Writing, Gardening and Joanne Harris

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Well another week has gone by and the world is still on standby. We are stuck in a routine that is the same day in, day out and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. I am so thankful that no-one I know has been killed by Covid 19 and so sorry for those who have lost loved-ones. It’s a nasty, horrid disease that is still so worrying for everyone. Thank God for the key workers who are doing a fab job!

Right, I once said this blog is a space for happiness and so I will try to cheer you all up with my goings on this week. 🙂 How has your week been? I’ve been incredibly busy writing: writing my first book for our book series (we = the international writers I’m working with on an exciting new book project series) and I’m more than 13,000 words into it (woohoo!), writing another project with a friend (6,500 words down – there’s a lot of research in it), and writing up notes on my uni course. I do it every single day and, while I enjoy it, it is tiring. However, I gave writing the boot this morning to do a bit of work in the garden and managed an hour of weeding before my back got too sore. I intend to be back out later tonight to put out my garden ornaments in the back and will continue weeding tomorrow. I am so loving this good weather we are all having – it’s so nice to have warm, dry weather in April. That almost never happens here! As I write this, the heating is off (as it has been for days now), the patio doors are open and I can hear a neighbour cutting his or her grass.

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So, what else has been happening at Nelson Towers? Well, let me see! Hmmm. I have been keeping up with my Zumba class, which has been brilliant. Our teacher is doing the classes via Zoom (ironically!) and, although the connection is sometimes a bit flaky, it’s still good to be exercising.

I watched the first in the new series of the Great British Sewing Bee. I LOVE that programme. Can’t wait until next week for the next one. Talking of watching telly, have any of you been watching the new Killing Eve series? It’s already magnificent. I think this programme has got to be one of THE best things on telly, that and Fleabag (who could forget the sexy priest?). And, of course, I’m watching Outlander although I’m a bit disappointed that it’s not as exciting as previous series, but hopefully it’ll pick up. Don’t get me wrong, I still love it and I still watch it avidly, and I will love it forever.

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So, that’s really what I’ve been up to. Of course, we’re all still socially distancing ourselves in Scotland, so I’ve been keeping up with friends and family via Zoom. Thank God for technology. If this had happened ten or 20 years ago, things would be so much worse in terms of keeping up with family and friends. We would only have the telephone, which is good, but it’s not as good as seeing your parents laugh or your nephew do something daft or your sister’s gorgeous home-made fairy. Well done, V. I’ve also been having conversations with friends over wine or tea or sometimes just a glass of water. And my kids pop in in the background and wave at them all or have a conversation. Well, when I say ‘kids’, I really mean my daughter. My boy is too glued to his games machine upstairs! 🙂

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Talking of kids, I am lucky in that both of mine are at high school and, therefore, I don’t have to help them much with their work. They do it themselves and come to me if they are stuck and (in the case of the boy) to prove that he has done something. How are you all getting on with home schooling?

Right, that’s it for me. I’m away. I’ve got a webinar to attend with one of my all time favourite authors, Joanne Harris who wrote (amongst many excellent books) Chocolat. Until next time.

Dawn xx

PS in case you’re wondering, all pics in this post are not of my garden. I wish my garden was as nice! Maybe one day! 🙂

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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.

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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

 

FREE BOOK – Get your copy now!

To celebrate the launch of my new book,  The Jacobite’s Share (on sale from March 27), I’m giving away some free copies of the first book in the series: Dusting Down Alcudia. Get your FREE book here: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/o1qu2vd2pf

Dusting Down Alcudia cover 75%

Nina Esposito, archaeologist, is on a mission. She’s flying to Mallorca to locate a magnificent Roman treasure that’s been lost for centuries.

But, when a formal love and a work rival vie for her attention, Nina finds herself locked in romantic rollercoaster. Which one is truly worthy of her? And do they have ulterior motives other than winning her heart?

Added to the mix is a Spanish billionaire who will stop at nothing to get the jewels for himself.

Who will get to the treasure first? Will Nina’s heart be broken along the way? And can she really trust either of the men in her life?

Join Nina on a breath-taking journey of discovery that takes her from the dusty fields of Mallorca to the diamond brokers of Amsterdam. As she soon finds out: there’s everything to play for when you’re Dusting Down Alcudia.

 

THE REVIEWS:

5stars

“A terrific, fast paced action adventure that I couldn’t put down,” Janice Mitchell.

5stars

“This romance is full of great characters and is a fantastic story. I can’t wait until the next one is out.” Laurina Hewson

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

Madam Butterfly, the Lurgy and Book News

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Okay, so this week started well, and then quickly descended into not so good a week. It began with me and a friend going back to the Royal Concert Hall on Sunday night to see the wonderful Madam Butterfly. It was so good. The music was gorgeous and the opera singers were amazing. I, of course, had a good sob at the end when she dies, but I just loved it. What was funny – and this is typical Glasgow – when the cast were coming out to take a bow, the guy who played Butterfly’s husband, Pinkerton, was boohed. Then he got applause and a cheer. Elena Dee played Cio Cio San (Butterfly) and Giorgio Meladze was Pinkerton. The whole thing was just wonderful. I loved it.

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So, unfortunately, Monday was the funeral of an old friend. I didn’t manage along to the church service, but I did go to the crematorium where her daughter gave a really lovely eulogy.  She had a good send off and will be missed, she was a lovely lady.

Monday was also when the dread Lurgy really started to take its hold on me.  I had felt a bit of a cold coming on on Sunday, but by Monday I was feeling really rough. And I’ve been feeling rough all week. Today is the first day I’ve felt a little bit better. Anyway, hopefully that’s me on the mend. I had to cancel all my exercise classes, lunch with friends, tea and buns with friends today, and going to see my parents tomorrow – was too unwell and didn’t want to infect anyone else.

Anyway, I am feeling better, so hopefully it’ll lift before next week.


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Anyway, I dug out my electric pressure cooker today to make something for the freezer. I’m always a bit nervous with pressure cookers, but I made Sloppy Joes and it’s turned out really nice.

I also made bread in the bread maker using a just add water packet and it turned out really nice. So nice the boy has eaten half of it already!

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Not my bread, but it looks like it.

Okay, on to writing news. I’ve chased up the Dusting Down Alcudia audiobook and hopefully that will go on sale soon. The ebook and paperback book will soon be available in mobi and epub files at many more retailers very soon – this means more people can read it on more devices. So, watch out for that. Everything She Wants will also be available in this way too.

Regarding my two secret projects – these are ongoing, I will hopefully be able to tell you more about them soon!

What I am reading – currently reading Hard Times by Charles Dickens for my uni course. Loving it. And am also reading M C Beaton’s Agatha Raisin: As the Pig Turns, which is very good.

What I’ve been watching – the boy was off sick this week (Wednesday and Thursday), so we’ve been watching Star Wars films. I’ve also been watching Outlander, which I love, love, love.

Right, that’s my week, not very full due to illness, but not bad either. Til next time,

Dawn xxx

Miserable outside, so I’m away to put the telly on

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Well, Storm Dennis has hit today and it’s bloody miserable outside. So far, it’s just heavy rain which – I saw as I was going to my car to drive my daughter to her friend’s house – has flooded the entrance to my garage. This means inside probably is flooded too. Sigh! I will worry about it later, no point just now as there’s nothing I can do about it.

So, how are you all? Hope you’re all well. How’s life been lately? My kids were off school this week – it’s the February holiday – and spent a good bit of it lazing about in their rooms. One is a teenager, the other a pre-teen, so I don’t see much of them these days, just when they are hungry or wanting money.  However, I did have a good week: my friend Val (from Austria) came over to stay for a couple of nights and we had a lovely time. Another friend joined us for dinner on Sunday night and then Val and I spent Monday night drinking wine and watching movies on the telly. We watched Judy. My God that’s a sad story, but a great film. Recommend it. We also watched Chicago, which I love and I’m sure The Joker, but I fell asleep and missed most of it. Of course I wasn’t drunk!! Ahem. What I remember of it was feeling very unsettled by Joaquin’s Joker. Creepy! Anyway, it was lovely seeing Val again. You can stay over anytime, Val.

So Val left on Tuesday morning. And I spent Tuesday recovering from a wine hangover. No sympathy please, it was totally self inflicted. Wednesday, I did a training course with the local Business Gateway folk on Pinterest and Instagram. It was really good. Their courses are great, by the way, really recommend them. I have two Pinterest accounts: D A Nelson, author and D A Nelson PR and Social Media. Please pop over and have a look.

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Also on Wednesday, the house was full of teenagers. My daughter had a friend stay overnight, but they had a couple more friends in during the day. I felt like I was feeding the 5,000. They were remarkably quiet and well behaved, though, so that was good. The girl – my daughter – has been remarkably well behaved all week. Might it have something to do with her birthday coming up in a couple of days? Not that I’m cynical or anything.

I’m not sure what I did on Thursday, but you can be sure it involved cleaning and washing clothes. Yesterday, I did a lot of my degree course. I was way behind (oh I remember now, I was doing my OU course on Thursday as well), so spent most of the day catching up. I still have a wee bit to do to get me back on track, but I’m nearly there. I also went to B&M to buy hay for the chickens and dog food for the dogs, but ended up paying £97 for a whole load of essentials for the house. You know the type of stuff: cleaning products, some food, other things. I swear to God, you’d be as well handing your purse or wallet over to them at the door! I go in for one thing and come out with a trolley full, I can’t help it. It always has products I need at great prices. The cashiers say everyone says that. It’s a great shop for bargains!

Today? More OU and I’ve written a short story which I hope to sell to a literary magazine. Or one of the women’s magazines. More likely the latter.

I must admit, a fair bit of my time this week was watching telly. I did binge watch The Stranger, which I loved despite the plot being a little bit woolly towards the end. There were a few unanswered questions, but overall it was great. It had me on the edge of the seat most of the time. I loved that. I’ve also been watching Locke & Key, which, as a lover of fantasy, I have been really enjoying. Hmmm, maybe that’s where most of Thursday went! 🙂 Must look out the graphic novel of it.

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Reading: and I am still binge reading M C Beaton’s Agatha Raisin series. They are just the thing for a light read. They are funny, clever and highly enjoyable. I’ve got about eight more to read before I reach the end of the whole series. I may through a couple of more serious books in amongst there to shake it up a bit (yes, my life is so “rock n roll” – not!). Oh no! Torture! Got to read Charles Dickens’ Hard Times for my OU course. It’s not one of my favourite Dickens’ books, but I enjoyed it when I read it before so it’ll be no problem. Can’t wait, in fact, to get into it.

Right, I am going to finish up right now. I have a million and one things to do this afternoon, so I will say adieu and hope the weather doesn’t get you down. Til next time,

Dawn xx

 

Just a quick post to say Merry Christmas

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It’s been a little while since I published a post and I apologise about that. The last two weeks have been a whirlwind of doing stuff: building my social media business, meeting new clients, doing domestic things and getting ready for Christmas. I also had an assignment to hand in for my uni course, so that’s taken up a bit of time. It’s been a bit mental, I can tell you.

Anyway, how are you all? Are you set for Christmas? I’m just about there. The wonders of the internet mean I have my turkey (etc) ordered from Marks & Spencer, to be picked up on Christmas Eve. It comes as a crown, already stuffed and I’ve got nice bits to go with it. Easy peasy.

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The Lurgy has reached this house again. The boy was very sick overnight on Friday night and has been fighting a heavy cold ever since. I’m not sure if it’s the same bug, but it seems to be. I know a few people who have experienced similar symptoms around about here, so I think it’s just a bug that’s going around. Anyway, he’s off school today and we’re sitting watching Antman and Wasp at the moment. We both love Marvel.

Currently reading: still reading the history book about Pompeii, the one by Mary Beard. Haven’t had the time or energy for reading lately, hence the reason why I’m still on that book. Still enjoying it. It’s so well researched and written. Hopefully over the Christmas holidays I’ll have lots more time to read.

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Talking of the Christmas holidays, I have decided to take some well earned time off. This year has been really busy what with finishing the sequel to Dusting Down Alcudia, doing my OU course and setting up my business. I’m in need of some time off to recharge the old batteries. So, with that in mind, I’m going to say goodbye now, I hope you all have a fabulous Christmas and see you in January.

Dawn xxx