Two books down and Volker Kutscher

Hi everyone! How are you? Hope you’re all well. How’s your week been? Well, I’ve got a couple of exciting things to share.

Firstly, I finally finished editing my Sisters of Sin novel. It’s called Greed and is romantic suspense story about a female assassin. As it’s part of a series, it won’t be published until early next year, but I’ll keep you posted. I have another one to write – about an assassin code-named Envy – for the series and plan to start on it next week.

Secondly, my Paisley book is finished and, as part of it, I’m just about to draft up a short graphic novel depicting one of the historical facts from the book. Once I have some images to show you, I’ll do that. The illustrations are being done by my very good friend and fab illustrator, Mandy Sinclair.

It’s so nice to have some good news to share. Something different from the norm. It still feels like Groundhog Day, but at least now I’ve had my first vaccination, I can see a tiny speck of light at the end of the tunnel!

On to TV and film. Well, I have just finished binge watching Call the Midwife and thoroughly enjoyed it, although Barbara’s demise did leave me in tears. The thing I like about this series is that it’s gentle, you don’t have to concentrate too hard to enjoy it, and the styles and music are fantastic. It’s one of my guilty pleasures and I can’t wait for the new series which starts very soon.

On to books, I’ve been trying to read, but I’ve been so busy lately that I’m shattered by the time I crawl into bed and switch the light out. I normally go up at 9pm and read for a while, but I’ve been going up at the same time and going to sleep.   I’ve had a couple of extra clients for my business plus I had to complete an assignment for university, so that’s probably why.

I have got a book to start which is Babylon Berlin by Volker Kutscher. I really LOVE LOVE LOVE the tv series, so wanted to read the books. Got the first one to start and I can’t wait.

I’m also reading Bruce Block’s ‘The Visual Story’ which is about creating the visual structure of film, tv and digital media. It’s useful to know this stuff for my scriptwriting, but it should also feed into my novel writing and maybe even other parts of my working life. Only just started it and am hooked already.

Right, so you are up-to-date on everything at the moment. I’m sorry I’ve not had much to tell you. It’s so difficult to be exciting about writing when most of it is hard slog. However, I’m getting there with my novels and have already started planning my next series – a steampunk, fantasy set in Victorian Glasgow. I’ll tell you more about that in the future, it’s way too early just now.

Til next time,

Dawn xxx

Ten Top Tips for Writers

Okay, so I’m thinking my blog is getting really dull due to me not doing very much. With that in mind, I’ve decided to try and make it more useful to other people who want to write. So, this week I’ve collated some top tips for people who want to be or who are writers.

Before that, a quick roundup of what’s been happening chez moi. Firstly, I’m getting new roof insulation put in today. My old insulation is shot to pieces, so it desperately needs replaced. I’m getting foamy spray stuff put on the inside of the roof. It’s non toxic and extremely good at insulating, but expensive. However, it’ll last for years and should cut my heating bills down, which would be good because it’s been snowy and freezing in Scotland for the past few weeks.

Secondly, I’ve started editing my Sisters of Sin novel. If you remember, I joined up with a group of international writers last  January/February with the intent of writing a book series together. However, the series hasn’t materialised yet due to the circumstances of the individuals within the group (lots of stuff has been going on) and the pandemic which side-swiped everyone (as it’s done for everyone else). The series was put on hold until now and it’s now we’re starting to pull it together with the intention of getting it out next January. I’ll keep you updated. It’s good to be getting back into writing. I’ve hardly been doing anything recently, just didn’t feel like it.

Thirdly, before I forget, how are you? Hope you’re all well. We’re find here, thank goodness, but getting a little stir crazy. The whole of the UK is still in lockdown again, which isn’t great, but it is what it is.

Fourth and final before we move on: did anyone watch It’s A Sin?? It was written by Russell T Davies – who is my favourite tv scriptwriter – and is set in the 1980s. It’s about a group of young gay men and their female flatmate and the impact of the AIDS epidemic. It sounds like it should be an horrific storyline, and it is harrowing and heart-breaking at times, but it’s such a good series. I highly recommend it. Plus the soundtrack (all 80s pop songs) is amazing – am hoping they put it out as a soundtrack you can buy! I’d forgotten how terrifying it was (as a heterosexual woman) when we were told about HIV and AIDS, so I can’t imagine what it was like for gay men at the time who were losing friends or dying of it themselves. I know there are still stigmas  attached to people with HIV and AIDS and prejudices against the LGBT population by some areas of society. However, I am so pleased we are not back where we were in the 80s. What happened then in terms of prejudice and hatred and fear was horrible. Anyway, watch the series, it’s amazing.

Right, now I’m going to go on to the writerly part of this blog post. Hold on to your hat!

  1. Carry a notebook and pen with you wherever you go so when inspiration/ideas strike you’ve got something to write them down in. You can also use your mobile to note down thoughts either as a note or as an audio piece.
  2. Write every day – set apart a time every day, even ten minutes, and write down something. Anything. This will get you into the habit of writing. It will also allow you to practise and develop your writing voice.
  3. Plan your writing – I know there are people out there who like to pants it (ie just write without planning) and I applaud those who can do that. However, I find that I can write every day and stick to a writing schedule if I have planned out what I’m going to say. You can plan your entire book or plan each chapter as you go. It’s up to you.
  4. Read, read, read – people ask me what’s the best way of learning how to write and I will always say read. That’s for fiction or non-fiction. I believe the only way of learning how to write well is to read exceptional writing. Then putting it into practise. Read everything: newspapers, magazines, online articles, short stories, poetry, fiction etc.
  5. On the subject of improving your writerly knowledge, research writing. There are lots of excellent blogs out there full of great tips and, seeing as how you’re reading everything anyway, why not read some of the great books on writing? My favourites include Stephen King’s On Writing, The Writing Gals, Craig Martelle, Save the Cat and  William Zinsser’s On Writing Well.
  6. If you are a fiction writer, write the story that you want to read. There’s no point trying to copy someone else. The best writing comes from a writer being passionate about their subject. The same holds true for non-fiction writers.
  7. Use strong words when writing. Passive, weak verbs make for weak prose. Instead of saying something was done to something (eg The girl had her hair done by the top stylist.) make is stronger by saying the person did the deed (The top stylist did her hair.)
  8. Don’t use cliches. Try to come up with  new ways of describing something.
  9. Get your story or text down and THEN go back and edit. And edit it some more. And edit it again. Don’t waste time by trying to get the perfect turn of phrase on your first go. Get the text down and then go back and zhoosh it up. 
  10. …believe in yourself. You can do it. So, what are you doing reading this blog? Get on with it!

Right, I am off to do more writing. Til next time!

Dawn x

 

 

 

Dogs, Chickens and 1920s Actresses

So, it’s been a couple of months since I last wrote a blog and that’s because November and December were pretty busy what with various birthdays and Christmas to organise. Not that we saw anyone over Christmas – my entire family stayed at home in their separate houses. We saw each other on Christmas Day via Zoom, but apart from that we didn’t get together.  I also had a lot of work on before Christmas and had a chicken pen to erect which took a lot longer than I imagined (more on that soon).

Anyway, sorry for not being around. It’s been a weird time recently what with the pandemic, Brexit and what’s been going on in America with people storming the Capitol building.  But, I’m not going to talk about either because they are just too depressing, so I’m going to start this blog off with something funny. Here’s some great animal videos I got on YouTube:

So, how are you all? Hope you’re well. Hmmm let’s see what’s been happening? Well, due to the pandemic I have not been going out. We’re now in total lockdown in Scotland, which means we can only go out for vital things (such as food and exercise).  Even before this lockdown, I was pretty much staying close to home anyway. I have been taking the dogs out for walks though and it’s been lovely to speak to other dog walkers (socially distanced of course) along the way. The dogs have been a Godsend in this pandemic. They are just so full of joi de vivre and ours are such cuddly, loving wee munchkins that they’ve made being stuck inside more bearable.

Red chicken

 

I do still have the aforementioned chickens who have not laid an egg since October (gurn – I miss their eggs, they were gorgeous), so are not pulling their weight!! Ha hahaha. I’ve bought them a bigger, walk-in pen for two reasons: firstly, I had to get them under cover as there’s Bird Flu about and it’s the law that your domestic fowl have to be kept away from wild birds.  They are not enjoying being incarcerated, but there’s nothing I can do about that. They’re original pen was too small, so I bought and constructed a new one. It’s much better, they have far more room.

Secondly, I was thinking about doing it anyway. They had been free range, but they cause chaos in the garden. I can’t plant anything as they eat anything that resembles tasty greens and they make a mess. So, into the pen they went and that’s where they’ll stay.

For the first time, I created and sold a calendar on Etsy. My Amazing Actresses of the 1920s and 1930s was packed full of beautiful black and white images of famous actresses of the time. And they are selling quickly. More coming soon. If you are looking for a calendar and fancy this one, buy it here: Amazing Actresses of the 1920s and 1920s Calendar 2021 | Etsy     

I’m definitely going to do them again for the end of this year along with some other ones. Watch this space for more details!

What else have I been doing? Been back knitting for my Etsy shop. This time it’s vintage tea cosies. Will get those up for sale soon.

Books

Books I have been reading include Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown by Lady Anne Glenconner. It wasn’t as good as I had hoped. Although, in saying that I don’t know what I expected it to be like. It was nicely written and a great account of Anne Glenconner’s life as Lady in Waiting to Princess Margaret, the wife of Colin Glenconner and as a mother of five. She had a lot of good times and some tragedy, but this is not the tell all I’d expected. There aren’t any truly juicy stories, which I’m sure she knows a lot of, but was still relatively interesting.

I’ve started back reading the Harry Potter series and here’s why: my interest in rereading them started up again through watching the entire film series with my daughter. We’ve only just today finished watching them. I really like the films, but the books are SOOOOO much better. So, will be starting The Philosopher’s Stone tonight. For films, we’re starting on the Star Wars franchise.

TV

TV over Christmas wasn’t great. There were  A LOT of reruns. However, I did watch a few things that I really enjoyed including the All Creatures Great and Small Christmas special, Bridgerton (wow, the Duke – you know who I mean ladies) and (oh joy!) the second series of A Discovery of Witches (which only came out on Friday and I’ve watched the entire series). I also watched The Alienist on Netflix and it was really good. If you like Victorian crime drama, The Alienist is for you.

Cooking

Other things I have been doing over the festive period include getting back into cooking again. And it’s been quite enjoyable. I lost my love of cooking around the same time as Ian becoming ill and never really regained it. But I started up again over Christmas and I’m enjoying it again, which is great. I’ve made various dishes – most of which my daughter has turned her nose up at – including a very lovely Chicken Korma curry at the request of my son. Weirdly, he did not eat it, but the girl did. So that was a sort of win.

Right, that’s all I’ve got to say today.  Going to feed the dogs and get the dinner on. It’s sausage and mash tonight…or should I make sausage and mash and Yorkshire pudding? Oh yes! The latter sounds great! Til next time.

Dawn xxx

 

 

 

Is it just me or is lockdown becoming really tedious?

 

The lovely Matt Bomer in White Collar.

How’s your week been? Much like last week, I’ll bet.  This virus stuff is getting tedious isn’t it? I know we have to stay away from other people as much as possible, but it’s hard. I daydream about going out as normal, meeting friends and family for lunch and having a laugh. However, in Scotland we’re not allowed anyone else in our houses. We can go out and meet them for lunch, but it’s just not the same. It’s not as relaxed. It’s always at the back of your mind that you could have Coronavirus and not know it and then pass it on to someone else, even though you do your best to stay two metres away.  I see Donald Trump and his wife have now been diagnosed with it. I really hope this is a wake-up call to him.  I don’t wish him or anyone to be seriously ill or killed by this disease, but he’s been so casual about it all in the past that it does feel a bit like karma that he has it. I hope he takes it more seriously now and starts listening to the experts about wearing a mask etc.

A wealth of lovely patterns and hand-knitted items at my shop.

Anyway, that is my moan for today. So, what have I been up to lately? Well, it’s much the same as always: I work on our script, I write my SOS book, I work on my social media business and my vintage knitting business, Vintage Knit Treasures (that’s got some items for sale in it now including scarves and hats, see here for more info). It’s been very much ‘Groundhog Day’ for us, as I’m sure it’s been for everyone else. I have been comforting myself with watching tv (yesterday I decided to start watching White Collar again cos I love it and Matt Bomer is just yummy). Watched Enola Holmes and really enjoyed it, although I thought the ending was a bit flat. Really hope they do another one. Millie Bobby Brown is really good in it and Henry Cavill (does that man ever smile?) and Sam Claflin play her brothers Sherlock and Mycroft beautifully. Plus they are both good to look at. 😉  What? A girl needs a bit of eye candy every now and again. Widowhood can be quite dull you know!

Millie Bobby Brown leads the cast in Enola Holmes.

That about sums up my week.  It feels lately that we’re just sitting in limbo at the moment.  We can’t look forward to Halloween or Guy Fawke’s because that’s been cancelled. I had to tell the kids they couldn’t go out guising this year (guising is the Scottish word for trick or treating) and they were disappointed. Our local Guy Fawke’s Night celebration at our scout hut has been cancelled due to the Coronavirus. Tell you a laugh, my American friend, the lovely Terry Wells Brown asked me why the British celebrate Guy Fawke’s Night and I told her about the bomb plot to blow up parliament and the king in 1605 and how it was stopped and ever since then we celebrated every November 5. Then it occured to me: do we celebrate because it was stopped or because he tried to blow up parliament?? I hadn’t really thought about it before. Obviously, the celebration must be about because the plot was stopped, but if you speak to people about him they talk about the Gunpowder Plot with glee and Guy Fawke’s almost like a hero.  It’s almost like it’s a bit of a joke that it happened. 🤔   On Guy Fawke’s Night, we let off fireworks, have sparklers and have a party. There’s always a bonfire where an effigy of Guy Fawke’s is burned (the real Guy Fawke’s was tortured and hung for his part in the plot). Hmmm.

Guy Fawkes was also known as Guido Fawkes.

Moving on to Christmas and I fear we won’t be able to visit family on Christmas day.  It will be rubbish, but if it has to be, it has to be. The worst case scenario will be that I will set up a Zoom call with them. Anyway, we have 12 weeks (?) til then. Hopefully something good will happen and the virus will die off (miraculously) and we will be able to get together after all.

Right, enough of my musings. I am away to do some work (I’m always working, keeps me out of mischief!). Til next time.

Dawn xx

New business, new FB group and a busy week

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So, how are you all this week? Hope you are all well. We’re all good here at Nelson Towers. The kids are back at school full time now, which is great for me because I get more peace during the day to write. As usual I’ve been busy, busy with all the projects I’ve been involved in. That includes scriptwriting, my SOS novel and some articles I’ve been writing for Medium (follow me here).

I’ve started up a vintage knitting pattern business on Etsy selling knitting patterns from the 1940s onwards. Some of these patterns are rare so you won’t find them anywhere else. My shop is called Vintage Knit Treasures  and there’s a range of patterns for men, women and kids. If there’s something you’d like, but you don’t see it in my shop, contact: vintageknittreasures@gmail.com and ask me and I’ll see if I can source it for you. I’ve been knitting some vintage things to put up for sale too and I’ll do that once I’ve made a few.

My time over the past week has been taken up not just with writing, but with my social media business. I have a few new clients, which is great, so I’ve been busy creating and scheduling posts for them. I use Canva to create the posts – I love it because it’s easy to use and the images are great. For videos, I use Win Movie Maker. I’ve been working on developing some videos for clients and they’re working well.

So, what else has been happening? Not much. All that I’ve been talking about before has been taking up most of my time. In my downtime, I’ve been relaxing and binge watching The Borgias, which I think I spoke about in my last post. I love that series. Can’t believe I never watched it before. It’s SOOOOO good.

Reading-wise, I’ve finished The Mistress of Mayfair and am reading a book on the history of the lost gold from the Reichsbank in Berlin. The Nazis took it out of the bank and hid it before the Russians and Americans entered Berlin at the end of the Second World War. I’m fascinated by that era and I love a good treasure hunt, so this book, which is factual, is just the ticket.

Anything else? Nope, I think that’s about it. I’ve joined a new group on FB called The Debt Free Divas. It’s a group of women supporting each other, sharing tips on being more frugal, sharing recipes and highlighting any deals that are going on. There’s info on how to get out of debt (I’m not in debt, but am interested in a whole lot of other things the group is doing), paying off mortgages, how to plan for early retirement and business. It’s only just started, but if you’re a lady (35-75-ish) who’s interested, go here and request to join. We’d love to see you there.

Right, am away now. Got some more writing to do before the kids come in from school. Have a great week and I’ll see you next week.

Dawn xxx

So, I’ve been working like a Trojan this week and it’s only Tuesday

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So, I’ve been working hard for the last two days and I’ve achieved so much. I love that feeling. Yesterday, I got up early and took the dogs out, wrote 1000 words, did a week’s worth of social media posts for a client, took the boy for a haircut and then went food shopping. In the afternoon, I did a four-and-a-half hour stint scriptwriting with my scriptwriting buddies.  Then I made dinner. As well as all that, I did some washing and emptied and filled the dishwasher. Phew!

Today, I wrote 2000 words, did social media for my author platforms, did a three hour scriptwriting stint, did a post for Medium (click here ) and did some work for clients.

This is me now:

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Anyway, how are you today? Hope you’re all well. This week is shaping up to be yet another busy one, but that’s okay I like it that way. It’s tiring, but I feel like I’ve done something with my life rather than frittering it away watching tv. Don’t get me wrong, I love tv, but I’ve been cutting down how much I watch in order to write.

So, what’s new? ACX, the people you put audio books up on for Audible, finally came back to me about the Dusting Down Alcudia audiobook with yet another issue. I swear I could scream. It’s been such a hard slog sorting that bloody thing out. I will work on it tomorrow.

Still working on my assassin book, but at the rate I’m writing, I should have the first draft of it done by early next month. So excited to get it out. It’s part of a book series I’m writing with international authors.

My Paisley non-fiction book is trundling along. I’ve finished the first draft of it and will be editing some time this week.

I’ve also sent off a couple more short stories to online magazines. Fingers crossed they take them.

Untitled design

Just got my results back today for my OU degree course and I passed that module. Yay me! So pleased as the last couple of months of it were quite difficult – they occurred during the initial weeks of the Covid 19 outbreak. Anyway it’s done and I look forward to resuming my studies again at the beginning of October.

What else? That’s about it for today. It’s after 9.30pm and my energy levels are seriously beginning to flag. Gonna gather up the dogs and get to bed now. Til next time.

Dawn xxx

It’s hard to write a blog when you’ve done nothing :-)

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Hello, hello, how are you all? Here’s another blog from lockdown. Not that I’ve that much exciting news to tell you. Above is an image I took of the River Clyde the other day. Not only proof that we’ve been having gorgeous and unseasonably warm/dry weather lately, but that the Clyde can look blue sometimes. The tide it out in this image and that’s Port Glasgow across the way, but it gives you an idea of how nice it’s been around here. Thank goodness, because I think if the weather had been dreadful things would be a lot more depressing for all of us who are having to stay indoors at the moment. People are already complaining of boredom and feeling depressed, awful weather would have made that worse for them.

I’m not going to ask you what you’ve been up to because, let’s face it, no matter where you are in the world, you are more than likely staying indoors to help stop the spread of Corona Virus. Instead, I’ll just ask you what you’ve been up to. Have you been watching copious amounts of telly? Started a new hobby? Baked until your fingers bled? Gardened until there’s barely a green bit of the garden left? 😉

I’ve been watching tv, but in small amounts. I’ve taken to watching Carnival Row again. Yes, again, for the fourth time. I love it that much. I’m also considering watching Game of Thrones again too. You see, apart from Killing Eve (which is bloody brilliant), there’s not much on the telly I want to watch right now. There haven’t been any decent history programmes or documentaries, I find a lot of comedies dire and I don’t watch soaps. So, it’s back to old favourites. I’m loving Carnival Row all over again and seeing things I didn’t notice before on the three other times I watched it.

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Here’s a pic of two of my dogs on a local beach. It’s a riverside beach and not the nicest of beaches, but it’s great for dog walking and the dogs don’t seem to mind the stones and detritus thrown there by the river.

What else have I been doing? I am writing, writing, writing. Just finished 2000 words of my assassin book plus did another few pages of my non fiction book. I’ve sent a tv programme I wrote to a scriptwriting competition. Not sure if it’s good enough, but we’ll see what happens. I’ve also been doing bits and pieces around the house – you know, the wee things that need done but never get done because you’re so busy. I have a whole list of those to do. Sigh. Well, I’m not going anywhere soon so I’d best be getting on with them! 🙂

A big hello to any newbies who are following this blog. Welcome and thanks for joining us. I’m please to say I have 831 subscribers to this blog and a few more subscribing to my newsletter. If you want to receive the newsletter,  add your email address to the Mailchimp signup form to the right of the page.

Right, depressingly, I have nothing else to tell you. I dream of going out for lunch some time soon with friends or taking the dogs and kids up to Oban for the day or going to my parents’ house for dinner. And I keep telling myself ‘It’s not forever, we will get back to normality soon.” I hope that’s true!

On that note, I wish you all a good week ahead. Stay safe and stay sane. Til next time

Dawn xx

PS big shout out to my aunt who turns 70 this coming week and to my friend Mark who has a birthday too. Happy birthday to you both.

 

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.

fb successs

So, being stuck inside hasn’t been all bad. I’ve started writing my new book project which I can’t tell you too much about yet – it’s too early – but that I will give you small bits of info every now and again. I’m a member of the Romantic Suspense Writers group on Facebook and nine of us have come together to produce a series of books under the R S Wilde author name. That is all I can tell you right now. All I will say is that this collaborative has been amazing so far. The girls – most of whom are from America, but there’s two of us in Scotland and one in Australia – have been brilliant to work with and we’re all really enjoying the process.

The sequel to Dusting Down Alcudia, The Jacobite’s Share (see image) is now out and available on a range of formats and in a range of shops including Amazon, Barnes and Noble and others.

The Jacobite's Share ebook cover

I am still waiting for ACX to sign off the audiobook of Dusting Down Alcudia. Sigh. This has been a long trek. It’s mainly to do with my not understanding stuff about audiobook production, but is now at their end. Hopefully, they’ll sign it off soon and it will be available on Audible. Then I will crack open the champagne and celebrate for this has been a long and harrowing road! 🙂

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News on my other secret project with my illustrator friend, Mandy. I’ve started writing it and am about a third of the way through the first draft. It’s a really interesting project and I’m loving doing it. More on it later.

Other news, I’m still doing my OU course, but because of Corona Virus, our end of term exam has been cancelled. I am not devastated by this as I’m one of those people who never does well in exam conditions. They’re going to look at our year round assignments to get a mark.

I’ve been spending a lot of time watching telly – as you can imagine – and I stumbled across a very good drama series on Netflix called Self Made based on the life of Madam C J Walker (1867 – 1919), America’s first female self-made millionaire. Sarah had a rough upbringing being born to former slaves near Delta in Lousiana and she was the first in her family to be born free after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. Her parents died when she was a child and she suffered hardship growing up.  Life got better after she set up a hair and beauty business for black women with her third husband, Charles Walker, in the early part of the last century. Although they divorced in 1912, Sarah continued to build the business, opening salons and factories across America, and went on to employ thousands of (mainly) women. Apart from being a hair care entrepreneur, Sarah was also a philanthropist and political activist. She died in 1919 at the age of 51 from kidney failure. She’s buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, New York.

Madam C J Walker

Madam C J (Sarah) Walker, American entrepreneur, philanthropist and activist.

Octavia Spencer, one of my favourite actresses (I loved her in Hidden Figures), takes the title role in the show and Tiffany Haddish plays Madam C J Walker’s daughter, A’Lelia. It’s really good, I’d recommend it. Other cast members include Blair Underwood, Carmen Ejogo and Kevin Carroll among others.

octavia spencer

Other things I have been watching include Witness with Kelly McGillis and Harrison Ford. I’d forgotten how good the film was. I don’t think Kelly McGillis is a particularly great actress, but it was still an enjoyable film. Also watched the Stargate film starring James Spade and Kurt Russell. I used to watch the TV series, being a huge sci-fi fan, but had never seen the film. It was actually really enjoyable. The sets and the way the film was shot was stunning and it was a good old fashioned sci fi adventure. I kept looking for French Stewart who plays one of the soldiers in it. I’m used to him being Harry Solomon in 3rd rock from the Sun, so it was a nice surprise to see how attractive (and manly, let’s face it Harry Solomon is not manly) he really is in another role.

Various

I am still ploughing my way through the Agatha Raisin books and loving them. They are so enjoyable to read and so easy, just perfect for this weird time.

Right, I am going to say adieu here and wish you all a good day. Please stay safe my friends and we’ll talk soon.

Dawn xx

Is it February already?

rain

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.

toastie

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.

tea

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.

chooks

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.

Hands typing on laptop computer

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