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

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I Hate it When a Book Defeats Me

Hello and how are you all? Hope you’re all well. How was your weekend? Did you get up to anything interesting? I didn’t. Spent Saturday afternoon at our local hospital – nothing serious, just getting one of my kids’ eyes checked out. Yesterday, I woke up unable to open my right eye… conjunctivitis is back with a vengeance. No idea how I got reinfected, but I look like I’ve been punched. 😉

The pictures in today’s blog have no relation to what I actually plan to write. I just liked them. Just thought I’d share that.

So, what else has been happening at Nelson Towers? Nothing much to be truthful. I’ve been doing a lot of clearing out and putting things in the attic. We got attic stairs put in (I love them, I know: it’s sad! When I was a younger woman I never ever thought a set of folding attic ladders would have given me so much joy! It’s the little things that bring us pleasure!). I haven’t done any writing over the last couple of days – to be truthful I am struggling with a it a bit. I basically need to just knuckle down and get on with it. This morning I have an hour’s writing schedule in. If it’s on the to-do list, it will be done.

Love that photograph above. It’s so colourful.

Anyway, I have set Perdido Street Station by China Mieville aside as I am really struggling to read it. I am finding the writing challenging because there is just so much description in there that I am finding it’s getting in the way of the story. I’m not afraid of a difficult book – some of my favourite authors are Victorian and they weren’t shy about writing description. However, sorry China, but I am not enjoying the great detail you put into your world. Anyway, I have promised myself I am going to give it one more try and if I can’t get into it, I will set it aside or give it to my local library for someone else to enjoy. I hate it when a book defeats me. I hate it when everyone else raves about a book and I find it ‘meh’. I go into reading every book with the view that I will enjoy it, so when I don’t enjoy it, it annoys me. Anyway, rant over.

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So, talking of books, do any of you have any books you’d like to recommend to me? Always on the look out for a good story! Leave your recommendations in the comments below.

So, last week I returned to my exercise classes. I do one Pilates and two Zumba classes per week (didn’t manage to go swimming this week due to dodgy eye). Anyway, I started back at the classes last week. I have a Pilates and Zumba class on one day. I went to the classes. I sweated. I felt like I was going to collapse from exhaustion and muscle soreness. That lasted for two days until I did my second Zumba class and then I felt much better. Honestly, I really need to keep my exercise up when the classes are off (in this case due to the Christmas break) cos I felt like I’d been run over after those first classes! 😉

Right, I am going to end this blog here as I have a young lad to take to school and three small dogs to walk. Til next time.

Dawn xxxx

Wham! A New Book, A Discovery of Witches and a Night Next Door

 

Hi! How are you all? Hope you’ve had a great week.  Mine has been extremely busy which has left me really tired this week and feeling under the weather. However, I did get a lot done.

Announcing my next book!!! My next book is called Everything She Wants (the book with the working title Ham) and I’m aiming to get it out before Christmas or in January at the latest. Depends how everything goes with the cover and other bits and pieces you have to do to get books released.  It’s about a very put upon housewife who runs away from her horrible family to join a Wham! tribute act. Here’s the blurb:

A new dark comedy from the author of Dusting Down Alcudia. This book is rude, full of swear words and definitely not for the faint-hearted!

When Susan decides there’s more to life than housework, her cheating husband puts his foot down.

Ignoring his protests and those of their selfish teen daughter, she runs away with a Wham! tribute act to find herself and, hopefully, fame and fortune.

Along the way, there’s the chance of happiness with a new man, but things go awry and he turns out not to be the knight in shining armour she had hoped.

Now Susan must decide whether to forge ahead with her new life or go home with her tail between her legs.

Will share the cover once it’s done. This is nothing like Dusting Down Alcudia, but I hope you enjoy it. While I’m waiting for the cover to be done, I’ll be working on the sequel to Dusting Down Alcudia which is due out early next year. Yes, I have been a busy bee this year with the writing!!  Watch this space for more details!! Picture of the real Wham! below.

So what have you been up to this week? For me it’s been finalising Everything She Wants and typesetting it so that it’s ready to be formulated into a print book.  I’ve also been doing a lot sorting out cupboards and rooms around the house as when I am fully into writing, housework and such like kind of go by the wayside. Let’s face it, I am not one of those people who love housework. In fact, I hate it and look forward to the time when I can afford to pay someone else to do it for me! I wish! 🙂

I’ve also been attending my exercise classes. I don’t know what it was but I found my two Zumba classes really hard work this week. I thought the more you exercised the easier it’s supposed to be, but it was a struggle. I still went and still participated, but came out with a face the colour of a tomato streaming sweat in my wake. A lovely image for this time of night, I know!

This weekend I am having a quiet time, but last weekend I was really busy. Well, to be perfectly correct, I was really busy on the Friday. I was hardly home. I met some friends for tea and buns in the morning, another friend for lunch in the westend of Glasgow for lunch (we went to the famous University Café and I had my favourite: macaroni  and chips, yes I am a classy burd!). Then in the evening, I popped next door to my neighbour who is 90 soon for a wee glass of wine. My neighbour is lovely and a very interesting man.  We have always been friendly and he got on really well with my husband. Unfortunately, my neighbour’s wife died about a year after we moved into this house more than a decade ago, so I never got to know her. He is the man our Millie always escapes to. She loves him because he’s constantly feeding her meat. Anyway, I had a fab evening with him. We chatted about everything and had a good laugh. We are going to do it again because we get on so well. So, I had intended going round for a couple of hours… I was having such a good time, I ended up staying until midnight.  Was a great night.

I always find older people so interesting. When I was working as a journalist for a local newspaper in Paisley, I got to interview some residents of Erskine Hospital, which is a hospital for former military people. I was sent there to cover the visit of Princess Diana, but I found chatting to the residents (including my late grandfather who was a resident there at the time) so much more interesting. I met one of the first policewomen in Glasgow and men who had been fighter pilots and ground troops in the Second World War. They were fascinating people. I feel really lucky that I was able to do that. Seeing Princess Di was okay too, but she wasn’t as interesting… not to me anyway.

Finished reading the biog of Radclyffe Hall. I really enjoyed it. She was an interesting woman, but I hated the way she treated her long term partners. I must try and find a copy of one of her books to see what they are like. I can’t help but be curious now I’ve read her life story.

Matthew and Diana from A Discovery of Witches.

I am currently re-reading A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, which I am loving all over again. I’ve been watching Sky One’s adaptation of the book (picture above), which is great. I am really enjoying it. However, the book is so much better.  Can’t wait to re-read the sequel Shadow of Night and then the third in the trilogy, The Book of Life. I cannot recommend these books enough. They are fantastic.

I’ve also been busy this week with my uni course. I signed up to so an English Lit degree with the Open University and I am loving it. It covers a lot of different areas of the arts and is really interesting. I am feeling so much more “cleverer” than I did when I started. 😀  I’ve just completed my first assignment about Cleopatra and Antony, and Cezanne. My next area of study is about Joseph Stalin.

Right, I need to go. I need to pick the boy up from his school’s Halloween Disco. He went as a zombie. I helped his costume come together by cutting up a pair of trousers and an old jacket and throwing flour over him so he looked pale and zombie-like, and his clothes looked old and dirty (as well as fraying). He looked great. Hope he’s had a good night.

Til next time!

Dawn xx

PS I am still looking to add people to my Advanced Reader Copy group. If you sign up, you’ll be given early copies of my books and all I’ll ask you to do (and this is not compulsory) is provide a genuine review of my books on sites I’ll give you the addresses for. If you’re interested, email me: dawn@danelsonauthor.com or sign up in the top righthand corner of this blog.

 

 

 

A small update because I have the Lurgy…again!

 

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This is me today: a grumpy old, sneezy old mama bear.

Ugh it’s been a snotty, sneezy end to the week. I woke up on Thursday morning with earache and a sore throat, and it’s all gone downhill from there. For the past two days I have been lying on the sofa feeling a bit sorry for myself because I have a nasty old cold. I’ve not slept very well over the last few days and am a bit grumpy, so I apologise if I am not my usual cheery self today.

I hadn’t written anything either until a wee bit earlier, when I began to feel a little bit better and so got 1000+ words down of my young adult book. That’s the thing about being a writer… because you feel compelled to write all the time, you have to do it even when you are ill. However, my (insert swear word here) laptop is running at a snail’s pace (I’ll need to defrag it again) and so is causing additional grumpiness…grrrrrr!

The only good bit about being ill was that I got to binge watch the new Jack Ryan series on Prime while the kids were at school. I should have been visiting a friend and doing the housework, but I had no energy. So, I did the only thing I could – I lay on the sofa with a cup of tea, some biscuits and a great new tv series on the telly. Jack Ryan is excellent, by the way, if you haven’t already seen it.

Book news and the new cover for Dusting Down Alcudia is close to being done, so I will show you it when it’s ready. The early drafts are fantastic. I am so pleased with them (thank you Mia, my wonderful designer). Watch this space for more news on the cover!

I have finally finished a great online course I was doing… Nick Stephenson‘s Your First 10K readers He’s a thriller writer, but also runs excellent online courses (many of which are free) for writers. Really recommend this course if you are going down the indie line like me. Pop over to his website and check it out. Also recommend The Creative Penn by Joanna Penn... another website full of great advice for writers.

Right, I am going to go. Time for a cuppa and some anti-cold drugs. Til next time.

Dawn xxx

Made! I actually made edible bread!

 

Home-made bread with home-made jam.

Well, here it is. Bread that is actually edible.  My early attempts at bread making were not successful…at all! What I produced were loaves of bread that were more like building bricks than bread. However, several years and lots and lots of practice later, I can now make bread. Pat on the back for me. It is yummy! Especially with the jam!!

Dawn xx

NB I’ve also managed a couple of hours of writing too, so am feeling well pleased with myself.

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

 

 

 

 

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