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

 

 

 

 

 

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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

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

Writerly tips #1 – Ideas and Inspiration

thinking

Okay, so I thought I’d share a few writing tips every now and then in the is blog… just in case you might be interested. The first subject we’ll be looking at in terms of writing a novel is: where do you get your ideas and inspiration?

Put quite simply, you get your ideas from everywhere. Here’s what I mean – have you ever found yourself sitting on a bench outside just watching the world go by? Have you watched people as they go about their day-to-day lives? Have you ever wondered about them? Who they are? What they do? If you’re answering yes to most of these, you are well on your way to coming up with an idea.

Look at the man over there and take in how he looks and the way he carries himself. Say to yourself, what if this man was a baddy in a children’s story? What would he do and why?

Ask the questions: who, what, why, where, when and how? Who is he? Where is he from or where is he doing his deeds? Why is he here? What is he up to? When does it happen? And how is he going to do it?

Perhaps the man is an alien from another planet who is looking for something that’s been lost (who, where and why). Maybe he’s searching (what) and is wandering the city looking (how). Maybe he’s an evil genius or a mad scientist (who) who lives next door to your main character (where). He’s building a secret weapon (what) to take over the world (why) because he was bullied at school (why). He’s doing it by stealing children’s trampolines and using the metal to create a weapon (how).

Observation of people (and animals) isn’t the only way you can gain inspiration for a story. You can get ideas from real life (a story of divorce, a child experiencing war, bullying at school or work); history (the story of a chimney sweep or someone working in a mill); a painting, photograph or picture; or the press and  media (perhaps a story that appeared in the news inspires you).

Maybe there’s an author whom you particularly admire and would like to write something similar? Don’t copy but be inspired. Maybe you like Jane Austen, perhaps you could write up from a child’s point of view living in Georgian Britain.

One of my favourite places to get ideas is in my own head. I love to daydream. Of course, having a busy life with many demands makes daydreaming difficult, but there are ways of slotting it in…looking out of the window on the train or bus as you go into work, having a little dream whilst waiting in the line for your coffee, thinking about daft stuff whilst making the dinner.

Often I find the strangest ideas crop up when I least expect them: in meetings at work or in that drowsy lovely time just before I nod off to sleep.

Don’t forget to note down your sleep dreams too! They can often be so weird they are perfect for a great tale. Remember when I said keep your ideas book beside you at all times, this includes having it beside the bed so that you can jot down your dreams before you forget them? Even just fragments of a dream can trigger a story idea.

Perhaps something quite ordinary happens that you can turn into a storyline. How do you do this? Give it a twist! Ask yourself ‘what if?’  Here’s an example of what I mean: maybe your main character is walking down the street going to the shops for his or her mother and a car draws up. The door opens and instead of a human being, it’s a monster/alien who grabs the main character and runs off with them.

Maybe an adult is ironing and the iron suddenly comes to life and attacks. The dog, previously just a normal animal, gets up on to two legs, pulls out a laser gun from nowhere and stops the iron in its tracks. Give it a twist and see where it takes you.

Overhead conversations or mispronounced words are just ripe for turning into a story. Perhaps it’s a character’s name (does anyone remember a cartoon called Kissyfur when they were growing up? It was called that because the main character, a little bear called Christopher, couldn’t pronounce his name properly) or the conversation is only half heard and you can make up your own ending.

Still stuck? Write from a lie. Start your story with something like ‘I can fly’ or ‘I am queen of the world’ or ‘my mum is an alien’ and take it from there. Write down the first word that comes into your head. Write another, then another and build your story.

Jot down a simple sentence – The man walked down the street whistling a tune – and twist it up by changing some of the words – The goblin danced down the street licking an ice lolly.

This then leads to the questions:

•         who is the goblin?

•         where did he come from?

•         why is he here?

•         where did he get the ice lolly?

•         what happens next?

Remember: inspiration can strike at any time. Write them down or lose them.

And don’t forget those important words: who, what, why, where, when and how? Who is that man hiding in the shadows? Where is he going? When will he get there? What will he do when he gets there? Why did he go there? How did he get there?

Add in: what if? What if he’s really an alien who’s been sent down to by his leader to scope out Earth and see if it will be easy to invade? What if he’s having second thoughts because he likes humans? What if your main character befriends this man and together they save the world?

Dawn xx


It’s Been One of Those Really Nice Days

Today has been one of those days that has worked out really nicely. It all started a couple of weeks ago when I arranged to meet an old work friend for lunch. I hadn’t seen my friend for a long time and it was nice to catch up.

We arranged to meet at Epicure of Hyndland for lunch today, but when I got there, the restaurant – which is in Hyndland Road in Glasgow’s west-end – was undergoing a refit and, therefore, closed. I was half an hour early so I wandered up Hyndland Road a bit and my eye was, of course, caught by the lovely little Hyndland Bookshop. I cannot resist a bookshop, particularly the independently owned one and I swear I was only going in to pick a few birthday cards for future birthdays of friends and relatives. Anyway, I picked up these lovelies:

I like them so much I am thinking of framing them rather than giving them away (sorry, friends and relatives). Anyway, whilst perusing the books, someone called my name and there was a friend I hadn’t seen for about four years standing behind the cash desk. We’d kind of lost touch. So, I spent a happy ten minutes catching up with her and promising to do lunch soon and I handed her the cards and this book to pay for them:

However, she gave me the book as a gift because we haven’t seen each other for ages. How lovely is that? Thank you my dear friend. I greatly appreciate it.

I was still a little early for lunch when I left the bookshop so I went next door to the Marie Curie charity shop for some treasure hunting. Hyndland is a very nice area in Glasgow, so you get great stuff in that shop and I picked up this Paul Costelloe leather bag for £20. Bargain! Apologies for the poor picture quality.

Then I went to meet my friend and had a lovely lunch. So, there you are, a lovely day. Plus it was sunny and warm, so you couldn’t have gotten a nicer day.

Things took a wrong turn, however, when it was time to go home. Well, I took a wrong turning…several times. I was aiming to get to Hyndland Rail Station to get my train home, but couldn’t find the bloody thing. I Googled it and somehow went off in the wrong direction. Had I only continued walking the way I was originally walking I would have gotten to the station quicker. Anyway, several wrong turns and then a few right ones later and I eventually got there. Phew! I don’t know what it is about that station but I can never find the bloody thing!

So, how was your day today? In fact, how’s your week going so far? Isn’t the weather lovely here in the UK this week so far? It makes everything seem so much cheerful. Hope you’re having a great time.

Right, and on to the most important point of this blog – Game of Thrones. What did you think of yesterday’s episode? I was so disappointed Cersei didn’t meet a nastier end. And what the hell was Dany doing? What’s gotten into her these days? She was so nice before and now she’s just awful? She seems to have turned into her mad father. It was a ‘phew’ moment when Arya and Jon survived. Cannot wait until next week’s final episode. Cannot wait and dreading it at the same time for it will be the end of Game of Thrones and I will miss it. I’m also a bit worried it will be rubbish. We shall see next week, won’t we?

Right, I am going to finish up here. The kids have the Queen/Freddy Mercury biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody on the telly just now and I can’t help but sing along…it’s a bit distracting. So to the strains of We Are the Champions, I shall say goodbye until next time.

Dawn xxx

Ten Things I Love About Being an Author

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  1. Getting the story down – often, a story will be whirling around my head for days or weeks or, occasionally, years. It’s like there is a little person with a pointy stick prodding my brain every now again saying: “Hoi! When are you going to write me down?”
  2. Getting to make things up and letting my imagine run away with me.
  3. Watching the story unfold in my head – I see the stories in my head and watch the characters and their situations rather like I’d watch a film on tv. I watch and I write down what I see, hear, feel etc.
  4. Choosing names for the characters – I love it when I come across a truly fabulous name that I can use for a character. It might be something that’s just popped into my head, something I’ve seen on a street sign or a car number plate, or a name I’ve heard or misheard. Then a character takes shape around the name quickly followed by the start of their story.
  5. Drinking tea and eating chocolate digestives as I write. This is one of my favourite things to do. I don’t know why, but when you get a chocolate digestive and dunk it into a perfect cup of tea it just goes so well with writing. You dunk it, then you take a bite and enjoy the melting chocolate and suck the liquid from the crumbling biscuit base and it melts in your mouth and it’s somehow just perfect for those moments when you are thinking about what you are going to write next.
  6. Organising the printing and cover design. I’m not a fan of editing my book because I have to do it at least four times before I am happy with the novel, but I love the next bit. And that is getting it ready for printing (ie formatting my book – I do this myself) and then getting a designer to design a cover. This latter part can be a bit nerve wracking because I am always desperate to like what the designer comes up with, but it’s great when you are presented with amazing designs… as I was. Thankfully.
  7. Getting the book up and ready for sale, and finally getting a copy of the finished novel. This is great for both traditionally published and indie published book. You spend months and months writing the book, then there’s all the editing and organising of various things (such as promotions and marketing) and then finally you have the book in your hand and it just feels lovely.
  8. Sharing my book with friends, family and the general public. I love presenting my parents with my latest novel. It’s the same delight I used to get when presenting them with something I had made in primary school! I love it when I can share it with my friends and with fans. In case you didn’t know, I run an Advance Reader Copy group whereby readers can get free and early copies of my new books. All I ask is if you put up a genuine review of the book on a book selling website. If you are interested in joining my current group, nicknamed Dawn’s Divas, email me your name and email address: dawn@danelsonauthor.com
  9. Talking to other writers and people who love books about writing and reading. Discussing favourite books and recommending new things to read.
  10. Making new friends via writers’ groups, book bloggers and with people who have become fans. I just love chatting to different types of people, especially if they are as passionate about reading and writing as I am.

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

Book launch, China Mieville and the Marvellous Mrs Maisel

Hello everyone, how are you all? Hope you are well. Welcome to the new subscribers who have joined up since Christmas. Hope you enjoy my posts. Can’t promise scintillating conversation as my life is pretty mundane most of the time, but I’ll do my best to entertain you and the folk who have been subscribers for a while. Hello to you all too!

Right, onwards and upwards. Firstly, I’m just letting you know I am officially launching Everything She Wants next month. I’d like to do something online… like a question and answer session or something like that. Would that be something you guys would be interested in? I could do a live session. Fill in your comments below and if enough of you want it, I’ll do it. I’m just worried that if I set something up on, say Facebook, no one will want to chat to me and I’ll sit there like Billy No Mates, drinking my tea and feeling sorry for myself! 😉 I may even have to bribe a few friends to come on just to make me feel better. 😀

So, what have you all been doing over the past week? I have been very busy getting back into writing. I am just going through the agonies of editing the sequel to Dusting Down Alcudia. I say “agonies” because this is part of the process that I don’t like. It’s hard work and I always think the book is rubbish. Then there will be at least another three edits before I pluck up the courage to send the manuscript to my editor. Then, for a number of days, I will wait, chewing my fingernails with anxiety, whilst awaiting his verdict. Actually, the sequel isn’t too bad, but needs a bit of work on it. What I am editing is the rough story. That’s how I write. I get down the rough story and then go back and edit and re-edit it until I can look at it no more (all my author friends know exactly what I mean here). Eventually, I get a book I can be proud to publish.

I have also been getting back to proper, made-from-scratch cooking. After Ian died, my ability to cook seemed to fly out of the window. I always find my cooking suffers if my mood isn’t good so it’s not surprising that I: a) haven’t felt like cooking, b) didn’t cook much (ie properly) in the first year after he died – we lived on bung-in-the-oven stuff and takeaways (hey, at least my weans were fed! We’re all still alive thanks to that!), and c) tried to get back to my cooking last year, but failed a lot… I think I was still trying to get back on my feet properly. That’s what happens when a loved one died, especially your soul mate. The rug is completely pulled from under you and you spend a helluva long time trying to get back to some sort of normal self. Anyway, I am wittering on again. The point of this post is that I felt like making pizza the other night. So, I made pizza, with a recipe courtesy of my mum (for the base) and the pizzas I made were delicious. Here is proof of how professional they looked (this one is mine):

Can I just say – it was delicious and I thoroughly enjoyed every bite. I feel happier now I have made something good (like I used to). Next up, tonight we are having home-made burgers. Will let you know how I get on.

Talking of cooking, I recently bought a half price panini grill from Aldi (love that shop) so me and the boy have been happily making toasted sandwiches in it – not paninis. That will change tomorrow, for I plan to make my own panini rolls using a recipe from the excellent Mortgage Free in Three blog (once it is back up and running properly). If it’s not, I may need to contact Elaine who runs the blog and ask her for the aforementioned recipe. No matter, I will make my boy a proper panini tomorrow. No doubt, he’ll just want cheese as the filling, but that’s okay. That’s my favourite filling too!

The book I am reading just now is Perdido Street Station by China Mieville, which is an odd, but enjoyable urban fantasy, sci-fi, Steampunk novel.

Will let you know how I get on with it, but so far so good. I’m only at the beginning of it, but enjoying it so far.

Oh my God, but I have wasted a helluva lot of hours watching my latest obsession. The Marvellous Mrs Maisel is fab. I love it. If you have Prime, I would really recommend you watch this. It’s about a 1950s New York housewife who decides to become a stand-up comedian. It’s really funny. Her family are nuts, she’s nuts and it’s just all round great entertainment. Unfortunately, because I have been binge watching both series, I have now finished them. I am now bereft. Thank God I have today’s Outlander (also Prime) to watch tonight.

Okay, I am going to finish up here, but I will be back again with you soon… promise! In the meantime, here’s another wee bite from series 2 of Mrs Maisel:

You are welcome! Til next time,

Dawn xxx