Flooding, 1917 and Writing Advice News

So the rain came today. And it rained and rained.

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I was going to use some images and quotes from authors to illustrate this post today and the above image somehow went beautifully with the torrential rain Scotland experienced today. We had flooding and everything. It was horrendous. Typical Scottish summer!

So,  how are you all this week? I know I haven’t posted for a few weeks, it’s the usual excuse (busy), but I really haven’t a lot of news to share. I’ve barely been anywhere that interesting to tell you about. Although Coronavirus levels in Scotland are low (apart from a few clusters last week), the country is only just starting to get back on its feet.

First, find out what your hero wants, then just follow him!” – Ray Bradbury (1)

So let me share with you some things I’ve been up. I’ve been writing for Medium. Please follow me (https://medium.com/@dawnnelson_46858) and give me claps if you like my stories. The more reads and claps I get, the more money I’ll make. I’m only just at the start of my Medium career, so hopefully I’ll make something from it. I’ve also been attempting some Haikus. Bloody hell, they are more difficult to write than you think!

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Still writing all the things I’ve been writing. Also, finally managed to watch The Wrong Mans tv series. It’s excellent. I like both Mathew Baynton and James Corden, they are both great actors and screenwriters, and it’s a great series. Watched the second series too, it wasn’t quite as good, but still highly enjoyable.

I almost always urge people to write in the first person. … Writing is an act of ego and you might as well admit it.” – William Zinsser

Watched 1917 again recently. What a film that is. That’s the third time I’ve watched it and I’m still flinching and jumping when things go wrong. It’s beautifully shot – the scene when he runs into the ruined city and the flares go off is amazing – brilliantly written and wonderfully acted. It deserves more accolades. Here’s the official trailer if you haven’t seen it yet. I’m not going to give away any of the story. Get the movie, watch it.

Always be a poet, even in prose.” – Charles Baudelaire (1)

Right, that’s all I’ve got for today. Going to start giving out writing advice in future posts. If there’s anything you’d like to know, get it touch.

Dawn xxx

 

Madam C J Walker, Stargate and the Chippendales

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Hey everyone! How are you all? Hope you’re all well and keeping safe! Here at Nelson Towers, life is pretty dull and monotonous, but everyone is in the same boat so we are just getting on with it.

Last week, I did feel really down at the beginning of the week (I’m definitely not alone on that, I know), but that soon lifted especially when a friend sent me a short video of a Chippendale dancer dancing with a pile of toilet paper. It was so ridiculous I couldn’t stop laughing and it brought me out my funk. I think I was feeling so down not because I’m in the house all day – I work from home so that’s not a problem – but because I was worried and feeling out of sorts because I wasn’t in control of my own destiny. The thing about Corona Virus is we don’t know who has it, we don’t know if we have it and if we do get it, we don’t know how severe we’ll get it. On top of that is the worry about family members who are more vulnerable. I like to be in control of my life, so all this not knowing was doing my nut it. However, after the said video, I felt a lot better. Just shows you that having a laugh can do wonders for your mental health. Plus I have great friends who have been a real support.

Right, enough of the ‘Rona as I’ve seen Corona Virus referred to on social media, and on to my writing life.

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So, being stuck inside hasn’t been all bad. I’ve started writing my new book project which I can’t tell you too much about yet – it’s too early – but that I will give you small bits of info every now and again. I’m a member of the Romantic Suspense Writers group on Facebook and nine of us have come together to produce a series of books under the R S Wilde author name. That is all I can tell you right now. All I will say is that this collaborative has been amazing so far. The girls – most of whom are from America, but there’s two of us in Scotland and one in Australia – have been brilliant to work with and we’re all really enjoying the process.

The sequel to Dusting Down Alcudia, The Jacobite’s Share (see image) is now out and available on a range of formats and in a range of shops including Amazon, Barnes and Noble and others.

The Jacobite's Share ebook cover

I am still waiting for ACX to sign off the audiobook of Dusting Down Alcudia. Sigh. This has been a long trek. It’s mainly to do with my not understanding stuff about audiobook production, but is now at their end. Hopefully, they’ll sign it off soon and it will be available on Audible. Then I will crack open the champagne and celebrate for this has been a long and harrowing road! 🙂

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News on my other secret project with my illustrator friend, Mandy. I’ve started writing it and am about a third of the way through the first draft. It’s a really interesting project and I’m loving doing it. More on it later.

Other news, I’m still doing my OU course, but because of Corona Virus, our end of term exam has been cancelled. I am not devastated by this as I’m one of those people who never does well in exam conditions. They’re going to look at our year round assignments to get a mark.

I’ve been spending a lot of time watching telly – as you can imagine – and I stumbled across a very good drama series on Netflix called Self Made based on the life of Madam C J Walker (1867 – 1919), America’s first female self-made millionaire. Sarah had a rough upbringing being born to former slaves near Delta in Lousiana and she was the first in her family to be born free after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. Her parents died when she was a child and she suffered hardship growing up.  Life got better after she set up a hair and beauty business for black women with her third husband, Charles Walker, in the early part of the last century. Although they divorced in 1912, Sarah continued to build the business, opening salons and factories across America, and went on to employ thousands of (mainly) women. Apart from being a hair care entrepreneur, Sarah was also a philanthropist and political activist. She died in 1919 at the age of 51 from kidney failure. She’s buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, New York.

Madam C J Walker

Madam C J (Sarah) Walker, American entrepreneur, philanthropist and activist.

Octavia Spencer, one of my favourite actresses (I loved her in Hidden Figures), takes the title role in the show and Tiffany Haddish plays Madam C J Walker’s daughter, A’Lelia. It’s really good, I’d recommend it. Other cast members include Blair Underwood, Carmen Ejogo and Kevin Carroll among others.

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Other things I have been watching include Witness with Kelly McGillis and Harrison Ford. I’d forgotten how good the film was. I don’t think Kelly McGillis is a particularly great actress, but it was still an enjoyable film. Also watched the Stargate film starring James Spade and Kurt Russell. I used to watch the TV series, being a huge sci-fi fan, but had never seen the film. It was actually really enjoyable. The sets and the way the film was shot was stunning and it was a good old fashioned sci fi adventure. I kept looking for French Stewart who plays one of the soldiers in it. I’m used to him being Harry Solomon in 3rd rock from the Sun, so it was a nice surprise to see how attractive (and manly, let’s face it Harry Solomon is not manly) he really is in another role.

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I am still ploughing my way through the Agatha Raisin books and loving them. They are so enjoyable to read and so easy, just perfect for this weird time.

Right, I am going to say adieu here and wish you all a good day. Please stay safe my friends and we’ll talk soon.

Dawn xx

Trying to relax, but not managing it

 

Woman relaxing on a couch at home

So the kids are off this week and what I should be doing is relaxing, but that’s not easy when you are used to going at a hundred miles an hour. Plus there are extenuating circumstances as to why I can’t just sit back and relax like the lady in the picture above.

Firstly, the girl is doing work experience at her uncle’s law firm. And she’s loving it. But it means there are no lie-ins for me as I – being a good mother and all that – get her up in the morning and see her off. I hate the idea of not seeing her off. I have been going back to bed, but it’s not the same as waking up later, so while I have been reading I have been unable to get back to that warm and cosy state of being that you are in just before you wake up naturally.

Secondly, I rather stupidly decided it would be a great idea to clean out the linen cupboard which was overflowing with old duvet sets and sheets as well as the newer ones. Now my kids are 11 and 14, so why was I keeping an old fairy duvet set of the girl’s or the boy’s Thomas the Tank one from when he was three? Jeezo I can be sentimental sometimes. But, yesterday, I just pulled them all out, put back the ones (ie the more mature bed sets) I wanted to keep along with my own bedsets, and took the old ones downstairs. They are mostly in great condition so I am currently working my way through a mountain of them with the view to washing them before donating them to charity. At the very least, the charities can get the money from rags. Hopefully, they’ll be able to sell a few of them. There was even my son’s Dr Who duvet set in there which I, for a brief moment, considered keeping for sentimentality then I gave myself a shake and threw it in the washing basket to go out.

So, how’s your week been going? My two are off school this week and next for the October break. It’s quiet this week with the girl doing work experience, but no doubt next week all hell will break loose when the pair of them get back to their usual arguing and bickering.

Anyway, my OU course resumed this week. I am doing a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing. This module we are studying the life of objects first. It’s really interesting, all about archaeology and anthropology, which is right up my street. Been enjoying it so far.

Been gearing up for NaNoWriMo which begins next month. Thought I’d get off to a flying start by planning the book right the way through before I start writing it. Started that today. Had already gotten some ideas for a book down before, so went back to that and fleshed it out. I’ve gotten up to chapter four in the planning. Will get back to it again tomorrow.

Tolkein

Watched a great film recently about JRR Tolkien (pronounced Toll-keen). Tolkien, for that is the name of the film, charts the famous author’s early life from childhood right up until he begins to write The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. It’s a lovely book and Nicholas Hoult is great in the title role with Lily Collins playing the love interest. I knew Tolkien had been a soldier in WW1 but I had no idea what a tragic childhood he had. Good film, recommend it.

Watched the latest Men in Black film starring Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thomson in the lead roles. Men in Black International is full of action and quite good, but it’s not a patch on the original movies. Sorry. Plus I’d guessed how it was going to play out at the beginning of the film. I knew who the baddy was from the word go. Sigh. Not a great film. It’s okay, but just okay.

What I am reading. Still working my way through M C Beaton’s Agatha Raisin series. Am now on to the Curious Curate. Can’t believe how addicted I am to these. Then again, I was the same with the Southern Vampire series written by Charlaine Harris, the books that the True Blood tv series was based on. Was totally addicted to those too. I love it when you get a book or a series of books to read that you just can’t put down and you are desperate for the next one. I am afraid poor old Cranford is lying on my bedside table abandoned for now. I think I may give Agatha a short break and go back to that. I also have a number of non fiction books to read in relation to my course, but I’ll get through them in due course.

Right that about sums up my week so far. I need to get back to my washing Monro, so I will say adieu until next time.

Dawn xx

 

 

 

 

 

Hakuna Matata and Miss Anne Lister

 

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Do you ever get days or weeks where you just feel a bit flat? I’ve been experiencing that over the last week. Thankfully it lifted by Sunday, but it meant I didn’t get a whole lot done last week.  In saying that, I did take the kids out for lunch and then we went to see The Lion King (more on that later). And I did a fair bit of work around the house. So, it wasn’t so bad. Plus I edited my next Nina Esposito book. Actually, last week wasn’t the wash out I thought it was!

So how are you this week? We’re all good at Nelson Towers. I am looking forward to seeing the kids back at school next week. I love my kids, I’d die for my kids, but I still feel the summer holidays are WAY TOO LONG! The pair of them have spent an awful lot of time in their rooms watching telly or playing games. I’ve had to drag them out to go and do stuff with me. It’s their age. The girl is 14 and the boy 11 – he starts high school next week – so, I suppose they don’t want to hang about with their old mum just now. Sigh. Still, I have my dogs. Bonya, our elderly pug, is lying on the floor at my feet happily snoring away. After seeing The Lion King last week, we have sort of renamed her Pumba on account of her deadly, but silent dog farts. You’d have to smell them to believe them. I had to open both my bedroom windows one night because I seriously felt afraid I was going to die from the gas that emanated from her little furry body! Thankfully, we all survived! 😉

The Lion King

Talking of The Lion King. If you loved the animated movie, do go and see this one. It’s ‘live action’ and beautifully done. All the favourite songs are there and it really sticks very close to the original. I would recommend it. I was relieved that I didn’t cry through this one as I did the first time I saw the animated version (you know the bit!). The kids enjoyed it too.

What else has been happening chez moi? I’ve been trying to do a bit of work around the house and garden. I tell you, owning a house is just constant work. Apart from my normal housework (including mountains of washing… my kids have too many clothes, that must be it!), I painted the living room, sorted out the attic, repaired bits and pieces around the home. And that’s only about a third of my to-do list: I’ve still got carpets to wash, some filler to put into a hole, finish clearing the study, cut my front hedge, sort out the back garden and more! Jings, I am going to be busy over the coming months. I’m not worried about it, it’ll get done when it gets done.

secret diaries of miss anne lister

Reading: I am currently reading The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister by Anne Lister and edited by Helena Whitbread. I really enjoyed the BBC series Gentleman Jack which is based on the diaries. It’s set in my favourite time period (well, one of them), the Georgian era and it’s about a woman, who happened to be a lesbian, running her own life, being her own person and not putting up with the societal norms of the day which dictated that women must be married, bear children and not manage their own money. I admire Anne Lister for her courage in pushing for an education for herself, for being a superb businesswoman and for loving the women she loved. The book is fascinating. You get a real glimpse of Georgian life for this extraordinary woman (who has to rely on her father, aunt and uncle for money), her thoughts on some of the issues of the day and her determination to live life as she wants. She’s a really strong personality and that sings out of this book.

Right, I am going to finish this post here and get back to editing my next book. Not sure when it’ll come out yet, but will let you know soon. Til next time,

Dawn xxx

Shorn, vampires and Anne Lister

Hello my lovely followers. How are you all? Hope you are well. What have you been up to this week? Me? I’ve been really busy and there was a bit of sickness in the house – again! Brought in by one of the kids – again! But that’s what happens when you are a parent. They are little bug-meisters, kids are!

Anyway, over the last week, I have had my hair chopped into a bob. It was about time. Normally I wear my hair up and back away from my face because basically my hair annoys me. And I hate going to the hairdresser so a short do is out cos it would mean constant trips to the hair salon to get it cut. My hair grows like weeds. So, I keep it long so I can wear it up. However, as I am hurtling towards the age of 50 (next year), I wanted a softer hairstyle. Hence the bob. I quite like my new look. The pic below was taken a few days ago after I’d been out (on a wet and windy day) walking the dogs, so the style is not the best it could be.

What else have I been up to? Well, the girl was sent home last Wednesday after being sick. I had to go and get her and she was white as a sheet and green about the gills. Straight to bed for her. She was off the next day, but insisted on going to school on the Friday. By Friday, however, I was feeling exceptionally peaky and spent the day lying on the sofa catching up on television programmes and generally feeling sorry for myself. I should have been over at a friend’s house having lunch and drinking wine. Instead, I was feeling exceedingly sick. I was not a happy chappy that day I can tell you. Anyway, such is life!

Talking of telly, have any of you managed to watch What We Do in the Shadows? It’s a spoof documentary series following four vampire housemates in a city in America. It’s hilarious. Some of the things they get up to are incredibly silly, but silly in a way that’s really funny. Just watched the most recent episodes this morning as I was taking in my daughter’s dress (we’ve got a wedding coming up). I had to stop sewing to have a good old chuckle at it. Watched the original film (Australian vampires) last week and that was good too.

The cast from the original film What We Do in the Shadows.
Some of the cast from the tv version – it’s so funny.

I have also been hooked on the BBC’s new drama Gentleman Jack which is based on the life of Anne Lister. Suranne Jones takes the lead role as Anne with Sophie Rundle as her love interest, Ann Walker. It’s brilliant drama and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s also a fascinating story about Anne Lister – what a strong minded, independent woman she must have been to live the way she did at the time.

Suranne (right) and Sophie (left) as the lovers Anne Lister and Ann Walker.
The real Anne Lister.

Anyway, now I am going to have to buy a book about Anne Lister. I want to know more about this interesting woman who lived her life on her own terms.

What else? I have nothing else to report at the moment. I haven’t been writing recently. Been too busy with various social events, so I am getting back into it this week – I have scheduled it in! I’ve also been too tired to read anything when I go to bed at night. I have a growing bundle of excellent books by my bed, so I’ll be getting back into that. I know – my life is SO rock ‘n’ roll – not! I like it though.

Right, I am going to finish up here. I have a young man to pick up from school and another cup of tea to drink when I return. Til next time.

Dawn xxx

How I Make Myself Write Every Day, Fife and Indiana Jones

Hello, how have you been? Hope you are all well. It’s been a busy old time for me lately. I’ve been battering away at the old laptop like typing was going out of fashion and I’m now nearly 20,000 words into a new young adult book I’m writing. I am so loving it. Eventually, I will screech to a halt and it will take major willpower to get back into it. This happens to me for every book, I get maybe two-thirds of the way through and then hit a wall. I sit and can’t think where the story is going, but I force myself to keep going and eventually I get back in my stride.

This book is about a teenage girl and is set in rural Fife, Scotland. Fife, if you have never been, is just lovely. There are loads of lovely wee fishing villages all over the place and it’s a great place to visit. So, in honour of Fife, I have decided to show some of Fife’s attractions (in pictures) on this blog.

Here’s my favourite place in Fife, Culross where Outlander is filmed.

And again…

We have some spectacular places in Scotland, we really do. So lucky.

Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, the blog. Well, what do you want to know about this week? I’ve been busy writing…I got back into it some months ago using tips from Hal Elrod’s The Miracle Morning for Writers (also cowritten by Steve Scott). It basically gives you a way of focussing your attention on the project you are doing. I have been following it, then I fell away, but kept writing and now I’m back on to it. I worry that I’ll lose my focus. Plus I like the structure of his ‘miracle morning’. It’s all about setting aside time to do certain actions, and using visualisation, meditation and affirmations to further support your decision. I don’t want to get into it too much as it’s all in the book, but if you are desperate to do something, whether that’s write or start a new business or even be better at your job now, I’d suggest looking at Hal’s books. They are really good. If you want to succeed at your chosen thing then you have to ditch procrastination and get this book.

If you don’t think it can help you, look at what I’ve achieved this year: I have re-edited and am about to re-publish Dusting Down Alcudia (it’s even better than before); I have written the rough copy of a sequel to aforementioned Dusting Down Alcudia; I finished a rough of a murder mystery; I re-edited Ham; and I’m almost halfway through a book for Young Adults. Focus is not a problem I’ve been having this year and it’s thanks to things I’ve learned via the Miracle Morning.

So, what else have I been doing? Well, at the moment I am writing on my dining room table despite the fact I have a lovely study (the former dining room of our house) in which to write. The problem was I couldn’t even get to my desk because of all the boxes that were still there following the building of the extension. So, I have cleared away a good bit of it and will finish it today. I can now sit at my desk…just need to clear that now! 🙂

Finished the Sookie Stackhouse books and went straight on to Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones, part of the The Mortal Instruments series. It’s aimed at young adults, but I don’t care. I’ll read anything. Thoroughly enjoyed it, may have to start watching the tv series now!! Am about to start the sequel, City of Ashes. Is he really her brother?  Will the other come out? Will they get the cup back? (Sorry this is a bit cryptic, but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone). I need to read on.

Watched Raiders of the Lost Ark yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was on the day before, so I recorded it and watched it yesterday. Love the Indiana Jones. They are fab stories, plus Harrison Ford is just yum. I have always loved him, always will. He’s still a good looking man. So, to celebrate the films, Indy and Harrison (whaddaya mean there were other people in the films?), here’s a couple of gratuitous pics of the man himself (can’t you just hear the theme tune in your head right now?):

 

 

Okay, now I have salivated over Harrison Ford, I am going to end this blog post. I hope you have a lovely day. Now I am going to do something incredibly exciting (not!), I am going to attack the pile of ironing that is currently piled up in a basket in my living room. It’s been calling ‘iron me, iron me’ for a few days now, so I need to do it. Such is the glamorous life of a writer! 🙂 Til next time.

Dawn xxxx

Mamma Mia! There’s lots about dogs in this blog post

 

Hello, hello. How are you? What have you been doing this week Hope all is well with you all. I had a pretty busy week last week, but it’s been great.

Okay, so, here’s a quick rundown of what we’ve been up to:

  1. I continued editing my second edit of Dusting Down Alcudia. I am nearly finished it and am now looking to get the cover done and the whole thing professionally typeset. I am so excited about this. I am aiming to re-launch the book before Christmas.
  2. It was my dad’s birthday this week, so we had a family party at my parents’ house on Saturday. I ate and drank way too much, but had a ball. Nursed a nasty hangover on Sunday, but it was so worth it! Happy birthday dad!
  3. Me and the kids went out for lunch last week with my lovely friend Jane and her daughter. Then we went to see Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again and it was fantastic. I loved the film. Okay, so it’s not the most taxing of storylines, but its a great film if you want to escape the world for a little while and soak in the magic of Abba. We had a fab lunch, saw a fab film and had a fab afternoon. 🙂

Above a gratuitous shot of Bonya looking peeved that I was taking her photograph yet again. You may be wondering why I always show her picture and not so many of my other two dogs. Well, it’s simple. She’s the only one that sits still for long enough to get photographed!

Here’s another of her doing her Princess and the Pea impression on the piled up cushions on my bed:

So, what else has been happening? As usual, I’ve been inundated with washing and housework. The boy and I built our new firepit. Here it is with Casper staring at the flames. He’s nursing a sore paw at the moment. We had him down the beach yesterday and he was running around all full of the joys of summer when he must have stepped on something. He was yelping and limping and holding his paw up. I cleaned it all out when we got him home and it seems fine. Just keeping an eye on it. I have not walked the dogs today to give the cut time to heal. If I went out without him, Casper would spend the entire day depressed!

Was out weeding the front drive this morning. It was starting to resemble a jungle. I can only do it in one hour sessions as my back gets really sore. I haven’t finished digging up the weeds, but I will get back to it tomorrow. Hope they don’t grow back so quickly this time. I would put weed killer on the driveway, but I have green sensibilities and I can’t abide the thought of putting something so poisonous down in my garden. So, it’s manual weeding for me every time! 🙂

What I am reading: I am continuing to read Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse books and loving it. Am now on Definitely Dead and it’s great. If  you love great stories, with a little romance, suspense, humour and some supernatural beings, I would really recommend this series.

Right, I am going to finish this blog here. It’s lunchtime and I have lots to do around the house today, so I’ll say au revoir. Til next time,

Dawn xxxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

Peonies and Eli Wallach

I do love flowers. This blog today is dedicated to the amazing Peony which is fast becoming my favourite flower (although I still love Tulips). In fact, there is a vase of beautiful pink peonies sitting close by as I write this. They are just big balls of beautifulness. I know that last sentence probably isn’t grammatically correct, but I don’t care. Today I celebrate the amazing Peony. My favourite summer flower.

Anyway, how are you all? Hope you are all well. We’re good at Nelson Towers. We’ve been enjoying a week of mostly hot sunny weather, which for any of you who live here or have visited, you’ll know, is very rare. I am actually sporting a light tan on my face and arms, which is good because usually I am so pale I look ill. I am not ill, just Scottish.

As I write, I am listening to Classic FM, which is the station I put on when I am writing novels and blogs and stuff. I find it is a good background sound and I am not distracted by it (ie wanting to sing along). This means I actually write. Anyway, my reason for telling you this is because the theme tune to The Good, The Bad and The Ugly is currently being played and it took me back to my early childhood when we had three TV channels and one of them always put on a good matinee on a Saturday or Sunday. My mother worked at the weekends, so we kids would watch what my dad watched and – you’re right – it would inevitably be a war movie or a western. These weekends are why I love a good war/western movie and that tune just brought it all back. Of course, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly was never on at the weekend matinee spot, but because I had already become addicted, when it was shown (at Christmas usually) I insisted on watching it. I have loved the Spaghetti Western ever since. And Clint Eastwood…but for different reasons!! I also think Lee Van Cleef and Eli Wallach were fab in this. I didn’t realise when watching The Holiday that was Eli Wallach playing the scriptwriter. The man who told Kate Winslet about the ‘meet cute’ (love that film). Images below are: Clint Eastwood (as Blondie/the man with no name) looking all handsome and in danger, Eli Wallach as Tuco, Lee Van Cleef as Sentenza/Angel Eyes and Eli Wallach in The Holiday playing Arthur Abbott.

Look at that! I’ve gone from Peonies to Spaghetti Westerns just on a memory from a tune on the radio. Now, where was I? Oh yes, peonies…

Right, so this week has been busy. I gutted out the garage, which was badly needing cleaned out, being a bit brutal with what was needed putting in the bin. So much so I accidentally had to dig our Christmas tree out of the skip I hired that is currently taking up our driveway. How daft am I ditching the Christmas tree? Anyway, I got it and put it back in the garage where it lives for most of the year. The skip is now full. I have a couple of bits and pieces to put in it and then it’ll be picked up next week and I can get my drive back. Actually it felt good clearing out. I haven’t totally gotten the garage the way I eventually want it, but that’s a work in progress.

Of course, one of the days I chose to clear out the garage was Wednesday which is fine if you have nothing else on. I go to my Zumba class on a Wednesday, so after a morning of clearing out and then my class later I wasn’t worth a button by that evening. I was sore and extremely tired. I think I must have flaked out about 9.30pm. Yesterday, I got up achy but alright. I took yesterday morning ‘off’ (ie didn’t do any heavy work in the house) as part of my recovery. 😉  Spent it watching an old episode of Monk (I have said before that I love cheesy American cop shows…you were warned of my addiction) and sorting out laundry (my life is so glamorous! Not!).

I also wrote some more of my next novel. Remember the adult novel I was writing? I have put that aside just now for a few weeks and will come back to it at a later date. I do this with every novel for one simple reason: I want to come back to it with fresh eyes with the intention of rooting out any errors and improving on the text. So I was without anything to write so I started a sequel to Dusting Down Alcudia (DDA). DDA is a romantic adventure story starring a Scottish archaeologist, Nina Esposito (her father was Spanish) and a handsome Texan called Jay Reynolds. She goes to Mallorca to seek out a fabled Roman treasure necklace and ends up finding love and more. The sequel is set in Perthshire, Scotland and is about a hunt for Jacobite treasure. I’ve written about 20,000 words already and am really getting into it. I think it helps that I’m getting up early specifically to write. I have more energy in the morning, the kids are sleeping and it’s peaceful in the house (apart from the gentle tones of classical music in the background thanks to Classic FM!).

I finished the Stephen King book The Gunslinger and, although I love Westerns (Spaghetti Westerns in particular), I do not really like this book. It’s okay. I have the sequel, but I don’t think I’ll read it.  I’m going to donate the books to my local library. Someone else will enjoy it. I am currently reading Nora Roberts’ Stars of Fortune. It’s a romantic fantasy (so right up my street) and is really good. So good, I was still up reading it at 11.30pm last night and am now bleary eyed!

Right, I am going to finish here and post this. I need to take the  boy to school and get the mutts out for their morning walk. Til next time!

Dawn xx