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

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New Covers and a New Way of Living

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So, I’ve been looking at the books I have up for sale at the moment and I’ve been taking advice and I’d done everything that I was advised to do, except change the book covers. So, it was with a heavy heart that I’ve finally taken the decision to change my book covers. I loved my originals, but readers just weren’t buying the books. So, with my sensible business head, I’ve taken additional advice ref the book cover design and here’s my two new ones. Above is Dusting Down Alcudia, below is The Jacobite’s Share.

The Jacobite's Share ebook cover

These are the ebook covers, hence the odd shape. Anyway, I’m hoping these will attract more people. If they don’t, I’ll just have to accept that nobody wants them OR that I’m way ahead of my time! 🙂

So how are you all doing at this weird time? I haven’t been over the door today and it was okay, but I’ll need to get out with the dogs tomorrow. I’m lucky in that I live in the countryside so I can take them for walks without meeting many people and the people I do meet tend to keep their distance now. We dog walkers are a friendly bunch and have now taken to hailing each other over the park. It’s not the best way, but it’ll have to do just now.

Today, I spent all day redoing my book covers and tomorrow I’m going to get back into writing and my OU course. The past few days have been terrifying as everyone goes into lockdown and I just hope everyone stays well. I know that’s not going to happen, that this virus is horrible and spreads quickly, but one can hope. It’s been difficult trying to get it into my kids’ heads that they are pretty much house-bound, they don’t really understand the severity of this pandemic, but they are finally accepting it. I don’t want to scare them, but I have to make them realise how bad this situation really is.

My dogs, bless them, live on in blissful ignorance and make us laugh on a daily basis. Here are images of my fur babies to cheer you all up. The pics were taken by my friend Anne-Janine who is a great photographer. These were taken on her phone. She’s so talented. The dogs are (in order) Millie, Casper and Bonya.

Millie

Casper

Bonya

Right, I am going to finish up here. I’ll be back next week. Like everyone else, I’ve been knocked for six with this Corona virus pandemic. Til next week,

Dawnxxx

 

Title reveal and a week that’s run away from me

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The past couple of weeks have been very unsettling with all the things going on with regards to Corona Virus. So, I have decided to ignore it all and lighten up your day with some images of spring and a quick lowdown on what I’ve been doing.

This week, apart from doing my social media business, I’ve been working hard on a number of projects. The secret book series is still ongoing – I still can’t tell you much about that yet, but I will – I edited a short story I had written a couple of weeks ago, I’ve started work on my children’s history book (another secret-ish project) and I’ve been sorting out my new novel, The Jacobite’s Share. I’m just waiting on my cover designer to tweak the covers for me, but so you don’t have to wait too long, here’s a quick sneak peak:

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I love it, I hope you do too. The book is being launched in a couple of weeks time and I’ll let you know the details nearer the time.

My friend came down from Glasgow last Thursday to borrow my sewing machine to sew some cushion covers. She hadn’t sewn anything since childhood and, let’s just say, she’ll have to come down and do it all over again. 🙂 However, we had a lovely time catching up. I think we put the entire world to right!! We ate pizza and cheesecake, drank copious amounts of tea and chatted about everything and anything.

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I’ve been busy doing my uni course too. We’re looking at the conditions of the working classes in the north of England in the early 19th century along with Charles Dickens’ Hard Times. It’s very, very interesting and I remember studying this in History in High School. We’ve got a big exam coming up in June so I’ve been looking  at what that might entail too. I must admit I’m a bit nervous about the exam. I haven’t sat an exam since I was 20. Yikes!!

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I’ve been baking bread again and making up dinners for the freezer. I have a small table top freezer, as well as a bigger freezer, and the little one is filled with home-made dog food courtesy of my mum. She had made them for my dogs and her dog for the period of time she and my dad were going on a cruise. NB she makes her own dog home-made dinners, so when he stays she makes them for my dogs too! Now the cruise was meant to take place next month, but unfortunately has been cancelled because of Corona virus. So, now I have a small freezer full of dog food – my dogs are lucky dogs!! They love their granny’s home-made dinners. They are so spoiled. Dinners I have been making for we humans include Sloppy Joes (an American recipe for minced beef which is lovely), Bolognese sauce and chicken. I’ve been using my pressure cooker again and it’s becoming less scary to me! 🙂

Right, I am going to finish up here. I’m going to make a cup of tea and put my feet up for a little while.

Til next time,

Dawn xxx

 

 

 

 

Is it February already?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dawn xxx

Keeping busy and meeting an old friend

Winter girl

So, I know this is a very British thing to say, but where the hell has January gone? One minute I was dreading the cold weather and dark nights and now, it’s nearly February and I’m looking forward to spring! My life is whizzing by so fast these days. My parents were right! They always said life goes quicker the older you get and it’s true. As a kid, the days used to last forever. Now I’m lucky if I know what day of the week it is! 🙂

In saying that, the last couple of weeks the weather has been mild for this time of year. A wee bit blowy, but not the freezing temperatures we normally get in January. Except for today. Today is COLD.

So, how are you? What have you been up to over the last (is it really??) two weeks?? I’ve been really busy writing my script, doing assignments for my uni course, being a mum and general dogsbody and going to my exercise classes. I have managed to meet up with friends though, which was good. Last week, I met up with a friend I knew in Primary School. It’s horrible to acknowledge this but Una and I have known each other nearly 45 years! Yikes! We had a late lunch in Bill’s in Glasgow, which was nice, and a two hour catch-up, which was fab. It’s such a laugh remembering the things we used to get up to as kids: sledging in the park across from her house on tin trays and binbags (only very posh people or kids with joiners for dads had sledges in those days), watching horror movies at her house and then being terrified going home, playing Space Invaders on her games machine. She came round to mine too, but for some reason I only remember being at hers. Anyway, was great to catch up with her and I look forward to doing it again soon.

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What else have I been doing? I’ve been working to get The Jacobite’s Share out in March/April and then audiobook of Dusting Down Alcudia out (yes, it’s still not out and I take full responsibility!).

Still beavering away at building my PR/Social Media business. Am still loving doing the social media side of things because it’s right up my street creating images and memes for Facebook and Instagram. I love thinking up the ideas for the post, researching it and then putting it all together.

Talking of social media, did you know that I have a Pinterest account on which you can see pins I’ve collected for my books, examples of my creations for my social business and other stuff I love. I don’t go on Pinterest nearly enough. I love it. It’s like having an endless online scrapbook – well, I suppose that’s exactly what it is! Anyway, you can find me under D A Nelson, author, PR and social media.   

Right, I am off. Got loads of things to do. Til next time, my friend.

Dawn xxx

Dog on the bed

Carnival, Agatha and finishing the audiobook – I hope!

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So the start of this week kind of started a bit slow mainly because I’m getting on in my years (I’m 50 this year) and I can’t hack it when my son wants me to take him to the Carnival.

In my defence, it was the big Irn Bru Carnival at the SEC in Glasgow, we were there three-and-a-half hours, the noise was deafening (lots of competing pop tunes played at ear splitting intensity) and there were loads of flashing lights – everywhere. I’ve never been one for the carnival. I did go to our local one in Neilston a few times in my teens, but I never truly enjoyed it. This one is indoors, in a big echoing shed type structure and there were loads of visual and aural stresses.

The boy was there with his friends who met us there, so, while the boys went off to enjoy the carnival, me – Methuselah that I am – went to the food court to sit and wait for them. And wait and wait. I bought myself a very ordinary hotdog with very ordinary chips and some tasteless chilli on top. That plus a bottle of water set me back £11 – daylight robbery if you ask me. It wasn’t that nice, but I ate it anyway. Then I tried to read my book, which was impossible due to the aforementioned noise and people and noise and flashing lights – oh yeah, and the noise.

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So, I sat on my tod for three hours waiting for the boys to get fed up and want to go home. They didn’t, but thankfully the boy (with whom the others had come with) had contacted his father to come and get them. So we had to wait another half an hour for him.

Anyway, I digress, back to sitting dolefully people watching on that hard wooden bench at that sticky drink laden bench table. The only good thing to come out of the event (apart from my boy have a ball with his friends) was the people watching. Oh my God, there were some sights there I can tell you. I don’t know what it is about some Glaswegians, but they wear summer clothes in the middle of winter. Sunday afternoon was really cold and, although the hall was warm, I wondered at folk coming out without proper winter clothes on.

And the fashion was fun too. There were lots of very young women, plastered with makeup, glossy hair scraped back in a ponytail or worn long, wearing the latest fashions. Some had their children with them or a gaggle of friends or their young looking boyfriends. One in particular, a young mum pushing a white pram (they always have white prams this type) was an attractive girl with too much makeup and eyebrows drawn into pointed perfection. At her side was a wee girl of about four in designer clothes complete with a dummy tit in her mouth and a huge bag of pink candyfloss which was almost as big as her. The mother was sporting a pale pink, fake fur skipcap. I’ve never seen one before. I didn’t think they existed. Anyway, the pair plus small baby in pram (I think, she had the hood up so you couldn’t see it), wafted past me en route to meet a young man I can only presume was dad. He had on long shorts, no socks, trainers, a t-shirt that showed off his tattooed arms and sported an earring in one ear. He was perma-tanned – like his partner – and his hair was rigid with some sort of wet look hair gel. Neds R Us.

Anyway, I eventually left the SEC around 4.30pm and we got home just after 5pm. The boy, who claimed all I had done was sit and do nothing all afternoon, couldn’t understand why I was so tired. Just wait til you’re doing this with your kids, I thought smugly, then you’ll see.

Anyway, enough of my tirade. How was your week? Was it busy? Did you get loads done? I am permanently busy.  Last week, I took some time away from studying and writing to go to a 4N networking meeting at the Hard Rock Café in Glasgow. It was really good. Everyone was really welcoming and it was good to meet new people – two of whom live nearby! I handed out some cards and connected with a few folk on LinkedIn so we’ll see what happens.

M C Beaton

I’m still making my way through the Agatha Raisin books and recently finished The Haunted House one, which was a fun read. I really like the books. They are a nice easy read and I enjoy the stories. I was sorry to hear that their author – and creator of the Hamish MacBeth books – M C Beaton (above) died over Christmas. Apparently, she was a lovely lady. Anyway, I look forward to starting the next one which is Agatha Raisin and the Deadly Dance.

Still reading the Pompeii book. It’s taking so long, not because I’m not enjoying it (I am), but because I’ve been binge watching Bones until late so haven’t had the time or energy to read when I go to bed. Plus I’ve been reading those Agatha Raisin books in between.

What else has been happening? I’ve been continuing to work on my script plus the finishing touches to the book blurb for my next in the Nina Esposito adventure series, The Jacobite’s Share. I sent that over to my book cover designer this week and hope to launch it by the end of March. Watch this space for more details!

Am still struggling to get the audiobook of Dusting Down Alcudia out. I’ve made the changes required by the company who will upload it to Audible, so hopefully I’ll be able to launch that soon.

Right, that’s it for today. Due to a glut of hen eggs, I baked over the weekend, so am going to have a cup of tea right now along with a fairy cake. Til next time.

Dawn xxx

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.

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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

 

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

Plums, Miss Lister and Elizabeth Gaskell

Look at this small haul of beauties. Picked these from one of my plum trees this year. A plum tree – one of two – which was ‘cut back’ more than a decade ago by my late husband who had no clue what he was doing. It’s taken them all this time to recover. And I think tree number two has not produced any fruit. Anyway, I’ve picked this lot and hope to get some more. Need to take the step ladders out to get up to the higher branches, but I’ll do that tomorrow. This is a start.

And what do I plan to do with them? Make plum jam again. Last year, my friend Jane gave myself and our other friend, Tracy, a huge amount of plums from the trees in her sister’s garden. I made them into jam and it was delicious. I couldn’t get enough of it. So am hoping for more plums from that source again (if that’s okay, Jane!) and will add them to my small haul. Will share the results once the jam is made.

So, how are you this week? Fine and dandy I hope?? Hopefully, if you’ve been reading this blog you’ll know that I’ve finally finished editing my latest in the Nina Esposito series. The Jacobite’s Share is the sequel to Dusting Down Alcudi and is set in Perthshire, Scotland. It features our favourite archaeologist and treasure hunter, Nina, her sexy beau, Jay and a whole host of other great characters. There’s an ancient castle, attempted murder and a whole lot more. I am aiming to get the book out early next year, so watch this space!

What else has been going on?

Finally finished the above book. It was really interesting and Anne’s personality shone right through it. However, I was a bit sad that it ended before she met Ann Walker, whom she went abroad with. Would love to read those diaries especially as the TV series is based on her later life with Ann. Still it gives a lovely glimpse into her life in Georgian England and all the manners and expectations someone of her class had.

She lived most of her life in Halifax, which is just over ten miles away from Haworth, home of the Brontes. It is unlikely they ever met. I believe the Brontes would have been too far down in terms of class for Miss Lister, who was keenly aware of whom she should be consorting with.

The Brontes did not print their first book until 1846 (a book of poems by all three), which is some six years after she died. And then Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey came out the following year catapulting these young women to literary stardom. It saddens me that Anne Lister never got to read these amazing books and I would have loved to have read what she thought of them. She was a keen reader and was keen to learn at every opportunity.

Anne Lister.

Anne Lister died at the age of 49 in what is now the modern country of Georgia, with her ‘wife’ Ann Walker at her side. Her body was brought back to Halifax in April 1841 where it was interred within the church.

I feel quite sad that I have finished it now. Oh well, on to my next book which will be Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell, who did know the Brontes. Charlotte Bronte was a particular friend of hers. Elizabeth also knew Charles Dickens. Anyway, having enjoyed the TV adaptation of it, I cannot wait to start the book.

So, what else have I been up to? Well, I’ve been forging ahead with setting up my small PR and social media marketing business and hopefully have more jobs coming up. My OU course starts soon, but I’m going to get a head start on it by beginning this week (cannot wait!). I am in the process of writing another stand alone book about the havoc a genie wreaks on an unsuspecting young man. I have a murder book to edit and a young adult book to go over again.

On top of that, I’m busy trying to get the garden in order. The weather has been dry enough and cool enough for me to work on it. However, as I have a back that hurts at every opportunity, I have decided the best way to tackle the garden is by doing a bit every day. And it’s been quite enjoyable except for the fact that Millie keeps trying to escape into the neighbour’s garden due to a hole in the fence made by some stupid young guys cutting down some branches for me. Humph.They knocked some slats off and didn’t even tell me. I only found out about the hole when I heard Millie’s plaintive yelp coming from my neighbour’s garden. Being a small, quick dog she was impossible to catch. We got her eventually. Sigh. Won’t be getting those guys in to do the branches again.

Right, I am going to finish up here and wish you all adieu until next time.

Dawn xxx