products if you have the time.  At the moment, there are some hand knitted lap blankets and hand-made cards, but I have some scarves to add this weekend. Am just about to add the lining to them and then they will be ready. The first is a hand knitted yellow Alpaca lap blanket, the second a hand knitted green basket weave pattern blanket and the hand stamped and hand painted Three Kings Christmas card.

Books I have been reading over the last couple of weeks include Ruth Goodman’s How to Be a Tudor (am right into the Tudor era at  the moment) and Alexander Langland’s Craeft. Both of them you may know from the Tudor Farm, Wartime Farm etc programmes (which I love). Ruth, in particular, is a lively and interesting writing and I’ve read books of hers before. This is the first time I’ve read anything of Alex’s and I’m enjoying it too. Hers is about – surprise surprise – ordinary folk in the Tudor era and his is about lost crafts. Loving reading both.

If you are wondering about the photos used in this blog today, they were taken before 9am on various mornings over the past week except for the last one, which was an afternoon pick a few weeks ago. I love the autumn colours and the blue skies. If you look carefully at the pics you’ll see three wee dogs running around having fun. The pics were taken on our daily walks around the River Clyde area where we live. They love it, I love it. Even when it’s freezing cold, it’s great to get out into the fresh air and enjoy the views of the river.

Right I am going to finish up here and wish you adieu until next time!

Dawn xxx

My favourite pic from the last couple of weeks:

 

 

Scary! Oh and some nice pics of textures

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So I’ve gone and done it…I’ve signed up to take part in a mini triathlon and am feeling scared. I think the distances are doable and it’s not til next year (September in Stirling) so I have plenty of time to train, but it’s still a bit terrifying! Am sure I’ll be fine. I’ve already been walking and swimming twice this week. Next week I plan to start running again…

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So how’s things in your world? Hope you’ve had a good week. I’ve been really busy at work, but it’s been good. I don’t take the car into work any more, I find the traffic too heavy and too stressful and I’m just not prepare to do it any more. On Wednesday, I was all over the southside of Glasgow taking pictures for work and it was great – I got the bus to Pollok, took an underground train to Kinning Park and also got the train to and from the city centre. I loved it. There is nothing better than sitting at the top of a double decker bus (at the front of course) living out my childhood memories. I used to love doing that as a kid and it’s still good doing it as an adult. You can see loads from up there! Such good fun. I waved to an old lady who was staring out of a third floor tenement flat, but she didn’t wave back…probably was wondering who the mad bus top stranger was!! I enjoy travelling by underground too…so long as it’s not busy. It’s so quick to get about the city centre. And then there’s the train journey to and from work…I love travelling by train and it enables me to get some very relaxing reading in!

 

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Yesterday, I took hubby up to B&Q to buy a new wheelbarrow for the garden. This might sound like a boring trip, but I love B&Q (I like any DIY store) and hubby was stir crazy  so it was good for both of us. Then we had lunch at McMonagles (a famous fish and chip restaurant/chippy) – my cod was huge!! And delicious!

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Today I did the housework, went swimming with two friends, came home and made lunch. My step-kids were visiting so I made pasta bake, which is basically penne pasta, a Bolognese sauce (home-made, secret recipe and all that) and cheese baked in the oven. Oh it was good…even if I say so myself. It’s kind of a Nelson family favourite which I brought with me when hubby and I started going out. Everyone loves it! My mouth is watering at the memory! It was probably a million calories, but I didn’t care as I scooped it into my mouth.

Convento do Cristo a Tomar

This weekend I’m having a quiet-ish time. My parents are visiting tomorrow and I’ll go swimming as usual on Sunday, but I’m planning to do some reading and writing and that’s it. I do have ironing to do, but I could get that done in a couple of hours tomorrow morning. Hmmmm. Anyway, before I know it it’ll be Monday and I’ll be moaning that I have to get up for work! Sigh.

I had to laugh. The girl is still reading the DarkIsle trilogy and she said it’s really good. I said: “Don’t sound so surprised!” and she said: “It’s just that I didn’t think you would write a book like that.” and I said: “What do you mean?” and she said: “It’s just that you are so boring!”   Out of the mouth of babes!!

Right, am off. Got home-made pizza to make (yes we are on a bit of an Italian trip today!). Til next time!

Dawn xxx

It’s been a bit of a mad week

Collared doves

Collared doves

Sorry I’m a bit late with this post. Hubby is back in hospital and we’ve been running up and down to visit every day. So, as you can guess, my blog’s not been on my mind.

However, it’s Sunday morning, the wind is howling outside, the rain is lashing and I have a bit of time to stop and say hello. How are you all? Hope you are well.

Before I go any further forward, just wanted to say thanks to family and friends who offered help over the last few days. I greatly appreciate it.

Right, so what’s been happening apart from hospital visits? Not very much. I did, however, discover a lovely thing this week…some collared doves are nesting in the back of the security light on the front of our house. I will get a pic once the weather gets better – it’s way too wet outside to take photos. It’s so nice to come home and see a dove peeping down at us as he or she sits on the nest. Can’t wait to see if we can see the chicks from the ground.

What else? I picked up my new (to us) car this week. It’s another Nissan Note (my last car was a Note and I think they are great wee cars). It’s a year old and practically brand new. I love it.  Hubby and I were meant to pick it up together and then go out for lunch, but unfortunately fate had other ideas. I took the kids instead after school and the two of them were really excited about it. We then drove it to visit hubby and the pair of them waxed lyrical about this fantastic new car.

Rumbling Bridge, Kinross

Rumbling Bridge, Kinross

The girl is away for the weekend with Scripture Union. She’s in Kinross. As I’ve said before we are not a religious family, but she goes to SU on a weekly basis at school (mainly, I think, because her pals go and they get sweeties!) and she wanted to go. Plus I thought it would be good for her. She went on Friday night and was jumping about with excitement. This is the first time she’s been away for a weekend without a family member there. Hope she had a good time. She’s back tonight and I can’t wait to see her. The boy, however, has been loving not having his sister around. We’ve been watching movies at night – last night it was the Lego Movie and we had popcorn – and he’s been getting lots of one-on-one mum time. He’s such a wee darling when he’s not fighting with his sister. I’ve been enjoying the peace in the house (no aforementioned fighting – it gets vicious at times), but I’ve missed my girl.

Rumbling Bridge Gorge, Kinross

Rumbling Bridge Gorge, Kinross

I did a writing master class with some kids from our local school. I don’t normally do school visits for various reasons, but because I know the school (my kids go there), I know the teachers, I knew some of the kids…I agreed to do it. We did it in our local library (I know the librarian well too…she’s lovely) and it was great fun. Our library is small, but the locals love it and it’s used for a lot of different things. It was the perfect place to do the master class. I thoroughly enjoyed it and hope the kids did too. We concentrated on creating characters and based it on the first of the DarkIsle trilogy – DarkIsle.

Not much else has been happening. Tomorrow is a bank holiday, so am looking forward to having another long lie and a bit of a jammies morning (as me and the boy are having this morning). Later today, we’ll visit hubby, pick up the girl and settle down for the evening. Hope the rain goes off so I can get a pic of the doves…they are so lovely.

Before I go, just wanted to wish my lovely oldest niece a happy birthday on Tuesday. She’s going to be 12. Can’t believe she’s that age already. I remember when she was a tiny little baby with beautiful big eyes and loads of dark hair. She’s still got the big eyes and dark hair and has grown into a lovely young lady. Happy birthday gorgeous! Hope you have a good day!

Anyway, need to go. Til next time!

Dawn xxx

Spring has certainly not sprung!

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Well it’s supposed to be spring, but the way the weather has been this week, you’d think it was mid winter. Thank goodness for central heating and warm clothes!! As I write this, it’s snowing outside. Brrrrrrr!

Not much has been going on this week chez moi. Still editing DarkIsle 3, but am hoping that it will be finished soon so that I can get on with my books for adults.  Hubby came home with a huge bouquet of tulips the other day. It was our wedding anniversary and, while we don’t really buy each other anything, he bought me those because he knows how much I love tulips. They were – and still are – gorgeous!!

Received a lovely message from young Erin Fitzsimmons from Houston, Texas whose grandfather Roy created the dragon on Irvine Beach which is the inspiration for DarkIsle. So, just wanted to say a big hello to Erin, her family and her friends across the Pond and thank you for your lovely words about the book!!

Talking of books, I have finally finished Little Dorrit! I must admit, it was a little bit of a slog at times and Little Dorrit was just a bit too compliant and meek for my liking, but I loved it anyway and am glad of the ending!! I’ll not say anything else in case you want to read it some day!

Right am going to leave you with a pretty picture of a crocus and go and tackle the list of things I have to do today. Til next time…hopefully I’ll have more to tell you!

Dawn xx

crocus march 2013 1

How fantastic are these??

These pictures were sent to me by Caireen Lamont, teacher at Duncan Forbes Primary School in Inverness, whose P7 class last year created these fantastic drawings and book reports about DarkIsle.

Their great aren’t they? I love showing artwork that kids have created that relates to DarkIsle.

Thanks to all the kids for their fab drawings and book reports. I love them! xx Here’s the  Book Report of Dark Isle.

Right on to more mundane things…what’s been happening chez moi this week. Truthfully not a lot. I’ve been looking at finally getting round to creating something from wood. I bought a book about it last year and haven’t yet gotten round to doing anything with it. It’s difficult – I don’t have a lot of free time. There’s always something else needing done first. Anyway, now that the kids are both at school, I do have some free time on a Thursday morning (an no excuses!) so I could be doing something with that, couldn’t I? Watch this space for more.

Talking of Thursday morning me time, this week I finished an assignment for a wee course I’m doing and a papercut picture (I finished cutting it out) that I got from Making Magazine. I’ll share that papercut with you next time. I need to mount it on paper first. I’m quite pleased with it as it was my first time doing a complicated papercut picture and you can see the mistakes, but it’s still a nice wee thing. I’ve also been knitting a sock I’ve been knitting for quite some time. I’ve finished its twin, but I’ve just not been inspired to finish this one. I’m forcing myself to do it! Hopefully that’ll be finished soon too.

This week I’ve been taxi driving for the kids to their various Halloween and other parties, swimming lessons and other things. They’ve had a ball dressing up as Wonder Woman (the girl) and a surgeon (the boy). I have not been doing: any writing (bad Dawn!) or baking. I just don’t have the inclination to do either this week. Here’s me all inspired to write after reading about Dickens and now that has waned. Sigh.

Anyway, here’s a promise I will make now: next week I will WRITE, I will KNIT and I will create a school pack for DarkIsle: Resurrection.

Dawn xx

Red, chrome, Helen Reddy and South Korea

I have a new love and it links beautifully in with a love I’ve had since birth. I’ve recently purchased this…

It’s a Steepletone Roxy 3 that is a record player, CD player, radio and has a USB port…what more could a music lover want? I really like it and it’s meant I can play my records once more. I have quite a large record and single collection stemming back to Bright Eyes (my first purchase) through the 80s right up until the mid 90s when I swapped vinyl for CDs. However, I never got rid of my records because I knew that one day I would buy another record player. And the Roxy is it. As an added bonus, it’s red…my favourite colour…and it’s got chrome (very vintage!). And added to that is that I have a few of my parents’ old record collection (which they gave me when they went to CD), so not only am I doing the 80s and 90s, but the 60s and 70s as well. Anyone for the Carpenters? Helen Reddy? The Beatles?? It’s been a nostalgia fest round here lately!!

Talking of colour, have a look at these lovely things… They are the South Korean versions of DarkIsle and DarkIsle: Resurrection. Unfortunately the second book got a little bashed en route here, but I’ve placed it under a pile of Nigella Lawson cookbooks, so am hoping she’ll sort it out for me!

Dawn x

Scribbling in books and a panini in Edinburgh

Today I spent my time happily scribbling in books and enjoying the sunshine in Edinburgh. I wasn’t out to deface literature, merely signing copies of DarkIsle and DarkIsle: Resurrection at Waterstone’s in Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow (my favourite shop), Edinburgh and East Kilbride. Thanks to Keith Charters – my publisher and fellow author – for putting up with my incessant chattering and taking me round the shops. Thanks too to the shop staff for making me welcome. And hello and thanks to all the kids I met on my travels.

Here’s a couple of pics (taken on Keith’s mobile) of the day…

Me with book fan Daisy Thomas in Edinburgh

Me at Waterstone's Sauchiehall Street after running into my old friend Harry Burns

Dawn x

There’s a big parcel sitting on my table I’m itching to open…

…but it’s not mine! The girl turns six today and my lovely friends George and Raymond have sent her up a parcel wrapped in brown paper. She will love this for two reasons: 1) she’s like me and loves getting things through the post   2) it’s another present for her.

Unfortunately my oven is on the bung, so this was made in the smaller oven that doubles as the grill. It’s not up to my usual standard, but still tasted nice. I have still to make her a chocolate birthday cake for today.

Last night we went to Frankie & Benny’s at The Quay to celebrate not only the girl’s birthday, but my stepson’s 19th birthday. I’ve known him since he was 7, so this is just putting it into perspective about how fast time flies! We all had pizza and birthday cake (I made him one too) and ate too much, but it was good.

I also received a surprise this week. Hubby bought me a new MP3 after my last one died on me. I love the new one, it’s actually quite easy to use…after a bit of faffing around with it. The thing didn’t come with any instructions, which I always find odd and makes me want to shout at the manufacturers: WE ARE NOT ALL TECHNOLOGICALLY COMPETENT AND YES, I NEED INSTRUCTIONS!! Why do they leave them out? Is it a money saving thing? Do they expect everyone to go on to their website and download instructions? If so, it would help if they had printed their website’s address on the box! Hmph!  Anyway, I have now got the hang of it, I think. Have already uploaded tonnes of music on to it.

Spent this morning planning and writing DarkIsle 3. I had such a lot of ideas this morning that it was all my fingers could do to keep up with them as they poured out of my mind. I love it when I get like that, it makes writing a book so much more exciting. I am on draft 1, chapter 8 and things are really hotting up in the story. Ooooh, can’t wait to see what happens next!

Dawn xxx