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.

octavia spencer

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.

Various

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

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I’m baaaaaack!

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Okay, so it’s been a wee while since I’ve written a blog on this site and it’s safe to say it’s because I was getting really stressed out before Christmas. There was still so much to do to prepare for Christmas Day itself and I also had social media stuff to do. And then, on top of that, I was extremely tired. So, I thought ‘stuff it’ and then I thought ‘I’m a freelancer, I can do what I want’ and then I thought ‘I’m shutting up shop early’. And I did just that. I did all I needed to do with regards my social media business, I tied up some loose ends with some other work I was doing and then I shut up shop.

Thank goodness I did as I had a whole load of things to do (present wrapping etc) before the big day itself.

So, how was your Christmas and New Year? Did you have a good one? I really enjoyed the festive period this year. I think it’s because I decided to put my feet up and not do very much. I had my parents and a friend for Christmas Day (plus the kids and dogs), which was great fun. My parents stayed over so we had a quiet Boxing Day up until they decided to go home in the afternoon. I’d recorded the Call the Midwife Christmas special and we watched that before devouring a huge fry up (fried square sausage, bacon, potato scone and black pudding – yum!). The programme was okay, but a bit heavy on the tartan and red hair.

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I went round to a neighbours’ house for Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve), but didn’t stay for the bells as I was driving to my parents’ house the next day for dinner. My mum, who is a great cook, made us steak pie and home-made soup and it was heavenly. I love her steak pie and soup. My sister and her family were there and after dinner we played games and had a round of general knowledge.

Aside from those three events, I didn’t do an awful lot else except binge watch The Witcher (which I thought was okay, but it was jumping all over the place story-wise which was annoying) and Bones. Also started watching the BBC’s new Dracula. Saw the first episode, not sure if I’ll watch the rest of it. It was okay. I don’t know if it’s just me being fussy about telly or that telly programmes just aren’t that good at the moment. Nothing surpasses Game of Thrones or Carnival Row for me – they were just superb, perhaps I’m expecting too much. Am also enjoying Suits and I’ve discovered a French/Flemish programme on Netflix called The Thieves in the Woods which looks quite good.

Anyway, all this tv watching and resting has meant I am back this week feeling fully refreshed and ready to take on the world.

ideas

I’m back into writing and currently drafting up a script for a one-off tv show which I’ll not speak too much about just now other than to say I’m really enjoying doing it. Whether it gets on telly or not is another matter – I hope it does – but I’m enjoying the process of writing again.

Talking of which, the nose is back to the grindstone for The Jacobite’s Share which I am planning to bring out in March. Been drafting up the cover words and I’ll send those over to my cover designer later this week. In a couple of weeks, I will begin promoting the book and plan to do an online launch of it. So, watch this space. I also have another couple of books that need edited, so I will start working on those at some point soon.

What else have I been doing? A little bit of reading. I was sorry to hear that M C Beaton (creator of Agatha Raisin and Hamish Macbeth) died over the festive period. I enjoy her books. They are not heavy stories, but are great when you want a murder mystery that’s not just full of ingenious clues, but are warm and funny too. I’m currently reading the Agatha Raisin murder mystery The Haunted House. I am also still reading Mary Beard’s Pompeii, which is great. There’s a lot of things I never knew about Pompeii.

Right, I am going to finish up here and wish you adieu. Got a fair few things to do before the kids come in from school. Til next time.

Dawn xxx

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Mills and Boon, Epictetus and Sarah Kendall

Timeshift’s How to Write a Mills and Boon – more about it later.

I cannot believe that tomorrow is October! Where did 2019 go to? Am I just showing my age here? Is the world speeding up because I am getting older? Or does it just seem so? Last week flew in. Must be because I have been working hard! Yeah, that’s it.

So, how are you? Hope you’re well. Got a few things to tell you, which is good. None of it seat-of-your-pants, diving off a huge cliff, bungee jumping exciting (NB I’d never jump off a cliff or bungee jump, not into that kind of thing… I will keep my feet firmly on the ground, thank you very much), but interesting and exciting in part as well.

Jacobites.

Okay, the exciting thing this week is that I have finished formatting The Jacobite’s Share (the second in the Nina Esposito series) and I have now commissioned a cover designer to do the cover. It will be in line with Dusting Down Alcudia and I can’t wait to see what she comes back with. This week I plan to get around to finally finishing the audiobook of Dusting Down Alcudia and hope to have that up for sale on Audible next week. I know I have been talking about this for months, but it’s been me who has been holding it up. I just haven’t had the time I’ve been that busy with the second book and setting up my business.

Last week, I decided to bite the bullet and sign up for NaNoWriMo again this year. I have an idea for a book I want to write. I just hope that with all the other things going on in my life, I will be able to sustain the writing. Who knows!!

Talking of other things, my English Lit degree course resumes at the end of this week, which I cannot wait for. I have the books, I just need to get my head around to studying again. I loved it last year, so am looking forward to this year. This year should hopefully be focusing more on English Lit rather than the all round stuff of last.

Other news – I am continuing to work on my business (danelsonprsocial.media) and am starting to get more clients and business partners interested, which is great. I also did a really interesting training course about Developing Your Brand with the Business Gateway folk. It was really good and gave me some food for thought. I knew a lot about branding, having been involved in branding different services (etc) in past jobs, but I went along because I always think I could learn new things. And I did. Plus I got to meet some local business people and chat to them about their social media needs. I am going to follow up a couple this week to see if there is any business I can do with them.

Ashley Jensen (centre) is Agatha Raisin in the tv series.

What I am reading – bloody hell M C Beaton’s Agatha Raisin series it quite addictive. It’s highly entertaining and an easy read, which is what I’m looking for right now. I can read one in a day if I get the time to do it. Cranford has taken a back seat, I am afraid, but I will get back into it tonight. I just love it.

Sarah Kendall is Samantha in Frayed.

What I am watching just now – just started on the tv series called Frayed. It’s about an Australian woman who ran off to the UK, spun a web of lies, married a rich man and then her whole world falls apart. She ends up running back to Australia with her two kids in tow. It’s already hilarious. Can’t wait to see the next one. Binge watch? I think so!

Author Stella Duffy

I also watched a great documentary: Timeshift’s How to Write a Mills and Boon which had novelist, Stella Duffy, interviewing M&B fans and authors to find out what the fans wanted and how the authors wrote. And then she gave it a go herself. And found it incredibly difficult. It just shows you that although everyone thinks they can write these books, they are not as easy to write as you think. However, I thought Stella was an excellent presenter and the programme was highly entertaining.

So, what else have I been up to? Been tackling the garden over the last couple of days. Had a skip delivered to the garden last week, but because I was getting all gallus in Pilates and doing exercises I knew I shouldn’t but did anyway, I ended up putting my back out. It took til the end of the week – when the cold I’d been harbouring cranked up again – for the backache to subside. That’s why it took me til yesterday to start on the garden – there’s a fair amount of work needing done, but I’m getting there.

Right, I am going to finish here and go off and do something else. I will leave you with these immortal words by stoic philosopher Epictetus: “If you want to be a writer, write.” Never a truer word was said. So, that’s what I am away to do. Til next time.

Dawn xx

Jacobite’s, Cranford and a Visit to Austria

Hello and how are you? How’s your week been? Hope it’s been fine. I know that it is the start of a fresh new week, but I am running a bit behind with my blog posts.

So, what’s been happening lately at Nelson Towers? Well, autumn is well and truly trying to establish itself here in Scotland. Apart from the seasonal call of the Canada Geese as they rest in the River Clyde en route to their winter roosts, autumn has manifested itself in the changeable weather. For instance, on Saturday, it was really hot and sunny. However, yesterday, it was torrential rain. It wasn’t bitterly cold – not yet – but verging on cold. The rain was the main problem. I had planned to do a bit of gardening yesterday afternoon, but as it was still raining then and I wasn’t feeling well anyway, I gave it a body swerve.

Last week went by a in flash. I can’t believe it’s the start of a whole new week already! In saying that, from Wednesday til yesterday I wasn’t feeling at all good: it started with a nasty cold and merged into generally feeling yucky. Am alright today, so that’s good.

Jacobites – The Battle of Prestonpans.

So, what did I manage to get done last week? Well, let’s see, I’ve been doing a final edit on The Jacobite’s Share (sequel to Dusting Down Alcudia and out early next year). I’ve formatted it, but always go over it one more time because there are always typos in it. And I have found a few! I’ve also been working on building my small PR and social marketing business, which has been good. Have signed up to a few training courses and been out and about networking. It’s been very enjoyable. Another source of income will be online writing and I’ve been pursuing a few leads on that. So, it’s all coming together nicely.

Due to feeling rotten at the tail end of last week and the weekend, I didn’t manage to do any writing on my genie book nor start the editing on my two draft books. However, I will get around to those at some point soon. Still on my to-do list is completing the audiobook of Dusting Down Alcudia. Just haven’t had the time to get that sorted yet. That’s on the list for this week.

Also on the list for this week is gardening. My garden badly needs done. I am afraid I have been sorely neglecting it so I’m going to spend a couple of days sorting it and filling up the skip I’ve hired (and that is currently sitting in my driveway) with detritus from my work. Hopefully, the weather will hold. Otherwise, it’ll be pretty miserable doing gardening in the rain and gale-force winds!! 🙂

What I am reading: have finished The Diaries of Miss Anne Lister and am now reading Elizabeth Gaskell’s Cranford, which is a lovely book. I am really enjoying it. Saw the tv series starring Judy Dench as Miss Matty and loved it, and the book is as good, if not better. It’s funny and charming and just lovely to read. It’s about a group of gentlewomen leading their gentle lives in the village of Cranford in Victorian England. The characters are so brilliantly depicted and I’d love to just step into the book and go and have tea with them all. Ten out of ten for this one. I’ve also been reading M C Beaton’s Agatha Raisin books – they are my go-to easy readers at the moment. I love the tv series and am really enjoying the books. They’re funny, quick to read and highly enjoyable. I am not a book snob, I will read anything and, so long as it has a good story and characters, I don’t care if it is a classic, literary fiction or more mainstream. Agatha Raisin is definitely in the latter category and I love the books. Looking forward to starting The Terrible Tourist tonight.

Stunning Austria.

So, I’ve left the most exciting news until last. I am going away for a four day trip to Austria in November and I CANNOT WAIT!! I am going with my friend to visit another friend who lives there. I’ve never been to Austria, but have always wanted to go. We’re spending a night in Salzburg (The Sound of Music tour here we come!!) and then going to our friend’s house in the south of the country, in the foothills of the Alps. Added to that is that there is a castle near where she stays and I’m itching to visit it. Am so excited!! My darling children – including my fur babies – are being looked after by my parents (thank you Mum and Dad) while I am away. They are staying at my house in what they are calling a ‘holiday’. I like the fact they look on staying at mine as a holiday. Anyway, hope they have as much fun looking after their grandchildren as I will have being away from them! Yay!

Right, I am going to end this here before I explode with the excitement of the thought of a few days away. New passport has been ordered, EHIC renewed and travel insurance bought. Flights and train fares have been organised by my friend. I just have to buy some Euros to take with me.

Okay, enough of Austria. I shall finish up this post now with my normal farewell: until next time.

Dawn xxx

New book title reveal!

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

And now I can reveal its name!

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

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

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

tablet…yum!

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

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

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

Dawn xx

A Furry Visitor, Uni and

Well the house is full of doggy kisses and hugs just now as we babysit this week cutie (the white one above). Yes, my parents’ dog Winston is visiting and we are just loving it. The kids don’t want him to ever go home. He’s pictured above sitting on a chair next to his best friend, our Yorkie, Casper. The two of them love each other, which is lovely.

At this precise moment, both are fast asleep (as are my girls) and Winston is sleeping under the table:

I just love dogs. They are great creatures.

Anyway, how are you all today? Hope all is well in your world. This week has been really busy for me as I worked to get my first big assignment done for my university course. It was a tough one, about tradition and dissent. Anyway, it’s done and I sent it in and I can do nothing more now but sit and chew my fingernails whilst I await the results. Really hoping I do well in it. I am aiming to get a First for this course. That’s what I really want to get. So, although this is only the first module, I’m aiming to get as high marks as possible. I’ve done really well so far, but was a mark short of a distinction last time so fingers crossed I pass that mark this time. I hate waiting for results, it’s so nerve wracking.

Anyway, enough of my moaning. What else have I been up to? Well, really the assignment has taken up a lot of time, but I did managed to do some editing today on the sequel to Dusting Down Alcudia. I am still aiming to have that out in spring – late spring, but spring none-the-less. Also spoke to the lovely Jenny who is doing my audio book of Dusting Down Alcudia. That’s now at the editing stage and will be ready in a few short weeks. I am so excited about it. Will let you know when it’s available on Audible.

Last night was the first night in ages I managed to get any time to read, so continued with my book on the teenage brain and did a bit of Pyjama Profit, both of which are interesting books. See here for more info.

That’s it really. Sorry for being a bit dull today, but a writer’s life really isn’t that exciting (unless you are a travel writer, I suppose!). On that note, I am going to say adieu until next time. Got a son to pick up from school.

Til next time,

Dawn xxx

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.

 

 

 

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:

 

 

Lego, Goldman and a Deep Deep Trench

Forgive me readers for I have been bad. I have not written this blog for some time and the only two excuses I can give are: The Gilmore Girls and work beginning in my garden. The former because I recently bought Netflix and have been glued to the Gilmore Girls, all seven series of it and the winter special. Finally finished it last night after around two-and-a-half weeks of watching it in between mum and housework stuff. There were loads of episodes so I blame the tv company that produced it for a) making so many episodes and b) making it so compelling that I quickly became addicted. Am now feeling bereft because not only is Gilmore Girls watched all the way through, but Game of Thrones has finished for this year. Sigh. My tv watching has suddenly gotten very dull. The second excuse is because we’re getting an extension and I’ve been moving things around in the garden. I removed the old metal swingset, laid a new patio in its place (hark me laying a patio and it actually turned out) and then, with my lovely friends (you know who you are, thank you so much for your help, it was much appreciated) moved the potting shed over so that when the extension is up it doesn’t shade out the potting shed. It was a lot of heavy work, but I am so pleased I managed to do it. Been taking on a lot more things this year, things my beloved hubby would have normally done, including cutting our hedge which is a heavy, tiring job. Feeling that I can do most DIY things now (God help us!) and  quite proud of myself. Watch this space for more makes.

Talking of Game of Thrones. Oh. My. God. Was that not the best series EVER or what? If you don’t watch it, you are so missing out on one of the most fabulous telly experiences ever. Do you remember when it first began and no-one (except me, it felt) watched it and I was bemoaning the fact that I had no one to talk to about? Then it was repeated and  loads more folk started watching it and it grew from there. Can’t wait til next year and the final series.

Right, so apart from shunting things around the garden, I’ve also been doing the odd wee escapade with the kids over the summer holidays. Apart from visiting the Riverside Museum in Glasgow (which we Glaswegians will still call the Transport Museum until we die cos that’s what the old museum used to be called), we also popped into Clydebank Town Hall to see the Lego exhibition. It cost me £13 to get the three of us in and, although it was quite cheap, I still don’t think it was worth the money. Don’t get me wrong, the models were great, but there wasn’t that many of them, I expected a bit more. Anyway, here are some of the models…

There was also a massive castle which for some reason I never took a picture of which is a pity because it was really good.

Anyway, I have also been reading a lot over the summer and most recently finished William Goldman’s Adventures in the Screen Trade: A Personal View of Hollywood. I love reading about writing and am currently going through a screenwriters’ books phase. Goldman is famous for a number of film scripts and books including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Marathon Man, the Princess Bride and Which Lie Did I Tell?  The book is well written and full of great anecdotes and musings on how Hollywood works (or worked when he wrote the book…it was published in 1982). If you’re looking for an up-to-date book on Hollywood this isn’t the book for you. Instead it talks about the golden age and how things used to work comparing it to when things changed as tv became more prominent and how studio management changed in the 70s (ie how they were managed). Goldman is bluntly honest and self deprecating throughout. He takes a very measured look at Hollywood and is often funny. He’s the type of guy I think would be a great raconteur at a dinner party. Yup, liked this book. Looking forward to reading Which Lie Did I Tell?

What else have I been doing? You won’t want to hear about the boring stuff, the futile attempts I’ve been making to keep the mud out of my house brought in on the little clippy cloppy paws of the dogs. Our pug, Bonya, had to undergo an operation last week to remove a tumour from her leg. The vet doesn’t think it’s cancerous, but we’re going to keep a wee eye on her. She’s made a great recovery and is, as I write, lying at my feet snoring at the same level of decibels as a full grown man. Delicate pugs ain’t.

Obligatory cute pic of Bonya making herself at home on my bed.

 

You leave your phone down and before you know it one of the kids has decorated a pic.

I have a confession. I have not been writing. Again because of the aforementioned reasons, but also cos I’m a bit stuck about how to end the book I am currently writing. I’ve also been writing up ideas for two more books which I will start writing once I have the other book’s story down. I’ve printed off the 65,000 words I have written so far to re-read in the hope that inspiration will smack me in the face and get me back to the laptop. I do have a strong hope that this will happen. I mean, look at me…I’m actually writing my blog again so that’s a good sign! Right?

Okay, I am going to end this blog here. I have three wee dogs to take out for another walk. Because the back garden is off limits and now open to the street,  I cannot let them run about the way I used to. Apart from the fact one of them will definitely make a break for the street (Millie), I fear one or all three of them will end up the trench that was dug for the foundations. This has already happened. It was my fault, I stupidly drank some wine and then late at night fancied surveying the back garden from the kitchen door. I opened it and before I could stop her Millie (our white Jack Chi cross) ran past me and sailed into fresh air. Luckily she didn’t hurt herself and my daughter managed to coax her into jumping (that dog has springs in her heels). The girl caught her and dragged her out much to my relief as I didn’t fancy climbing into the trench. Apart from the fact it was dark and muddy, I didn’t fancy my chances of getting back out having consumed some wine. I had visions of me getting stuck and having to suffer the humiliation of having the fire service come out to rescue me. Luckily that did not happen. The back door is now kept firmly shut and I haven’t touched a drop since! Damn you wine! Millie lost her lovely pristine appearance that night and it was a brown, mud caked dog that I put into the bath that night to shower down. Thankfully she was not injured and was quickly back to her bossy ways. 🙂

Millie – none the worse for her impromptu flight.

Anyway, on that note, I’ll say adieu. Til next time.

Dawn xxx